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. 

Pin It!

Friday, September 26, 2014


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!!

Pin It!

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.

Pin It!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Yes, I Rearranged. Again.

I think a lot. Make new plans. Change things up. 

But I don't really like change. I like predictable.

Today at recess I got to thinking. And jotting notes down on the Post It note I had. And ended with a new daily schedule. Today was day 26 of school, and I gave myself a new schedule.

Oh Boy!!

My guiding question was: what is best for this group of first graders?

As I kept going back to that question I mostly found that I HAD to change the daily schedule. And now I am in LOVE with the new schedule.

It is lively, but not forceful.

Rigorous, and has time for building and maintaining our classroom family.

It follows the district guidelines of minutes teaching various subjects for interventions and core instruction.

So with this new schedule, I moved a table and have a great space at the front.

I am excited to use this tomorrow.

A new schedule in hand, and a mini room re-do--it must be time to look back at notes I took this past summer. 

Notes of some Debbie Diller ideas that I wanted to use. What I noticed is that the notes and ideas have stayed in my book. So sad, right? I was super pumped in June and July about work stations.

Now is the time, the time is now! Tomorrow, before the kids start math stations, I will teach "How to share the materials." Or maybe "How to take turns." Or perhaps "How to put things away."

Next week--ramp up literacy stations...

Pin It!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

My Sunday Scoop

Here's a fun way to end my day...

Link up with The Teaching Trio for a new-to-me party.

But the problem is, the day is over.

Seriously, I didn't understand the gist of this linky until just now as I was creating my graphic (after I started this post). It's kinda late to be making a plan for the day. Because what I'm doing is making a plan for going to bed.

And I can't think of 3 things that I HAVE to do tomorrow. So...

I'll try again next week...

Earlier in the day. :)

Pin It!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fields (or a Pen) of Grass and a Memory

I promise. We are doing "school work."

But this week it's just not as much fun to write about our math lesson or our reading lesson as it is to write about playing in the sand, feeding the calf, or frolicking in the tall grass.

Moments before he was "running" through this tall grass after he had fetched the frisbee that I accidentally threw in the unused (at the moment) animal pen.

Sidenote: I told me earlier that I did not throw the frisbee correctly, do it "this" way (as he demonstrated). He was good. His dad will be proud. I am still not good at throwing a frisbee and will need some serious intervention time to remediate.

As he was running through this tall grass I had a flashback.

Little House on the Prairie.

Seriously, as I watched the young man running back with the frisbee, my heart stopped! Good thing I thought quickly, had him stop and grabbed this photo!!

Pin It!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Answer Does Not Equal Easy

I have the answer.

Build Relationships.

But that certainly does not mean that today was an easy day in the classroom. Sigh.

After my big recent discoveries I was set! I have lessons that rock. I have skills and strategies that can help.

But today. Sigh.

A different friend decided to see if she could get me riled. Get my goat. Get me to lose my cool.

She kinda did. Dang it!

We butted heads and I forgot all about brain states.

She was disrespectful and I forgot to breathe.

At recess I remembered that we needed to "talk" (teacher speak for I'm gonna lecture and she's gonna listen). As I went to find her I heard Rachel in my head...

"Five minutes a day keeps the tantrums away."

What's to lose? Nothing else is getting through to her.

When I found her I said let's talk. She grabbed my hand (WHAT?) and we started walking.

I said "Will you play with me?"

She said, "Yes". 

I said, "What do you want to play?"

She said, "Let's build a sand castle."

So we did. I sat on the sand, got sand all over me and dug in the sand. (Even while protecting my finger nail polish.)

I learned the finer points of finding the wet sand and creating a sand castle.

I really didn't want to go in at the end of recess, because being together was nice.

Maybe she will play with me again at the next recess.

Pin It!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Morning Letter

Dear Becky Bailey,
Thank you so much for wanting to find a better way. For finding it. For writing about it. For creating opportunities for others to learn about what you had learned.

Your book, Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline has shaped me, and my interactions with others like no other book has.

I talked to people about your book. My family started living in Unity Village (and when we weren't we yelled--UNITY VILAGE--think SERENITY NOW). I took classes on the book, and ended up with two personal copies.

I have had countless opportunities to practice the skills (at home and at school), screw up, practice more, apologize for screwing up, and try again. 

This past week the rubber met the road. And because of what I learned about the brain states, ways to calm myself and choices, I was able to DO IT, and IT FELT GREAT!

After a very difficult situation in my classroom I reflected on what happened: What did I do that worked? What did not work? Why did it work?

Here's is what I came to (I bet you, Becky Bailey, and my CD friends have said it a lot, but now I get it):

It's about relationships, people!

