Monday, December 31, 2012

It's here! January Currently

Whoop Whoop, The January Currently is up and alive.  I've only been a part of this little bloggy tradition for about 3 months but I already look forward to it at the beginning of each month!  Be sure to head over to Farley's Blog & Link up!

Listening...I can't lie.. NYE is not my favorite holiday.  I am NOT a night person by any means.  I love my sleep!  But I figure I should at least somewhat join in the festivities and watching the Rockin' Bash is good enough for me.  One of these years, I swear I will be a part of the big party in NYC.  I have to cross that one off my bucket list, but not this year.  Justin & I probably would be celebrating with a few coworkers if it wasn't for this terrible cold/sore throat we both have!

Loving... Teaching at a year round school!  It means I get the rest of the week off while most people have to go back on Wednesday or Thursday.  I don't think I could ever go back to a traditional schedule.

Thinking... I'd like to do less "wingin' it" this quarter and be pretty planned out at least for the first half of the quarter.  I know if I plan too far ahead I'll regret it because something with get thrown off, it always does.  

Wanting... Ice cream to soothe this terrible sore throat.  I bought some yesterday but no joke, it was gone 4 hours later- and I didn't even get one tiny itty bitty lick *Insert sad face*

Needing... to be seriously serious about getting back to working out.  It's so hard with the little time I have.  I'm so exhausted when I get home, plus I've got extra work to do...  This is why planning ahead will *hopefully* help!!

OLW... when I saw what this was, I was stumped for about 5 seconds.  Then it just came to me.  My word is confidence.  I need be confident in myself as a teacher, fiancee, daughter, sister, cousin, neice, coworker, friend etc.  Believe that I am doing the best I can and not get down on myself when I can't do something.  Remind myself I'm not superwoman and that I can't do it all, but if I give what I can and do my best, that is all I can do, and that is OK!!

So there's my currently :)  Can't wait to head on over to your blog and read about yours!


Conferring with your Kiddos

One-on-one meetings are the ultimate confidence builders for students.  They’re especially effective as follow-ups to (instruction), when students practice a strategy.  Your undivided attention to each child makes them feel that you care about their learning and will try to help them understand and improve (Robb 1998, 7-8).

What do you think about conferences with your students?   Personally, I love them!  Just like the quote above, they build student's confidence, and give me information to help them. These conferences are great to give you quick information about a wide range of different information! 

When you think of "Individual Conferences" I bet your mind veers straight to Reading.  Was I right?  Well, what about Math? Just a quick "How did you solve this problem?" is a conference that gives you valuable information.  Does your student get it?  How are they thinking about the problem?  Can they explain it?  Will their thinking cause any problems down the road?  Are they confident?  How can you help them?  Etc..etc...etc...

To link conferences with the Common Core, My fiancee, Justin, made these awesome conferring forms that I seriously LOVE! 

The Reading Conference form considers text complexity, which is one of the 6 major shifts in the Common Core.  Is this the right book for your student?  Is it not complex enough?  Too complex?  Just Right?  Not sure exactly what to consider when determining whether the text is complex or not?  There is an added "rubric" I'll call it.. to help you determine whether the book is right for your student.

The Math Conference form takes the 8 Common Core Mathematical Practices into consideration.  The Math Practices are listed at at the top so you can check off which practice(s) the student is working on.. as well as your observations, your coaching, and action/goals for next time.  I know that you will just love these forms and you will get great use out of them..  You can purchase them by clicking on one of the pictures below... :)  Happy Conferring!!


Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year, New Resolutions

Whoa.. Did I really just take a 2 week hiatus from basically EVERYTHING? Ok, so maybe not everything... When do teachers stop working? I have been working pretty much non-stop since July of last year (Yes, I mean 2011) and I have to say, this break came at the perfect time. I feel my brain is rested, my body is relaxed, and I am almost ready to get back into the classroom!

