This is becoming a trend

Another great week. I got a lot done. I still have a ton to do, but this week was productive for sure.
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Our math coach stopped by to teach a Math Workshop Lesson. Wow, she’s good. My kids learned a lot.
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This was a part of the lesson. Thank you, Coach O’Connel!
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Combined our two classes so Mrs. Smallwood and I could drive home the point of using tally makes to capture information then using that information in a graph. Once again, my students learned a lot.
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We learned so much we took our learning to the streets. We went out in the hall and tallied up the students we saw wearing certain color shirts. Then we took it to class and made a simple graph using the data.
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This week we started working on our AR tests. We’re focusing in on reading the book a couple of times then jumping on line to take the test. Teaching the students to stay with the book and make sure they understand it is a real task.
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I wouldn’t be me if there weren’t bowties this week. Got a new Batman as well as Marvel comics bowtie. Let’s just call this Superhero week.
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Good friend needed a reminded. Hey, I need this reminder, too.
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Startbucks cookie straw and Kill Cliff iced coffee. This wasn’t a good idea. I’ll talk about this a little more on Thursday on a special Whole30 blog posting.
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Let’s crack open the sparkling apple cider! My grade level won the best yard (hallway) decoration contest. We have full intentions of this starting a trend. We already started the plan for the next design in a few months.
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And as always there were heavy weights lifted. Some didn’t fare to well, however. RIP.

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Do I have to say that there was meal prep this week? My dinner swap made this fantastic breakfast bowl. It wasn’t 100% whole30, but it was all the way tasty and nutrient dense.

First full week in review.

This week was OUTSTANDING!

I love this group of kids! I’m so very happy to have come aboard. Now let’s review this week in pics.

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 The 5th grade team thought it would be nice to start everyone’s week with a special card. They were right. That was kinda cool.

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My neighbor who’s a 1st year (Shout out to The Most Beautiful 1st Years in the World, Perry and Davis) and I combined classes to help all our kiddos get the grip on how Number Talks work. Ms. Storie is a great teacher! We had so much fun doing this.

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I like centers a lot. I did an inventory and I found that I have almost 65 handmade centers for 2nd grade. Since I’m in 1st grade and I can’t use 65% of the things I have from last year I guess all I can do is…make more! So expect an explosions of charts soon.

After Centers time I asked my dear, precious ones what kind of educational experience they’d make for a classmate using these random bags of manipulatives. They might only be a few weeks out of Kindergarten, but they’re pretty bight. They had some neat ideas. I will showcase these new centers when we put it together.

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The lunchbox saga has been solved. I scored a great Norchill cooler bag that can hold almost 2 days worth of food along with a 64 ounce growler (The Tank)! That’s a lot of space. Most importantly it keeps stuff cold sitting in my classroom.

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We set some reading goals this week. I know they’re afraid to read, but I am going to get them out of that real quick. I’m looking for a creative way to post these around the class so the kids can check off as they read. Maybe to a class total chart as well. That would be cool. Of course having them read to me, write a book report or read to a Book Buddy.

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Oh, yeah I wore a few bow  ties this week. I think I’m going to give in to the Jeans Friday. Thought I’d be stanch stickler for my tie, but I find myself moving around on the floor, running and doing more now. The tie was to restrictive.

How was your first full week of school?

My new classroom

A new district. New school. New classroom. I’m looking for as many creative storage and decorative ideas as possible, but I’m not going to just pull them from Pinterest. I want this year’s classroom theme to be a darling of Pinterest and be 100% original ideas and content.  I’m expecting others to pin me all over their blogs, social sites and the InterWeb. That’s saying a lot cause my Super Learners themed room still is the most popular view on this humble blog.H

If you are creative and want to throw your hat in on this challenge, please comment. I’d appreciate your insights. Here’s the pallet. Now I need to just be creative.

The door has to be the best door entry I've ever done. Ever.

