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
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...