Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Uh-Oh


Someone is telling me not to blog tonight, and to take a break…
I can't say no to that face, so sorry I will be back tomorrow! :-)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I get by with a little help from my friends…

It is Tuesday night, and I am feeling it! It's that time of year when everything gets really crazy at school. Progress Reports are due, observations are starting, meetings are piling up, and conferences are looming, on top of teaching and living after school, and getting things done at your "real" home. I would SOOO be happy camper to have a 4 day weekend coming--but at least we will getting gaining an hour of sleep next week. If that doesn't help, a massage, and Starbucks gift cards will be on my Christmas list this year! 

--When I say I get by with a little help from my friends I am not referring to my actual friends, I am referring to my 2nd and 3rd grade kiddos. Sometimes they really make me work, and other days they are the best part of my day!--

Although school is busy--I am having the best year yet! ((knock on wood)) I am loving the kiddos I am working with this year, as well as the teachers. As I told you yesterday I am reading the 1st Boxcar Children book to my 2nd graders, as we were all sitting on the cosy new school provided carpet reading I could see my kids fall into the book. When I asked them if they were making a movie in their heads about what was going on in the book they all said yes and had so much to talk about! When I said we had to move on to get to our game, they asked if I could just keep reading instead! 




--One of the greatest feelings ever! These kiddos are struggling readers, and really do not enjoy reading at all. Finding a book that they enjoy listening to, is so exciting for me. I am hoping that this will give them reinforcement to keep reading, and we really do read for enjoyment, not torture! 

Although the days are getting longer (it seems) and there is always something to complain about. I would really rather end my day finding something positive about the day. What was positive in your day? :-)




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Monday, October 28, 2013

As promised…

I have pictures of the new and wonderful things that help me stay organized at school! 
My new to-do list from Target ($3.00 deal)

All of my baskets for each subject, plus my rack with my extra papers and books for the week.


Close up


IEP organization file crate


IEP goal clipboard with progress reports and all I Can Statements



All of my kiddos I Can Statements shrunk to fit on one quick sheet


One students goal folder with I Can Statements on the front (sorry for the terrible picture) 


Inside folder is a notebook, and all files needed to assess and work on goals. 


I am loving my system so far! I think the best part is that I am always prepared. I am never flying by the seat of my pants. I have to report on my kiddos every 5 weeks, so that is a lot of work to keep track of and manage, this is working well for that. 
More exciting things at school include: 
The Scholastic Book Fair is this week--I am obsessed, and am sharing my wish list below.


I just began reading a chapter a day out of The Boxcar Children to my second graders and they are absolutely hooked! I remember when my 3rd grade teacher read these books to us and I loved them. It is so great that they are getting into it like I did. We are also doing fluency practice with these kiddos each day, and today we did a super fun activity. 

We talked about how punctuation really matters when we are reading, and how we need to make our voice reflect that. I began the activity by doing a quick punctuation review. Then I drew a question mark, an exclamation point, and a period on a card. I said we are going to use these cards to guide how we say someones name. I will stand behind them, and only the rest of us will see which punctuation mark I am holding up. You have to say their name the way you would if you saw it in a book, so that they can guess what I am holding up behind them. They love this, and it worked great! 

We then moved on to a paper that had things like this:
(ex: abcd. efg! hijk?) This was more abstract and I definitely had to do some modeling, but they actually really got the hang of it. Tomorrow we will be reviewing this and then trying it with real words. I will have to let you know how that goes!

Hoping to hearing from some of you soon in the comment area! :-)





Friday, October 11, 2013

Dust off the old keyboard...

Well, I am officially back! I took some time away from blogging because I realized that spending all of my time in front of a computer was not the "best" way to spend my free time. Between finishing my masters and being on a computer most of the day at work--I  needed to spend time with my sweet husband and of course my two dog children.   :-) 

I am happy to be back, I have missed the blogging world. I miss getting new followers and finding new blogs to stalk! I can't wait to jump back in. I was never good at posting as much as I would have liked--and I know that will not change since I still am finishing my masters and have a calendar full of things to do. But I am going to try my best to keep you posted on what is going on in my classroom! 

School started and it's already October, I can't even believe how fast the time has gone! This year so far has been the best yet! I am doing small group instruction in all of the classrooms that I am in, and it seems like everyone welcomes my opinion and wants me to teach in their rooms. Sometimes this is hard--imagine someone else coming into your classroom to teach while you were still there--it can be very tricky, but I really think I have a great group of co-teachers this year!

I also have the biggest caseload I have ever had. I have 6 fairly "needy" kiddos this year. They are super good kids and I really do enjoy going to work everyday to spend my day with them! They do make me work though! Sometimes I think, I sound like a broken record having to repeat directions or say their names 20 times to get them back from  "La, La, Land," but it is worth it! 

Enough rambling...
Moving on to what you might benefit from--

I have totally reorganized my life at school this year and it is amazing, I am not quite sure how I went 2 years without this system I have created! 
-Because I go from room to room, basically every hour, it seemed that I needed a better way to organize my life (papers, books, activities) for each class. So I decided to go get magazine trays (from of course Target) and label each one for each class. (Ex. 2nd grade reading has a tray, 3rd grade math has a tray, and so on) I put all of the materials I need for that class in the tray in the morning. Now I am sure you are asking "what do you do with all of the extra stuff for the rest of the week?" Well, I am glad you asked! :-) I have two of those stacking trays at the end of the line up where I put future work--one tray for papers, the other for books. I then simply pull from that after school to prepare for my next day! 

