Sunday, October 14, 2012

Scrambled Thoughts... and a Safari Counter Giveaway!

It's that time of year, friends.  I am frenzied and frazzled.  Oh, and I'm sick.  My old friend, the common cold, came back to visit again this month.  I've been trying to fight it for a week, and now I sound like Marge Simpson when I talk.  It's tragic and comedic at the same time.  So, because I don't have a lot of time or energy to blog, I am doing a DUMP & GO post.  I need to hustle... and scramble... or I am never going to be able to finish all of the things on my incessantly growing To-Do List... and I totally need to hit the hay a little earlier than usual.  Fingers crossed...

First, let's look at how we have been practicing the RTQ Process.. to restate the question.  (I think I am the only person in my district who calls it this... others refer to it as TQA... turning the question around.  Same thing... different name!)  First, I write a question on a sentence strip, and then I post it. 

We read it together.  Then, I cut it apart and rephrase it to model the process.  I point out how we remove the question words and question marks when we do this.  I turn the question mark sideways to turn it into an ellipses.

Next. we generate possible responses that could answer the question.  I jot them down as a list first, and then the students generate a written response using the chart.  Of course, it has to be more automatic by the time they take... dun dun dun... "the test".  However, this is a great introductory activity that helps make the concept more concrete. 

Since it's the end of the nine-weeks, we've been trying to wrap up our economics unit.  I managed to take a few pictures of some of our charts and whatnot.

I used Sarah Cooley's Lemonade Stand unit to tie in some "market research."  Each student from both classes stated whether they like yellow lemonade or pink lemonade better, and we charted our results.  Then we talked about how this data would impact a business, and we recorded the consensus on the chart.

Of course, we also played a Lemonade Stand Game on Cool Math prior to all of this to help students understand how you work with a budget, how you can make a profit, and how to consider customer feedback to help make business decisions.  They loved it, and it was a great way to solidify all of the terms we've been working on this nine-weeks.

 My kiddos are also finally in the final stages of creating their business plans from my Lemonade Economics unit, and they are doing an absolutely fabulous job.  It's been a great way to get them to apply the skills and terms in a meaningful and fun way!  My kiddos are taking it SO seriously!  I snapped a picture of my example to protect student work... but you can get the gist!  We did not use every term or page I included in the unit.  I chose the terms I felt like I had taught well enough to assess.  This will be the final social studies grade before our big economics test.

Speaking of the big economics test, I decided to create a study guide for my kiddos using the posters from my Economy 101 packet.  I printed them in grayscale, and then I attached a snazzy cover sheet.  If you're interested in snagging the cover, you can download it HERE.

"Le- Le- Le- Le- Lemonade f-f-f-for  s-s-sale!"   Is that a sales pitch, I see?!  :)  Don't you LOVE when you see evidence of learning in the most unexpected places?!  It honestly makes my heart soooo happy!

I other news, we also spent some time using the Summary vs. Retelling sheet that I blogged about last weekend.  It's a freebie, so if you're interested, make sure you check out my old post. We used it to reinforce the concept... and also story elements... as we read "My Rows & Piles of Coins".   It worked like a charm! 

Other than all of that, I don't really have a lot of super-exciting stuff to talk or blog about.  We had our first round of the OAA a few weeks ago... I've been planning interventions for our intervention-enrichment periods... and I've been reviewing for benchmarks.  Nothing share-worthy!  The only thing worth sharing for intervention/enrichment purposes is the concept of using a little ring attached to a basket for grouping.  It's nothing earth-shattering, but I have found that typing all of my groups out with the teacher listed... the number of students listed... the room listed... and any additional information listed... is EXTREMELY helpful and keeps me sane.  I like to have all of my information in one spot.  So, I attached it to my Eagle Time basket... and viola!  I'm ready... and more importantly my sub will be ready when I'm out of school next Friday!

While we're on the topic of organization, here's a little look at our AR Quiz Line in action.  This one is from my {Bright Colors} pack.  After I snapped this photo, one of my students who wants to be a teacher when she grows up, decided to put all of the numbers in the bucket in numerical order.  ;)  It cracks me up!  Just when you think you're organized... you realize that you're never going to be as organized as you wish you could be!

While I was snapping semi-random photographs of my classroom, I decided to take a picture of our fluency center.  I am slowly adding poems as we go.  All of the poems in the center have been used whole-group and modeled extensively.

In totally unrelated news, I was reading how Abby and Rebecca are contemplating a Chic Teacher Tuesday linky party... and I was totally gitty!  I LOVE teaching, and I love shopping!  Seriously... how much fun is that?!  So, I decided to start practicing my self-portraits.  I have decided that I have two options.  I can choose not to participate... or I may have to have Mr. Nickerson take pictures of me.  (I am fairly certain that I will be teased mercilessly if this is the option I choose! Ha!)  Seriously though, look at how awkward this is!! Bahahahaha!  Also, let's talk about how I am totally wearing COMFY teacher clothes in this picture, because let's face it, when I'm sick, I could honestly care less about about being CHIC.  ;)  Irony at it's best, folks.

