Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I Pin, You Pin, We all Win (Possible Linky Idea)

I had an idea.... I know, watch out!! This can easily send my team, husband, sister, mom, friends, or anyone who knows me running!! Not you, teacher friends, right?

Here it is. I think that it would be so fun and easy to browse other people's blogs and pin a couple of items from their blog to your boards. I get a ton of TpT traffic and blog traffic from pins. I see lots of cute ideas on the blogs I read, and try to pin them to keep track of what I want to reference later. Who doesn't like Pinterest?

Is it that simple? I think the rule of three would be a great guideline. Anyone out there interested in something like this? Does it already exist?

Possible names:
Pin-able Party
Pin it to Win it
I Pin, You Pin, We All Win

Any ideas, input, name possibilities, or other help would be appreciated.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Upcoming Observation and Theme Task Cards

Hey Y'all!
I have been preparing for my upcoming observation for the last week or two and I have to tell you, no matter how long I teach, I think I will ALWAYS feel a little panicky about being "officially" observed.

I have an open door policy in my room. I welcome anyone and everyone to watch, participate, volunteer, whatever. Visitors at short notice don't faze me. Interns are always dropping in. What is it about the for real observation that gets me all worked up?!

Reasons why I SHOULDN'T stress:

  • I have a great relationship with my principal. She hired me and I would follow her anywhere. 
  • My class is always on top of things. They know exactly what to do and are hard workers. Very few behavior issues and procedures that go off without a hitch even when I am absent are a plus. 
  • I know exactly what I am doing and how I want it to go. My plans are detailed. 
  • My room displays all of the Marzano components we have implemented so far this year. 
  • I will have a pre and post observation conference to clear up any questions or issues with my lessons. 
  • I am super excited about the content I am covering with the kids for the observation- Theme!
  • I have supplementary materials from TpT that I think fit the bill perfectly. 
Reasons why I stress:
  • I am a spazo and worry that I forgot something small, like a seating chart. 
  • We are implementing a new observation system this year, which I like, but anything this high stakes, is a stress trigger.
  • I want to be "innovating" in EVERY category on the daggone framework. NOT gonna happen, I know. Everyone keeps telling me that it is a growth model. Logically, I understand. That being said, the overachiever in me wants that "100%" on my test. I can remember crying over my first B in middle school. I am talking hysterics. Over one science assignment. That girl in me wants perfection. 
Do you every feel this way? Like you know yourself and the eccentricities you bring to the table, but you can't help it? I may be projecting my personal issues onto all of my teacher friends out there in bloggy-land, but my intuition tells me that wanting to do everything exactly right is more common with teachers than in other professions. What do you think?

This exact perfectionism plagues me when creating items for my TpT store. I have been holding on to these Theme Task Cards for a week, thinking about ways that I could improve them. Do you ever wait to upload an item for no good reason? It seems like the perfect time to unveil them since I plan to use them as a part of my observation. 

After reading and rereading them, I decided that they are pretty spiffy. I can't wait to use them as a scoot. I plan to review a few cards whole group and then have the rest of the class scoot through them while I pull a couple of groups back for a guided reading lesson. 

I would love to hear your insights on preparing for observations and what you do to ease the stress of teacher life. 

Your teacher friend, 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Math Benchmark Tracking Charts Updated

We recently made our tri-yearly trip to the computer lab to complete our Mid-Year Math Benchmark test. If you are new to how our district administers these tests, or to how my class charts our progress, click here for the original post. You can look at the original chart and see that it is all nice and neat, since only one testing session is recorded. The second picture is what the chart looks like now. We went through and each kid looked at their print-out from the mid-year test. If they had a score in the same category (green: 80%-100%, yellow: 60%-79%, red: 0%-59%) they left their post it. If their score changed categories, they moved it to the new color. As you can see, several kids moved.

original chart
new mid-year chart

I use this data to pull groups and know which lessons to reteach the whole class. If half of the kids didn't get it, I reteach to the entire class. This week I pulled kiddos to the table to work on perimeter and area. I just stood with my key about which kids went with each number on the chart and called them back. We did a fun lesson with Cheez-its. It was fun. Next, measurement. This one is always our weakest area, so I have lots of fun lessons about it. I even have a neat measurement scavenger hunt that my team made years ago.


Friday, January 25, 2013

80's Dance Fun!

Our school does a PTA sponsored event in the spring every year. We used to do a 50's Dance. Last year we did the 70's. This year was the 80's!!!!

