Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Wisdom for Wednesday-Innocent Hearts

Welcome to this week's 

I saw this video the other day and it got me thinking a little bit.  This little girl was eating at a restaurant and saw a homeless man outside and she asked her parents if she could give her food to him.  They of course say yes and she takes her food out to him.  As adults, I think we sometimes can get wrapped up in our own little world and become so busy that we often neglect what may be going on around us.  Due to this, we may miss those opportunities to help someone out that may need help.  I know that I need to personally ask God to help me have eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart to care so that I don't miss a moment that I may be able to reach out and help someone out like this little girl did.  Wouldn't this world be a much better place if everyone did things like this?  

Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wisdom for Wednesday-Teacher's Energy

Welcome to this week's:

As teacher's when we first started teaching or when we start a new year, we seem to have energy to teach.  Unfortunately, the demands of teaching can really wear us down and we can become dry and and tired.  Add the various things you have to deal with in life and we can really become dry and lose our enthusiasm.  The one way for us to get it all back is to look to God for a fresh filling of what we need!  He can refresh us!

Have a great day!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Playing Connect Four and Noise Control

In class, we have been playing our connect four games to help them read words with the skill we are working on for the week.  This week, we started working on final blends.  Our connect four game had a variety of words with final blends on it.  

When playing these games, it always seems like the kids will start out with their spy voices (quiet whisper voice) but then they start to get a little excited and their voices escalate.  I love using the bouncy balls.  All I have to do now is project it up on the board and the kids will automatically start reminding each other to use their spy voices.  

If you haven't ever used it, you should give it a try.  All you have to do is pull it up and click on the microphone.  Then the balls will start bouncing when there is noise.  I draw a line on the board and tell the kids that if a ball goes above that line, I put a tally mark on the board.  If we get 3 tally marks, we have to stop playing our game because it has gotten to loud.  It is a great tool to use in the classroom.

Have a great day!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Morning Tubs and Even a Fluency Tub

Happy Friday! 

This year our schedule changed in the mornings so that students come to my room before choosing to go to breakfast. As soon as I found that out, I began considering what I could have students working on. My principal kindly told me that "work time" was probably out or all students would be choosing to go to breakfast. Ha!

Then I saw the idea for morning tubs which I'm hearing a lot about now, so I know there are probably a lot of great ideas out there of what you can use as morning tubs. 

Each morning when the kids get off the bus (8:10), we meet in the gym to say our pledges and acknowledge birthdays, etc. Then we head to our classrooms. My students make their lunch choice and check their GO (Getting Organized) Books. Then they either head to breakfast or start on morning tubs.

For now, I have been setting the assigned tub on a group of desks and rotating them daily. Each week I set out different tubs or go back to ones we have used in previous weeks.

Some of the ones we've used so far: Play-doh, Legos, how-to drawing books, lacing beads, and my Fluency Tub (more info below). 

Some things I plan to use: Letter tiles and/or magnets, base 10 blocks, math wraps, puzzles, whiteboards, etc. Basically anything they can play, build, or do that will get their little minds engaged.

I love this time! 

The students are excited to get to class and hurry back from breakfast. It is fun to see what they create, build, or draw. I've overheard a lot of good conversations and problem solving. I have time to take care of my lunch count and even pull a kiddo aside to talk to them or do a quick fluency check. 

I play my "Rise and Shine" song at 8:30 and we gather on the rug for Morning Meeting. 

I was a little worried that the "Fluency Tub" wouldn't be as popular when I introduced it this week, but they are LOVING it. 

Here's a video on what is inside the tub (if it won't play for you, try checking it out on Facebook):

The favorite from the fluency tub is definitely the "I have…who has…?" game--which is fantastic because as you probably know I have a lot of them! :-)

This particular one is the high-frequency words from our Reading Wonders unit.

If you need some "I have…who has…?" games, check out our TPT store. We have several that cover a lot of grade levels and phonics skills (math too). There's even some freebies to get you started!

I'm pretty excited to know that I should never run out of morning tub ideas they love. :-)

Have a great weekend!

P.S. Trying the embed video from FB here:

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Wisdom for Wednesday - Weakness and His Strength

Good morning! I hope you're having a great week!

Today's wisdom post has a lot to do with how I am feeling as a teacher right now. We are on day 14 of school. I always feel overwhelmed at the beginning of the year. I grow weary of arriving bright and early before my contract time and not feeling like I accomplish anything. I struggle to figure out my new kiddos, my new schedule, and my new routine. To say that this time of year makes me fully aware of my weaknesses (at school and at home as I try to juggle teaching, coaching, writing, momming, and wifing--so the last two are made up words, but you know what I mean!) is a complete and total understatement.

This year that is especially true.

In my small district and school, I am usually more than willing to send paras down to the Kindergarten or the first grade room as they are adjusting to school and getting into their routines. I'm usually "okay" handling my own classroom until things settle down and we actually know where the paras will be needed.

This year it is different.
This year I had to admit that I needed help.

