Mastery Connect- INSTANT data collection: Thursday Throwdown (a little early)

I'm linking up with I'm Lovin Lit (I love her blog and products) for her Thursday Throwdown. Click on her button below to see other interactive ideas as well! It's all about how to make your lessons interactive. One part of a lesson, is the assessment piece. Our district began to use something called
I do not have to pay for this, as my district has purchased it. They do have a free option, however, not all these features I'll share in this post are accessible. You can purchase a yearly membership for individual teachers.

It is an amazing resource! I'm still trying to use it to it's full potential, but it's a learning process. One of my favorite resources includes the mastery tracking spread sheets. You can track your students' progress on each and every standard- that means for math, ELA, health, science- you name it! The best part for me is that they include all sorts of standards. Minnesota has adopted the Common Core for ELA, but not for math. However, I can track the Common Core in ELA, but pick a different set of standards for math (our 2007 standards). You get student results in real time! It's amazing and totally engaging for students!

I print off bubble sheets and have them laminated. That way, I can do little assessments whenever! It allows you to pre-fill the bull sheets with student IDs so that the answers scanned will be linked to the correct student. 
Here's how it works. You give an assessment. You plug it into mastery connect- give it a title, link each question to a standard, and select the correct answer. I've been giving these on the SMARTboard, meaning, I have 3 questions projected on the board, students solve them and fill in their answers on their bubble sheet. I don't even have to print off extra copies and students can show work on their whiteboards or on scratch paper to turn in.

As students finish, they walk up to my computer (some teachers in our  have school doc cameras that work as well- but mine does not). I select the assessment that I created and click assess. They hold their bubble sheet up to the camera and it instantly collects their answers- which numbers they got right and wrong, which is then linked to standards as well.

After students take the assessments, you can view reports. Here I had an assessment (labeled 3 Spree- and it was the 4th one given). I can look to see the distribution of the scores and again, each question is tied to a standard. 
 I can click on a particular bar on any of the graphs to see which student chose that answer.
 Overall, I can see where my students are in terms of mastery for each standard I've assessed.

 So what does this have to do about interactions. Well, my students take these very seriously, knowing that they will get to see their score instantly! The first time we took one, some rushed through and got low scores. You could see some disappointment on their faces. The next time, students took their time and performed much better. Most would walk away from the camera with a big smile and excitement. Talk about the importance of immediate feedback! I didn't necessarily like to see their disappointed faces, but it did have a larger impact on their work and helped them improve. Not to mention, I get instant data myself. I love how I can integrate technology into my assessments to really gauge my students understanding of certain skills and it takes time out of my day in terms of correcting/grading. Check out how others are making learning more interactive through Lovin' Lit's blog!



Prepping for Heading Back To School

I have mixed feelings for heading back to school on Thursday. Although I still have a few days, I feel like the pressure to be ready to go is already hitting me. I'm jealous of my husband and all others teachers for that matter that get the full week off!! However, I'll appreciate it come June 6th when we get out and he still has 4 more days :P.

Anywho, to help me get ready for our short week, I've prepared some resources- a little bit of fun, mixed in with a little bit of review!

First up, revising our hopes and dreams. We are an RC school (which I've talked about here), and we do hopes and dreams at the beginning of each year. We revisit them in January to see how we are doing  in terms of reaching our goal and we revise or recreate. I've put together this bundle to give my students a bit more structure.

I've used both balloon last year and the pennant this year, so I may try to think up something different still (or I'll  just do the balloon again to save time).

I know that students will also want to share what they've been up to over break. I can just see it now (cue dream sequence). A little flock of 8 and 9 year olds following me around during morning work showing me all their new things and sharing all their new stories as I feverishly try to get them all settled and organized.  (end dream sequence)

I created this little brochure for morning work the first two days back to allow them to productively share their fun events and get them all settled. I'm really excited for it!!

(Most of the brochure clip art I snagged from joining Creative Clip's January Clip Art Bundle that Krista has in her store! I'm so excited for it! 4 weeks of surprise clip art??! Yes please!)

Last, but not least, I'd like to review our bully rules before continuing our lessons with our bully prevention program, Olweus. We talked a lot about them earlier in the year, but I'd love for them to try to apply them more. These interactive flaps will be perfect for them to think more about what each rule actually looks like (not just "know" the rules). This will be a great resource to hang in our room for students to reference and will be a great refresher before we dive deeper into our bully prevention program curriculum.

Top flaps with the fill in the blank rules

Bottom flaps with the extended response on what that rule "looks like"

I'm sure I'll continue to create things over the next few days. You can find all of them at my TpT store (along with 2 other new sets of my lil' clip art adventures for free).



First Clip Art Adventure

I hope you all had an enjoyable holiday with your loved ones! I know I sure did! I do also enjoy my alone time however, so I snuck away from the fam for a bit for a little quiet time and attempted to make my first clip art images. Now, I've been researching for a while on how to make your own clip art- and there really isn't much. Nothing on the best apps or software to use, tools, tricks and trades, so I'm starting small (and who knows, this may be the only thing I create) haha. But I like to be creative, doodle, dink around on the computer, so I decided to start basic and created these little shapes.

