Friday, October 24, 2014

Halloween Freebies and Fall Break Update!

What have I been up to these past 2 weeks?  
Two wonderful words.  

As sarcastic as that meme might be, I feel kind of proud of what I've done the past two weeks.  My goal was to spend one week working on wedding stuff and one week on school stuff.  Guess who got almost all of her to do list done!

Wedding To Dos Completed:
Cake Tasted
Guest List Finalized
Bridesmaids Asked
Engagement Pictures Taken
School To Dos Completed:
Week Back Planned
Grading Papers
Activities Created
Halloween Activities Planned
Next week is my favorite holiday!  Halloween comes once a year for regular people, but for teachers it is a month long affair!  We spend all October planning activities that keep our kids engaged and learning despite sugar crashes and late nights.

AND I LOVE IT... That's why I'm participating in Freebie Friday!!

Check out my Roll and Write A Story:  Halloween Edition HERE

If you like what you see check out my Doomed Division activity too!  I can't wait to see my kids faces when I give them stickers to practice equal shares! 

I'll leave you with a clip from my FAVORITE Halloween Movie!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Everything Is Awesome.....

Have I mentioned I love my new classroom?!  This new position has been exactly what I needed to reignite my passion for teaching.  So what have I been up to these past 9 weeks?  Instead of just telling you about it, why don't I show you!

My school allows teams to split their students based off of individual needs (based on NWEA and other data) for reading instruction.  So after our morning routine, pledge, announcements, and lunch count my homeroom rotates to their reading class for the next 90 mins of the day.  My classroom is geared towards challenging the on and above level students on our team.  This group has been SOOO much fun to work with and is always up for a crazy project or mini lesson.  Below is a picture of an example of a crazy mini-lesson that my students took a step further than I was expecting!

  During the introduction of types of nouns and how to identify them I had my students watch Brainpop Jr. video about Nouns.  After that I gave them each 3-5 post-its with the instructions to identify at least words that they knew were nouns.  I intended to bring these post its back together and have them help me sort the nouns into the correct category.   With the timer started for 3 minutes, they all got up and began labeling the nouns in the classroom.  Everything was going well when all of the sudden several students began staring at me and furiously writing down words and then STICKING THEM ON ME!  I began noticing there were two labels in common on these specific post its.  Miss Wilson and teacher. *Cue Light Bulb Ding*  #teachablemoment!  This ended up leading us into a classroom discussion about common and proper nouns.   
Me:  "What's the difference between teacher and Miss Wilson?"
Student: "There are all sorts of teachers, but there's only one Miss Wilson!"

As a former struggling math student I never want my students to feel as frustrated as I did when I was in school.  How do I do this?  LOTS of modeling, hands on, kinesthetic, and musical activities.  Oh  and a ton of enthusiasm.  Unlike reading, I keep my homeroom with me the entire class period and utilize small groups, classroom aide, and differentiation to meet my kids needs.Each lesson starts with the word problem of the day which is glued into their math notebook.  Then we follow it with a quick review of the unit vocabulary in our journals.  At this point I start up the hook for my lesson which varies from a quick video connected to the lesson at hand to a preview of the activity usually in the form of a game, manipulative, or reward.  The rest of the lesson follows the gradual release model.  I have come to love teaching math this year!  We have had so much fun and every single post test we take we're making progress.  What more could a teacher ask for?

Sample page and activity in my students' notebooks.  Yes, I let them use M&Ms or Goldfish Crackers to have hands of practice with creating arrays!
You can probably guess I love writing, since I write a blog for fun!  That being said it's sad I only have 30 mins a day dedicated to my writing instruction. Much of that time has been spent reviewing writing basics, introducing my students to the 6 traits of writing, and instilling the love to write.  Not many students enjoy writing like I used to, so I've had to be creative in my writing lessons.  When I was teaching them about complete sentences and fragments I came up with a cheer that students still use whenever I give directions.  I even came up with a song to the tune of "The Cup Song" to help with introducing the parts of a paragraph.

