Teaching in High Heels

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Guest Blogger...Misty

Today, Misty from Think, Wonder, & Teach has put on a pair of high heels and danced her way over to Gladys' blog to fill in as the guest blogger.
I am so excited to be here with all of you and I am hoping Gladys is having fun while she is away.
I was a project manager for many years prior to becoming a teacher. My office was considered a place of organized chaos... it was loud, fun, and you rarely saw people sitting. Even during a "meeting" I had people running and working. My classroom still reflects this style. Each person is a unique individual with their own personalities and way of doing things. We may have the same goals - to complete the project or master the standard but we can each take a different journey to get there.
When you walk into my classroom you will see children scattered everywhere, if you look real hard you may find me somewhere in their directing traffic. Individualized or differentiated instruction has become a concept that many teachers want to implement but don't quite now how. For me, I let my students tell me what they need.
Yes, I put my students in charge of meeting the standards. I am the director of this orchestra, they make the music. I use several things to help me direct my students. The Zebra Club is all about mastering concepts taught in Grades K-8. Students do this on their time to earn prizes. Brainy Matters replaced student planners which allow my students to summarize each lesson they are taught. It doubles as a great journal of growth at the end of the year.
I brought emoticons into my classroom. These faces show up on assignments and in Brainy Matters. On tests and on notes I find in my mailbox. A simple smiley conveys a world of information to me. A student can tell me if he/she is at the bored, just right, or your insane! level. With this information, I can create an appointment where we can work together in the midst of chaos to meet their needs. Students can also ask to work on something they are interested in or schedule an appointment with me to discuss any needs they have.
So... what are all these kids doing running around my room while I am directing? It's quite simple... they are learning on their terms!
My bff visited my classroom the other day and said "I didn't know you are using Daily 5." My response was "I'm not, its on my list to read." After a quick explanation, my class runs similar.
We have short meetings where I provide my students with minilessons on a topic. Then I provide them a wide host of options to re-enforce the concept (games (individual, with a partner, or a group), worksheets, crafts, legos, etc..). My students then choose one or more ways they want to learn and off they go. Those who need more explanation can join me at the board or perhaps the small group table and we will talk about it some more.
Oh how I wish I had a video or some pictures to share with you! Alas... I can only paint a picture with my words.
My kiddos are currently working on time. So I scoured the internet and pinterest for ideas. Teacher Tipster has so many great ideas that I use in my room. One of them is "I Spy Time."
Using his video for inspiration, I created "I Spy Time and Other Time Games." It is a packet of activities that I have been using. The I Spy Time game is included as is a matching game, go fish, and memory. Students can work together or alone. It's their choice! In this packet, I have created cards for the hour, half-hour, and fifteen minute increments. With this one packet, I have countless versions of these same four games to share with all my little friends.
To celebrate blogging in high heels, "I Spy Time and Other Time Games" is available for free!  With the help of a few friends, there are a few other surprises waiting for you as well. Remember, these are available for today, March 27 only. So hurry on over to Think, Wonder, & Teach to get your prizes!

Thanks for being a guest blogger, Misty! 



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