Friday, August 31, 2012

Fantastic Friday Five

I love this idea. Reflect on the week. What are five great things/activities that I want to document or celebrate?

Saw this idea from  Jill's blog: Marvelous Multiagers  and she found it on Taylor's blog: Baking...Crafting...Teaching, and I want to do it also.

1. Math time is really coming together. Lesson, and then 3 rotations (teacher, seatwork, and hands-on manipulatives). Loved being able to make the concepts more difficult or easier as needed. And by Thursday, the students were really getting the rotation as well.

2. We had two birthday parties this week. On Tuesday we celebrated my aide that is with us during writing, and today we celebrated a sweet little girl. It was very fun and meaningful.

3. Writing minilessons: This week we focused on leaving spaces between words and today when we were writing our birthday letters a girl who has been struggling with remembering spaces raised her hand to show me that she remembered her spaces. You should have seen her beam. Lovely.

4. The smile on a sweet boys face as he realized that he can use his knowledge about letters and their sounds to read words and sentences and books. Another beam. More lovely.

5. Several times this week I had to remind myself (outloud, in front of the children) to keep my composure. So much work, but I did it! It has really helped that each morning our star helper has lead our entire class in a stress relieving activity (star, drain, balloon, pretzel).

6. Saw several kids wearing their t-shirts from last year. Today when I told him I liked his shirt another boy from our class last year told me, "you remember--it was from our school family." They still remember what I called them. Smile.

I might be able to go on, and on and on. I am feeling so grateful tonight. To have completed another week. To know that the students have a four-day weekend (I only have a three-day weekend). To start watching my boys play fall soccer. To know that my husband has a meaningful job (two of them actually). To know that I am loved and that I love.
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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Parent Information Night

I love singing along to the radio or a CD. Even if I don't know all the correct words.

Driving home today, listening to my current favorite song, singing at the top of my lungs, and I only knew 1/4 of the words. Still, I had a blast. It totally makes me smile to do this because it drives my husband and sons crazy and I can really only do this if they are not with me. They wish for me to sing the words correctly. But I don't know the words and I want to sing to the amazing song.

Monday was day nine of this school year. And that night was Parent Information Night. (I think I like "People, I'm Nervous better"--I saw that one on a blog, A Teeny Tiny Teacher.)

The evening started out with our principle talking to everyone who showed up. We were in the gym. After she gave a few all school bits of info, we split into classrooms.

I don't really like this part of the job, but I hoped that this starburst idea would help my confidence. I made these treat bags for the parents to eat while I talked. (Idea from A Teeny Tiny Teacher.) She said that if we give them food, they can't ask questions (and I look like a great teacher).

The first session went ok. The room was full. I talked fast. I didn't have a list of what to cover (and should have--remember to do that next year). But I think it went ok. Not one parent ate their candy. My plan to fill their mouths did not work. But they still did not ask questions. Until they were leaving. One parent asked about Mountain Math. Now everyone was listening again. So I spent several minutes talking about the wonderful review that comes every week.

The second session had 5 people in it. Much more intimate, but scary, I couldn't hide behind so many people. Covered most of the same topics, had one question about books (that I remembered to say in the first session, but forgot in the second), and still not one person dipped into their candy. The most memorable event in session 2 is that some parents who were finished with their session stood outside my door and had a LOUD conversation with lots of laughing. I had to stop talking to go and shut the door.

I wasn't very creative. Basically I showed what our reading log will look like (to start later), what our everyday take home folder will look like (to start later), and a few items from my ABCs of Mrs. Bartel's Class. Here is a link to what it looked like this year. ABCs of Mrs. Bartels Class (when I tried the link it comes out all wonky, but at least you get the idea).

Certainly glad it went well and that it is over for now.
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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

P.I.N. and a Package

Last night was Parent Information Night at school (P.I.N.). More on that later this week.

I got a package in the afternoon.

Can you guess what was inside?
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Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Best Pizza and Green Olives

Pizza is comfort food for me. Not Little Caesars or Pizza Hut. Homemade.

Now that it is not as hot, I can make it again. We have a bit of a break from pizza in the summer. It is too hot to eat much, or much hot food that hasn't come off the grill. I've seen recipes for grilling pizza, but have not talked my dear into trying it.

So Saturday I got to make homemade pizza. It sure tastes good after not having it for a while.