Here's a little info if you'd like to try something simple like these:
I made them all by using Powerpoint. I made the eyes for a previous project (my quadrilateral craft), just with different sized circles. To make the shapes a bit more textured, I added a dotted border, and played with the beveled feature to add shine and make them look a bit less flat. To save them as images with transparent background you simply:
          - Select all parts to the image (for me, it was the shape, the border, the eyes, and the mouth)
          - Right click your mouse and choose the "Save as Picture" option
          - You can then save your image as a PNG, JPEG, or GIF.
I researched the difference, and for something as simply as this, a PNG or JPEG wouldn't make much of a difference. I'm still pretty clueless on the difference between the two but I'll figure it out sooner or later. :)

These little guys are free in my TpT store. Go on over and snag them by clicking the image above!



3rd and Final Week with Bob the Moose on the Loose

I'm so glad that I got to participate in the fun of having a little guest in the room this winter with our Moose! The kids loved coming in each morning and trying to find him. Some grew very attached to him. I informed them that another classroom teacher emailed Bob and asked him to visit her classroom because her students needed it. I then told them that Bob would be leaving us because we were so well behaved and he had to help other kids too. A few got very sad at this news. "I'm going to miss Bob so much," one little friend said. "Can I at least hug him goodbye?" he continued. Here's the beauty of the Moose- I told them that you never know when he might pop back in to say hello. He isn't tied to a holiday, so I can easily bring him back when we need a little more fun or an extra reminder of how to behave. I did break our rule of the "no touching" so that each of them could hold him for a picture and say goodbye. I think I'm going to have them printed off with a little note attached waiting for them when they come back from winter break. Again, I told them that Bob and I had talked and he said he was ok with it as long as no one dropped him- you should have seen the care they were taking with him. Anywho, here's what Bob was up to this week in our room!

Homesick, maybe??

He loves his books. It took some kids a very long time to find him this day.

Getting silly up on our Smartboard

He secretly posted the "selfies" we took together on my computer. The kids LOVED this one!

He welcomed them to our SNOW DAY and hung "icicles" from the door frame.

 Check out what other seasonal guests were up to in other classrooms in Mel D & Michelle's fun linky party!



Moose on the Loose Update

Our Moose on the Loose Bob has been very busy! What is the Moose on the Loose? Check it out here and here. Essentially, I wanted in on the fun of the Elf on the Shelf idea, but couldn't because of it's ties to the Christmas. So I created my own version! He slowly is becoming a bit more daring and the kids are so excited to see where he will be the next morning. We've got one more week with him before he heads back to his white spruce forest. It really has helped these last couple weeks go fast and make them enjoyable. We rotate for our SASH time (science, art, social studies, health) and for word work, so even the other classrooms have enjoyed coming to my room and looking for where our class moose is. Take a look at what he has been up to:

Bob got caught decorating our classroom!

He found a cozy bed (kleenex box).

Our first main snow fall made Bob want to participate in the fun too!
His little note and "moose angel"

Listening to stories with Mr. Bear
I accidentally deleted one of the photos, but Bob and Mr. Bear were having a snow ball fight with cotton balls.

Getting silly in our bathroom
Check out what other elves (or even another moose or two) are up to in this fabulous linky!

And of course, my heart has been heavy this weekend, but also filled with hope for a brighter future.

Prayers and thoughts for all the Sandy Hook victims and their families, today and everyday. 



Year 2: Rain Forest Projects

Our first research project in 3rd grade is focused on a rain forest animal. Students go through the whole research process: finding sources, taking notes, organizing notes into categories, drafting into paragraphs, editing, revising, and then publishing. One way we end our research project is by celebrating our hard work. Each student is expected to create a visual to represent their animal. It's so fun to see how creative they can be! I was talking about it CONSTANTLY for weeks: your visual is due on December 3rd. Make sure you do it at home and bring it on time! Their reactions always made me nervous: "What?!?!?!? What's that?? What visual??" (cue face into palm). So needless to say, I was less than optimistic that students would bring in quality work on time.

Once again, my students and their families settled my lil' teacher soul! On the due date, every student except one brought in their visual. Each one was different than the next. Kids got creative with their resources, and you could tell that they tried their best. It was SO fun to see them all. My one friend who didn't bring it, well we wrote himself a note and sure enough the next day, he had it. I was so proud of them for being responsible and the work they created. Check a few of them out:




Poison Dart Frog


Hummingbird (that is a real orange peel)


Amazon River Dolphin
Komodo Dragon (a stretch of a rain forest animal... we only had so many resources)
To celebrate, they prepared a short speech and shared their visual and their researching process in a small group. We then did a gallery walk to look at everyones. The entire 3rd grade does it, so we also visited the other two rooms on Friday. To hold them accountable, and to really look closely at the visuals, they had to complete this scavenger hunt.

They had a blast walking around, seeing their classmates work. It was a fun way to end our first research project!

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