Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Slice of Life Tuesday

Summer Break or Is It?

Summer started out with a heat wave for me.  Our air conditioning went down on Friday night.  The repair man wasn't able to look at it until today!  The temperature inside the house was 92 degrees at one point.  I couldn't take it anymore and I convinced my husband that we had to get a hotel room.  I really didn't envision my break to start out like that.  Luckily for us, the repair was simple and not too costly.  So now on to break, right?

I WISH!!  I don't think the general population realizes what summer is really like for a teacher.  As I have taken on a role outside of the classroom, I have a slightly different experience, but my summers as a classroom teacher were not free vacation.  When I was a classroom teacher, I used the summers to:
  1. write lesson plans (which includes researching the topic, seeing what other teachers tried, adapting their activities for my students, figuring out how to differentiate the lesson
  2. reorganize (or re-write) my pacing guides using the notes I took over the school year
  3. attend at least 60 hours of professional development (usually took over 100 hours of PD to keep my skills up to date and find better ways to implement instruction)
  4. keep up date on the young adult literature (this is actually one of the best parts as I got to read, read, read)
  5. organize and decorate my classroom so students feel welcomed
  6. read professional texts that I didn't have to get to during the school year (again in an effort to find better ways to help my students learn
 In my current role outside of the classroom, I still do all of those things but now I have an extended contract which means I work 25 more days that a classroom teacher.  However, the 25 days is not enough to get everything done, so I still have to work on that "time off":
  1. data analysis (look at the state benchmark test results to find our strengths and weaknesses, look at various end of the year tests to see how those results are correlated to our state test, do they show the same strengths and weaknesses)
  2. using the data, find strategies that my teachers can use during the year to strengthen our weaknesses (research, research, research)
  3. provide professional development to my teachers that is targeted to what our students need
  4. organize and decorate our professional development room so it is welcoming and functional for teachers
  5. write lesson plans that my teachers can use in their classrooms
  6. participate in book studies (I am very excited about an online one that is coming up on Daily 5/CAFE.) which goes back to #2
I know I am probably preaching to the choir because the people who read my blog are teachers.  I want you to know that I appreciate all of the personal time you give up to help your students and be the best teacher you can be.  You are the BEST!!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pete and His Groovy Buttons

The end of the school year has come and this year's ending was bittersweet.  Honestly, I am very much in need of a break, but part of me is also sad because one of my third grade teachers had to be riffed (reduced in force because of a declining school enrollment).  I worked with a fabulous group of teachers this year as a master teacher.  They made my transition from middle school (4th-7th) to elementary (PK-3rd grade) easy and fun.  This week I received a fabulous present and thank you card from one of my kindergarten teachers.

ten frame, picture book, linky party, math, activity, teaching resource, elementary, subtraction

thank you card

Her thank you note made me tear up.  Most of the teachers I work with have been teaching longer than I have they but don't hold that against me when I introduce new ideas for them to try in their classrooms.  They have been open with me and willingly tried anything I asked of them.

Pete the Cat is one of my favorite series in the picture book world.  I used the original book with my first graders this year and they loved it!  During one of our weekly teacher meetings, I had the teachers listen to the original song as I turned the pages of the first Pete the Cat book.

Each Pete book comes with a link to the author singing the words to the book, and the new book is no exception.  In this new installment, Pete is losing the buttons on his shirt.  Will he get upset; will he cry?  Find out by reading this wonderful book to your students.

This book is a fabulous interactive read aloud because the students can participate by answer the question: "How many buttons are left?"  The message in this book is also a great discussion starter:  "I guess it simply goes to show that stuff will come and stuff will go.  But do we cry?  Goodness, NO!  We keep on singing."

Here is the YouTube video preview for the book, so you can get a taste of the song:

If you can't see the video, click HERE.

The next video is an interview with the illustrator of the book:

If you can't see the video, click HERE.

