Setting Goals {Math and SEL}

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

In the beginning of the year, I love getting to know my students and having them flush out goals for themselves as we enter this journey together. I set personal and professional goals for myself and I find it to be a helpful strategy. I want my students to find purpose in every lesson, every activity, and every experience in my classroom. Together, we set goals for math, ELA, and SEL.

Math Goals


Every student in my class needs to set a goal for the first quarter. Even if I have high flyers who zoom through the work with 100% accuracy, they can always work on something. I gave my students a list of possible math goals, since usually they have a hard time coming up with one randomly.
I wrote this on the board:

Some of the goals were more ELA or Speaking and Listen focused, which is often overlooked in math content. Students can get the right answer and have no idea how to articulate how they came to that answer. I found a product on TpT that was almost perfect for this activity. The original can be found here. I just tweaked the formatting around a bit. Each student received a half sheet of paper and on the board was a list of possible goals. I gave a few examples as to things they could do to reach their goals just to set them on the right track.






SEL Goals
Click here to download the SEL goal setting worksheet that was mentioned in my previous post. To see a student example, click here to see that post! It was such a fun activity to do with my kids as they unpacked the school's character standards. They definitely needed some real world practice using the standards in their everyday language, and this activity was great to do! One of my students used her pencil as a microphone to interview her partner and I have to say, it was so adorable. This is an activity that will be revisited around Thanksgiving to see how far they have come, or to see if they haven't made any progress and create an action plan to get the ball rolling.

ELA Goals
After our first round of DRA2 testing, I will have students set their goals for ELA. We have already introduced some reading skills that will be tricky throughout the year, so I'm hoping they can identify one skill they would love to work on this quarter after our introductory lessons. My students LOVE to read! It really is a teacher's dream... I can't even put into words how happy it makes me to see my kids reading for pleasure and begging for a few more minutes. My goal for my students is to master transferable reading skills, and I am currently working on a goal setting sheet that works!

How to Introduce a New Unit with Gallery Walks {Pictures Included!}

Monday, September 21, 2015
Whenever we begin a new unit, a great way to peak students' interests is a gallery walk! I love this for ANY content, ANY unit because it is so versatile and it gets my students moving around the room.

You can choose photos, text, quotes, images, etc. and place it on anchor chart paper. {Note: make sure the paper is at eye level, I placed the paper a bit high for my kiddos and the top part was left blank.} I kept my students in their table groups to rotate around the room, however depending on the activity, you can group them by level or ability.

Round 1: The first round, I asked my students to jot down what they believe we will be learning in this unit, things that stuck out, or questions they had. I modeled on one of the posters to set the expectation not to write too big because everyone needed to respond. Each student visited all of the posters during this round and participated.

Round 2: This is really my favorite round! This time, students had to read each others' responses and either check if they agreed, starred if they were interested in the same thing, or jotted down a comment such as "I'd like to learn that too!" This forced them to interact with each other through text and have a dialogue, otherwise they would not read the other comments on the posters.

Outcome: My students are excited for this unit! They are engaged, they have questions already and they are ready to learn. We ended the lesson by going over the essential questions and vocabulary for the unit as well as the skills they will be using throughout the unit. I cannot wait to continue with this unit, I am an anthropologist at heart after all.

Early Humans Gallery Walk




Thanks for visiting!

First Week of School {Activities & More!}

Sunday, September 20, 2015
Besides meeting my new students (YAY!) my first week of school was very intense. I wanted to roll out some goal setting activities, geography skills, and math baseline data activities within the first week. It actually rolled over into the next week, but that's ok!

10 Things You Need to Know
One of the very first activities we did was creating our lists of things every else needs to know about us! I created one to model the expectations and my kiddos got very creative with it. I loved learning about things they did over the summer or even just fun facts besides their reading level or grades from last year. I want to get to know them on a personal level to begin to build solid relationships.

Book Jackets
Over the summer, my students had to choose from a list of summer reading novels. I broke them up into summer reading groups and had them discuss the novel with one another. I had five groups going at once and the kids were very into the summer reads. After their discussions, they created a book jacket for their summer novel. The cover is either the original book cover, or another scene from the book. I have some very talented artists! On the inside, they listed the story elements of the book. They turned out so cute! 


