Five for Friday.....on Friday! Woohoo

Hey everyone! I know I've been ghostly as of late. Trying to get a grasp on things!I always have great intentions to post my Five for Friday and this week I made it...Oh yeah!

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The weather here has been super bipolar this week....my hair can't take it y'all! Thunderstorms and then 70 degree days followed by a 30-40 degree day. My body can't take that....I've been coughing for over a week! Boooooo!
 I am currently working towards receiving a gifted endorsement through my district and in this program I have learned some really cool strategies from the book The Strategic Teacher and other sources. One strategy that seems simple enough but I learned from my experiences in this program is window notes. Window notes are a simple four square and in each square students will note facts, feelings, questions and ideas about the topic. These have been particularly helpful with our social studies and science topics. Here's an example...


 I am soooooo excited that I finally finally finally have an Samsung Galaxy S4! Those that know me know I MUST have the newest technology when it comes out. It was kiiiiiiiiiiiilling me softly that I had to wait the whole two years. Best part is that the phone was FREE due to Best Buy's Black Friday promotions. *dances* I love it.


I even have this same pink case but with the fancy smancy window!


 Even though there are a few weeks left of 2013 and pretty soon here everyone will be making their new year's resolutions...I've already started thinking about my goals for the year. I don't do resolutions but instead simple and attainable things that I want to improve such as waking up a little earlier in the morning so I'm not rushing and making sure the kitchen is clean before I go to bed. My fitness goals are a little more complex.....I'm finally starting to take them seriously!! Hot Teacher in the works! LOL

A little motivation for others getting started......

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Lastly.....we had a very exciting week at my school this week. Shaquille O'Neal came to my school! When I tell you that man is huuuuuuuuge in person! It was so cute he sang jingle bells with the kids, and all the students in our school received toys, games and books. It was awesome. Check it out...the event even made our local news...he called himself "Shaq-A-Clause!" Sweet!


Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5 

 

Words of Encouragement

One of my friends/colleagues told me the other day while she was teaching a lesson on prefixes and suffixes using a video, one of my former students saw that the video was produced by a university in Ohio. He then proceeded to say "Hey, my third grade teacher is from Ohio. On second thought, my second grade teacher is from Ohio too." {<-- he was talking about me} Although this is but a mere representation of the impact I've had on my former and current students, that particular moment and conversation with her was extremely encouraging and needed.

To say that this school year has been stressful would be a vast understatement. I pride myself on remaining optimistic when faced with the most depressing of situations but this year is taking me for a roller coaster ride with no seat belt. I wish I could get into everything but being that this is a very public platform I can say that I am being challenged and tested. I am far from a complainer, in fact I quite detest complaining but sometimes you just have to vent.

For the first time in weeks I am starting to feel like my strong and confident teaching self. I am reinventing and thinking ahead, coming up with my master plan to take control of the chaos that is my teaching life right now. Stressing myself out won't help. Taking the test head on and demonstrating my purpose is what I intend to do. It's amazing how small words of encouragement can change your whole attitude and feeling about trials and tribulations you're going through. If any of you other teacher bloggers are facing similar hardships just know everyone is not called to teach, and if it your passion, you will do what is necessary to progress and impact students.

Fin. 

Formal Observation

Soooooo today was my formal observation. I'll admit I felt a certain type of way that mine was on a Monday andddd introducing a new topic so I couldn't do too many flips, tricks and awesome amazing things because I needed the students to get the "gist". Lol.

Here's how it went down....

I was observed during math instruction.....which is at the end of the day....and my sweet darlings always need lots of movement! Soooo we began with...


M&Ms. Ooooh aahhh! I prepared bags of M&Ms for each group with an amount that would equally divide among the groups. Have you guessed our skill? That's right Division! The groups worked together to decide how many each would get in order to share equally. We really emphasized that sharing equally!

Next I used a promethean flip chart for them to take notes on 3 division strategies.

Then we began math rotations. I loved the names of the math groups used by 3 Teacher Chicks as seen in this post. I have four groups (North, South, East, and West) with my on level groups being the largest. Students rotate between the teacher group, desk work, math centers, and Xtramath. During math centers my students worked on Halloween multiplication and division centers created by Ashleigh. They loved them!

