Monday, December 31, 2012

January Currently?!

January already?! I feel like I say this every month but how did this happen?! Where has the time gone?! But that means it's time for another Currently from  Farley at Oh' Boy Fourth Grade!

Evan and I have been doing heaps of wedding planning since we got back from Phoenix - like marathon planning. And he was talking to our wonderful friend Sam to ask him to be an usher at our wedding. Which makes me oh so happy! Although I feel like no one would ever say no to being in a wedding, but I always get so excited and grateful whenever someone says yes!

And I am loving that I am in Wisconsin, especially because I have reached The Point. The time when I have realized that I am officially over Phoenix and ready to return back to Wisconsin. Like when you go on vacation and no matter how wonderful or fabulous or beautiful it is, you just reach that point when you know that it's time to go, and although it'll be sad to leave, you're ready. Unfortunately, that's not a choice and I have to go back on Friday. Wah. Which definitely leads into what I am thinking about and how I do not want to go back to reality.

But what I do want is a smoothie. For some reason, I equate them with New Year's Eve even though I'm unsure if I have ever had a smoothie on New Year's Eve. But every year, I always want one and never have one. Perhaps next year...

I think the only downside about Wisconsin is the lack of my wonderful pillow. I have the best pillow ever - it's memory foam and so perfect and it's in Phoenix. Which has caused terrible pain in my back and neck. I just need a massage.

But my OLW is thankful. I picked it to remind me that even though I feel that lots of things don't go as planned, I have a lot to be thankful for. I have a job. Not everyone can say that. I have a wonderful fiance who loves me. I have a great family who supports me. I have an adorable dog who thinks I'm the greatest. I have a roof over my head and lots of food to eat. I have the ability to get in my car and go (almost) wherever my heart desires. I have lots of great memories of the past and a bright future. So I need to try really hard to keep all that in perspective.

Happy New Year everyone! And bring it on 2013!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year's Resolutions Linky

So I must confess - I have never been that diligent that keeping up with New Year's Resolutions. Out of all the times I have made them, I have only kept one, which was floss every night (two years down and still going strong!!) So for 2013, I'm hoping that writing them down will help! So I'm linking up with Jen at The Teacher's Cauldron for her New Year's Resolution Linky!!

My personal New Year Resolution:

What I really want is to be more active. Whether it be taking a class somewhere or strolling around the neighborhood, I need to get up and move! Which is so hard after leaving for school before sunrise and returning to home after sunset. Because honestly, the only first thing I want to do when I get home is lay down and get ready to do it all over again. So it will definitely be difficult to find the motivation, but since I am getting married in just 6 months and a few days (yikes!), I'm hoping that might prompt some motivation too.

Another mini resolution is that I want to take an art class. Like ceramics or painting or something. I took an intro art class in college and loved it and I've always wanted to continue. That pesky thing called time just got in the way.

As for my blog New Year Resolution:
To just blog more! For real, going weeks between blogging is not ok. So I think I will try to blog at minimum twice per week and hopefully more!

Your turn!! Go link up!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Holly Bloggy Christmas

I'm always so sad on December 26th because it means that Christmas is officially over and that I have another 364 days for Christmas to come again. I love everything about Christmas and am always so sad that all the fun and festivities are over. Especially this year since I feel like I missed out on so much holiday fun-ness  being so far away from my family and friends.
On the bright side, this was the first Christmas that Evan spent with me and my family in Illinois! So that was a lot of fun and it was really nice to have him there with me.

On a different note, I participated in the Bloggy Gift Exchange this year and it was so much fun! 

I had a great time buying a few of my favorite things for Lisa over at Growing Firsties. I also loved that she lives in the best state ever aka Wisconsin! Although her package was small, it held some things that remind me of home when I am in Phoenix. I got her a yummy smelling candle from Bath and Body Works. They are a bit pricey for me, but they are such a weakness. I adore the way they smell and can instantly make a house feel like home.

I also included a pair of fuzzy, warm socks to keep the winter chills away in a cute polka dot pattern!

