Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Me - by the numbers!

I was searching for a great get-to-know-all-my-new-kids-that's-mathy game on the internet and came across this super cute linky from 2011.   Y'all know I love a linky, and even though I can't link up, I'm totally stealing borrowing the idea to use with my classes.

So.. Amanda wrote out things about herself that went from 1-10.  I've done the same thing, but I think this might be super hard for kids to do... so for their projects, I'm just going to let them use any 10 numbers (or less, if 10 is taking too long).

Anyway.. here's me - by the numbers.

I have one sister.  We didn't always get along as we were growing up, but as adults, we are pretty close.  We spend a lot of time together going to musicals -- both professional and community theater!
My ONE sister is the mom of my TWO nieces!  They are my favorite people in the world.  I love, love, love being an aunt.  I do whatever I want with them (i.e. - get them all sugared up, or let them buy whatever they want at Toys'R Us) and then take them home, kiss them goodbye and leave!!

I have had exactly three cell phones in my life.  The first was way back in 1998:
Don't laugh.  At the time it was super cool because you didn't have to pull out the antenna.  State of the art, I tell ya!

Phone #2 was the opposite.  My students always commented that it was 'soo cute!' or 'soo tiny!'
This one was cool because it had games!!  Does anyone else remember SNAKE or MANCALA?  I loved this phone, but I couldn't send or receive text messages, so eventually I had to change.  But I still miss it!

My current phone is not much better that my last one:
I kinda don't love this one.  Sure I can text, but I have to use the number pad to do it.  It's easy to use, but it can't do all the cool things my friends' iPhones can do!  But when you talk to me, I will never mute you like my friends often do!  So it has pluses and minuses!

Someday I'll get a new phone - maybe even I iPhone.  I would like to crush candy on the go...

I have four knitting projects in the works. I may never finish any of them!

Fifth grade was the year I first got glasses.  I remember the day I got them comparing everything on the way home the way I'd always seen them with how they looked corrected!  It was amazing!  I especially remember the McDonald's sign, for some reason!

I have six months left on my current lease, and I'm getting too close for comfort on the miles.  I will be looking to replace this car early in about October so I don't go over the miles!  It's a good little car, but getting a new car is always exciting!

Thank God - again - for a new job and a pay raise!  I can actually afford to get something a little more my style this time around!

Even though it seemed like a LOT longer, I was only unemployed for about seven weeks this summer!  The stress of not knowing what I was going to do was unbelievable, but I tried to stay positive and keep the faith...  It worked!  I'm so excited to start my new job!


I am currently reading eight (!) books.  I never leave the house without a book in tow; I am also listening to a book in my car (not one of the eight).  Wanna know what they are?

I have visited nine states.  That's not very many really, and I certainly didn't visit them all this summer.  But throughout my life I've been to:  Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maine, North Carolina, Illinois, Tennessee, South Dakota, Indiana, and Washington.  I've driven through other states on the way, but unless I visited someone there or the state was my destination, it doesn't count, in my opinion.

Ten year olds are my favorite.  They are the best age to teach - they are clever-funny and smart, but they're still kids enough that they want to please.  Give me a bunch of ten year olds any day, and I'm a happy camper! 
These are not my kids; I took this, and all, the pictures from Google.

There you have it.  It's not easy to come up with this list.  FIVE especially was tough. 

Try it!  If you do, leave me a link in the comments; I'd love to see your 10!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Top 6 Linky

For the past two weeks, I've done nothing but obsess about my new room.  I cannot wait to get in there later this week and make it my own.

So in the spirit of wishful thinking, I'm linking up with Courtney @Swimming Into Second for her weekly top ten.  But I can only think of 6 things to put on my list!  And three of them I already have!  Yep - I'm pretty blessed!

The first thing I want in my dream classroom is an iPad for every child.  I started using the iPads at my old school only towards the end of the year, but I wish I had done more.  The possibilities are endless and kids love them!

BTW, my favorite app for the classroom is Socrative.  Students can enter answers to the questions, and I get an email that I can print out and use for assessment.  Love that!

 Next, I would love to have these stools.  Do you know about these yet?  They are so cool; they wobble just enough.  Kids who can't sit still get to move - while they're sitting! 

