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Friday, May 30, 2014

Five for Friday (May 30)

School is out!!  Now it is time to plan for my incoming students.  I have decided to use Stephany's Pirate Theme Decor for next year.  I am super excited about it too!!

I have even started printing and laminating!!  I am trying to work ahead.  It is hard with a 6 week old baby AND my 4 and 5 year old boys at home.  :)

As I was walking through Wal-Mart this week, I saw these pinatas.  I decided that they would be perfect for a first day time capsule.  I am going to have my students write their name and include a picture from the first day of school.  Then, on the last day of school I will have the students bust open the pinata to compare how much they have grown during the school year.

Speaking of classroom themes...
Even though I am excited about changing my decor, I am a little sad to see my Rock Star classroom go.  I even kept my door the same the entire year.  (Yes, I really don't like to admit it... but I did.)

I used my Rock Star or Rock and Roll Classroom Theme Decor Pack.  This is actually the pack I used in my kindergarten classroom this year.

Here are a few pictures from my classroom morning meeting board.

A student of mine was so gracious to have these cute bows made for baby Maddux.  I think my favorite is the red and blue baseball bow.  She made it because our family loves the Chicago Cubs!

 She had them made at KoKo's BOWtique.  Check out her Facebook page here.  I think she takes custom requests too!  Here are some cute ones that I think Maddux needs!!

I have spent most of the week calling different universities in the area.  I am considering getting my administration and principal leadership license.  I have actually decided that I am going to take the plunge and do it, I just haven't decided which university.  I already have my masters degree in education, so a few more classes and internship will be all I need.  I really have no desire of becoming a principal.  However, I am excited to take classes in leadership and education law.

Finally, our colleague at Warm and Fuzzy in First Grade has posted an incredible end of the year assessment for first grade.  You can check it out here.  She has it in her TpT store for only $2.00!!
Endless Possibilities,

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Guided Math Book Study: Chapter 1

This guided math book study is just what I have needed!  We focus a lot on our 90-Minute reading blocks in our schools and often times the math block suffers.  I have spent a ton of time tweaking, reading, reworking, and in general focusing on my 90-Minute reading block.  I am so excited to spend the summer focusing a good chunk of my planning time on my math block.  Let's face it... most teachers are already planning what they will do differently next year while they are packing up their room at the end of the year!

Chapter 1 in Laney Sammon's Guided Math focuses on why a different approach to teacher centered math instruction is important.  She gives several examples of how most adults can't complete simple math tasks that are important to everyday life and also how students get discouraged and give up on math when they don't learn from teacher centered math instruction.  She isn't saying teacher centered math instruction is bad, she is just saying the math block needs MORE to reach ALL the students.  She had me hooked after the first paragraph!

Currently, I think I do a pretty good job of balancing teacher centered and small group/station work.  Students get the main standard (the one on our curriculum map) taught as a whole group.  I track who has mastered that standard with my own quick assessments.  I reteach in small groups and then reassess again to check for mastery.   While my reading groups fluctuate and  change slowly over time, my math grouping is constantly changing depending on the data from assessments, my observations, and student feedback.   I always seem to have a few students who quickly master all standards... that's when I move them ahead to more complex multi-step problems, challenge them on their math fact mastery, or work ahead to second grade standards.   Here is a freebie first grade Common Core Tracking sheet that I use to track my students' mastery! (Don't mind the messy white marks, just blocking out student names!)  
Grab these up for free by clicking below!

What troubles me about my math instruction is the inconsistency.  My math block is always in the afternoon where my special classes are also plugged into the schedule.  Our specials are always at different times so the afternoons are always different.  Keeping on track and getting things done in a timely manner is always tricky!

Another aspect that troubles me is keeping organized!  Ugh!  I always seems to have piles of papers, forms, charts... the list goes on!  I know one teacher who doesn't have stacks of papers everywhere (and I blog with her... looking at YOU Mrs. VanMeter!)r Hopefully through this process I can find a way to get and keep all that paperwork (and myself) organized!  

Finally, (big UGH) math meetings.  My colleague Kiley from Red Dot Creations and I were just talking about this.  She LOVES her math meeting time.  Like double, triple loves it.  I can't stand math meeting/calendar time.  It bores me to death.  I find myself wanting to just skip and rush through it.  Math meeting seems to be a MAJORLY important role in the Guided Math so I am going to have to find a way to make it fun, interesting, and engaging (for me especially!).  This is a challenge I am ready to take on!  My Kindergarten teacher friends use this simple form during their meeting time at the beginning of the year.  {Click HERE to grab it up for free}
So, what do you do to make your math meeting challenging and engaging!  Leave a comment below...I would love to hear your ideas!  