Both things are definitely necessary in cold and wintery Wisconsin!

And I received a wonderful package from Erika at My Crazy Life. She sent me a bunch of adorable things that are so great!

She sent me some awesome things for me to use at school. Some super cute stickers and some flair pens! I love using flair pens for checking homework or for writing sweet notes for my wonderful co-workers. And the stickers will be great for encouraging 100% on my kiddos' spelling tests! Because nothing says awesome job like a cute little sticker! She also sent me a snowman cup, which is great because I often drink two or three cups full of water at school alone! And one can never have too many cups! She also sent me some scented markers, similar to Mr Sketch, but with a much cuter design (Santa and Rudolph anyone?). Definitely excited to use these, even after Christmas!
And of course, some hand sanitizer, which is great since I seem to get coughed/sneezed on on a regular basis. And I'm pretty pumped about these post-its! The whole back is sticky! No more falling off or getting crinkled! She also sweetly included a couple of dog treats for Marlee!! What a sweetheart! Thanks so much Erika for thinking of me and taking the time to send me a sweet Christmas package! :)

I hope you all had a wonderful and blessed Christmas! I think one of my New Year's Resolutions has got to be blog more often!! 

Friday, December 14, 2012


Today at lunch, Evan sent me a text telling me to stay safe at school. I was puzzled and responded that I am always safe. Never have I ever questioned my or my students' safety at school. No one should have to question that or wonder will I be safe at school today?

But to those wonderful families at Sandy Hook, that is now a reality. For the families that now will have one less person at Christmas or for the sweet little children that will forever have horrific images, sounds, and memories etched into their innocent minds. 

My thoughts and prayers go out to all of the members of the Sandy Hook community as well as everyone affected in some way. Just goes to show that nothing can be taken for granted.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

December Currently...Already?!

I feel like it was just yesterday that I was posting, saying how I was shocked that it was already November, and now it's December!! Where has the time gone?!?!!?

For real. In 23 days, it will be Christmas; in 19 days, I will be on an airplane headed for Wisconsin; and in just two mere weeks, it will be Galileo testing (again) for my adorable firsties!! Ahhhh! So crazy!

Here is December Currently from Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade:

Anyways, this last week has been fairly blah for me. My kids were ticking me off, annoying me, testing my patience on Friday but we made it through and I got to wave good-bye to them for a much needed weekend.

However, yesterday wasn't really that restful. Every teacher in Arizona needs to be SEI certified, which stands for Structured English Immersion. SEI means that we can only teach in English so the class talks about the why that is and then gives us some strategies on good ways to help those students. I don't mind going; I just mind having to do endless activities that waste my time. 

Like instead of just reading a five-page article silently and then moving on, we have to get into groups, decide who is reading which page, read one page (which doesn't make sense for anyone reading except for Person #1 who is stuck with the intro which is usually super boring), tell everyone what we read, decide the most important parts, make a poster about it, and then present the poster. It just takes sooooo long.  But I only have one more next weekend and then I am down with SEI Module 1. (SEI Module 2 isn't due for another 2.5 years so I will be definitely giving myself a break from it). 

And then Evan and I went out yesterday and got a bunch of Christmas shopping done so almost everyone on our list is finished. And then we get stuck in parade traffic on the way home, which is definitely not my idea of fun.  Sidenote: Arizona drivers are terrible drivers. So add in the factor of parade pretty much guarantees a nightmare.

Today is just going to be a school/home/hoping Christmas tree buying day!! AKA a day to watch Bones on Netflix while doing school stuff. I love Bones <3

One more thing, I won Miss De Carbo's Sight Word Fluency Intervention Pack in a giveaway and let me tell you: It. Is. Amazing!!! I adore it. It's perfect for my struggling E2 readers. I started using it last week, and I can already see some of my students reading the focus words more fluently. Go check it out if you're looking for a great resource for first, second, or third!!

Have a wonderful Sunday!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Twas the day before Thanksgiving...

