Sunday, January 19, 2014

Common Core Assessments, Resource Area for Teachers, and My Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Tree

Whew! What a week! Does it just seem like time goes faster and faster and we have more and more to do?

I was invited to be part of a district-wide Elementary Assessment Development team this week. My invitation arrived by email on Tuesday morning... and the work started on Wednesday morning. Of COURSE I wanted to participate! My school secretary did a little scrambling on Tuesday afternoon and ended up finding a sub who could work all three days that I'd be out. Tuesday night, I quickly wrote three days worth of sub plans. Wednesday morning, I dropped them off in my classroom and headed to a local high school to start on the assessments.

It was such an amazing experience! I learned more about Smarter Balance assessments (even though they won't be for my grade level, it's good to be informed!) and how to write assessments for the Common Core. We wrote and revised, checked for Common Core alignment, checked for standards addressed, rewrote and re-revised, added graphics, added text, rewrote... It was a long process, but my first grade team produced some great assessments! So, so glad I RSVP'd with a "Yes!"

One of the standards that we addressed was Reading: Literature 1.9. "Compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in stories." While searching for appropriate texts to use for our assessment, I ran across the Toot and Puddle books.

Toot and Puddle

This is not the text that our group chose to include in the assessment, but I'll absolutely be using this book to teach and review this standard with my own class. I think the book is perfect! In the story, one character likes to travel around the world, and the other character likes to stay home. They have some related adventures, however. One is visits museums while the other is creates art at home. The two characters, though miles apart, even use some of the same language. So if you're looking for a way to address this standard, click on the picture and grab your own copy of Toot and Puddle. It's even available on Kindle!

After the last, exhausting day of assessment fun, I stopped by RAFT on my way home. RAFT (Resource Area for Teaching) is a fabulous Bay Area treasure for anyone who works with children in an educational setting. OH. MY.

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Each time I visit, it's a little different. Some things stay the same: There are always plenty of pre-made kits available.

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They sell tons of different kinds of dice.

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There's always a giant selection of "junk" that can be used for classroom projects.

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And sometimes I take my own paper or fun foam to die cut! The selection of die cuts is nothing short of completely unbelievable!

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This time, I was looking for a plastic thingy to use for organization of my brand new Chromebooks. I didn't find what I was looking for, but I did find these place value dice!

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I'm working on activities to go with these awesome dice! My students love all kinds of math games that involve dice, and this will be a great tool for teaching place value.

I also grabbed a few (free!) books for my kiddos, and bought a pile of Mrs. Grossman's stickers (seconds.) There are always lots of inspiring items, and the prices are cheap, cheap, cheap!

A few weeks ago, I snagged some snowflake kits at Target for 20 cents each. The kindergartners and first graders had a ton o'fun decorating them with glitter glue, sequins, jewels, and tiny pompoms.

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And since I'm a little on the ridiculous side... I hung them on our Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree! So fun! I really need to get some cuter clothespins, though!

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Happy Sunday, Friends! And enjoy the Monday holiday!


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