Monday, 23 February 2015

What's New in the 2 Peas and a Dog TPT Store? Bonus TPT Sale!

We have been busy creating resources for our students and have put them up on Teachers Pay Teachers to share with all of you. The great thing about 2 Peas and a Dog is that:

  • We use what we sell because we are classroom teachers. 
  • We do not create products without using them in our classroom. 
  • Our products have been used by real middle school students and teachers.
  • Check out our new products below. All the photos are click-able links.

What's New In Literacy?

In this very detailed assignment students will select a novel to read that has been turned into a movie. They will have a series of assignments to complete that demonstrate their understanding of both the novel and the movie as well as their differences. Each section of the assignment includes a due date option to ensure that the assignment is presented in "chunks" to students and to space out your marking load. 

Want students to be informed about important social issues in ANY content area? Try this Hot Topics Oral Presentation assignment from 2 Peas and a Dog. This can be used with any type of non-fiction text, news broadcast, documentary or video on any topic in the content areas Science, Math, History, Geography, World News. 

What's New in Math?

This product is a unit rates final project. Students are given a real chocolate fudge recipe, prices from two different grocery stores and asked to find the better buy for their employer "Sweetness Bakery". Students will use their basic adding, subtraction, multiplication and division skills as well as decimals, rates and unit rate to solve all the math questions in this package. 

What's New in Social Studies?

This American Presidents Monologue Assignments students are asked to: 
-select a president of their choice (or teacher's choice), 
-research the president 
-create a 1-2 minute oral monologue presentation to present to the class 

This Canadian Historical Figures Monologue Assignments students are asked to: 
-select a Prime Minister or Father of Confederation of their choice (or teacher's choice), 
-research the person
-create a 1-2 minute oral monologue presentation to present it to the class 

Oldies But Goodies - Our Best Selling Products

All math strands in one complete package! {231 Words}
Keep your math classroom decorated and ready for learning at the same time. Use our rainbow colour word walls to brighten up your bulletin boards. This is a complete mathematics word wall for Grades 1 to 8. If you change grades all you need to do is print off the words applicable for your grade level. You will not need to purchase another math word wall set! 

This product is a compilation of all my independent monthly genre based assignments into one complete year long reading package for Upper Elementary to Middle School Grades. There are 12 different assignments in this package based on Fiction and Non-Fiction Genres. This package includes the same assignment with two different names: "Month Name" or "Genre Name" Reading Assignment.

On Wednesday February 25th Teachers Pay Teachers is having a one day only site wide sale. 2 Peas and a Dog store will be 28% off if you use the code HEROES when checking out. Click here to go to our store and start adding things to your shopping cart for the big sale day.

Don't forget to check out a lot of other great Middle School and Secondary sellers who are having a sale Wednesday as well. I love this amazing group of secondary sellers who create quality products. Click on their names below to check out their stores.

Danielle Knight (Study All Knight) 
The Classroom Sparrow
Michele Luck's Social Studies 
Getting Nerdy with Mel and Gerdy

Mad Science Lessons 
Juggling ELA
Krystal Mills - Lessons From The Middle 
Teaching High School Math 
To the square inch- Kate Bing Coners 
Charlene Tess 
Pamela Kranz
The Creative Classroom

Kristin Lee
Mrs. Brosseau's Binder 
James Whitaker's SophistThoughts

Darlene Anne
ELA Everyday
Lessons With Coffee
Teaching FSL
Room 213
Lindsay Perro 
Liz's Lessons 
21st Century Math Projects

The SuperHERO Teacher
Science Stuff 
Kate's Classroom Cafe 
A Space to Create

Addie Williams 
Created by MrHughes

Leah Cleary
Secondary Solutions
All Things Algebra
Tracee Orman
Live Love Math

Ruth S.

2 Peas and a Dog
FisherReyna Education
Rachel Friedrich
Linda Jennifer
For the Love of Teaching Math
The Career Ready Teacher 

Mrs S's Health and PE Resources

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Saturday, 21 February 2015

5 Reasons to Use Success Criteria in Your Classroom

I am linking up this month with a great group of teacher bloggers for our monthly Bright Ideas Posts.

I will be the first to admit when success criteria became popular, I did not understand why we needed this as we had rubrics. I kept saying "this is just fad it to shall pass." How naive I was!

Now, I actually really enjoy using a mixture of both teacher created success criteria and co-created success criteria (teacher/student brainstorm together) depending on the topic etc.

Here are five reasons why I use success criteria in my daily teaching practise.
  1. It gives students a sense of ownership and control over their learning and assessment if you co-create and use it to assess their work. 
  2. It clearly outlines the difference between an A and a B or Level 4 and 3. 
  3. It helps students understand an assignment and think through the expectations before they start to create something. I feel awful when students bring me an incorrect assignment because they have not read the assignment sheet, success criteria or rubric correctly.
  4. It is written in student and parent friendly language. No more teacher jargon filled rubrics (I still use rubrics, but in combination with success criteria or I make my success criteria into rubrics).
  5. Success criteria can be written up in a large format on chart paper, which makes it easy for students to read and reference during their assignment creation process. Could you image writing a rubric up on chart paper? My printing is just not that neat!
I usually find the student with the neatest printing to help write my anchor charts and success criteria. If you saw my penmanship you would ship me back to the pioneer days.

