Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sneak Peak at My Week (Only 6 More to Go!!)

<div align="center"><a href="" title="Mrs. Laffin's Laughings"><img src="" alt="Mrs. Laffin's Laughings" style="border:none;" /></a></div>


I'm going to start my week off with a few end of year motivational ideas from my BBB Joanne.  I am fortunate that I live close to Joanne, and we work together in the same district.  Joanne has so many ideas and great TpT products!  Check out  Joanne's ideas from Head Over Heels for Teaching!  She is absolutely amazing.  If you haven't started following her you need to.  

First on my list is a Motivational Countdown to the Last Day of School!  

I still need to laminate them, but they are printed and ready.  Only 28 school days left!  This is very motivating to me and to my students.  


My school's water contains the highest levels of lead and copper that the EPA deems still safe to drink. HA!  So, I try to encourage my students to bring bottled water from home to drink at school.  I can't afford to give them bottled water daily, but I think I can get them started.  So, I'm going to provide each of my students with a new bottle of water each week for the remainder of the school year that has a motivational tag attached.  Yes, this is one of Joanne's ideas!!  This week I'm going to use, "Brain Juice!" Come back on Friday to see how it went!


I will continue having my students work on making 3D Artifacts in Social Studies.  My 4th Graders are making Calusa Indian Shell tools, jewelry, utensils, or shrine ornaments.  My 3rd Graders are going to start making salt dough maps of the United States highlighting Physical Features.  Hands on and Fun!  Here are a couple of examples.  My students are also required to write a strong description of their artifact.  We are going to display them in the Media Center.  

After That,

I will need to choose a few of the wonderful ideas from the amazing Blog Hop going on this week!:

I've gotten so many ideas I'm not sure which ones I want to start with.  I'll have to think about it as I lay around the pool this afternoon!  Oh Ya!  


I have to finish my DPP (Deliberate Practice Plan).  Ugh...not really looking forward to all the paperwork that goes into this.  I've accomplished so much this year that I have to condense it down to only 5 artifacts and I'm having a difficult time deciding what I want to use as evidence.  

Well, this is my plan for the week.  Would love to hear what you think!  

Sparking BOYS Motivation Saturday (Sunday 4/27/14 Entry)

Hello Blogging World!  Sorry I'm a day late linking up with the sensational Joanne @ Head Over Heels for Teaching.  I had a very busy Saturday but I have to share how I was able to engage ALL of my boys in a close reading about energy.  Yes, that's right!  ALL of MY BOYS! The group that I am focusing on for this blog are the boys in my class that have the most difficult time staying focused on a lesson.  This particular group consists of 4-fourth graders and 2-third graders.

 The assignment: Read closely to identify forms of energy, the source of that form, and how that form of energy causes motion or change.  Students were to read & discuss their findings proving their responses with text based evidence.  My students are utilizing Joanne's Discussion Stems Folders and her Non-Fiction with Post-Its Fact Posters!

 Take a look...

To see them actually reading, thinking, discussing, and sharing their thoughts warmed my heart!  They were so engaged that they didn't want to stop!  Thank goodness I found a bunch of these graphic novels sitting around in a closet!  Can you believe that?  I've had them all year in my Science Workstation, but I'm not sure my boys were actually choosing them to read.  So I figured I needed to help my boys discover them.  The lesson was a big success and I predict that these graphic novels will become a popular choice in the Science Workstation for the remainder of the school year.  In reflection, I will start off the school year with this type of close reading science lesson with Investigating the Scientific Method.

Keep your eyes peeled for these graphic novels!  They are amazing!!
MaxAxiom , Super Scientist Graphic Library by Agnieszka Biskup.  Capstone Publishers

Hope you all have an Energizing Week!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Spark Student Motivation-Kagan Style with Quiz-Quiz Trade!

I'm linking up this morning with Joanne @ Head Over Heels For Teaching for her...

My school became a "Kagan" School 3 years ago!  Kagan Cooperative Learning Structures are very powerful and have become embedded in every aspect of my instructional day.  One of my favorites is Quiz-Quiz Trade!  Students love it as well and don't even realize that they are studying!  

You can make Quiz-Quiz Trade cards for any subject/content area.  I used math vocabulary cards from our geometry unit this week as part of my review before the dreaded State Math Assessment!  Students really enjoyed themselves and feel more confident going in to take that test.  I wish I could share with all of you, but I don't want to break any copy write laws!  If you have not had Kagan Training it is well worth the time and money to attend a summer institute!  I also recommend ordering their materials from the Kagan Website!  

Have a Fun and Engaging Week!!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Five For Friday! "Because I'm Happy!"

Five For Friday!  "Because I'm Happy!"

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs for:

I'm happy because...Today is the unveiling of my new Blog Design!  What do you think????  I love it!  Megan over at A Bird In Hand Designs has done it again!  She is wonderful!!  Check her out if you are looking for a change.  I feel like a real blogger!  Next on my list is to increase my followers.  Any suggestions?  I am open to all suggestions and tips.  I can take constructive criticism as well.  