Third up would have to be lovely window coverings! The windows in my new room are old and ugly and the shades are not much better. Not to mention, one of them is missing (??). I am not a seamstress, nor do I plan to become one, so I'm not sure how to make this happen yet. But when I was classroom shopping the other day, I contemplated shower curtain panels. Not plastic ones, but pretty fabric ones! They are larger than window panels and come in great patterns that might be fun for a large classroom. Has anyone tried this? Do you have other great ideas for covering my ugly windows?

The last three things I need in my dream classroom, I already have!!! I cannot imagine living without them, though so I'm including both of them in my dream classroom layout!

Some sort of interactive white board.  I don't care if it's Promethean or SMART but I need a board that I can teach from.  I absolutely cannot go back to chalk!!  :)

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my Classroom Friendly Supplies Pencil Sharpener!  This thing is the best!  I got my to review last summer, and my kids used it all year long!  It is the best evah!

And finally - carpet!  If you have it, you know what I mean.  If you don't have carpet, you probably are like, what's the big deal?  Well, let me tell you.
1) It's quiet.  There is no chair noise or stomping feet noise.

2) It's comfortable.  Kids can sit on the floor and I don't have to have to have carpet squares or an extra rug (which, when I had, I always tripped over the edges, or somebody would pick at the edges and ruin the binding).

3)  And it's homey.  I love the idea of making our classrooms more homey and comfortable.  Carpet goes a long way to creating that atmosphere!

There you have it!  My list.  Go link up; I can't wait to find out what other things I should be coveting for my room!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

My {New} Room - Before

So I actually taught a lesson in what would turn out to be my room on the day I interviewed.  When I went back to sign paperwork, I was anxious to take a look around again and snap a few pictures. 

It didn't look at all like I remembered!  I guess I was so nervous, I didn't really remember much!

The scene from the door.  First thing that needs fixed is that flag!!  Why is it backwards??  Also, why is there no shade on one of the windows?  Hmmm...  Can you see the AC unit in the back window?  It's one of two; almost unheard of where I come from!

The reason there are decorations up:  The teacher who I am replacing is still teaching summer school in there until Wednesday.  Because she's been in there all summer, she's been taking her stuff a little at a time.  Totally get it; I would have done the same!

Display space!  I can't wait to spruce it up.   I am thrilled that I have 4 student computers for centers, research, etc!

Storage!!!  I have never had this much storage space!  I'm sure I can fill it without trying very hard!  And more display space...
Teacher area.  In my old building, we had Promethean boards; I am looking forward to learning how to use the SmartBoard!  I have to say... this is the smallest teacher desk I have ever seen!

That's it - the before!  I cannot wait to get in there and fix it all up pretty! 

I don't have much time; teacher meetings start on August 7!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

a Linky & a Freebie!

Today I'm linking up with Flying into First Grade to Get Acquainted!  This week we are sharing advice for new teachers.  I did one of these types of posts last summer, too, but this one seems different this year.  Probably because, while I'm not a new teacher, I am going to a new building with new people.  I feel a lot of the same anxieties I felt back when i was a new teacher!

So here's my advice:

Buy:  Blue sticky tack is the best!  I use it on everything, and I have found that the white and yellow sticky tack doesn't work at all. 

Always: This one probably seems like common sense, but every year, I watch a few people limp out of the building at the end of the day.  Not.Worth.It.

Never:  Little kids have little ears.  But those ears hear EVERYTHING!  Or worse, they'll hear part of something and add in their own little details.  Or worse yet, they'll take something they heard completely out of context and repeat it - probably to their parent!  I try really hard not to talk about anything around kids; it's not always easy, though!

Find: I think it's important to find one or two people in the building that you can go to and vent, whine, or worry who you know you can absolutely trust not to say anything.  Follow up: Until you find that person - only vent to the dog!  (This is the one thing I'm most anxious about.  I don't make friends easily, and I'm nervous about fitting in at my new school!  And I don't have a dog.)

