Saturday, August 18, 2012

Common Core Binders Times Two

This year, we are trying something a little different:
We are using Common Core Binders!

What is a Common Core Binder, you ask?
Well, it is a combination of a Common Core Notebook and a Portfolio!

For our umbrella school that we file through in Florida, starting in Grade 3, it is suggested that we keep and submit a portfolio of our child's work. Originally, was going to do much as we have done in previous years, and just do a portfolio where we save work samples and such.
But then, had seen some really neat Common Core Notebooks on Teachers Pay Teachers and thought "Hey, why not integrate these into the boys' portfolios"?
Bought one Common Core Notebook for Grade 3 from Yvonne Dixon and let me tell you, it is a treasure trove of very well thought out materials, complete with cute graphics! LOVE IT!!!

Some of my favorite features:
Yvonne has created labels for adults to use that list each specific Common Core, so that as a child does a project, you can just peel and stick a label right to the project. Best idea ever!
She also created a set that is similar to the labels, but is meant for a child to use, for them to cut and glue onto their work that demonstrates mastery of a particular skill.
Also awesome to give kids a set that they can cut and can add to their own work. Really teaches a child to become responsible for their learning.
There are sheets that get a child to think in terms of Essential Questions and for them to kind of walk through what they have learned while completing a project.
Plus, Yvonne has specific icons for each section of the Common Core Notebook, so it gets children thinking in terms of the interconnectedness of their learning.
Very visually appealing and wonderfully organized!
Tweaked it slightly for the homeschooling use:
Reduced some of the page sizes and printed what I felt would be most useful for our needs, tweaked a few sheets for homeschooling*,  and then, made color coded sections and added them to a binder for Big Bro.
(*For example, the conference forms will work great for end of the year sharing forms for homeschool co-ops).
We will also add in photos of notebook pages and lapbooks that we create throughout the year. But since this Common Core Binder is something that we will be submitting as an end of the year portfolio, it will not have the originals, but either photos or scanned copies of his work.
At some point in our homeschool year, there will be scanned notebook pages in this Common Core Binder too...
We are getting more and more into notebooking, with a huge shout-out to Jimmie, who has been my notebooking mentor. I LOVE how she and her daughter, Sprite, have done their notebooks and lapbooks and really am inspired by her way she homeschools.

Also bought a pack of Homework / Morning Work Mini Helpers from another TpT seller, Nichole Leib, and added them in a folder in the front of the Common Core Binder. Nichole has done a great job making something that is quick and easy to integrate into the daily routine.
The idea for the Homework  / Morning Work Mini Helpers is that they can be used as either homework or else as morning seat work for a child in a public school classroom. We are really digging using them here!

Again, tweaked these for homeschool use: 
Reduced the paper size and fit two sheets per page.  Placed them inside a folder and then, have the days color coded and add additional notes on the back side of the weekly sheets.
These Homework  / Morning Work Mini Helpers do not include something for Fridays or Saturdays, so when we choose to have homeschool on Fridays and Saturdays, I can just add the information to the back of these sheets.
What we are using these for is a very quick check to see if there is anything that is expected of a third grader that we have not addressed through our child-led, Montessori inspired learning, including such topics such as Roman numerals, expanded form math problems, various types of poetry, and such.

Now, each morning, Big Bro gets out his Common Core Binder, cranks through the Homework  / Morning Work Mini Helper and then, chooses one area from his Common Core Notebook sections to be his "Today's Focus" for a few minutes.
To keep it interesting, he has colorful strips of paper that correlate with the colors in the binder. Each color represents a different section in the binder. He pulls the color out of the bag and then, does something in his Common Core Notebook section that correlates with that color.
Very quick, organized, simple, and focused.
It is working beautifully for him and for me to help him to learn to keep track of his work samples and to prepare for the standardized testing that he will have to do come this Spring.
After this little Common Core Binder time, he then gets started with what we normally do with child led, Montessori inspired learning. For us, the routine here is that the boys always pick their first morning work the night before and have it all laid out and ready to go.
Sometimes, they work as they eat breakfast, sometimes, they work and then eat, and sometimes, they eat and then, they do their first morning work. It is very fluid, with just enough structure that it seems to work very well for them.
Sometime during this morning period, they get dressed and wash up for the day. They also play with their bunnies and their dog, and they help make their beds and help with kitchen chores, etc.
it all just seems to flow very naturally and all seems to work well for us here.