I have two resources to share with you to incorporate this wonderful book into your math block.  The first is from Learning with Mrs. Parker.  She shares a free subtraction word problem handout.  The handout has a fill in the blank word problem that corresponds to the book:  "Pete the Cat has __ buttons.  ___ popped off.  How many does he have left."  I recommend laminating this and putting it into a math workstation.  The students can work in pairs:  one student fills in the blank with numbers and the second student writes the number sentence and creates a drawing to show what is happening in the problem.  Then the students switch place.  You could also give each student their own and have them do a problem created by you or create their own problem and solve.   Jump on over to her blog to download the free file and see an example of the completed sheet by clicking on her blog button below.

Learning with Mrs Parker

The second resource comes from Mrs. Miner's Monkey Business.  I first found this resource on Classroom Freebies.  Krissy provides a cute ten frame to use when solving math problems.  She includes a 5, 10, and double 10 frame for your students to use.  Get your free ten frame by clicking on the Classroom Freebie button below.

Classroom freebies

Looking for more great picture books with matching activities?  There are two book linky parties going on right now.  Don't miss either one!!  First up is Kindergarten Lifestyle's Picture Book Party.

 The second party is at Run! Miss Nelson's Got the Camera for All Time Favorite Read Alouds.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Favorite Things Sunday

teaching resources, differentiated reading, Bloom's taxonomy, writing

Glad that you have joined me!  Every Sunday I share some of the best ideas I have found throughout the week

Differentiated Reading
As a busy teacher, I am always on the look out for materials that are differentiated but most of the things I find are more "easy to differentiate" rather than "differentiated."  What is the difference?  A Differentiated Kindergarten explains and gives you the resources you need to implement differentiation in your classroom.  In her "Differentiated Reading" blog post she details how she uses Mrs. Miner's Monkey Business Readers to differentiate for her students.  Click on her blog button below to read all about it.

Are You My Mother?
Being honest, the first thing that comes to mind when I hear "Are you my mother?" is a first season episode of Doctor Who called "The Empty Child" where one of the characters repeatedly asks "Are you my mummy?"  As that has nothing to do with teaching, the very next thing that comes to mind is Mother's Day.  I found a really cute idea from An Open Door where the students write about their mothers but don't name them.  She then creates a bulletin board with the writing.  Go check it out by clicking the image below.  File in your idea cabinet for next year.  I pinned it so I can come back to it next year.

Flipping Bloom's
Shelley Wright starts out her article on "Flipping Bloom's Taxonomy" with this statement:  "
I think the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy is wrong."  That really caught my attention.  Bloom's was talked about in every education class I ever took (bachelor's and master's).  There has been a revised Bloom's published, but Shelley turns Bloom's upside down.  After reading the whole article, I look at Bloom's in a new way.  I am going to use the article during our weekly teacher meetings next year as a discussion starter.  Click the image below to see how Shelley Wright flipped Bloom's.

I hope you have enjoyed "A Few of My Favorite Things" and come back each Sunday to see what other fabulous finds I have gathered for your enjoyment and to add to your resources. 

Leave a comment and let's talk about flipping Bloom's and the implications this has in your classroom.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Favorite Things Sunday on Monday

Glad that you have joined me!  Every Sunday I share some of the best ideas I have found throughout the week.  Because I already posted on Sunday to share my teacher appreciation sale finds, I thought you wouldn't mind me sharing my regular Sunday post on Monday.

Reversible Tic-Tac-Toe and Hopscotch Mat
I found Teach Beside Me on We Teach when she shared how she made a reversible tic-tac-toe/hopscotch mat.  I feel in love with this mat and immediately thought of the possibilities of using it in my classroom.  You need to click on her button below and take a look at her pictures (I have it where it will open in a different window).  Then come back here.  You are not going?  Go!

Teach Beside Me

Now that you are you back, isn't it great?!  I am thinking that it would be great for centers and review games.  I am thinking that I could put some kind of plastic in the middle, so I could put sight word cards, answers to questions, etc.  Inside recess is the bane of most teachers.  Hopscotch is now possible even on rainy days.  When recess is over, the mat can be rolled up and stored easily.  I don't know how to sew, but I have a fabulous friend who does.  I am getting the materials and she is going to work on it this summer for me.  I can't wait to use it next year.

