Thursday, August 28, 2014

The One in the Afternoon

Every afternoon my homeroom comes back to me for twenty minutes at the end of the day.  Last year I tried to get them to read or do homework.  It was a fight every day and we all ended up frustrated.  I was off to that same kind of afternoon this year.

And then it hit me.

Instead of trying to selfishly use that time to grade papers and tidy up my desk I could read a book to my students.

Have you ever had an idea like this?  You know when you think to yourself...Why have I never thought of this before?

It seemed like an especially good idea students could benefit from some extra reading time if you know what I mean.

What students couldn't benefit really?

So I text my best friend who is a former librarian and asked for a book recommendation.  She immediately text back .

I sped drove to the county library right after school and checked it out.  We started reading it this afternoon.

That last twenty minutes of my day was perfect.  Students sat quietly and listened to the story.  They laughed at the funny parts.  Some worked on homework while they listened.

And no one was frustrated.

The only problem?

What will we read when we finish this book?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The One With Wardrobe Wednesday: Causal Edition

 I seem to be in a pattern this year.  One day I'm very dressy and professional (meaning I wear heels) and the next day I'm as casual as I'm allowed to be.  Yesterday was a casual day.

This outfit looks even more casual in this picture, but in my defense I didn't take this picture until after teaching all day, an orthodontist appointment, and having been home for two hours.  It looked a little better when I left for work this morning.

Of course my hair was down then too.  That helps right?

My pocket tee is from Old Navy.  I bought it this summer and love it so much.  I actually own this shirt in almost every color that was available.  

My capris were purchased around three years ago at the gap outlet.

My shoes are from Payless.  I bought them this summer and love them.

So what are you wearing this week?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The One with the Questions Posters

Over the first two days of school I asked my students three questions.

A few of their answers were a bit surprising.

1.  Our class should be _____ every day.

I was honestly a little surprised at how many students said quiet.  I was pretty impressed with their self awareness.  Several students put fun which didn't surprise me at all.  Of course with 5th and 6th graders there were a few strange answer.  One student wrote fish.  That one totally baffled me until another student suggested that maybe that one meant decor.  Our classroom should have a fish theme every day?

2.  One of my overall goals for the school year...

Students seem to have two goals...better grade or no pink slips.  I think those are pretty good goals.  A few students said they wanted to be nicer to their classmates.  That's an even better goal.

3. What kind of teacher to do you want?

The answers to this one actually broke my heart.  While several students want a fun teacher, the majority want a kind and helpful teacher.  It broke my heart in that it was a reminder that my students are people and what they need most is love.  I think some times it is easy to forget that.  I felt like this was my yearly reminder that I can't teach my students until I love my students.  Of course I already knew this, but it was nice to have this reminder.

On a separate note...what did teachers do before Pinterest?  I'm sure I don't have to tell you that this idea came from there. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The One with Wardrobe Wednesday: First Day of School Edition

I don't know about you but I like seeing what other teachers where to work.  At a whopping 5'3" I often blend right in with my students.  It doesn't help that I look a lot younger than I am.  I like to get ideas on ways to dress professionally yet comfortably.

I decided this year I'm going to start doing something called Wardrobe Wednesday where I share some of my favorite teaching styles.  Some weeks I might share one outfit or I might share a week's worth.  

This week I'm sharing what I wore on the first day of school this year.  I know I shared this picture in my last post, but I already had this post written so you get it twice.  

My dress is Merona brand from Target.  I bought it a couple of years ago and haven't worn it in a long time.  It was almost like a new dress since it's been buried in the back of my closet for so long.

I bought the shoes at the Bass outlet last week while on vacation.  I primarily wear flats - as in my students are in shock when I wear the slightest heal.  But I fell in love with these wedges and they are actually really comfortable.  I knew I wanted to wear them on the first day of school so I actually planned my outfit around them.

My necklace is from Francesca's, which is one of my favorite stores.

I would love to see what you wore to work this week.  Link up and share your first day outfit or favorite look for teaching.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The One with the First Day: Monday Made It

Today I MADE IT through my first year of the school year.  And I'm exhausted!!

It was a great first day.  

I have 21 students in my homeroom with only 5 of those being girls.  It's going to be a challenging year but I am so excited.  I have pretty high expectations for this group of kiddos and the growth they are going to experience mathematically.  

