Five for Friday - September 30

Where oh where did September go?? It seemed to fly by! Fall is sort of here in Vegas and tomorrow is the first day of October! It'll be Christmas before we know it.  I'm linking up with Doodle Bug's Five for Friday to show you what I've been up to this week!

We've been working hard on and continuing to practice our addition strategies. During Math Stations yesterday, I pulled back some of my kiddos that get it and challenged them with some larger problems.  They did awesome! Love seeing them apply our strategies to problems of any size!

In Writing Workshop this week, students worked together to peer edit each other's papers using our narrative checklist. They take this so seriously and I love that their feedback has been right on! This group is really in the swing of Writing Workshop.

We started our next PBL (Project Based Learning) on the Statue of Liberty. This week students brainstormed questions and things they wanted to learn about the Statue of Liberty. Then, as a group we decided on a few areas to focus our research on. Next week, the research begins!

Oh Parent-Teacher Conference gets me every year. I enjoy this day because I like having the time to sit down with each family one at a time.  However, this day is also tiring. I had 18 conferences back-to-back from 7:30-5 with only one 30 minute break! But, they went well and it was great discussing each child's progress and goals with the families.  And, getting sweet notes like my one little friend brought me the next day makes it all worth it too! These little reminders pop up reminding me why I teach! Love sweet moments like this.

Last weekend, Andy and I participated in the Southern Utah University's Homecoming events. They put on quite the Homecoming celebration! Fireworks, games, tailgates, etc! Had a great time and almost froze (46 degree weather) at the football game. This girl who has lived in Vegas and AZ for a very long time needs to get winter clothes :-).

Have a wonderful weekend!

Writing Workshop Conferences

Cue the "AHA" moment! So, as I've mentioned in a few of my Five for Friday posts I have been loving using Writing Workshop Units of Study again. While I have always done WW model in my classroom, we just now got Lucy Calkin's materials to use (which I used a few years ago at another school) and I'm loving it. The kids are too! They are making connections left and right which makes my teacher heart happy!

So, the one difficulty I ran into was that everyone wanted to talk with me and show me their story every day.  I have 19 kids. We have 15-20 minutes of writing time. This wasn't working. I couldn't effectively meet with everyone and some kids felt like they were never meeting with me.

So...duh...duh...duh - this schedule below was born!
This has been a lifesaver! It took me a few minutes to whip up and in the last week I already see a difference. While some kids still want to talk with me every day, they now know what their scheduled day is. This way I'm able to see everyone during the week. It also led to more quality conversations. I love being able to meet with them one-on-one, see what they're working on, and talking about positives and things they can improve on.  

If you are a Writing Workshop teacher, I highly recommend you give the schedule a try!! Happy conferencing!

Five for Friday - September 23

It's finally Friday again!!! I'm back linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday to show you what I've been up to this week...

Cutest bucketfilling note ever! This student is so sweet and his note made my day! Even teacher need their buckets filled :-)

We've been having some issues with students not treating each other kindly and some who have been rude to other students and adults.  I found this while searching Pinterest on from Corkboard Connections.  Julia Cook was a guest blogger with some great ideas. See them here. I tried out her toothpaste idea this week after reading a book about bullies. The toothpaste activity is quick and pretty much you or a student squeezes out all of the toothpaste and then discuss can you get the toothpaste back in the container.  You can't. Which is much like our words. Once they're out...they're out.  You can't get them back. This prompted a great discussion about making sure we think before we speak and that we always speak kindly.  Loved this idea!!

We finished up our subtraction strategies this week. This went a lot quicker as they were pretty much the same as the addition strategies, but we were just using them to subtract. It's always interesting to me every year how difficult subtraction is for kiddos.  Especially regrouping! Do you notice this with your students too?
To prepare for our first Friday Fix It Morning Message (where students have to edit and correct the sentence on a sticky note), we did group Fix It for our Morning Meeting Activity on Wednesday. Students had to work together to correct the four sentences.  The focus this week was capitals and as the year goes on it will continue to build and they'll start looking for more things when editing. They did great working together on this!
I am beyond pumped about my new blog design! I did already blog about it on Monday, but I had to give another shout out to Jolene Ray at Paisley N' Polka Dot designs. I couldn't be happier with how it turned out and she was wonderful to work with! I would recommend her to anyone looking for a blog update or help with Facebook and TPT images!

Have a wonderful weekend! I'm heading to much cooler weather in Utah this weekend! Hoping I don't freeze!

Quick Tip - Passing Back Student Work

Passing back graded work is often a dreaded task for teachers. We already spent time grading it and certain days it fills like it's a mountain of paperwork. Then, that mountain needs to be passed out.

The last few years I've used a system that has really worked easily for me.  Now, I didn't invent this.  So, I'm not taking credit, but I wanted to share it in case passing back work has become a nightmare for you and you're looking for a way to make it a little easier.

So, I use one of those college crates from Target. I put in hanging file folders and have on with each child's name on it. It sits on top of my iPad cart at just the perfect level for standing and filing.  I have a file where I put graded work and as I have time throughout the day, I file a few things in student's hanging file folders. Again...not rocket science...but it has served me well for years!

