Thursday, February 28, 2013

Slurs, Saint Patty's math & a freebie

Well, I made it 2 whole months but  I had another incident with the aggressive, verbally abusive family. The banned family member sent other family members in to harrass me and an offensive slur was made towards me. The worst part is this happened in front of a boy I was tutoring and my own son. The catalyst? My refusal to return a Bakugan toy that I had confiscated.

So, my heart isn't really up for blogging right now but I wanted to make sure you saw this freebie in case you wanted to use it next week.

 Lucky ABC order center

You can download it for FREE by clicking on the picture below.

Next week we will playing Pot O' Gold which focuses on students verbalizing the strategies they use to solve addition problems. I focused on the strategies of doubles, near doubles, and making ten. The first player to cover up all the strategies on their board wins. I will use "gold" as the cover up pieces but you could use counters.

Partner 1 picks a card and tells his partner not only the answer but what strategy he used to solve the addition problem. The included math talk cards provide sentence frames to aid your students in practicing this skill.
 I also included a double ten-frame so students who need the extra scaffolding can use counters to help them make ten.
Pot O' Gold is only $2 in my TpT store right now.
How do you deal with work stress? I think I deserve a medal for managing to stay professional but perhaps a mani/pedi will suffice?


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Updates, WInner, and Freebies

After many requests, I updated my Decoding Strategies pack to include a poster for each strategy. Here are a couple of examples:
If you have already bought this pack you can re-download and get the additions for free.

If you haven't checked out my best seller yet you can click {HERE} to take a peek.

I'm happy to announce that Lori Polkadotowl won my new Gilbert and the Lost Tooth Book Club packet!

 Now for the freebies. I think the Common Core has really helped me be more purposeful about teaching my students to explain their thinking. I make anchor charts like this support the standards of Mathematical Practice.

 The students use it to first decide which strategy (orange) they will try, then decide which tool (tool icons) they will use.  {You may remember I shared a subtraction one like this earlier in the year.}

This week we are working on addition strategies again, this time with a focus on doubles, near doubles, and making ten (Topic 14 for Envision users.)

The trick this week is for the students to determine which addition fact will best help them solve the problem. So after practicing each separately, I will give the students this cut and glue tree map to see if they can apply this knowledge to a strategy sort.

 If you'd like a free copy of the anchor chart and cut and glue sort just click {HERE.}
I know we are all really busy but I'd love it if you'd leave me a comment so I know that someone actually reads this blog. :-)


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Fractured Ribs...Again! plus a Hall Pass

About 6 years ago I had pneumonia and coughed so much I fractured ribs. It was excruciatingly painful and I had to go to the ER.

Well, for the last few weeks I have had a bad cough and when my ribs started getting sore I started getting worried. But my cough is almost gone so I was surprised when my my ribs were more sore than ever. I had just told my brother how sore I was and popped 4 Advil when I coughed. I felt/heard the rib crack. YUCK! I yelled out and started crying in pain. I think I freaked my sweet 5th grader Quinn out. My brother wanted me to go to the ER but I knew there was nothing they could do and it wasn't quite as bad a last time. So, my vacation week plans have not turned out as I expected. I thought I was going to take my kids mini-golfing and finally going to give my house a deep clean. I thought I would finally get around to doing some work in the yard. NOPE! I can't do much of anything. And to add to the fun I have been coughing today! Oh man, that is torture.

My son Quinn has been especially sweet, bringing me coffee and stopping by to gently hug me.
This morning he brought me an origami rose!
The only good thing is I am forced to take it easy rather than fill my day with chores.  I have enjoyed finally having time to catch up with some of my favorite blogs. I even had time to participate in a linky party which I haven't had time for since the summer I think!
Isn't this the cutest graphic from Reagan! Everything she does is fab. SO without further ado...
 I think my favorite product would have to be my Daily Editing Word ProblemsIt took me forever to make but now I have a whole year worth of morning work ready to go! Instead of writing a morning message on the board and correcting it whole group each student has a strip on their desk to try to find the mistakes on their own before we go over it together. The best part is the daily practice with word problems. We put a box around what I call the "Ding ding ding!" {The words that told us if we needed to add or subtract, etc}

The first half of the year we edit for capitalization, punctuation, and we circle sight words.
The second half of the year there are also spelling mistakes to correct.
My students love that the questions include holidays and themes we are learning about like penguins.

