Saturday, October 18, 2014

Teacher Quality and Preparedness

Words that strike fear into many teachers:

It doesn't matter how many students you have, what matters is your quality teaching.

So you will have 24 (give or take a few) first graders this year.

And your evaluation will be impacted by their scores on standardized tests.

But how? And with what? And who will support me when I have questions? And how am I going to organize it?

Lucky for me it is time to rack up some college hours so that I can renew my teaching license, and I found a class that is answering some of those questions.

Yesterday and today we poured over the research. We were taught using good teaching practices (do as I do--YES!). And I came home with some great ideas (and books to read).

Next weekend we will dive into 6 instructional tools that will magically transform me into a Quality Teacher who is Very Prepared.

Stay tuned...
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Monday, October 13, 2014

Clockwork

Isn't it grand when the day runs like clockwork?

Today was NOT that day.

Maybe I needed to have spent more time over the weekend in my classroom getting lessons and materials ready (I thought I was ready). But I really enjoyed my family, a soccer game, time with my friend on Sunday afternoon and watching some DVRed shows.

Maybe I needed to incorporate more play and fantasy into the day. I mean, they are six and seven. What do they do? Play pretend, and if I'm lucky, they learn something along the way. But I had a schedule. And they were not following it.

Maybe it was the rain and the anticipated indoor recess.

Maybe it was the promise of a short week (only teaching 2 days, then the kids have fall break).

Whatever "It" was, "It" threw my plans out the window by 10:00.

Maybe tomorrow will be a clockwork day...

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Occupational Hazard

OOOWWWWW that hurt!

My class has chores this week.

We were almost done. Chickens--check. Calf--check. Pigs--check. Hang up the hose--CRASH. 

Right into my thigh. I screamed (a little from pain, a little from surprise--nope, it was a LOT from pain). 

As I was doubled over I heard in the background--"I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry."

I kind of hollered back--"I accept your apology!" I didn't want to accept. Someone RAMMED a wheelbarrow straight into me, but youngsters were watching, and I had to be a good example.

She continued out of the barn to whatever job needed that wheelbarrow and I staggered, teary-eyed to a bench to sit down. 

A friend of mine who was helping chore saw me, and said that she thought it wasn't broken (perhaps that was a comment on how much I was describing my pain). But it REALLY hurt. 

Anyway, I'm ok.

But next time you or anyone is in the barn, watch out for eager youngsters who should not be driving wheelbarrows at high speeds.
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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

It Was Fun

How do you know?

They told me it was fun.

Today Mrs. Jones and I were debriefing after school (like every day). What went well, what we want to do better, what flopped, what we LOVED.

Not even sure what she was talking about, but next out of her mouth was, "It was fun."

As soon as I had "H---" out of my mouth, she finished with, "I had a pony."

(I was about to say, "How do you know it was fun?")

And then we both busted up laughing.

It has got to be one of our favorite videos.

We quote it often.

Last week we had chocolate pudding, and it was fun. We also pay for classroom extras (folders, glue, and snacks) with kidney money.

(We don't have pudding or pay with kidney money--we are kidding.)

If you do not "get" what I'm talking about, watch this...


                                     

Yes, that was fun.

Pony rides, knife throwing and pudding.

Love.
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Monday, September 29, 2014

Interactive Math Journal

Today they loved math journal time.

Last Friday (after school) Mrs. Jones and I revamped and ramped up our math time.

We love teaching and enjoy improving what we do. And when we find a great blogpost or TpT product we get really excited. 

That's what happened on Friday. Mrs. Jones showed me this post on math rotations.

And we got to thinking about interactive math journals

Today I modeled and talked through a journal entry, and then the kids had a try. 

Let me say--teacher heaven. 

1. Practice cutting skills (fine motor)
2. Follow directions (where to glue)
3. Practice "making ten"

It was a long practice, but fantastic. Some kids were disappointed that the work was in a notebook that they could not take home--that's how much they loved it. Lucky for us, we talked about how they could make their own at home. 


