Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Pictographs and Monster Crafts!

Heellooooooo!!! Welcome back everyone!
Today I'd like to share with you some of the pictographs my students worked on their interactive journal. This was around Halloween, so I let them use my stickers to create their own :)
These pictures show when we were reviewing bar graphs and starting to compare them with pictographs....

My fantastic team partner gave me this idea... After talking and comparing the two types of bars, students did their own poll... They created their topic, their options so others can vote... Then, they went around the room to ask their classmates and record their answers by creating a tally mark chart... After they finished with the Tally Mark Chart, they proceeded to create their pictograph (including a key), and their bar graph....



My students did have a great time creating their own graphs. There were very engaged and had a great time working on their own bar graphs...

I would also like to share with you my new product! I am so excited to show you these little fellas! You probably would say I have a lot of favorite things.. so just to add more favorite thing to my list... monsters are one of them! 
I have a whole unit about monster on my to do list that I promise I will get to finish sooner or later, but for now I am very happy I was able to create these monster crafts!

I also included a writing sheet with a title "My monster" and "Mi monstruo" for students to write about their own monster! These are available in my store, so click HERE to take you there...

HOWEVER, I am having a giveaway my friends! YESSSS!! I am giving away one copy to the lucky winner! All you have to do is go to my Instagram page, follow me, like the picture of the monster crafts, and tag a friend in the comments!!!
Don't have an Instagram account? NO WORRIES!! Leave me a comment on this blog post and I'll make sure I include you in the giveaway! :)
I will be closing the giveaway on October 13th at 9pm CST while the babies are asleep! Good luck everyone and good luck!

This is all for me my friends! Hope you are having a good week! Hope to see you back on my blog! :)

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Money and graphs

Hello everyone! :)
These weeks have been so very busy and nonstopping, my kids have decided to be awake and shining together... even baby boy seems to be too busy for a nap time! I am trying to get it together friends! In addition to my busy mommy life, I got severe allergies (thank you Texas). I am exclusively bf so medication is limited y'all and if you suffer of these great allergies, you know my pain!!!

Anyways, I would like to share with you a past blog post that I haven't post in a while. I figured I could share it with you again. It is very simple, but if you are a new teacher this might inspire you to start something with money and graphs skills :)
Before I continue, I just want to say these two topics are some of my favorite to teach! I am not sure the reasons, but I do enjoy teaching them. Especially graphing skills :)

Here we go!
1. We have been talking about money and reviewing the value of coins by making a foldable. This is a picture of my journal; however, instead of stickers, you can always use the front and back coin stamps that you can find at teachers stores :)

We also wrote word problems in our journals that included money concepts, so we wrote a list of words that refers to money

On the same week, we started talking about bar graphs and their scale. I brought three different types of candy for students to eat and to vote for their favorite to create a bar graph with sticky notes. This was our result:

I was surprised three students liked the Jelly Beans the best, I personally dislike Jelly Beans... like a lot! I only bought them to get to know their taste and apparently most of them have the same as me ;) They absolutely loveeeeeedd the skittles! I would have bought snickers (because they are my favorite candy of all!), but I couldn't bring them since it contains peanuts :(

Anyways, after finishing our bar graph and talking about strategies on how to represent information on bar graphs, I asked students to get in partners and create their own bar graph using their Chex Mix bag. I simply placed some Chex Mix in a zip lock and pass it over to each partner so they could create a bar graph to represent how many of each type they had in their bag. These are some examples of their hard work, I was so pleased to see their work and see them so engaged on this activity :)

Alright friends... When I did this, I was pregnant for the first time and after I reviewed this blog post, I could swear I shared the bar graph I did with my students about the sex of the baby... Apparently, I did take pictures, but I never blogged about it (LOVE GOOGLE PHOTOS FOR BACKING UP ALL MY PICTURES SINCE FOR EVER!!). So here we go!

During my pregnancy I shared with my students as much as I could about being pregnant. They all were so excited about it and so was I. we did different things, like shared names, things I felt when baby moved, some of them wanted me to let them know when baby moved so they could feel her, and some of them even used to bring me food! Anyhow, among all the above, I tried to use it as MUCH AS I COULD as learning activities. We found out the sex of the baby the day we were leaving for Christmas Break, so they actually had to wait until we were back to find out! So before we left, we had to vote (of course) whether they thought it was a boy or a girl.

My friends, I am telling you! I still remember their faces of happiness while doing this. I can't explain what it was, they just loved to talk about the baby and my pregnancy as much as I did. We all had fun making this graph. It still cracks me up that there were a few that actually thought they were twins! I actually had one student who would keep saying "I think they are twins Mrs. Nicolau!" Even when we knew it was only ONE and it was a girl. He would keep saying "Well, my aunt was supposed to have only one and when she delivered, guess what, they were twins! That could happen to you too Mrs. Nicolau!" Thank God he was not right! Having one at a time is enough, so I take my hat off to you ladies who have delivered twins or more!!! :) LOL
Anyhow, Both of the pictures above are from my two different groups. In both groups we talked about the graph and analyzed the results. I just didn't take pictures of both. I took a picture of just the votes and then the other has results of the graph.

