September 22, 2017

Weekly Recap - The Bad and the Good

Here's a quick recap of my week, starting with the Bad but ending with a positive note on the Good.

1.  Grading - On one hand I can say that I have been very good at keeping up with my grading this year.  This would be under The Good category if it wasn't for the second part - putting the grades into our online grade book.  I may have waited until the last minute to put all my grades in this week (last night since progress reports went home today).  Oops...maybe now that I am up-to-date I will keep up with this.  Maybe I am kidding myself and that will never happen! 😃

2.  Being Blindsided - I was very annoyed this week when an aide came to watch my class while I went to an IEP meeting.  This in itself is not bad. However, I was not told of the meeting ahead of time, so I had to scramble to get work the aide could do with my students.  Then in the meeting there was a discussion of comments the student had made the day before that no one told me about.  While the comments were not about anything in my control, they were something I should have known about.  Long story short, I was very annoyed and totally blindsided by the entire experience! I also felt like an idiot! 😡

1.  Donors Choose - Now I didn't get anything funded this week, I did, however, get my thank you packages completed for two different projects.  That's always a huge task, one that I am extremely grateful is done!  (Side Note - While it is time consuming, Donors Choose is definitely worth it!  I highly recommend using them!)

2.   Writers - My class has become OBSESSED with writing their own books!  It makes me happy to see them so engaged.  They are collaborating with each other.  Sometimes one student will write the book while the other illustrates it. Other students have created gimmicks for their stories.  My favorite one was the boy that taped a Sonic the Hedgehog toy to his book about Sonic just because books should come with toys.  My students are constantly trading their stories and writing them anytime they have a free moment.

Just a few of the many books!

3.  Task Cards - We have used task cards already a couple of times.  This week we used them to play Scoot.  I set the task cards around the classroom and my students got to "scoot" from card to card.  It was hilarious watching them.  They got to crawl around the floor which made them happy.  Completing the cards, they were quiet and focused.  It was amazing!  Therefore I have gotten busy creating more task cards this week with a bunch of skills we are working on (more to come).  Click on any pics below to see some task cards that are ready to go.

October Task Card Bundle - 2 and 3 Addition Without Regrouping

So...How was your week?  
What were your good and bad moments?

September 19, 2017

Show and Tell Tuesday - September

Ever since my former student, Reilly, came to visit my class and told them about creating books as a third grader, my students have been obsessed with writing their own books!  I had to create time for them to share them with each other. I love how excited they are to write! (By the way: this story is about superheroes looking for someone to join their super group.)

Today was Talk Like a Pirate Day!  We did a ton of fun (but educational) activities to celebrate.  Scoot was a hit!  The students traveled around the room answering pirate themed addition problems.  One girl said it was like we were going on a treasure hunt!

We have to have lock down shades for our door.  One teacher made curtains for her room a couple of years ago.  This summer, I found fabric that went well with my pirate theme and made my own!  It looks so much nicer than the ugly paper roll taped up to the window.  Check out all my pirate theme HERE.

Not going to lie - I have become a super anal teacher when it comes to organization.  My classroom is looking fabulous! One of my favorite ways to organize is their mailboxes.  I took large binder clips and labeled them with my label maker. My label maker has become my favorite toy!

September 16, 2017

Bringing Kindness Into Your Classroom

This past week has been a difficult one - the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma as well as the anniversary of 9/11.  This past year has also brought more violence in the US.  With this in mind, I want to share how important it is to bring Kindness Into Your Classroom.

Disclaimer - This post contains some affiliate links.

Morning Meeting

This is a great time to gather together and build a classroom community. Students share with each other.  Their backgrounds can be vastly different.  It's amazing how students come together and learn to be kind.

This book helped me create a Morning Meeting that worked for our class.

Read Alouds

Sometimes a picture book is all it takes to open up conversations and spark new ideas.  Below are some of my favorites.

             This boy learns that                     Gets students to think about                     enemies can become friends.                how they treat others.

                    Kid President is an                             We are all different.
                amazing role model!                This book embraces the differences.

Other Resources

Infographic - This was provided by Marino Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram.  Please use it to show your students how Little Acts of Kindness can make a big difference!

Videos/Websites - Check out these websites and videos for your classroom.

Kid President - I highly encourage showing any/all of his videos.  The one I linked you to is but the 20 Things We Should Say More Often.

Storyline Online - This is another one of my favorite resources.  This one has Camryn Manheim reading Enemy Pie.

World of Wonder - This website shares so much more information to use when teaching Wonder to your students.  There is even a spot to become a Certified Kind Classroom.

Free Rice - Teach your students the benefit of helping others by answering questions.  For every question they get correct, 10 grains of rice are donating to a needy country.

