Madly Learning

12/12/2014

12 Days of Christmas Sale - 50% off

The holiday's are here and we are 12 days away from Christmas. I am so grateful to the support and love that I everyone has given me and my store.  Sharing my ideas with others has been very rewarding and knowing that others appreciate what I have been doing is very encouraging.

To celebrate this  I am celebrating with a 50% off sale.  Every day I will put a new product on sale for 50% off.  This is an amazing discount. The total cost of these 12 products is over $90 and you will get them each for half off.  I have even conveniently packaged these 12 products together for $45.

For the cost of my two combined social studies and science units you could get both units for each grade then get 8 more products for free.


Products Included in the Sale and Bundle


Dec 13 -   4/5 Long Range Plans

Dec 14 -   Daily Math Sheets for Addition and Subtraction

Dec 15 -   Balanced Literacy: Summary Unit 

Dec 16 -   Balanced Literacy: Main Idea Unit

Dec 17 -   How to Use Google Drive: Student Visual Instructions

Dec 18 -   Balanced Literacy: Questioning, Predicting, and Recount Bundle

Dec 19 -   Physical Regions of Canada Unit - With Inquiry Project

Dec 20 -   Rocks and Minerals - Interactive Notebook and Inquiry Research Project

Dec 21 -   Parent Communication Translator Cards

Dec 22 -   Conservation of Energy Science Unit - Interactive Notebook and Inquiry Research Project

Dec 23 -   Government of Canada - With Inquiry Project

Dec 24 -   Balanced Literacy Biography Unit

Enjoy, Thank you and Merry Christmas!!!


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02/12/2014

Cyber Monday Sale

Today is the last day to get 20% off all the the products in my TPT store plus when you enter the code TPTCYBER tpt will take an additional 10% off. This is an amazing sale price that doesn't happen often.

But guess what...I am extending my sale until tomorrow December 3. So you cal still claim 20% off on my products. 

Get Your Planning Done for the New Year

Math: Need some virtually no prep daily math pages that will give your students some rich math tasks to work on everyday?  Or need a basis for your three part lesson?  My daily math packs will give you this. No more opening up all of those math resources in your classroom looking for rich math problems and practice questions you kids struggle through. I have 30+ questions for you to complete.  Even better the tasks are easily differentiated and help you meet the needs of students who require special education programming.  Designed to review previously taught concepts then move students through the fourth and fifth grade curriculum.

Language:  Get students ready to participate in a writers workshop in the new year.  Some years I have found students that are less engaged in writing tasks, the dreaded groan of disappointment when you announce what they will be writing.  My solution...let them choose what they write.  I start in September by looking at previous forms of writing that they should be familiar with like a friendly letter, or a story, or a recount.  I briefly share the success criteria for each of these form and put it up on my wheel of writing forms.  Students then choose what they want to write.  If  they want to write another form they just have to ask and I will give them the success criteria and have them write that form. (they may not get it correct but I applaud the creative attempt)  As the term goes on the students tell me what form they want to write that month.  I teach them using a balanced literacy approach and follow the gradual release of responsibility teaching method.  By Term two they have a variety of forms that I have taught them and they can now choose one of them to write weekly.

Social Studies and Science: These are the hardest subjects to teach especially if you are like me and are teaching a split grade.  Finding all of your resources, learning the curriculum, finding appropriate experiments while keeping kids engaged learning is difficult.  Not to mention that inquiry projects are the new norm and are expected to be implemented while many of us are still struggling with how to implement these types of projects in an authentic meaningful way to kids who are very unfamiliar with this type of learning.  Let's be honest it is a shift for everyone.  I have designed my Inquiry projects to meet these needs.  Each unit has a variety of activities that will keep kids engaged in their learning while giving you plenty of opportunities for assessment.  Better still I have designed step by step inquiry booklets that will help guide you and your students through the unfamiliar inquiry process.


25/11/2014

It's Giveaway Time

Everyone loves to win prizes and what a better prize than TPT gift cards.  A group of Canadian TPT sellers have joined together to give away two TPT gift cards with the top card worth $35.

Enter the contest below
 A Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out some great holiday resources.

