Saturday, January 31, 2015

Bingo, part 2

Last week was a little chaotic for me. I said good-bye to College Girl Sunday night when I went to bed. And after I went to work on Monday, she left to go back to College Town. 

But, as crazy as it might seem, I had bought tickets for "Chicago" and it was on Saturday. So I trucked up to College Town to see College Girl and Chicago - which was a wonderful experience {once I got past the dancers wearing not a lot! I'm so Midwestern!!} So my time without seeing College Girl was basically four days. Not too bad :) 

And while I was visiting her, trying to be all quiet in the motel room while she slept, I was playing this:

You might even say, addictively playing this Bingo game. {And yes, they have Christmas hats on because it's a Christmas game.} 

And I tried to write about it, but I don't think I did a very good job {I really had a lot going on - being quiet, seeing College Girl, watching Chicago!}

I play this game - and I get rewards. But the rewards aren't anything I can touch (really) or use {for anything but more Bingo playing} or eat or anything like that. It's just another ticket to play another game, or a jewel to get more rewards, or a little icon that I'm supposed to collect so I can get more rewards. And I get rewarded for winning, and I get rewarded for just playing. Really, it's all rather silly. But I love playing it!

And that's what I was trying to say in my last blog post. Especially for math, I'd like to figure out a way to "reward" my kids for just playing - just participating. Oh, it'd be a nightmare, because I'm not a big gaming corporation that can put together all these rewards. 

But I think about my little friends that are trying so hard, but double digit subtraction just doesn't make sense. And they look at me with their big puppy eyes as I try to ask questions to get them to figure out where to get some more ones, or what to do once you get those ones. 

As I was typing this, I just started thinking I'm not doing any better job of explaining. But then, I had a little light-bulb moment. I started thinking that to me, the rewards (which are really nonexistent) would just be a way of recognizing that, yes, my little friend you are working hard, and yes, little friend, I know it's hard and frustrating, but just keep on trying. I know you will get it.

Friday, January 23, 2015


It's been a little hard coming home from school this week. College Girl is, well, back at college. And my sweet, four-footed, furry girl passed away over Christmas break. Oh, how that dog wrapped herself around my heart.

So, no good segue way into what else I was thinking. I have been So Addicted to {oh, pooh, I guess my pic of this Bingo game isn't showing, and I'm not at home this weekend -- but trust me, this Bingo app is ridiculously fun and addictive!}

And this is the way it goes... I play and play and play. And I get rewards! Whoo whee!! And what do these rewards get me? Well, really... Nothing. Except more play time, and some stuff that makes it easier to get bingos --- which get me more rewards. 

And College Girl and I have agreed -- it's addictive! 

And of course, cuz I'm a teacher -- I'm wondering -- how can I translate this into my classroom? And I'm thinking especially in math. I'm wondering if there's some easy way to give rewards that don't drive me crazy keeping track, but just like in my bingo game - for continuing to play/work/persevere. And also for mastering new information. I have to admit, I'm just thinking out loud here, but hmmm? I wonder if this would work? 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Facebook Group

Call me crazy - but I started a private Facebook page for the parents of my kids. 
{I'll give you time to catch your breath!}

I sent a quick survey out with reports cards last week, and I had about 1/3 of my parents say they would like a Facebook page. I've had 7 parents join already. 

It was quite a process to set up - College Girl and I went back and forth about what I should do. We set up a page and deleted it. Set up a group and deleted it. Tried the page again - delete. Settled on a private group. 

Let me be clear - I am not using any pictures with kids in them.

But, I posted pictures of some ties we decorated that went with the story we read last week - "Mr. Tanen's Tie Troubles." 

And I also posted pictures of the steps in double digit subtraction. 

My hope is 
1) parents will feel more connected with what we are doing in our classroom.
2) that parents will feel like they can help their students with things at home. 

I don't know if it will work. I'm happy --- after only 3 days. Nobody's made any comments, and I'm really glad there aren't any negative ones :)

I'm really hoping this little experiment will be a success.

Monday, January 12, 2015

How's Class Going

This just about breaks my heart

One of my co-teachers has done a lot of Kagan strategies training, and uses those strategies in her class a lot.

 One suggestion she had from the Kagan book is a page the students fill out called "How's Class Going?" The questionnaire has four statements that the students mark on a scale.

 One is: I feel like I belong to this class. So they mark 'yes' if that's true for them, and 'no' if it's not. And they can mark anywhere on the line. Well, the last statement says, "Students in this class like me." 3 students flat out put no. Ah. Pooh. That makes me so sad. 

So again, I need to figure out ways to encourage kindness and caring.

And sometimes, I feel those two things are even harder than math - which on the section where the students were to write, "What I like least..." almost half of them put math. But that's a whole 'nother deal!

Any suggestions on love and kindness - send them my way.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Books I've read -- for me!

My blogging friend, Tammy at Forever in First, has shared some book titles she's read lately - so I thought I would too.  

I have to start by saying two things -

First, I love, love, love my Kindle. For some reason, it is so much more fun to read at night with just the light of the Kindle, instead of the lamp by my bed holding a "real" book. What's up with that?

Second, I have a Kindle paperwhite - which basically means no color. I also have the Kindle app on my iPad, and the book covers are so much more appealing there. Why is that? I also have a harder time remembering what I'm reading, because the Kindle just opens to the page I'm on; whereas every time you pick up a book, you see the cover. 

I read some Christmas books over the break:

Both of which were OK. 

This was a little more PG than I had remembered her books being, but I enjoyed it. 

This is not my usual genre - it's definitely a fantasy. I wasn't too sure about parts of it; but it was also a page turner for me - I couldn't wait to see what was next. Thanks, Tammy, for the recommendation. 

Apparently this is an author I really like. I enjoyed this story of a little girl bringing the residents of an apartment building together. 

Can't remember any others I read - but I felt like I got through quite a few over the break. 

Next up, a teacher's book:

College Girl has another week at home, so I probably won't get to it until after that. Anyone interested in doing an informal book study on this? I'll probably blog about it any way - it keeps me motivated!

Happy Sunday - I hope you are spending it relaxing!!