Monday, November 24, 2014

How To Make Task Cards

I started buying task cards long before I starting making them.  I found that I started to have preferences for the cards that I purchased and that dictated what cards I would purchase.
  • I like cards in which I didn't have to make more than two cuts. I don't want to have to cut around the outside to get rid of the white border that is created because a printer won't print edge to edge. 
  • I hate cards in which the color is cut off because a seller put their frame or background paper too close to the edge of the page.
  • I love having a cover page for the set of task cards. I usually just have to make one myself for the cards that I purchase.
  • I love a mini answer key. Again, I have to create one myself because I have yet to find other sellers that do this.
  • I hate when the cards are not aligned or are not all the same size, grrrrr!!
The following are things to consider when you make your task cards. These are all things that I do. Choose how you want your cards to look and pick and choose what works for you.

Number 1

Sometimes the frames looked weird because the seller tried to make the frame into dimensions that did not match the original format. That really bugs me. Having a background in digital scrapbooking and knowledge of such things, it makes me cringe every time I see it. This led me to create TASK CARD TEMPLATES to make things easier for those that wanted to create task cards.

If you haven't tried my templates, here is a freebie that you can try.

Number 2

I really don't like task cards that I purchase and print to have parts of it cut off in the printing process. Yes, I realize this makes me a bit anal but we like what we like. What this means is when I make my task cards, I make sure to keep a border around the edge so that this cut off doesn't happen.  

I've made TASK CARD TEMPLATES that have a perfect 1/4 inch white edge around each card and prevents this cut off from happening.  Here is a link to all of my sets:  TASK CARD TEMPLATES.

You'll notice that the cards I create don't have any of the colored part cut off because of the gap I leave in the border.

Number 3

One of the things I get thanked for doing the most with my task cards is creating a mini cover and answer key. I often have my students self check, so creating the mini key was an obvious solution to me because it could be stored with the rest of the cards and I didn't have to hunt it done when I wanted to use it.

I create 95% of my products in Microsoft Powerpoint because of its ease of use.  One of those features is saving the slides as jpgs.  I save the slides and insert the cover page onto a new page to make my mini cover. If the answer key can be resized with ease, like the one below, I just resize the font and table and insert it into the same slide as the mini cover. If the answer key has something that doesn't easily re-size, I use the jpg like I do for the cover.

Black line only for viewing purposes.
Number 4

A recent discussion come up among sellers about including color or b&w versions of task cards. I asked this question on my FB page and the overwhelming majority wanted the option of both. I LOVE color task cards and my students to do, so up until now that is the only way I have created them. I've slowly started to add the b&w version of the task cards to the sets that have already created. Any future sets will include both.  As a seller, this will up the cost for you because some artists don't include the color and blackline version of the clip art together in a set. Some of the clip art that I use doesn't even have blacklines offered. I now make my choices of clip art based on whether or not the blacklines are included.

So how do you start creating task cards?  Here is a video I put together on how to use my templates. This is the easiest way to get started. You don't have to worry about lining everything up, because I've done it for you.

I also created a video on how to use my Transparent Task Card Templates which can be found HERE. These are really nice because you can make frames any color that you want.

If you have any additional questions about how to make task card, feel free to post your questions in the comments and I will be happy to answer them.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Task Card Organization (the last one, I hope!)

I've posted a couple of different ways that I have stored my task cards. You can find those posts  HERE and HERE. I hope this is the last time that I change things around.  I've had it like like this since the end of last school year and it seems to be working. Fingers crossed....

I'm still using my drawers I got at Michaels, but I've taken the cards out of the coupon holders. I just got too many cards and the holders were taking up too much space.

The inside of the drawers look like this.  I can fit two stacks of cards on one side and then several sets standing up on the other. I use binder clips to hold each set of cards together.

On top, I've got two baskets that I keep the current cards we are using for each grade level. The students know that if they get done with an assignment early, they can go get a set of cards.

I love the tags I put on the front of each one! I created this sheet with circles that I knew would fit inside my scalloped punch.

I trimmed down the top and bottom to get the punch to fit over the circle. I punched a hole in the top of each tag and then attached it with a metal hinged o-ring.