I cannot believe that there are really only 2 days left until 2013.  I don't even know where this past year went.  

Well, we all know that with each new year, comes new (old) resolutions, shall we call them re-resolutions?  

You know, those resolutions that you made last year that didn't really seem to work out? OK, if you don't have this problem pa-leez give me your secret!  

This year, I am lucky to be able to set a NEW resolution since I've never been a blogger before during the New Year! Yippee.  I decided to link up with 2 bloggers to get my resolutions out there, I figure the more people that see it, the more I'll want to stick with it..

Here are the ladies I'm linking up with
Jen over at The Teachers Cauldron...
And Amanda over at Teaching Maddeness


Run, Run, Run! Or maybe I should just generalize and say "work out."  No time, no Energy.. all factors here (What else is new, right?) My Dad and I were planning to run a half marathon together in March and then again in January 2014.  Unfortunately, the week of Thanksgiving he was directing traffic at a parade (he is a police officer) and was hit by a car causing a broken leg.  He had to have surgery to get a metal rod placed from his knee to his ankle and is out of work for 4 months..which means no half marathon for him.  Without the motivation of letting him down if I couldn't run it with him.. it's going to be pretty difficult!  The only person I would let down is me.  BUT I figure...then I'll have one 13.2 under my belt when we run the Disney half and I just might be able to keep up with him..  


Ok, before I make this resolution, I do have to give myself a little bit of credit.  First year teacher in a new state, on multiple school-based and county based committees, new blogger...I've taken on quite a bit- and have done an alright job.  If anything, I've put the most energy into my classroom and my kiddos which is exactly where my energy should go..which is also the reason I haven't had much energy for anything else.  

With that being said, my blogging resolution is to try my best to post 2 times a week.  Even if just posting something fun or effective we did.  See, I've been trying to create things that go along with my ideas/things we do in my room for freebies/tpt and wasn't posting without it, but I decided I just need to stop that.  Ideas and pictures are just as good and I can't stress over not having something to go along with it... I think am confident I should will be able to stick to this!

Hope you decide to go over and link up with one or both of these ladies!  Maybe, just maybe we could help you stick to your resolutions!

Oh yea and before I go... Justin and I are throwing a sale on TPT through January 1st to celebrate the year.  Head on over to our store and snag 20% off all of our items!  Cheers to a new year!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Last week wiggles...

Anybody else getting the "It's almost break wiggles?"  My kiddos sure are! (Oh yea- and me too!)  It never fails... the last 2 weeks before intersessions, everyone is getting tired, restless, and ready for break.  Makes it hard to get in quality I've had to get pretty creative to keep their attention **Plus like half of mine can't sit still for the life of them to begin with, I mean, I guess I shouldn't really expect them to, they're second graders, right?**  

We just finished working on time which is seriously one of the HARDEST things for students to learn.  I'll admit, their sense of time is still not the greatest, but they're getting there.  I'm trying to get them to get a better sense of time by asking them to do things like:

*At 12:00 I'll ask them to start clicking their tongue when we have 5 minutes left until lunch- so I would hear some tongue clicking around 12:20.. *Or just randomly throughout the day, I'll give them a specific time or amount of time and ask them to do some kind of movement/sound like snapping fingers, whistling, jumping in place.  

I think my little creative way of sneaking in some time is beginning to work, but I guess we will see!  My hope is that it helps give them a better sense of what 5 minutes feels like, vs 25, vs an hour etc. :) 

Since we've only got one week left before intersession and I'd really love to practice time, I thought about trying this great idea I got from Techie Teacher Time!  How flipping awesome is this...

I don't know about anyone else who teaches time, but my kids keeping getting their hands mixed up.  Drives me CRAZY!!  But..... if they get to BE the clock, maybe it will help them remember.  My only thought about this is that I have kids who will be so so so impatient and probably spinning around on the floor, so maybe I'd add a dry erase clock into the mix and have each student around the outside represent the time on their clocks.. then they get a sense of what it looks like on an actual clock.  Wohoo! I'm super duper excited about this and I'll let y'all know how it goes.  The best part is after we use it as a whole class- it can turn into one of our Math Workshop Stations. Double Yes!