The first year we simply glued the strip into a notebook and showed our work below.  Last year we used Cara's calendar binder which was great. This year I am trying to stick to the Common Core and needed to replace the coins so I made this to use and we put a month at a time into prong folders.
I still have coin questions in my Daily Editing pack so I guess I will have to edit the monster this summer to correlate with Common Core. Luckily there are 190 word problems so I am having no problem skipping the coin ones.

My favorite area of my classroom is my guided reading table.  My district has this crazy idea that only kindergarten teachers need a kidney table and they will not approve a request from any one else. Isn't that weird?  I finally got one when a retiring teacher gave me hers.
 I use Full Brain Teaching call and response. I say, "Class Class" and the students say "Yes Yes" back. I vary how I say it and they have to vary their response. If I say, "Classity Class" the students say "Yesity Yes" back. ANd then they are supposed to freeze and look at me. If they don't freeze I'll say, "Hands and Eyes" as a reminder to stop moving and look at me. What I like about this is I can use it anywhere like the library or on a field trip and don't have to rely on having my bell or whatever with me. 

I have a 40 minute lunch in our faculty dining room every day. We have a very friendly staff and lunch is usually filled with laughter. I need that adult time away from the students. I have heard from other teachers that their staff room isn't fun and many people eat lunch in their rooms. That is a shame since teaching can be so solitary sometimes. 
I wrote this earlier today but fell asleep before I could finish. Tylenol with Codeine makes me loopy. I may just stick to Advil. Many, many Advil.

 The good thing is now I probably have more posts I can read! :-) Go link up with Reagan if you have time.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Gilbert and the Lost Tooth

Ahhh vacation! Okay, it is pouring rain which isn't awesome BUT that made me feel less guilty about spending time on my laptop.  AND I am still in my jammies which makes any day awesome!

I used my Scholastic points to buy some new guided reading books. I am a big Diane deGroat fan so when I saw Gilbert and the Lost Tooth for only $1 in the Seesaw February flyer I snapped 6 copies up.

I whipped up a new Book Club packet. Book Clubs work really well in my room. I assign the book and packet to the group. They go read it on their own and complete the packet before our next meeting. If they have trouble they are allowed to ask their book club members for help. When we meet again we discuss the book. This technique is helpful because it builds independence and gives me good insight into each student's level of comprehension. I also ask them to write in complete sentences so I get a quick writing assessment as well. Each student takes an Accelerated Reader quiz which I think is interesting to compare to their written work.

Click {HERE} to buy this packet for only $2 and maybe check out the other 15 books I have made packets for.

As usual, I will also give a copy away to a loyal follower. Just enter via the rafflecopter gizmo below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I'm off to curl up with my Kindle. I'm reading Unravel Me (the sequel to Shatter Me) today. I go through books QUICKLY so leave me a comment if you have a book suggestion for me. I tend toward dystopian novels but I will read anything if it is good.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Valentine's Day Shocker & a Map Tip

We are still working on our map unit and I wanted to share a new thing we did this year for our models versus maps lesson that worked really well. This year we added colored popsicle sticks to the clay and pipe cleaners which was a big hit! My teaching partner Robi also found these old wood trays to build on which gave them a bigger surface and the kids said the ledges felt like a real playground.
Monkey bars, swings, sand box, teeter totter...
Basketball hoops, slide, sand box, swings...
Students drew a map of their playground. We completed a double bubble comparing maps and models. Then students wrote full sentences describing the ways they were alike or different.

We finished our map circles as well. We will have to finish the rest of the unit after break.
These activities and much more are available in my Me on the Map packet if you are interested.

