Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Target Finds

I love, love, love Target! I mean who doesn't! So the other night I was bored and went to play.  Before doing some grocery shopping, I played in the dollar spot and browsed the other departments for some school finds! I am linky up with Kristen Ladybug's Teacher Files for her Summer Shopping pary.  Join Here!

  I got this to put on my kidney table for small groups. One cup will hold pencils, one will hold highlighters, and the other will hold scissors.  That way my students can have whatever they need for reading and math small groups right there.  The best part-it spins!

These little guys were found in the Dollar Spot.  I am going to put crayons in these.  At the end of the day, each table can get a bin and color in their behavior chart.  This way we don't have to get our crayon boxes out while we are packing up to go home.

This one will hold all my Sharpies and other markers.

I got these dry erase boards for my niece and nephew.  One side has the handwriting lines and the other side has games.

For my niece

For my nephew

Those are my most recent finds! Happy shopping!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Guided Math Chapter Four!


Welcome to Guided Math Chapter Four: Using Guided Math with the Whole Class.  Believe it or not, this is my very first time to host a linky party.  I am very nervous and hope I have lots of guests! I created a quick summary of Lanny Sammons' ideas from chapter four.  I agree that there is a time and place for whole group instruction.  I also think that whole group should never been the only type of instruction for any subject. Kids need that small group time with the teacher to correct misconceptions, build trust, and learn with guidance.  Kids also need to work with their peers to learn communication skills and explore math concepts.  I loved the sample mini lesson in this chapter and the different ideas for mini lessons too!
I am co-hosting this chapter with Sweet Seconds.  She has made some super super cute items to use with Guided Math and is offering them for FREE!! You must go get them ASAP. That cute!

ch4: Guided Math

The frame and font are both from Lettering Delights

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Awesome Giveaway!

I hesitate to tell you about this awesome giveaway because I really really really want to win it! However, I will be sweet and share.  The Tattooed Teacher is celebrating her bloggy birthday and 500 followers! She is practically giving away her TpT and some great bloggers have added products from their stores! Hurry over and enter because it ends soon!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Fiction Friday!

One of my favorite bloggy friends is hosting a great new series called Fiction Friday! Amanda's goal is to share great new (or old) fiction for kids.  My Amazon list is growing every week! Head over to the Teaching Thief and get some great suggestions.

Product Details

My first pick is Stuck by Oliver Jeffers.  This is a picture book for kids of all ages (including grown-ups)!  This is a cute story about a boy whose kite gets stuck in a tree and his unique way of getting it "unstuck."  Love this one!

Dear Napoleon, I Know You're Dead, But...

I first heard this book when my co-operating teacher during student teaching was reading it aloud to her 4th graders.  I read it aloud to my class for the first time and they loved it.  This is the story of a young boy named Marty.  Marty is really close to his Gramps who just moved to a nursing home.  In this story, Marty deals with this big change in his life by writing letters to dead people.  It gets really interesting when they start writing back!
*Note: This book is out of print but it can be purchased used for $0.01 at Amazon!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Guided Math: Chapter Three


Sorry for my bloggy absence.  My sweet grandmother passed away Saturday night.  The past few days have been very difficult.   Please keep my family in your prayers.  I decided I needed to focus on something else for a while today so I read Chapter Three of Guided Math.  The lovely ladies over at Making it As a Middle School Teacher and My Second Sense are hosting this chapter.  Head over and read what other people thought of Chapter Three and link up.   Here are my thoughts:

This chapter was about the importance of meaningful morning math routines.  I agree with the author, Laney Sammons, that kids need this time to transition from home to school.  However, this time needs to be MEANINGFUL! Ah there is that word again.  Meaningful.  Say it with me now...meaningful!  Don't feel too bad- I am guilty of morning busy work too! After reading this chapter I have a few tricks up my sleeve for this upcoming class.  Laney gives us some great ideas to get kids thinking.  My favorites are the number of the day, What's Next?, and How My Family Used Math Last Night.  I encourage you to read this chapter to learn more about these MEANINGFUL routines.

  Note to teachers: Remember these are routines that need to explicitly taught and modeled for your kids in order for them to get the most out of them.  They are going to require some careful planning to kick start prior knowledge, aid in mathematical connections, and engage kids.  I plan on setting up a weekly schedule with some of the morning math stretches as a guide.  Not only will this help me plan and stay accountable- it will help my kids know what to expect (and we all know they need that!).

 Oh and don't you just love how Laney connects a lot of these skills to reading! I do!!

Remember- I am hosting Chapter Four starting Sunday!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Guided Math- Chapter Two


Third Grade Gridiron is hosting Guided Math: Chapter two.  Head over to her blog to see what others are saying about Chapter Two.  I will be co-hosting Chapter Four starting on June 24th!

