Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday Made It #4

I don't know about you, but I've been taking a long hard look at what motivates my students and how to best "reward" kids...without being gratuitous.  I have never been a fan of the "blanket compliment," since it downplays what your hardest workers do while giving an unearned compliment to your slackers.  It doesn't do much for the kids in the middle either.

With the sheer volume of testing, benchmarks, baselines, and all things data, I have a tough time keeping everything straight.  With that being said, I do want my fourth graders to help me out by being accountable and by keeping track of this data in a way that is tangible and fun. fun as data can be!

So enter...The Common Core Standards Rewards Ring!

This is a combination of two separate programs that have caught my eye in the last 30 days...

Spirit Monkey Spirit Sticks 

I love the Spirit Sticks, lanyards, keychains and other fun items at Spirit Monkey!  Click on the image to check out their blog or follow them on Facebook.  Their fun approach to student rewards really has me excited and I'm going to pitch their program to my new principal.   

There are also the "I Can..." cards that can be found at the Teachers Notebook and Teachers Pay Teachers stores.  My favorite is the fourth grade math set that is found at Twins-Teaching and Tacos.  Check out her store!  There are some sweet little freebies and the items that are for sale are 
R E A S O N A B L E !

There are other teachers with similar ideas out there...far too many to name...but they have great ideas as well!

Anywho...I designed the Common Core Standards Rewards Ring as a way for the fourth graders at my school to keep track of their progress throughout the year...a magical combination of motivating and useful at the same time!

Start with the 2-inch binder ring.  Any larger than the 2-inch ring and pony beads no longer fit.  If you aren't a pony beads sort of person, pay no attention to this and buy the BIG HONKIN' binder rings!  (I believe that is the industry term for them!)

The VIP All Access Pass and the CCSS Mastery Chips are available below if you want a jumping off point.  I personally believe everyone can do MUCH BETTER than these, but, if you are a little unmotivated or wishing to store up your artsy-craftsy mojo for a better project, then be my guest.

I designed the VIP pass to work with pre-scored business card templates...but I think circle tags would be super-cute as well.  I printed the CCSS Mastery Chips on white cardstock and then cut them out using a 1 1/2 inch square punch from my scrapbooking stash.  A quick hole punch and you have really useful chips that have a place to write in your CCSS # or identifier.  I figured that blanks would be easier to work with and your students could take responsibility for writing in the numbers if they'd like.

If you look closely, you'll see that I used a neon guitar motif here...our school is doing a Rockstar theme for the 2012-2013 school year, so these match up quite nicely.  I'd certainly try to get my motif to match my classroom or school theme if I could...

Click here to find the guidelines that my teaching buddy and I will use as guidelines for the CCSSRR (love that acronym...don't you?).  Personalize to make this fit you and your classroom!

Lastly, I put all of the beads and punched out stars (punched from glitter cardstock in star shapes for extra fun) in a great little organizer that will keep everything together.  You can write with a silver or gold marker on the back of these, so writing your student's MAP scores on the back will allow your students to view their scores and keep track of their progress, right on the CCSSRR!  

Remember...sharing is caring, so make one for your teaching buddy or grade level partner(s).  "The Wonderful Linda" will be getting a set too...if I can make 1 set, I can certainly make 2!  So make another set...You'll be glad you did!

Bonus Monday Make It...for the home!  

Last year, the World's Sweetest Husband took me to IKEA for a little shopping on our 20th wedding this!  We were looking at a great display of black and white photography that they had set up.  Awesome photo layout...but no instructions and no hardware available for purchase.  Just the idea beautifully displayed.

The frames cost less than $3.00 each, so I bought 6.  They sat in my studio for about a year before I pulled them out recently and filled the frames with black and white photos from our trip to Yellowstone last summer.  My sweetheart of a husband helped me to put this together with hooks and eyes and I hung it from a wrought iron curtain rod.  It is above our fireplace and it's the first thing you see when you walk into our house.  I love it!


  1. What a fun way to motivate and keep track:) Love this. We aren't rolling out Common Core until next year:( Love how fun you made them:)) Your pictures look awesome too! I love black and white pics:)) Thanks for linking up:))

    4th Grade Frolics

  2. Love your I can cards. I use brag tags but would love to use something like yours. You should make some 2nd grade common core (hint, hint)
    Great Stuff!

  3. WOW! Your CCSSRR set is a fantastic idea! I agree you should make some 2nd grade common core. Thanks!

  4. I love your I can cards. And I got some of the same frames. Hubby and I went to IKEA last week. I love that place!
    Mrs. Shelton’s Kindergarten

  5. Great ideas! We still have 1 more year before we go Common Core. So I should have time to get mine all set up for First Grade!

