Friday, September 13, 2013

Sept. 13 5 For Friday ON FRIDAY!

I love this linky much too much!  Click the button for the link!

 1. I turned my PLL marathon into something good! I copied and pasted what I'd be teaching that week from online and formatted it to my desires. PLANNING. Plus, I even put it all into this beautiful grid that I got from TpT. It's Chevron Teacher Planner, Gradebook, & Organizer by Teacher Inspired if you're interested!  I think it's SUPER cute...I love it, and it even got me excited to teach all this new, overwhelming curriculum when I had it all written down! :)

2. Sunday afternoon I got a call from one of my just-promoted fifth graders updating me about how middle school was going. It absolutely MADE MY WEEK to get that phone call. There's something about the fact that he thought enough about me to make that call and share his post-elementary life with me. To know that I stuck that much with him, and that he understands I care beyond the classroom. It means my job was done, and it was done well with that child. He had his challenges, and I gave him my all. So it's things like that phone call that really make me happy. He's doing well, by the well. I was so overwhelmed and touched by that simple gesture, the maturity he displayed in that call, and how well it sounds like he's doing that I cried when we hung up. :] I'm an emotional ninny, I know. (Obviously, pic unrelated. But they're too cute and it was the same day, so close enough!)

3. I had 2 lunch bunches this week! One with a sibling of a former student and one with a current student. My goofy, prankster teammate joined us and while I was out of the room getting the girl and her chosen friends, he was apparently a very busy boy! He took some of his chips and arranged them around my food as a perfect little border standing up.  By the time I'd taken this picture, I'd already eaten most of them, though. I didn't think to get the full effect.  I immediately burst out laughing, of course.  But I didn't even notice the best part until a few minutes in. He taped my drink shut.  At this, I was laughing so hard I had to get the pic for memories.

4. This new curriculum is KICKING MY BUTT. Serious talk. But I'm slowly finally starting to learn and bond with my new group.  The picture to the left is a conversation we had one day during dismissal. Enjoy! :)  Speaking of dismissal, WOW! That storm yesterday was NO JOKE! We had dismissal delayed for probably a good 20 minutes. It was i
ntense! Luckily, I teach 5th so we were relatively without worries. I was left with...all of my boys, now that I think about it... Oh geez! Well, we just had a good time playing Banagrams (like Words with Friends/Scrabble) like we do every afternoon. And for my one student who was getting a little anxious, I took out my basket of Fidgets and let him play with them. It completely relaxed him. :)

5. I've been having some after school visitors comprised of old students. One is a student volunteer who comes thrice a week. Today, two of my girls came just to visit. Between those three and another of my originals who volunteers with another teacher and comes to me when he's done to visit, it was like a party in my room! They were so excitable and loud. It was cute. I missed them. :( We've been having some good conversations, my former students and I. I don't know what's going on this week, but they came out of the WOODWORK. I have spoken with 7 of them just this week! :) Obviously, not that I'm complaining. I'm just so glad that they get it - I care and want to know how they're doing even once they're no longer names on my list.

Busy weekend of planning ahead! When is that next day off????

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Currently & Five For Linkies

Happy weekend, everyone! To celebrate, I'm blogging with two of my favorite linkies! :)

To start, Currently from Farley!

Listening: So forgive my guilty pleasures of ABC Family shows...but since the Pretty Little Liars finale, I've had a strong urge to rewatch the show. At first, I just wanted to rewatch the pilot, but then...I couldn't stop. I'm almost done with season 2 now. It's a sickness.

Loving: I bought the coolest little lunch pack that interlocks, includes a sandwich container, ice pack, two small snack containers, and a large snack container. I love how it all fits into this neat little cube and everything about it makes me want to eat healthier. So I picked out carrots and peppers to snack on with various fruits for dessert. Yummm! For those interested, it's Rubbermaid. I just used it for the first time on Friday since Fridays are the days I have something called Extended Team Planning during my lunch, meaning I need easy access lunch that doesn't require heating.

Thinking: With this new curriculum, I feel like I'm CONSTANTLY planning. It's so overwhelming... I am just so grateful I have so much support at my school. But yet... PLL calls my name...

Wanting: Dessert - self-explanatory. Grapes for dessert didn't cut it tonight. Whomp whomp. As for short weeks - also self-explanatory, right? It was nice! To have two days off in my particular county.

Needing: So I have a library book due by 11:59 tonight... I just can't find the will to go out. I look a wreck. So I guess I'm waiting until it's juuuuuust late enough that not many people will be around. I'm certainly not going to glam up for a quick 1 minute in-and-out of my car.

1. I purchased some fabulous organization resources for my several teacher binders during the sale on TpT. I just need to find the will  to do something about it. Or rather, with it. I've got a new school goal of cleaning off my group table before I leave work every day. It makes for a happy me the next morning! I don't have time to clean when I'm on a deadline...

2. See my lunch containers? With that, I am determined to continue to buy my healthy snacks and keep it up. We have this delicious deli 2 minutes from school and I've basically just been relying on that for lunch. It is super cheap, but that adds up, you know?? I'm going to limit that to just once a week now. (I know, that's still ludicrous, but I justify that in that it's still healthy, depending on my choice. Which is usually pretty good!)

3. I've been reading The Mortal Instruments series for the past month. It's been so much fun that it's made me miss reading! My only issue is that when I really enjoy something, I get caught up in it, and it makes it harder to do real work (see: PLL marathon). But... reading for pleasure is important, especially if I'm stressing it for my kids.

