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Teaching Kids Financial Literacy with the Money Confident Kids Program

By Kayla Shook, Texas Teaching Fanatic

This post is sponsored by T. Rowe Price. All opinions are my own.

Teaching kids about how to save money and spend wisely can be such a tricky subject. How do you get students to understand how their choices affect their everyday lives? How do you go about teaching good financial health? You turn to Money Confident Kids® by T. Rowe Price!

Through games, lessons, magazines, and interactive activities, your students can learn all about financial literacy in a FUN and engaging way. Whether you are a parent, an educator, or a kid, there are materials JUST RIGHT for you!

Talking about family finances with your child may feel daunting, but the good news is that every day brings new opportunities to teach your child about both the mechanics of money and the values that guide your choices.

In the Money Confident Kids magazine supplements, you will find lessons to use with your students to help you teach the importance of making well-informed financial decisions.

With the magazines, kids learn how to set financial goals and achieve them, creating life-long savers!

And for even more fun…my FAVORITE part…you have to check out the FREE Star Banks Adventure® game. Your child will go on a space adventure that teaches financial concepts in an engaging and fun way! Even I had fun setting goals, earning money, answering questions about financial health, and purchasing items during the game.

There are so many resources packed into this one website! And the best part about it…they’re FREE! So if you’re looking to expand your child’s financial health, you have to check out the Money Confident Kids program. You won’t be disappointed!

T. ROWE PRICE, STARBANKS ADVENTURE, AND MONEY CONFIDENT KIDS are trademarks of T. Rowe Price Group, Inc. Used with permission.

The post Teaching Kids Financial Literacy with the Money Confident Kids Program appeared first on Texas Teaching Fanatic.

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Texas Teaching Fanatic by Kayla Shook - 2M ago

Hey, y’all! I wanted to take a quick second to tell you about a resource I’ve been trying out. I recently received a copy of Mastery Education Measuring Up. I’ve enjoyed the rigor of the questioning, along with the variety of question formats.

Mastery Education presents Measuring Up 

Measuring Up helps students in grades 2-8 measure up to the English Language Arts and Mathematics Standards. It offers standards-based instruction to meet student needs, supplement your curriculum,  intervention, and more!

Measuring Up’s key benefits 

  • Introduce concepts by connecting what students will learn–> what they may already know–>real-world examples.
  • Provide key academic vocabulary in context.
  • Scaffold learning with guided instruction, questions, hints, and checklists at point of learning.
  • Apply learning independently with questions that prepare students for high-stakes assessments.
  • Measure mastery with Exit Tickets.
  • Motivate students to master the standards with checkpoints, hints, turn and talk, think about it and other prompts.

The  Teacher’s Edition offers:

  • Instruction to incorporate the real-world lesson goal
  • Differentiation for struggling, advanced, and English language learners
  • Scoring rubrics, checklists, and graphic organizers.

It really is a nice resource to help guide my kids. What I really love about it is that the stories and articles are pretty engaging. I’ve used the reading practice book, and the kids have responded very well to it.

The online tools are priceless! So many neat components…too many to list the ALL out for you. But you can create your own assessments with specific standards in mind, choose from assessments already created, share with your school, look at charts and graphs of your students’ data…SOOO much, y’all! You HAVE to check it out: Mastery Education Measuring Up.

I’ll be back soon!

Until next time…

The post Measuring Up appeared first on Texas Teaching Fanatic.

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Have you ever caught yourself thinking, How in the world am I supposed to conference with ALL my kids regularly? If not, you’re a ROCK STAR! And I certainly tip my hat to you.

If you’re like me, however, you’ve had this thought on an every day basis occasionally. You have a room full of kids and never enough time for anything.

Well, I’ve found a system that works really well for me, and you might just find that it’s easier than you think. #goals

First of all, we have to go back to that writing time issue. Kids MUST have time to write EVERY day…or dang near it. And the more they write across curriculum, the better writers they will become.

