Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Long Time No Blog!! Right?!

Oh. My. Goodness!! I have been so busy with...life...that I haven't been able to devote time to BLOG! Here it is a nutshell... My husband is currently deployed to Afghanistan. I have 2 small children, one just started kindergarten and the youngest is 8 months old. The oldest is in tackle football right now...practicing 4 days a week and games on Saturdays. (HOLY MOLY can I just tell you!) On top of all that, our state is unrolling a new evaluation system for teachers...TKES. It's a nightmare trying to meet all the documentation requirements and all the pre-assessment and post-assessment requirements Race to the Top as imposed. I feel like we've done nothing but assess our students for the last month! ("When do I get to TEACH?!" I say!) Webinars. Meetings on top of meetings. And meetings for EVERY. THING! Day by day we keep telling ourselves. Day. By. Day. I've also been SST-ing 3 of my students, started coaching my own grade-level team for our school's Technology Team, taken over for our lead faculty sponsor for Student Council while she's on maternity leave, AND I'm a sub for our after-school tutoring program!! Any way... so that's what's been happening. Everything basically. Ha! I love it all though, I promise. I'm insanely busy, but I'm productive and I really enjoy putting in all the time I am with our students. :) I'd like to make it up to you. So I'm sharing something new I just posted on TpT. I made it as a part of my unit on Ancient Greece. I have other stuff I'll be posting too...Notebook files, games, etc. PowerPoints. Activities. AND PROJECTS! My class just finished an awesome project as an alternative assessment for Social Studies. I'm also working on a project menu for the unit on heat. It's coming folks! Here's the link to my newbie on TpT...

Pre-K, Third - TeachersPayTeachers.com

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Marshmallow & Froot Loop Place Value

It is mid-week 3 now and things are getting going.  I've assessed my students in reading and in math.  Let's just say...YIKES!  So, I'm having to adapt a lot of the math plans I'm getting from my fellow grade-level team members.  We chose to begin with place value because we all were noticing that our students just didn't have any sense...number sense, that is!

Rather than doing a pencil and paper activity, I wanted to assess their place value knowledge thus far and give them another opportunity to manipulate and visualize those digits!  I hunted and hunted on Pinterest and TpT.  I googled.  I searched blogs.  Luckily, I came across a blog that had an activity for a lower elementary grade using marshmallows and Froot Loops cereal.  I loved it!  But it was too easy for my Terrific Thirds!  So... in true form, I adapted it and made my own materials and lesson plan for it to use it the way I wanted to.

I made the materials so I could display it in the hallway as well.  The work mat is blank with spaces to assess students' understanding of place value in a 4-digit number.  The recording sheet also assesses their understanding of rounding to the nearest 10.  The activity as a whole will give them practice in and assess their understanding of whole number v. digit, the value of a digit, place value, estimation, rounding, etc.

Here are the materials if you're interested!

Pre-K, Third - TeachersPayTeachers.com

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I survived the first week of school...will I survive the second?!

I haven't had TIME to blog!  Yes, school started last Monday and between figuring out my schedule, the school's schedule for where my class should be, and getting my students out of "vacay brain", I haven't had time to do much else.  I mean I actually stayed up til after 1 am on Thursday night and had to get up at 5 am on Friday morning!

Things are going...well, they're going.  I have it together, I do really.  I'm crazy organized and that helps A LOT!  However, it's the beginning of the year so all you teacher know that you struggle with some to get them in to gear and out of lazy summer mode.  AND there's all the testing!  DRA.  Star Reading. Star Math.  With specials twice a day 4 days out of the week, I'm barely getting ANY actual teaching done.  So far that is.

What I have noticed is that I am going to have to deal with some serious gaps in a couple of my students.  Which is concerning.  I have a great grade-level team and they have really helped with advice this week so far with all my questions about my concerns.  I am beginning to address, or preemptively address the issues I'm seeing just in case they really are issues and not just laziness!