Yay for days off!! Don't get me wrong, I love my kiddos, but it's so nice to have a break from school. Although today has been even more stressful than school. Evan and I finally went to the DMV to get our car registered, which cost a heap ton of money, and I had to go to the Department of Education to drop off some test scores, only to find out that I still need to pay another arm and leg in a year. Needless to say, I was a bit cross.

But some shopping made up for it. I snagged these adorable beauties for only $3.50!!! They were already super cheap and another 40% off of that!

 Not sure if they will ever make it to school, but they are fairly comfortable miraculously and they are purple!

And I'm a sucker for Bath and Body Works candles. I'm going to give one away as a Christmas present though! They both smell so amazingly good though. They are my absolute favorite and they can melt away any bad mood. 

 In other news, yesterday my kids made fact family turkeys, as inspired by Amanda at One Extra Degree

 My kiddos write the three main numbers on the wing of the turkey and then wrote one fact on each feather. They are really struggling with fact families though. Most of them understand the two addition sentences, but struggle with the subtraction. And others of them can get the two addition sentences and only one subtraction sentence. After break, I am definitely planning to do more with fact families. I saw somewhere out in blogland making fact family kites so we'll probably do that in addition to re-doing, re-doing, re-doing them!!
But here's how they turned out - pretty cute I think, no?

Well, that's all for now. Evan and I are going to Thanksgiving dinner at my neighbor teacher's house tomorrow. I am making my all time favorite stuffing - celery and sausage, rolls, and Mrs Bainbridge's mom's green bean casserole!
It'll be hard/weird/sad not being at home with my family for Thanksgiving (this is my first time being away from home for Thanksgiving) but I hope I'll be ok!

And Renee from The Reading Corner, who always has amazing math ideas (I always use them for centers) is having a giveaway for making 5 and 10, which would be wonderful for some of my kids who are still struggling with number sense and ways to make 5 and 10!

PS, only two more days until it's socially acceptable to be pumped about Christmas!!!

I guess Marlee missed the memo that you can only get ready for Christmas AFTER Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Teaching Tips

I'm linking up with Miss Kindergarten for her linky on teaching tips (even I'm brand new to this wonderful profession). I am in love with this linky though since let's be honest - I need all the tips and tricks I can get. 

But I have one to share that is super helpful, especially for people like me aka absent minded people.

During student teaching, I can't tell you how many times I would go skipping off to the copier to make copies only to lose my original, give it to a kid, or (worse) cut it up along with the copies for the kids. It would be super annoying since I'd have to go to all the trouble of reprinting it, or even more annoying - remaking it if I had forgotten to save it on the computer. 

Enter... my wonderful CT, who one day, told me that yellow highlighter doesn't  show up to the copier; therefore, it won't be on the copied pages. She showed me that she marks all her original copies with a yellow diagonal line across it to insure that it's never accidentally given to a student, cut, written on, etc. 

So now I ALWAYS mark my originals the same way.

Your turn! Go link up!
PS I decided my blog needed a makeover and am loving the way it looks now! Thanks The Cutest Blog on the Block for the background!!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

I've got plenty to be thankful for...

Can you believe it's almost Thanksgiving?! I surely cannot. It's bittersweet for me though since this will be the first Thanksgiving that I won't be home for. It'll be hard, but it just didn't seem worth going home for such a short time. So, hopefully Evan and I will be able to have our own mini-Thanksgiving festivities. I know I'm definitely making my favorite stuffing - sausage and celery! So yum! But it still won't be the same.

But I found a great linky from Stories by Storie about the ten things you are thankful for. So here are mine:

Have a great weekend; I'm definitely pumped to have off on Monday!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Math Work Stations

I have always had a love-hate relationship with math, particularly, math centers. Granted, I haven't been teaching long at all, but at student teaching and my practicum, I have never liked teaching math at all. Maybe it's because I don't really like math all that much (shhhh, don't tell my students). Math was never a problem for me until the 7th grade, and it's been downhill ever since. 
And my dislike of math transferred to teaching math, especially when I had a terrible teacher for my math methods class.

