Sunday, September 30, 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.

Thank you to my lovely readers who have stuck with me through the extended absence of A Few of My Favorite Things.  The beginning of the school year really kicked my butt this year.  I finally feel like I am getting my feet under me, so be on the look out for more regular postings.

Higher Level Thinking and Questioning
One of the focuses in my school's weekly meetings has been higher level questioning.  Wandering through Pinterest I found a great cheat sheet for analyzing, evaluating, and creating.  Head over to Hello Literacy and check out what Jen made for the teachers in her building.  I am sharing it with my teachers on Wednesday at our next meeting.

While you are there, check out her super cute fonts.  I am in love and use almost exclusively these fonts.  Even better, they are FREE!

Science Vocabulary
In my current position, I do not have a classroom of my own.  However, I teach 3rd grade science three to four times a week for thirty minutes (to the SWEETEST groups of kids I have ever taught in eleven years...seriously I LOVE them) focusing on vocabulary instruction.  As I was blog stalking recently, I found a new-to-me science blog called The Science Penguin (very cute name!).  She blogged about using vocabulary words for acrostic science poetry.  Love it!  I have been looking for new ways to interact with the words and have students share what they know about the words.  I am going to use this strategy in my next unit on body systems.  Click on her blog button below to check out her post where she shared a picture of an acrostic poem for the word FOSSIL.

Modified Work
Do you have students who get overwhelmed by assignments?  Do have students who can't focus for more than five minutes at time?  Yes to both for me!  Then I found a fantastic, easy to implement idea from Teach123 showing how she takes an assignment and breaks into smaller chunks using a file folder.  Easy!  All you need is a file folder and I have a ton of them.  Click on her blog button below and go check out her post to see how its done.

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.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Tell Me Something Good

Today it is time to focus on the school and at home.  The beginning of the school year is so busy; it is hard to catch my breath, but I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the good.

Something Good at School
I have the privilege of working with the BEST group of third graders this year.  They are the most eager to learn students I have ever taught.  They are excited every time I am able to come in to their classroom and teach.  They make my day!

Something Good at Home
I have been terribly sick since Thursday night, but I have the best husband.  He has taken care of me every day...making sure that I have enough fluids and am comfortable.

Now it's your turn to "tell me something good" by linking up with Jennifer at Rowdy in First Grade.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My Classroom in Pictures

On Saturday, my husband and I went to see Raiders of the Lost Ark in IMAX.  The closest IMAX is two hours away, but we are both huge Indiana Jones fans, which made the drive not a big deal.  What was great about the drive for me is that I had uninterrupted time to get this post together.  I previously posted a slideshow that showcased how the other teachers in my school did a great job creating inviting environments for their students.  If you missed that post, check it out here:  A Tour of My School.

I am excited to share my classroom this year.  My classroom is a little different than most because it is for teachers and not students.  I tried to make an inviting room where teachers could learn and plan together.  If you have any ideas on changes that I can implement to make it even more beneficial to my teachers, I would love to hear them.

In my district, our weekly teacher meetings are called cluster meetings, hence the name of the room.  On the door is our family tree.  The other master teacher in the building is much more artistic than I am.  I showed her an idea from Pinterest, and she created this door.  The leaves on the door have pictures of all the teachers in our building.  In the hallway next to the door, is a quilted sign that she also made (like I said very talented).

On the inside of the door, I recreated the We do lists that have been floating through Pinterest (inspired by this pin and this pin) to fit my teachers and our beliefs.  My favorite three are the last three:  We never give up.  We belong.  We are FAMILY!  That is truly how I feel about the wonderful teachers I work with each day.  We have created a family.

My two week schedule is always posted (for my benefit and my teachers).  I poster-sized two blank schedules and placed them side by side.  I color-coded it for my benefit.  The blue sticky notes mean that I have a professional development I have to attend (or lead).  The pink sticky notes are meetings that I have every week.  The bright yellow sticky notes are times when I will be in my teachers classrooms.  At the end of every cluster meeting, the teachers sign up for times for me to come see them teach.  This week I am going to be adding more choices:  observe a lesson, co-teach a lesson, model a lesson, or work with a small group of students.  The purple sticky note lets me know when the cluster room is in use by the other master teacher (we have to share the room).

I love to decorate using picture books.  I placed my favorite read alouds all around the room: Skippyjon Jones, Pete the Cat, and any Mo Willems book.  My teachers can check these books out from me at any time.

This kidney table is one of the places that I use to work with teachers.  Behind the table is a display that is in progress.  What I plan to do is place a pictorial timeline by month inspired by this pin.  I have been taking pictures of what has been happening each month since June.  I am going to put a title in the space above the colorful boxes.  I am stumped right now as to what that title is going to be exactly.  In each of the boxes, I am going to place the name of the month and pictures that represent activities that happened in our school that month.  The library is full of books that teachers can check out.  The books are correlated to the books Strategies That Work, Craft Lessons, and Nonfiction Craft Lessons.  I want to add a math library next and have books matched to math topics.  The tissue paper puffs hanging from the ceiling I created using the fabulous directions from Nicole at Teaching With Style.