Okay, I know that some of you must be thinking, "Is she ever going to stop rambling and get to the good part about the giveaway?!"  The answer is YES, I AM.  Right now!  :)

I had the opportunity to review Learning Resources' Jumbo Safari Counters.  I think they are really reasonably priced (at $19.99).  They really are JUMBO... and they are absolutely precious... and durable!  If you are a fellow intermediate teacher, you may be wondering why on earth I would review counters... and you would not be alone.  My partner laughed at it too!  :)  However, I still love her, and I still heart all of you, and so I will tell you my master plan for these cute little safari animals.

First of all, I am a sucker for themes, and since my classroom is safari-esque, I couldn't resist snagging these little guys.  Secondly, I had a little siren going off in my brain when I found them online.  I immediately thought about how I could use them for syllabication!  Here's what I mean.  I can use spelling words or vocabulary words that we are already studying, and have students pull out index cards with the words written on them.  Simple and easy, right?  Then, the kiddos can practice tapping the sounds out with these little critters.  Each animal can represent one syllable.  It definitely makes practice more enjoyable & enticing, don't you think?

This school-year, I also have a kiddo who is still learning his sight words and CVC words, so we used Deanna's Stretch the Word Snake Mat to work on letter-sound correspondence Elkonian-style.  (My bloggy pal, Rachelle, also has a mat with four squares if you're interested in using the counters for a similar purpose!  You can read about how she helps kids stretch out sounds HERE!)

Honestly, I can think of so many ideas for these little safari critters!  You could create arrays... you could create patterns... you could use them for probability... you could use them to create a tangible graph... you could use them for counting... you could use them for  fractions... you could use them for colors... the possibilities are endless!  How would you use them?!  Feel free to comment below and share with others!

Now for the moment you've all been waiting for.  If you're interested in snagging the Jumbo Safari Counters for your classroom, 

{Don't forget to leave your email address to ensure that I can get a hold of you if you should win!}
Follow my lil' ole slice of cyberspace, and share how you plan to use the recorder with your kiddos. :)
Like Learning Resources on Facebook, click their wall, & tell them that One Extra Degree sent you!
Follow their blog, and tell them I sent you!
Follow Learning Resources on Twitter.
Follow Learning Resources on Pinterest.
If you want to have a bonus entry... blog about this post and leave the link in my comments section!

The winner will be drawn next Sunday, October 21st, 2012.  Make sure to check back in on Monday for the winner!

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  1. I love your blog and I am fortunate to be your newest follower! :)

    if you have time, stop by my new-ish blog and visit me!

    Cheers :)

    1. Thanks, Rae. :) I am following your cute blog too!

  2. Amanda, you are SO GOOD at modeling through hands-on and visual ways. I learn so much from your blog!

    1. Thanks, Tamara! You are too kind! :)

  3. OoooMmmmGggg. I have been practicing my self portraits too!! Unfortunately the only full length mirror we have faves the side of the bedroom where all my stacks of stuff from moving are. So it's clean that or use the one in the girls bathroom at school! Watch pit girls cause mrs lambs not cleaning. Just picked up the lemonade pack!

  4. Love how you show the kids how to restate the questions. I must try this! Thanks, as always, for sharing your amazing ideas! I always learn so much from you!!

  5. We are doing multiplication right now, so I'd use the counters for making arrays! I also like the idea of Probability- they would have fun with that.

    I am also stealing your idea about Restating the Question. This is my first time in 3rd grade, and I've realized they don't know how to turn the question into a sentence starter! Thanks!

  6. I love the way to rephrase the question by actually cutting it up. Thanks for the idea!


  7. I love how you used the safari animals! I would also use them for sorting and comparing properties.

  8. How would I NOT use them!!!! LOVE LOVE those little guys!

    br_oden at msn dot com

  9. I love these! I would use them for one-to-one correspondence and basic addition/subtraction facts.

  10. I would use them as game pieces...I teach fourth grade.

  11. These counters are so cute and nice and big for my kiddos who have a hard time with tiny counters! I would use them for one-to-one correspondence, as counters, bingo markers, game markers...they sky's the limit!

    A is for Apple B is for Blog

  12. Hi Amanda...Can you explain your Eagle Time Basket a little bit more. I am still trying to find that "perfect" way to organize group materials...if there is a perfect way!...and thought you might have a system I might be able to use or tweak to make it work. If you would rather respond through e-mail, that will work. Thanks in advance.

  13. I love your Restate the Question idea!! My kiddos really struggle with this and I think your strategy will definitely help them!

    Sara :)
    Smiling In Second Grade

  14. I love the safari counters because they would be great for syllabication and blending words together.

  15. We would use the counters as good old fashioned game pieces! Right now we are using coins, erasers, you name it!

    tokyoshoes (at) hotmail (dot) com

  16. I would love to have the counters to use for story problems!

  17. there are sooo many possible uses...elar (writing, sentences, read to me), math (counting, problem solving), science (learn about the animal)...I also like the safari theme

  18. counting, repeated addition, sorting, game markers, addition/ subtraction- I teach special education

  19. Counters as game pieces! Great idea. Our 5th graders are always losing pieces. And, these are so cute!

    PS - You've been boo'ed! Please join in on the fall linky... Visit my blog at PJ Jots to join up in the link!

  20. Hello,

    I found your voice cards on pinterest and have been searching for them on TPT. I can't find them anywhere, but they are definitely the best I have seen! Can you please let me know how to find them so I can get them for my poetry corner? Thank you!