Growing up we had it often on Saturday nights. I like having a night all planned out what to eat. And everyone will eat it.

I make 2 pizzas. One for the boys to share and one for the parents to share. Theirs has cheese and pepperoni, and ours has cheese, pepperoni, and half jalapenos and half green olives. Yum. The jalapenos are for for my dear, and I get the olive side.

This pizza is half decorated, made my dear stop putting on the cheese so I could snap a photo of such a delicious entree.

Eating green olives is my favorite since childhood. When we gathered with my mom's family there was always a bowl of green and black olives. I left the black alone, but would not stay away from the green.

This summer on our vacation I spent the afternoon and evening with my aunt and girl cousins. I had never seen such a big bowl of green olives. And my cousin would fill her plate with about 30 olives at a time (I noticed twice, if she did it more I did not see). Right then and there I knew I had been limiting myself and would not any more.

Now I eat olives. As I made supper the other night I thought it would be nice to munch some olives. I finished the jar. After placing the olives on the pizza above I ate some olives out of the new jar.

I think having olives in the fridge is going to have to become a necessity, much like milk.
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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Writing With the Littles

Last spring I was so nervous about teaching math. Which led me to reading a book over the summer and then I felt much better about my understanding of teaching math. And now math time is shaping up pretty well.

I don't feel like I did a good job teaching writing last year. I have never considered myself a writer. All summer long I saw reviews for the book No More, "I'm Done!" I was so busy with other books that I just didn't get around to it.

However, when I placed my recent Amazon order I stuck that book in my cart (it was only $15).  When I finally opened it up to read I was trilled with the ideas and practical tips on how to teach writing to the little people who are just beginning to learn about sounds and words and punctuation.

We (my students, my aide and me) started writing in this manner on Monday. What a beautiful time in my room.

I start with a mini-lesson. Then we have a quiet ten minutes for writing (either drawing our ideas, or writing labels or sentences, or a combination of both). Next is time for  conferencing, telling our stories and adding to our stories. We work all the way to lunch, which is often another 30 minutes. And they are truly working.

One day this week the mini lesson was reading part of a Richard Scary book. I showed how he draws lots of pictures, labels the pictures, and then writes a sentence about it. Then I modeled this drawing/writing and sent us (because EVERYONE writes during the quiet ten) off to write. I have a piece of classical music that is 9 minutes long, and we know that we are writing during the music and can talk and share when the music is off.

Stories were written about birthdays, castles, a trip to Paris, families, and me.

On Fridays our writing time is trumped by Art with the art teacher. One sweet little girl asked at lunch time when we were going to have our writing time (which had already passed). I explained that we won't have writing today because of having art. You should have seen the disappointment in her face. I said to her, "you must have had an idea in your head for what you wanted to write about today." She nodded yes.

Wow! Other kids were also disappointed. Yippee, I have helped to create a class that loves to write. Who would have ever thought that would happen? Not me. But it makes me so happy.

Now my task is to stay ahead of them and teach them and move them along in how they write. Better get back to that book today.
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Monday, August 20, 2012

My Teacher Must Haves

Today I am linking with Blog Hoppin' for my Teaching Must Haves.

Actually this is a good topic, because I'm not quite sure what my must haves are. I change my mind, my schedule and how I do things to much that I wonder what I will write today.

Last year an aide that worked in my room said that she loved coming in my room. She never knew what to expect because each day may be different. And she was ok with that and liked that. She thought it meant that I was always learning and trying new things. I think it meant I was trying to survive my first year in general education.

Anyway, what are my must haves?

1. My composition notebook that has kept my notes, dreams, ideas about first grade since I learned last spring that I would teach first grade. I'm pretty sure I will make another one for next year, no matter what grade I teach. I love it.

2. Diet Rite. I've decided to go caffeine free (as much as I can), but I still like fizzy drinks at lunch.

3. My friends and coworkers to bounce ideas off and be silly with.

4. Professional books. Whatever is new to me or a classic. My newest I started reading on Saturday and I am HOOKED. It is

5. Hopefully soon I can say the iPods that will arrive shortly to my room. I want to put audio books on for "Listen to Reading," what else could I use them for?

Check out other Must Haves.

I think more may be added to my list. 

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Pencil Sharpener Woes

I'm in a new to me classroom this year. Love the windows. Love the space. Not loving the pencil sharpener.

