I promise I’ll talk about teaching, I promise.

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I truly appreciate my CrossFit experience. I particularly LOVE our coaches at CrossFit South Cobb. For whatever reason I’ve been blessed with very, very poor mobility in my shoulders. This tends for my elbows to not move fast enough in Cleans. If you don’t fully know what that means put it like this. Slam 200 lbs on your up right wrists 2 or 3 times and you’re now in my world. I’ve done a lot to improve and I’m getting there. The winds aren’t in my favor. I’m 40 years old, I don’t have hours to work on this particular skill (I could take hours to stretch)

This week we had a guy come in and do some shots of us working out. Very nice guy. Took some amazing shots. Everyone talks about how this picture is great of me cause I look intense. My wife even said I look “Hot”. For me this makes me kind of tear up. MY ELBOWS ARE UP! I can’t get them up any other time, but thank God I got them up in this pic. I 100% attribute this to my coach team and friends in the gym. So many people have given me ideas to stretch my bear yoke shoulders to get them limber. So many ideas has been shared to free up my hands so that the weight will land in my open hand rather than crash down on my wrists.  I can’t even count how many demonstrations, practices and encouraging words have been shared while I’m killing myself to get my “elbows up”.

As a teacher we need this kind of support just as much. Our jobs are lovely. We are able to shape future, doctors, lawyers, business execs and countless other professions. Future generations are in our classrooms and we’re about to touch each and every one. But this job is equally hard. Day in and day out we have to make sure our technique is sharp and we follow through with every move. There’s room for error, but not much. We have to be on our game a whole lot more than we’re off.

When we as teachers supported by great coaching staff, we can do amazing things. It’s almost like someone is taking the weight of this job and lightening out load. Our community is strengthened when we’re supported by piers who see us struggling even when we don’t know we are in bad shape.

This year I made it my personal goal to show the CFSC level of support to my co-workers that I get from my coach team. I’ve been able to help a few people “get their elbows up” in my own little part of the world. Not sure if it’s a BIG deal. They may not even realize it. I do see the impact and I’m thankful that I’m able to do this. Can you imagine how this fellow feels? What kind of coaching do you think he gets?

Day 2 of Operation Write, Grade and File.

Meal Prepping has been amazing. This coming week will be all about weighing and measuring. No over eating. Even good food.

Tabata math drill

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I found a way to bring my favorite workout to the classroom and I didn't even need to lace up my inov8s! 

Tabata work outs can be summed up as 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest. A goal is to not to slip below your first level of work. So if I do 8 push ups in 20 seconds I'd want to keep that pace the entire 8 founds. It sounds pretty simple, but it's not. It's so useful that it's easy to think it's not as hard as it is. I'm sure there's one out there, but I cant think of a exercise you can't do as a tabta. 

Today I had my students do their regularly scheduled math drill as a tabta. I was pleasantly surprised how much they liked it. I had a 60 question single digit addition and subtraction page for them. I explained the "game" to them extensively on the front end. They picked up on it pretty well. I projected a huge tabata timer on the board. It chimed at the different rest/work intervals. They loved it. 

  • I didn't make them keep score, but I will in the future.
  • Some spent the 10 seconds of rest looking over their previous questions to fix them when the 20 seconds of work started. 
  • I need to do a benchmark drill to see help them plot some growth. 
  • No going back over answers until they've finished every question. 

Afterwards I asked the class write to me about their first tabata experience. Pretty positive for my class. They don't usually like anything new save for the overly dramatic and disruptive. 

  •     10 liked it and want to do their regular math drills like this
  •     2 would rather do the regular 2 minute drill

I'm thinking that I could use this format for writing spelling and vocabulary words. I'm thinking that when their reading really gets better they could read 20 seconds rest 10. I'd enjoy seeing them write as much as they can and then rest and so on. 

I bet I'll have them rascals out doing tabata sprints next time we get the wiggles, trust. 