Make:  If no one has told you this before - and if you only follow one bit of advice - this is it.  The secretary knows everybody and everything that goes on... she is a great ally!  The custodian and/or cleaning people are vital to getting your room cleaned when someone pukes in your room or if you need something heavy moved!  You want to stay on their good side - trust me!

Be:  Selfish:
  • Take time for yourself.  
  • Say no sometimes.  You do not have to join every committee, or help with every afterschool activity, or help decorate the gym for every music program or dance.  
  • Read for pleasure: a well rounded teacher has interests outside of education.  
  • Get a massage once in a while, take a yoga class, watch a little lot of Bravo, just veg out sometimes.  
  • Schedule how much time you will work on school stuff on the weekends and stick with it!
(Hear that?  That laughter?  That's my friends who are reading this part - they are laughing hysterically!  I have never said no when asked to serve on a committee, have often stayed late to help out setting up for something, and have never had a massage in my life!  Maybe I'll learn to take my own advice (but probably not..))

And now for a freebie!  I recently took a class and as part of my project, I created this cute little math center using QR codes.   Students solve questions about Mean, Median, and Mode then check their answers using their iPads to scan the QR code.  I only included six word problems because a) these type of questions take longer to solve and they only get a short amount of time to work in centers in my classroom, and b) kids don't love these - again because they take too long; if they see too many, they shut down before they start!


Click the picture to go to my TpT store and download this freebie.  Please leave feedback if you love it!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Time T'angles'

Do you know about  I follow Mr. Smith on Facebook and have spent the summer watching all his videos.  Most of the ideas are too young for my kids, but sometimes they lead me to great activities.

Today is one of those days!

First, watch this:

This is a FABULOUS idea!  In the age of digital everything, kids can always use a refresher on time!  I am totally setting this up.  I have found clocks at the Dollar Tree in the past; I just hope they have them again! 

To up the challenge and keep my students engaged, I'm going change up the recording sheet as the year goes on.  Adding in angle identification is a no-brainer.

I am also thinking through how I can make a scavenger hunt out of it that would include elapsed time.  If each clock was the answer to a word problem (The party started at 8:00 and lasted for three hours and 10 minutes.  What time did the party end?), the kids would solve the problem, them go find the right clock and write it's letter on the recording sheet. 

Watch this space for my newest TpT creations related to this post!

Monday, July 22, 2013

It's Official!

I got a job!!

On Friday, I had my very first teaching job interview.  To say I was nervous is the understatement of the year.  I had been prepping/worrying for an entire week about what it would be like, what they would ask, what to include in my portfolio, what lessons I would teach - the list goes on!

I have to thank my friends - without their love, support and prayers, I don't think I would have been so prepared or confident going in.  By the time Friday came, I had heard from everyone (enough that I believed it!) that any school would be lucky to have me!

So, I took a deep breath, said a quick prayer of my own, and headed for the door...

Needless to say, the interview went GREAT!  I was {almost} offered a job on the spot.  (There was another interview later in the day.)  I was told not to accept any other offers between Friday and Monday without speaking with them first.  But, by 8:00pm that evening, the principal had emailed me an offer!

So, here's the scoop:

I will be teaching 4th/5th Grade Math and a section or two of Science and/or Social Studies.

The best part about my new school is I will have each group (4th then 5th) for TWO HOURS each!  I can't even imagine  how I am going to schedule two hours of math instruction yet, but I am absolutely thrilled with the idea!  In last year's classroom, I was lucky to carve out an hour block twice a week!  The other days, I had to make due with 40 minutes!

I am going in later this week to sign some paperwork.  I'm hoping to snap a few pictures of my classroom, so I can do some planning and maybe drop a couple of things off.  Sooo excited!!!

Right now, I'm off to the bookstore to get these two books:
Guided Math: A Framework for Mathematics Instruction Morning Meeting Book

I have to admit - while I like teaching math and I'm good at it, I have almost always read Literacy Professional Development books.  So it's time to catch up!  I know that Guided Math was huge among bloggers last summer, so I'm starting there.

What other PD books about math do you recommend?  Help a girl out!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Teaching Channel

I just came across this site and felt the need to share!  And in a shameless effort to attract new followers, I am linking this post to the weekly

Have you seen this??

