Do you use the College Board's SpringBoard curriculum?
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Monday began a new marking period for us.  I now have one full marking period of using SpringBoard under my belt and have been wondering:

Do you use this curriculum?

The reason I ask is because while I think it is well done, my students, all of whom have learning challenges, need more  - more structure, more review and more reinforcement.  Is this the same for anyone else?  What do you do to add on to SpringBoard?

I have recently tried something new and "added-on" with Mentor Sentences...

I have found that Mentor Sentences work so well for my students because the Mentor Sentences honestly help grammar make sense.  Plus there are so many teachable moments that come from looking at the sentence for evidence of what is happening!  Here's how it works:
  • You start with a sentence from your reading that is a good example of something  - like complex sentences.  
  • You hang this sentence on poster paper clipped to your board.
  • Students glue a copy of this sentence into their notebooks.
  • Then you elicit responses from the students as to why is a good sentence.  You write on the poster, they write in their notebooks.
  • Next, (perhaps on the next day but I do this on the first day) you and the students label the parts of speech.
  • The next day, you ask students to brainstorm synonyms for some of the verbs, adjectives and adverbs so you can revise the sentence.  You write a revision on the poster and the students copy it into their notebook.  This is a good day to do a foldable of the target (in this case - complex sentences) if you have one.
  • The following day, you invite the students to imitate the sentence.  Now they can write their own about a completely different subject using the same style.
  • On the last day you give an assessment where the students edit the mentor sentence that is missing some key items, list some of the parts of speech and identify the target (such as complex sentences).  

If you're like me, you want to see this in action.  Here is the person who started it all for me:

From this the students not only have a great sentence to refer to but you have gone over evidence, parts of speech, revising, vivid words (description), editing for conventions and whatever target you have set.  My students love it!  You can get Mentor Sentences from Jivey on Teachers Pay Teachers for all sorts of wonderful picture books if you're interested.  (This is not a paid or solicited review - I just think mentor sentences make so much sense!)

Instead of using other literature, I am using the SpringBoard literature for my mentor sentences.  I am following a similar pattern to the unit made by Jivey but obviously with a bit of my own twist.

My freebie this week is my first attempt to try my hand at SpringBoard specific mentor sentences.  It is for "How Fire came to the Six Nations."  You can get it HERE  for free on Google Docs.  

I would love to hear from you if you use SpringBoard (or even if you don't :)  )  so please take a moment to let me know what you think.


Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Happy Monday!

It's the end of the marking period for us this week so I am finishing up grades and thinking about how to start the new marking period with my middle school special ed. students.

I found this great little video:

It's the Scholar Ladies that tell us "If you learned it then you should have got an A on it".  

I love this!  

So then I was thinking - how can I use this with my students other than showing it to them?  We would definitely have to have a conversation about it, so I decided I would make a kind of discussion guide with a reflection.  Plus I think I will hang the reflections up as reminders!

And that's the freebie that you can get HERE on Google Docs.  

Thanks & Enjoy!

Getting Organized - still! + a FREEBIE!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Right now, I am focused on getting organized.  I thought I was all ready to go back to school - I had a theme, a new way to encourage homework completion, lots of new lesson ideas and then... I went to a meeting this week.

We were told that we need specific things from Marzano in our lesson plans and that all lessons have to be day-by-day - unit plans will not suffice.  So I went looking for something to assist me in all of this.

I found a SUPER template on Teacher's Notebook which I truly love that you can find by clicking HERE .

It has all sorts of awesome drop-downs for the common core standards, Marzano elements, integration of technology, assessments and even accommodations that are huge time-savers! 

There's a lot of careful thought that went into this template as it is very thorough.  One example is the daily "I do, we do, you do" format.   I really love this - it makes me carefully consider how to structure the sequence of activities.  

But then there was a new district template that was being highly encouraged.  This template, by the way, required 2 pages of planning for ONE lesson.  So then I began to think - with the new requirements, do I have to use the new district template?  Apparently teachers are not required to use it as per our contract but with what our principal is requiring (which impacts our evaluations), it seems we need something pretty close.  So now I am back to creating on my own.  Sigh.

So now for the freebie!  This is my first attempt at a template in Excel.  It is not perfect or pretty - as I am just learning.  But I thought, why not turn it loose and ask you, dear readers, to leave your kind, constructive comments for ways to improve it?

It has drop-downs for:
-Common core standards
-Marzano design questions 2 and 3
-Formative and Summative assessments
-Exceptional Education accommodations
-Materials and Technology

You can get it HERE  and if you download it, please, please comment.  I need all the help I can get!  :)  :)