In addition to the student work folder and the individual student folders, I have a folder for our reading logs that the kids do weekly and a folder for notes and homework. This makes pack up a breeze because everything is right there!

Just a quick tip to share with you today! How do you pass back student work???

New Blog Design!

I'm so excited today because my blog has been redesigned and it looks amazing!! Thank you so much to Jolene Ray at Paisley N' Polka Dot Designs. I highly recommend her if you are looking to have your blog redone. She's amazing to work with! So excited for my new blog!!

Quick post today. I'll be back Wednesday with a quick tip for handing back papers!

Five for Friday - September 16

Week #4 is now complete! It felt like a long one... But, it is now complete and since it was technically our second full week of school (holiday the last one and PD day the week before) we are starting to get in the groove of things.  I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching's Five for Friday to show you what I've been up to this week.

We got Back to School Night out of the way this week. I have no issues getting up in front of kids and being in front of them all day. Adults are a whole other thing.  I have very sweet parents and families and am very lucky, but I still get super nervous talking in front of them. So, I'm glad this event is out of the way.  
We've been hard at work learning different addition strategies this week. I forgot to snap a picture yesterday of expanded notation, but will get that one in their later. The kids have been very flexible and open minded and I think they have a better understanding of how addition works and the place value of each digit in a number.

In Writing Workshop this week, students worked their partner to come up with goals for their personal narratives. We talked about focusing on small moments, working on the beginning of your story, working on the ending, and writing across the pages. I was so proud of each child. They took this seriously and really found goals that were accurate.  Goal setting can be tricky at this age, but they paid attention, looked critically, and really knew what areas they needed to focus on.  Can't wait to see where they go next with their writing.

This week we started reviewing capital letters. I made up this quick PowerPoint for a Morning Meeting Activity.  It was called "Capital Letter or No?" If the word didn't need a capital, they wrote the word no on their white board. If the word did need a capital, they wrote the word yes and then fixed the word.  Quick for me to make and the kids had a lot of fun participating.  

Last weekend I went up to Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah.  Andy and I checked out this beautiful lake area at The Hills and attended Southern Utah's first football game! Was a great weekend and much cooler weather than Vegas!

Happy Weekend!! 

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Classroom Organization Tip - Math Games/Activities

So over the course of my ten years of teaching, I've collected a lot, a lot, a lot of materials! Things I've made, bought, found on TPT, etc.  It got to the point where file folders weren't working to store the materials  because some items were too large and many items fell out. So, I went to my trusty bins.  If you don't know me, I love plastic bins. Like I have a problem. I should probably go to plastic bins anonymous.  I have many bins, yet if I see a cute one - I have to have it! the bins came to the rescue. I decided to store my math games/activities, literacy station activities, book studies, etc in these bins.  Then, last year I finally got around to labeling them so it wasn't a guessing game as to what bin I pulled off the shelf. It has worked wonderfully! When I'm teaching the place value unit, I just pull down the place value bin and all of my games, activities, and stations are in there ready to go!

Sneak peek inside of my place value bin!

Just a quick tip, but I had to pass it along because it's helped me keep all of my math items/units organized!

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Five for Friday - September 9

Is it just me....or does a short week...actually feel longer??? I feel like 4 day weeks should fly by, and they just don't! Oh well. I'm back with Doodle Bugs Teaching for another Five for Friday.

This is nothing fancy, but it got the job done.  This week in phonics we were working on long a and long e made with ai, ay, ee, and ea.  I made up this quick little sort just using index cards and had the kids work in groups to sort the words.  Like I said - nothing fancy, but it was good practice and good team building.

I love my portable word wall. This was definitely more work than I anticipated, but I love how it turned out. I highly recommend using just regular index cards instead of typing and cutting out the words.  Not smart on my part. Very time consuming. But it did turn out well. I put second grade high frequency words, student's names, teacher's names at our school, and other important things, places, etc that might kids might use in their writing pieces.

Hallelujah! My projector is working! My projector quit working at Meet the Teacher. 3 days before school started. This is not the time to have no projector. My projector hasn't worked for the first 12 days of school. Again - not good timing.  However, the amazing IT person figured it out and we are back in business.  It is amazing how much I use technology when teaching and I'm so glad to have it back. The kids were excited to use GoNoodle today on a bigger screen.  I had to resort to holding up my iPad for Go Noodle time...not the same.  

I love my Sit Spots! My principal was so nice and ordered me some since I didn't have a rug anymore.  I finally put them down and love it. They're small so they're not in the way, but it's so nice for the kids to have specific places for them to be when we're on the carpet.

Last weekend on the 3 day weekend, I was lucky enough to go down to the Strip and visit some of my favorite spots. That is one of the big perks of living in Las Vegas. You have many things to do!! We hit up the Bellagio gardens, the fountains, and the Linq area.  Great time, great company, and great weather!

Have a great weekend!!

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