The door has to be the best door entry I’ve ever done. Ever. It has to SCREAM that we’re all about reading in this room. 

 

This hallway/entrance has to be intense.

This hallway/entrance has to be intense. I’m at the end of the hall, but I want this to be THE destination. I want other kids to say to my students “THAT’S YOUR classroom?” with awe and wonder. 

The room comes with SUPPLIES!

The room comes with SUPPLIES! The room already has lots of good supplies and materials. I just need to organize them. 

I have a lot of ideas for this space. Please know that it won't look like this long.

I have a lot of ideas for this space. Please know that it won’t look like this long. I have a teacher’s desk. You already know how I feel about that. Yuck. 

I need a curtain idea. My theme is going to be "All the things we can read"

I need a curtain idea. My theme is going to be “All the things we can read”

Pretty good storage closet in class

Pretty good storage closet in class. It needs to be organized so Day 1 has a mission already. 

 

Nice size closet.

Nice size closet. My coats, shoes and aprons have a home. Going to keep some other ready to go classroom supplies in here as well. A wide angle shot of the place I'll be calling home in a month.

A wide angle shot of the place I’ll be calling home in a month. So much to do. Check out the blue carpet!

Another angle of the room. Lots can be done with this space.

Another angle of the room. Lots can be done with this space. Did I mention that I have a restroom IN my class? (No reading in there, please!)

So many ideas. So much space.

So many ideas. So much space. This is going to be so much fun. Even better than Super Learners. 

Am I on the wrong side of the War?

 

This video sincerely voices my concerns for the boys in my class. I’ve always said that “school wasn’t made by a boy”. The very structure of MY class doesn’t encourage boys and really restricts them. That’s right I include myself. I’m just as guilty of trying to get my students to do exactly what I couldn’t do when I was 7-8 years old.

The part that struck home more than anything in this video was helping boys become readers. Every week we go to the media center and grab a new book to read. And just like following a script my girls get fiction feeling books while my boys get non-fiction books about snakes, cars or records. I didn’t think about how much they’re telling me with their book selections. Even when they’re allowed to go online with little direction most of them find material that’s about animals, cars, and the such. I have to do a better job of letting my male students be, boys.

The way school is organized it almost requires that I (a big boy) have to require these 10 boys do what they’re not even wired to do. However, the 6 girls in my room are almost perfect according to my classroom set up. I’m an accomplice!

My one area of concern is a missing cog in this machine. Parenting. The video didn’t seem to address any of the parenting methods that add, subtract or create some of the battlegrounds that boys must compete. We certainly need to discuss all our roles in helping boys be boys along with being functional parts of society.

I have to research and read more on how to organize my class to be more Boy Friendly. What do you think about this? Do you notice any differences in our society in regards to boys? Let’s talk about it.

 

What happened last year

The new school semester has started off so strong I haven’t had time to blog or to recount what happened last semester. Thankfully, I have a day off to think about it. Here’s what happened last semester in no particular order.

  • I don’t have a filing system. However, my crazy paper mess makes sense to me. I don’t LIKE it, but I can usually find things within a matter of minutes.

  • BOWTIES! What else is there if not bowties? wpid-20150109_175519.jpg

  • My charts are ROCKING! I’ve found them so useful this year. I do have them hanging in a system. System is to easy to understand! I think my co-workers have been poaching my charts!wpid-20140513_110035.jpg

  • My progress monitoring of struggling students is working. I can see where each student is and a have a plan for each one. I’ve even got a shout out a couple times for having my paper work on point.

  • When I saw that something didn’t work I didn’t try to make it work. I just dropped it and kept it moving.

  • My centers are so/so. I overhauled my Centers chart and now it just doesn’t make sense. Should have left it well enough alone. That being said the kids have great center time. They like it and they’re learning. I simply have to have a better rotation schedule.

  • I didn’t do a great job laying down the rules/procedures of the class. Some have picked them up, but the vast majority aren’t trying to do right.

