Box 1

Box 1
STEAM

Box 2

Box 2
Character Education

Box 3

Box 3
Digital Learning

New Year's Resolutions

 
        I love New Year's! It's a lot like the beginning of the school year, with opportunities for fresh starts in many areas of our lives. My 2013-2014 year got off to a pretty good start, but this week and a half of break has given me a chance to step back and take a look at what might be better. Time to dust off, sharpen up, and polish a few areas in my personal and professional life.
       First up: Journaling. I always tell my students that journaling is extremely important because it's the way we let future generations know who we really are. If you do not keep a journal and leave it where your grandchildren and great-grandchildren will find it, how will they know who you are inside? How will they know what is important to you, what you were like when you were young, what you thought about the world in general, your interests in specific, and most importantly what you were thinking about them.  I have four beautiful grandchildren, and a fifth one on the way. This is the week that I will start a journal for each one of them.  I won't write in each one every day, but will pull one out to record a new experience we've had together or a sweet memory when one comes to mind.  My two year old grandson had his first sleepover at our house last night. What an amazing time Grandma, Papa, and our little bundle of energy had! How incredible it will be for him to open his journal when he is a grown man and remember the silliness and fun of this visit! 
      Also first up: my friends. Eight of our closest friends are coming to our house for dinner tomorrow night, and I was just thinking how precious their friendship is to us, and how we don't do this kind of thing often enough. Now is a great time to start some new traditions with friends.
     Second in line: My district has recently selected me as one of six teachers to receive training in the new NGSS science standards.  Our charge is to develop a vision for our district in the adoption of the standards, and then work with teachers to implement them.  We're learning some great teaching moves in our training sessions. Time to bring more of them back to my students and start inviting other teachers in! I'm really excited about this new opportunity and want to do it right!   
      Third: I've been cleaning closets at home. How many pairs of black pants does one person really need? (Just an example from the teeniest tip of the overabundant iceberg!) Anyway, while folding my gazillion sweaters, I started thinking about the file cabinets in my classroom which have so many teacher books that I never look at anymore. When I need a fresh idea, I just search on TpT and always find what I need. Often, I find even more that I didn't even know I needed. Affordable, fun, and I know where to find it on my flash drive, under "My Purchases" or n my computer desktop. Why root through the filing cabinets anymore?  Maybe someone else can use them.  I plan to take a stack of teacher books to the faculty room every week.  What is still there in Friday will go to the recycler in the parking lot.
       Fourth: My blog. I actually enjoy blogging, and don't know why I don't do it more often. I make plans, often take classroom photos, jot notes, and then forget about it when it comes time to record it here. I have promised myself to blog more often this year.  
       As for my TpT store, I plan to work on some more novel units for the read-alouds that my classes have truly loved, many of them not your usual fourth grade choices, and also to add more math and science products. Social Studies? Next year! (I'm trying set realistic and attainable goals here!)
       Finally: More travel with hubby. Giant friends trip already planned for this summer to Denver because our friend's son is getting married there. More trips from our "really should go there someday" list after that.

        A quote from Oprah: "Cheers to a new year, and another chance to get it right!" Hoping to get a few of the above things right this year! Happy New Year, everyone!

       Linking this blog post up with "A Peach for the Teach". (Love her name and the glittery peach on her blog banner!)  Follow the link below for more resolutions from our blogging buddies!
 

                                                                                                             Retta      











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                                                                                  Rock Star Students




                     SCOOT OUR RULES!
               
My School Year Notebook (Journal and Posters)
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#love4SH Remembering Sandy Hook


#love4SH
Tomorrow is the anniversary of the heart-wrenching tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, resonating in the souls of so many parents and educators still today.  How do we even attempt to keep our children safe in this world, especially in the world of their classroom, their recess playground, their cafeteria, their media center?

Our doors are locked, we practice lockdown procedures, we ask children to practice at regular intervals behaviors for an event we pray they will never need to experience. We are doing all we believe is possible, and yet our hearts still ache for the loss of the joy and freedom of childhood.