Don't forget to check out the links below to the other bloggers who are participating in this blog hop and enter the Rafflecopter to win exciting Guided Math prizes!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 26, 2014

Ending Another Great Year!

{And now back to your regular scheduled blog posting} what a week!  We had SO much fun to wrap up the year.  Field trips, field day, sno-cones, all school picnics, bubbles, chalk, tie dye, awards.   It was such a fun and busy week!

We took a "field trip" by walking to our local park.  Late last week we tie dyed shirts.  Have you ever tie dyed shirts with first graders? My hands were blue all week and I felt the need to explain to everyone I met in public that I wasn't a dirty person... just a first grade teacher.  I think the kids  actually faired better than me because I actually remembered to make sure they had gloves on.  

The shirts turned out better than my hands...

We played some old-fashioned games...3-leg race, egg in the spoon...
They were laughing so hysterically at one point that it was refreshing... these kids who had been taught, tested, tested, tested and ....umm tested... actually being kids.  Out in the fresh air and not a care in world.  They were working together, playing together and having fun.   It wasn't about who was the smartest or who knew what a common, proper, or possessive noun was... but just kids being kids and enjoying being with each other.  

These kids worked their tails off this year...they sorted, they recorded, they assessed and they reassessed.  They graphed their progress.  They succeeded and they failed.  Most tried again and they mastered it.  Some tried again and they didn't.  Their little hands taking those tests, filling in bubbles and writing until their hands hurt.   They will go on to second grade where they will succeed and fail, just like adults do.  Not too long from now they will be those adults.

One thing I hope is that they leave my class knowing they are "good" at something.  All of them are good at something.  Artist, diplomat, friend, peacemaker, comedian...sometimes what they are good at is not assessed on paper. They may or may not read a passage in under 1 minute but they are still a GOOD reader.   They may or may not complete a timed math facts test in a minute, but they are still smart.  They don't have to always be the best, the fastest or the smartest to be successful.

I have had kids who don't pass the tests.  Their graph doesn't look like steps.  They don't go up or if they do they have some really shallow "stairs".  But, they might be the ones who don't follow "the path".  They may follow their own "unstandardized" path to success.  Whatever their path, I wish them luck and I will be cheering them on from the sideline every step of the way.

     Endless Possibilites,


Sunday, May 25, 2014

We're at it again! Indiana Teachers $1 Sale!

In honor of this weekend being the Indianapolis 500, we are having a $1 dollar sale in our store.  Each of us have picked out some great products and are offering them for $1 today and tomorrow!
 My Fall Fluency Passages are up for grabs!  This is a great chance to check out the format of the passages!

I also have these three products marked down to a dollar!  Hurry and grab them up!

Stephanie has these MATH items for $1 for today and tomorrow only!!
Kathi has these items marked for $1 for today and tomorrow only!

Check out the link-up below to see what everyone is offering!  So many great deals!!!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Secret Admirer Blog Hop

I am so excited to be participating in this month's Secret Admirer Blog Hop hosted by Amanda over at Primary Gal.  I love reading blogs (especially in the summer) and getting ideas.  One of my favorite parts of summer is being able to catch up on all my blogs!

The blog I am "admiring" is Mrs. Olson's Lucky Little Learners.  Ashley has such great ideas and products!
I absolutely LOVED getting to use and review her Geometry interactive math notebook unit:  

This product is super awesome! I can see this used in whole groups, math stations or in small groups!  Angie has included some full page "anchor" charts with 2-D and 3-D shapes.  These look awesome in black&white or in color.  I plan to use a copy for my math wall and also print a copy in B&W for my kiddo's math notebooks.
One of the many things I LOVE about Angie's product is that she included "real life" pictures of what the finished product is supposed to look like.  This is such a time saver because instead of reading lengthy directions, you can simply scan the photo and know if you are on track!
This is a super easy to use and realistic interactive math notebook activity.  It doesn't take a boat load of time but it is effective and it looks great!  Angie has included a 2-D shape activity where the shape is on top and the characteristics of the shape are under the flap.  Super easy and effective!  

She also included this cute "fancy" version with super cute faces on the shapes! (Excuse the tape, blame an end of the year glue stick shortage!)

Also included are 3-D shape interactive pages!

She had also included a great 3D shape sort!

2D Shapes, 3D Shapes, and shape riddles... your students are going to love adding these activities to their math notebooks!

You can pick up a little "freebie" from this unit by clicking below!

Check out the other products in Angie's store by clicking HERE!

Check out the other Secret Admirer Posts by clicking below!!

Happy Saturday!