In other news, we found out on Valentine's Day that our 7th grader has his first girlfriend!!!! He got a call at 7 AM so I asked who it was. He said it was his friend A.J. who wanted him to meet at school early. "Why, is it something about Valentine's Day?" I ask. He says, "Yes. He has a girlfriend." I continue to question, "So why does he want you to come early?" My husband interrupts up with the correct question. "Wait, do YOU have a girlfriend?" "Yes," Casey answers with a grin. My mouth drops open. "Were you going to tell anybody?" I ask in shock. My 5th grader Quinn pipes up, "He told me after the dance last Friday!" WHAT?! He has had a girlfriend for almost a week and I am only hearing about it now!!!! Luckily his friend A.J. has his act together and purchased teddy bears for both of them to give their girlfriends. Oh my....and it begins!
Casey and Nicole are on the right.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

ValenTIME week

Congrats to Angie Henry who won a copy of The Day It Rained Nouns! I'll email it right out.
We have been working on time to the hour and half hour so today we played Time Traveler. In this game your partner picks the card and tells you what time to make on your real clock. Then the partner checks your work with the picture of the clock on the card. If you are correct you get to roll a die to see how many spaces to move. If you are incorrect, your partner explains what you did wrong. That way both partners are equally engaged the WHOLE TIME!
My students got a kick out of the fact that I rigged the spaces so if you landed on go ahead 2 you then landed on go ahead 1, etc.
Only $2 and can be differentiated with cards to the quarter hour as well.
Check out that mohawk! A couple weeks ago it was a SF for the Superbowl.

We also made the Love Monsters I saw on Teacher Bits and Bobs last year. I am low on black paper so we did it without. I introduced the project by explaining they were going to make a Love Monster and one of the girls immediately pointed to one of the cards from my Love Monster Read the Room set and said, "Like this?" A few others were worried about making the spikes, so I told them they could it make it however they wanted...

The writing about who they loved was so sweet. One boy wrote, "I love my brother because he is so cute." Another boy explained he loved his parents because they gave him food and water. Umm...I'm sure he didn't mean to sound like he was in prison. But this one cracked me up....
I love my friend Ashley because she is so fashionable! LOL!


Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Day It Rained Nouns

This week we made a Valentine craftivity with a grammar twist.
 First, we read The Day It Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond. The students enjoyed trying to predict who Cornelia Augusta was making each valentine for.
Then, I taught about common and proper nouns. The students brainstormed nouns and we sorted them using a tree map. I use the correct terms even though they can be difficult for first graders. I don't believe in dumbing down the vocabulary. I've found if I reinforce it frequently the students can use the terms correctly.
Finally, the students were given an umbrella template to make. Then they cut out these noun hearts and glued them on the common or proper side of their umbrella. This was a quick assessment for me to see who was still having trouble sorting on their own.

I also had this idea to make an interactive bulletin board but I haven't had time to actually do it.
 I was going to cut a life-size umbrella and have the students come up with their own nouns and post them under the correct cloud. I even made the clouds 3d by stuffing them with scraps of paper and intended to do something similar for the umbrella. I kept those air pillows from my last Scholastic order thinking I could make the umbrella pop out, too.

I have included all the templates into one download for $2 if you are interested click {HERE}
As always, I'd like to give one away so enter via rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Great teacher moment and a winner!

Congrats to Jessica McCarty who won a copy of my Love Monster Read the Room center activity!

I had one of those great teacher moments today. I was telling a guided reading group that after they finished reading the book I wanted them to write all the rhyming words on their whiteboard. One of my cuties immediately piped up, "I know, we should make a bridge map!" And they did. All by themselves. And that same cutie leaned over to a friend and said, "Don't forget to write "as" under the triangle." If you don't use thinking maps this won't make sense or seem too exciting but I thrilled!

Do you think said cutie got a Kiss Your Brain? You Betcha!


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Read the Room and Valentine's freebies

We will be working on the "oo" vowel digraph this week. HM says we should only talk about "oo" as in book this week and then next week they lump "oo" like moon in with ew, ue, ou, u, u_e.  I understand why they presented it this way but I don't think that is very helpful for students. The reality is, when students look at the word stood, they don't know which sound it is until they try it. SO, I teach both sounds the same week and we practice our strategy of flipping the sounds.
This poster is part of my best selling Decoding Strategies pack.

My students LOVE Read the Room so I made a Valentine's version to practice this skill. There is something about getting to use clipboards and walk around that grabs their attention.

If you grab it during today's TpT sale it will only cost $1.

I will also give a copy away to a loyal follower. All you have to do is enter via the Rafflecopter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 I also have a Valentine's ABC order FREEBIE at TpT if you haven't grabbed it yet.

Okay, back to watching the Super Bowl. Really, I don't watch the football as much as the commercials. I think the one with the boy who gets punched out a prom was pretty funny.
Do you have a favorite?