Whew! I am such a rambler! Now onto more linky-sanctioned rambles! :) Doodlebug's Five for Friday...on Saturday! With my pictures, it almost ends up being "My Life via Instagram!" (Hmmmmm... is that a linky yet?? It should be!)

 1. This is a two-parter! Because: this is my new table, replacing my former kidney table! And oh, how I love it!! It gets me so much closer to all my cherubs as they work. :) Definitely a fan of the 'U'. The second part is, look! My efforts to clean off the table every evening is still a new thing for me, so when I walked in the next day, I was so pleasantly surprised! I was thrilled...and thusly, Instagrammed it!

2. O-M-G! SERIOUSLY?! This stuff is heaven in a bottle, seriously! I initially bought it to contribute to my unofficial coffee club amongst some school friends. My school bestie has a coffee pot this year, and she's been brewing coffee...providing the beans AND the creamer, so I felt bad. BUT... I love this stuff so much, I kept it for myself. I'll have to buy a new bottle...

3. Ahhhhhh, can't you practically smell/taste it?! On Friday, I rewarded myself with my first Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) of the season from Starbucks! Mmmm, I love fall... I love pumpkin-flavored anything. It should be about time for the pumpkin cheesecake at Olive Garden. Time for a visit! Oh, and I love that song, "Down." Reminds me of college!

4. Particularly with those two GLORIOUS days off, I got to get in a lot of cudding with my two darlings! They've grown so much since we just got them 4 months ago! :( They're still tiny-ish... I say "ish" because it's so hard to tell when you compare them to my other big guy! He's a big kitty! Makes them look like ants. (Okay, not really....but he is really big.)

5. As for the last thing about my week... I mentioned the ETP on Fridays we have. ETP is this fabulous time every grade level gets once a week for 90 minutes. Teams pick a subject area to focus on, and we look ahead through the week to plan, look over assignments for proficiency to debate scores, and any leftover time we get to use to continue to plan. It's absolutely fabulous! We chose to focus on math. With everything being new, it's so hard to decide...but we definitely made the right choice. It's an excellent chance to look over and discuss these new methods/approaches to teaching math. PLUS, as an even bigger bonus, our fabulous principal sits in on our meetings to support us, and has taken it upon herself to come up with 5 centers to give us every week! WOW! Not only does she find these centers for us, but...SHE PUTS THEM TOGETHER, TOO. I was so excited when she offered, but I had NO idea what delight I would be in for until I got to see her treasures Friday! I should've taken a for now I'll have a generic placeholder image until I get a snap of hers. She made us both two "Math Power Tower" stations, two Bump! games, and 3 other random games. I can't believe it.

Well, I hope you enjoyed the detailed look into my week! :) It was a nice one, if I do say so myself.

Oh, and as for my new group... well, we had a rough start, but I think we're really turning it around! We have a school-wide behavior incentive that classes can earn as a whole. We earned 4 in our first full week, which was disappointing. So we set a goal for our 3-day week. We listed all the things we could do to achieve that goal and signed it. I listed all of the places we could DEFINITELY earn (Media, Art, etc) because the other ones seem to be hit-or-miss for the upper grades (hallway walking - we just don't seem to be caught walking nicely as much as the younger grades...). So with all of our DEFINITE chances, there was 9 total. Well, my cherubs set the goal for a respectable 6, averaging us at 2 a day. Perfect. We ended up scoring a grand total of 8, I believe! Not shabby, darlings!! :) 8 in three days is absolutely wonderful. I was one proud teacher!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Multiplication with Base Ten Lesson

Wow, so this Common Core stuff doesn't play! I'm so excited to finally get into CC to see what it does for the students. It's such a no-brainer move, that I wonder why we didn't do this earlier? My students have been working on multiplication this week and the emphasis on place value to make sense of the algorithm is so DUHHHH!My only concern is the absolute lack of downtime for us! I don't know if that's Common Core or if it's my county's interpretation, but we were allotted no time to talk about routines and expectations. It was just dive right in! So THAT set us behind. Couple with the fact that my students didn't grow up with Common Core and we're (the teachers) are new to it, we're even MORE behind. It's so stressful!! AHHHH!!

In any case, I am SO excited because I *FINALLY* have something academic-y to post about! I came up with a worksheet using Base Ten block manipulatives to build area models for partial product multiplication. That's not the cool part, though. The neat part is that I asked my students to take a video (because I hadn't realized our school cameras take videos...and I'm not sure how to only take pictures lol!) of ONE of their problems and the work that goes with it. Now, I wasn't totally sure what to expect, of my pairs absolutely BLEW me away, and now I know exactly what I want from this assignment and all future videos!

You'll have to forgive the chipmunk voices...Not only did I cut out their names, but I also wanted to take extra measures for their safety. Never can be too safe! So this pair took a video showing me their partial product work, explaining how they determined what numbers to multiply based on place value. Then, they showed me their area model so that I could assess and be certain they did it correctly.

It was really... I feel a great sense of pride when I see this video. I was very pleasantly surprised, because I expected - well, not this. I didn't think this pair would be so was fabulous to see. :)

Anyway, I hope now that I can do more things like this, because I think it really excited the students to use the flip camera to show off their hard work! Technology is a beautiful thing, hmm?

With that said, enjoy your extended weekends!

Oh, one more thing! Remember the author coming to talk for the release of House of Hades? I got permission from my student's mother! So come October, we will be getting to see one of our favorite authors talk and get the signed book! :D I was so excited, and it was so gratifying for that student to thank me for it already. I cannot WAIT.