Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year!

This will be my last post in 2011! I'm heading to PA for New Years festivities. And by New Years festivities, I mean I have no idea what my plans are. My friends are married, with child, with significant other's crowd, etc. So yeah, I'm seeing a veeery boring New Years Eve in the near future.

Anyway, I'm at 40+ followers. Whaaaa? Wasn't it like last week that I didn't have 25. How exciting! I'm thinking giveaway at 50! Isn't that what all the cool blog kids are doing? Anyway, look forward to it!

Wishing everyone a safe & happy beginning to the new year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Oh, Hey Work Bag

So let's discuss the HUGE elephant in the room. Break is ending soon. And I JUST took my work bag out of my car today.

ANYWAY! On to happier things......!

Have you heard about the huge giveaway going on right now? I just hopped online, and I'm about to enter! Check it out by visiting ALL of these blogs!

 Here are the participating blogs/ stores: 



Good luck to everyone entering. There will be TONS of winners!


One more amazing giveaway to note! Have you been thinking about a new blog layout? Head over to Ladybug Teacher Files. She's giving away three SUPER cute layouts that are right up my alley! Click the image below!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Better Late Than Never

Holy Moly.

I am fashionably late to the 11 in 11 Linky Party! I've been meaning to do it, but ya know, I've been busy with things such as:

Watching Shameless.
Snuggin' solo on the couch.
Enjoying the silence that I've missed SO much.
Laundry [siiiike].
Doing school work [double sike].

So, without further ado, I bring you...

11. Favorite Movie You've Watched:

I love movies. I meant to see The Help, but never got around to it. By never got around to it, I mean that the BF refused to go see it with me, and I'm far too socially awkward to go to a movie alone. Here's a few of my faves that I saw in theatres this year! [I have a feeling I'm going to break rules, because I can't pick just ONE of anything.] Rio, Crazy Stupid Love, & Hall Pass!

10. Favorite TV Series

Again, I'm going to cheat. I'm newly obsessed with Homeland. Claire Danes is 100 kids of crazy and brilliant in this show. And this show disturbs me to my core. Good stuff. And c'mon, who doesn't love Parenthood! If you don't watch it, you need to! You all probably knew this, but Maura Tierney was suppose to play Sarah, which is now played by my girl Lauren Graham. I LOVE her, and I can't imagine anyone else playing Sarah! And I couldn't, in good conscience, leave out HIMYM!

9. Favorite Restaurant

I'm not big on fine dining, so I'm going to go with this. Yum. Grottos!

8. Favorite New Thing You've Tried

Pinterest! No explanation necessary. I would have picked blogging, but that would have been a fib. When I was in middle school I had a blog [whuddup Xanga] which was used as an outlet for my teenage angst. 

7. Favorite Gift

All my Christmas gifts this year were practical, which was exactly what I needed. Except for Kenny Chesney tickets for next summer. I've seen Kenny live twice, but had to miss my third time last summer due to the wedding which will be mentioned below!

6. Favorite Thing You Pinned

I've pinned so many useful, educational things, but I love this. Because it is my life.

                                                                         Source: via Meg on Pinterest

5. Favorite Blog Post

This one is hard. I haven't been blogging long enough to have a favorite of my own. So, I'm choosing every post from this girl. I feel that we have a similar outlook on things.--> People I Want to Punch in the Face

4. Best Accomplishment

Completing my first year as a third grade teacher. [Before that, I taught a "special", so I didn't have classes of my own.] Every day as a teacher is filled with stress, new programs, crazy kids, etc. But when my little ducklings left my room for the last time on June 17, 2011, I breathed a sigh of relief, and knew that I survived and excelled in something that many people couldn't.

3. Favorite Picture

From my best friends wedding, which was in August. I was MOH, & it made for a fun summer, which included the Bridal Shower [beatles themed], bachelorette party [which kicked off in the afternoon when we went to see the final HP!], and the wedding in August! This is a proof because I still haven't gotten around to ordering pictures from the website yet!