The most fun activity to date though has involved dice, Halloween, and transition words. In order to model the activity expectations the whole class created a story.  In case you were wondering it was about a witch who couldn't fit on her broom.  Then, students were given a die and told to roll it 3 times.  Each time would help them choose their character, setting, and problem (all Halloween themed OF COURSE!)  They then began figuring out how their characters would solve their problems using transition words to describe the steps taken.  Download a copy of the activity for yourself here.

Be on the look out for some really big news soon!! Until then, I'll leave you with some positive vibes.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

September Currently

I'm linking up with Farley today for her monthly "Currently" linky.  It's been too long since I last posted and there is much to catch up on.

If you haven't already... check out Spotify!  It's like Pandora but can be downloaded onto the computer and comes with playlists created for just about every mood, taste, and genre.  My obsession is Afternoon Acoustic which has perfect music for before, during, and after school.

So the big news I've been waiting to share is... I'm now teaching at a new school!  It's an amazing school with great kids and great colleagues.  You know how I much I love my job?  Everyday I get to go in to work with one of my favorite blogger buddies and real life friend Mrs. Harris over at Adventures Of Room 129.  If you already follow her you know how great of a teacher she is, but working with her is a dream.

"If you do what you love, you never work a day in your life."
Why am I thinking about my plans for next week?  You would too if you had a beautiful planner like the one I have from Erin Condren!  I LOVE THIS PLANNER.  If you can't tell by the picture I was so excited about getting my box I made Mr. R take a ton of pictures.

Unfortunately my want and need are warring in against one another.  
Diet Coke and shut eye don't exactly go hand in hand.  
I guess my drink will have to wait til tomorrow morning.

As for trips:
 Europe (Goal for the Honeymoon), 
Africa (Mission Trips), 
and Bahamas(because who doesn't want a tropical vacation)

If you haven't linked up with Farley yet, head on over and get started!!!  

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Summer time= Life Update

I know I was on a little hiatus with teaching blogging this past year... but I plan on getting back into the groove of blogging again, because I REALLY  missed weekly blogging time.

Lots of big life changes have happened during the 2013-2014 school year, but to save you from a really long and boring post I decided to create a top 5 list.

August 8, 2014 had to be on my top 5, because it was the day I helped welcome my nephew into this world. Talk about life changing moments... After nearly 12 hours of labor my little sister was told that she would have to have a c-section.  Scary stuff even for her big sister to hear.  My mom and I decided that I would get to go in for the surgery and mom would be in the nursery waiting.  You can't tell in the picture of me in the hospital gear, but I was shaking from nerves.  I managed to keep my cool and help my sister bring baby B into the world.  When we first started hearing his cries I teared up and started singing "Happy Birthday" and to my surprise... so did everyone else in the delivery room!  That little boy has become my world since then.
Around the same time my sister was having her baby I was adopting my fur baby.  Meet Khal Kitty, named after one of my favorite books/tv shows.  He's my favorite thing about coming home from teaching and my furry alarm clock.   
I would be a terrible blogger if I didn't include the Indiana Blogger Meet Up in my top 5 memorable moments!  It was hosted by the two most amazing and thoughtful bloggers Holly from Kindergarten Connections and Greg from Kindergarten Smorgasboard.  Shout out for all their hardwork and the awesome style both of them were rocking!  It was great to spend time with all of my favorite people in the world... teacher bloggers!  I have become super close with the ladies in the picture:   Amy from Math, Science, Social Studies Oh My, Krea from Learning in Progress, Brenda from Primary Inspired, Jenny from Luckey's Lilypad, Ciera from Adventures of Room 129, Heather from Teaching Through Turbulence, and Nicole from All Things Apple In 2nd. I even walked away with some awesome swag with a Vera Bradley bag filled with Scentos (amazing art products!), Jamberry (neat manicuring company), and classroom decorations from Creative Teaching Press (Can you say new classroom theme anyone?).  
If you've been following me for a while, you will know that there is a special guy in this blogger's life.  He's been my rock, cheerleader, and best friend for 3.5 years.  This year was a big one  for him because he was finishing his OWN teaching degree. (Side Note:  Isn't funny how teachers usually end up with other teachers?)  I was so proud of him this May because he's joining his family and me in the teaching legacy of 3 generations.
Yes!  You just read correctly, yours truly got engaged this school year.  Mr. R managed to surprise yours truly with a Christmas tree with a special message "Will you MERRY me?"  *cue awwwwwws*  
He then got down on his knee and said "You've made me happy for the past 3 and a half years.  I want you to make me happy for the rest of my life.  Will you marry me?" How could a girl say no??!  