That's not all folks! Because I am an Interventionist I get the pleasure of monitoring goals every 5 weeks and sending home progress reports for those goals every 5 weeks. (It is beyond daunting sometimes) This year I decided to try to get that organized too, and I did! I seem to have 1,000 milk crates laying around so I turned one into a filing system. Each student has a hanging file-on the outside of the file I have taped their "I Can statements"(I just changed the wording at the beginning of their goals to make them I Can statements.) So I can pull out the folder and see what we need to work on, but then inside the folder is every material I would need to assess any of the I can statements for that student! Now if you are like me you are thinking---but you are missing a step, where do you record your data? 
--Well I created a clipboard system meaning; I have a clipboard in that crate I shrunk down all of my students I can statements and put them on one piece of paper--that is taped to my clipboard. I then placed copies of the last progress reports that were completed on top. All I have to do is record data next to the old data and then when I am ready type it into the progress report template. 

Maybe you're thinking this isn't that smart--I would have done the same thing. Well, that is fine, I am sure I am not starting a revolution with my system, but it is exciting to have found something that works for me! I will be posting pictures later, as I am not at school today.

I would love to hear about how you stay organized at school, and what works for you! Please if you have any questions about what I do ask, I would love to think that this post might help someone else! 

Happy Weekend! :-)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

FREEBIE AND LOTS OF EM'

This morning I woke up to an awesome email for Teaching Blog Addict about how they are celebrating their 2nd Birthday and are linking up with TONS of A+ teachers. The teachers are able to put up any freebie products they want! This will be a great event! 

I have decided to put up my Poet Tree Pack up as a Freebie! This is a BEST seller for me and I know if you do not have this yet you should snag it for free!



Click the link below to sign up for the give away!  

http://www.teachersnotebook.com/deals/giveaways/803

If you comment you get 1 extra entries
If you start following my blog you get 2 extra entries
If you feature my blog on your blog you get 3 extra entries! 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

New Blog

For all of my followers I did want to let you know that I started a NEW blog. I felt like this blog talked too much about my life outside of school and not enough about my school life. So if you are interested please check out my cute new blog and my newest guilty pleasure...

http://blogging-with-bliss.blogspot.com
Please stop by--you might even get to know me a little better.

I will be posting again very soon here about some very exciting Greek and Latin Root ideas you can use in your room immediately!

Thanks for your support as always!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

But seriously...
I could give you all 20 excuses as to why I have been away but you know, and I am sure you understand. 

Lots going on in the home front--we are house hunting every free minute we get it seems. It is exciting and also oh so stressful. My husband loves every house we look at...and I am the terrible person who has to crush his dreams and tell him--heck no, or eh it is ok, or the ever popular I love the house but not the area. I am sure we will find something that we both love, it just hasn't happened yet. 


Reading Update:
I am currently reading 3 books...
-The Streetsweeper (I have only heard wonderful things about, but am really struggling getting into the story.) 
-Winter Garden (I thought it would be a fun book--it is totally depressing, but the story is at least entertaining.)
-Paris My Sweet (I am loving this book, it just makes me want to eat Chocolate all of the time and go to Paris.) 

On my Amazon wish list: 
Bossypants
The Literacy Cookbook 
The Book Whisperer
Thirteen Reasons Why 
It's Kind of a Funny Story

Now on to school news...


I am loving my grad classes this semester, I am taking a Greek and Latin Roots class that I can't get enough of. I admit that I am a nerd and have always loved learning and school but, I have never read a text book for pleasure. This class I do, it just is so interesting and makes so much sense to me! The class is all about how to teach Vocabulary, we all know that with the new Common Core we are going to have to do a better job at this. This class has just been such an eye-opener. Right now we are learning how to introduce and "Divide and Conquer" new words. My professor has explained that if we teach students what the most common prefixes, suffixes, roots, (e.g.  "form"(shape) )and their meanings they will be able to read vocabulary words and be able to pull them apart and know the meanings. It is so addicting once you get started. 

I started this last week with my third graders and they were really enjoying it. I found that they were actually interested in learning and thinking of more words. 
   -I started with just the basic prefix "re" and taught them that "re" meant again. We then came up with as many words with "re" as the prefix as we could. Then we broke the words apart and they were able to understand what they meant. They treated this like a game--but in reality they were really internalizing this information and I am sure will remember it tomorrow when we review. I am going to introduce "un" tomorrow and see if I get the same response. 

As the course progresses I plan on creating a unit for TPT. The kids have loved it so far and it is really a neat way for me to teach my kiddos some tricks to figure out those tricky vocabulary words that keep popping up. 

We have a short week at school this week. We do have conferences on Thursday night (Valentine's Day) which kind of sticks--BUT we get all of Friday off and then we have Monday off for President's Day so I am ok with the situation... :) 

I hope you all have a lovely Valentine's Day week!