You can check out my new TASK CARD page and see what other ideas I have!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

3 Websites I Can't Teach Without

I'm joining the Teaching Trio's Technology Thursday linky today where they are listing 3 websites that they can't teach without.

#1 is GoNoodle.

I was introduced to this website from several primary teachers last year. For awhile, I thought that my 5th and 6th graders were too old for it but then I decided to try it with them.

They LOVED it!!! We only had a month left in school, but I tried to use it as much as possible.  This year, I introduced it as soon as school started.

I have my 6th graders in the morning. We always start with math, so I decided that for our transition into science or social studies we would do a brain break.  GoNoodle lets you upload your own YouTube videos to your page. I wanted to use something my students could relate to so I went searching for some current songs.  YouTube user Average Asian Dude has a playlist of Just Dance 4 game plays that are perfect for my 5th and 6th graders.  They are mostly current songs that the kids know and they really get into it.

If for some reason, we don't have time for our brain breaks the kids are so disappointed.  This is definitely something all upper elementary teachers should give a try!!

#2 is

I LOVE this site and use it ALL THE TIME!!  How often do you just need a practice page for a math skill? Your students need to practice adding fractions. With just a few clicks of the button, you can have a customized page ready in seconds.

I use the site for mainly math worksheets, but they do have other sections too:  English, Geography, Puzzles and Miscellaneous Topics.

Some of my favorite non-math sections are:  Graphic Organizers, Graph Paper Generator, Magic Squares, Sudoku Puzzles, and Coordinate Picture Graphing.

Be sure to check out the site. I guarantee that you will find something that you love!!

#3 IXL

I love this site because you can have your students practice the skills they need to work on and track their progress.

I keep track of the skills my students have mastered and am able to use IXL to give them more practice on skills they they haven't quite mastered yet.  The students can go into any given standard (they have skills listed by state and common core standards) and they can do problems until they show mastery. I really like IXL because if a student misses a problem, the site shows them the correct solution with the steps to get to that answer. The students are also motivated by earning rewards for completing so many problems.  My students sometimes have a friendly competition of who has the highest percent mastery as well and they motivates them to try their best on every problem.

For the teacher, they have great data collection. You can see how many problems a student has attempted, how many they got right and wrong and at what percent of mastery they currently have.

I hope you find these websites as useful as I do.  You can hop on over to the Teaching Trio for more great web resources!!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Foldable Friday: Sons of Liberty

These interactive foldable graphic organizers and many more can be found in my People of the American Revolutions poster and graphic organizer set. Just click on the picture below to find it in my TpT store.

American Revolution Linky

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Book Review Tuesday: Superstars of History

Superstars of History:  The Good, the Bad and the Brainy
by Jacob Field
Illustrated by Simon Basher
From the publisher:
History doesn't just happen; it was created by a crazy crew of characters from way back when. Find out why Archimedes said "Eureka!" in the bathtub, how Henry Ford changed the world, and whether or not Einstein's brain was bigger than an ordinary guy's. Discover what Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela did that made them famous for being so good, and what Attila the Hun, Hitler, and Stalin did that made them infamous for being so bad. Learn about great leaders like Charlemagne and George Washington and bold ones like Caesar and William the Conqueror. Superstars of History will feature fun text, loads of facts, and Basher's cool illustrations to bring history's greatest characters to life for 8 to 12 year olds.

My Review:

OMG, I LOVE this book!!!  This pictures on the cover are what originally brought my attention to the book.  Come to find out they are drawn by the same person who did all those cute square Basher Books (which I own almost all of them!!)

The book is broken down into four sections:  The Ancient World, The Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Revolution and the Enlightenment and the Modern Era.  These are definitely topics that I cover in my 6th grade social studies class.  

Some of the more notable people covered in the book are Aristotle, Julius Caesar,  Charlemagne, William the Conqueror, Christopher Columbus, Leonardo Da Vinci, William Shakespeare, Catherine the Great, Napoleon, George Washington, Karl Marx, Abraham Lincoln,  Thomas Edison, Gandhi, and many more.

Information of each of the individuals includes a narration in first person as well as other facts that might include a timeline, legacies, inventions, friends, record breaker, etc.

If you teach history, this is definitely a book for your keeper shelf!!