In my classroom, when a particular friend is not cooperating with me, he is calling for love, connection and understanding. When I offered that to him, he flipped his behavior and we ended the day on a positive note.

Becky, because of your work (and my work at learning it) I am so excited to go back tomorrow and make a difference in my friend's life. 

And wouldn't it be fantastic if I got to come to CD1 this summer? I'm pretty sure that my brain would be overloaded, but it would be good for me.

Hope to see you in June.

I Wish You Well,
A Friend in Kansas

Thanks, Michelle, for another opportunity to write.
Pin It!

Monday, September 8, 2014

State Fair 2014

Who takes a field trip on day 16 of school??

Crazy teachers...

But oh what a day!!

Walking. Talking. Learning. Earning a free ice cream cone. 

Holding the hand of a student who came to me so shy in August. She is the one who took my hand.


A good-bye hug from a student who has always given me a high five.

Growing affection. 

Connections on the inside (building relationships) result in connections on the outside (think--kids doing what I want them to do).

I'm sure I have done it in the past--making, creating, building relationships.

But this year feels different.

I seem to be MORE aware. Of me. Of the students.

As I looked at each one on the trip home I could think about something unique or that I've learned about him/her in the past 16 days.

That's a relief! Because so much of the time is putting out fires, that I don't take time to look deeper into the child.

But I have looked deeper and I like what I see.

Students and teachers looking at each other--
     --how can we learn together?
     --how can we help each other?
     --I like being with you.

Yes, a field trip is a crazy way to spend day 16 of the school year. But it was so good for me in an awareness sort of way.

Pin It!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Fall Weather...

I love you!!

Yesterday I could wear pants and not be too hot.

Last night I needed a sweatshirt and blanket to stay warm at the local college soccer game.

Today the windows are open and the breeze is cooling off the house.

Tonight I get to make homemade pizza.

This weather reminds me that my students and I are so close to a routine that we could carry on with a substitute teacher.

We get amazing recess weather--warmish, coolish, just perfect for playing outside with our friends for hours on end.

Today I commented to my husband, "I think fall is my favorite season." I'm all cool, thinking this is the first time I've mentioned this thought out loud. My husband replies, "I think you've told me that before."

Actually that is good news. That means I DO love fall the best, because every fall I fall in love with this season all over.

I like the other seasons. I like the changing seasons. But I do have a favorite. I don't even care that the trees go from green to brown. Sure, colors would be a bonus, but I've never as an adult lived in a place where that would happen, and I can't remember much earlier than that or what that looks like and feels like. So, I'm not missing out.

Kansas--you are great, thanks for reminding me how much I love fall.

Pin It!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Welcome Home Jenny!!

Jenny is two weeks old. And cute. Her dad is a shorthorn (I think) and her mom is a black angus. And she's cute. Jenny walked through the school (and Mrs. Jones' class) to get to her new pen. She got to do that because she is cute.

My first graders didn't get to see her then. A road trip was in order...

Jenny needs two bottles a day. One first thing in the morning, and another in the late afternoon (or as late as we can before the students go home).

Soon all the kids in the school will be involved in feeding Jenny. And they will need to know what to do. Good thing there is a board with directions in the barn.

I think Mrs. Jones did a fantastic job writing some detailed instructions.

I'm on for Jenny chores through Sunday afternoon. The school kids can help on Thursday and Friday, and then who wants to come and help Saturday and Sunday???

I'm looking for volunteers. Are you up for the task?

Come on over and I will "let" you feed and water the sweet, sweet Jenny calf.

Pin It!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Oh What a Day...

Oh What a Day.
That is what I'm singing today.

And I am singing it good, not bad.

Today I took the plunge. Math work stations.

We already knew how to play the games. So what we added was independent/partner time to play/practice.

It's not that I'm a slow learner (I've known about stations/centers for years), but I am slow at figuring out "how" to do them so that I don't go crazy. Today worked.

This wonderful group worked for 15 minutes and they were using a whisper voice, so that they did not disturb the kids around them. Talk about a happy teacher!!

And as an elementary teacher, I have to teach apples in September, right??


After a little compare and contrast lesson, we "busted out the seeds" as one funny kid said. (Really, a sharp knife did the trick.)

And now woking on a science experiment to learn if seeds will grow without sun and soil.

The idea for the experiment came from here.

For the next three days we will be observing changes in the seeds.

Aaaaaaannnnddddd--it's a girl!!

We are getting a heifer calf this week. She is coming from our farm family (Mr. Williams) and will arrive soon. Mrs. Jones decided that we should spruce up her new pen a bit...

Once again, she did the hard work, while I monitored the students. I did loan her my chore boots (why doesn't she have her own??).

Pictures of our calf will come soon.
Pin It!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...