Friday, July 24, 2015

Getting to Know Your Student

For the past couple years, I've given homework on the very first day of school. But the best part, it's not kid homework -- it's homework for their parents. Throw in a small prize for those who return it, and I get a pretty good response. 

I call it "Getting to know your student" because I'm all about the fancy titles!

I ask general questions, like what your child likes to be called, email addresses, what's the best way for me to reach the adult, who the child lives with. Then I ask for words they might use to describe their child, and some of their child's favorite things. I ask the adult to brag a little and also where they hope their student will improve. And finally I ask, is there anything else you want me to know. 

Whoa - that seems like it's really the meat of it. Parents tell me things that I might not know otherwise -- and sometimes they make a big difference, or really help me understand their child. 

But sometimes, that form just gets shoved into the file cabinet.  

Until today -- I somehow happened to see this:

Deep Data at-a-Glance Chart

Which really seems like a dur to me, because I sorta like analyzing the data. 

So instead of that information just sitting in my filing cabinet, I can put it on a chart and maybe do something with it -- like help in forming different groups, have an idea what to talk to a quiet child about, etc.  

I'm really excited to try this!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Planning and procrastinating

And this was me, yesterday....

Yes, this is me -- trying to put together some lesson plans! Oh my goodness -- this brain of mine just would not cooperate. 

So after much procrastinating and stopping and starting, and looking for more ideas, and reviewing what I did last year, and ...
I decided to write down all the big things that I want to do in the first couple weeks of school. That's what all those little slips of paper are in that first picture -- books I want to read, math games/activities I want to teach, writing I want them to do that first full week, rules and procedures things I want to cover, etc. 

Then in the second picture -- first I made a rough outline of each day of that week. We don't get our schedules until we go back to school, but I'm thinking it will be a lot like last year's. So I made a spot for math, reading, writing, phonics. {We have to start math the first full week of school -- after only 1 1/2 days with kids -- not that I think that's moving fast or anything!} Then I plugged in my little pieces of paper on different days. I finally, about 5pm last night, got a rough draft of my first full week's lesson plans finished! 

And I realized, once again -- I really am a visual person. I can't see enough of my plans when I'm typing them on the computer to see the whole picture. This silly little way really helped me. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Hello Friends -- 

No count down here, as one of my regular readers requested I not do that - LOL.  

That same regular reader -- well, I read her blog, too. And a while back, Tammy said something on her blog that caught my eye:

Early in the day before I had even learned all their names I said these words. "I loved you before you even showed up today" and I meant it.

I like that sentiment. But I'm just not that person. Probably won't say "I love you" to my kiddos. So I started thinking -- what could I say to my new 2nd graders to make them feel welcome, to let them know they are special to me, to make that connection that Tammy is talking about? 

I've thought of a couple phrases:
I've been thinking about you. 
I've been waiting to meet you. 
I'm excited to meet you and learn more about you.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this yet, but I certainly like the idea! Thanks, Tammy!! 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

One Month {again}

Sunday was 
dum, dum, dum
one month til I have kids in the classroom!
Yikes, how is that possible? 
Read this post to hear about my excitement!

OK, gotta start with this:

This picture just cracks me up -- every time I look at it. Our zoo is pretty nice for a town our size. Our lions just had 5 {!!!!!} cubs, and they let them out in the yard for the first time about a day or two before I got down there. Anyway, the male is in a different cage, just over there, so to speak, and momma lion is trying to show him one of the cubs. He was quite stubborn and wouldn't look, the little stinker!

OK - a little school stuff. Hub-bub and I went down on Saturday to move furniture. My newbie teammate - yeah, her furniture all went back where it was. Me -- big pile in the middle of the room. I don't mind -- much! Had to wear my KU momma shirt for that! 

My furniture is all arranged -- I wait on the chairs because it's much easier to move the desks, if I need to. 

I've also been looking at these books:

And making notes and so on. 

Looking forward to the best year ever -- don't we always say that? Well, personally, I just keep getting better! I bet you do too!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

One Month

Today, July 7th, 2015, is exactly one month from......
the day I have to report back for school! Yikes!!

I Can Not Even stand to think of it.

However, I have gotten some "stuff" done. 

First, some background.  Angela Watson at Cornerstone for Teachers is my go-to lady when I need some encouragement and positive words. She also does a podcast that I download and listen to when I'm driving the many miles to visit College Girl. 

On one of her podcasts {and I can't immediately find it after looking for 15 minutes}, she talks about spending time on the subject that you feel is lacking. {Obviously this is a great paraphrase since I can't find it.} 

Oh, wait... here's the quote!

So.... I'm trying to spend some time on math. Actually, I don't dislike math -- I'm just having trouble making it kid friendly. 

Our district is using Engage NY. Quite frankly, I didn't do much with it last year, because I thought it would be a "one and done" type of deal. But for some reason, administration didn't get that message - lol. So I'm putting a little more effort into it this year. I've been working on some Smartboard stuff {for lack of a better term} -- and I realized what the problem is....
Engage NY is soooooo scripted -- 

T: Watch my hand to know whether to count up or down. A closed hand means stop. (Show signals as you explain.) 
T: Let’s count by ones starting at zero. Ready? (Rhythmically points up until a change is desired. Show a closed hand then point down. Continue, mixing it up.) 
S: 0, 1, 2, 3, (stop) 2, 1, 0, (stop) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, (stop) 4, 3, 2, 1, 0

I'm having trouble getting past the script. Argh! What to do??? Any suggestions for getting the Engage NY script out of my head??? I concentrate on it so much, it's not really me. 

Well, another blogger, Tammy at Forever in First has a list of book suggestions. I was going to call her a teacher nerd, but, well, I'm right there with her on loving to read teacher books. 

So, next step -- ordering some math books, making some notes, be determined to make math better this year! 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Today's July 1st, and while I didn't do much school stuff during June, I had decided I needed to start in July. 

So I'm starting today -- with a blog post -- because That's Not Procrastinating! Is it?? Haha!

A while back, I was whining about how much trouble I was having with reading blogs on my iPad. You can read about it in all its glory here

And then a couple weeks ago, I decided to try the Bloglovin' app - and wow, has it made a world of difference! I can easily access the blogs I like to read - and if I want to make a comment, I just go to the original post, and do that. 

Maybe not all of you were reluctant to make that Great Leap {ha!} but it has been well worth it for me. 

And now, my friends, I must start on some actual school work!