Ok friends, that's it for me today! I will be posting about pictographs (still my favorite!) next week, so stay tuned! :) Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Parent-Teacher Conferences Letters and Tips

Hello everyone and welcome back!!
I hope your days in school are becoming smoother and your students are falling into a some kind of routine by now! :)
Today I want to share with you a simple, but very helpful product with you! I know parent-teacher conferences are coming up so I am sure you started working on those letters to send home.

I want to share with you the way I sent my conferences letters. I basically sent this letter with a time and date already set up for my student's parents and an answer slip so they could tell me whether they could make it or not. Easy peasy right? RIGHT! Well, let me tell you... I always had at least three parents that misunderstood the answer slip and they would send those back with confusing answers, like both answers marked off: "yes I can make it" and "No, I cannot make it, let's schedule for another day." (sigh)
Sooooo I decided to make some changes on my letters and I even added a reminder bracelet (you could also staple it to the student's backpack). I made these letters cuter and I added a color version for those that have access to a color printer. But remember that you could always just use the black and white and use pretty color paper!

As always, it comes in both English and Spanish :) On this case, the two languages come in one product! So if you have parents that might need this letter in Spanish, there you have it! :) But that's not all! I included a blank form if you want to do these by hand OR if you would like to edit the text, I also made it editable!! Click HERE to take you to my TPT :)

Now, if you are a new teacher (or not) and would like some tips on what to say to your parents, these were things that I used to do and it helped me in a great way for my conferences to go a little bit more smoother! These are 5 simple, but important tips! :)

1. Keep your grade book handy during these conferences: At my school you could hold on to your student's report cards so parents could come and pick them up at the conference. Regardless of this, it is a good idea to show parents why "Pepito" got a 70 in Reading, but a 90 in Math. I liked showing parents the different grades that their child received to give them an idea of how much daily work and tests are given throughout the week. I also showed "Pepito's" parents that he was doing great with daily work, but when he took that comprehension test, he got a 40. Therefore, his grade average went down. That was a great opportunity to discuss ways to help him and to point out that "Pepito" needed to work on comprehension skills or/and maybe talk to him about the importance of taking his time while taking a test.

2. Show parents the main activities that are done in class and your expectations: I always pointed out to parents the importance of reading groups, math facts, and interactive notebooks in class. I showed them the kind and level of books that were given to their child and that it was expected to take those home to read. In addition, I mentioned the importance of practicing their math facts and what they were expected to master based on their grade level (add/sub OR multiplication). Lastly, I showed them the interactive notebooks. I showed parents how we used them in class and why they were so important. I reminded them (or for some, this was the first time they heard of it) that I let my students take their Math Interactive Notebook home. In that way, they could refresh their minds of what was learned in class so they could do their homework. It also helped parents to see what was done in class so they could help them as well. Yes, this was tricky move because they could lose their interactive notebook! Fortunately, I only had one student who lost his whole backpack so he lost his notebook, but it happened at the end of the school year.

3.It’s always a good idea to have some kind of sign-in sheet to prove that you met with the parents: At my school we were required to have a log-in sheet. Even if your school doesn’t require it, it is good idea to have a copy for your own reference. Not because parents would lie about meeting with you, but just to have a proof that you met and discuss with them about their child's academic and behavior status.

4. Always say something positive along with a struggle/negative comment: I am sure you all have heard this before, but it's true! Even when "little Johnny" seems not to get anything in class, can't focus, he's below grade level, etc. there must be something good and positive about him! As a parent now I think about these conferences, that statement can't be any truer. As a parent (even when my baby doesn't go to school yet) I would like to hear good things about my child besides the negative. I understand that these are the beginning of school conferences, so you might not know your students very well yet... but that makes it even better, because they will bloom with your help! Think about this, would you like to be told by your principal all your deficiencies or all the things you need help with and no positive feedback? EXACTLY! It is the same for parents; they always want to hear at least something positive about "their babies”!

5 Always end your conference with a positive and encouraging thought about the student's academic level: I always liked to end my conferences with an encouragement for parents to work with their son/daughter at home regardless of their academic level (because things get much, much harder throughout the school year).  Along with that statement, I reassure them that I would do the same on my side. I pointed out that it was the beginning of the school year, so there was time for them to improve, but that improvement will happen with hard work and dedication starting NOW. I always felt that parents left our meeting very optimistic, no matter if they received good or bad news. They all left with positive thoughts and felt encouraged about working hard TOGETHER.

That’s it for me my friends! I hope you find my letters to be a good addition to your class and my tips helpful in some kind of way! Thank you so much for stopping by today.. I hope you have just a minute to leave me a comment below, I ALWAYS love to hear from my readers!