Tuesday I decided I had better get on sharpening the pencils that go in the "Welcome" bags. Tried to use the electric pencil sharpener that came with the room. I plugged it in, turned it on and nothing. I tried several different outlets, and combinations of switch positions. Still nothing.

Then I went to the hand crank sharpener. It wouldn't even crank. Panic.

I was wishing I had ordered that fancy sharpener that has been all over blogland this summer. Bummer.

So, I trotted off to my old room and begged my friend to use her crank sharpener. It worked good enough. But 2 of the brand new pencils were 5 inches long when I got done sharpening. So disappointing when a brand new pencil gets "eaten" by the sharpener.

When I got home that night I got on my computer and ordered a lovely red pencil sharpener for my classroom. :)

I was expecting a long wait. It comes from Pennsylvania.

What a surprise in the mail on Saturday! A box from Classroom Friendly Supplies. I tore it open right away (not really, I used a knife to cut the packing tape, but you get the idea, I was excited).

Then I grabbed several of our sad pencils that were in our jar at home and decided to try it out. First time, I was disappointed. It wasn't working. (It or me?) Tried again. Still couldn't figure it out.

Next I decided to look for directions. None were included. Now what. This has GOT to work.

Oh, the thing pulls out, and then the gripper, and more stuff. Now I get it. The directions must be pretty confusing, so that is why there were none. But now I get it.

This sharpener is more of a demonstration to learn than follow written directions to learn.

See the uniform sharpness? Love it. No pencils were eaten during this learning process.

My son says "this is the best pencil sharpener ever. Definitely."

He is not kissing the pencil. He is blowing off the almost non-existant pencil shavings.

He is lobbying for a sharpener like this for home (or just him). And says that he will never use a different pencil sharpener again.

Now we are really ready for Back to School. Look at that marvelous row of perfectly sharpened pencils.

P.S. I have not been paid to say any of this.

P.P.S. Usually sharpening pencils gives me a sick feeling in my chest. The noise, the wonder what the pencil will look like when I am done. No more. This was even relaxing. I didn't have to think at all (once I learned).
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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Math Is Under Way (or will be soon)

There were extra adults in my room Friday morning for 30 minutes. That led me to rearranging my order of lessons. The 2 helpful ladies engaged with the children in a patterning activity with small bears, dinosaurs, rabbits, frogs and kittens. I sat at my kidney table and quickly assessed most of the students in 2 areas. One-to-one counting to 20 and writing numerals to 20. Now I will take that information and create groups for instruction, remedial work and extension. I got the idea from Amanda at

She did the Guided Math book study this summer and I learned a lot from her.

I am excited to get my version of Guided Math and math work stations going next week.

My (pie in the sky) Plan:
1. Minilesson: teach the lesson from the manual
2. 3 groups  Me: the low group for remedial work
                   the bubble group: work with math stations I created this summer
                   the high group: complete workbook pages
3. Minilesson: review or teach something else (problem solving, etc.)
4. 3 groups  Me: the bubble group
                    the high group: work with math stations
                    the low group: complete workbook pages
5. Minilesson: math facts (addition or subtraction)
6 Final 3 groups: Me: the high group for enrichment/extension
                            the low group: math stations
                            the bubble group: complete workbook pages

I have an aide in my class during this time, so I plan on having her keeping tabs on the groups working on stations or workbook pages (depending on who is doing what).

While I was looking through my math manual I discovered 6 ideas for graphing/data collection for the first unit. The first one mentioned was number of letters in our names (did that). Another was to use a pan balance to talk about more/less/same. I gave each student a hexagon from the pattern blocks (which were easy to find since I spent a Saturday organizing) and one at a time they added their block to the side that described them (boy or girl).

What a hoot.

Some wanted to make the balance even. Some wanted the girls side to "win." Some wanted the boys side to "win."

In the end the girls side was heavier. Kinda surprised me. Yes, I know, I really should have know the girls to boys ratio before school started. But I was busy with other things (like painting and Mod Podging).

Then we spent time talking about what they knew from looking at the balance. LOVE that I have found a way to have these discussions (this was one area that scared me last summer {don't like to say last summer, it is only 2 weeks ago :(} while I was reading Guided Math).

We also had time to describe a penny. Hope to add more to it over the next days.

Next week we will start Mountain Math. Wow, I need to rest this weekend so that I am ready for next week--it is going to be busy. And I haven't even talked about language arts yet!
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Thursday, August 16, 2012

The First Days

Even though I know it, I am surprised.

