Sunday, July 6, 2014

Back to School Goals Linky 14-15

Jess at I heart Recess is hosting a linky on BTS goals.  I didn't write goals last year - but I definitely feel like I lost grip with who I was as a teacher and definitely focused on the wrong things.  I think between the new evaluation system, the new grade level, and brand new administration, I didn't feel comfortable and was constantly trying to impress.  The downside was it was one of the worst years for classroom climate - I think my class could feel that I wasn't myself.  So there were a lot of things I wanted to focus on for this year - but see what I decided to focus on below!

Without getting into a lot of detail I want to make sure I don't keep myself so busy at school that I can't save money and cook meals with my husband at home.  We ate really unhealthy foods last year just because I wasn't taking the time to plan and come home early enough. The rest just focuses on me having goals that are best practice - great classroom culture, instruction based on reflection and data and being organized so that you can work smarter and not work harder.  That should've been my motto!  But my motto is definitely You are good enough.  I need to stop being my hardest critic.  

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Homework Club Board

So you already know exactly what I'm talking about, right?

The long story of me wanting to do this project made short:

1.  I have always struggled with getting students to return homework.  I think between lack of incentive and lack of parent involvement it just doesn't get down.

2.  Enter me pinteresting away "homework incentives" "homework organization" and "homework management.  (This was last summer). 

3.  I ended up deciding to go with Homeworkopoly via Ladybug Teacher Files. 
My kids really liked it but I didn't for three main reasons.

  • I felt like we never had enough time in the day to do it. So I didn't do it with full integrity.
  • It was hard to manage which spaces got prizes and what those prizes were.  Most of the "prizes" like extra computer time, etc.  ended up being more than a distraction than incentive.
  • Even with Homeworkopoly I had on average 3-4 students doing their homework weekly. Don't judge me.  
4.  Needless to say I did some major reflecting at the end of the year/research on teaching blogs.

5.  I see Tara's Monday Made It Post for Homework Club. (source)  *Light bulb!*  The first thing I thought of was my own class (will be this year's class too since I'm looping).  My kids loved loved loved to eat lunch with me.  This would be perfect!  Also it kind of adds the "cool factor" - who's in the club?  *lol*  I can't wait to add my own variations of these and come up with different activities for club members.  *** I do want to add that the original idea is from Molly at Lessons with Laughter.  If you don't follow her - get going because she's amazing!

6.  I got my cookie sheet right away - the day after she posted her  Monday Made It.  I really liked her color theme as well, but it was just a little off from my pink and green classroom.  So it took me this long to create something.  Here's what I came up with.

*I have it in a PDF document to share - I will be posting that tomorrow. 
From My Credits Page
Original Idea: Molly from Lessons with Laughter
Use of Numbers and Design Inspiration: Tara from 4th Grade Frolics
Graphics Courtesy of:
Cara Taylor
Ashley Hughes
Fonts Courtesy of:
Kimberly Geswein Fonts

Classroom Photos Update #2

If you don't follow me on Instagram  check out my classroom photos here!!

Goodnight blog world!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

To Do List *Updated*

*List originally posted July 4, 2013 * Go to original post for links to references.  