My experience in the classroom tells me that children learn what we teach them.  If they trust and value the person delivering the lesson, the lesson becomes a part of each of them. We are so focused on delivering the “standards”, papering our walls with goals and targets, prepping for endless and often meaningless academic tests, that I am afraid that we are getting farther and farther away from the relationships and character building that were commonplace before all of the push towards high stakes assessments. 

There is little time in our schedules to teach about kindness and character. What do we leave out? What if our kids are less than prepared for math standard some number.some letters.some other number?

Just today: in Colorado, another senseless shooting ending with the suicide of the shooter.
I know that each of the perpetrators of the unimaginable crimes we hear of in the news was once a child sitting in a first grade or fourth grade or seventh grade classroom. I can’t help thinking about this today. What messages did that child receive in school? Was he bullied or teased? Did he feel not good enough because he didn’t make a high enough score on a test? Did he feel accepted and valued by his teachers? Did he think that the work he did was important?

 I am not naive enough to believe that real mental illness can be overcome by good teaching, neither am I assigning blame to the teachers of any of the shooters, but I believe that real change can and does happen in small increments. Greg at Smedley’s Smorgasbord of Kindergarten has a great idea for how we can start. What if each of us does one small act of kindness today, and then finds a way to present the idea of kindness to others to our students as we go through the weeks and months ahead.  This focus on kindness can be our tribute to the Sandy Hook kids and staff who were not given the chance to go on making a difference for others.  Read his whole post at http://www.thekindergartensmorgasboard.com/2013/12/a-kindergarten-smorgasboard-of_9.html

Some resources I recommend for inspiring kindness and justice in your students are the entire song library at I Am Bullyproof Music http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/I-Am-Bullyproof-Music
The sweet songs that you will find here will delight and inspire your students to become kinder, more caring, stronger, and more confident human beings.
My students and I call these songs “the sound track of our lives”.  We sing them at the start of the day, the end of the day, and the transitions between subjects all day long. (One way to sneak the kindness lessons back into the curriculum!)
 I Am Bullyproof Music

Another idea that is perfect for January is to take the “Kindness and Justice Challenge” inspired by the teachings of Martin Luther King and started by his family.  Here’s a free product that can get your students collecting their acts of kindness and justice and thinking about the next kind act in their future. http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Acts-of-Kindness-and-Justice-Build-a-Wall-468952 It’s free!!!!



This year, I have added some kindness cards to my December calendar. Each day, we turn over a new card that suggests another way to be kind. Thanks, Rick’s Resources, for this one! My kids love it! Not free, but worth it! http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Acts-of-Kindness-Social-Skills-32-Task-Cards-Grades-2-6-738305


This is a really long post for me, but I need to share one story here:
Our night custodian came into my room on Wednesday evening this week to tell me that one of my students had actually approached her in the hall after school to thank her for doing such a great job cleaning our room every day.  She had tears in her eyes when she told me that she has been at this job for 25 years and this was the first student who had ever thanked her! It meant so much to her to hear those simple words.

I’m joining Greg in his movement for more kindness, and I hope you’ll join in, too!
                                                          Retta
                                                                              


                                                                                                

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Taming the Talking Monster



Happy Tuesday! Just thought I’d share some helpful hints that I’ve tried this year in fourth grade to get that off-task talking under control.

Morning Talking: This year, I’ve scrapped the Daily Work sheets in favor of Morning Tweets (an idea I got from Pinterest).  Instead of visiting friends around the room or talking to neighbors while beginning Daily Work, my students fill out a Morning Tweet card and put it in our pocket chart.  Students read these throughout the day, and we choose several to share during class meetings. Tweeting rather than Talking ensures that every student gets to share special news, or just say what’s on their mind without soaking up valuable class time.

Transitions: Another Talking Monster Hot Spot!  This year, I have been using an amazing song from “I Am Bullyproof Music” to smooth out our transition times as well as to reinforce that learning community feeling.  The song is “Got Your Back”, and it’s full of love and positive messages about how we all look out for each other every day.  I keep the mp3 track on my computer desktop and play it when our three fourth grade classes are changing for science, social studies, and writing. Students sing along as they get their materials ready, move to the next class, and gather for the mini-lesson to begin in my room.  No wait time – just peace and love! Aaaaahhhhhhh.