So that's what you missed from me during the 2013-2014 school year.  I promise *CROSS MY HEART* that I will be better this coming school year because I truly missed blogging about my classroom.  Since there's been a lot of changes for me as a teacher, I've got a big teaching and blogging announcement to make soon!  

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Today is where your book begins, the rest is still unwritten...

Yes Blog Readers, yours truly is still alive.  I know it's been a while since I last posted, but you would be surprised how much life has changed in the past months.  Here's what I've been up to teaching wise.  Stay tuned for a future blog post about some exciting personal life changes.

  1. I am finishing this year teaching at a charter school which has been quite the experience.  We started in a section of high school, moved to a brand new building, and are still being renovated.  Lots of changes.  It's been quite a different experience than teaching in my little village in Alaska.  The needs are all the same though and as Mr. R always says, "There are children in need everywhere!" I also made some really great friends from my colleagues and was able to get a whole bunch of professional development. 
    • Whole Brain Teaching:  Mirror Words and Gestures
      For those of you not familiar with Whole Brain Teaching, let me just say it's amazing!!!! I can't believe I didn't know about it until this year.  You combine learning and classroom management with movement and fun.  From Day 1 in my classroom my class got used to "moving and grooving".  They know when I say, "MIRROR WORDS AND GESTURES"  there is something they will be learning and practicing with their mirror partners.
    • Teach Like A Champion Behavior Management:  Weekly our principal had us come in for feedback meetings which, from experience can really stretch a teacher.  Most of his advice came from the the book Teach like a Champion (TLC).  The main components of TLC are "Right is Right", "Do It Again", "Check For Understanding", and "J-Factor".   Most teachers do lots of these naturally, but if you're being focused on a specific one regularly you can't help but grow.  Although it is based from a charter school perspective, everyone one should check out the book if you're curious to learn more.
  2. I wrote third grade curriculum from scratch.  For an entire year.  My non-teaching friends may not get how difficult that is, much less do it on top of teaching as well.  But, I survived and enjoyed some of the awesome things my kiddos were able to accomplish.
    Displaying ABM_1401551126.jpg
    My favorite day of the year, Market Day