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A pretty fun lesson

I told you before that I'm working on keeping my lessons sticky. I want to see how I can tie one lesson to the next and keep bringing up old lessons and fore shadowing future lessons. So we'll be using our graphs from this week to talk about base ten and the such. We'll pull out graphs again when we start skip counting by 2's and 5's. I introduced the idea when we made pictographs this week by using 1 picture to represent 2 votes on a project. Ok, here we go. 

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Been teaching graphs to the BEST 2nd grade class in the world this week. Been a lot of fun. We also did tally marks. We had a great idea to survey the school. So each group picked a topic and went to survey. Some counted the different color bulletin boards. Another counted the Teachers and Students we saw in the hall during our 10 minute tour. We had a lot of different surveys. 

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So this group is counting the number of 1st grade boys and girls that came from the the Cafe. They're legit for sure. 

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Here are their results. Pretty good job. Soon we'll have to use our new found survey skills if we want to partake in school wide academic fair. So hopefully by then my entire class will be truly legit surveyors. Might have them do these throughout the year as centers or something. 

It's tempting to do some surveying about the up coming Presidential race since in SS we're talking about the roles of President/Govenor and Mayor. 

If someone could help me come up with ways to help my students improve the quality of their work, I'd appreciate the hints. Right now they're busy trying to hurry and not to turn in a quality product. Takes a lot of effort and modeling to get even a descent product from them sometimes. I know they can do better. After much probing and proding I get some nice work. Begging for ideas. 

Driving this week with the brakes on

Not sure why, but this week feels like it's going in slow motion. It could be due to the fact that I'm running sans coffee/sugar, but I don't think that's it. What it could be is that it's 80 lovely degrees out and I can't get outside because of the Yellow Scourge aka pollen running amok. *I'd to be the reason some kid swells up like a balloon because they have some crazy allergic reaction to this stuff. At 9000 parts per million that's pretty intense. It wouldn't be a good idea to make them go out and do 10 burpees this week.  

Thankfully, I had a great meeting with my admin about my performance this year. Even though I don't feel as successful as I'd like it felt good to know others who know what they're looking for see that I'm doing a good job. I got a list to work on and the most important it keep assessing my kids. I need to find a better way to assess and retest, reteach on a regular basis.

One thing I did get is that my efforts to keep my students on task are not going un noticed. The kids may/may not always response like they should but it doesn't always look bad on me. *I'm really conscious of the kids making me look bad. Needless to say I don't look as crazy as I thought I did. 

We're in crunch mode getting ready for the end of the year. I'm just taking each day as it comes and thankful for everyone of them. Can't wait to get in the gym today. I have a lot of stress to burn off. 

Learning and budgeting

Actually they didn't learn to budget, but if my students get good at making grocery lists they certainly could handle a budget. Had a lot of fun "buying" things from a mock supermarket and electronics store. This will take a lot of practice. They'll see it again in a center.

Speaking of centers. I gave each a pack of Centers Subs for days that we're not able to get to centers like we plan. I was able to grab these great Matho, Reado and Write bingo boards from Pinterest. Whenever we're crunched for time and not able to do the full center deal I'll just have them grab their centers sub from the class work bench area. They can select whatever activity they want to do. I'm sure that the first couple of times will consume their easy tasks. Then I'll be able to sew what they've really learned and are able to reproduce. Should be fun. 

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Class vs. Shaving cream (Round 1)

I get tired of watching my students go through ream upon ream of paper just wasting it. So I got this idea from another blog to use shaving cream as an assignment. It's not cheaper per say, but it's sure a lot more fun. 

*Mind you I did notice that this student has the "+" symbol in the wrong place and an "=" sign where it's not needed. My hands were covered in shave cream and I was good to get one picture. 

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We were working on inverse operations to see/prove that subtraction can help us better understand addition. The kids loved it. Since I did a lot to prep the lesson this really hit home. They did this for about 20 minutes, cleaned up and and journaled what they found. Only one had cream all the way up to his elbows. None got any on the floor. Most surprisingly none got any on their classmates. 