While we can’t control what happens in other classrooms, we can control what goes on in our own. Our students should be provided feedback in a timely manner in order to reflect on their mistakes and figure out a way to make their writing better.

Let’s take a 60 minute class and break it apart:

  • 5-10 min warm up
  • 10 minute mini lesson
  • 35-40 minutes Writer’s Workshop
  • 5 min share

Our focus today will be on the Writer’s Workshop piece because this is where I can get in lots of uninterrupted time with my students while they are in the process. If we are honoring our students’ writing time, they should get 35-40 minutes of writing almost every day. Occasionally you have to double up and teach a grammar lesson AND a craft lesson for writing, so you might take longer, but really 20 minutes at the very least!

During this sacred writing time, students are practicing both writing and grammar together. They’re writing! They are thinking about when to use capital letters and when to start a new paragraph. They are trying out new crafts and applying what they know about grammar to punctuate it correctly. They are manipulating sentences to see how they sound when the words are switched around. They are asking each other for suggestions of great vocabulary words or help with looking in the thesaurus. This is what real writing looks like in the classroom.

Real writing is how our kids learn both grammar and craft. They don’t learn by taking practice tests. They don’t learn with weekly memorized spelling lists. They learn by writing. Period.

But it is our responsibility as the teacher to help guide them along their journey. That’s where conferring comes in.

  1. Hold your students accountable. If you keep a clipboard handy with you, you can place a form on it that has all your students’ names and a place to write notes. I have a FREE chart in my TpT store that you can use if you like it. There are two options: 20 students or 25 students. This is what I use with my students. It’s simple but effective.
  2. Focus. Rather than picking the work apart, focus on a few things. A quick way to turn a student off to writing is to tell him that there are numerous things wrong with his paper. Instead, narrow in on one or two things the student should do to improve. This might include using commas when he is listing or remembering to capitalize I every time. Or it might be related to craft. He might need to focus on the clarity of his sentences or add an interesting introduction to capture his reader’s attention. We don’t have to separate writing and grammar. We can’t have one without the other, right?
  3. Be timely. You don’t have to spend 15 minutes with one student. If you’re following Tip #2 and focusing in rather than correcting the whole thing, it’s easier to finish conferences faster. I try to limit my conferences to 5 minutes or less. Some students need just a quick check in, while others need a little more…and sometimes a lot more help. But on average, I’d say I spend about 5 minutes. This is enough time to talk about what is working and what isn’t.
  4. Let the students do the talking. This is the hardest one for me. Rather than telling the students what improvements should be made to their writing, ask them what is working and where they feel they need to improve. The more we do this, the more our students are able to critique their own work and figure out where they can upgrade their papers and reflect on their successes. This builds better writers over all, and everything starts falling into place. When students don’t see their errors, use questioning to prompt them. Ask them to look back at a sentence or paragraph and find whatever they are missing or overusing or whatever the case is. Put the work back on them. Again, the more they practice this, the more self-sufficient they become.
  5. Students, PUT YOUR HANDS DOWN! Who else looks up to see 15 hands in the air? Oh. My. Goodness. This drives me nuts! We MUST train our students to keep writing, even when they “need” us. Many students just need a word spelled correctly or want you to tell them their work is “good.” The reality is: When the hand goes in the air, the writing ceases. Students become bored. They begin to talk. Behavior problems ensue. It’s a disaster all around. Teach routines for what to do when students are stuck. This will save you lots of sanity! Some things my students can do are: free write, reread old journal entries and add to them in some way (correcting errors, revising a sentence, adding an alternate ending, continuing a story), highlight words in their essay they could improve and use a thesaurus, grab a prompt and begin a new essay, find a book and look for examples of our grammar rules, or write down example sentences that follow grammar rules and post them next to our focus phrase (from Patterns of Power by Jeff Anderson), and sometimes they can practice with task cards or games once those expectations have been taught.
  6. Go to your students. Don’t ask your students to come to you. And don’t allow your students to form a line. The same principle applies from Tip #5 about behavior issues and boredom. Plus…let’s face it: If they’re standing in line…they aren’t writing. But they should be because this is our sacred writing time. During this time, we write. We don’t stand in lines. A healthy side effect of this is lower anxiety, so you win on this one, too. #trustme
  7. Stay positive. It is easy to get bogged down with conferences when you see that students are having a hard time, but it is crucial to stay positive. Your students are feeding off of your energy. Make sure it’s energy you want to have fill your room!