This year I have a super sweet, amazingly smart autistic kiddo (in addition to two other special needs students). I have never taught a student with autism, so I am desperately trying to learn more about it. I have had to admit my weakness in this area to the more experienced and knowledgeable staff around me.

I say all that to say this...

I'm so thankful for the Strength the Lord has given me the last few weeks--and I'm sure I'm not done giving Him my weaknesses!

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 

II Corinthians 12:9

Monday, September 12, 2016

Partner Teaching

Today was the first day of the first graders working together with his/her shoulder buddy on our Mountain Language and Mountain Math.  We have spent the first few weeks working the problems together and today they got with their shoulder buddies to work.  They were soooo excited!  We talked about how we have to talk to one another when we work with our shoulder buddies.  We started out by practicing a couple of problems.  One would start and talk about what he/she thought the answer would be and why.  The other student would have to agree or disagree and explain why they agreed or disagreed.  

They did a WONDERFUL job!  I think I have some future teachers in this classroom.  As I walked around the room, several of them were showing his/her partner how they got the answers.  I was so excited about how well they did for the first time.  Here they are:

I'm excited to see them in action again tomorrow!

Have a great night!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Wisdom for Wednesday-Reactions

Welcome to another week of:

Unfortunately in life, we can't control what always happens, but one thing that can be controlled is how you let it affect you or not affect you.  You can choose to let things get to you, or believe that everything happens for a reason and see the blessings in it.

I hope you are having a great week!

Monday, September 5, 2016

SuperSpeed Math Whole Brain

A couple of years ago I started to incorporate some of the whole brain techniques into my instruction and I really liked it.  I haven't incorporated the Superspeed Math as of yet, but I have been looking at it a lot lately.  When I read about it, I could see how it would be beneficial to the students.  

When I have searched it online, I have seen it being used a lot in 3-6 grades.  I haven't come across any as of yet that use it in the 1st grade.  I'm wondering if any of you use it?  If so, I would love to hear how you got it started and how you manage it in your classroom.  I'm anxious to hear from all of you that use it or have used it.

Have a great day!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Five for Friday: Video Tour, Science Success, and Back to School Fun!

Happy THREE day weekend!

After our first full week with students, I need it! My week has been crazy busy and last night was the first evening I made it home before 8:30. 

Exhausted is an understatement, and I've decided the world will be lucky if I get out of my pajamas today. ;-)

I've got LOTS to share with you today, so if I blow past FIVE I'm sorry (but there is some good stuff toward the end so hang in there).

Thanks, Kacey, for a great linky!


I love task cards, so we started practicing our task cards procedures right away with this "Get to Know Me" roam the room from Amanda Madden
P.S. If you don't follow her, you should. She gives amazing freebies to followers now and then, and I'm pretty sure this was a freebie at one time. Priced at $3, still a great deal!


Um...did I mention I love task cards? 

These were new to me this year and perfect for teaching my kids how to read QR codes (another thing I love) using the QRafter app.

This "Back to School Fun Quiz" is a freebie from Teacher's Toolkit.


Read to Self stamina is at 10 minutes after 7 days of school. We tried 12 on Friday, but...well, let's just say that ended in an impromptu lesson on "stamina breakers" (activities, not students though maybe I really would have liked to name names!) and "stamina builders."

P.S. I love two things about my tiny room (okay, three).
1. Two walls are covered with whiteboards (no wasting chart paper for this stamina graph).
2. One wall of shelves.
3. One wall of windows.
So the walls. 
I love the walls.
The space between the walls is tiny!


 We are also building our Work on Writing stamina. I think I have a group of authors because this has been easier than read to self!

Friday we tried Read to Someone, but that also needs more work. Volume is a biggie for this bunch!


We also got busy with some math this week using two of my favorite resources.
Math Helper on the right.
HOTSHOTS on the left.


This is one of the good ones, so I'm sorry the explanation is long!

In case you don't know, I teach 2nd grade, but I am also the K-2 science teacher. This year I have 1st and 2nd grade combined for a 20 minute science block (and then K for 20 minutes while 1st/2nd goes to music). That's 30 students in science at one time. 
I know, I know. Some of you have 30 students all day, but for me that is a large group!

The first week was a great success because of this blog post! You must check it out. She literally has everything you need for a great first week of science and it was all FREE!

I stretched her five day plan into 7. We watched the books suggested on YouTube because I didn't have them. The "Super Scientist" procedures and badges (see red arrow in picture) made it possible to do a non-chaotic experiment with 30 kids! I'll be using her "Super Scientist" procedures all year for experiments. I just cannot explain how excited I am about how the week went!


And finally, last Saturday I made a video tour of my classroom on Facebook. In case you missed it, here is the link.

I wish I would have dressed up a little--or maybe even fixed my hair--because it has about 2,400 views now! But oh well, that is the real Saturday me. :-)

If you have questions about anything you see, leave them in the comments here or on the FB post and I'll try to answer. I'll be making a video later today to explain the Fluency Tubs so keep an eye out (and I promise I won't be in my PJs ;-))! 

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

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