I spent much of my Saturday cleaning. Our house needed a good "fall" cleaning and since I had the notion to do it, I went ahead and did it! We didn't get all the way done because I went to do some cleaning in our downstairs bathroom and found a leak going on with the pipes. Unfortunately it looks as though it has been a slow drip that has been happening for awhile because there were some things stored in the cabinet area where the pipes are hidden that were moldy and had to be thrown out. I had noticed a funny smell around that area recently but hadn't really found the source. When I went in to start cleaning, I noticed water on the floor and went searching for its source. The Husband is at the store right now trying to find parts to fix the pipe that is leaking.
Alas, the bathroom will probably not get cleaned until tomorrow. The Oldest helped me with the mudroom, the kitchen, the dining room, my room (which took all of about 5 minutes!) and The Littles pitched in for the living room since they play in there and 99% of any build-up in there belongs to them. We just need to finish up the bathroom tomorrow and give The Littles' room a cursory vacuum and we should be good for awhile.
As I sat down to take a much needed rest after all that cleaning, I was surfing around online and found two really cool things that I am happy to integrate into my classroom.
In years past, I have done both spelling lists from our Houghton Mifflin and word sorts. I am not feeling the word sorts this year even though I know it is differentiated and better for the children. I feel so overwhelmed with everything else that I think I am going to still use them but use them with the whole class because I can make my own based on the pattern of words from the traditional spelling list. So we'll still use them but the children won't be in so many different groups. I just think with everything else that I am trying to juggle, that is an easy thing to drop since it is so time consuming to keep it going. Plus I can still use the sort strategy (which I do like), the children will just be working on the grade level words with support instead.
To that end, I was looking around at New Management and found this nifty little tool called the spelling relay. I know that memorizing words for a test is not going to make a lick of difference in spelling ability so I think that combining these activities with the word sorts in class will be a bit more helpful. We did multiple group sorts this week and the students enjoyed them so I don't want to stop....I just know that for me, taking it back a notch will help.
I also found this fun chart there:
I love this for its visual appeal but also because I have never really been a fan of the flip-a-card charts or the system my school currently advocates (there are 4 levels with 4 being the best and as children get in trouble, they go down). For a school that is supposed to focus on POSITIVE behavior, I'm not really diggin' the levels thing. I bought some blank magnets from VistaPrint that have been useful for that since the kids' names are on there. But you're supposed to leave kiddos on that level until they earn their way back up to 4. I don't like that either. Every day should be a fresh start and that's what appeals to me about this chart instead.
You can buy it and clothes pins on the NewManagement website for $23 but I can make my own with construction paper and laminate it. I'm not worried about that. I even have a spot in my room already picked out for it. I think this will be SO much better than the four levels and will allow the children who always make good choices to be recognized for those choices as well.