2. Favorite Memory

Spring Break. It was the BF & I's first vaca together. Nothing special, just went to OCMD for a few days. But it was a first. Not our last though, we're going to Jamaica for Spring Break '12!

1. Goal for 2012

To be happy. Lately, especially in December, I've let a ton of school related things get to me. I just want to enjoy the rest of the school year with my little monsters!

If I'm not the last one to link up, visit Kristen or Hader & do it!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Top Three for 2011

Honestly, I was kind of hesitant to do this linky party. My blog is ultra small. All of the other people who have done this have like thousands of hits on their posts. Oh well! Here's my top three posts in 2011!

1. Bear With Me (November 2nd, 71 views): This was when I posted my first [and only] freebie, but no one ever commented and said that they used it. Oh well, at least there's proof people looked!

2. Things That Shouldn't Happen (December 19th, 67 views): My kids sharpen carrots. The End. I also linked up with Farley and advertised three giveaways.

3. November's Currently (November 6th, 63 views): My first linky party when I linked up with Farley!

So, what did I learn from this? Post more of the things I make [God knows I make enough!], Link up more often [check], and use my charm & wit in my posts [double check].

Look forward to my Christmas craftivity post, as well as my Holly Bloggy Christmas post, spotlighting my gift from Anna at Crazy for First Grade, as well as my gift to Bonnie at Living a Wonderful Life!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Pinterest Inspired Gift

Once I get my fill of cookies & rest, I fully intend on posting everything I did to keep my kids from eating me alive engaged this week! I used so many ideas from blogging and pinterest, and those peeps deserve a shout out!

Just wanted to post quickly about the gift I gave my mom for her birthday.

[Not only did I need to get Christmas gifts in order for my family, my boyfriend & mom also have December birthdays. Meg's wallet = empty]

Anyway, I made her this pinterest inspired gift!

I think it turned out really nice. I gave it to her today, and she loved it! And I'm so proud that I accomplished a craft from pinterest, besides all of the teaching activities.

I'll be back later this week to summarize last week's craziness! & I'm also coming very close to 25 followers. How exciting! =)

**UPDATE: I'm at 25 followers! How exciting!**

Monday, December 19, 2011

Things that shouldn't happen.

Today was insane. It can be summed up with this story:

We are very fortunate to receive fresh fruits/veggies from a grant a few times a week.

Today was mini carrots.

We took a few moments to enjoy this snack [with ranch, taking the health out of it].

Not one, but TWO of my kids begin to SHARPEN their  mini carrots with their [banned from my room] handheld pencil sharpeners.

Obviously they got ratted out.

Most of my kids have my back.

Not sure what the next three days will bring me. I'm unexplainably jealous of those of you who finished up on Friday.


In other news, gotta link up with Farley! I'll have you know that I skimmed looked through all the other entries to try to make sure I picked a blog that no one else is stalking. So I TRIED to follow the rules. My B if I did not! =)


Last but not least, there are some fun giveaways going on right now! Go check them out!

1. Lisa at Live, Laugh, Love to Learn in Second Grade is having a mystery giveaway!
2. Tara at 4th Grade Frolics is giving away three items from her TpT store!
3. Hope at 2nd Grade Shenanigans is giving away WHAT?! Her WHOLE store?! Why am I blogging about this, lessening my chances!

These ladies always have great ideas and thoughts that they share. Go follow them!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Are U There State Test? It's Me, Stressed Third Grade Teacher.

Say a couple prayers to the state testing gods tonight.

My crazies are taking their midyear math DCAS test tomorrow.

Yes, I called them crazies. My room is a three ring circus to begin with. Now times that by Christmas break [not 'til next Thursday though, WHAAA?!]. I'm about to lose my mind. I wouldn't be so stressed out about it if we weren't knee deep in mid year testing. SO getting through tomorrow means still doing curriculum [obvi], but not being SO darn uptight about everything.

So anyway, life is a whirlwind.

And no, I didn't quit teaching yet.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

One of those days.

Have you ever been scared that you were going to become a statistic?

