Sunday, November 11, 2012

Happy Veteran’s Day, A Linky Party, and Common Core Standards (this might be a long one!)

I just wanted to take a moment to wish all of those who have served or are currently serving our country a Happy Veteran’s Day!  I come from a family full of Veterans and couldn’t be prouder of them and of all of our military personnel.  Our NJHS at school sponsored a Veteran’s Day Breakfast on Friday and every year I am so moved by the sacrifices that so many are willing to make to protect our amazing country.
This evening I am linking up for a “teaching tip,” linky party.  You can click on the button below to go to Miss Kindergarten’s blog.
teaching tip button
Tip #1
I use secret codes in my room for just about everything.  My kiddos love pretending that they are super secret agents when they are using their codes! Hey, anything to entertain them, right?  Anyways…. 1 finger in the air means “I have something super important to say.”  Two fingers in the air means, “I have to use the bathroom.”  This signal is great because I never have to be interrupted during small groups, when I am progress monitoring, or working with a student.  If I don’t see them from their seat they walk over to my small group table, flash me the signal, and I nod my head and they leave.  Three fingers in the air is our “911,” it means, “I need help!”  Students use this one when they are working independently and they can’t move on without help from me. Finally, holding their pencil in the air means that they need to trade in their pencil. 
Tip #2….”Show Me Boards”
Each year before school starts I make a quick trip to Home Depot for individual whiteboards for my students.  It costs about $14.00 for the large piece of board.  Home Depot will then cut it into individual boards for teachers!  Whenever I need to do a quick check for understanding, I will have my students answer a question, do a problem, etc… on their “show me board.”  They tip the board on their lap and lean it on the edge of their desk so their neighbor can’t easily copy.  After giving them plenty of think time, I count to three (we do this in various languages and they love it!) and say, “show me!”  They all hold up their boards and I can see quickly who might need extra practice, who needs to be pulled for small group, and who is just not sure at all!
Okay, lastly….Common Core.  I know most of you have probably been here for a while, but my district is finally adopting them and I couldn’t be more excited!  There are, of course, the grumblings from some about change, but I have found that most of the standards are things that we already do. I am excited to have more time to teach concepts with more depth.  As I was reading through all of the standards, the speaking and listening standards really caught my eye.  Several years ago at my school, we began working on teaching our students how to effectively dialogue and have conversations about their learning.  I have compiled a lot of things that I have created over the years and put them together in this resource pack.
The best part is that once students learn how to dialogue effectively you can use this across content areas.  It helps them deepen their understanding of topics and you know as well as I do how much they LOVE to talk to each other! 
I’m off to watch Disney Channel with my girls, (I love that they are just about teenagers and still love to watch Disney shows!) No school tomorrow so we get to stay up a little later!
Happy Veteran’s Day everyone!


  1. Thanks for reading my post! I also do the show me boards and I LOVE them! So fast and easy to see who understands and who doesn't. I say "1, 2, 3" and the kids all yell "let me see!" So funny how similar that is to yours :)

  2. Thanks for reading my post! I also do the show me boards and I LOVE them! So fast and easy to see who understands and who doesn't. I say "1, 2, 3" and the kids all yell "let me see!" So funny how similar that is to yours :)

  3. Love your bathroom signal tip! I might have to try that one out. I'm a new follower.:)
    iTeach 1:1

  4. We have a few teachers in our school who use the signals. Since I push in to classrooms all over the school, it caught me off guard for a while. I've finally figured out at least the bathroom one!

    Don't Let The Teacher Stay Up Late

  5. Great hand signals!! I've incorporated some in my classroom that I found on the Teaching Channel website.
    I am a new follower!
    Connie Anderson:)

  6. I love the idea of secret codes. That would keep my kiddos happy! Thanks so much for sharing!
    Second Grade is Out of This World
    I am your newest follower!

  7. I love your Table Talk ideas..I've added the pack to my wishlist. I am always looking for ways to get my students to effectively collaborate. They like to talk...but making meaningful dialogue is very challenging for third graders:)

  8. Welcome to blogging! Please visit, I'm pretty new, too!

    Amy Howbert
    Little Miss Organized

  9. I nominated your blog for a Liebster Award. Visit me at to find out what you have to do!! Congrats!!

  10. I also nominated you for the Liebster Award! This is for blogs with less than 200 followers. It will help bloggers find and follow you. You can visit my blog to find out more about it.

    Teaching Snip-Its