Saturday, March 30, 2013

Five for Friday (3/29/13)

5 random things about this week - I want to join in, I want to join in! Because I want to remember some of the good things that happened this week. So....
 1. After getting a nasty surprise on some mid year testing in math, my 2nd grade team decided to split our kids up according to where they were at learning-wise. As two of my little sweeties left my room to go to their math class, one said, "Bye" and the other said, "We'll miss you." And the first said, "Because we like you." And I told them I liked them too {because I really do} and they said, "No, we really like you." Aw, pitter patter goes my heart. And come back girls, because you are so sweet.

2. Friday's math plans - my co-teacher brought in some tangram patterns that made rabbits. Talk about teaching perseverance - that did it for a lot of my kids. So hard not to jump in. "Mrs. S., I don't have two parallelograms." "Mrs. S., this almost works." "Mrs. S., I can't do this!" Sorry, Charlies, you CAN do it!

3. This was really last week, but it's so great! We paid off our house! Yahoo.

which brings me to...

4. My daughter got into the housing dorm she wanted for college next year. Yep, that's right - trade off a mortgage for college expenses. Thankfully, we are able to trade off and we don't have to do both! AND I'm very happy for my daughter that she got in where she wanted.

5. It's Easter Weekend! We don't get any days off this year, like we have in the past, but really, what's more important than 

What's the good word in your neck of the blog world? If you'd like to share, Link Up with Doodle Bugs Teaching.

Happy Easter! Sara

Friday, March 22, 2013

Teacher Nerd Here

I am such a teacher nerd. These came yesterday:
And boy was I excited! 
{This comes one day after telling my sister I've got too many books in my back room. Hmmm. Wonder how that happens, don't you?}
I had started reading my school's copy of Teaching with Intention and decided I needed my own so I can mark in it. It may be difficult to apply some of this because we have a basal series and our district has a certain way they want to teach that - what on what days and even what story what week. But I want to continue to be a better teacher :)
Reading with Meaning - well, maybe same caveats as above - but I really want my little buggers to not only learn to read, but enjoy it. How many of us have stayed up too late reading an engrossing novel? Or want to finish looking at the magazine we just got in the mail? Or look at one more blog post?? (OK, maybe the last one is the one that got you!)
I am holding off - I'm on my last day of Spring Break - so I'm trying to stay away from school things. I think I need a study night. I have so many books I really want to read, but don't seem to have time, or make time for them.
So what's the most exciting thing that's happened to you over Spring Break? 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Last week, our basal story was "Gloria who might be my best friend," from the book "Stories Julian Tells." In the book, they fly kites and I definitely like to make connections with our stories. (As I was typing this, I thought that I had written about this last year, and I had. See HERE.)

If you want to see the "How To," go to this SITE.

This year, I got SMART! I had a little friend cut pieces for the string for the kite, and another little friend cut piece for the tail. Ah, I'll just sit here and listen to children read during quiet reading while you 2 work, work, work! :)

It really is fun to do this. And then we went outside and if they ran, there was just enough breeze for the kite to fly. Here's two pictures:

{Really, if you can identify the children in these pictures, please quit your Unified School District job and contact the FBI!} 

This was Thursday afternoon before Spring Break. I had decided to make this a "you have been respectful" reward time. For most of my 20 little friends, this is NOT a problem. But I have 3 that it is a huge problem for, and 1 that is starting to become that way. So I told them Thursday morning, that kids who had been respectful in class would be welcome to make kites. I also told them I would find some place else for kids who hadn't been respectful. Guess what? Two kids didn't make it. (I kept track - it was 5 strikes and you're out.) Friday afternoon, I decided to do a repeat - a fun activity in the afternoon for students who had been respectful. Guess what? Everyone got to do free choice on Friday afternoon. Isn't it amazing how that works? 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Spring Break

Spring Break, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. (with apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

If you're on Spring Break, than you know what I'm feeling. And if you're not, I hope your time is coming.

Speaking of love (in a very round about way)....
We did Heart Maps for Valentine's Day.  Here's where I got the idea. 

I showed my kids these pictures and really tried to talk about how these kids obviously put things that were important to them on the heart map. They didn't put just every little thing. (I did get a little worried when I went back to this site and realized these were 4th graders. But then I said, "Whatever.")

I had my kids make a list of things that were important to them. Of course, I have those 3 or 4 that don't like to write anything - so their list was short. And then I had those kids whose list filled up one whole piece of notebook paper. 

Then we edited together the list - mostly spelling corrections. Next they had me cut out their heart map. I had them do all their writing and drawing on their Heart Map. Then I found an afternoon where we had time and most everybody was there, and we painted (if they wanted to). 

Last step, gluing their Heart Map to piece of construction paper. Some of them decorated that, too.

Here's some show and tell :)

After I stapled them up in the hallway, I had everyone walk slowly past and say "Ooh" and "Aah." They really did turn out quite nice. And an added bonus is they went up right before Parent Teacher Conferences - so a little hall decoration for our parents. :)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Just a little something

I have a little friend in my class - she tends to drive me crazy! 

She blurts out answers, and if she does remember to raise her hand, she does the Uhn, Uhn noise so I'll notice her. She's always bossing just about everyone in my room {sometimes even ME!}. When I'm teaching, I can almost count on her finding something in her desk to play with. She fights with people I partner her with. She always wants to be first - first in line, first to do whatever (and while I usually like that, in this case it means she's rushing and running). And she likes to tattle.

Am I the only one with a sweetie like this? 

Wednesday, she was just super annoying to me. 

And that night, I started thinking about her. She has a rough home life. Mom was a guest of the state for a while, and even now this girl seems to alternate between living with grandma and mom. A couple times when I've been driving to school (45 minutes early), I've seen this girl running to catch up with her sister and her sister's friend as they come to school, and they aren't even trying to wait for her. She doesn't seem to "get" how to make friends, or even treat people. Nobody came to conferences to visit with me about her.  

And argh, I started thinking, I wonder if she feels like nobody cares about her. And so some of the things she does (see above), are attention getters - not really annoy-the-teacher things :) {since it's already March 1st, you might say I'm a slow learner, but I don't know.}

We have 2 weeks until Spring Break. I decided that I'm going to try, every day, to do 5 positives with this girl. Thursday, I walked by her and gave her a quick rub on the back. I sometimes write little "good on you" notes to my kids and I wrote one to her. I wrote a quick positive on her center paper. I made sure I complemented her for her math work. 

Maybe it will make a difference, maybe not. But can it really hurt anything?