Sunday, November 20, 2016

Let's Talk Writing Rubrics!

So it's that time of the year when the firsties are finally getting a handle on writing.  I've introduced a couple of different types of writing to them....specifically, writing a friendly letter and informational writing.  And they are doing pretty well.....but then, I have to grade it.  😱 Oh man.....now you know that takes some time! Settle in with a cup of tea and be prepared to sit there for a while.  And how do you grade writing???? It's so subjective. So I used to get out my trusty rubrics - you know the ones with the boxes that say stuff like:  You have a strong focus or theme that shows you understand the prompt. Your focus is strong throughout your entire narrative. Yea.....and there's like 20 of those boxes on the rubric and you have to keep looking back and forth from the students writing to the rubric and comparing to see if they met all the little areas in each box.  Hmmmm, is this worth 4 points or 3 points.  Let me see did they have a strong focus or a clear focus??????? Gahhhhh! I hated those rubrics!  

So one day I decided I was going to create my own SIMPLE, KID FRIENDLY and TEACHER FRIENDLY rubric.  I wanted one for every kind of writing sample and I wanted it to align to the common core: Opinion Writing, Personal Narrative, Informational Writing, Friendly Letter and just an All Purpose Rubric for every day writing.  And I wanted it built right into the writing sample.....no more looking back and forth, comparing, searching for the right rubric, copying it and stapling it to the writing sample! I needed to simplify my grading life!! Hey listen, I don't have time to sit here forever grading papers.  I have to watch The Real Housewives make dinner. You know what I mean?? 

So this is what I came up with.....so simple and yet really effective.  I have been using these rubrics for years and the grade is always right on target every time.  I have finally made it into a product that I can share with you! I hope you will check it out....it will seriously change your grading life! You can grab you set here
                                                   


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Fall Centers - It's All About DIFFERENTIATION!

Sorry that it's been a while since my last post....things got a little crazy 'round here! My November stations are up and running and I wanted to take a minute to share them with you.  The fab firsties always get so excited when I put out something new! That's one of the reasons I love stations soooo much.....the kids are engaged and learning and HAVING FUN at the same time!! The perfect trifecta! So here's what's cookin':

Math Center - Squirrelly Subtraction

This month in Math we are working on subtraction.  I found the cutest "jeweled acorns" at my local craft store and I knew I could do something with them in my class! My firsties love this little hands on subtraction game.  They can play this alone or with a friend.....read the subtraction story problem about little Sammy Squirrel stealing the nuts and work the problem on their Squirrelly Subtraction Work Mat. There are three levels of questions and worksheets for struggling, on level and advanced students.





Spelling Center "Leaves" Me Happy

Remember making leave rubbings when you were a kid? Well, break out those leaves out and let your firsties try it at the spelling station! Here, my students are making leaf rubbings and then writing their spelling words with black marker on each leaf.  As always, it is differentiated into three levels with my struggling students working on 4 words, on level kiddos have 6 words and advanced students working on 8 words.  Such an easy center to set up and they love it!



Big Book Center

I love felt stories......I remember being a little firstie and my teacher had cool felt story pieces and I just loved making up stories and playing with them! This month I added a few poems and felt pieces to my Big Book Center.  I would love to give credit to the person who made these flannel board pieces, but I bought them years ago (I think maybe on etsy????) and I have no idea.  I have the story "Jamies Pumpkin" and all the flannel pieces to go with it and some other simple poems for the kiddos to read and retell. 


Writing Center

This month the firsties are working on lists of fall words and fall stories at the writing center.  There is a large word wall and also a mini word wall that the kids use as reference.  Add a few feathered pens, some colored pencils and the kids love visiting this center.



Word Word Center

This month we are planting pumpkins in alphabetical order in the pumpkin patch! I made these cute little pumpkin patch work mats and three levels of pumpkins.  My struggling firsties are working on alphabetizing letters.....while my higher level kiddos are using words and looking at the beginning letter to put them in alphabetical order.  I put velcro squares on the back of the pumpkins and the mats and my fab firsties can stick them in place.  When they finish, they can rewrite their words/letters on the worksheet that goes along with their level. 



Library / Listening Center

I have baskets of fall themed books at both my library and listening center this month.  Kids can choose these themed books or something from the leveled book boxes to read and then complete a differentiated story elements worksheet to tell about their book.  


Art Center

We're making tissue paper fall trees at our Art Center this month, but with a differentiated twist!  After they make their tree, the firsties will write about their tree. My struggling kiddos will trace a sentence, on level kids will add color words to their sentence and my advanced students will write their own sentence.  



So that's what's happening at centers this month......things are "falling" right into place!!! If you would like to use these centers in your classroom they are available in a bundle on my TPT store here.

I also have a special Fall Math Centers bundle with two additional centers included here:


Thanks so much for stopping by and I would love to hear what you are doing for your centers this month!  Do you do themed centers or do you have anything fun you would like to share?  Please comment below and let us all in on your secrets!! Hope you have a great week and stop by again....there's always something fun happening in.....

Firstieland🍭