Join us on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter for more great ideas.

For more bright ideas from other bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!

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Saturday, 14 February 2015

You Live With A Teacher When

  1. During the school year they have two moods: complete exhaustion or super stressed. 
  2. During assessment and reporting cycles you find a lot of reasons to leave the house. 
  3. They continuously refer to their class as "my kids", but you don't remember having thirty kids. 
  4. Every time they leave the house the morning they take more bags with them, than moving day. 
  5. When their friends come over they speak in a secret language using words like: Behaviour Plan, IEP, Duty, Supervision, Success Criteria, Anchor Charts. 
  6. They complain about not being able to go to the washroom during the day -even though they really needed to. 
  7. Has not eaten lunch in years. 
  8. Part of your monthly house budget goes to school supplies such as stickers, pens, paper, glue and art supplies.
  9. They are only able to take vacations three times a year: Christmas Break, Spring Break and Summer Holidays.
  10. They leave the house looking clean and proper, and return covered in dust, chalk, vomit, whiteboard marker, pen ink or paint. 
If the person you live with matches most of these descriptions, congratulations you live with a teacher!
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I am linking up this month with ELA Buffet and Desktop Learning Adventures for their Secondary Smorgasbord Link Up of Classroom Funnies.  I hope you enjoyed my post.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

The Renovated K-W-L Graphic Organizer

Click on the photo above to access this graphic organizer for your classroom.

I really like the tried and true graphic organizers we have been using for years, however, I do not want my students to feel like they are repeating the same thing they did in younger grades.  I renovated the K-W-L chart to make it more middle school appealing.  

I use this organizer when we are previewing a text or concept for the first time. It is great for content area subjects or reading non-fiction. My students don't mind writing if given a graphic organizer. Students like structure when reading non-fiction or viewing a content area (History, Geography, Science) video. 

When you click on the above photo it will take you to a Google Drive download of four different types of this organizer. 

What graphic organizers do you use daily in your classroom? I would love to know what other teachers find useful. 

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Wednesday, 4 February 2015

5 Mistakes New Teachers Make

Over the past year I have mentored several new teachers. They are a great wealth of knowledge and really good questions. I thought I would compile my top five pieces of advice for new teachers.

1. Phone Numbers
Never give out your cellphone number or home number to a parent. Parents can reach you on your school board email address (if permitted) or call the school and leave a message for you to call them back. You are a professional, and must separate your work information from your personal information. I do not have the home numbers of other professionals in my life (doctor, dentist, lawyer, accountant). 

2. Raising Your Voice
Unless the classroom is on fire, or someone is dying, it is not appropriate to yell at your students. Find other ways to get their attention, or discipline them for their behaviour. It is much more effective to speak to a disruptive student personally, than centring them out in front of the whole class. I find that using a consistent attention cue works. I use a count down, but my students also know I use a silent countdown with my hands. This is particularly effective if you happen to loose your voice. Wait teachers never get sick right?

3. Sick Days
A common misconception among new teacher is that the class will not survive with out them. This is not true. I promise you that your students will survive and be excited to see you upon your return. It is a lot of work to prepare for time away from the classroom, BUT your physical, mental and emotional health is valuable and you cannot be on your "A game"  for your students, if you are ill. 

4. Planning
New teachers either ineffectively over-plan or under-plan as they do not have enough experience to know how long activities generally take. Us veteran teachers have an uncanny ability to judge time without looking at a clock. I recently did this at a family get together and really freaked people out at how I could reliably estimate the amount of time that had passed.  Not to worry, you too will soon gain this uncanny ability to tell time. New teachers should over plan their days to ensure that class time is used to its maximum capacity. Over planning does not mean staying up until 2:00 am trying to find more information. It means ensure you have a back up plan - technology will always fail, inevitably while you are being evaluated - and have a few review type activities (making study notes, centres, extra practise sheets, quiz games) that can be pulled out to use up time. 

5. Not Getting To Know Your Students
Curriculum is important, but your students will learn more effectively if they feel that you know them and care about their interests, passions, and hobbies. I start and end each class by greeting each class at the door with a good morning, happy [insert holiday, special day, made up day here], have a great night. As students are getting their books, papers, pencils, entrance pass/bell work organized, I walk around the classroom and make a point to speak to different students about something I noticed, or what to find out about them. 

Ok just one more rant .... 

6. Seating Plans 
Seating plans are not optional. You are the teacher and must ensure each student has the best possible opportunities to learn. This means using all of the tools available to you. One of the most powerful tools is the seating plan. 

I tell my students, "This is not a long term commitment, it is a seating plan that will change frequently, but it is your job is be the best person you can be during this arrangement."

Click here to see how I set my classroom up for success. 

Feel free to leave any questions or comments you have about this blog post in the comments section below.
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