Why in the world am I this tired? I only worked 6 hours (officially, anyway) today.

But I am tired. And I am starting to feel like this will be a good year. The kids are sweet. Today I got a hug and "you're the best teacher ever" comment. It was because I gave her a journal and a mini dictionary and we can add words to it as she wants. If I had known that was all it takes, I would have given it to her yesterday!!! She spent her time today adding as many classmates names as she had time for.

I read Chrysanthemum today. And we made a graph of how many letters in their names.

It was good. The graphing board was on the floor as we built the graph (with linking cubes that we kept unlinked). And then I thought, we better discuss this graph (thanks to Guided Math this summer), so I will move this graph to the counter and we can all see it better.

As I reached to lift it, a young, smart child said "be careful not to tip it" (see, smart, yes?). He only got to "be" before I had lifted it and tipped it and all our work fell out. The best part is that I did not cry.

They started a read the die and color activity while I put the graph back together. Then we came together again and I was simply amazed with what they could tell from the graph. Some of their insights...
     **5 has the most
     **6 and 7 are tied
     **12 and 11 have none
     **It is called letters in our names (this is the one that made me so proud of our Kindergarten teachers)

Read to Self has been started. They are good with the three ways to read a book. Stamina is slow going. But I am hopeful that time and practice will help my 2 kids that just seem to be "done" and not able to go past 3 minutes.

Tonights agenda...Start lesson plans for next week or watch Dr. Quinn that I got from the library. I wonder if I could do both at the same time...
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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Meet the Teacher

I've been reading for a month about other teachers going back to school and how they have such sweet kids. OK. I just didn't get it.

How can you like them that much after one day or one week? (Maybe I haven't let go of last years class yet, have I made room for my new class in my heart?)

Friday, Monday, and today were franticly paced days FULL of work and almost no time for lunch or restroom breaks.

And today at 5:30 they came. Students, parents, grandparents, aunts, cousins, and friends.

I was so nervous. What am I supposed to say? What do I wear (I was thinking shorts and t-shirts, but then I saw my teacher friend in a summer dress and another teacher with nice clothes on)? Do I try to bond with my students or their parents? What are we going to do with all the STUFF they bring in?

So, I rushed home at 3:15, took my son to his piano lesson, raced home to change clothes and hurried back to school. We (my son and I) got there with 5 minutes to open doors. We hustled to his class to dump his stuff, locate his desk and say hi to his teacher. Then back to my room to greet those coming to meet me and drop off their stuff.

Oh the kids were sweet. Several of them actually introduced themselves to me! I think that must have been with parent prompting, but still. Pretty cool. About half were very shy. A third had wide eyes looking around the room. And one wanted to know where the toys were. Toys? Play in first grade?

I got one present. A super nice gesture. The card was so thoughtful. She has been praying for me. I got tears at school.

Yes, my kids are sweet. Each one has found a spot in my heart in those short minutes that I saw them. I am really looking forward to tomorrow, to see how full my heart may be by 11 or by 3.

I really didn't need to be nervous. But even if I remember that in 365 days, I bet I will still be nervous on Meet the Teacher night.
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Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Spider As Big As A Mouse

My room is really coming together. I have not started just shoving in preparation for Meet the Teacher. I painted, and my friend painted. She painted an ugly green file cabinet a beautiful black.

Of course she had to move it away from the wall to do the painting.

While I was working Friday afternoon Teacher 1 came into my room and said that Teacher 2 needed me. (Names are changed to protect the identity of the people I work with and who control my resource schedule.) 1 said there is a spider in their room.

I know how 2 feels about spiders. It is like how I feel about mice.

So, as I'm walking into their room I say, "OK, where are your tissues?" 2 is up on a chair, and 1 gets up on a chair as well. 2 laughs and says the spider is too big for a tissue. I grabbed 2 tissues anyway and walked toward the spot they said the spider was hiding. 2 says "it is as big as a mouse!"I laughed a bit, but went about my duty to free the room of this "big" spider.

WOW, it was big. It was a wolf spider.

Not so much of a big deal. They are harmless to humans and actually do good by eating smaller spiders and bugs (we have those as well at my school). 1 and 2 were not impressed with my wolf spider knowledge. Last year I captured 4 wolf spiders in my classroom, so I am a pro at this.