Not the 1 in however many young girls become teen moms.

Not part of the half of marriages that end in divorce.

No, the statistic that says about 50% of teachers leave the profession before they've reached five years.

I've lost my spirit. Mid year state tests. Competition between colleagues on said tests. Crazy kids. Lack of teamwork for planning. Work BFF on maternity leave. Barely any sunlight in the month of December. If progress reports weren't due tomorrow, I'd take a mental health day. Sorry to my 15 or so followers, I just needed to get that out.

[please note that these statistics are approximate. i'm too immersed in my pity party to perform research.]

Sunday, December 4, 2011

No fun for two weeks. BAH HUMBUG!

UGH. That's all I have to say about the next two weeks. Instead of using all of the fun activities I've been seeing in Blogland, I'm cramming knowledge into the heads of my class preparing my class for our midyear state test. We take Reading this Tuesday and Math the following Wednesday. It is computer based, so we get the results right away.

Blessing and a curse.

Because our administrators watch the scores roll in. Seriously. Enough to give me a panic attack. So I will be Ms. Grinch until next Tuesday. I know it is only the middle of the year, but my kids came in VERY low this year. They have a ways to go before they get their 3s and 4s. Some have over 200 points to go, which is equivalent to over 3 years growth. I'm fighting an uphill battle.

Anyway, after all of this, I can't wait to have some fun with my kids. They deserve it!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Multiplying by Multiples of 10 Activity

During our Rti block, I currently have a middle-high group for this two week cycle. My topic is multiplication, and I taught them this standard today:

3.NBT.3. Multiply one-digit whole numbers by multiples of 10 in the range 10–90 (e.g., 9 × 80, 5 × 60) using strategies based on place value and properties of operations.

I taught the students both the way I learned [the step by step, multiply the bottom number by the ones digit in the top, then the bottom number by the tens digit in the top. hey, it works for me], as well as the explanation through place value. For example, in the problem 30 x 4, four groups of 3 tens 120. Because this was a higher group, I extended past the standard and included multiples of 10 higher than 90 [up to 120, as I teach up to the 12 times tables].

[So as I'm typing this, I'm kind of thinking it doesn't make sense in writing! But I swear, it worked well in class!]

[I use brackets a lot without realizing it.]

So tomorrow, we are going to play bingo. I try to play a game with each skill, because as my administrators say "WORKSHEETS DON'T GROW DENDRITES." However, worksheets do help practice math skills for the DCAS next week, so this is part worksheet part game. I aim to please!

Each student gets a game board [there are six different boards, so 2-3 monsters will inevitably get bingo at the same time if they get all the products correct, but honestly I ran out of steam to make more boards tonight]. They must answer all of the problems. Once they are finished, we play bingo with the answers. I call out a number, they cover it if they have it. You know the drill. The last page contains all of the products included on all of the boards for the caller. You can cut them out and pick them out of a hat. OR you can be like me, a cheater. Walk around and choose which products you call, trying to avoid certain kids getting BINGO or helping that kiddo who doesn't have a lot of confidence get a win. =)

So here it is. Fo' free. My second freebie! Woooop! Let me know if you like it or use it or whatevs! The fonts are Bows and Boots and Howser. 

Multiples of 10 Bingo

Another quick and exciting note, a whole slew of bloggers are having a giftaway extravaganza! Yes, I said extravaganza! And yes, I typed extravaganza veeery slowly. It's a hard word to type. Click on the pic to go check out day one from one of my faves [&fellowmeghans] Farley!


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Holly Bloggy Christmas!

Anyone else out there gearing up for Holly Bloggy Christmas 2011?!

Insert picture of the cute button here. UGH why can't I find it on my computer. Aaahh, there it is.

I'm going to do my crafting and send out my gifts this weekend! I can't wait to share my gift with my partner! I hope she appreciates my crafty nature. Funny that we were paired together, because she and I have a TON in common! Nice work, ladies! And my secret pal's blog is super cute, but I don't want to become a follower until after Christmas!