  • We don’t go outside AT ALL!

  • I find myself busy most of the day. Not a lot of down time. That’s good. That’s bad.

  • MEAL PREP! Excellent idea. I don’t know who I picked it up from, but I’m glad I did.wpid-20141007_095025.jpg

  • My class isn’t on auto-pilot. I think this is a goal that I should let go of. My students more than likely aren’t going to be the kinds that will follow a schedule without someone pointing out to them to do it.

  • Keeping all homework in a spiral notebook was a great idea! Keeping all classwork in 1 spiral wasn’t as good an idea.

  • I’m so glad that they started the 4 week lesson plan. It makes it so much easier to plan.

  • Speaking of planning, I’m doing a pretty good job planning. I could always do better.

  • Class Dojo is perfect! So glad I didn’t give up on this.

  • I stopped asking dumb questions. Here are a few.

    • Did that make sense to you? (Of course it made sense to a 7 year old!)

    • Why didn’t you do ABC? (Because I didn’t want to!)

    • Do I need to call your mother/father? (Just call ’em don’t prime the pump)

2015 has started off perfect. I realize that last semester I spend a lot of time trying to get 4-6 students to do while the other suffered. This semester the 4-6 are going to have to get in where they fit cause I’m focusing my energy on those who want to be prepared. We only have 80 days of school left! No time to patty cake with those who aren’t trying to do what needs to be done.

No matter what I have just about 640 school hours to get as much info into the minds of these students. 3,2,1…go!

A rich blessing

Yard sales used to be my thing. Every blue moon I stop by one. I always look for ones run by teachers.

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I ran across a retiring 2nd grade teacher who was having a HUGE yard sale yesterday. She sold me a lot of good quality stuff. She ended up giving me just as much as I bought. A real bonifide resource for my classroom.  Expect my teaching to go up a level this year. 

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Not only that, but she donated all the remaining stuff to my daughter’s classes. She truly helped our classes big time. She was so kind to my girls.  She loaded them down outstanding stuff, too.

Initially I wasn’t going to go to the sale. But I really felt I should since it was advertised as “retired teacher”.  That’s code for “good stuff”.  Besides it was right by my house.  I wasn’t let down at all. I may even keep her in mind to show me how she did her outstanding organization system. Cause it was great. You never know what you may find when you follow a random sign. 

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Outstanding ties this week.  My wood tie is ruling the roost for sure. 

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Great lessons in my not so obvious summer gig. Opinion writing using 2 versions of “Let it go”. A lot of fun

Ok, I got to go see this Tom Cruise movie. What are you doing this summer?

2013-14 School year. The Good. The Bad. The Ugly.

Is there a  school out there that does an end of the year survey of what worked, what didn’t and what certainly doesn’t need to happen again? There has to be some value to hearing what the staff thought about the last 170 or so days. Deep down inside I fear it would become a gripe session for some and the most constructive comments won’t be shared for fear of reprisal. So this year I’m going to talk about what happened in my little slice of  APS. Room 157.

The Good

  • BOWTIES!
  • More times than not, I kept my cool. Once I made a slight change in my perspective it really became easy.
  • Everyone is moving on to 3rd grade. Except me, Thank You Jesus!
  • I started with good systems in place.
  • Homework and classroom journals, ROCKED!
  • Time management.
  • College road trip
  • I stuck to my AM schedule like a champ.
  • I stayed true to Jason. I didn’t let anyone impress me to be someone else.
  • Lesson plans in general were on point.
  • I was able to roll with most of the changes that come with working in a school.
  • I remained true to a lot of my physical goals. All be it they hit a deep pot hole.

The Bad

  • Paperwork management.
  • My “7 Habits of Happy Kids” theme didn’t help with good habits.
  • Still think I talk to much. I repeat myself a lot!
  • Paperwork.
  • Sad face for science.
  • I didn’t vocally encourage my student’s as much as I mentally thought it.
  • I relied on copies a lot more than I intended.
  • Some of my systems fell apart by year’s end.
  • Drumming up parental buy in.
  • Waste
  • I didn’t start one new project in the building. I have nice ideas, but I didn’t stick my neck out there once.