All in all it went well. I did have 2 emotional breakdowns (typical) but handled it and kept it moving! Looking forward to feedback, but I got myself so worked up and nervous and after a more than eventful weekend I am beat. Happy Monday y'all!

Go Noodle!

I’m using GoNoodle brain breaks to engage my classroom and make it a healthier, happier place. Check it out at www.gonoodle.com
Who doesn't love brain breaks? Research has shown that brain breaks allows students to get the "wiggles out" and also better focus on the next learning activity. One day while browsing Pinterest for more fun brain breaks, I found a video of Maximo that shows kids yoga using kid-friendly names for the poses. Maximo is a riot! My kids loved it! After I watched the video and showed it to my students I noticed a reference to a site called GoNoodle. Brain break jackpot! Not only is there more Maximo, but it's free and has other activities including Boogie Down, and Word Jam! We love it!

Please check it out and sign up for a free account.

Here's Maximo!

I'm back and Professional Development

Hello fellow teachers and bloggers after a very long hiatus I am BACK! I had to step away for a while because the past few months have just been beyond rough. In addition to the normal stresses of beginning a new school year, crazy changes and a thoroughly rambunctious group of third grade "darlings" {yeah, just a bit of sarcasm} have had me in the pits. Didn't have anything nice to say so I thought it best to retreat. I've decided that this year is a test of my ability to remain optimistic, strong and focused. I intend to do all three so without further ado onto the positive...

The past two days have been fall break for my students and professional development for me. My school is a Thinking Maps School. We use thinking maps at all grade levels and have implemented their use in our lesson plans in every subject. This is our second  year using Thinking maps and I really really like using them!

Using thinking maps reinforces higher order thinking skills, and helps students organize and share their thinking in meaningful ways. The professional development we had today and Friday takes Thinking maps to another level with a program called Thinking Maps: Write from the Beginning and Beyond.

 

I really enjoyed the training although in the back of my mind I kept thinking of things I could be doing in my classroom {don't we all think that?!!}. The focus of our sessions was how to incorporate thinking maps into our writing instruction with a routine geared towards each genre and type of writing. What I liked most about this training was the grade specific goals, the rubrics, and the routine for expository writing. I am so excited to begin this with my students because thinking maps have already greatly improved the quality of their writing.

Some highlights from the training:
-Specific criteria for expository writing including number of sentences or paragraphs required at each grade level
-the difference between analytic improvement rubrics vs. holistic rubrics
-the thinking map used should be driven by the purpose for writing {ex. writing to explain parts begins with a brace and then turns into a tree map}
-focused modeled writing should be done with students at least 3 days per week
-class proficiency reports not only inform areas of strength and need for improvement but also possible mini-lessons
-orally rehearsing in pairs provides opportunities to use their thinking map to get their piece flowing

My team has already begun discussing how we will implement this program in our writing. One aspect we all agreed upon was the necessity to integrate writing with the content areas. I will be back to share our implementation and also intend to do a full thinking maps post.

Until next time...


Five for Friday 8/23

Slowly but surely trying to get acclimated to the beginning of the school year and all the crazy stuff that has been going on. I'm kinda jeals of all the teacher bloggers that were able to really beautify their classroom spaces...for so many reasons in which I already discussed I still have some minor things to do but we are still in full swing! On to my Five for Friday link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching!

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I promised a few classroom pictures. As I said due to various reasons I have to finish up some odds and ends. For the most part we are all set up and functioning. Here's a small glimpse.

A little blurry but reading and writing bulletin boards

Goals and Book Boxes

Door with "you are loved" mantra
Library, CAFE, D5

Promethean, number line and world landmarks cursive alphabet

My whiteboard with WBT rules above

Magnet behavior chart on whiteboard, I can statements, Marzano rating scale, and word wall

My very rambunctious group is giving me a run for my money! Whoooo! I'm a little spoiled since many of last year's third graders looped up with me from second. It's funny....with a new group you forget that they are still 2nd graders and need a lil coaching to reach a functional level of independence. Work in progress :)

In science we have been working on the introductory unit on science inquiry. We did the very simple bubble experiment in our textbook in order to prepare the students to make observations and ask questions. When I tell you they were too excited....they just went nuts! They're observations were quite interesting too! Great day!