Random Acts of Kindness - This website is a huge resource for lesson plans, worksheets, and posters to teach kindness to your students. (Free to sign up.)

How do you bring KINDNESS into your classroom?

September 15, 2017

Weekly Recap - The Bad and the Good

Week number 4 is in the books.  Here's a quick recap of my week.

Disclaimer: There are some links to affiliate links below.

Don't hate me, but my week was okay.  There isn't anything bad that necessarily happened at school (or I blocked it out if it did happen).  

The bad thing that did happen was very sad. I made myself a Chai Latte with my Keurig to take to school.  Halfway to school, I realized I didn't have my cup with me.  This in itself was sad.  The awful part was when I got home, I couldn't find my cup on the counter.  It must have flown off the roof of my car on the drive to school or was accidentally thrown out by me taking the garbage out in the morning.  I have no idea what happened to it.  

I know - Boohoo. Right? 😭 You would be devastated too if it was your favorite cup!

A moment of mourning please!  This was the best mug (in my favorite color), because I could drop it repeatedly (which my butterfingers tend to do) and it wouldn't even spill!  The Chai Latte was like fall in a mug. Oh well, new ones are on order - thanks Amazon Prime!

1.  Fabulous Coworkers - This week I got a cupcake in my mailbox and had wonderful coworkers make copies for me and get materials for an activity. I love how well our team works together!  (Side note - This also explains the dream I had where my entire team asked to move to Kindergarten together.  At least we stayed together! Thankfully, this was only a dream!)

2.  Open House - I had the biggest attendance at Open House this week - 6 families.  This is HUGE for me.  Last year, I only had 1 family.  The parents were very supportive.  One mom made me so happy.  She told me that her son has developed a love of reading since being in my classroom!

3.  Morning Reading Tubs and Afternoon Math Tubs - This is a new routine for me.  I am pleased at how well these are going.  They are fun but educational!

Race the Fidget Spinner - Finally, a good use for them!

Place Value Task Cards - I love these leveled task cards.  Students can differentiate their own work.  They choose the level that is appropriate for them.

September 9, 2017

Week Recap - The Bad and the Good

Week of 9/8/17

With a new school year, I am trying lots of new things!  At the end of the each week, I will share some memorable moments - The Bad and The Good!

Not everything can go as planned!

1. Testing! - This was our third week of school.  I am still testing! I still have individual Lexile testing to do with my entire class. Only problem is that I do not have a proper leveling kit for my class. We are a third-fifth grade building, so we were given a kit for reading levels K-Z.  Unfortunately, level K is too high for my students. I have mandatory testing to complete but improper tools to do this. Oh well, at least whole group testing is finally over.  Maybe I can finally start teaching...

2.  Behavior Issue - I have one girl that is openly defiant.  We are working on it, but I still want to rip my hair out! Our social worker came to observe her and will start seeing her.  I have a dialogue journal with this girl as well.  It's a work in progress.  Two steps forward, one step back.

Okay! Enough negativity! I want to end with some positives!

All is right with the world!

1.  Reading Grant - I was one of the winners of the James Patterson Scholastic Grants!  This means I get $500 and 500 points!  I have already asked my students what sort of books they want.  The list is long and includes Captain Underpants and Minecraft.  I can't keep these books in my library,

Grant for my classroom!

2.  Flashlight Friday - I started this last year and LOVE it!  I pass out the flashlights and we spread out around the classroom and read.  I got most of my flashlights free from Harbor Freight.  They have coupons all the time for free ones.  Luckily my dad loves going there and gets them for me!

Instills the love of reading!

3.  Apple Experiment - I love to do this experiment every year, because it teaches students the importance of washing their hands!  All you need is an apple and 2 plastic bags.  Cut the apple in half. Place one half, untouched, in one bag.  Pass the other apple around the room letting all students touch it. (Best done after recess!) Observe the apples over the next week.

Keeps germs away!

4.  A Visit from Reilly - My former student, Reilly, surprised me with a visit this week.  He read his book to my students and raced them all at recess!  My students LOVE him!  They are so motivated to want to write books like him! I was stapling papers left and right to create books for them.

His book was a hit!

Yes some bad things happened, but some amazing things happened as well!  All in all, it was a great week! I am looking forward to more great ones!

Resources for You
Disclaimer: These are my affiliate links.

Finger Flashlights - My students love these because they are different colors. The light from them is also less distracting.

Reilly's Book - In it, he focuses on all that needs to be done in order to be the best football player he can be.  There is an emphasis on working hard in school and doing homework!

Back to School Resource Packet

This has the apple experiment in it.