    • Economic and Persuasive Unit:  I was able to combine the ideas from Barnard Island's Economic Unit of Study and my own Persuasive Writing Unit to make writing and social studies something full of impact and engaging.  Besides understanding goods and services, supply and demand, and types of resources... my kids really got into assembly lines and how they changed economics as we know it.  I got some really great pictures of their favorite lessons, Assembly Lines and Market Day.
      Displaying ABM_1401551607.jpg
    • Black History Wax Museum
      You may recognize those kids up there.  They are the living wax figures of famous African Americans such as Muhammad Ali and Diana Ross.  As a school of nearly 90% African American population we took Black History Month very seriously.  I was put to the task to create and facilitate the school's first Living Wax Museum.  But, don't worry we didn't just pick sports and music stars for our scholars to look up to, we also chose famous African American's such as Thurgood Marshall, Ruby Bridges, Phyillis Wheatley, and the late Maya Angelou.
    • Fraction Lines
      Displaying ABM_1401551889.jpg
      If anyone asks you what's the hardest concept for 3rd graders to grasp, they will probably say fractions on a number line.  If they don't say that, I think they're lying.  Haha, but seriuosly, my kids really struggled with figuring out where a fraction would go.  What I ended up doing eventually is coming up with the idea of combining fractions and candy.  Talk about engaged!  My kids now have no problem finding where 4/6 is on a unmarked number line.
      Ahh...standardized test season. Love that my reputation as a third grade teacher is in the hands of an 8 year old.
    • Prepping for IREAD and ISTEP
      Oh standardized testing... The time where the teachers and the students all feel the pressure of states and schools on their shoulders.  On the bright side, my scholars went from struggling to write a paragraph to a prompt to actually writing their little hearts out on the test.  They also were really struggling with finding text evidence.  But with the help of one of my favorite bloggers Jenny at Luckey Frogs Lilypad, my kids were able to mark up text like real college students.  I wish I would've gotten pictures of their silent engagement, but when it's ISTEP season in Indiana teachers are lucky to make it out alive. 
And there you have it... my first year teaching in Indianapolis. Like I said before, it has been quite the experience with it's own ups and downs just like Alaska.  Who knows where the 2014-2015 school year will take me.  But, I for one can't wait to find out.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Indiana Goes Back to School Blog Hop

Thanks Hilary for the shout out and sending readers my way!  I'm excited to see what you've created!

It's that time of year again!  BACK TO SCHOOL TIME!!! YAY!!!

Now I know some of you teachers are still enjoying your summer vacation, but the busy bloggers in Indiana have been preparing their arsenal of tricks for the beginning of school.  One of my awesome blogging buddies had the brilliant idea to have a blog hop between us and boom  the Indiana Back to school blog hop was born.

My contribution is a song lyric sheet I plan on using in my classroom.  My new school is with high expecations for EVERY student.  No matter where they come from all kids in this school system are expected to go to college.  It starts at the youngest grades and continues to high school.  Because of this I was inspired to use Will.I.Am's What I Am song in the classroom to build classroom community.  If you've never seen the video with Sesame Street characters check it out here and afterward, check out my freebie here!

Alright!  Check out the rest of the Indiana bloggers throughout this blog hop.  Personally I can't wait to see what Nicole has in store for us as we all return back to school.  Check out her freebie as the caption for our button.  HAPPY BACK TO SCHOOL!!!

All Things Apple In 2nd

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Indiana Blogger Meet Up

I'm very much behind my fellow Indiana bloggers with the post... so I'll put down my delicious Panera salad to tell all about the amazing women I had the pleasure of meeting recently.
Thanks again to Graphics by Kady Did Doodles 
On July 11, I spent 3 hours eating delicious Mexican food and gabbing with wonderful women.  Before I even walked into the building I was getting out of my car and was told by a man leaving the restaurant, "You must be one of the teachers meeting up here."  I guess I exude teaching like a pheromone.  I walked in and found the fabulous ladies who planned the whole event.   Heather from Teaching Through Turbulence and Cierra from Adventures of Room 129 were amazing at planning the get together.  We had personalized name tags and even a picture frame with in an inspiring quote. They even thought of a "Dirty Santa Teacher" gift giving game.  Everyone brought a school supply or TPT product to be gifted, traded, and stolen. 

This beautiful collage was created by Jenny at LuckeyFrog's Lilypad
It still amazes me that a group of 14 other bloggers from ALL over Indiana and some surrounding states all were chatting away like friends within a few minutes of meeting.  The afternoon I only took a few pictures to document the fun... but boy did we ever have a great time.  I'm still a bit star struck by meeting some of the people I have been following and now being able to say I actually have meet them.  Check out these awesome ladies on their own blogs through the linky.  I'll be reading their blogs and keeping in contact until our next meet up, which if you ask me can't come soon enough.

PS:  I just am working on transferring my blog to Blog Lovin... so <a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>