It cost me $1.16 for a can of cream. Not bad. Tomorrow we may pull out the shave cream again and work with forms of energy. Might save this for the next time I'm being observed to either a) hit a home room or b) crash and burn in a blaze of glory. 

*Points to remember if you use this method

  • Tell the class they're icing cakes. That will keep them from rubbing the shaving cream so much that it evaporates.
  • I'd think that whipped cream would work, but it's sticky, the kids will try to eat it, and it might attarach bugs. 
  • They don't need a big space. The size and shape of a legal sheet of paper is fine. 
  • One can of shave cream goes a LONG way. Thought I was going to need like two, but ended up using 3/4 of one. That's with me re-upping many kids work areas. 
  • Take your time wrapping up. As you're talking and going back over the steps, the shaving cream dries. This makes it very easy to clean up. 
  • Have baby wipes on hand unless you want to send them to the rest room to wash their hands. 
  • Don't sweat cleaning the table/desks until after school. Shave cream is soap and doesn't hurt anything. It just leaves a film on the desk, but it washes off quickly. 

The bet that my class could get 150 class Dojo points has been less than spectacular. As of today they've earned 80, but also have lost 79. That's not good. Going to do something special for those who are on track with 5 or more points tomorrow. Maybe they'll get extra center time or get to go as a small group to the media center. Can't focus to much and to long on those who won't do right. I have some Prince and Princess students who want to learn and are making the most of each day. Can't let a few ogre's ruin it. 

Off to Crossfit South Cobb

A lot going on today

Here…we..go! Another day is off and running. I'm supposed to have a visitor today to watch me teach my reading lesson. I have 2 meetings during my planning time and I have to finish the language arts assessment. Supposed to tutorial this afternoon and hit my favorite Crossfit gym as well. Let's just say this afternoon my students are going to get a healthy dose of centers. 

Thinking of doing an AR scramble. See how many AR tests we can take in an hour. My kids do read a lot of books and getting time to do the AR tests seem to be the real issue. Maybe we can do that this afternoon. 

Not sure what I'll teach for Black History Month. I enjoy looking back at the past. I'd like to tie in some form of looking forward as well. My students are gems and one day they'll be discovered. It's just a matter of time. Some how I want to get them looking at themselves in that way and acting that way. They are Americans and this is their history and future. 

There's a big push in my school to make sure kids are wearing their school uniforms. I used to not be a fan of them, but I've been won over. besides if there is one area to focus on getting kids to comply with a simple rule like that is the easiest. I wonder if other schools have dress codes/uniforms? Anyone? 

Ok, off to set up for the day. Make your day awesome!

This is going to be a great week

Found out I have a scheduled visitation ALL day Thursday. This should be a blast. I have a solid lesson planned. I know that I need work, but I'm confident that everyday I'm getting better and better. Let's see how Thursday goes. I expect nothing less than outstanding. 

Classroom fairy hit my room again for 2.0. I'm quite proud of it. I know the kids are gonna flip over the 3D ladder bulletin board and the new reading area.

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Themed Thursdays

My students really liked Wordless Wednesday. So much that they didn't buck at all when I told them it was their wordless Wednesday and that they had to communicate sans words for 75 minutes. 

So this Thursday I'm thinking of having a themed day. I was considering using football lingo all day. Maybe the kids could do the "touchdown" signal when an answer is right, maybe the "no point" signal for wrong answers. Since I have an observation Thursday it better be good if I'm going to roll out something new like this. We'll see. 

Considering:

Football-Use football terms through out class. Also a small football to pass around when one is speaking. Might wear a jersey or ref shirt.

Poetry day-Have to ask all questions in a rhyme. Students have to snap for applause

Thoughtful Thursday- write a sincere complimentary note to a classmate telling them something about their school performance you think is neat or notable.