I did manage to create one little thing... a cute football schedule. 

 Thank you Emily for the inspiration.  She made an adorable schedule - even if it was for Auburn.  :)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The One With the Accelerated Math Club

We use a program called Accelerated Math at my school.  Are you familiar with it?  It is a computer based program that allows students to have extra practice at their own pace.  The teacher assigns objectives to each student.  You can assign objectives to students individually allowing them to practice skills they need extra help with or you can assign the same objectives to the whole class allowing them to practice the skills you are teaching in class.  The program creates a practice assignment for students.  It tracks what objectives the students have mastered and which ones they need a little more practice on.  From that information the program then creates test over the objectives students have mastered and exercises for the objectives that students need to practice again.  And the best part?  Students receive immediate feedback.  They not only receive their score but can go back and look at the problems they  missed and see the correct answer.

I love this program.  A few years ago when I taught 7th grade Math I used Accelerated Math as my homework.  Students were required to have two assignments (practice or test) with a 80% or higher each week.  They were allowed to complete as many assignments as they wanted and I took the highest two scores.  That sounds like a lot of grading for me, but the program does all the grading.  I don't do anything but look at the TOPS report, a print out of their score and objectives for that particular assignment.  Accelerated Math was paper and pencil when I was doing this.  Students had scan sheets that they scanned to receive their grade.

I saw what a huge difference this made for some of my students.  It really helped them with their over math skills.  The problems given are primarily word problems - real world application problems.

At QES Accelerated Math is all done on the computer.  This has required me to change the way I use this program.  It all has to be done in class now.  This past year I started using it as a center because it was a fight to get students to work on it more than 30 minutes at a time.  I wanted to create something to motivate my students to try their best when working on accelerated math instead of just clicking random answers.

That's where the Accelerated Math Club comes in.

I know it isn't level...gotta fix that this week. :)

My inspiration came from this pin.

I changed the goals around slightly and created a design that would match my classroom.  I changed the goals because I wanted it to be easy for students to move their pin in the beginning.  I wanted them to experience immediate gratification which will hopefully excite them and motivate them to keep working toward larger goals.

I'm pretty excited about this new club.  My principal LOVED it which only added to my assignment.  

We all know all competitive our students can get so hopefully this will work as well as I want it to this year.

If you would like a copy of my posters, jump over to my TPT store.  They are a FLASH FREEBIE today!!

Be sure to leave me some love.  

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The One with the Reveal

I did it.  I said goodbye to the owls and chose a new theme for my classroom this year.  I was a little nervous about it because it took me forever to make a decision on a theme.  But I love all my chalkboards and neons and am pleased with how it turned out.

Welcome to my 2014/2015 Classroom.

The view from the door...

Ready for Open House...even though I wont' be there.

I am in OBSESSED with this bulletin board.  I cannot wait to add their pictures from the first day of school and then change that hashtag out throughout the year.  I usually despise bulletin boards.  Last year my board was blank all year.  But I am super happy about this turned out.

This shelf holds supplies for students and is where they will turn in their work.

I bought these solid black panels but they were too short so I extended them with the green fabric.

My space...

Filled with work ready for the first week.

A few special owls got to stick around.  

The view from my desk...

Table Caddies

I think I'm going to add a cushion to my stool.

The front of the room...

My other whiteboard....

That's the full tour.  What do you think?  Think it will make math a little more fun for my students?

The One With Sunshine

Friday in the midst of chaos around my house I received my first SLANTbox.

I was so excited to open it and was not disappointed by its contents.

There were two new toys for my sweet furbabies.  I love that Rachel included them.  They received a yellow frisbee and this little yellow stuffed dog.

Liberty Belle was so excited about it.  She loves toys like this but we don't ever buy them because they never last more than thirty minutes.  She tears them up quickly.  I'm happy to say this one is still going strong after almost a week.

It was a few days before Lincoln Baxter got to play with it because Liberty hogged it for the first few days.

There was lots of sunshine for me too.

How cute are these towels and napkins?

There was also some candy but my husband and I devoured that before I could take a picture.

I loved the postcard with the handwritten note.  Possibly my favorite thing in the box.  :)

Thank you Rachel for my a great first SLANTbox.  I cannot wait to participate again.