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Classroom Information



***Note: The below class schedule has not yet been updated for the 2015-16 school year. I plan on updating it as we approach the start of school.***

Here you can find information on common activities that take place in our room. Just click on a link from the menu below or scroll down to find out more information.



    Useful Info
    for Parents

    Curriculum

    Class Management/
    Miscellaneous

    Classroom Schedule Spelling Our Classroom Economy
    Reading Workshop
    Grading and Assessment Math
    Writing Workshop




Classroom Schedule

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Unpack, greet, spelling/grammar 9:10-9:30 Unpack, greet, spelling/grammar 9:10-9:30 Unpack, greet, spelling/grammar 9:10-9:30 Unpack, greet, spelling/grammar 9:10-9:30 Unpack, greet, Art/buddies/quiz 9:10-9:30
Writer's Workshop 9:30-10:10 Writer's Workshop 9:30-10:10 Writers Workshop 9:30-10:10 Writer's Workshop 9:30-10:10 Project Time 9:30-10:10
Reading/Daily 5 10:10-11:00 Reading/Daily 5 10:10-11:00 Reading/Daily 5/Counselor 10:10-11:00 Reading/Daily 5 10:10-11:00 Project Time 10:10-11:00
P.E. 11:00-11:35 Music 11:00-11:35 Library 11:00-11:35 Music 11:00-11:35 P.E. 11:00-11:35
Lunch/recess 11:40-12:10 Lunch/recess 11:40-12:10 Lunch/recess 11:40-12:10 Lunch/recess 11:40-12:10 Lunch/recess 11:40-12:10
Math 12:40-1:55 Math 12:40-1:55 Math 12:40-1:55 Math 12:40-1:55 Math 12:40-1:55
Read Aloud 2:00-2:15 Read Aloud 2:00-2:15 Read Aloud 2:00-2:15 Read Aloud 2:00-2:15 Read Aloud 2:00-2:15
Break 2:15-2:30 Break 2:15-2:30 Break 2:15-2:30 Break 2:15-2:30 Break 2:15-2:30
Science/Social Studies 2:35-3:15 Science/Social Studies 2:35-3:15 Science/Social Studies 2:35-3:15 Science/Social Studies 2:35-3:15 Class Meeting 2:35-3:15
Pack-up, check mail 3:15-3:30 Pack-up, check mail 3:15-3:30 Pack-up, check mail 3:15-3:30 Pack-up, check mail 3:15-3:30 Pack-up, check mail 3:15-3:30

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Our Classroom Economy

This idea was originally inspired from the books (Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire and There are No Shortcuts) of inspirational teacher, Rafe Esquith. The reasons behind running a classroom economy for me are two-fold:

1) I use it to coincide with my classroom management plan in order to keep students accountable for their actions, encourage a work ethic, and heighten overall responsibility among everyone.

2) In a country where debt is talked about constantly in the news, I feel it is important for children to understand the basics of paying rent, owning property, saving and overall managing money. This plan is great because it is completely kid run. This system mimics real-life with a Monopoly touch, so it is engaging for everyone.

This year I'm changing up the format of our classroom economy slightly by switching to an online banking format through Smart Piggy Bank, an online money managing website. Each student in the class has an online "bank account" where their paycheck will be deposited weekly. Students are asked to pay rent by the first of every month and may keep the remainder of their hard earned money to spend on an assortment of class privileges and/or free items.

Below is a table of jobs that students can "apply" for in the class. Some jobs require a letter of reference because of the responsibilities associated with the job. Scroll down to read more!

JOB TITLE (# of positions available) JOB DESCRIPTION and DUTIES MONTHLY PAY
Banker (5)
** Additional Requirement: Needs a Letter of Recommendation from another teacher or adult to show that applicant is dependable, has a high level of integrity, and can handle this position.
-A banker checks accuracy of deposits and withdrawals for 5 to 6 students on a weekly basis. This person must be good at arithmetic and a person of the highest integrity.

- Bankers may assist in all things math related (e.g., passing out math materials).
$ 640
Mailman (1)
-A mailman passes out all papers that go home for the evening and makes sure that everyone checks their mail can at the end of the day.

$ 640
Custodian (4) - A custodian keeps a specific area of the classroom spotless.

- The duties are seperated into 4 equal portions in the room. Each custodian will be responsible for all surface areas, trash, and floors.
$650
Grader (2)
** Additional Requirement: Needs a Letter of Recommendation from another teacher or adult to show that applicant is dependable, has a high level of integrity, and can handle this position.
- A grader will be responsible for correcting/grading papers in certain subject areas and for objective work only (multiple choice, True/False, fill in the blank, etc).

- One grader will grade math and reading papers.

- One grader will grade grammar, spelling, and vocabulary work.

$630
Police Officer (2)
** Additional Requirement: Needs a Letter of Recommendation from another teacher or adult to show that applicant is dependable, has a high level of integrity, and can handle this position.
- The officer has a book with the names of all the students in his/her jurisdiction. If a student breaks any of the class or school rules, the officer keeps a record of that infraction in the book.

- The officer helps the teacher collect all the fines that students pay for breaking rules. The officer will also monitor the restroom.

$610
Clerk/Editor (2) - A clerk passes out and collects papers, including homework, information to be sent home with students, and any other papers.

- The clerk also is responsible for general editing and involvement in the class newsletter published every other Friday.

- The clerk makes sure the class always has a supply of sharpened pencils.