In student teaching, we had four centers - two that were teacher lead and two that were "independent" aka not at all. And I hated it. So much. Maybe it was the drag of always having to remind kids to do their jobs, keep their voices down, not throw cubes at each other, etc. or maybe it was because it was at the end of the day...not sure.

So I started the year off with similar centers - I had five centers and it just didn't work. Kids were  being annoying not doing the center correctly, talking too much, or not being on task.

Enter Debbie Dillar's Math Workstations. Seriously, this book was completely changed the way I organize my math centers. Now I don't use it perfectly, but I took the general structure and fit it into my classroom. I have a bunch of different centers and only two students are at each one (with the exception of computers since I have four student computers and meeting with me). 

Now I still have students who get off task. And what does Debbie say about that? She says just have the offender come and sit right by you. So that is just what I do. And it works. And it makes me happy!! 

Some of my stations are from Debbie's book, others are ones from TPT, and others are from student teaching.

Roll and Record. Students roll two dice - one with dots and one with numbers, which helps them learn counting on. They then color in a square above the number. Whichever number gets to the top first is the "winner".

Collections. Students count their collections by ones, twos, fives, and/or tens. They can also sort by color, shape, size, or however they can group them.

Hundreds Chart. I found this gem in my room. It's a hundreds chart that has little tiles which each have one number on it. The students can then fill in the tiles. When they do so, they count forwards and backwards.

More Than/ Less Than/ Same As. I found this activity somewhere in Blogland (if it's yours or you know who created it, please let me know so I can give them credit!). There are a variety of cards with equations on them. There are three cards - one says Greater than 9, one says Less than 9, and one says Same as 9. The students then have to figure out where each card belongs and place it underneath the correct category.

Buttons in a Cup. Students start off with some buttons. One student hides some buttons under the cup. The other student has to figure out how many are hiding based on how many they see. Then they switch jobs.

Skyscrapers. Students roll two dice (again one with numbers and one with dots) to determine how cubes will be in their tower. They take turns until all the black dots are filled. Then they count all their cubes to determine who had more cubes.

Computers. A hit stations among students. Here, students can pick from a few websites that have math games.

Card Games. Students can pick to Go Fish or War. 

Meeting with me at the rainbow table! Here, we usually do number sense activities, CGI problems, or I re-teach concepts from large group to students who might need some extra time. This kiddos are working on CGI division and how they could divide 15 pieces of candy between the five of us.

What do you do for math centers/work stations??

Sunday, November 4, 2012

November Currently

Yikes already November?! When did this happen? And it's second quarter?! Again, when did this happen? I seriously cannot believe how quickly this year is just zipping right along. And I know that it will continue in just that way. So crazy!! Anyways, since it's now November, that means it's Currently time with Farley from Oh' Boy 4th Grade.

Evan is hard at work on his proposal for grad school so he needs music to keep him going. And of course, most of it isn't my style, but that's ok since the prospect of going to IKEA hinges on how much he gets done! And the reason I want to go to IKEA is because I need a desk. Between two laptops (one work laptop and my personal laptop), papers galore, cute markers and all things teachery, the coffee table just isn't cutting it anymore. I found one that I like that has little shelves so I could get a few baskets to hold wayward things so it will look lovely. 

And that creepy cackle? Since the weather is finally starting to cool off, we keep our apartment door open a lot more, using just the screen to get some fresh air in here. Anyways, as I was typing, someone uttered the weirdest laugh ever. So creepy!!

And what teacher doesn't need time to work in their room?? With two meetings every week, which is now switching to three, I don't have a lot of time to be in my room and organize. Plus, being a new teacher, there is so much stuff that was in the room from the teacher before me, that I haven't had much time to go through and even see what's there! I could something amazing and not even know it!!

As for music in the classroom, I usually don't play any. Maybe I will start though just to see how it goes. If I did, I'd probably play something without lyrics so they couldn't sing along.