I just finished reading the second chapter of Guided Math.  For years, we have spent so much focus on reading and we finally found that Guided Reading works for a lot of students and classrooms.  It now seems so silly to me that I did not make the connection between Guided Reading and teaching math.  I can use some of the same strategies, set-ups, and procedures to be more effective.  DUH!  That being said, a lot of the information in this chapter was not new to me.  However, applying it to math instruction was kind of new to me.  I always strive to create a warm, safe classroom with lots of access to books.  This year, I want to make sure my students also see the math when they walk in our classroom for the first time.  I am not exactly sure how I want to achieve this yet but I am pondering a math word wall.  I always leave a lot of blank space on my walls for all those anchor charts we will be creating too!  This year, I will be using math journals and I want to keep them in a basket so I can get to them easily.  Here are some other things from the chapter that stood out to me:

1.  The students look to the teacher to determine how to respond to each other

2.  Explicitly teach how to locate, use, and replace materials

3. Incorporate measurement into visualizing! Love, love, love it!

4. Turn on my math radar for connections

5. MODEL, MODEL, MODEL- expectations, procedures, thinking, writing, problem-solving, connecting...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Organization and Classroom Make-Over Update

 I was playing on Pinterest last night(like the addict that I am) and decided to review my School Ideas board.  While doing this I am across a pin for a desk top organizer from Miss Kindergarten and decided it was something I def. needed to do. 
I found this image on Pinterest but it belongs to Miss Kindergarten

Organization has always been a struggle for me despite my buddy Brooke's attempt to train me.  Anyways, I have a desk top storage file (from Target) I can use and plenty of file folders.  I love love love how she used rings to attach her lesson plans to the front.  Thanks to Miss Kindergarten for the idea. 

I found this at Target last year and loved it. I put notepads, my grader, and other items I use frequently in the front compartments.

I used binder clips to label my file folders.

I lost my planner in the move to my new classroom so I had to get a new one today.  I was going nuts without it.  I am sure I will find it now that I got a new one.  I also got a matching notebook.  Each new school year, I get a new notebook and take it with me to all my grade level meetings, faculty meetings, and workshops.  That way all my notes are in one place. 

I did work in my new classroom today.  I am still helping the teacher who lived in there last year remove all of her materials from the walls.  I did get my book baskets on my shelves, started putting away supplies, and arranging a little bit of furniture.  Check it out.
I "borrowed" this metal shelf from an empty classroom.  Don't tell!

My table and some storage.  My computer is on that counter behind the kidney table.  I plan on putting some of my supplies in the drawers under the counters and then putting classroom supplies in the other.  A co-worker of mine had a room like this one year.  She said she put a green sticker on the drawers that students were allowed to use and a red sticker on teacher drawers.  Or I could make a little curtain.  Have not decided yet.

My carpet will go in front of the board.  My Elmo will go on that little desk so I can sit and model.  There is storage for some Teacher Editions in that desk too.

All my desks.  Sorry it is blurry.  That ladder display is not mine.  Still working on getting it down.

My library center with a bunch of chairs in it.  I cover my books during the summer so they do not get as dusty.

I have a long way to go but I am excited about the small steps I made today!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Guided Math Chapter One


I am joining the fun and participating in Primary Inspired's book study of Guided Math.  My school district is adopting the math part of AMSTI this year.  For those of you that do not like in Alabama, AMSTI stands for the Alabama Math, Science, Technology Initiative.  You can read more about it here.  AMSTI has been shown to help students develop a deeper understanding of math through math workshop.  Reading Guided Math this summer will hopefully assist me in running Math Workshop and helping my students to create their own understanding of mathematics through experiences.

That being said...Here are some of my thoughts on Chapter One:
1.  I think most of us would agree with the opening description of past (and sometimes current) math instruction in which the teacher stands in front of the room and you either get it or don't.  I remember how intimidating and frustrating this was for me as a child.  There were times I would be too scared to ask a question or even not know what kind of question to ask.  I do NOT want that for my students!

2.  I was shocked at some of the data that was reported in this chapter.  Those figures of adults that can not do daily task that involve math application are not acceptable to me.  Yet somehow they are for a lot of leaders in education.  I wish more people knew exactly how far our country and kids are when it comes to math.

3. After four years of teaching 4th grade, I agree whole heartily that "lack of conceptual understanding handicaps students as they face more difficult math challenges in upper grades."  One student of mine this year comes to mind.  He wanted to learn but just had so many misconceptions and such a lack of basic number concepts it made it incredibly hard for him.