My outfit for school. I actually am wearing stirrup pants and leg warmers too.  Two teacher friends of mine insist I look like the teacher from "First Day Jitters." One even made this picframe depicting us side by side! What do you think? LOL
We knew it wold be such fun to do some surprise teacher dance. The YouTube link is below. Our P.E. teacher and I talked and she decided to choreograph a flashmob style dance. We practiced in secret after school and it all came together. After a mini-show by some students (hilarious too, but not okay for me to post the video for all to see...) you can see said P.E. teacher, Ms. Hodnett, go out and kick it off. The kids had no idea. Next comes our counselor and the rest of us. Didn't our counselor, Mrs. Bui, do a great acting job??

The best part was the teachers dressing up. The kids were so surprised and seeing those faces light up is worth all of the crimper burns I sustained!

Me, Ms. Morgan, Ms. Karns, and Mrs. Elliot

Dahlia is ready to do aerobics at the dance! Watch out Olivia Newton John!

These two crazies are parents of one of my students. This is actually an old prom dress of hers. He insists that he had this tux. I am not buying it. That is a wig...his, not hers. LOL!

group picture of the teachers that dressed up. Aren't we fun!?

Share our video if you want. Some parents joked that they wanted to make it go viral. Maybe we can make it on Ellen!!


Friday, January 18, 2013

Tell Me Something Good and A Recipe

This is my first Tell Me Something Good. I am joining the fun with Jennifer at Rowdy in First Grade. I think I am motivated to post because I have had such a productive week at school and home. It was hard to pick one good something for each, home and school. Later in this post I will also share a recipe that I am linking up with Julie at My Journey to Fifth.

Something good about school:
I have knocked out almost all of the grading that has been piling up/ haunting me since a brutal and busy Monday. I have been all over TpT and have found some really excellent lessons and games to reteach math and reading skills we need to target after benchmark tests. I also got a couple of pictures of our new math benchmark testing post-it charts. I will follow up on that in a post later.

Something good about home:
The hubs and our best friend have been seriously in to doing work on the land I grew up on. They have almost gotten the old tractor running and have been hashing out plans to brush hog and repair some old buildings. It makes me happy to know we will be spending time outdoors. With all of the land management they are doing, more frequent trips to see my mom and grandma will be in order. Yay!

Since I am on the topic of my mom, I am sharing one of my easiest weeknight recipes. My mom made these all the time when I was a kid. We just call them burritos. You might think of them as like a grilled stuff burrito from Taco Bell. They are filling and oh-so-yummy.

Easy Burrito Recipe
All you do is brown a pound of hamburger meat in a pan with oil and a diced onion. Add a can of re-fried beans. You can even use fat free and nobody will notice.Shh! Add a few heaping spoonfuls into a flour tortill, right down the middle. I place a slice of American cheese in there as well. Fold it in half and lay it along the meat and bean mixture. The hubs likes to use cheddar cheese. Roll it up and brown in oil on three sides. It makes a neat little triangle:) You will know it is done when the cheese gets all ooey gooey. I serve mine with picante sauce and sour cream. My dad always added lettuce and tomato on top too.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Hey Teacher Girl Linky

In honor of my number two dreamboat (after the hubs), Ryan Gosling, being called "America's Most Wanted Man" on the cover of People, I have used my beloved ArtStudio app to create a Hey Girl Meme. These are my favorite. I have been known to make them and sneak them into the boxes of co-workers. In my opinion, Ryan is the ONLY worthy Hey Girl celeb...well, maybe Joseph Gordan Levitt. Or Gerard Butler....maybe not the only one! He melts my butter:)

Here is what I made. I am always on the lookout for a fun teacher Hey Girl.
Here is my all-time favorite! I think because it was the first one I ever saw.

Oh, he makes me smile:)) What is your favorite Hey Girl?

Link Up and share!
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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Stop Saying Fart

Hey Y'all. Did that title get your attention? Do you consider yourself a funny teacher? I think I am pretty hilarious at times. The kids pick up on my jokey demeanor and it makes for a lovely classroom environment. As you know, all classes are different. One of the many likeable traits floating around my group this year is a wicked sense of humor. Here is a little tidbit for you to enjoy.

One of my boys have been using the word fart all week. Quietly.

I walk past him MANY times a day, as I am a big believer in teaching on your feet.