So…what do you think? Doable? It totally is. Will it take you a little bit to get into a smooth routine? You betcha! Anything new does, right? I beg you to give it a chance.

I know there are people out there who tell you to spend lots of time on grammar instruction and only 25% of your time on writing because that’s how the test is divided up. But this philosophy is so backwards! Students need time to write. Combine that with some mad conferencing skills that YOU possess, and you’ve got yourself some solid learning going on. And you’ll see their grammar skills improve right along with it. It’s a win-win!!

Is this something you do in your classroom daily? If so, what do you do that works well? Is there something I left out? We would all love to hear from you! Please share in the comments!

Until next time…

The post Conferring with Writers: An Essential Part of Writing Instruction appeared first on Texas Teaching Fanatic.

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Well, hello again! Welcome back to PD in your PJs! (The BEST kind, right?!)

Tonight I wanted to take a quick minute to talk a little about mini lessons. Not MAXI lessons…MINI lessons!

Just then, some of you chuckled because you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. You get teaching and just can’t stop. You planned a killer lesson…or so you thought. Your students start looking at you like you’re speaking Alien. You try to save it by explaining it again and again. You show lots and lots of examples. You do everything you know to do to turn those looks into something recognizable.

You don’t know when to shut up.

Yeah, I said it. And I can…because I have specialized in maxi lessons for a very long time. I know the feeling. If you know anything about me, you know I *big puffy heart* love to talk. Add some writing instruction in there and I can ramble talk for HOURS. Seriously.

But I learned my lesson the hard way with that. What’s the hard way? Oh, you know…kids floundering with grammar skills, not having a clue how to put new concepts to use, not understanding the structure to put together a piece of writing.

Does this sound familiar? Do you find yourself saying, “I have taught this whole group, in small groups, and one on one. I’ve collected so much data that I can give you data on my data. BUT THESE KIDS STILL JUST DON’T GET IT!!!!”?

This is common when you over teach.

And I know that you mean well. I know I did. I felt the more I taught, the more they would “get it.” Boy, was I wrong!!!

Kids need time to process and practice. #bottomline

The more we talk, the less time students have to put those skills and concepts into practice. Rather than filling the void with more instruction, try giving back time to your kids. To think. To plan. To process. To write.

If you love your kids (and I know you do…or why else would you be reading blogs during your coveted “time off?”), don’t take up their valuable time. Instead, provide a quick mini lesson and let them practice!

Now…if you’re like me and know you’re the world’s worst time keeper not so great at keeping time, set yourself a timer. Give yourself 10 minutes…15 minutes MAX on rare occasions…to explain the concept, and then give your kids as much time as possible to implement what you just covered and practice things you’ve gone over previously.

Yes, this means that many times, it will take you more than one day to complete the lesson cycle. You won’t get it all done in one day. Because 10 minutes is like..NO TIME AT ALL! It gives me anxiety thinking about it. But it is seriously a MUST if you want your kids to excel.

Yes, this also means that many of your students will NOT be able to implement right away. BUT…would they be able to implement if you had spent 30 or 45 minutes on it? Probably not. Their attention spans don’t last that long anyway. You lost them a long time ago.

The more time you give your kids to practice, the better they will get. Don’t we always say that? Practice makes perfect. So why do we think our kids can *truly* understand something without giving them time to put it into practice?

