Saturday, February 23, 2013

Hall Pass

I saw this Linky Party and it sounds like fun: Hall Pass at Turnstall's Teaching Tidbits.

Product - I'm not a seller, so here's a couple of products I like.  

Ok, I have to admit it, I haven't actually used this yet, but I'm really excited about The Math Coach's Common Core: Number Cards to 120, Workstation Activity Cards
 These cards have activities that the students do with number cards. I need to cut out my laminated pieces so I can use it in my classroom!
Common Core: Number Cards to 120, Workstation Activity Cards

I also really like Rock, Paper, Scissors: Addition from Mrs. Lirette's Learning Detectives----  my kiddos really enjoy it when I have this in a center. I just have to make sure they do the math fact before they do the rock, paper scissors. 

Rock, Paper, Scissors: Addition

Area - I just got my kidney table this year. And I've really put it to good use. I do guided reading there, and guided math.When students eat in my room, we gather there (I usually have 5 or 6 at a time).  And my kids love to do quiet reading there.

Signal - I have two that really seem to work. The first is Stop, Look, Listen. We hold up our hand like a stop sign, then point to our eyes and then our ears. Most of them are with me by the time we get to listen. The other thing I do is say, if you can hear me, say .....  Sometimes it's what for lunch - "if you can hear me say taco." Or at the Valentine's party - "if you can hear me say I ate too much candy." I think they like it when I change it up. 

Sanity - hmmm, hmmm, hmmm. Does my hubby count? He listens to me vent all the time. Oh, yeah, I try to write down 3 things every day that I'm happy with - a lesson went well, I made a connection with a student, behavior was going well, I handled a situation in a good way.  When I write those things down, it helps me remember the things that are going right - and sometimes I really need that!

If you're interested, join up with Mrs. Turnstall's Linky

Happy Saturday, Sara 

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Books, books, books - I love books! So a linky party about books - of course I have to join. 

How I spent my summer vacation. I've read this at the first of the year several times.  Then I give them a piece of typing paper and have them fold it in half. On one side, they draw a picture and write a sentence about something they really did over the summer. Then on the other side, they write and draw a fantasy picture of something they wish they could have done. I let them write and draw about meeting dinosaurs, or going to the ocean or whatever is a fantasy for them. (School appropriate, of course!)

Interrupting Chicken. This is a book I bought at the beginning of the school year after reading about it on several blogs. It is so funny. The little chicken keeps interrupting his dad's bedtime stories. Makes me chuckle.  
Hello Ocean. I did an ocean unit at the beginning of the school year and read this book. It has beautiful illustrations. And it talks about what the different senses. 
The Cow Who Wouldn't Come Down. Love this - the book is actually my daughter's from when she was a youngster. The cow in the story is flying above the farm and nothing that the farm lady tries will get her to come down - until the farm lady tries a clever idea. This is a good story to use with making predictions.

 Bootsie Barker Bites. This is another book of my daughter's. In the book, Bootsie and her mother keep coming over to visit the little girl telling the story. Bootsie is mean to the little girl, but in the end, the little girl thinks of a clever way to stop Bootsie. 

Oh, I'm not at school today so I can't remember any other books. But do you notice a pattern here? I enjoy fun books.

If you are interested in reading about more book ideas, head over to Sunny Days in 2nd Grade. Her "Show and Tell Tuesday" is about books this week. (That may be a bad sign for me and my wallet :) 

Well, another snow day today (Thursday) - except this time I'm missing conferences with parents. Those have to be made up, so instead of a half day on Friday, we're going all day, then a late night Monday and early morning and late night Tuesday. Fun times, fun times. 


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Guided Reading Plans

Well, I have to make an edit to yesterday's blog post. Today I'm not with my kids because we're having a


But I have to tell you, it is not a pretty kind of snow day. It is a bitterly cold, windy, wet, nasty snow day. I'll take whichever, but I'm certainly staying inside today :)

So what does any good teacher do with a snow day? Especially when the rest of her family is snoozapolzing? Well, I finished up lesson plans for the next five weeks. Our basal reading series goes in 5 week units, so I try to plan those five weeks at one time. Then I just have to make little tweaks when I get to that actual week. 

Last Saturday, I wrote about reading Teaching with Intention and how I was going to try to take one subject and really make an effort into the plans for that. I had mentioned Writing and Whole Group Reading, but I decided to really take a look at Guided Reading. 

I wrote out plans Guided Reading for all five weeks - well, I've done that before, but it's been bare bones. This time, I noted if I wanted to make a chart with the kids, if I wanted to divide up a story and have each kid summarize it, etc. 

Also, our district is moving toward Rigor and Relevance. I have to admit that I don't understand all of what the district is expecting from us, but one thing that has been talked about is questions we ask our students. 

Here is a link to the type of questions that our district wants us to start using with our kids. They really want us using Quadrant C and D questions. So I even made notes about questions I wanted to ask my students. 