You can get the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Thanks go out to Scholastic via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Classroom Organization: Informational Text Chapter Books

As you probably know by now, I don't teaching reading or ELA so I don't really have an organized library. I just have chapter books that the students can check out on a shelves.
I do have quite a collection of non-fiction books and I finally took the time to get them organized. I wanted the students to be able to find the books they were looking for a bit easier so I made labels. I was going to put the labels on the front of the shelf that the book were on, but I soon realized that they wouldn't stay on very well because the edge was rounded.

I then had the brilliant idea to actually put it flat on the shelf.  This way the kids (and me too!!) could find the topic they were looking for while standing up.

I moved some other things around in my room and it freed up some shelf space.  Now I have room for more books!!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Foldable Friday: Founding Fathers

These interactive foldable graphic organizers and many more can be found in my People of the American Revolutions poster and graphic organizer set. Just click on the picture below to find it in my TpT store.

American Revolution Linky

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Classroom Organization: Information Center

So I found this cart down in the basement at school and knew that I wanted it in my classroom. I used it last year, but wanted to spruce it up a little bit. 

I was in Michaels getting some supplies and thought I would get some contact paper to cover the ugly woodgrain on it. They only had clear, but I spotted the corkboard and thought that would be a neat idea. 

I decided to use it to post all my important information that had previously been on my whiteboard - which had the added benefit of freeing up some of my whiteboard!!

It comes in a roll, so I needed to flatten it. I had reams of paper handy, so I just placed that on top.

The lady at the store told me that spray adhesive would work at attach the corkboard. I don't know if I didn't use it right or what, but I didn't I had the brilliant idea to use Elmers glue...another fail. I had to clean all the glue off of the cart (which was a pain in the butt!!) and let the glue that was on the corkboard dry.

The next day I used some Scotch Outdoor Mounting Tape that I found in my desk drawer. That worked like a charm!!

The roll of corkboard was long enough to fit on the front but not tall enough.  

I solved that issue with doing a double layer of border.  I stapled the border together before stapling the purple part to the corkboard. I got the border at Michaels last year when they had all their teacher stuff on clearance.

The final touches were adding my make-up work calendars and folders, our specials signs and lunch menu.

I just love the way that it looks! I just brightens up the front of my classroom!!

Friday, August 8, 2014

5th Grade Goes Back To School Blog Hop

Set routines up early!! Start the year like you are going to end the year.

This week was my first week of school. We spent time setting up all of our interactive notebooks and establishing classroom routines.  

One of my classroom routines occurs after every lesson I teach. I want my students to reflect on their learning. After each lesson, I ask my students how they feel about what we just learned.  I quickly scan the room and make quick notes about those students who still need help with a particular topic.  

Click on the picture below to get your FREE Student Self-Assessment Posters.

For more back to school tips, check out Mrs. O "Know" Back to School post.
Mrs. O

Friday, August 1, 2014

Foldable Friday: Minorities of the American Revolution

As I have previously stated, our state test for social studies has very specific questions about people in US history. In an attempt to help my students remember them, I created these interactive foldable graphic organizers.

These interactive foldable graphic organizers and many more can be found in my People of the American Revolutions poster and graphic organizer set. Just click on the picture below to find it in my TpT store.

American Revolution Linky

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Classroom Organization: Mini Anchor Charts/Posters

I make posters for everything! I hang them in the front of my room for the students to use as a reference tool.  

They usually have some sort of information that they write on an interactive foldable graphic organizer that goes into their notebooks.

In this picture, my 6th graders are using the posters to work on their planet projects.

With all these posters I needed a better way to organize them.  I found these tubs at Staples on clearance. I used two of them for my colored paper organization and one for my posters.  They fit perfectly under the table that sits behind my desk.

I made a tab for each of our new strands in math (red - 6th grade and purple - 5th grade), the four different branches of science (green) and for social studies each of the tabs match my unit binders - see below (blue and white). Notice that I color coordinated the tabs and the folders. I had to hunt down a bunch of colored tabs, but I wanted them all the match. I'm anal, I know....

The social studies tabs match my unit binders and my foldable binder tabs (these are for my 5th grade social Studies resources).