Me on the Map
I love doing this activity! After reading the book, Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney, we went onto Google Maps and zoomed into our school. I continued to zoom out until the world was visible, both a 2D and 3D illustration. My students loved it! One student even asked me to find Kansas, which was a first. This activity is so much fun, and really give my students perspective as to their location on the maps in my classroom. It is a great intro for a geography unit as well. I used Clutter-Free Classroom's unit for the book and it was FILLED with great ideas, resources, and print and go activities. I still need to put the title on this bulletin board, but didn't they turn out fantastic! 



My classroom looks so much better with student work! I cannot wait to fill up the white spaces in my room with more work and hang their My Life posters from the line in my classroom. Stay tuned for those finished projects! 


Goal Setting
I wanted my students to get familiar with the character standards at our school and get some realistic goals for themselves to work on this year. Along with academic goals, my students also set SEL goals for themselves. I created this goal setting interview sheet based on an article by Maurice Elias entitled Back to School: Goal Setting With Your Students. I modified the questions SLIGHTLY to be appropriate for my students. I paired the students, and had them ask each other these questions and write down their responses. They had some very mature responses!

Want to try this activity with your kids? Download this handout below.


Thanks for stopping by!


My New Classroom 2015-2016! {Photos}

Sunday, September 6, 2015
Drumroll please.....

It's official September! I am thrilled to be done decorating and organizing my classroom... well as done as possible. School officially starts this week and I am excited/nervous/anxious/thrilled to meet my new kiddos!

Over the summer I found, and fell in love with, Ladybug's Teacher Files products! My classroom is practically a walking advertisement for her TpT store... Totally worth it. I picked up only three products from her store and my room is done, which I love. Labels galore!

I was lucky enough to go into my room over the summer to organize and sort through the last fourth grade teachers curriculum and supplies. If you're like me, you love seeing tons of classroom photos back to back to get a sense of the room so here you go!!

B2S Gifts 


Student Supply Boxes and Folders for each Subject (Labeled, of course)




Supply Caddy



Informational Text Library




The couch was left behind and I moved it to break up the space. I really need new pillows.

Complete with book baggies, again labeled. 


Fiction Library 



Built in storage! Yay! 

Below I will place photos of my students doing other activities (playing sports, playing an instrument, etc.)

View from the entrance.



 I don't like a lot of clutter on my desk because it makes me crazy.... Even now there is too much stuff on my desk. Below the photo of my family is Kristine Nannini's 4th Grade Morning Work! Pick it up if you want purposeful morning work for your students without all of the work of creating it daily.

I hope you enjoyed looking through my classroom photos as much as I enjoy looking through other teachers classrooms! It is always an exciting time of year and I love sharing my room with others who share the same passion for education.

Here's to an amazing 2015-2016 school year!


September Pick 3 Pinterest Party {Linky}

Thursday, September 3, 2015
I am linking up once again for this month's Pinterest Pick 3! I am super excited since it is the back to school season and things are very hectic. 


Let's kick this off!



This image is from Clutter-free Classroom! I have a classroom with great storage built-in and not so much bulletin board space. Ok I have four bulletin boards in my room..... but it just isn't enough for me! I have one for math, student work, reading and writing workshop, and our calendar and must-haves! I create a "bulletin board" on the wall by using this technique and it looks fantastic! It looks like it was always there.... I might use it for social studies or for fun pictures from our classroom, we shall see. 




Ok, I'm doing this ASAP! This if from A Rock Top Teacher and it's just the cutest thing for my new fourth grade kiddos. I bought neon pencils and I printed these labels along with cute little notebooks so that they can take notes of their "Must-Haves"! Locker combination, schedule, friends, map of the room (to find their seat), names of teachers, where and when is lunch, etc. My middle school is from 4th through 8th grade, so my students are brand new to the building. This will be a cute way to help them feel comfortable with the transition. 

Last, but not least....




I Love This! I plan on having a writing table/area/center space in my classroom and I love how this is set up. I want my students to have a space to not only write, but also have independent work time if needed. This is just so organized! Second Grade Sugar and Spice did such an amazing job with her classroom, definitely go and check it out!


My classroom is ALMOST done, and I want to post photos as soon as it is complete. Stay tuned! 












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