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 :)