My latest "Pinter-ations!"

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Getting Started with Student Data Notebooks: Series 1

As I start the school year, it is important that we all get our expectations and procedures down. One of the procedures that I want to make sure to start right away are my student data notebooks. Some teachers like/love the student data notebooks and some teachers do not feel them to be necessary. 

Personally I enjoy and truly find the value in using them. My students have used them for several years now.  You can read my original post about them {HERE}. Before I began them, I did a lot of reading as to the why's. I also read The Leader in Me by Stephen Covey

and was inspired by his 7 Habits of Happy Kids. I've linked the site above so you can check it out. I've always been a believer in kids first and giving them the choices in their learning (of course, the teacher is always the facilitator of learning, but you know what I mean!). So, I started reading more about student-led conferences where they were showing their parents their data notebooks and showing their parents how they performed on their tests. I was completely BLOWN away! Students, in upper grades mostly discussing data. Now, I am not going lie, data is not the most interesting thing in the world to discuss (unless you're a statistician) but 8-9 year olds talking about their scores and reflecting on what they needed to improve and score. Brilliant! 

Other reasons:

Students are responsible and accountable for keeping track of their data. 

Students write GOALS  (short term goals that lead to long term) for themselves and make small steps to achieve. 

It's a visual representation of their learning!! 

It's a written plan for success.

It's a great tool for parents.

I'm not here to convince you, truly! And if you are already reading this, then I've piqued your interest enough. I'm here to show you how I use them and how I've set them up. Every notebook is unique and all classroom needs are different. The best thing about these notebooks is that you can collect data for ANYTHNG!! 

Math Facts
Weekly Phonics
Letter sounds/names
Number recognitions
Science Weekly assessments


It all starts with ownership! My students start off with an "All About Me!" page. Oh, and did I mention, these are firsties doing this?? Yes!!! 1st graders!!! 

My little one helped me. My students have theirs already in their notebooks. I'll take some pictures this week of them. They came out so cute! Here Aidan told me that he likes to play and is really good at Art. For this page, I let them write what they wanted. I wasn't too specific. 

After that we talked about GOALS! This is a HUGE one. I read the book

This is a simple but GREAT book that appeals to kids. After I read the book we retold the story and talked about the small steps that the engine took to go up the mountain. I discussed with them that we all take small steps to reach our GOAL. 

I introduce my data notebooks one subject area at a time. It is WAY too much for me to introduce more than one subject area to my 1st graders. If you are an upper elementary grade, you may be ok with introducing more than one subject area. I start with one and it is for math facts. It is up to you! 

So back to my goal, you could do a goal for the quarter or year. I do one for the quarter (or grading period) and insert this into that particular section. So I had students think about a math goal. "What would you like to accomplish in math this year? What is your goal?" We brainstormed ideas and most students just wanted to pass their math facts and do "times" because they heard my students last year were doing multiplication facts when they left me. So they wrote that down. Again, I let them write a math appropriate statement. 

The statements need to be appropriate for the section you are working in but not so "teacher" driven. If you are directing every statement then that takes the ownership away from them.  I have given given stems such as,

My math fact goal...

My math goal is ....

I hope that these small (doable!!) steps help get you started! I'll be back later this week with Series 2: Setting up and the First Implementation

If you'd like to check out my Data Notebooks, you can view them {HERE}! 

Have a great week! 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Classroom Reveal: It's SUPER!

Happy beginning of the school year! I *think* I finally have gotten my school groove on enough to blog about my new classroom. I am sure I am preaching to the choir but starting back to school and getting back into the groove is ex*haus*ting!!!

I LOVE this!! I feel like this every day. It's a good tired because I love my class but it's beginning of the year tired. You get it! I know! 

We have a new block schedule that I am getting used to and just feel I can't fit everything into my day like I did last year so that has really thrown me for a loop. And my class is split for special area so I feel a little disconnected from the special area teachers that I really love. I am sure the stars and planets are also misaligned that is also adding to my loss of class/school mojo, too! LOL! I'll get there! 

What I do LOVE is my class! I say that every year and I am lucky to have another great group of kids to love on for the next 180 (now 170) days. I am SUPER excited to have created a super hero classroom for them! Now, I will have to admit that I am not a super hero aficionado (my hubby and kids are) but I thought, I could incorporate so much with character ed into it, too! Kids also love super heroes and they were so excited to see the decorations in my room! I didn't take pictures of everything in my classroom-- just a few! We've been busy! Here's just a few highlights! 

This bulletin board is outside my door. I used 2 Super Teacher's Clipart, typed their names on the kids,  and made buildings with construction paper. Very easy to do! 

This is also in my hallway and perhaps my favourite! I wanted to create a "Metropolis" feel to my classroom so I wanted a "city" of some sorts so I built this city! LOL!  I used reposition-able black vinyl to make this city. It was a 2-man job as one person had to be on the bottom to remove the backing and the other person had to be standing above you to hold the vinyl taut to make sure it didn't bubble. I linked you to the one I bought (I love Amazon Prime!!) as it was a perfect width for what I was making. If you plan on doing this, I would make sure you get the one that is removable as there are ones that are "permanent". It can get pricey. I looked at Michael's for this type of roll and it was way expensive for the amount I needed to use. I still have more than half a roll left! There are rolls with less footage but I didn't want to make a mistake and not have any leftover. 

My table signs! My husband said that they needed a cape! So each table lantern has a cape! It's hilarious! 

Super words for super kids! 

You can download my Superhero Creeds for free {HERE}! 

I love my little job chart! 

I love the idea of this little pocket on the back of the job cards to hold the little super heroes my kids made! 

I did not give them a pattern for these little heroes! They moaned and groaned about it but they did it and they are as CUTE as can be!! I only gave them a head and arms! I love the cape on the little guy on the left! So clever!!! 

I love the idea of ten frame days in school. The kids are loving it, too!! 

You can see more of my Super Hero Decor at my TPT store {HERE}. Tons of cuteness to make your classroom super! 

As always, here is our annual picture! I say it time and time again! I love these girls! They make coming to school worth it. No matter what stinky thing our district may do, we always have each other and I am so thankful for them. Some of us have been teaching together for 10 years and I think that is amazing! Here's to many more years together! Love you ladies! 

I hope you are having a great start to your year. Or if you are gearing up for your year to start, best of luck with all your preparations! 

Stay tuned for my blog series on starting Student Data Notebooks. I am very excited to share with you how I have set them up and how you and your students can best use them! 

Take care!