The blogger who has me probably can't see my blog, because I put my old blog URL on the original form I filled out, as it was right before I changed the name/look of my page. Ooops! But if there's any chance that you can see me.. Hi!!!

Have I mentioned I'm super awful at keeping secrets? I can't wait!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The picture is worth 1,000 words, but of course I'll add some more.

Not a teacher related post. Well, it kind of is. Because the following picture is the reason why I have gotten absolutely no school work done over Thanksgiving Break.

As stated in previous posts, I'm moving. And I picked Thanksgiving break to do so. Big mistake. I've spend every day since last Saturday either moving, thinking about moving, or procrastinating the move. Now everything is in my new apartment. Cue panic attack.


So now, I'll probably be unpacking, thinking about unpacking, or procrastinating the unpacking until Christmas.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Post Jam-Packed With Thanks!

So0o0o0o.. [I bet that o and 0 combo brought you back to the middle school days chatting on AIM. No? Just me?]

Tonight is my first night staying in my new digs. And I'm stressin'. Buggin'. So I'm still awake and bloggin'.

Parent conferences went fine today. I was supposed to have seven. Two didn't show up. So how many conferences did Ms. F have today? Five. And they were all productive. So I'm happy about that. Tomorrow is a day's worth of PD, and then my Thanksgiving break begins!

But let's go back to last week. We DCAS [state test, and yes, we use DCAS (pronounced dee-kas) as a verb] when we come back from Turkey Break, so I didn't have too much time to veer from the academia. But we did do two fun activities that I found via the blogosphere.

First, we used Denise's materials from Sunny Days in Second Grade. I was also kind of over hearing the typical "I'm thankful for.." shpeal. So we used her materials to come up with reasons we were thankful for objects that just don't get a lot of love, such as fire drills and potatoes. My kids had a ball with this. Especially when my challenging friend chose "baby wipes" out of the cup. Of course that would happen. I know thanksgiving celebrations are pretty much over, but this activity was so great, and even my most reluctant writers wanted to write and share! It's in my file for next year!

The other activity we did was Pumpkin Pie in a Cup. I saw this activity on a few blogs and on Pinterest. But I used the activity sheet from Teaching Heart. First, I passed out sequence graphic organizers to all students, and as we made this yummy treat, they filled in their graphic organizers with the steps. After they were finished indulging, they wrote a paragraph using their graphic organizer. I didn't use actual measurements for this, so next time, I'm thinking I need to tweak the canned pumpkin to vanilla pudding ratio! But the huge dollop of whipped cream made everything go down smooth anyway.

Of course, no pictures of either activity. I'm not that good.

Lastly, I'm going to link up with What A Teacher Wants & Oh Boy 4th Grade, using ms farley's sassy template!

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Tomorrow brings conferences from 12-7. Tuesday is Professional Development. My holiday begins on Tuesday at 3:40.

But let's backtrack. Tomorrow is conferences. I know I can't be the only one who gets a pit in her stomach and major anxiety when it comes to conferences. On top of that, I took a 1/2 personal day on Friday to change over all of my utilities [I moved, whoooop!], so I don't even know my conference schedule. Parents are instructed to call the office and schedule for the school-wide conference day. The last I checked was on Wednesday, and at that time I only had two scheduled, one right at noon and the other was sometime later.

And these two students are doing just fine.

So not one of the conferences I had requested had signed up by Wednesday. As much as I'd LOVE to have all of this extra time to get stuff done in my classroom, these families REALLY need to come in and talk with me. But I guess we'll see what happens. If they didn't sign up, I'll just continue to write notes in planners and leave messages at home. Yep. So frustrating.

So like I said, I moved! Just to a different apartment complex in the same city. On Friday, I ran around to change all of my utilities over to my new place [which you can't do over the phone ahhh-noying].

I went to pick up my keys. Walk into my leasing center [wearing my school hoodie], and I hear "Why are you moving here, you could be  moving right next to school]. So I'm thinking that someone is just looking at my hoodie and trying to make conversation. So I smile and keep looking forward.