Hopefully I can start blogging more frequently. Honestly, the real reason I don't write much is because I always forget to take pictures of what we're doing. I need to start doing that more often, but for real, how do you all do it?!

PS - I have my first Donor's Choose project out there so I'm really excited! I hope it gets funded since my kids absolutely adore Mo Willems books!! Plus, pretty sure with the code INSPIRE, it doubles the amount!!! Spread the word please :)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

It's a New Week...

Yikes, I have been such a terrible blogger. But in my defense, I had the worst week of my (small) teaching career last week. I had meetings every day after school and two before school. I was just physically and emotionally so exhausted and overworked, and I have never looked forward to the weekend more than this one. 

This weekend was so nice and needed. For starters, I was able to sleep in BOTH days! Normally I can only manage to sleep in on Sunday, but I was so wiped out that I snoozed until 7:00 both days. So wonderful. And Evan and I went to the Arizona Audubon Center last night for this adorable Halloween activity. Granted it was aimed at kids, but still fun nonetheless. And we went to Culver's too! Culver's is one of my favorite places to eat. Their food tastes so yummy and it's a little bit of home since it originated in Wisconsin. And I got to talk to a dear friend whom I haven't been able to call in a long time. It was wonderful to hear her voice and since she's a teacher too, we spent our whole conversation talking about school! And wedding planning too! 
But the most important part of the weekend is that I feel rested and rejuvenated for a new week. Which is a good thing since I'm having my first formal observation tomorrow. Yikes!! I'm a little nervous, but I think it will go well since I'll be teaching writing and writing is my all time favorite thing to teach.

Well, here's hoping this week is better than last week :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October Currently

Yay!! It is now my favorite month: October. I love everything about October. The colorful leaves and how they crunch. The crisp weather - perfect for boots, chunky sweaters and scarves. The food - pumpkin everything, hot chocolate, apple everything. So yum. And Halloween. I love Halloween.

So what better way to start off October than with a Currently from Oh' Boy Fourth Grade!

So I am beyond pumped for Fall Break. I am going back to Wisconsin for some fall fun and wedding planning. Seriously can't wait!! Because even though October will always be my favorite month, it's not the same here. No colors, no crisp sad. So I need to go home to get my fall fix. And free Jimmy John's!?!?! Yes please.

So this week has been Galileo testing week. My kids have had to take two standardized tests, one in reading and one in math, and then complete a writing prompt. I'm actually pretty pumped about the writing since I'm anxious to see how they have grown as writers over the past two months (seriously been in school that long?!?! Scary!!!). But the reading and math tests are just crazy. Some of my kids' scores improved but others decreased so I don't know what to think. I know that I can't define myself as a teacher based on test scores, but now is one of those times where I can't help it. And I know that standardized tests aren't an authentic way of measuring a student's progress but I'm feeling a bit defeated about it. Especially since it counts for 50% of a child's overall grade and plays a big part in assessing me as a teacher. Wah.

And to top it off, I have had a persistent headache all week long. It always goes away overnight, but returns mid-day and sticks around until bed. Such a drag.

But Fall Break is just. around. the. corner!!!!!!! Yay!!!! And tomorrow and Friday are early release days. The kids go home at 11:15. Tomorrow I have to stick around until 7:00 for parent-teacher conferences, but on Friday, I can leave promptly at 11:15. We'll see if that actually happens though...

So Marlee and I are off to pick up Evan from ASU. Wednesdays are his late days since he has class until 7 so to avoid the long light rail ride back home, I always go get him.

Monday, September 24, 2012

If I saw Justin Bieber...

I always try to make work fun and relevant for students. It's part of my educational philosophy that children learn more deeply and authentically when something that they are familiar with is involved. That's why Justin Bieber frequently is a star in my CGI and homework problems. Some students (mostly girls) really like him and get so excited when they hear his name. For this week's homework, I asked my students to write about if they saw the Biebs on the street; what would next. As I was going through their homework, I ran across two super cute and funny writings that I HAD to share with you all! (Disclaimer: I wish they had written more as they write pages and pages during writing workshop!!).