I decided that capturing it with the tissues was not smart and got the small recycle bin. Using the tissues I encouraged the wolf to get in the bin (he really was not interested in moving, I think he was trying to nap, but the commotion of 2 screaming had woke him up). He was quite slow (not at all quick like a mouse), but within 15 seconds I had him in the bin. 1 and 2 thought I was taking my time.

This is the part that was not very nice of me... Holding the bin full of mouse-sized wolf spider and walking past 2 to take the innocent spider outside, I may have shook the bin at 2, to be a bit ornery. I smiled, laughed a bit, and she gave me the scream I was looking for.

The spider has a new home just outside the front door of the school (so he may come back in through the cracks).

After I returned the bin our principal came in and wondered what the screaming was about. We told her what happened and she shared stories of other spider tales from the past.

Can't go into that here. More innocent people to protect.

2 and I have a deal. I get the spiders. She gets the mice. She didn't want to make the deal, but gave in so that I would continue to be brave and capture her spiders.
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Friday, August 10, 2012

A Long Day

Yep, another long day. I heard a teacher the other day say she needed some Ritalin so she could focus and get some things done.

That seems to be me as well. I have a list, but I didn't even do all of it today. Oh well.

But I did get some things done. The most (maybe) important was an hour ago. I gave myself a home pedi. Would love to have another professional one like I got when I was on vacation, but that lovely lady is 750 miles away. Definitely at Christmas Break.

So now I am ready for "Meet the Teacher" on Tuesday and my students on Wednesday.

It feels weird to do the pedi already, however, now I won't have to think about redoing my toes for two more weeks. That is at the end of the second week with kiddos. So, a relief to have that done.

Look away if you don't like toe pictures...

I seem to have a problem with not thinking about school. What needs to be done. What I want to do.

The what I have to dos are finished.

I wonder if I will actually stop thinking about school for tomorrow. I know I will be thinking about it on Sunday, because there is a BIG TeachersPayTeachers sale. 30% off. I have been eyeing some common core goodies...
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Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Lazy Summer is Over

Yes, that's right. Summer is over. I know the exact time that it happened. Today at 12:55 pm.

That is when six teachers came to school to work. Three are first year teachers and the other three are their mentors (they had spent the last 2 1/2 days in new teacher orientation). There were already four of us working, but when you double that, and add in nervous anticipation of the unknown, the temperature definitely changed in the building.

Lots of us have been in working during the summer. But, it's always felt slow and calm. This afternoon was walking fast, talking fast, making quick decisions, and making lists (so that tomorrow they can be crossed off).

I was able to find a picture schedule. Yay! It was free on TpT, you can check it out here. There are so many choices! I made two sets. One for me and one for the other first grade teacher. I also laminated them.

And tonight I cut them all out.

Here's the good news. I am so much more relaxed this August 9 than I was last August 9. Hallelujah! What a difference a year makes.
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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Made it Wednesday

Tara at 4th Grade Frolics has been hosting a linky party this summer. Where you get to link up with images of the cool things we are making for our classrooms and our homes. It has been super fun to look through all the links and make notes about what I want to create next.

I did it three times. Brain chains and sun canvasesname sticks, and mod podge

But today is Wednesday. So I am too late for the party. Oh well, here it is anyway.

My classroom had a green chalkboard.

I didn't like it very much. So I painted it.

I love it now. It is black. Not a chalkboard anymore, but still magnetic.

The room also had a bookcase, circa 1970.

The best thing about this bookcase is that it was filled with books and tools for a teacher (me), left by the retiring teacher. I did not like the colors. So I painted it.

I love it now. It has black doors. As I was painting, my custodian came in and was very supportive. She wondered if I would also paint the doors under the sink and counter. I had not even thought of that. OK, why not?

Love it also. It is black. 

Also decided to pretty-up some plastic drawers with duck tape.

Duck tape is really fun. I used some black tape for border and to cover up an ugly board near my Smartboard.

Tomorrow...finish up some bulletin boards, and then get cracking on lesson plans.

P.S. Just saw that someone else linked up today. I think I will also...

Go visit Tara at

and see what other friends are (have) making (made).
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Monday, August 6, 2012

Encouragement and Unity

I had the great opportunity to read chapter 2 of Conscious Discipline (Encouragement and Unity) during our family vacation a couple of weeks ago. Each time I read part of the book, or talk about CD with someone, I get energized all over again.