Teaching Channel is a video showcase -- on the Internet and TV -- of innovative and effective teaching practices in America's schools.

Not my TV, though.  It airs on PBS, but the local PBS station doesn't carry it.  *Bummed*

there are plenty of great resources on the internet channel.  "Videos, Common Core Resources and Lesson Plans" to be precise!  I am afraid to add up the hours that I have spent exploring this site!

I was looking for inspiration for a lesson I have to teach later this week during an interview, and I hit the JACKPOT when I came across this site.  I watched this video and was able to use her ideas as a springboard for my own Main Idea lesson plan.

Seriously - check out this amazing resource!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Hold Fast

Hold Fast 
by Blue Balliett
Published March, 2013

From Barnes & Noble:
  • From NYT bestselling author Blue Balliett, the story of a girl who falls into Chicago's shelter system, and from there must solve the mystery of her father's strange disappearance.  Where is Early's father? He's not the kind of father who would disappear. But he's gone . . . and he's left a whole lot of trouble behind.

    As danger closes in, Early, her mom, and her brother have to flee their apartment. With nowhere else to go, they are forced to move into a city shelter. Once there, Early starts asking questions and looking for answers. Because her father hasn't disappeared without a trace. There are patterns and rhythms to what's happened, and Early might be the only one who can use them to track him down and make her way out of a very tough place.

    With her signature, singular love of language and sense of mystery, Blue Balliett weaves a story that takes readers from the cold, snowy Chicago streets to the darkest corner of the public library, on an unforgettable hunt for deep truths and a reunited family.

"...'Reading is a tool no one can take away.  A million bad things may happen in life and it'll still be will you, like a flashlight that never needs a battery.  Reading can offer a crack of light on the blackest of nights.'
    Early looked carefully at her mother's face.  'You sound like Dash now.'
    'Do I?' Sum smiled with her eyes, one of the saddest smiles Early had ever seen."  (p.166)

With themes of everything from homelessness, mystery, words, puzzles, to family, Hold Fast is a book I cannot wait to share with my class.  So much so that I am working on a bunch of activities to go with the novel.  When they're done, I'll put them up in my TpT store.

I'm linking up with Heather at Peacocks and Penguins to share with her Read it Wednesday Linky!  (Just cannot resist!!)

I'm off to start a new book.  Have you read Capture the Flag by Kate Messner yet?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Animoto, anyone?

Once again I have been inspired by a fellow blogger!

Heather over at the Meek Moose recently wrote about a tech class she's taking and mentioned Animoto.  Now I tried Animoto years ago when it was new and hated it!  But she made it seem so easy and fun, I've given it another chance.  And she's right!

I love it!

So I made this quick video.  This 30 second book report took me about 30 minutes.  The most time consuming part is searching through the internet and the site itself choosing pictures.  Not good for a perfectionist like me.  I can imagine that kids could throw together a quality video in just a few minutes.  How cool would it be to assess their videos; they would love it!

Make your own slide show at Animoto.

 There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom is one of my all time favorite of Louis Sachar's books!  If you haven't read it yet, please do!  I read it out loud to my class every year, and everyone loves it - even the boys!  It's funny and sweet and silly and touching.  I cry at the end every year!  (I warn my kids ahead of time...) 

Bradley is boy whom everyone - even the teachers - hate.  He lies, he growls, he doesn't know how to make friends.  His only friends are his animal figurines.  When a new counselor is hired at his school, Bradley learns, through Carla, what friendship is.

Monday, July 1, 2013

It's International JOKE Day!

Since I don't have a post for today, I'm sharing some of my favorite funnies about teaching!


Sorry our relationship didn't last...

I've ended it with Bloglovin'.

We weren't compatible.  B wouldn't listen, wouldn't cater to my every whim.  Time for a change.

So I did what every smart girl does: I went looking for something better.


Now, Feedly and I are going to be great together!  The best part is I can read whole posts - not just part of 'em.  The bonus part is - I get to decorate And anyone who knows me, knows I like things my way.  PrettyColorful.  Not boring and grey!

I've added a button on the left hand side, so if you want to share in the joy that is feedly, you totally can!