Conversational Opportunities: Let’s face it – we all love to talk with our friends, and kids need some islands of talk time throughout the day when it’s ok to talk. I call these “Conversational Opportunities” and announce two or three of them each day, just for two or three minutes.  Today, for example, at 9:10 on 11/12/13, we had a conversational opportunity in commemoration of Sequential Day!  It doesn’t need to be on a special day or at a special time, though.  I like to announce these breaks as a surprise.

Noise Level Chart: I use a cute and simple chart to rate the levels of noise which are acceptable during working time and those that are not acceptable.  We practice the levels a lot early in the year.  Before beginning partner or group work, I check in with my kids on what noise level they should choose for the activity at hand.  “Study Buddy” (Level two) is usually just right!

Call and Response: When the noise level rises beyond the limits, or I just need to get everyone’s attention quickly, I love to use the age-old, tried-and-true call and response.  Super simple: I call and they respond! Some of our favorites:

Me: Class!

Them: Yes!

Me: One two three, eyes on me!

Them: One two, eyes on you!

Me: I need you to listen now with your eyes and ears.

Them: Mind and heart! (With motions to head and heart. This one melts me every time I hear it!)

I hope one or two of these tips will help you to tame that Talking Monster in your class! Thanks for hoppin’ over today!

                                                                           
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Sale

Rainbow City Learning is throwing a 20% off sale today and tomorrow!
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Free Halloween Activities

FREE!! Who doesn't love FREE - right? Don't miss this free collection of six activities from Rainbow City Learning! Download yours soon - only available through October 31!

                                                                                                      Happy Halloween!
                                                                                                      Retta
                                                                                                                           




Free Halloween Sampler
 
                                                                        
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Organization Plan for Rock Star Students

Since so many of you are using my Rock Star Students system for rewarding positive behaviors this year, I thought I would share with you a great system I just thought of to organize the cards and keep track of which cards I have given to each student.
I went to Office Max and purchased some 9-slot trading card page protectors, one for each student. I couldn't resist the metallic gold Wasau cardstock I also found there for printing out the VIP passes.
I'm just getting started using this system with my very own rockin' fourth graders this week! They are so excited about earning those VIP passes and attending our red carpet event at the end of the first trimester.
I came home and printed my cards and passes. I used scissors instead of a paper cutter to cut just beyond the black scalloped border on each card.  I did not cut around each scallop, but you could certainly do it if you like! (Maybe you have more dvr'd shows to catch up on than I had!)
Each student now has a page with his/her 8 cards and that all-important golden ticket waiting in my conferring notebook. I plan to issue the cards at the end of a conference by saying, "I have noticed that you...(behavior goal reached), and YOU ROCK!" (High five or fist bump) and here's your ...(letter of ROCK STAR) card!"
Hope you have a rockin' week!

                                                                                             Retta

                                         http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Rock-Star-Students-775177

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Remembering 9 11


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What Does a Scientist Look Like?


     A high school friend wrote in my yearbook so many years ago, “I hope you will be able to persuade your way through life as you have through Physics.”  I never forgot that (depending on how you view it) inspiring statement as I have happily traveled the journey of an elementary teacher. Hating the study of science as a student, I have embraced it as a teacher once I discovered that science done right is a hands-on, interactive experience. I’ve never crossed paths again with that old friend since high school, but I often think about how he might chuckle at my attitude adjustment once I became a teacher.

     For many years, I worked on science curriculum in my district and presented at science conferences.  I taught all the science for my grade level, no matter what grade I was in at the time because it was fun! I even coauthored a book with a dear friend, filled with science lessons using food.  Unfortunately, many of those lessons included peanut butter. With so many allergic children in our schools right now, our books alas are collecting dust in our spare rooms.

      When I moved to a new building in my district, one of my grade level partners wanted to teach the science, and I stepped aside.  She did an amazing job before resigning this year for reasons totally unrelated to science.  So here I am: back teaching science and so looking forward to it all!