On to the chapter.

Principle #1: We are all in this together. Create class cooperation, not competition. Make sure my class is full of self-worth, dignity, importance and belonging. Remember--what I offer to others, I experience within myself. Our brains are pattern seeking. I posted our schedule last year, which I was planning on doing again this year. But I'm teaching first, I need to find some pictures. Loved the rituals we had last year (birthday was one of my favorites). Routines create predictability, and rituals are "the glue that hold the mosaic of love together" (page 61). Yep, there was a lot of love in the room. As I prepare my room this year, I want to do everything in the next 5 days in love. I want my room to overflow with love.

Principle #2: Contributing to the welfare of others builds self-worth. My class has meaningful jobs for everyone (door, kindness recorder, morning message writer, and more). This coming year I think having a service time every week. 30 minutes to do something nice for our school. I also commit to notice and comment when student's are contributing to the welfare of others. "You _______ , so ___________. That was _________. " "You got a bandaid for your friend, so she could feel better. That was kind/helpful."

Principle #3: How you "see" others defines who you are. My thoughts, judgements, complaints, joy, and love that I think I am giving to others--I am really giving to myself. My favorite quote from page 75: "Self-esteem is not earned through accomplishments, it is created each moment in how we "see" other people." It's a great big circle. When I send out love or frustration to my students, that is exactly what I get back.

Principle #4: We are all unique, not special. Do I want to be special or connected with others? How will I speak to my students that embraces their uniqueness, and creates unity with the class?

Principle #5: Some forms of praise can be discouraging. Effective praise relies on describing, not judging. How many times have I heard "Look at me swing (or any number of other verbs)." How often did I really look at them? Not nearly often enough. I see it in my own children. They want eye contact. They want me to SEE them. Definitely something that is quick and means so much. I must do it more often.

Principle #6: Children need encouragement especially when they have made "poor" choices. Encouragement = hope. People need hope to feel safe. Will my room have hope? Will it feel safe? What do I need to do in order that all the children feel hope while with me, and not despair?

My next steps:
1. Sincerely offer myself hope, love, joy and acceptance (in ALL things), so that I can also offer those to the littles and bigs with me.
2. Notice children often. During the first day of school notice every child at least once. The next day do the same. Repeat for the rest of the year. Bailey suggests noticing every child 10 times a day for the first 6 weeks of school. How close could I come to that?

I can feel the gear change. Life is getting busier. More time in my classroom. Friday will be my first official day back. I will be ready. I am excited about the possibilities for the year.
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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Math Organization

Sometimes my ideas snowball.

I wanted to know about differentiating math instruction.

That led me to an online book study on the book Guided Math by Laney Sammons.

Which led me to Math Work Stations by Debbie Diller.

And that led to organizing the math manipulatives in my "new" classroom.

Yesterday it was me, my iPod and time in the room. I followed Diller's idea about pulling everything out, sorting it (my categories were: numbers and computation, geometry, symmetry, fractions, time, money, measurement, and data/probability), purging, containerizing (with labels), and finding a home for it all.

It took about 4 hours. The mess (or was it organized chaos?) was huge before it got better. And when I was finished I was so excited, because now I really know what all I have (which is absolutely one "I have, who has" game for the entire unit of fractions) and what I need to get more of before I can effectively teach it (get something for fractions--anything).

I have one cabinet with doors that has three shelves for math, and one bookcase that I loaded with all things numbers and computation (I am definitely set on counters, flashcards, and base 10 blocks).

This organization makes me so happy, I am still smiling. This year my goal is to work smarter, not harder. In order to get to the smarter place I had to put in a lot of hard work.

My Mountain Math kit came in and I got that put up on Thursday. I can't decide if I should take the questions down and put them back up when we start. But I needed to use the questions to help me center the question numbers.

Last week (while I was on vacation), my sister gave me a present for my classroom. She crocheted an owl for my reading corner. It is wonderful.

The owl sits next to the sock monkey my mom made for me out of real socks. Love that too. And rounding it out is my Shubert puppet. Shubert is the main character for the books that Dr. Becky Bailey wrote to help teach skills that are included in her Conscious Discipline book and website.

There is still work to be done. I need to put up the calendar area. Hook up the computer and printer. Finish a Daily 5 board. And find a place for all of my books that I brought with me. Perhaps I can work on lesson plans by the middle of the week. 

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