[Can you tell I'm socially awkward?]

So the other people in the office are like what are you talking about. And the man says, "That's my son's teacher."

Yep, then it clicked. It was one of my special-ist of little friend's father! Funny how when you are completely out of the context you usually see people, you don't make the connection. Kind of like when a student sees you at Walmart. But anyway..

So apparently, he works there. Nice guy, don't get me wrong. But there's a reason I live 35 minutes from school! Well many reasons. I'm not sure of his job title, so every time I call maintance, walk into the office, etc., I need to make sure I'm on my game. Ugh!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Yo! Check out Class Dojo!

I've seen tons of bloggers out there blog about Class Dojo! It is a classroom management tool where you can award and deduct points based on behaviors. The site has behaviors already in place, but you can add your own. Positive behaviors already include hard work, participation, and following directions. Negative ones include disrespect and out of seat. I added calling out, which is a huge issue in my room!

Each student has their own avatar, which is a critter or monster. [This image is not my class; it is from Google Images!] Their avatar has their name next to it, and all of you students can be seen on your Smartboard. Click on their name, click on the behavior, and it adjusts the point total. Easy! There is a sound option, but i opted out of that. The kiddos' eyes were already glued on the board every time they heard me tap it, so the sound probably would have been more distracting!

And, you can print your data at the end of the day if you'd like. If your school is as hooked on data as mine is, this is an awesome tool.

At the end of the day, I gave the students their point amount in train ticket punches. In a previous post, I explained that we use train tickets in our PBS system. Each train ticket has 20 points, and a full card can be traded in for prizes and entry into PBS events.

So tell me, have you used Class Dojo? Am I missing any fun features that would be beneficial? I'm thinking about ways to use it, and I don't think I could use it everyday. My thought is that it would lose its effect if used too often.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My Bookshelf

Sorry for the non-teaching blog post, I've read a few books over the past few months that I'd love to share with you!

Stay: I'm currently reading this book. Got it at walmart. It's about a girl who accidently buys a dog online from overseas after too much wine and a Rin Tin Tin marathon. This dog is more than she bargains for, but the story is about how her life is changing. Cute book!

You Had Me At Woof: Read this book in a few days. It is a true story about a woman who starts fostering out of her love for Boston Terriers. It leads us from when she owned her first dog, through starting a family, and to the present, where she is a foster mom and volunteer.

Long Division: A novel about a teacher who's boyfriend is away at war. Light hearted, but not for the easily offended. There's some language. But I loved this book!

32 Third Graders: Love Mr. Done! Very cute, quick read on the hilarity that ensues in a third grade class room lead by a veteran teacher.

I'm obviously not into grand, profound literature, although I wish I was. I love reading books about my two passions, teaching and animals! This year I'm trying to make time to read for pleasure, as last year I couldn't find the time. Anyone have any recommendations?!

Oh right, this is a teaching blog..

I'm doing a fun activity tomorrow having to do with sequencing. We read a passage from a scholastic book about how ink used to be made, using berries. So we will be actually completing this and making ink from berries. It's worth a shot, right? Stay tuned for the results!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

November's Currently!

I'm linking up with a majority of the teacher blog world with Farley @ Oh' Boy 4th Grade! She provided this wonderful little image, and I couldn't resist! Head on over & join her!

I edited this in Picnic. Anyone have a different way of customizing things like this?

To explain a little further, the boy is a Ravens fan, so I feel obligated to try to care about the game that is on TV now. But I'm not going to make it to much longer. I feel some kind of grossness coming on, but I'm determined to make it through this 4 day week. We have a field trip on Wednesday, and I will not subject a poor substitute to my crazy-ness, especially on a day like that!

Have a great week everyone! <3

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bear With Me..

So this is my first attempt at posting something I've made, so as my title asks, bear with me! I found the outline to this game online somewhere, but I can't remember where. So if it is yours, PLEASE speak up! I added to it & made it my own. I thought the game was great, so I wanted to make an easy to work with recording sheet to go along with it.