     I decided to try an activity yesterday which I’ve always done first thing just to assess kids’ attitudes about science and scientists. (Thinking if there’s a kid or three like me, maybe the attitude adjustment could begin in fourth grade rather than post-grad!) I asked my students in all three classes to open their science interactive notebooks and devote one page to showing what a scientist looks like and does. I first tried this activity in 1986. When we shared our labeled drawings today, I was amazed at how far we’ve come in the last 27 years!

    Kids in 1986 mostly drew scientists as elderly Caucasian men with unruly grey hair, wearing  goggles and lab coats, and holding up a beaker which was frothing over with an unidentifiable fun substance. Scientists to my students today now look more like each student herself or himself, with just a few Christopher Lloyds sprinkled in. Although most are still shown clad in lab coats and goggles, holding or standing near bubbling beakers and test tubes, enough to raise my hopes forever showed botanists, physicists, zoologists, geologists, archaeologists, biologists, and even two epidemiologists and one marine biologist. 

     My all-time favorite was a sketch of scientist looking exactly like his young creator next to an intricate display of labeled tubing and beakers combining toxic substances with benign ones, traveling through three different stages of mixtures, resulting in the bottom layer in “Mixture X: The Cure for Cancer”. I love my job! I think I’ll go back again tomorrow!  (Pictures of these amazing drawings when I get permission from parents!)
     Happy teaching, friends!                                                     She kinda' looks like me!
   Retta
                                                                              
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A Shiny New Year

First day of school today! Twenty-nine new faces and another chance to come closer to getting it ALL right! I've been doing this for so many years, and yet still have butterflies the night before, and thoroughly enjoy the surprises and adventure of the first days of school.
This week, I'd like to blog about some of our early activities and our room, and then move into some more recurring topics to see if I can be a little more efficient in getting back to the blog! Stay tuned!

Best activity today was "Save Wally the Worm". Thanks to Lorraine from Fabulous Fourth Grade Froggies for sharing this idea! (I needed to change the name to Wally from Fred because of a student name!)
I found some adorable square polka dot cups at Target and placed inside: 2 small and 2 large paper clips, a sour gummy worm and a peachy gummy ring. Each group of 4 got one of these, and also a 9 oz. Solo cup (clear). Directions: Save Wally. Move him from dry land (square cup) to his pond (solo cup) using only the paper clips and working together as a team. The most amazing part of this activity was the debriefing, when each group shared the secrets of their success at working as a team. They talked about each other as partners they could trust, people whose ideas they believed in, and leaders they were willing to step aside for. (Teacher heaven!)
We also listened to and sang along with an inspiring song by Lessia Bonn of "I Am Bullyproof Music" called "I've Got Your Back" and talked about how we all need to be there for and look out for each other this year. My room is absolutely packed with people this year, but I'm predicting it's going to be packed with love and fun also!
Just a couple of pics for starters (decided to forget about the "before" ones!)
More to come - I promise!
Have a great year, everyone!

                                                                                                            Retta



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Back to School Sale

Teachers Pay Teachers is throwing their huge back to school sale on August 18 &19!  Shop at Rainbow City Learning for 20% off of teaching items that you need right now!  Use the code at checkout (see graphic) and save another 10% off the sale price! My huge back to school bundle is already discounted at more than 50% off of a group of 21 products.  Shop on Sunday or Monday to receive an additional 10% off of that price also.

Have a great new school year, everyone!
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Exciting Back to School News

I am so excited right now! Just finished reading my new issue of  "The Organized Classroom Magazine". Aside from gathering some great tips for getting my room ready for the new group of rock star students about to come dancin' through the door before you know it, I'm so proud to announce that one of those hit the ground running tips is from my blog!
What a great magazine - lots of tips from some pretty great teacher-bloggers and even one from me! Don't miss a chance to subscribe for more amazing tips for a smooth school year and who knows what other surprises Charity Preston (the publisher) has in store for us!
Here's the link!
http://www.theorganizedclassroomblog.com/index.php/magazine

By the way, on the post below about the laminated "clouds" (I still like to think of them as clouds.), I found that using a water-based marker (such as Vis-a-Vis) makes cleanup at the end of the day super easy.  Just wipe today's standard away with a damp paper towel and then a dry one, and you're all set to write the next standard on the cloud!