For Little Bro, instead of buying an entire Common Core Notebook, I printed out a few freebies and created a scaled down version of a Common Core Binder for him.
Although I just loved all that Yvonne has put together for the Common Core Notebooks and think that the one for Grade 1 would be just as awesome as what I bought from her for Grade 3, we do not need as intensive of a paper trail for Little Bro. Think that in a public school setting that any first grade teacher would just love what Yvonne has made for First Grade and would be able to use all of it in the classroom setting. For Grade 1 in our homeschool, we do not need to have quite as much documentation related to Common Core, but there very well might be states where homeschool families will need this much detail and then, Yvonne's Grade 1 Common Core will knock the ball out of the park!
Since Little Bro has a few extra things to address that aren't Common Core, namely speech and hearing stuff, just kind of made a hodge-podge of what I felt he needs...
To be consistent and for Little Bro to feel like a bigger boy too, I made him a smaller Common Core Binder. His has specific goals for speech and other things not part of the Common Core, such as the Montessori forms for the first year in 6-9.
Bought Little Bro the Homework  / Morning Work Mini Helpers for First Grade, so that he and Big Bro would have the same sort of start to their day. But am very familiar with what is expected of a first grader, as I had taught first grade back in the day. (Had actually taught third grade for one year, too, but then, everything was all aligned to state specific standards...).
What I love about Little Bro's smaller Common Core Binder is that it gives me a place to track how he is doing with his speech progress.

Also found some adorable pages that show the language arts themes made by Tiny Treasures By Teacher Tava that are addressed in Common Core for First Grade.
These include: 
  • Alphabet Books and Children Who Use Them
  • The Amazing Animal World
  • Life Lessons
  • Winds of Change
  • American Contributions
  • Around the World with a Glass Slipper

So Little Bro's Common Core Binder has sections for each of these.
The way that Common Core has these laid out is that there are suggested pacing guides for a particular number of weeks, generally six weeks per theme. We don't do things this way, as we focus more on what the boys are passionate about learning, but we most likely will get to these themes in some shape or form at some point through the we do, Little Bro will have a place to keep track of his themed work.

As we read a book together or as he reads independently, all throughout this year, and as we do a variety of hands on, child led projects, if they happen to fit in with these themes, then they will be either photographed and the photos will appear in these sections or else if it is something on paper, will scan what they have done and will add a scanned version of what he has done to the appropriate section(s).

Also, found some neat Common Core Standards Monster Theme Posters that are available thru TpT for free from Creative Classroom A to Z
Steve Gipson has some really neat materials through his Creative Classroom A to Z store on Teachers Pay Teachers. what is especially nice is that he has all kinds of different themes for portfolios.
The monster themed posters really appealed to my boys, plus we had some leftover Valentines that had similar sorts of cute monsters on them, so for the random pages in Little Bro's book, I printed out some of these sheets and gave him some of the leftover Valentines for him to decorate his binder.

Am so excited to have these Common Core Binders to keep track of their various projects and think that they both will have very interactive, colorful, and organized portfolios this year!

Here are some photos, in case you would like to see how the boys' Common Core Binders have started to take shape:

What do you do for your portfolios for your children?
Do you plan to tie them into the Common Core?
If you are in a public or private school classroom, how do your keep track of these standards for your students?
If you have anything that ties in with portfolios or Common Core and you would like to share, please feel free to leave a comment and a link if you have written any sort of post to go with these, or if you have something neat to sell related to portfolios and / or Common Core and would like to mention them to everyone.
Also, just added the Common Core app to my blog, so if you look on the right hand side, you will see it. Think that it will be helpful to those who are trying to figure out Common core and how it relates to homeschooling as well as the classroom.

Have been very happy with what I have purchased through Teachers Pay Teachers and was not asked by anyone to do reviews on these materials, just wanted to share with my readers what we have either purchased or downloaded and how we are using the materials within the scope of homeschooling. Feel so blessed to have found so many awesome free and reasonably priced materials through the various TpT stores, so a huge shout-out to Teachers Pay Teachers!


Who's On First? said...

Thank you so much for blogging about my homework and homework helper! You are the first person to blog about one of my products! You have no idea how excited I am! ~Nichole :-)

Who's On First? said...

Colleen, I just saw your comment on my blog about donors choose...I intentionally didn't post the link for my project because I didn't want my followers to think that I only used my blog for selling my products and asking for money. I hope people find my blog helpful as well. I am your newest follower by the way.
~Nichole :-

Yvonne Dixon said...

This is fabulous Colleen! I LOVE how this all works for you and hopefully other homeschool families can use these resources as well. THANK YOU for posting my notebooks and for all of your great comments! You are amazing.-Yvonne :)Sassy in Second

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