The one above is Dylan's. His says "I said 'Ahhhhh!' He was in a taxi. I was running in the street. This was not cool."

I read this and burst out laughing. Such a funny story - a taxi? And why would Dylan be running in the street??!! Plus I love the Biebs' hair in his picture too. Dylan also often includes some form of sound in his writing, which I think is pretty cool; it gives his writing a bit of voice and excitement to it.

Carlos' is next. I'm showing you this one because of the pictures - mainly the hair. Carlos wears his hair in a faux hawk every day, hence, why he drew himself (the one in red) with triangle hair. Super cute!! Plus Justin Bieber's hair looks so him. 

Have a wonderful week everyone! I only have two weeks left until fall break! Yay!! Although I have no idea how it's already time for fall break; it seems that school just started. But for my break, I am going home to Milwaukee to do some wedding planning and get my small feel of fall weather since I miss it terribly! And hopefully go to a pumpkin patch too! :)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Something Good

So after going home sick today after lunch with a pounding headache and feeling like I was on the verge of throwing up all morning, this seems very appropriate: 

Something good at school:
I feel like my kiddos are finally becoming more independent at centers  - both reading and math. That's such a relief because there is nothing that annoys me more than being swarmed with children asking questions, asking me if they are doing x, x, and x right, telling me that they are done, asking for drinks, etc. So I'm glad that they are becoming more independent. Plus that means that maybe my hope of pulling small groups in a week is actually feasible...We shall see...

Something good at home:
Since Evan and I are both super busy now, we have decided to go on weekly dates. So starting last week, either Friday night or Saturday night is our date night. I'm really excited about it and it will be nice to spend some quality time with him instead of trying to talk to him in the early mornings when he is still sleepy or being bothered by him at night when I am sleepy. 

Your turn! Go link up with Jennifer at Rowdy in First Grade!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Rewards and Incentives Linky Party

I confess - I can't stand rewards Period. And especially not for behavior. Especially behavior that is expected. And I will fight tooth and nail to not give them out because I think it's so important for kids to be intrinsically motivated to do the right thing. So in my classroom, there isn't a prize box or stickers or pencils or anything. 
So you maybe be wondering how I manage behavior?? What I do have is my trusty clipchart. Now I'm sure everyone has seen the wonderful clip chart on Pinterest or uses one so no need to explain how it works. But honestly, right now, my kids get so pumped to get up to Role Model that that is a huge reward in itself. I always draw attention to kids who are role models, and then remind other students that if they're not sure what to do to look at our role models of the day. It works so well for me that there really isn't even a need to offer a prize for getting to the top. When just being up there seems to be getting old, I think I'll get some gems or google eyes for the students to stick on their clip when they reach role model. But hopefully I won't have to do that anytime soon :)

There is only one instance where I offer an incentive. And that is homework. At first, I was taking away Fun Friday for kids who didn't do their homework for the week. But I was thinking about it, and I decided to reward those who do bring their homework back every week. So the punch card was born! Whenever a student brings back homework, I punch his or her punch card. When the punch card is full, then they get to pick from a list of special activities like eating lunch with me in the classroom, taking off their shoes for the day, sitting by a friend, sitting at my desk, etc.

Just a little something to reward those who always do their homework! Plus, let's be honest. The LAST thing I want to do is deal with stocking a prize box. 

Your turn!! Go link up!

Monday, September 3, 2012

September Currently and School Related News

Wow, how is it already September?!!? No idea how that happened, especially since that means I have been in school for almost a month! Completely baffled by that. 

So I'm linking up with Farley at Oh Boy Fourth Grade with her monthly Currently.

Yes you read that right - I got a new puppy! One of the girls on the first grade team found her wandering around on her way to school so she picked her up and brought her to school. She spent two days in the janitor's office before coming home with me! It's funny since Evan and I had decided to get a cat because they are a bit easier to care for than dogs since they are more self sufficient, Marlee kind of just fell into our laps. She's super sweet!
Look at her little face!