The Ugly

  • The system of identifying struggling students didn’t work well.
  • Creating plans for struggling students just became blah. Nothing exciting. Nothing that pulled them into the lesson.
  • I wore a horrible bowtie/shirt combo once and my coworkers still dog me out about it.
  • There are a few days where I know I didn’t even remotely make the sale. I didn’t get the kids to WANT to learn.
  • I don’t hug my students. They probably needed a hug more than I realized.
  • I left Crossfit. Major sad face.

Please feel free to give your feedback on your year in the comments and take my “scientific” poll.

This week’s flip books

This week I rolled out flip books on my class. We're using them in different ways. The math place value book below is being used really for notes. The kids followed along with me as I created this book. 

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This is an example of one of the inside pages. The kids enjoyed making it. One thing I'd change is next time I'll stick to the same number throughout the entire book. Thekids didn't stumble over my change. I just think that some of them might have grasped better if I used the same number. 

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Should've kept the same number through the whole book. 

I made this huge flip book from some "ruined" poster boards. So each page I had the students follow along in their own smaller books. See the smaller book on the left. On the back of the whole book I had the students write the vocabulary words that they keep missing. Since we're focusing on the various kinds of conversions, this has come in handy.  

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This is a fun book we made for show. We're discussing the various interesting things about this wonderful state. So I made these books to help the kids see how big/small our world really is.  We're going to display them when we're finished. 

Next week we're going to make a flip book on the regions of Georgia. We'll see how it goes.  How was your week? What worked well for you? 

Flash cards and recycled photo albums

 

This worked better than I thought. The kids loved it. I'll certainly be adding  a subtraction and maybe some phonics cards as soon as I get some more photo books.

Kids are LOVING the actions and movements that go along with 7 habits. We practice the movements in our AM meeting. I was able to order some of the books and materials for the program and we're reading them in class. 

   

This week we set goals (Habit #2) for ClassDojo points each wanted to have by the end of the day. Everyone just about hit their goal. We'll start planning other academic goals today. 

I have a good sense about our progress so far. I know the mountain is high, but they do want to do right. I've been able to roll out a lot of modifications that have helped me with my class management as well as over all stress. I don't feel my class is the BEST it could be, but it's certainly functional. That was my goal for this year. 

More Teachers will appreciate

Back for round 2 of some comedy from Room #157. If I didn't have the best class in the world some of these would make me cry. 

You have 99 pencils and none are sharpened. But you want to sharpen them all?! 

I'm so glad your homework folder is safe at home. I certainly wouldn't want some random person to stuff homework in it. I'm glad you left it at home. Thanks. 

Yeah, that sealed enveloped addressed to your mom. Sure you can open that in class and start reading it…A LOUD. 

I haven't seen the outside of my house in the daylight all week. 

Centers time AKA Chinese fire drill. 

Carpet time AKA Rugby shrum.

#dutyfreeLunchcopyingplanningmeetingrestroomconference time rocks!

Sure feel free to use up the entire box of tissues in one day. No problem. *Notice that as soon as the last tissue is used NO ONE "sneezes" again. 

I'm sure you gained a lot of insight from that book that took you .23 seconds to read. Do you mind taking maybe a few minutes to re read it rather than run back to the book center?

Why do you have to josslte and tussle over EVERYTHING? 

Why did I bring this work home? Am I really going to do any of it? 

 I could build a new island with the amount of pencil shavings and eraser shavings you all produce in a week. You don't have to erase everything, that's why it's called scratch paper. 

Observation day (say this with a smile and tightly clenched teeth) SityourselfdownandyoubetternotaskanysillyquestionsorI'mgoingtoputyouindetentionuntilyourgrandkidscanvote!