And speaking of getting ready for those little rock stars of yours, check out some of my time and sanity-saving, fun back to school resources! My current favorite is Rock Star Students. Click on the cover page below to learn more about it! Time to get ready for back-to-school!

                                                                                                      Retta
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Making Life Easier with the Standards

This is a post from last summer with a real time saver that is working for me!

I know it's summer, but in between planting the fairy garden, traipsing through the art fairs, and spending time with family and friends, I can't help thinking about school! I love the freshness of the new year, and another chance to get it all right! (Okay, maybe one or two more things right!)
Here's one I'd like to simplify: posting the standards or learning goals for the kids to see each day and for the principal to see when he's filling in his mental checklist.
I set up this system for last year, thought it was super cute and easy, and yet got sidetracked with all the lists of "I Can"statements, pocket charts to display them in, and finding a good place to display them. For this year, I definitely want to try this low-maintenance plan again.
I bought some giant speech bubble signs at the local teacher's store (was looking for clouds, but couldn't resist the colorful borders on these!). I laminated them and arranged them around the date card as you can see in the photo. It was then super simple to write the learning goal for each subject first thing in the morning and leave it there all day.  A few times, I wrote the learning goal in with the kids while I was introducing it. That worked great, and might be the plan I will use this year. The bubbles are hanging in a very small space between my math calendar and smartboard. They really take up little room, are very noticeable, and I really think they will simplify my teaching life in the fall. Simple, visible, cute, done!
Happy summer, everyone! Try not to think too much about school...just a little....and keep it simple!

                                                                                               Retta 
/http://imbloghoppin.blogspot.com/
  

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Bloglovin

Just decided to join Bloglovin!
<a href="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/9004335/?claim=6w74b8styde">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>
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Teachers Still Care: Flood Relief in Alberta

The talented teacher-authors at TpT continue to amaze with their acts of kindness! After hearing that many of the schools in Alberta in the Calgary area were underwater last week after torrential rain and flooding, so many kind people came forward to donate products to help.  We are assembling three bundles of amazing products and selling them for a fraction of their actual cost to raise funds earmarked for repairing schools damaged by the floods. The bundles will be posted at my TpT store on Monday morning, July 1st, just in time to start your back to school shopping while contributing to a very wotrthwhile cause! Detailed previews will be available, so please take the time to browse and join us in helping the Alberta schools.
 

                                                                                
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Teachers Care for Oklahoma




The wonderful and talented teachers at Teachers pay Teachers have joined together to raise money for relief efforts in Oklahoma following the devastating tornadoes there. Rainbow City Learning is part of that effort. One of my CeeCee Math resources is part of the Grades 3-6 bundle #1 offered for sale this week to benefit relief in Oklahoma.
Additionally, all Rainbow City Learning products will be on sale for 10% off on Monday, May 27, with all proceeds donated to the American Red Cross working in Oklahoma.
Please join us in showing the teachers, students, and families in Oklahoma that we care. Purchase a bundle of great products for only $25 (4 bundles are offered, 2 for grades k-2, and 2 for grades 3-6), or shop at Rainbow City Learning and other participating stores for great values on individual resources, knowing that your money is going to a very worthy cause.


Links for product bundles:
K-2 Bundle 1
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Prod … ore-706018

K-2 Bundle 2
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Prod … ore-706021

3-6 Bundle 1
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Prod … -1--705953

3-6 Bundle 2
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Prod … -2--705957

Blog Hop for participating bloggers:
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Mother's Day Moments and Father's Day Dreams

We had so much fun making giant Mother's Day cards in my class last week that I thought I'd share some photos! We made cute little pop-up gifts to decorate the cover. I cut 4x4 squares of scrapbooking paper. (My students love the American Girl stacks - even the boys!) I turned it like a diamond shape and folded corners to meet in the center, then folded each corner back to make little legs. With glue applied only to the folded back corners, the little "package" stood up nicely from the page. We added curly ribbons and a foam sticker to dress up the little gift.