She's super sweet and pretty low key...except at bed time. For some reason, she's always super perky and wants to play at bedtime. Last night she was bounding around, trying to jump in bed and squeaking. Originally, we had her in the bathroom and she just barked and barked and barked. Then we tried tethering her with her leash but no gate in hopes that that would make her feel better, but instead, she thrashed around and barked some more. So we ultimately let her have free roam of our bedroom which worked ok. She was still a nuisance during the night, but way better than her barking for hours. So hopefully she gets used to our routine soon...especially since school resumes for me tomorrow and Evan has to go to ASU for class tomorrow too!

I'm really missing fall weather too, even though I feel like it's still pretty hot in Wisconsin. I think just the beginning of September, plus the fact that most schools are starting tomorrow is enough to make me want fall weather. The crunchy leaves, the slight chill in the air, the fall foods, wearing boots and scarves - I love it all! I'm really glad to be going home during my fall break in early October. That's when fall is in full swing! Maybe I can convince my family to go to a pumpkin farm!

In school-related news, our first publishing party is on Wednesday. My kiddos are pretty excited about it (I think mainly because of the prospect of juice and snack), but I think they are also excited to read their stories to their parents. I hope parents can come. If not, my backup plan is to ask kinder teachers or second grade teachers if they wouldn't mind having a few of my kids come in to read their stories. Tomorrow we are adding titles, finishing up the words, and coloring the pictures and on Wednesday, we will be putting the final touches on them. 

I have heard so much wonderful things about Daily 5 that I am determined to do it in my room. We have been Reading to Self for the past few weeks. We finally got to ten minutes on Friday! So exciting! And this week, I'm going to introduce Read to Someone. I hope my kids can handle it, but a lot of modeling and expectation laying out should help. I just wish I could skip ahead to where they are independent.

Math, I am trying to incorporate more number sense into the day. When multiple kids write something similar to 4+0=6, I know there is a problem. So I've been doing a number of the day during Morning Meeting, and on Friday, I started number cards and collection counting. Plus I've been using subitizing cards during five minute downtime to help them build their ability to look at a number of objects and know how many are there without having to count them.

So yeah, we are in for a busy week! Luckily, it's only a four day work week!!! :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I Love Lucy

I am in such an amazing mood yesterday, a far cry from yesterday that ended with a headache and defeated feelings. To think that everything can be made better with little old Lucy Calkins. A bit of background - I love teaching literacy - both reading and writing. I especially love Lucy Calkins. I think she is amazing and I love how her books are written in narrative form. Granted it takes longer to get to the meat of what she is saying, but it makes for such an easy read that I actually end up understanding each bit more. Anyways, at my school, the first grade team creates lesson plans together, and dear Lucy wasn't included in the plan. I tried to teach with the plan on Monday, and it was a complete disaster. The kids were not engaged and I didn't get much writing from them. So on Tuesday, I decided to secretly do my own thing aka start a writing workshop the Lucy way. Let me tell you, I got way more writing when they had the freedom to write about something that they know - themselves! And today, when I said it was time for writing, I even got some cheers. Never thought I'd hear that. But a big part of me felt guilty for not following the lesson plans. However, today, the first grade team met with our principal and assistant principal to discuss writing rigor. And my assistant principal revealed that she loves Lucy Calkins and used her books when she was a teacher. And she went on to suggest that we use it in our rooms! Oh my, I can't even tell you how my face must have lit up. I was so excited. I went and got my very own set of writing books (which were stashed in a resource room), and got full permission to use them!

Happiness in the form of Lucy. 

So, needless to say, I am beyond pumped that I can not-so-secretly be a writing workshop lover, and I can't wait to have writing again tomorrow! And I'm starting Daily 5 tomorrow too. I'm bringing in a bag full of shoes to discuss finding Just Right books. I bet that will be a lot of fun and the kiddos will get a kick out of seeing me hobble around in my fiance's shoes!