Our social studies introductory unit called for students to discuss conflict resolution and decision making. The students watched a youtube video of three girls that created a conflict rap. Then I allowed my students to create their own rap, skit, song or poem. When I tell y'all cute and hilarious....I mean it. I recorded them but unfortunately the audio is not so great. Great lesson though!

Read to self is going well! We reached 13 minutes today! At this rate I'll be getting ready for their celebration next week! Once they reach 20 minutes we are having a reading celebration in the classroom. I'm thinking big banner, cake, certificates, and bookmarks. Any other ideas?


We had our first activity day today as well! Activity day is a school wide program in which teachers sponsor a fun activity that students can choose such as painting, basketball, cooking, Wii, crafts and so many more! Students have to earn points in Class Dojo in order to be able to attend activity day on a bi-weekly basis. I sponsored painting and the kids has a great time! More on Activity day in a later post!


Evernote Love! <3 <3
I have been using Evernote for all kinds of documentation and I am innnn love! Combining Evernote with Skitch and  KustomNote has allowed me to eliminate so much paperwork. For example using KustomNote I was able to create a template for the San Diego Quick Word Assessment. So awesome! I'm hoping to move to a "mostly" paperless classroom. I have been using Evernote for tracking homework, anecdotals and soon reading and writing conferences so the possibilities are endless. I will definitely do a Evernote/Kustomnote post!

Happy Friday! Off to have some non-teaching related Friday night fun!



First Week and A Half of School Review

O.K.....so I promised to participate through teacher week and let's just say while I had the best of intentions last week was super hectic. Imagine all the normal stresses and nervous energy of the first few days of school compounded with mold in the building, no copier access, several teachers out, an influx of new students and more! Mannnnn...it's been rough but nonetheless I've made some progress with my thirdsters!

We are doing really well with Daily 5. Today the kids reached the half way mark at 10 minutes1 Woohoo! They are so excited about their reading stamina celebration once they reach 20 minutes. I still have to work out the exact details of the celebration. I do know I will have a cake. I'll probably give out certificates and book marks. Any other ideas?

With whole brain teaching they have mastered knowing and the rules and gestures. A few of my darlings are still working on following the rules :0 They are class-yes experts and hand-eyes experts. We are going to try teach-ok this week.

Our school uses Class Dojo school wide for behavior and it honestly works wonders. I have to do better at using that instead of addressing every situation. As soon as they hear that sound...they get back on task especially since I don't show their points all day. Students work to receive enough points to go to a school wide bi-weekly activity day. I will go more in depth on Friday since it's our first one!

I'll be back throughout the week to share some classroom pictures, and also more about class dojo and activity day! Have a great week!

Teacher Week '13 Meet the Teacher

I knowww I've been absent (first three days of school last week). I promise to give a little recap at the end of the week. Everything going on at the school has made for one tired teacher....I've been engaging in what I affectionately call "little nappies" every day after school. :)

Anywhooo....I am linking up with Blog Hoppin'  for.....



Yay! This of course is my first time linking up and I am so excited to learn more about some of my favorite and also new bloggers. So without further ado..




1.I am originally from a small town suburb of Cleveland, Ohio called Twinsburg. My little town actually hosts an annual Twinsday festival in early August that gathers twins from around the country.
2. I am a total insomniac. I get my best ideas at 2 a.m. when I am supposed to be fast asleep. All summer I stayed up into the wee hours of the night, and slept in in the mornings.
3. I arguably watch more T.V. than I should (trying to change that habit) so I am a reality TV junkie however I do have some staple shows that includes Criminal Minds, Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and The Walking Dead.
4. HUGE fan of Beyonce! I've shared this before but this is how much I love this lady! I was in the BeyHive before there was a BeyHive mmmk! I had the time of my life at the Mrs. Carter Show!

5. I used to say that I would NEVER NEVER NEVER be a teacher but if I would it would be early childhood or high school. Ha! Go figure!
6. I have no tattoos but I must make a decision if I want to get one by the time I'm 30.
7. I love keeping up with the newest technology. I am that person that scours Best Buy looking for the newest laptop, tablet, phone whatever fun techy stuff I can get my hands on! I feel a certain way that I haven't been able to get a new phone.....it's driving me nuts!
8. When I do get married...I want it to be small and intimate so that I can splurge on yummy food (not traditional wedding food), a gorg cake, and a rockin party!
9. I'm sort of a natural comedian. In my classroom....my students are constantly laughing at either my facial expressions or the funny, crazy things I say. I'm a total goof. See.....