This game is great to reinforce the concept of multiplication, and my kids are loving it. You can play in pairs or small groups. Each group needs two dice, but the dice need to be different. One dice stands for the number of groups, and the other dice stands for the number in each group. Player 1 draws their picture, writes the equation the picture stands for, and writes the product. Player 2 takes their turn, following the same steps.

When it is player 1's turn, they roll the dice again and fill out their sheet. This time, they add their product with their previous product. All players take 5 turns, and the person with the highest total wins! It also helps my students practice addition with regrouping, as some of them need all the practice they can get.

Is this something you would use in your classroom? Let me know!

Star Groups

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dear October 31st., Please Come & Go. Quickly.

I am currently... having a panic attack.

Of course, I put off figuring out what I'm being for Halloween. Again.
Last year, I was a veterinarian. I found really cute animal scrubs and carried a stuffed dog around.
BUT, this year, the top is a little too snug. And they discontinued this print at Walmizzy. UGH. Story of my life.
So now, i'm scouring the internet and my brain trying to figure something out that is half decent.
Ms. Teacher might be the ultimate cop out: A baseball player.
On a side note, we are only allowed to be book characters or jobs.

Brilliant idea #1: Can I be retired for Halloween and not come to school?
Brilliant idea #2: Can I "be" one of my bloggy friends for Halloween? Preferably one of you who doesn't have to dress up? We can switch places.

I truly feel like the fun has been sucked out of me this month! I hope it comes back ASAP. & Hopefully a more worthwhile post will be coming this week!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Whatcha Doin?

Hey everyone! This week has been awful. Today, I spent time going over our rules, had a class meeting, changed seats to start fresh. We still came back from Art with a bad report. I'm out of ideas, and I'm running on fumes at this point. But instead of complain, I'm going to summarize what we're doing right now in 3rd Grade in Room 144!

Writing: We're currently working on personal narratives. The prompt is "My Lightbulb Moment". A time when they learned something. I have two kids writing about how they learned to play bay blades [sp?], but hey, they are reluctant writers, so at least they are writing. I'll post pictures of our final projects in the coming weeks.

Reading: After finishing up Text Elements, we've moved on to Sequencing. My reading routine still has kinks and bumps. We're molding and intertwining Learning Focused Units, Scott Foresman, and Making Meaning. On top of that, I'm doing centers for about 35 minutes a day. So its tough to fit everything in. Making Meaning is seeming to take the biggest hit, but I'm really trying to make it work!

Math: We've just begun multiplication. I'm trying to write a Learning Focused Unit as I go. Our curricular resource is Investigations, but it does a horrible job of teaching the common core and preparing for the state test [ugh, don't get me started!]. So I'm making a lot of resources and filling in the gaps. Considering my team plans without me, I kind of have to fend for myself. But like I said in a previous post, math is my happy place. I'm confident my unit will be solid!

Science: We're currently knee deep in our Earth Material FOSS kit. I teach science to my class and another class, so we get through units a little slower than I'd like. Next week, we will be looking at 4 minerals and describing their properties, including doing calcite and scratch tests.

I hope you enjoyed a little peek into my room! If you have ANY suggestions for any of the above content, please share!

If I could give myself two stars & a wish for my blog, they would be..
    Star 1: I almost have 10 followers! Almost 10 people are interested in what I have to say!
    Star 2: I'm putting myself out there & sharing my ideas/life. & posting more than once a year.
   Wish 1: I need more pictures and freebies.
   Solution to my wish: Put batteries in my camera & take some darn pics! And figure out how to post to google docs!

Friday, October 14, 2011

From Slacks to Sweats in Record Time.

Oh my lord. Today was rough. Like I said, I was out yesterday with the 'blahs'. Thank goodness I took yesterday off, because I needed my rest for today.

Up until about 9:15 was normal. Andddd then the power went out. Ugh. My building is K-3, & they obviously can't deal with power going out. So the kids were out of their minds. Then, we were randomly told that we had to stop reading, go get our lunch, and eat in our classrooms. This was an hour before our actual lunch time. So, in the middle of reading, we ate lunch. The rest of the day was pretty much just shot from there. Got nothing of any importance finished.

