Sunday, April 21, 2013

Keeping track of classroom conduct with a class list

This post is about how I keep track of all the little things that go on in my classroom.  I felt I needed a way to really keep a handle on tardies, late assignments, absences, etc. Managing four different math classes of nearly 30 students each and keeping track of what happens throughout the hour is a daunting task.  I keep track of all the behavior/assignment completion type things that occur in class that are not part of a student's academic grade, but may be mentioned to parents via a report card comment or phone call.

I use a class list to keep track of essentially everything that goes on in my classroom.  I keep these "Class Conduct" lists in a binder (although during class the list sits out on top of my desk as I am constantly adding codes to it).  These lists help me to see behavior and homework completion trends in individual students, as well as, different class hours.

Binder with class lists and seating charts

Class lists and conduct code are stored in the left side pocket
This is the list of codes I use to keep track of everything.  I honestly just keep adding codes as I need them.  If there is something I want to keep track of I just add a new code.

My conduct codes
These are a couple of examples of what the lists look like at the end of the week.  I do not keep a paper gradebook anymore.  We use PowerSchool as our online grade book, but this helps me keep track of assignments that are late or missing due to absences.  I don't have time to enter grades during class so I will enter them during my prep or after school.  The list helps me know who is still missing assignments.
Class list example with codes (student names are listed in the left column (not shown)
Another class list example
At the end of the week each Friday, I file the Classroom Conduct lists in the file below.  The file goes into the Filetastic shown that is on to the side of my Teacher Material Bookcase near my teacher desk.  I have a different file where I have blank copies of class lists and I fill out the dates for the following week and have the new list ready to go in the binder for Monday morning (each class hour has a separate list).
File where I store previous weeks' lists
You can see the file midway down with lists from the entire year

I hope this helps all of you to see how easy and adaptable this system of monitoring behavior/work completion is.  The key is to have the list handy at all times to add to it as needed and to always store it somewhere where you can find the information at a moment's notice.  You can make up whatever coded make sense to you to help monitor whatever you decide is important.  Another thing I do to remind myself if I need to speak to any students about something is, I will attach a post-it note with the reminder to the class list.  Then the next day when I take it out (I always do attendance at the beginning of the hour) I pull off the post-it and give the student whatever message I have for him/her.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Slicing Three-Dimensional Figures- CC 7.G.3

CCSS 7.G.3 Describe the two-dimensional figures that result from slicing three-dimensional figures, as in plane section of right rectangular prisms and right rectangular pyramids.

I was really pleased with how the Carnegie Curriculum addressed this standard in the collaborative classroom text.  They devoted three lessons  to this standard:  slicing through a cube, slicing through right rectangular prisms, slicing through right rectangular pyramids.  My accelerated students really enjoyed these lessons and did a fabulous job working in their collaborative groups.

The lessons involved students making 3-d figures out of clay (although I used play doh).  Play doh worked very well and was easy to clean up and keep track of (each group got a different color play doh so there was no confusion).  I used the itty bitty containers that people give out for TOT sometimes.  This worked perfectly.  Each group had a container of play doh, a plastic knife, and dental floss.  Most groups preferred to use the plastic knife for slicing, but I did have a couple groups use the dental floss.  Students had to take turns shaping and slicing the figures.

This hand on lesson is something any teacher could easily put together.  I think it is helpful for students to see what those cross-sections look like because it can be difficult for students to sketch them.

My youngest son was not happy to see this play doh heading to school with me

Everything fit in a gallon ziplock
 Day 1 I forgot my camera so I have no photos.  Boo!  But really you can get the idea from the photos I took Days 2 and 3.  The students really enjoyed this hands on lesson and no matter how old they are, they still love play doh!
Slicing Day 2

More slicing Day 2

More slicing Day 2
 I only took one took two photos of them working the third day because I was so busy going around to each group and checking their answers with them.  Nice pyramid don't you think?
Day 3
Each lesson had a graphic organizer at the end where students had to cut out and match up the name of the cross-sectional shape with the appropriate diagram and verbal description of the way the figure was sliced.  I only took a photo of the graphic organizer the last day.  This one was done fairly neatly.  I tell you some of them lose those cutting skills they work so hard to develop in the primary grades by the time they hit 7th grade.  :)
Day 3 Graphic Organizer
I will admit that last year when I saw CCSS 7.G.3 I was kind of dreading it and thought it would be a pain and mess.  I am happy to say that the lessons were well developed and a perfect lead in to the lessons on surface area and volume (CCSS7.G.6)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Currently April

It is finally Spring Break and I could not possibly be any happier about it.  Especially since we are now in The Villages in sunny and warm FL enjoying ourselves immensely.  Everyone around here uses golf carts as the primary mode of transportation.  My oldest is 14 so he is old enough to drive the golf cart.  He is loving it and my middle who is 11 thinks it is so very unfair that he does not get to drive around.

Listening: to the sweet sounds of chirping birds and the wind blowing.  It smells and feels like summer here and I could not possibly love it more!  I am just enjoying breathing the warm air.  That may sound strange, but it is the honest truth.  I feel I need to soak up all the sun and warmth to get me through until mid June!

Loving: that Spring break is finally here.  Third quarter went so fast.  Usually it seems to drag on forever, but maybe because we are implementing a new curriculum and I finally feel like I am getting a handle on things, I feel like I blinked my eyes and *poof* third quarter was done (it actually ends next Tuesday, two days after break is over).  I am completely loving chilling at the pool with the boys twice a day and not having a care in the world (at least for the rest of the week).

Thinking:  Of how much I am enjoying my vacation.  I have already read two books over the first three days and I have two more I brought along.  I brought a bunch of education related books, but for now I am enjoying my novels.

Wanting:  For this vacation to never end, but at least for traffic to be less sucky on the way home than it was on the way down.  It was Ok until south of Atlanta and then it was a slow moving parking lot for much of the way.

Needing:  Nothing but great memories of the time we are spending together as a family.  I will take less arguing from my boys every time we go to the pool. You know what they say, three's a crowd so there always seems to be one odd boy out.

Advice:  If you haven't already started a blog I say "Go For It"   I would tell you to blog regularly, but then I would risk being called a hypocrite because I cannot seem to keep up with blogging regularly myself.  I am still hanging in there and hoping to get caught up this summer.  Ha Ha!  We will see.

Join Farley over at Oh Boy 4th Grade for the April Currently linky party.