At least once a day I hear him say, "fart." His friend giggles every time I hear it. Isn't that what friends are for? Giggling when you say fart? They have no idea I am listening.

He says it in reading groups.

It's remarkable how adept he is at inserting it into conversations. He is smooth.

Finally, I have the best tease ever.

I say, "{insert student name here}, stop saying fart."

He smiles deviously. He replies that he hasn't been saying it, attempting to keep a straight face. Failing  at keeping a straight face.

I reply, "Oh, you have been saying fart all week," and continue, "Or you can call your mom and say fart 20 times." And then, "Should I keep saying fart?"

As this point, he has totally cracked. He is laughing and his giggly pal is too. My sides hurt from the strain not laughing at them. At this point it is hopeless and I start laughing too. I laugh until tears come to my eyes. It is infectious. The kids starting telling the ones who didn't hear that {insert student name here} was cracking up because I kept saying the word "fart."

"A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men." They may not be entirely accurate, but I know that Roald Dahl had the right idea.


Fifth in the Middle 100 Follower Giveaway

100 followers seems faraway for me. Diane on the other hand, hit the milestone! Yay Diane! Go here to enter one of the best giveaways I have EVER entered. I want it all. Like, every store has all kinds of teaching goodness, the Amazon Card is a sweet prize, not to mention that fancy pencil sharpener I have been coveting.

Do it!


Friday, January 11, 2013

Cute Toodle Do List

Does anyone else get supreme joy out of rewriting their to-do list? Let me tell you a secret. I {big fat squishy heart} writing things on my to-do list. I even write things just to mark them off. See below:

Toodle do:
1. write toodle do list
2. make cute toddle do list freebie
3. use the word "supreme" 
4. call my sissy
5. do dishes
6. make lunch 

See that?! Halfway done already!

Grab this super cute editable to-do list. You should know that I upload a powerpoint document to enable you to edit the headings to your liking. The good thing is that you can use your favorite font! I know you have one. 

Here is the linky:

Now, I want to know what categories you use on your to-do list (or I am the only one cra cra enough to need categories?) and what your fave font is.

Linking up with FREEBIE FRIDAY:)


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Starry-eyed Over Blog Design (pun intended)

Yippee! (Insert Happy Dance Here) The old design was BLAH. I did it in a rush. I had no clue what I was doing. The daggone buttons weren't working correctly. Unprofessional and ugly.

Then I read some advice from one of the first bloggers who encouraged me, Heather at The Wild Rumpus. She talked about lessons of a newbie blogger. I had the feeling she was talking directly to me. She wasn't really, but I tend to internalize. Anywho, I took it to heart and here we are. Hopefully the new look will encourage people to stay a while and hear about what I do. That is what it is all about!

Oh yeah! I am so excited! Ecstatic! Positively giddy, I say! I parlayed my newly found obsession with Teachers Pay Teachers into a brand-spanking-shiny-adorable blog design. I think it is the bee's knees. The cat's meow! I even have an adorable signature with bunting and all. And buttons. See the buttons??

My Teacher Friend

I could not have gone with an easier and reasonably-priced designer than Megan at A Bird in Hand Designs. You may know her from a little blog called I Teach, What's Your Superpower? She is ah-mazing. It literally only took a couple of clicks and emails and here the beauty is. Well, a couple of clicks on my part. She makes it look easy, folks.

Bonus: new bloggy friend! Check her out! And Heather too:)

Your teacher friend,

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Followers! I { big fat heart} you!

Bloggy Buddies, 
I am so happy to see that number going up! I have 24 of you blessings following my little teacher blog. I know that you know, it can be rough to have things to say and not a soul to say them to. Starting a blog is hard y'all! You inspire me to write, to be a better teacher, to do more, and to not give up!

Just wanted to say thanks to each of you. I am so overwhelmed with how amazing this teacher blogger community really is. 

Your Teacher Friend, 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Take Your Daughter to Work Day and Word Choice Activity

Howdy! I am posting tonight after a few days quarantine at my house. On Thursday night the baby sitter's son got sick, then on Friday the sitter got sick, then Dahlia got sick, then the hubs got sick, and then...I didn't get sick! HAHAHAHA!!! 

I wonder if it because of all of the germs from the carrier monkeys children, because I have an immunity from having a very similar illness years ago, or because my hands have been rubbed raw from washing. In any case, I have dodged it so far. 

