Friday, June 28, 2013

Camping Out with Whole Brain Teaching Class Rules!

As I mentioned in previous posts, my classroom theme this year is Camp Leader-In-Me, which combines Steven Covey's 7 Habits of Happy Kids program with camping.  Since I am over the top when it comes to decorating my classroom,  I just had to create class rules to coordinate with my outdoorsy decor.  Come to think of it, I have three themes going on here...camping, 7 Habits, and WBT.  

 At the moment, I am reading Chris Biffle's Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kidsand am intrigued by his strategies.  Whole Brain Teaching makes a great deal of sense to me, and I am planning on incorporating many of the elements into my teaching style this year.  Baby steps at first! Here are 5 aspects of the program that I will implement right out of the chute: 

  • Class - Yes.    
  • 5 Powerful, Classroom Rules.
  • Teach - Okay.  
  • The Scoreboard.
  • Daily Classroom Procedures.

This collage was created in PicMonkey (a photo editing site that I adore and can actually operate), therefore you don't see the full slides, but you get the idea.  Click on the picture to be taken to my TPT store where you can see them in greater detail.

To find out more on WBT, visit the website at  If you are already using the program, what part of the program is working best for you?

Happy Trails!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Camping Themed Book Basket Labels

After 4 years, I am FINALLY returning to the classroom this August to teach 4th grade at a private, Catholic school next door to my high school alma matter.  Quite funny how life ends up. :)  As if returning to the classroom wasn't enough of a treat, the icing on the cake is that I get to take my three sons with me.  I prayed daily to find a working environment that matched my teaching style & my prayers were answered.  I am literally pinching myself everyday!   

At any rate, I am going with a camping theme, specifically Camp Leader-In-Me, to tie in the 7 Habits of Happy Kids.  My color scheme is lime green and chocolate brown with pops of orange, shades of green, turquoise, yellow, and other colors found in nature.  

I already had Book Bin Labels designed and listed on TPT but could NOT resist the urge to create a new set to coordinate with my theme.  Here is a glance at the labels:

I will say that these book bin labels are bigger than previous labels I have made, but they look fabulous on my lime green dollar store baskets pictured above.  Dimensions = 5" x 3.75".

One project down...only a million more to go!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Non-Fiction Reading Response Choice Board Bundle

Choice Boards have been around for quite some time, and were created by Carol Ann Tomlinson, the guru behind Differentiated Instruction.  The idea behind choice boards is that if we give students choice in how to show us what they know, they will be more interested in the assignment, and therefore more actual learning will take place.  Here is an informative video on Learning Menus (similar concept to Choice Boards) and how they fit in with the Common Core Curriculum:

I have created 3 different choice boards to help meet the demands for text complexity with the CCSS. Let's be clear...I am not claiming that these are "aligned to the CCSS" just that they will HELP meet the demands for higher-order thinking skills required by the CCSS. :)  

The Choice Board pictured below uses Sandra Kaplan's Depth and Complexity Icons, which helps students THINK and interact with the text on a deeper level.  

In my classroom, I am going to use Choice Boards when students are working in their Literature Circle Groups.  Students will cut out the templates (provided in the bundle on TPT) and glue them into their Interactive Notebooks.  For Language of the Discipline (aka vocabulary), they will use Frayer Model templates (provided in the bundle) for words that either they don't know the meaning of or are important to understanding the text.   

In the past, I have sent a choice board similar to this home in their homework packet for them to complete in lieu of a traditional reading log.  The options are really endless for choice boards.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Camping Themed Clip Chart

I love the idea of a Clip Chart, and am so excited to use this as my classroom management strategy this next teaching year. We all make mistakes, and clip charts recognize this natural human behavior and allow students to redeem themselves and turn their behavior around. If you would like more information on clip charts, follow the link below:

This clip chart has the following levels from top to bottom:

Camp Leader
S'More Great Effort
On the Right Trail
Happy Camper
Check Your Compass
Something Stinks
Parent Contact

The Happy Camper slide is the largest, since this is where students start out and some will remain. I am going to print on card stock, punch holes in the corners, and use jute twine or ribbon to hold each level together. At the top, I will use twine and 3M hooks. That is the plan....for now!

Click on the picture to purchase this in my TPT store!

Clipart by the AMAZING Scrappin Doodles and KPM Doodles!