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22/11/2014

Teaching Science to a Split Grade Class.

Teaching science to two grades is always a juggling act.  Lots of preparation needs to go into how you are going to teach two separate units to two different grades.  I always teach a 4/5 and generally have the students for two years.  So combining the units and teaching one lesson like I can in math and language does not work well.  So it comes down to focusing on what is important, borrowing strategies from other subjects, organization and teaching independence.  I teach in 20-30 min time blocks to each grade.  Then they will have to learn independently as they do the task.  However over time I have learned that sometimes students miss the point of the lesson this way as I am not there to guide them.  However I have learned that there are some key strategies to make sure that the time students are working independently that they are learning the stuff I want them to learn.

Focus on What is Important

It all starts with the assessment and the cycle of assessment 

1) Learning Goals and Success Criteria

First thing I do is share my learning goals and success criteria.  For each lesson for each grade I post it share it, make a big deal about it.  Students should always know what they are doing and why they are doing it.  I also make sure I post it.  I have a science board.  All things Science are on this board if students are not so sure then they can look here.  They also know that if it is posted on this board they will and can be assessed on it.  They must know the topics listed on this board.  I start with the daily goals on the board (smartboard or chart cart)  Once students have learned this we then transfer it onto the science board.  
For example. 
Today we are learning to identify and describe different types of Energy
 - we will read about different types of energy
- we will conduct experiments to see different types of energy in action
- we will use this experiment to help us describe each type of energy
- we will reflect on what we learned to help us figure it all out.  

2) Borrow from Math

So the latest instructional strategy in math is to use a three part lesson plan in math to teach different concepts
  • Getting started
  • Working on It
  • Reflection

I thought if it works in math why not in science.  So I started with this question:"How do I build reflection into science so that I can use it for formative assessment purposes?" My solution...

INTERACTIVE NOTEBOOKS

these are very popular on TPT right now and I thought how do I use these in authentic ways.  I don't just want cut and paste activities that have no meaning.  I did struggle with why would I spend the time having students assemble these if they could simple answer a few questions in their notebook.  However I like the look of them and feel that students will want to use them and decorate them.  I will structure my notebooks in this way.  On the left students will put their notes and interactive notebook activities on here.  On the Right students will complete their reflection activity.  Many of the interactive notebooks are based on the 3R reflection response that I completed in teachers college.  The 3R's represent Retell, Relate, Reflect.  The left side represents the Retell portion and the right side represents the reflection section.  The relate portion is weaved into both aspects.  I find that with student reflection and retell I can gauge what students have learned and where we should focus.  I don't mark these, but I do read them and make note of student needs.  They are great formative assessment. 

Organization
Ok this is a goal and always will be.  It is inevitable that as a teacher you must organize and organize well. As a split grade teacher there is no option  you must put on your OCD hat and organize like a crazy person.  (this is why everything in my classroom has labels, students have numbers, books are colour coded, and why I hate paper.    Even your planning needs to be organized.  For this purpose I am constantly making tables and charts to organize my lessons and feel like I live with timers dinging and signaling me to change what I am doing.  I also feel that whenever possible you should utilize student and parent volunteers.  I know I cannot do this on my own but I do have very helpful students (who love to stay inside instead of going out in the snow) or parent volunteers.  I use these volunteers to organize my centers, fill buckets, order papers, photocopy or whatever else I need help with.  I know I cannot do it all so I ask for help from whom ever is available and willing to help.

Teaching Independence
I have blogged before about my tips for teaching a split grade here but in science this is a very important skill.  For a science class in a split grade students are often not completing a quiet activity.  They are engaged in hands on activities or group work.  This means that it is imperative that students learn how to work together and work independently as a group without you.  You have to be okay with a bit of noise and you need multiple teaching spaces.  Independent students does not mean quiet students independent students means engaged students.  Check out my guide to Teaching Independence Free on TPT.


I have finally finished my next combined unit for my 4/5 plans.  In January I go back to work from my maternity leave.  If you follow my 4/5 long range plans you would know that I have planned to teach two science units: Rocks and Minerals and Conservation of Energy.



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21/11/2014

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