So, for example, for one group, their Monday will look like this:

Square M

Preview Story Thoroughly, discuss difficulties
Anticipation Guide
Make mini posters for each heading

This group's story for the week is about different groups that do weaving in different ways. So I've made a note to discuss difficult parts of the text. I'm also going to use an Anticipation Guide. These are kind of fun - my kids last year seemed to enjoy doing them. Go here for more about them. (Ha! Just realized that's also a link to my first blog post - a year and a day ago!) I'm also going to start little posters for each different group that the book talks about - Navajo, Asante, Maya, Maori. I'm hoping to have different kids fill in the posters and then talk about them to the small group.

I'm excited to see how this all works as I go through this unit. I'm hoping it helps me remember all those great ideas I thought of - and it holds me accountable for pushing my kids.

I am now done working! I'm going to go watch DVR things and consider cleaning the bathroom. Don't know how far I'll get with the 2nd - but the 1st is a certainty!  

Hope you've had a good day, too! Sara 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I'm a year old!

I'm a year old! For some reason, just a minute ago, I thought to myself that I ought to check when I wrote  my first blog post - and guess what - it was a year ago today! Happy Birthday to my blog!

I was thinking of writing a quick post tonight anyway, but I didn't take a picture, so I had sort of decided not to. But it was so sweet and since I'm doing a little happy dance about my blog's birthday, I'm going to include it!

This afternoon, we were finishing up a project called Heart Maps (I AM going to take pictures and share) and as students got done, I asked them to do some quiet reading. Toward the very end of the day, most everyone was reading, so I told them they could buddy read. We haven't done this in a while, and it was just terrific - all over the room, kids were sharing their books, reading, or at least intently look at pictures. Yeah! And I have pictures in my mind :)

I've got kids tomorrow and then parents on Thursday and Friday - that's right, parent teacher conferences. There's also some talk of a winter storm on its way, but ... you know, I don't like to think about the possibilities.

Have a great Wednesday! Sara

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Saturday Sayings

 “I believe we cannot underestimate the power of our influence – what we choose to say and do in the classroom profoundly affects the ways children view their teacher, themselves, and each other.” Debbie Miller Teaching with Intention.

I’ve been slowly going through a small book called Teaching with Intention. Oh, it’s making me think! Sometimes that’s good, and sometimes I’d just rather not (if you know what I mean). 

I learned about Teaching with Intention from Deanna Jump’s blog.  A while back, I was reading her blog and she said something about when she started including more things in her lesson plans, particularly the questions she wanted to ask, she felt like she became a better teacher. (I can’t find this exact blog post, so this may be a huge paraphrase, but anyway!)

Well, let me tell you, I’ve always tried to make my lesson plans as short as possible. I want a week to fit on one type written page. Hmm, maybe I need to rethink that. One of my worst feelings is when the kids go home, and there on my desk is sitting that great idea that, whoops! I forgot to include.  And I am so forgetful! On days when I really want to remember everything, and I write myself a little note, guess what? It feels like things go better. 

So, in an effort not to go overboard, I’m thinking what if I took one subject – say writing, or whole group reading – and really made an effort with those lesson plans. Instead of putting all my thinking into the WHAT I’m doing, what if I put the majority of my thinking into the HOW I’m going to do.  (Or better yet, how THEY are going to do  :)) And then did step 2 - wrote it down in my plans so I'll remember when it comes time to do it!

This is the perfect timing for me, because guess what I’m doing this weekend? You got it – lesson plans! Here comes some Teaching with Intention!

I really enjoy reading Saturday Sayings – they do make me think and reflect about what I’m doing in my classroom. Thanks, Tammy, for letting me join in with you this week.  Make sure you head over to Forever in First and read Tammy's Saturday Sayings, and then hop over to her other guest contributors this week.

And have a great weekend - whether you're working or having fun! Sara

Sunday, February 3, 2013

I did not go crazy

Good Sunday morning to you! 
Have you been shopping yet? I have finished my TpT shopping - and I'm not looking back. No thinking about one more thing - or looking. No, No, No! I actually was getting myself stressed out, looking for "what else do I need?" so I went and talked some sense into myself with my hub-bub. I mean I talked and he agreed - he's so nice. (And he really doesn't care how much I spend!) 

Anyway, here's what I got today:
 Yeah - I'm most excited about the first two - they go together. Donna at the Math Coach's Corner has gotten me excited about trying some more opened ended math work. I'm hoping these two products will do that. I wish they were magically printed out and laminated so I could use them tomorrow.

Common Core: Number Cards to 120, It's a Jungle! w/Activities

 Common Core: Number Cards to 120, Workstation Activity Cards

 These look like some good, seasonal problems that will hopefully get my kiddos thinking.

 Story Problem Task Cards for February

For some of my little sweeties who are having So Much Trouble learning their math facts - I purchased this. I'm hoping that having the dots and stars will help them come up with the math fact answers without using their cute little fingers! :)

Touch Math Flashcards - Addition and Subtraction

 And this just looked like a good idea - I can't wait to try it, probably after spring break.
Sticky Note Research Projects

I'm so thankful for the sale - and that I didn't go over board. I am realizing that I need to desperately go through my files and see what I've already got that I should be using. Several of my wishlist freebie things wee ideas for Geometry - which I just finished! Some I can still use for centers, but others would have been great while I was teaching!

Now off to buy some clip art :)

Happy shopping, happy football, happy Sunday! 

(editing: I joined a linky party: Show Us What You Bought. Join up if you want to share.)