Here is Dahlia at school with me for a couple of hours as a last resort when I got the emergency call to pick her up. She stayed until I could leave and loved all of the attention. I am so glad we left when we did. She was fine for most of the day Friday, but on Saturday, she came down with the same stomach bug as the sitter. Eek! 

Coloring like a big girl

Back to the point. WORD CHOICE! I have done this activity for years. It is easy, virtually preparation free, and the kids LOVE it. I picked 5 words we use way too much. I put them into groups. They made lists on notebook paper. They were allowed several opportunities to give words to and get words from other groups  and then were tasked with finding a creative way to present their words. I gave them the example "Said is dead" with a tombstone. 

Here is what the little darlings came up with. I think they did great. How about you? Well, only comment if you think they did great. Really, or I will come to your blog and dis your class. Not really, but, really...LOL!

Big is going into the shredder

Said is dead. They scrapped their original idea and then panicked when faces with the timer

Good is leaving town. I love how they have the word strapped to the moving truck!

One kiddo said, "Got got caught in a pot!" She thought it was hilarious!

Went is being bullied. You can't see it but the hand extends off of the page and is holding their complete list.
Cute huh!? We also use a series on the traits of writing to cover word choice in a more in-depth way.


Friday, January 4, 2013

Freebie Friday: Somebody Wanted But So FREEBIE

Hiya out there friends! I have a super fun freebie to share with you for my first ever link up to Freebie Friday.

Freebie Fridays
I have reformatted this activity numerous times and have settled on this one as my favorite. I like that it has a space for them to write their statement as one loooooong sentence. Listen to me ramble! I haven't even told you what is it! Many of you will have seen the activity "Somebody Wanted But So" as an easy way to get kids to summarize. Somebody is the character, wanted is the characters goal, but is the conflict, and so is the resolution to the conflict. Easy peasy!
Sometimes you will also see "then" attached to the end. I left that off because I ask my class to choose one statement out of their 5 to write a then about. 
I have included a SWBS printable with 5 places for the kids to write. I have also included an example of how to complete the activity. I post the example on my reading bulletin board to remind the kids of what it looks like when done correctly. 
Here is the link to the product on TpT. 
Enjoy this easy activity for centers and small group reading time! 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Teacher's Notebook Anyone?

This is to you, all 18 of my blessed followers. I need some perspective. I am considering two things.

One- Heather over at The Wild Rumpus has me thinking about a custom blog design...I say thinking, I have basically decided to ante up the cash and do it. My homemade version just isn't cutting the mustard, ya know? Thoughts? I contacted Megan, who did her cutie patootie design. I have two in mind.

Two-The next big step is to open a Teacher's Notebook Store. I feel like I am doing all of this work to create my resources in a TpT format, why not also upload to Teacher's Notebook. Anyone out there doing one, the other, or both? I am wondering if any pitfalls await me. Or if you have any tips to ease the start-up.

Toodles from your teacher friend,

January Currently and Cheers to 2013

Here I am again, linking up with Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for the 3rd month in a row. Holla!  I think this is my only consistent linky. I love it because it is so easy, fun, and reflective. Like a mini-bloggy scrapbook. Here is what I am thinking for January and 2013.

Listening to the weather is pointless. It's cold and won't be a snow day. John Slater is a cutie patootie though and the remote is on the table. I must really need a little pep in my step after multiple days of the hubs coming home to me in my pj's still. Luckily, school starts back tomorrow.

Loving all of the text message updates that I have received from my sweet little student's mama. She has totally kept me in the loop which allowed me to send out prayer requests and email updates to all of the faculty at my school and the parents in my class. She returns to school in 2 to 4 weeks after real. live. brain surgery! What a blessing technology is my friends. Not to mention all of the amazing people that have helped this wonderful family. {sigh}

Thinking that I have tons to do. Email the parents about our new Revolutionary War Novel Unit, email the Teacher Book Club, grade, post grades, work on my plans, and on and on.

Needing to go grocery shopping. I am not one of those once a week shoppers. I do the major shopping and then try to use all food in my cabinets before I go again. I do hoard certain items because I would die before running out of sweet tea or Miracle Whip. How Okie is that!? The hubs would be happy if all I bought was condiments (pickled jalepenos, A-1, and Head Country BBQ sauce mostly) but we need some other staples and Dora fruit snacks for Dahlia.

OLW- Crush. I just watched one of my favorite episodes of New Girl. I love me some Schmidt. He is adorbs. Ima crush me some 2013. Crush it.

Toodles from your teacher friend,