When almost all were finished they got a turn with a partner "being the teacher."


Not sure what Bloom's level it is, but teaching someone else HAS to be high. 

And even one friend helped another friend do some writing. LOVE!!

I looked at a lot of pins and blog posts and YouTube videos about interactive notebooks this past weekend. I even created a board for interactive journals on Pinterest.

What was I missing?




I cannot wait to use these bad boys. 

Tomorrow: another interactive page, and an anchor chart for journal behavior and expectations. And maybe the glue sponges will be ready. 

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Friday, September 26, 2014

TGIF

Is there anything better than a Friday night?

The promise of a weekend. Time to relax and regroup. Someone else made my dinner.

And a linky party! Thanks Kacey @ Doodle Bugs Teaching for this weekly party, an opportunity to share five pictures/events/randomnesses from my day.

1. Math Stations are going ok. The kids are learning so much. I love having the time to focus on a certain skill with a couple of kids while the rest are "doing" meaningful math. (These pictures are from earlier this week...we were very busy today with "special" activities and did not have time for stations.)





2. Our Cloverbuds group met today. My rotation was not fancy (the other three were fantastic), but it worked. After looking at several examples of 4-H group banners, the kids designed a possible banner for our group. the only requirement--must have 4-H some where. I will choose the "winner" later and on another meeting we will make a new banner to hang in our hallway.


3. The garden needed to be weeded. What's to be done? I bet you know...

Give the kids recess, have me watch them playing while Mrs. Jones grabs a few to work in the garden. Win-Win-Win.


4. How about a lively game of Duck, Duck, Goose? You betcha!





Thanks to Mrs. Jones for snapping these photos. I cannot believe how long these kids played this game. They waited patiently for a turn (really!!) and had fun.

As the "It" person walked around, I still had the same thoughts as I did when I was younger "please, do not say goose on me."

And one friend said, "I sure hope she gooses me." I had to chuckle a bit.

5. Our farm family guy (Mr. Williams) invited us to his field (nice that the field was the field "next" to our school--that means 1/4 mile away) this afternoon to have a lesson on planting wheat. I am not going to try to name the equipment we saw (I will just embarrass myself with incorrect terms), but it was COOL and HOT!!




And your bonus #6...

Late afternoon (think 4:30-5:30) collaboration session with Mrs. Jones. We were dedicated on a Friday afternoon or we were just too tired to get in our cars and go home. Which do you think is true?




We like our math structure, but we want to LOVE it. While talking and debriefing about our week we happened upon the topic of math. We researched. We sketched ideas. We briefly planned. And then we flew out of there to go be with our families!!

Here's hoping that you had a fantastic Friday and that your weekend is just as lovely!!


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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Another New Experience...

The new-to-us arrangement and schedule worked out just fine today. Just some minor tweaking and getting into a different routine.

Now I have a wonderful problem/situation.

And I'm looking for veteran advise. 

This year I have decided to make having volunteers in my room work. But, I'm really new at it. Not sure about best practices for me and the volunteer.

Recently (like at 2:30 this afternoon) I sent an email to the parents of my students asking for parent volunteers to work in my room from 12-1 helping kids with sight words or handwriting.**[I got the letter pre-approved by my principal, because it is always a GREAT idea to keep the building head "in the know" and have her support if any tricky situation should arise--which it won't, because life is good.]**

This evening I had a reply. It was from Grandpa (he and Grandma come in on Wednesdays and read with kids--just for fun, we ALL love it). He would like to volunteer to help students with sight words and he can come every day.

Can you say--Grandpa, you ROCK!!

Now, here is what I need (and remember, this is for recognizing and spelling sight words): 
1. How do you set this up (a volunteer comes in, what do you give them)?
2. How do you train the volunteer?

I know what words to use-I will get them from my basal. But...

Now what?

Blog Buddies--you are so amazing with your ideas and tips, would you share your best or worst ideas?

I think we will start on Monday, because waiting is just not easy for me.

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