$630
Librarian (3) - The librarian is in charge of our classroom library and reading novels, and makes sure all book shelves are clean and in order.

- This student will maintain an up-to-date list of classroom library inventory. Students go to the librarian for additional help.

$620
Teacher Assistant (1)
** Additional Requirement: Needs a Letter of Recommendation from another teacher or adult to show that applicant is dependable and can handle this position.
- The teacher assistant has many duties.

- This student will take attendance in the morning , check for parent signatures on agendas as directed by the teacher, and perform any other tasks as requested by the teacher.

$600
Energy/Technology Monitor (1) - The technology monitor makes sure the electricity/technology in the classroom is used wisely and efficiently.

- This student will be responsible for lights (main and floor lamp), CD player, Video/DVD player, air conditioner, fan, electric pencil sharpener, candle warmer, projection screen, and window shades).

- This student also opens and closes the classroom door as the class comes and goes.

$540
Hospitality/Sub Assistant/Line Monitor (1) - This position is responsible for greeting and initially assisting all guests and visitors that come into our classroom, as well as greeting them in the office when necessary.
- This person makes sure any substitute teachers are treated respectfully and helps the substitute teacher as needed.

- This person makes sure that when students are lined up in or outside of the classroom, that they are quiet, giving the high-five, and ready for the next task.
$580
Substitute (2) - The substitute performs jobs for absent students. $575

Our banking unit begins on the first day of school. Students earn "Keller Bucks" and are given a ledger and a manilla envelope to keep that and their money in it. I teach students how to use the ledger so that they are able to keep track of how much money they earn, spend, and save. We also have fines and fees so students have the experience of budgeting and withdrawing money. We discuss ideas for fines and agree on them as a class.

Auction: Every month I hold an auction so students can spend all their cash - garage sale type things and things students have donated. Games, gift cards, bike locks, school supplies, movie passes, ice cream coupons, and dinner-out coupons from local restaurants are also popular. I collect these all year.

Banking Fines and Fees: At the beginning of the year I pay students for things like a parent signature of my rules or beginning of the year letter ($20), book projects and reports, etc.



Earning Extra Money: Students also earn $5 for each Mastery Club Challenge they complete. There are 90 challenges, so that can potentially earn a student over $2,700 over the year! To find out about the challenges, click the link. If a student joins orchestra/band, choir, or drum group they will earn an additional $50 a month.


Job application (Word document)
Letter of Recommendation (Word document)
Ways to earn and lose money (Word document)
Classroom job descriptions (Word document)

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Spelling

After doing some research into the world of spelling education, I stumbled across not only some interesting facts about current methods of teaching this both loathed and loved subject, but also found some great ways to reach students that struggle with spelling. Again, many signs pointed away from worksheets and list memorization, of course.

This site features lots of wonderful research on the subject.
Some other things to consider:

1)The brain does not remember rules as well as patterns; that's why onsets and rimes are critical understandings for learners.
2)The more children write, the better they spell.
3)The more children read, the better they spell.
4)Temporary spelling allows children to put their phonemic awareness to use. It is the BEST indication that a child is developing an understanding of the phonemic system, linking letters and sounds.
5)Teachers (and parents) should appreciate and compliment all attempts at spelling; that is how it improves!
6)A positive attitude encourages spelling.
7)Most students will use more visual memory if encouraged to remember how words look in books and around the room.
8)The best readers become the best spellers.
9)Spelling proficiency has no correlation with intelligence.


Taking all this into consideration, I decided to move away from traditional spelling worksheets to a more practical method of learning new vocabulary, which also aids students in understanding definitions as well. Click here to read more.

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Reading Workshop

The first block of my language arts instruction involves Reading Workshop, a large portion of our morning dedicated to allowing students to choose books from our classroom library, read, and build reading stamina/strategies. Click here to read more about it.

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Writer's Workshop

The second block of my language arts instruction involves Writer's Workshop. Similarly to Reader's Workshop, students are given a large block of our morning to learn about authors craft, writing strategies that make up many great books that they read everyday, and time to practice, practice, practice writing! Click here to read more about it.

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Math

I love teaching math! This year I have the honor of teaching 6th grade math again for the multiage classes. enVisionMath is the brand new math program our district adopted, which replaced Everyday Math. As the year unfolds, I will provide more information about this brand new program so that I can keep you in the loop.

Regarding math instruction, I provide small group instruction based on need. Problem solving is a focus I weave into daily instruction. Extensions- which take the skills taught to a higher level, will be offered with many lessons.

Math can be a both loved and loathed subject, depending on one's experience with it. I want to provide my students with as much support as possible, so please, if your child is struggling with any math concepts, encourage them to seek me out. You can also e-mail me or come in and ask questions at any time.

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Grading and Assessment

My philosophy on grading changed drastically after reading about the benefits of using assessments to track students' goals rather than only as a means of obtaining a grade. To put it another way: instead of grading assignments, submitting them in the grade book, and moving on whether or not the student did well or poorly on the assignment, I now use assignments mainly to track progress and mastery of concepts. My colleague, Angela Smith, introduced me to the idea of using the State Standards as a means of "grading" students mastery. For example, instead of assessing a quiz/assignment on the amount of questions answered correctly, I now keep track of the skills that were mastered through the use of a basic rubric. This method is also an excellent teaching tool, because it's an easy way to track which skills (known as the Alaska Grade Level Expectations) I've covered throughout the year, thus keeping me even more organized and more effective as a teacher. To read more in-depth about this system, please click on the following link: Revamping the Way I Assess

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