    I love the way you hung your pictures. It makes me want to redo mine, let me rephrase that, it makes me wish someone else would redo mine! lol

    Kelly @ I'm Not Your Grandpa, I'm Your Teacher

  6. I love this idea!!! I always see the knowledge tree or the pocket chart for little kids of what they have mastered like tying shoes or knowing ABC's....I always wanted to incorporate something for the bigger kids! I can't wait to start working on this!!! PERFECT! I have a question though, we are in TX and don't use CCMS - how do you determine if the Ss mastered that concept? Passed a test? Repeatedly gets that concept correct on assessments? Is it a 70 or better? I was just curious because I've a lot of checklists and wondered what they considered to be "mastery"

    And I love me some how your picture frames came out! Super cute! You should look into a blog called IKEA hack - they have tons of ideas to use with IKEA products.

    Thank you for the wonderful idea,
    The Sweet Life of Third Grade

    1. Hey Audrey!

      Wow! Lots of, loved IKEA Hack...shared with my friends who went there with me on Monday. Thanks!

      My teaching partner and I started the mastery piece last year on individual concepts in math. Our district report card is standards based at the elementary and it is currently being updated to reflect CCSS.

      Our kids were struggling with spiraled curriculum as it is taught in Everyday Math. What they were struggling with most was just nailing down individual concepts that were being introduced and then taught (not sure if this makes sense, but it is our reality).

      Anywho, we pulled isolated concepts out every Monday and shared with the students what they would know how to do by Thursday in mathematics. We then created what we called "Target Practice." It is a very short assessment (5-7 questions) on the isolated skill/standard/concept. A student who has mastered the concept should be able to do the entire test in 20 minutes with one or less wrong. This student would receive the chip.

      Students with 2 or 3 questions wrong needs more practice. They are getting closer to mastery, but not quite.

      4 wrong or more warrants more intensive teaching in a smaller group setting. These students were grouped for practice and intensive instruction on Friday along with their practicing counterparts.

      The teacher with the least amount of students needing practice obviously is the person who would teach the Friday group. The second teacher would take the top students for independent practice and enrichment.

      My partner and I also use observation, slate assessments and the like.

      In our opinion, true mastery is a 90%. We did, however also consider 85% to be acceptable in mastery. Less than A student at the 85-70% mark is really still "practicing" and doesn't have that skill down.

      Hope this helps...

      By the way...I started my teaching career for the Ysleta Independent School District in El Paso. Taught there 8 years and loved every second of it. One thing I miss...the Texas state standards. Very easy to commit to memory: 6 Reading and 13 Math! Loved that! Hope they remain user friendly!

  7. What a great idea!! I have a curtain rod with a wreath and picture frames hanging from it in my living room, too! I love it!
    Rowdy in Room 300

  8. I love your reward rings! Thanks so much for sharing!

    Delighted in Second
    Hope you will join my $20 TPT gift certificate giveaway!

    1. Already entered Jennifer! I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

  9. Love the common core reward rings! Such a great idea!

    Success in Second Grade

  10. I love your picture display. Looks amazing.


  11. The reward rings are a great idea! At my school we have award assemblies each quarter and some students who receive awards get a charm that can be collected on a necklace chain. The kids LOVE these and love adding to their collection! Good luck with your new system :)

    Polka Dots and Teaching Tots

  12. What a great idea! These are great!

    3rd Grade Sprinkles

  13. I love your pictures! Awesome. I'm one of your newest followers. I would love to have you come and visit my blog.

  14. I love the name of your blog and I love your pictures! I'm a new follower! Enjoy the rest of your summer!
    The Caffeinated Classroom

  15. I really LOVE your CCSS celebration ring idea here! I'm definitely going to be doing something similar to this! Thanks for the inspiration... :)

    Ramblings of a Deaf Ed Teacher's Mind...

  16. That is a great idea! I love discovering ways to allow the students to track their progress. I believe this gives more meaning to their learning!
    I am your newest follower.

    One Class, One Sound

  17. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  18. Great idea! We haven't gotten around to Common Core yet but you really can use this with any standards the kids reach!

  19. Love your ideas! Found you through the linky and am your newest follower!

    Teaching Maddeness

  20. Love your motivators! Your pictures/frames look FAB!

    1st Grade with Miss Snowden

  21. Such a cute idea! Thanks for sharing. I am your newest follower.

  22. I love the reward ring idea!
    The Idea Backpack

  23. I love this post! YOU are amazing and I am so happy to have found your blog! =)

    I have a post about changing saying "I like the way _____ is _____" to an "I notice_____________" statement. I know I learned in college to say the I like statement and now I know and understand that you are using a judgement statement I have changed what I say. It makes a HUGE difference. I would love for you to come read more about it.

    Heather's Heart

  24. I have been looking at different ways of using rewards. Thanks for sharing!
    That is the same thing I want to do with my photos. It looks great!
    ❀Beth Ann❀
    Taming My Flock of Firsties