We also took some pictures with my iPad of the finished cards and card making. Super simple activity, and the moms loved it!  My wonderful students even made some giant cards for me when they saw how excited I was about their work!




My Father's Day Dreams project (with no mention of father or dad on the actual project pages - just on the cover!) is a new featured product in my TpT store. The unique, ready-to-go printables are sure to make a great presentation for that father figure in each of your students' lives!








                                                                                 





















Just click on the images below to see these print and go resources from Rainbow City Learning:
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Teacher Appreciation Sale

Don't miss the Teacher Appreciation Sale on Teachers pay Teachers this week May 7th-8th! All items at Rainbow City Learning will be 20% off. Use the code TAD13 at checkout to receive an additional 8% off! This is a great time to stock up on teaching resources for a great finish to this school year and a fabulous beginning to the 2013-14 year!
All new items at Rainbow City Learning are 50% off for the first 48 hours after posting. Click on the "Follow Me" button on my homepage to be notified of new listings!
My FREE Daily Five Plus rotation cards are back for a limited time only. I LOVE using Daily Five in my classroom, and I use the online Pensieve as well. Adding some new categories to this card set has really helped to tweak Daily Five for use in an upper elementary classroom. (This product is not endorsed by the Two Sisters.)
Stop by Rainbow City Learning and pick up your free rotation cards today. While you are there, take a look at my other products and get your wishlist all set for the sale on Tuesday!
                                                                                           
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Making Classroom Memories

One of my favorite teaching memories comes from my new 1986 classroom assignment during the first week of third grade.  I had been teaching in a private school prior to joining the staff at a public school close to my neighborhood, and apparently my reputation had preceded my arrival.
I was using an old overhead projector and some cute little chocolate chip cookie transparencies I had made to add some creativity to the math lesson.  In the middle of the math lesson, the old projector gave out.  The bulb popped, and smoke began pouring from the projector.  As I tried to remain calm, pull the plug, and figure out how to continue the lesson as smoothly as possible, I heard a little girl in the last row stage whisper, "Wow, she really IS magic!  I can smell those cookies!"
What are some favorite classroom memories of yours?  I would love to read about them! Please share in the comments section below!
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Celebration Sale at Rainbow City Learning

Reached 53 followers this week for my shop at Rainbow City Learning! In celebration of that, and also in celebration of the recent growth in followers of my Facebook page, I'm offering a sale this week. If you follow me at Rainbow City Learning on Teachers Pay Teachers, you can also take advantage of this great sale!
Here are the details:
Purchase any two Rainbow City Learning products this week (through March 31) and receive a third item of equal or lesser value free! Just email me with the information about your two purchases with the name of the free product of your choice and I will send you the free item in return email on April 1.
This would be a great time to try two CeeCee Math products and receive the Eight Mathematical Practices Poster Set free! (Just a suggestion!)

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/CeeCee-Math-Letters-From-Math-Class-Poetry-Party-Punch-Problem

This is limited to one free product offer per customer!
Thanks for your support of Rainbow CIty Learning!
Retta
retta.london@gmail.com
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Children Against Bullying


     Like most schools, we have a few bullies and a lot of bystanders who don’t always know the right thing to do when they see bullying  happen. There’s an awesome student teacher in Rainbow City this year, and she thought of a great bully awareness lesson.  Her name is Valeen, and her idea is to ask kids who they really are on the inside and to make a pledge to do their part to end bullying.

     We began the lesson by reading Patricia Polacco’s book Bully, first because our students love Patricia Polacco, and also because we are about to start blogging as a class and as individuals. Polacco’s book addresses the issue of cyber-bullying as well as kids generally being mean to others.

     After reading the book aloud, we had a great discussion about bullying and the different forms it takes.  We also spent some time discussing the responsibility of the bystander to do something about the situation, such as getting help from an adult or befriending the child who was bullied.

     The activity consisted of asking each student to choose a car, cut it out, and write a short statement or pledge in the window (cab of the car, taxi, or truck) telling what he/she will do to end bullying. The cars are on a bulletin board in our classroom as a reminder that our students are “Children Against Bullying” and we can see who really is “in their cab”.