10. Of all the characteristics of a Gemini I would have to say I am definitely the whole scatterbrained...all over the place thing! I am rarely ever focused on one thing. At any given time my internet browser has 17 tabs open, I'll start cleaning one area then move somewhere else and remember something I'm supposed to do, go back to my original task and so on. It's dizzying sometimes! Haha!

Well that's me! Teacher Week has commenced!

Monday Made It and Open House

Super late post this evening as I had a long day of continuing classroom set up and Open House. Needless to say I am very tired but wanted to do a quick post. First let's discuss Open House...

I think I told you all about the major mold problem throughout the school. Of course this issue delayed many of the teachers and getting prepared for Open House with that problem was a scramble! In spite of that and not having everything perfect like I wanted, we had a great turnout. Wish I had pics but it was totally hectic. I had about half of my parents come out! If I told you how many half is....I think there may be some jealy teachers. Hahaha :) Small school. Anyway I was happy to meet and greet parents and this evening made me even more excited for this year! On to Monday Made It...

I love linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It. Teachers are soooo resourceful. Here are a few things I've made (and this isn't even everything!)...

Whole Brain Teaching-ish rules posters
Writing Process Chart
Number Magnets for my Magnetic Behavior Chart
Playdough in Fun Colors for the First Day of School
I am soooo excited about all of these Made Its. Everything was super easy to make! Quick tips for Magnets and Playdough....

{Magnets}

$1 flat gems from the dollar store
Scrapbook paper (already had it)
Mod Podge
Magnet tape or strips
Sharpie
Hot Glue (possibly)

I've seen other bloggers use a different glue for the magnets but the mod podge was fine for me, I just used a thin layer. I'm not as particular about bubbling because the magnet was covered by the  written numbers. You may need the hot glue just to firmly secure the magnet tape.

{Playdough}

Using play dough as a first day activity has definitely become my fav! I did it last year and I had an excellent first day and the kids loved it! I used this super easy play dough recipe found at this pin. This batch came out great....I may make a few more colors tomorrow!

Going to bed....one more day before school starts!

Currently: August

Started back on Wednesday and can I just say I am already exhausted! I passed out when I got home last night! LOL. So much to do, so much going on! So I'm linking up with Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade to tell you what's going on with me.....currently. :)


































Listening
Today is a professional development day.....I'd much rather be perfecting my pretty little classroom but hopeful it's a productive session. I am taking two classes...one literacy, one science. Let's see how this goes....

Loving
All of my colleagues are just ooohing and ahhhing at how organized I am. I am getting many compliments....which makes me feel great because in my book I still have so much to do but what I've done so far is light years ahead of my first and second years.

Also I'm loooooving that Giselle is almost house trained! YAY! YAY! YAY! I debated with how I would manage leaving her at home for that long period of time and if she would have accidents and the Wednesday she was accident free! So happy!

Thinking
We have a major problem in the building! Mold! Can you believe it? Many of the classrooms on the first floor are effected and some of my colleagues couldn't even work in their rooms. Scary stuff. I just hope it's treated before the children arrive.

Wanting
I have been doing everything school and classroom related and this weekend I just want to do something fun! Haven't decided what that will be but whatever it is will have nothing to do with school! lol

Needing
I have spent out y'all.....I think the laminating sheets is self explanatory but if I had a disposable income everything would be great. HA

BS2 Must Haves
You need a few new cute outfits to start the year, fun colored paper and ink for all those beginning of the year printables and activities and composition notebooks if you are a notebooking teacher!

Happy Friday! Link up to share what you're doing currently!

Last Official Day of Summer

Hello all!

Today is my last official day of summer. I debated long and hard about going into the school today to finish my library but then I said to myself "Self....you've gotten quite a bit done and it's your last day. Chill out!" So I chilled. So far I've gotten a little cleaning done and I want to go get my hair straightened, sit by the pool, and go walk in Piedmont Park.

In light of summer's end and school's beginning I want to join in on the Back to School goal linky hosted by I {heart} Recess. I love the idea of this linky because I can share with other bloggers the goals I've been setting for myself.


