What is differentiation?  Is it overwhelming?  Need some help?  A Differentiated Kindergarten had a great guest post at Mrs. Miner's Kindergarten Monkey Business about differentiation that breaks down the process in easy to understand and implement steps.  She also included a freebie for addition to get you started in differentiating your activities.

Mrs. Miner's monkey business

Math Pictionary
Have a few minutes before it is time to go to lunch, recess, or specials/activity?  Use Math Pictionary to engage your students in fun and math.  Go check our Math Coach's Corner.  She describes this fantastic game she saw in one of her teachers' classrooms.  She also shares a couple of math anchor charts that showcase student learning.

I hope you have enjoyed "A Few of My Favorite Things" and come back each Sunday to see what other fabulous finds I have gathered for your enjoyment and to add to your resources.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Look at What I Got

Sales are on my top ten list of favorite things.  Teachers Pay Teachers recently had a three day sale in honor of Teacher Appreciation.  Erica Bohrer's First Grade had a great idea to share what was purchased during that time.  Here are the wonderful things that I bought during that time.  Each picture is a link to the item.  Click away!

I had previously bought MVP in Math for grades 3-8 because I was looking for ways to incorporate the Common Core mathematical practices more explicitly in third grade in preparation for implementing Common Core next year.  I was so excited to see that Math and Science with TLC made a K-2 version, so I HAD to have it!

Next year, I am going to work on more journal writing and wanted a better way to keep up with my students' writing portfolio.  Found great ideas for both of those!  Erin Wing from Small Types has some fantastic A-Z writing prompts and Writing Center ideas that I am excited to use next year.  When I was looking through what others had bought at the teacher appreciation sale, I found Hope King's Writing Portfolio idea. 

Mo Willems is my FAVORITE author/illustrator.  I have almost of his books.  I am working on the Elephant and Piggie series...don't have all of them yet.  I am using Hope Kings' Knuffle Bunny ideas on Monday for what I am calling "A Day with Mo."  Next year I will use Sarah Cooley's Pigeon Perfect ideas.

Math Workshop is an important part of our day at school.  I went looking for ways to better implement it next year and start off on the right foot.  Ashleigh's First Days of Math Workshop will help me accomplish that goal.  Then I found Marsha McGuire's (from A Differentiated Kindergarten) Buggy for Subtraction write the room activity that differentiated for different levels.  I am always on the lookout for ideas to help ALL the students in my room succeed.

One of my favorite graphic artists is Graphics From the Pond.  She recently created a really cute set of Dotty Borders and Badges clipart.  The one below is an example of one of the badges.  I am thinking that I can use the badges to label baskets, for name tags, and flash cards.

There are so many talented teachers out there, and I love shopping TpT because there are so many great ideas to use with my students.  I hope you found something useful for the end of the year to use for next year.  Hop on over to Erica's linky party and see what everyone else purchased this year (just click on her button below).

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Currently May

If you don't know, you should.  If you haven't tried, you need to.  If you haven't joined, go now.  It is time again for Farley's Currently linky party.  Who doesn't love a good party?

Want to make your own and join in?  Of course you do!  Click on Farley's blog button below to read what every one else is doing at the moment.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Gifts and Freebies

Ms. Preppy and Kindergarten Korner hosted another wonderful teacher blogger exchange - Pinterest inspired.  I had a great time.  I am not very crafty to be honest, but I wanted to give it a try.  I choose to do a yarn wrapped wreath for Kelly of Busy in Kindergarten.

I received two fabulous crafts from Jennifer of The First Grade Dream.  She made a crayon frame and a post-it note holder.  Love them both!

Check out what everyone else made at the linky party (click the button below).  Make sure to subscribe while you are there so you don't miss the next exchange.  This is my third one.  I have done the Valentine and Christmas exchanges.

Are you looking for freebies?  I have two sources for you today.

Mrs. O has compiled a list (divided by grade level) of freebies offered on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Want your own copy?  Click HERE.


Angela from The Cornerstone has a monthly Best Teacher Freebies post.  I was honored to be included in May's list of freebies.  Go check out all the freebies! (click the image below)


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