     Valeen’s idea, embellished by me with her permission is now available free to you and your students in my TpT store. I have included a book list for those who would rather not read the Polacco book, and a sign without our names on it to hang on your bulletin board.

                                                                     Wishing you peace and love,

                                                                     Valeen and Retta 
 
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Freebie Available





My Ghandi Cards are now available as a pdf in my Rainbow City Learning shop on TpT:
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Be-the-Change-Student-Reminder-Cards-Inspired-by-theTeachings-of-Mahatma-Ghandi

Enjoy this freebie for your little peacekeepers!
  
                                                                                                           Retta
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Keeping the Peace in Rainbow City

Keeping the Peace in Rainbow City

You know how it goes in a classroom when there's a conflict: "Well, she said..." ,  "Well, he did it first...", "Well, yeah, but they..."

Having had enough of that last week, I groped for a new solution.  Saw my little crystal globe on my desk with the Ghandi quote from Galileo Leadership Academy (yep, class of '97-'99-first cohort-hold your applause!) and had a little discussion with the current participant in classroom conflict.  My teaching point was that conflict resolution has to start with someone.  Why not start with yourself?
My student was immensely impressed with the little blue globe and asked if she could keep it on her desk to remind her to always try to be the change she wishes to see in our class. Uh-nope!

Not wanting to lose momentum on this great teaching point, however, we came up with a great substitute! We moved our discussion to the teacher's computer, inserted a great tie-dye background onto a word document, (chosen by former conflictee), and typed in the simple yet powerful quote: "Let us be the change we want in the world." followed by credit to Ghandi.  Cut the cards apart quickly, freehand,  not missing a beat, and voila! Tape it to your desk.

It took about three seconds for these little cards to be the most popular item to hit Rainbow City in months.  But there's a catch if you want one.  You have to have the desire for peace in your heart, and you have to be willing to start the process yourself!

Will post the pdf later this week if you'd like to try this with your little peacemakers!

                                                                                                                       Retta

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We had an ICT training day in our building today, and learned how to do the initial reading assessment for kids who are being considered for intervention.  I worked with a partner and we tested three of my students. These students were most recently tested in October using the Fountas & Pinnel inventory, and my results then showed that they were reading below grade level.
Since October, we've been working in small groups, using my M&M discussion prompt bookmarks. The results on today's tests were unbelieveable! Each of the students could read fluently and discuss their comprehension, connections, and predictions with above grade level books! We also use RazKids online, and read, read, read, but I have to believe that those M&M cards and the mixed-level grouping that we've been doing in our grade level had an effect also.
It was an exciting day!
The bookmarks are available in my TpT store: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/MM-Reading-Discussion-Prompt-Bookmark-Bundle
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News!!!

My Acts of Kindness and Justice free item has been posted in this week's Teachers pay Teachers newsletter! So honored to be included!
Here's the link: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Acts-of-Kindness-and-Justice-Build-a-Wall:http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Acts-of-Kindness-and-Justice-Build-a-Wall

While you're shopping, don't miss my featured "Letters to Martin" unit for celebrating the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
                                                                                         Retta
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January

I love January! Peace, kindness, goodwill, MLK remembrances.  You really can start to see the good in all of us as the new year begins. We've only been back for 2 days since the long holiday break, but I could see real changes in my students. As we talked about the first gift of character, the gift of love, I could see that they really got it! They were actually feeling it, and showing that they cared for each other. It somehow felt different this year.
As we kicked off our Martin Luther King Jr. unit, my students surprised me with a song they had just learned in music class this week. ("Sing about Martin"), made even more beautiful by their sweet little voices.

Check my TpT store for some of these love-sharing, community-building resources:
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Letters-to-Martin-A-Unit-to-Celebrate-Martin-Luther-King
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Gifts-of-Character-for-the-New-Year
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Acts-of-Kindness-and-Justice-Build-a-Wall


January resolution for me: GET BETTER AT BLOGGING!!!!!
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