{Personal}
Last week I made my own personal weekly meal planner. I wondered if it was necessary since I typically cook for one but it's helped me manage my grocery shopping and bill....which is allllllright with me. I also need to get consistent with working out and running. Next summer I want to look HOTTTT in a bikini! LOL :)

{Organization}
Designating days for tasks will definitely keep me organized. It's so easy to let grading pile up! UGHHHHHH....no time for that. I am hoping by using Evernote more frequently this year I can be more efficient with documentation and data which will all be helpful with grading. I already set up my notebooks and played around with Kustomnote! Exciting stuff people!

{Planning}
Another area in which I made a goal to improve. I am totally guilty of allowing my lesson plan book to disappear because we submit plans electronically. I made a post it lesson planner to help me keep my daily and weekly plans ready and easily accessible.Using post its, I can remove the plans and attach to my clipboard in case I need important reminders, page numbers, books to read etc.

{Professional}
Although I am finishing up my master's portfolio I will be beginning my gifted endorsement in the fall. *Overachiever* lol. I told myself I would take a break from school but I was asked personally by my principal and have always been interested in gifted learners so I felt it was necessary to seize the opportunity. I can definitely be a procrastinator with school work, additional responsibilities [my baby Gizzy] will force me to set aside specific times to complete my coursework.

{Students}
How many times have we heard consistency is key in the classroom? Soooooo many! I can be inconsistent and have definitely dealt with the consequences. I intend to be consistent in every capacity.

{Motto}
This is more of a quote than a motto but I aspire to inspire and just adore this quote!

To all fellow teachers starting officially tomorrow...enjoy your first day back. And link up to share your back to school goals! <3

Sunday Smorgasboard 7/28

This is my first time linking up with Michelle over at Fabulous in First for the Sunday Smorgasboard. Can I just say when I read her post I was totally like....that's me! I too go from task to task, then think of something else I need to do, go back to the original task and so on! I try real hard with to do lists and everything but I'm extra scatterbrained. Forever thinking about the 1,506,039 things I have to do! Sighhhh...anyway here's my randomness!


{One}

I've been working in my classroom since Wednesday. Wellllll....really since Thursday. Wednesday and Thursday I spent a great deal of time chatting with friends and my assistant principal. Yeah.....I'm THEE social butterfly at my school. I did gain some valuable info from my principal including my *tentative* class list. Anyone that believes in prayer....pray for me. Let's just say I've been tasked and trusted to have a severe behavior problem in my classroom. Seriously y'all..pray!

Anyway so far I've got desks and general center areas set up. One of my goals this year was to get really organized, throw out all the junk that is just wasting space, and keep it simple! So far so good. Monday I'm tackling library organization. I will blog allll about that tomorrow. Here's a little before shot of some of the work I've done. If you follow me on Instagram these pics will be familiar.

{Two}

Like many of my fellow bloggers, I have been hitting up the stores for school supplies and more! Just wanted to share that I hit the jackpot via craigslist. I needed clipboards and ended up finding a listing of clipboards and many other teaching materials. I worried if the drive was worth it and once I got there booooyyyy was that answer YES! The seller was a teacher turned stay at home mom selling everything left over from her classroom. Here is a picture of all the goodies I got including 16 clipboards for $22. {Wooohoo}

 Other places I've hit up this week include: Walmart, Target, Dollar Tree, School box, and Michaels.

{Three}

I've been on a cleaning spree around the house. I renewed my lease so they came and cleaned my carpet...it looks soooo nice! I'm implementing the no shoes in the house rule...ASAP! I also cleaned out my outside storage closet, and my desk. Admittedly, I'm not a super neat freak but I have been keeping the place neat and sprucing it up! I love it!

{Four}

In addition to shopping I've been working on new products and decor for my classroom while enjoying the Harry Potter marathon on ABC family. I just have to watch them each time they're on. I love em! In that amount of time I posted my glow stick labels to my tpt store and and working on supply labels and library labels as seen in the picture below. I will be posting the labels as a flash freebie soon once I get them looking exactly how I want them. Suggestions for supply labels would be cool! The flash freebie will be announced on my instagram!


And for those of you starting official back to school on Wednesday like I am try to fit in at least one for summer fun activity! I think I want to relax poolside and go to sips n strokes to make a new painting! Happy Sunday!