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Showing posts from August, 2009

Clock Partners - File Download

I get a lot of requests for the above clock partner wheel so I downloaded it to my file downloads. This is modified slightly from a similar activity I did during a conference.
I introduced clock partners in my science class this past Wednesday and the students loved scheduling times with one another to meet as partners. My principal walked in while students were moving around getting their clocks filled up and he enjoyed watching the activity. Whew!
I have a class that requires some heavy differentiating. I choose to wait to introduce it to this group until I get a better feel for the students and their ability to work in small groups. I wrote about clock partners more in depth last January (if you click on "clock partners" under labels on the right it should take you to my original post on the subject).
I plan for the first month or so to have students meet as partners twice a week to work on an activity in the notebook. It is my hope that by doing that that students will qui…

Starter Pages - Part II

In a previous post I have links to a set of starter pages that are downloadable and just wanted to clarify. I don't use everything in those pages and they are not in the order I would put them in the notebook (although I wouldn't put them in the book next year except in booklet form to save my gluing sanity :) and space.

The page picture above is a perfect example. I don't use the sensory figure instructions. In my modified set of starter pages I have taken this out. It seemed more for social studies notebooks then science.

Also, a few posts down I noted that I changed my title page requirements to simplify. I changed my starter pages to reflect that and I included the number of lines students were to go down after experiencing problems last year.

The original starter pages that I received my first year of teaching had a TON more pages - my contact information, table of content, class requirements and textbook information, an overview of our topics of study, more detailed gr…

File Sharing

I finally figured a way to store and share files on this blog (I think).
Click here if you are interested in downloading a copy of the grading checklist.
Click here if you are interested in downloading a copy of the notebooking starter pages.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this works :)

Check System

There had been a request to post the check system that I use. This is one I received from a fifth grade teacher at our school that has been working well. I'll try and convert to a pdf so I can post for download.

Good Deal - August 9, 2009

Best Buy has these Flash Drives on sale this week. The 8G is only $20, which is a really good price. I like it because it slides in and out. I have one with a cap and I am PARANOID about loosing it. Last year I bought an 8G for school and I am always saving lesson plans, notebook pages, video downloads, pictures, and music downloads for school and I've never run out of space. Check to make sure that it comes with a lanyard, some of them don't (which is really annoying!). They do sell them separately.

Starter Pages

In my first year of teaching I was given these starter pages from my team teacher, Mrs. Gannon, who maintains a social studies blog for the Interactive Notebooks (IAN). There are about 16 pages of "instructions" on various notebookingactivities from how to write an appropriate acrostic poem to how to put together a storyboard in the notebook. Students can use these instructional pages to refer back to how an assignment should be done. Over the years I have modified these instructional pages, deleting what I don't use, clarifying something I might use a lot, or simply revising it all together. I've seen some other revised starter pages that also include Cornell notetaking strategies.
I have always pre-glued these pages into the notebook, skipping the first page (which is the notebook title page). As stated above this takes up 16 pages of the notebook. It hasn't been a problem for me, as I have always had enough space.
Last year both Mrs. Gannon, and another noteboo…

Check Lists and the First Week of School

As I am writing this, it is Saturday...two days before teachers go back to school. Most teachers know that the week that we go back to school our days are heavily scheduled with school meetings, team meetings, district meetings, technology meetings, curriculum meetings, meet-and-greets, etc. so the actual time spent in the classroom is very limited. I find it helpful to have some notebooking things done before that Monday. In my case I have moved classrooms this year so I really tried to be as organized as possible with the notebooks so I had one less thing to think about as I unpack and put away.
My checklist consists of:
___ Purchased composition books (students will replace stock when they bring in supplies)
___ Put name labels on each book
___ Developed a storage system for books (in my case purchasing bins)
___ Reinforced binding with clear masking tape (done in front of the TV one evening)
___ Glued in starter pages (will also do in front of TV this weekend)


I plan to start notebookin…

Revised Title Page

Last year I used the same title page as I had in the sixth grade (see earlier posts under December 2008). It was similar to the one pictured above but it was marked into six sections (3 bottom and three top...instead of a straight line it was a "V" shaped).
I am going to use the above model this year. I think it will speed up making the title pages, which tends to take students a long time to complete. I also found that fourth graders like having specific instructions regarding how many lines they go down before drawing the top line of the title box, so this year I included it in my instructions for them.
Our first title page is on the very first page and is titled "SCIENCE". Since we cover four main areas in fourth grade science the four blocks work fairly well - Weather, Astronomy, Organisms and Their Environment, and Light and Electricity (we actually have five areas with Inquiry but that is a short unit and is worked into the others).
When I do the first title …

Storage Tubs

Here in South Carolina we start school on August 17th so I am working like mad to get everything set up in the classroom (teachers go back on Monday). I found these bins doing a walkthrough at Wal-Mart in their campus supply section and liked that could easily fit 25 notebooks with room to spare. The bins I used last year were too small and it became problematic.
I am teaching three fourth grade science classes this year so I purchased three different colored bins to separate the notebooks. These bins would not fit on a traditional bookshelf but they do fit on a counter top or table. I have an ELA group and am going to try my hand at reading notebooks this year. I'll post some periodic updates :)
I use mailing labels placed in the upper right hand side of the book to put names so I can, and the students can, find their book quickly (see third orange bin).
For management I set my students up in groups of four and each table is labeled (wide blue painters tape) 1 through 4. On my job …