1. Create small easy to do crafts/projects found on blogs and Pinterest. Find links below text.

  •  Personalized Sanitizer Bottles (Resourceful Room)
  • Bulletin board with spot for each student using clips and numbers similar to the ones below (Darling Little Learners)
  • Make these signal pictures for the classroom (Clutter Free Classroom)
  •  I want to make a video for my sub plans.  The link below is to put them on a cd - I would like to put a variety of sub plans for any given day and a video on a USB drive and have that ready.  I think it would be a good idea of the students and I made a video together.  In the video the students could model procedures in the classroom and introduce ourselves.  The teacher could watch it during my plan or at the beginning of the day - or even watch it with the students to review. (Learnnc)
  • Organize classroom board games into plastic containers.  (meckmom)
  • Make cute magnets that have been seen everywhere.  I'm not sure what I would use them for but I'm hoping maybe to make some for my clip chart???  We'll see - they're just too darn cute. (Kickin it in Kinder) 
  • Make binder for master copies (Orange polka dots)
  •  Make classroom club board (4th grade frolics seen below;originally from Molly at Lessons with Laughter
  • Make a "Grade, Copy, File" plastic organizer(Fun in 4b)
  • Follow blogs and look for cute things to make.
2.  Get organized
  • Finish putting together teacher planner - hole punch calendars, laminate cover pages, add meeting notes, district schedules and CCSS
  • Update teacher binder:  parent contact forms, discipline forms, pt conference data, student information forms
  • Update reading binder (pensieve): new conferencing forms and data tabs
  • Create Reading group, math group, and writing group folders with cute covers 
  • Organize bulletin board letters into cd holders. photo albums
  • Organize spelling lists on Spelling City 
  • Get all digital files organized. 
  •  Create binder with all word sorts from wtw and print spelling inventories for first week
  • Update procedure packet
  • Organize/laminate all task cards
3.  Work to get accomplished
  • Make sure all referral data is entered into SWIS and turn into admin
  • PD: 7/16, 7/24, 7/27, 8/5-8/9, 8/14
  • Lookover new math curriculum
  • Work on PYP units with team 
  • Long Range planning - work math concepts into PYP units
  • Before August 8th (registration) - make welcome packets with newsletter and mail student welcome postcards
  • Update class website
4.  Classroom Stuff
  • Finish unpacking classroom
  • Work on PYP Bulletin boards:  Front bb: spot for central idea etc.; Transdisciplinary themes across the top ; key concepts; skills; question of the day.  Closet door:  learner attitudes and profiles where students can goal set
  • Add homework club stuff to back bulletin board
  • Either put word wall on bulletin board behind desk or create some sort of movable word wall
  • Leave a space for objectives on white board
  • Look up student supply organization on blogger and pinterest and decide how you want to organize supplies
  • Organize library - maybe use book retriever or a system for check - out/investigate how other teachers are doing it.  Sort through books and decide if any could be given to new teachers.  
  • Write down and finalize your system for clip chart and reflect on if any changes need to be made
  • After classroom is organized - do I need to make another Vistaprint order?? (birthday cards, homework passes, recognition tags, etc.)
  • Label new math curriculum and number
  • Label student cubbies
  • Make final copies of roster and schedule
  • Make sure all lessons and units through November are in planbook - don't get too obsessed with decorating!
  • Organize a place for student binders/notebooks  
  • Classroom jobs - keep from last year or update? 
  • Create handouts for Meet the Teacher Night
  • Buy a new stapler and classroom friendly pencil sharpener/organize supply center for sharpener and pencils
  • Create 10 new student packets with all prepared materials in gallon ziploc bags
  • Make "I'm so lucky" bags for first day and "Thanks for poppin' in" bags for meet the teacher. 
  • Find activities for class building and fun for first week of school. 

So I'm putting myself out there and I've only completed like three things.  It feels like I have added to this list.  In all honesty there a lot of these things that I'm like halfway done with but not completely.  For example the student supply organization.  I did but baskets for their tables and prettied them up with ribbon - but I haven't completely decided if I like how I have it planned out so I didn't want to cross it off.  My wedding reception was yesterday and my family is in town for Wyoming until Friday.  So hopefully I can have more of this crossed up next Sunday.  We'll see!  (Disclaimer:  I fully expect this list to get longer after MIM tomorrow!)

Happy week!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Next Step in Guided Reading and Genius Scan+

Hey everyone!  I haven't been blogging very much because I've been planning my wedding reception on Saturday. 

I wanted to stop by briefly and talk about a professional development opportunity I attended yesterday. 

Have you read this AMAZING book, yet?  Our school has had access to these for about a year but our school district is really focusing our PD on this book this year.  While Jan Richardson will be at some of the trainings, our training yesterday was with Debbie Rosenow.  Debbie Rosenow teaches in Chattanooga, TN and her district had the privilege of working directly with Jan Richardson.  There are some resources in the text such as some of the rubrics that were developed by Debbie's class!  Anyway,  I got a lot of great ideas for reading workshop that I want to try this year. 

My Personal Goals
  1. Stay true to the First 20 days and developing routines before really pulling reading groups. - see page 2 of my notes for a brief breakdown of First 20 days (link below).
  2. Reading notebooks - students writing often and being accountable for their reading (page 2 of my notes talks about different sections of reading notebook). 
  3. Independent Reading Letters - Weekly letters that are turned in based on reading response questions. 
  4. Research for Higher Readers - do not become comfortable with letting them read what they want to read.  Really push and challenge them to get into informational and nonfiction texts. 

Enter Genius Scan+ (app for Ipad!)  I first found out about this app from the lovely Ladybugsteacherfiles  Please go and check out her phenomenal  blog! (Her review of this app is more in depth).  So I thought that I would use it to scan my notes.  The idea is that I will start scanning my notes and sending the PDF to my dropbox so I don't have all of this paper in my teacher binder.  I am keeping all of my notes and corresponding CPDUS in the filing cabinet.  However, the two things I always have with me are my IPAD and my planner.  If my planner can be as clean and organized as possible, that is awesome!  Then I have my IPAD to quickly reference notes or agendas if I need instead of going back to the filing cabinet. 

Check out my notes from my PD. (click below)

7/16 Next Steps in GR Training with Debbie Rosenow

I know that the light is awful (it's night time and my lamps stink).  It's also my first time taking them so I know the agenda picture is kinda funky - but not bad right?  I will probably retake them when I am at school and it better lighting. 

I definitely plan on using this app a lot in the classroom.  I think it would be great for students to scan their work in reading or writing notebooks - I could take them home to read/grade and not have to carry all of those notebooks.  Or even serving as an electronic portfolio of their work to share with parents. 

Have a great night!