I stayed at school for an extra hour and a half to copy my homework packets for next week. I figured I'd better get some use out of today before leaving for the weekend.

I made a beeline from my front door to my bedroom and changed into my comfy sweatpants. I made myself a sandwich & I'm watching this week's episode of "Parenthood", which is my absolute favorite show by the way!

Life is exhausting good.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Much Needed Day Off

I have been feeling down right awful this week. Just all around exhausted, cranky, and like I got hit by a bus. Last night, I was at school until after 8 & I didn't get home until almost 9. We had our faculty meeting after school, then I had to stay for a PTAG meeting. I live about 40 minutes from school, so I couldn't go home in between. So what did I do in between? I wrote sub plans, and I took today off. And let me tell you, I should have just taken a day off earlier in the week, because now I feel 100x better and ready to get back to business!

I hate not being at school with my kids. You never know what kind of substitute you're going to get, you don't know how your kids will react [this was my first day off, aside from a 1/2 day PD day earlier in the year], and you don't want to get behind in material. But again, I think it was to everyone's benefit that I took a day off. And, it turns out, one of my most problematic challenging students walked out of the classroom today. Yup. A third grader walked out. I found this out from my work bff who texted me, so she didn't know anymore details. But I'm very interested to hear about this tomorrow.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Revamping Blog. & I have school tomorrow!

Apparently, my school doesn't believe that Mr. Columbus earned us a day off tomorrow! Boo! The boy has off tomorrow [he has a state job], and he thinks this is GREAT and serves as a little payback for my summers off. I'll let him have his glory, I suppose!

In other news, I'm thinking of changing up my blog! New decor, new title, ETC. Stay tuned!

UPDATE!: Updated my blog! If someone could do me a favor and make sure that my "Grab a Button" thingy works, that would be great! Leave me a comment if you can. It only took me all night to figure it out! If I managed to mess it up, if someone could let me know also, that'd be great!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Multiplication Fun!

I see so many bloggers who say that literacy is their "safe place" and that they love teaching children to read. I, however, am the complete opposite. I totally struggle with teaching reading! Math is my happy place!

During RtI, my grade level is trying something new. As always, we broke up the students according to level, but we aren't exactly doing small groups for everyone. The highest and lowest are remaining in small groups with specialists. The others are in groups of 15, and they will rotate through the 3rd grade teachers on a 2 week rotation. Each of us is focusing on a different skill.

I have multiplication/division. YES! My favorite thing to teach! This cycle, I have one of the higher groups, so in the two weeks, I went through Arrays, Repeated Addition, Drawing a Picture, and Knowing your facts as strategies.

Here's what I did for arrays. And let me tell you, I was talk of the hallway! Remember these from your childhood?

Perler Beads? (sp)

Okay, me either. BUT, when I was an arts&crafts teacher at a summer camp a few years ago, this was the bee's knees. The cat's meow even.

I was browsing through the craft store, came across these, and BOOM. An idea! Students were in pairs, and every pair had a cup of these beads and the board that you use to shape them on. After introducing arrays the day before, they were ready to practice. I started small, asking them to make an array that represented 3 x 3, and I eventually built them up to 12x12. At the end, I let them each make their own array, but it would not be ironed until they correctly identified the array that it represented. Every 3rd grade friend walked out with an array that day!

They couldn't stop talking about it. They won't forget what an array is any time soon! This was an inexpensive project, as I didn't let them make an array bigger than 10x10 to take home. I can use these beads for a looong time before they run out! [These pictures are from google. I didn't take a picture this rotation, but I definitely will next go around if those friends can handle this project!]

How do you make multiplication hands on?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Um, ANOTHER awesome giveaway!