I'm happy because...My students finished our State Testing this week!   We were all exhausted by the end of the day on Thursday.  This year seemed more stressful than past years.  Maybe because I had to deliver two entirely separate curriculum simultaneously!   My poor little 3rd graders were very nervous since 3rd grade is a mandatory retention year here in Florida.  I have to send Nick over at Sweet Rhyme & Pure Reason a huge THANK YOU for his Champion Test Taker Brag Tags and Test Treat Notes!  They were just what my students needed to put a smile on their little sweet faces.  Even my 4th graders, who are pros at taking high stakes tests, enjoyed them!  

I'm happy because...I also used GoNoodle for the first time this week!!  What is it?  Well, it is a website that provides teachers/students with free Brain Breaks!   I have to thank both, Nick @ Sweet Rhyme-Pure Reason and Diane @ Fifth in the Middle for blogging about GoNoodle! 
My students begged for it each and every morning this week!  So far our favorites are "I'm Happy" and "Let it Go".  It is a must for every classroom!!!  

I'm happy because...well, I received my first "NORMAL" Mammography Report in 6 years!!  Just in time to celebrate my 44th birthday on Wednesday!  I am thankful for each and every day that the Lord has given me!  

My family spoiled me this year!  My daughter Elizabeth bought me a Keurig Coffee Maker!!  WOW!!

My husband Al, and son Erik both bought me more charms for my Pandora Bracelet. 

Last, but not least!  I wanted to post pictures of my family.  They are my world!  

My husband, best friend, sole mate, and the love of my life...Al

My daughter and first born...Elizabeth

My son and baby boy all grown up...Erik

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Project Based Learning with iPads!

I'm linking up a day late with my super motivating friend Joanne @ Head Over Heels for Teaching!  I know I'm a day late and a dollar short, but this past week was so exciting that I just had to share with you. 

 First, I must apologize and explain myself as to why I joined the party late.  I took my BBB, Alison's advice from Rockin' & Lovin' Learning and tried to relax yesterday!  I spent the day with my husband, aka "Sexy Beast", my son Erik, and fabulous friends!  We sat around our pool soaking up the sun, drinking Bloody Mary's, and laughin' it up.  We ended the day at a quaint little Thai restaurant for dinner.  What a wonderful day!  I am not only relax I am rejuvenated!   Maybe today I'll even take a little nap!  If you are feeling stressed and worn out, check out Alison's advice!   

Back to Sparking Student Motivation!  Last week I blogged about my first TpT priced item, Implementing iPads in The Classroom: Lesson Plans for Grades 3-5.  I had just received 15 iPads for my students to use as a learning tool in my 3rd & 4th grade combination classroom.  I have to say that it was the most exciting week we have had all year!  My students were so motivated by these iPads!  The best part is that we were not using game apps!  Did you read that?  I'm going to write that again just in case you missed it.  WE DID NOT USE GAME APPS!!!!  That's right! I didn't introduce a single game all week.  We used project based learning apps were students had to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of learning targets and concepts!  

I had a co-worker tell me that she would have never implemented iPads into her classroom with only two weeks before state testing.  She told me to my face that I had made a terrible decision.  Well, I disagree.  I used the iPads as a tool to review and reteach imported skills & concepts that will be tested.  Take a look and let me know your thoughts.  

First, my students had a little fun learning how to use the iPads.  Only 4 out of 17 knew how to use or operate an iPad.  We spent a little time on Monday creating rules and expectations for using the iPads. I introduced the Notes App & Keyboard, Pic Collage App, and signed students up on Edmodo.  Take a look!

All students were to record our class iPad Rules & Expectations using Notes so that they would become familiar with using the Keyboard.  

Then students were to create a Pic Collage demonstrating their understanding of at least 4 rules/expectations

Here students learned how to post projects to our class Edmodo Group!  Students were to type their lesson reflection/exit slip with their project.  

After students were oriented with using their iPads I introduced the Popplet App.  Students are required to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the changes  matter goes through.  My third graders are working on the changes water goes through, (states of matter), and my fourth graders are working on chemical and physical changes.  

This is an example of student using the Popplet App demonstrating their knowledge of what chemical and physical changes are!  

My favorite so far is the Doceri App!  This is a presentation app.  My first assignment required students to create 4 slides, (Angles, Polygons, Triangles, Quadrilaterals).  They were given 4 minutes per slide to draw and label as many attributes as they could.  Then students were given 2 minutes to collaborate together and write a script that they will use to record their explain their slides.  It creates a Kahn Academy like video!  Here are a few pics of my fabulous students engaged and motivated to study Geometry!!  

My introduction slide with directions on how to use Doceri!



Students working together to create their scripts!

My students were so motivated to come to school and learn!  I had 100% attendance all week long.  Students had all their homework complete and were eager to get started everyday.  I informed my students on Monday that iPads are a learning tool and a privilege.  If they were not able to take responsibility for their own learning then the iPads would not be available to them.  Wow!!  I couldn't believe the immediate change that I witnessed in my students.  Gone were the sluggish responses,  day dreams of our past Spring Break, and temporary memory loss of year long rules and expectations in our classroom.  I couldn't fail them by not having engaging lessons planned using these iPads!  It was my responsibility to provide them the opportunity.

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