This is the main teacher meeting area in the room.  In the middle of the table are sticky notes and containers that hold pens and highlighters.  During meetings the table also has bowls of candy (always important!).  On the wall is the evaluation rubric that everyone (including me) is evaluated by...there are nineteen indicators with each indicator having five to six descriptors.  This is our second year to use this evaluation rubric and I feel better about it this year.  It has really helped me to coach my teachers.  When I observe and know that something is not quite right, the rubric helps me pinpoint exactly what I can do to help my teachers.

I share the cluster room with the 4th-6th grade master teacher.  Her group has more teachers so she needed a bigger table set up.  We put three tables together for her.  Behind her tables, I have started a bulletin board titled "Strategies for Success."  Each time we learn a new teacher or student strategy, I put it on the bulletin board.  I was inspired by the CAFE boards that classroom teachers use.

I am lucky enough to have my own office to store all my stuff in.  It is not that pretty, but I mainly use it to do paperwork.  This is my desk (actually two desks put in an L shape).  My name plate was given to me by one of the first year teachers I mentored who became a great friend.  If you are reading this Rachel, I miss you! (She moved to Tennesse to be closer to her family...can't blame her but I do miss her).

My office is not very organized. It tends to be used as storage.  There is a table if I need to meet with teachers or students.  The bulletin board will hold data.  The yellow pocket chart will also hold data.

This is one of my favorite summer projects.  I was inspired by Miss Kindergarten's Where are we? sign.  Now my teachers know where I am if they need to see me.  Also lets anyone else looking for me, know where I am.  I am next to the speech specialist.  She loves this sign.  She gets people coming into her room asking where I am.  I have no idea why they are asking her, but now she directs them to my sign.  It was easy to make...just need modpodge and scrapbook paper.  I used a silver sharpie to color the little clothespin that holds the individual signs.

Outside of my office door, I have this great WELCOME sign from Jeannie at Kindergarten Lifestyle.  I also have a quilted sign made by the other master teacher.  The tree on the wall is vinyl decoration from Wal-Mart.  I have gotten so many compliments on the Welcome sign.  Thanks Jeannie!!

Thanks for sticking with me through the tour of my classroom and my office.  I would love to hear from you:  thoughts, questions, comments.

Want to see other great classrooms?  I am linking up with Swimming Into Second.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Tour of My School

School has started for most people now.  I have been in school for three weeks, so I am a little late in posting my school tour video.  The night of Open House, I took pictures of everyone's classrooms.  Finally found my camera cord tonight (really early morning), so I am finally able to share them with you.

My very small school (population-wise) houses grades preschool through sixth grade.  There is only one teacher per grade in grades K-3, except I have one K/1 split teacher.  The other end of the building has 6 4th-6th grade teachers who each teach a different subject:  reading, writing, math, science, math intervention, and social studies.  Our building also has a librarian, gifted and talented/special education teacher, special education teacher, and a self-contained special education teacher (the only one I wasn't able to get pictures of her room).

This is my first time playing with Smilebox.  It was easy to use with pre-made templates that let me drop my pictures in and presto - video of my school.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Personalize your own picture slideshow

Monday, September 3, 2012

Currently September

Can you believe that it is September already?  I am having trouble remembering where the summer went.  I haven't been very good at keeping my blog updated.  Please forgive me.  School started two weeks ago and it has kicked my butt!  All I have been able to do is barely keep up with reading my favorite blogs.  Writing my own posts have been difficult because of my fried brain at the end of the day.

Without further ado, CURRENTLY SEPTEMBER:

Currently September from Thinking Out Loud

The two weeks before school started, I began a treadmill routine because I am in desperate need of exercise.  I was doing well.  I exercised every day.  Then school started and I was exhausted by the time I got home (with more work to still do).  I couldn't do it...for two weeks.  Today I realized that I have to make priorities in my life.  My health has to come before school.  It is going to be hard.  I got on the treadmill today and started at the beginning of my routine again.  I felt great when I finished.  Now, I didn't look great but I felt energized.  My second goal is to find healthy recipes that my husband will eat.  He is so picky about what he eats.  If you have any to share, I would LOVE it!

My Favorite Things
1.  Sons of Anarchy is my favorite TV show.  I have watched all four seasons multiple times and I am eagerly awaiting September 11 when the new season begins.  This is one of my guilty pleasures (better than eating chocolate though).
2.  My New iPad - I recently received my retention bonus from work, so I treated myself to a new iPad.  I love it!
3.  My New Third Grade Class - For new readers of my blog, I am a Master Teacher for grades PK-4th grade, which is just a fancy title for instructional coach.  One of my responsibilities is to field test (try out) new strategies before I give my teachers professional development on the strategy.  I don't have my own class, but I borrow the third grade class (small school...only one third grade class of 21 students).  They are FABULOUS!  They actually clapped after the first two teaching sessions. They were so excited.

Now, its your turn.  Go check out Farley's Currently post and link up.  Don't forget to follow the Rule of Three!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...