Denise at Sunny Days is having a giveaway! Seriously, once I have more followers, I'd love to do a fun giveaway! They are just so darn exciting! Anyway, I always read about bloggers finding great stuff at Dollar Stores. However, I have the worst luck when it comes to this. I never find anything worthwhile. Maybe Delaware dollar stores aren't stocked with such awesome-ness?

Anyway, I SO hope I win this giveaway. BUT, I also rarely win things! I've won a contest ONCE. I was driving home from work [during the summers, I used to work as an art teacher at a camp], and I was stuck in traffic. They were giving away Kenny Chesney tickets, and I was stuck in traffic. Naturally, I called in, hitting redial about, hm, 10 times. Well, the rest is history. This was in 2009. So I'm due for some good luck!

Thanks Denise for an awesome giveaway!

Monday, September 19, 2011

My Long Lost Blog..

So much for teaching and blogging in the same day/week/year. I'm so exhausted! I have no idea how you all do it: posting freebies, making resources, and updating more than once a month. I bow down to you all!

Well, we've just began our 4th week of school. The kids are settling in. Well not really, because since we've began I've had two students move, gained a challenging student, our RTI hasn't officially started until this week, etc. So, I'll probably be in the complete swing of things come..... December? Only time will tell.

Due to our Race To The Top grant, we have PLC time weekly. Although it is great to have that time to "collaborate with my team" AKA sit in meetings for 70% of the time, then get about 15 minutes to plan, I always leave more stressed out than I walked in. First of all, I'm having the same problem I had last year. My kids are AWFUL when they are out of my sight. There was mass chaos today in the lunch room when I didn't have lunch duty! When they were at their extra afternoon special this afternoon [because of our PLC], they were ridiculous. I mean, they aren't perfect angels for me when I'm teaching, but my goodness. I wish there was some transfer when it comes to their behavior. Another source of the stress is all of the new things that are thrown at us every meeting. Every teacher can relate, so I won't delve too much into that rant!

In other news, I'm getting observed this week. I'm a third year teacher, and under our new DPAS framework, "novice" teachers must be observed three times. Juuuust great, considering I have a huge anxiety issue and my neck and ears turn bright red at a hint of nervousness. The fact that I love my principal [who is observing me] makes it a little easier, but still, I get nervous when anyone is in my room. I  know I'm doing everything I can to help my students, so I just need to accept everything as constructive criticism and move on. Obviously, that is easier said than done. I was so happy that my principal asked what I would like her to see for my first observation. I asked her to come during centers, which I am implementing for the first time this year. I told her that this is our first week doing them full time, and I made sure she knew that it was NOT going to be perfect! There are six centers, and the students visit two per day, Monday-Wednesday. There are a few kinks in this, however. I think they will work themselves out in time. I already told my students that my principal wanted to see how well we do centers at the end of the week.

This week=Johnny Appleseed. Woo? No matter how hard I try, I can't get into it. Now, Dr. Seuss? There's a birthday I can get into. Last year we made applesauce, but I don't think that's happening this year. I'm thinking apple prints of some kind. I need to think about it! Anyone have any fun ideas, I've browsed Pinterest, but nothing is really jumping out at me!

Yes! I posted! Hi to my four followers! :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

They are READY for third grade!

Last year, my school adopted the Common Core Standards. We also began using a new testing system, DCAS, which is WAY more difficult than our previous test [DSTP]. DCAS is also on the computer, which is a whole other issue. But anyway, last year we were in limbo. Our third graders were not ready for third grade "Common Core" style. Tons of back tracking needed to be done with simple skills. Being a first year classroom teacher [after spending time as a writing teacher], I didn't know what to think. Was this the norm? Would I need to review the entire second half of second grade skills [especially math] before moving on to all of the third grade standards? I don't have time!

Well, I'm happy to report that after starting our beginning unit on base 10, my students seem ready to learn third grade standards. Is back tracking still necessary? Of course. But not nearly as much as I remember from last year. I can't wait to get into teaching multiplication and division! I will probably get to multiplication in mid-October. The babies are SO excited to learn these "big kid" skills.

I'm beat. Maybe I'm not cut out for blogging during the school year! :)