Only 16 days until Christmas.  Can you believe it?  It seems like 2012 flew by like it was nobody's business.  Living in NC, it's a bit harder to get into the Christmas spirit when its 75 degrees outside and you are used to it being 30.  My house all decked out helps me though :)  I love to sit in here, turn on my fake fireplace, drink some hot cocoa, and just relax! I love this time of year!  I'll even get to have the snow for Christmas because I'm heading back up to NY to be with family and keep my dad company.  He's stuck at home for the next 4 months with a pole and screws in his knee and ankle after getting hit by a car while conducting traffic after a Christmas parade (he's a police office).  He is totally not used to just sitting around so it's been pretty hard on him, but at least he'll have some company for a little while :).

Before I sign off, wanted to make sure you head of to Tips for Top Teachers to enter their giveaway for lots of goodies, including a NOOK COLOR HD! Don't miss out.  No chance if you don't enter!


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December Currently & Book Talks! :)

Linking up with Farley over at Oh' Boy Fourth Grade for her December currently!  So here goes...

This past weekend, there was a terrible tragedy in my home community.  Four high school students were on their way back home from a basketball game, minding their own business, when a careless drunk driver quickly switched lanes and rear ended the students car.  The car rolled, and finally came to a stop, but not before 2 of the students, a highschool football star, and softball pitcher were killed.  The 2 other passengers (The girlfriend and boyfriend of the 2 who were killed) were taken to the hospital and are doing well considering.  I'm asking that you please keep the families and friends of these kids in your thoughts and prayers over the next couple weeks as they deal with terrible heartbreak and confusion at what has happened and how their lives are forever changed.  Sometimes God takes people for a reason we will never know, but Chris & Deanna must have been more needed beyond the gate of Heaven than here on Earth.  It just pray the family can cherish all the good times they had with their loved ones and I thank God for every breathe I take.
*************************************************************************************** that I got that out...onto a not so sad note.  Have you tried Book Talks in your room?  The Common Core calls for a bigger emphasis on Speaking and Listening skills and Book Talks are the PERFECT way to do it.  Here's how we do it in my class.. This is not my idea but I got this FAB idea from one of my awesome teammates and I just loved it.  

 After we have had a lot of discussion about the elements of a story, talked about predictions, questioning while reading, and author's purpose...we start our book talks!

Students are given a partner that I strategically place them with (Whaaaat? I never do that...) Partners each read the same book and write down their thoughts as they are reading.  THEN, the fun begins!  We talk all about being an active listener and responding to what your partners is saying, how to politely disagree and get your point across, and how to ask your partner questions based on what you thought or what they've just said. We also talk about making eye contact, etc.  It takes a while to get them into the routine of having a conversation about their book, rather than just reading off of their sheet but after some modeling and a few practice rounds, they've gotten pretty good at it.

WAIT, that's not it!! After some practice, we begin TAPING our booktalks!  Yes, taping.  Why you ask?  Well- this way, we can watch the book talk in action, give compliments on what students are doing well, and give suggestions for what they should work on.  It gives the students a GREAT way to reflect on how they are doing.  And they practice their speaking and listening skills.  Awesome right?  Obviously, this doesn't happen overnight.  It takes a lot of prompting, practicing, and learning- but once they've got it down, you can be confident that your students can have a meaningful book talk with someone, which also probably means they'll be a bit better at normal everyday conversation.. MAYBE? :)

Anyway- Click here to get these organizers to use in your room.  If you decide to use this, or a variation.. let me know how it works out!  I'm always looking for ways to make things better!  Only 7.5 days until break..Phew!

Don't forget to link up with Farley!!

Later Y'all!