On a good note,  I had my environment focus walk last week and our academic coach was impressed with my classroom and I was informed she would be taking pictures for a PD we will be having to help some others in our building to create a standards-based environment in their classrooms.  :)  AND all my hard work in my room has paid off!  I'm happy about that.  I take THAT as a compliment.

I'm working on some freebies I'll be posting soon.  Just give me some time here people!  Hopefully I'll have them up this weekend.  Much work to do, much work.

I hope everyone's back-to-school weeks are going beautifully.  Remember, we get to start anew every 9 months.  Each new class has the potential for being the best ever, a room full of bright stars and high achievers.  Expect the moon, dream to the stars and back with them, and show them you KNOW they can do it all!
With that said, I like to think that we actually get to "start over" each day.  After all, we all have bad days.  Some days our kids are just in "lala land".  Some days they are on fire, answering correctly left and right and mastering those standards!  Forget those "lala land days" and live for those "on fire" days.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

B&W Clip Chart-FREEBIE!

Another Back-To-School FREEBIE!
My classroom theme, well decor really, is black/white/red.  I love the concept of the “Rockin’ Behavior” clip chart with so many levels, but didn’t want the style. So I took the concept and made my own B&W version.    Here it is...snag it if you like it!

Pre-K, Third - TeachersPayTeachers.com

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ready or not...the first day of school is coming!

FINALLY, I can say...I'M READY!

That's right.  After a lot of hard work, I think my classroom is ready for my new students to enter early on Monday morning.  I worked all through pre-planning to finish the room and create some great first days activities for the first week of school.  My in-laws flew in to help me get the last minute stuff together and take my own child to his first day of kindergarten so, with their help, I was able to go in today and knock out the remaining little things.  Of course, there are always things to do.  But for the most part...

Here are some pictures of my room. I've gotten some great feedback so I hope you like it.
My Door  :)

Classroom from door
Classroom from back of room
iHelp job chart and clip chart

Lunch Bunch area
Writing Materials Center
Computer Center

Objectives/Essential Questions Board, Class Rules, and Class Daily Goal
Reading area
Word Wall
Focus Wall
Teacher's Desk

And I must brag about my NEW Scentsy warmer...I.love.it!

AND lastly...a FREEBIE coming up...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Twice in one day...oh my!

I had to blog again to share some more.


Remember earlier today I mentioned that focus wall??  Well, I made headers for it!  They can be used for the focus wall, objectives & essential questions and even your W.O.W. hall way displays.  I've made one for every content area, including every part of Common Core ELA.  I've made them in 4 different styles, all of which are included in the FREEBIE download on my TpT site.  I also must give credit where credit is due...the frames are all from The 3AM Teacher.  

Pre-K, Third - TeachersPayTeachers.com


Things are coming together.  Yes, pre-planning starts in two days, but Im still working and I'll be working in to pre-planning to be 100% ready for this school year.  See, I have this issue with doing things better than perfect.  I can't just throw something together or leave something for later.  I do everything until it's completely finished and to my standard.  And I have high standards.  So, I pay the price.  Yesterday, I worked all day on labels, dividers, a PowerPoint and getting my reader's notebook together.  However, I am happy to say I completed these tasks and have them here to share!

First, I wanted to share pictures of my upscaled ugly plastic laptop cart.  It was dingy and dirty and yucky when I entered my new room.  So I cleaned it, draped it in fabric, added ribbon on the edge and applied contact paper on the top to give it a new life.

Also, here is a picture of how I displayed my class rules...

My word wall which is right above where my focus wall will be for all our "We Can" statements, both organized and displayed by content area.  I made them dots to match my theme!  ;)

My writing materials center, "The Write Stuff".  

NOW to share my stuff!!  First up is my PowerPoint for introducing classroom expectations.  I've saved it in PDF format in Google Docs because the font I used will not transfer over in otherwise.  The version in Google Docs does not have my name on it. ;) You can bring it up on your interactive whiteboard and delete the slides you don't want or use it as a guide to create your own.