Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Inspire and Guide

This is my 7th year of teaching.

When I first started teaching I wanted students to be eager to learn. I wanted to make learning fun.

During my second year of teaching I felt more comfortable with daily teaching. I no longer felt that "trying to keep my head above water" that most of us feel during our first year of teaching. This is the year that I joined PRoteacher forums and noticed a lot of threads about "power teaching." (Now called Whole brain Teaching.). I started implanting strategies and was amazed at how much better my management became.

During my third year of teaching I decided to use my intervention certification and use what I had learned to differentiate almost everything! I started guided math, differentiated spelling etc. This is the year that I also started using all 5 of the daily 5 rounds. My Reading buddy teacher introduced it to me during my first year of teaching.

During my 4th year of teaching, I started using the Bucket Fillers philosophy. I noticed a great improvement in student attitudes. I also started using the behavior clip chart system and loved the meaning behind it, "we all make mistakes-learn from them."

During my fifth year of teaching I started working more on challenging the higher level thinkers. This is still a work in progress! I also started creating more of my materials to make things "just right." This was also BY FAR my toughest year of teaching. By mid year I started looking for other non-teaching related jobs with benefits. Even though I left crying many days a week from school- I wouldn't change a thing about this year. I researched and learned/ created many different behavior strategies but I also learned that through the toughest shell of a kid is a very vulnerable and loving kid. One of my many challenges this year- during the end of the year class slideshow- crawled up on my lap- hugged me and sobbed about the next day being summer. Coming from a child who verbally abused me all year- it was one of the most touching moments that I will always cherish. It was an eye opener and reminder that this is the career where my heart is.

During my 6th year of teaching- (last year). I moved to a new district. I learned the value of being on the same page as my teammates. Being on the same page allows time to share resources and even help with copying!!!

This year even though the students haven't started- and only from 1 principal staff meeting- I have been inspired. Not inspired like the items listed above- but inspired to inspire my kids. I have a brand new principal this year and she is amazing! We share many of the same beliefs and philosophies. I have never been in such a inspiring meeting/ seminar/ conference before. Everything from using classroom management/ cooperative learning techniques to manage us (which is my idea for teaching a college class) to how she delivered all of the changes to the school were inspiring. So for my 7th year of teaching- I am going to inspire and guide my students.
Here is my first idea to achieve my goal:
-make a "I wonder wall"
This will be similar to my GOOGLE it poster. I am going to create a wall with individual subject posters like, "math", "reading", "science", "history", "writing", "other". Then I will keep post it notes nearby. Students will be allowed to write "I wonders.." And stick them on the wall. For example: "I wonder if a square or triangle would roll better?" Then on Fridays- I have set aside a cooperative learning block. I will choose one post-it note weekly and we will work in groups to figure it out. Some weeks I may need to borrow the mobile lab for students to complete a web quest or something.
This is my hope- and I HOPE that it will work!

My students start tomorrow and I am REALLY excited!!! I better go to bes and dream about June! :-)


Friday, August 9, 2013

Guided Math Charts and Work on Numbers

I have revamped my rotation charts and also my Work on Numbers materials.

You can download my charts plus some links to items that I use for FREE here.

I also finished up Work on Numbers task cards that I can use for one station instead of having to write it on the wall each day.  I love anything to make our very chaotic day a little more simple!

Here is a peak:

These cover skills from just writing digits, to number words, to tally marks, to making collections to measuring using objects.  They are simple tasks that you can just use dry erase boards or cheap notebooks to record your answer.  :)

Off to get ready! 

Today is my hubby and my 5th anniversary!  :)  It is hard to believe that we got married 5 years ago!  In some ways it seems like longer-lol but in other ways it just seems like yesterday.  :)  Regardless I am VERY lucky to have such a handsome, funny, good cook, handy, and hard working guy in my life!  :) 

Some days I feel like I hit the jack-pot.  :)

Happy weekend to you all!


Thursday, August 8, 2013

My weekly projects

School starts NEXT week!  So this week has been crunch week.  Last week I said, "Oh- I'm all ready.  I have my lesson plans, and copies made for the first month.  Names on the necessities..." 
THEN... I started meeting with my team.  I swear they are THE BEST pinterest searching people in the world.  They always find the cutest projects.  They also have the cutest rooms and mine is just basic.  So- I went from "almost ready!" to "well- I better try to do that!" 
I of course attempted my easy and cheap versions.  :)
 (Okay this is my updated math resource page due to many requests!  Not pinterest but it was a project this week!)
This is my new reading area.  I bought the teacher store reading strategies and just JAZZED them up by adding zebra border.  I also have my reading group folders ready and some of the reading supplies.

This is my new writing resource wall.  The cute Writing sign is from Cara Carroll's Chalkboard organizational kit on TPT.  The cute punctuation posters are from firstgradefactory Sentence Structure unit.  The other items are from my MEGA first grade writing unit. 
I hope that my little ones can pull up a chair and use the resources if needed.

One of my teammates found this idea on pinterest.  It comes from a year of many firsts.  I LOVE this idea!  For work on writing one of their choices is to pick up and choose a class journal to add to.  The students can read their friends' responses but it also saves on paper and clutter!  :)  I chose to buy as many different composition notebooks as I could so that it would be easier for the kiddos to find a certain journal.

This gem  was inspired by my teammates.  Two of them made one of these 2 years ago.  I recently saw some start to surface on pinterest again as well.  Most people go find the hardware or jewelry sorters at Target or Walmart.  I went super easy and bought this from Office Max during Teacher Days and got it for 25% off.  I just used left over border and stuffed it in the little tubs and then filled them up with frequent used materials.  I am SUPER excited to use it this year.  I have been Very jealous of the organizers that my teammates had.  :)

I have gone back and forth during the years of how to organize my weekly materials.  Last year I used two different systems.  This is a system that my cooperating teacher used 8 years ago.   Two of my teammates still use it.  So I though, "Why not?  Let's try this!"  I apparently am not planning on doing much with the kids on Thursday next week.  lol.
This is my math board.  I don't have my updated resource page on it yet.  :(  Here I have a lovely teacher store bought 120 chart.  My first week I CAN statement and math rotation charts.  Here are some close ups:
I write the names of students in the group on a post-it-note above the rotation sign.
These are laminated so that I can write what specific item that they need to do at that rotation.  I am working on (and almost finished) with a year worth of tasks to do for "Work on Numbers" rotation.  For Math Review they can play independent games or activities to practice previously introduced skills.  Math on my Own uses math journal pages or skill worksheets.  Math facts, students cut out a new fact group weekly and then practice the cards in various ways.  They also review cards from previous weeks.
These are really fun reward coupons.  A teammate found these on pinterest for FREE!  I grouped them by how much they are worth.  Most people organize it in a nice plastic case.  Since I didn't have one already- I just used Business Card sleeves and a binder to store mine.  I still need to find a way to display them in the room.  :)
WHEW!  So many projects but I am glad that I did them!  I love stealing other people's being inspired by other people's ideas.  :)