Let me remind you…I’m speaking from my own experience and mistakes. I’m NOT pointing fingers. This is a touchy subject for me because I find myself wanting to explain just a little bit more and a little bit more until I’ve taken up so much of our time that we have 10 minutes to practice. And it’s just not enough time. If there was a trophy for maxi lessons, I would win it, y’all! This is where I jump on the #strugglebus.

But with my handy dandy timer, I can do it. And YOU can, too!

Soooooo…what exactly are my students doing for the remainder of class? They’re writing. They’re practicing using their skills, both old and new. They’re conferencing with me or a peer. They’re learning to go back and add details to their writing. They’re grappling with when to use your or you’re. They’re all working at a level in which they understand and can be successful.

Because, you see…if our kiddos can’t figure it out in their OWN writing, they can’t revise or edit someone else’s writing. If your kids aren’t USING commas, chances are, they don’t even see them in others’ writing…and they definitely don’t understand their purpose. Sure, they might get lucky and choose the right answer on a multiple choice question, but that doesn’t teach them anything about commas. Give them time to purposefully use them, and they’ll have a much higher success rate.

Trust me. I’ve been on both sides of this. And I’ve seen MUCH bigger gains when I quit talking so much and give that time back to my kids. #itworks

I want you to ask yourself: Am I talking too much? Am I giving my students every possible second to practice in an authentic way? Could my students’ lack of writing time possibly correlate with their scores?

If you’re uncomfortable with the way you answered any of those, welcome to the club! These are things that may be hard to admit, but the first step to overcoming a problem is admitting you have one…right?! Haha. Y’all…I’ve had these hard conversations. And I admit…I’ve had this problem, too. I will ALWAYS fight this…because it’s just part of who I am. But now I’m AWARE of the issue, and I have a plan of action to overcome it! (That timer, remember?!)

Do you have other ways to help keep you on track? Is there something that you’ve found works well for you and your kids? Please let us know in the comments!

Up next: I’ll be discussing conferring with writers…a topic that brings a lot of panic to many teachers out there. You’ll notice some overlap in my posts because let’s face it…we can’t draw lines in the sand when we talk about the different parts of Writer’s Workshop. It all melds together. One thing supports another!

Thanks for sticking around. I appreciate all of you who stop by and read or comment or just think about writing and how you can be your best self for your kids. It means the world to me.

Until next time…

The post No More MAXI Lessons! appeared first on Texas Teaching Fanatic.

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Texas Teaching Fanatic by Kayla Shook - 6M ago

Hey, y’all! I wanted to take a quick second to tell you about a resource I’ve been trying out. I recently received a copy of Mastery Education Measuring Up. I’ve enjoyed the rigor of the questioning, along with the variety of question formats.

Mastery Education presents Measuring Up 

Measuring Up helps students in grades 2-8 measure up to the English Language Arts and Mathematics Standards. It offers standards-based instruction to meet student needs, supplement your curriculum,  intervention, and more!

Measuring Up’s key benefits 

  • Introduce concepts by connecting what students will learn–> what they may already know–>real-world examples.
  • Provide key academic vocabulary in context.
  • Scaffold learning with guided instruction, questions, hints, and checklists at point of learning.
  • Apply learning independently with questions that prepare students for high-stakes assessments.
  • Measure mastery with Exit Tickets.
  • Motivate students to master the standards with checkpoints, hints, turn and talk, think about it and other prompts.

The  Teacher’s Edition offers:

  • Instruction to incorporate the real-world lesson goal
  • Differentiation for struggling, advanced, and English language learners
  • Scoring rubrics, checklists, and graphic organizers.

It really is a nice resource to help guide my kids. What I really love about it is that the stories and articles are pretty engaging. I’ve used the reading practice book, and the kids have responded very well to it.

The online tools are priceless! So many neat components…too many to list the ALL out for you. But you can create your own assessments with specific standards in mind, choose from assessments already created, share with your school, look at charts and graphs of your students’ data…SOOO much, y’all! You HAVE to check it out: Mastery Education Measuring Up.

I’ll be back soon!

Until next time…

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