4. Meaningful- That is the word that kept coming up for me while reading this chapter.  Students need meaningful experiences with math.  They need to know how it will come up in their real lives.  Making that connection will hopefully keep them engaged and learning.

5. Last thing I promise! Students need to feel safe in your classroom.  They need to know that they are respected by you and their peers.  I really want to make sure I work on this by being open to all answers and keeping my face and comments positive while students learn their mistakes with my guidance. 

I encourage everyone to join the book study or at least read the blog posts related to it.  Your students' math instruction is too important to ignore.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Pray for Lucy

My dear friends,

  About a year and a half ago my sister, Sara, learned about a little girl in TN who was suffering from cancer.  Her name is Lucy.  Lucy has become a very familiar name in the Coleman family household since then.  We all follow her mother's blog which shares this beautiful family's joys, hopes, and deep sorrows.  We all pray for Lucy and her family often.  Sara even did a 5k for Lucy while she was carrying her 3rd child. 
  Sadly, Lucy's short life is coming to an end.  I wanted to share the link to her mother's blog because even though their story is heart breaking, it is a beautiful story of faith, determination, and love.  I ask that you take a few minutes out of your day to learn about Lucy and her family so you can say a prayer for them during this time.  I hope that Lucy claims a small part of your heart as she has done with my family so that you can remember to love and live with with a renewed fire each day.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Summer Reading List

The Clutter-Free Classroom is having a linky party about Summer Reading (and a give away to go along with it.  I always have a ton of books on my Amazon Wish List, in my book basket, and on my Nook.  This summer I plan on reading the Daily Five book and The Cafe book for the online book study.  I am also doing Primary Inspired book study on Guided Math (and hopefully hosting a chapter here!).  Not all of my summer reading will be professional development though.  Here are more books on my to read list:

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Product Details   Product Details     Product Details

Another Classroom Makeover

Last summer I completely redecorated my classroom-new curtains, new colors, new borders, new everything.  Looks like I have a another classroom makeover ahead of me this summer.  Since I am moving to 3rd grade, I am also moving to a new room.  This room was a kindergarten room last year and is a lot smaller than my old room.  I have no idea where to put all my books! I took some pictures of my new room on the last day of school and I am sharing them below.  Stay tuned as I work out my organization and decorations over the summer! Any and all suggestions and ideas are welcome as usual!
All the decorations on the wall belong to the Kindergarten teacher who is moving down the hall.
Green walls and a yellow floor-yikes!

Those are some of my books and supplies that I moved in on the last day of school.

I am thinking of doing a reading focus wall to the right of the Promethean Board and possibly my Mountain Math to the left.

Whopps a bit blurry.  Two big storage units!!

Those bins go underneath the counter.  I plan on putting my computer on the counter and my kidney table in front of the counter.  I am not going to have a teacher desk this year.  Mine always collects junk and I never use it. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Book Study!!!

I know, I know, I am breaking the rules by posting twice in a day.  (let's face it I need to post three times a day to make up for all my absences!).  I am just so excited about a new blog I stumbled upon today that I had to share.  Lorraine from Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies and some other fab bloggers have started a new blog called We Read, We Blog, We Teach.  This is a blog dedicated to upper elementary teachers and book studies.  Their first book studies are on Daily 5 and The CAFE book.  I have read a lot about these ideas on blogs but I have never read the books.  I am really excited to read and discuss these books this summer.  I use Reading Street but I am interested in incorporating Daily Five into my routine and hopefully this book study will help me.  YAY!! I am so super pumped. 

And know I have again confirmed what a dork I am! Oh Well!

My Favorite Websites-A linky party!

3-6 Resources is having a linky party so I decided to join in.  The topic is your favorite websites.  I use a lot of websites to find resources, games, and activities.  Here are a few of my favorites!

Shepphard's Software- They have great math games here. My favorite thing on this site is the science though.  My kids love all the food chain games and info!

Reading Street Links for 4th Grade- I used this site almost every week to set up my computer centers.  We did a lot of the grammar games during whole group as well.  I hope I can find one for 3rd grade!

Ms. Sanchez's Class- She has great printables and graphic organizers.  Check it out! You will love it.

Honestly, some of my favorite sites are your blogs! Oh and Teachers Pay Teachers and Pinterest!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Calling all 3rd grade teachers...

  I have news to share with y'all.  I am officially moving to 3rd grade after four years in 4th.  Even though this means I will not be teaching next door to my good friend Brooke anymore, I am excited about the new challenge.  I will be moving to a new classroom and trying to figure out how to arrange everything and what colors to put with the green walls and yellow floors.  Ekk!  I will post pictures of my new room as soon as I can so be on the lookout for those!
  Alright my 3rd grade teaching friends, any advice for me? Oh and what are your favorite read alouds or novel studies?