Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy...

We are having an unexpected day off today due to the impending storm.  We are all enjoying a cozy pajama day so far, and are hoping that we don't experience too much damage.  Last Halloween we had a terrible storm, with blizzard/white-out conditions.  We were without power for four days.  Sandy is supposed to be stronger than that storm, so I am really hoping we don't have too many trees come down.  Everyone in the path of the storm stay safe!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Just keep swimming...just keep swimming...& Freebie!

Anyone else feeling like this?  I cannot believe that it's the middle of October already.  I feel so bad that I've been neglecting my little blog, but between school all day, family, and keeping up it's been nuts!  I have to say that I am really enjoying my class this year.  They are a really sweet bunch, and they make me laugh every day. Our math workshop has been going very well, I'm very pleased.  I've set it up so that I present my mini lesson to the whole class.  Most days I'm doing our mini lesson right after a number talk.  After the lesson they are headed to the first of their three workstations for the day.  The stations I am using are math facts, at your seat, teacher's choice (small group), and hands-on math games.  They are in leveled groups so that I can better meet individual needs during our small group time together.  I am really loving the small group aspect of math workshop, and I am so glad that I decided to give it a try this year.  I've been able to learn so much more about my students as mathematicians that I wouldn't have been able to other wise.  This week and next one of the new activities I've added to our workstations are my Spooky Sums Addition Task Cards.

There are two different sets of task cards, one set without regrouping, and one with regrouping.  Each set has twenty-four task cards, and there is also a recording sheet and answer key.  They're having a blast working on our common core standard of adding/subtracting within 1,000 with these!
 There are some students who have already come so far, in math and in reading, and I am proud of them for working so hard!  One of my little girls is an ell student.  She reading well below grade level, yet is trying to convince me to let her read Diary of a Wimpy Kid books for her just right reading level book.  Um, no dear!  It always breaks my heart a little bit when they want to read something that they are not ready for and are disappointed.  I was conferring with her and I told her "It's not a just right reading book for you just yet...but we'll work really hard this year to get it so it's a just right book for you in the future."  She smiled and said "Deal!"  This child has such a desire to learn, and I know that she's going to come so far this year.  If anyone has any strategies or things that have worked exceptionally well in the past, please share!  I'm obviously focusing heavily on vocabulary development and sight words.  We will definitely keep plugging away at it, or swimming away at is as Dory would say!  I'd love to send a FREE set to the first two people who leave a comment.  Be sure to include your email address! =)  Have a great rest of the week!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Hello October! and a FREEBIE!

Hello October, I have no idea where September went!  Is anyone else in the same boat?  I feel like back to school arrived, I blinked, and now it's October.  We are off and running with another great school year, and my third grade kiddos have definitely been busy.  I can hardly remember what my teaching/planning days were like pre-Pinterest and following teacher bloggers!  I am truly thankful for all of the amazing teachers out there that inspire me and get my creative juices flowing.  Here are a few snap shots of the beginning of our school year.

Remember this beauty floating around Pinterest?

 Well, we created out own version of these charts in our classroom, and we had some amazing results...the culmination of this activity lead to this beauty:
The class created their own classroom pledge based on the ideas that we pulled out of our created charts.  It was a wonderful, authentic learning experience for my class, and they really took ownership of it. =)

  We worked on my Kicking Off a New School Year! goal setting unit, which they really enjoyed.  They completed the soccer ball writing activity, which prompted them about what they were looking forward to and different things they liked.  I loved this particular student's response.  She said her favorite part of the day was playing with play dough...thank you Clutter Free Classroom!  They loved the back to school working with play dough activity!  I also finally got around to snapping a picture of my WBT classroom rules and direction cards...
We've done a lot of work with choosing just right books, ways we choose books, and talking about our reading and thinking.  We're working hard now to build a strong foundation for accountable talk in our classroom, and we've been having some great discussions.
It's hard to see, but in the bottom left corner you can see our mathematicians we made our first week of school as well.  The class had some great ideas of what mathematicians are/do, and they were surprised to learn that they are all mathematicians themselves.
 We are spending a lot of time focusing on conversational moves and body language as we build our accountable talk in our classroom discussions.  Our class also learned a new, very LONG word: METACOGNITION.  I had to smile as they were so determined in their efforts to first just read that word, let alone comprehend what it means and begin to monitor themselves.  
On the home front, our youngest son fell in love with soccer over the summer, and he is now playing on a travel team.  We are newbies when it comes to fall sports.  Our other son has only played baseball, so I am definitely not used to these games early on Saturday mornings when the weather is cold and raw.  The hubs laughed at me this past weekend when I said that for the next game I am going to bring a blanket to wrap up in!
 This is his "Hey Granny, over here!  Check out my uniform!" pose, lol.  So, on top of transitioning back into school mode, planning mode, correcting mode,(my least favorite), and soccer family mode, we are dealing with Mr. I am grumpy that I have to spend my days without my favorite people, puppy.  Needless to say, we have to keep plenty of toys in the house so that what you see below is toys only, and not furniture! lol
 Our living room looks like this just about  Seriously.  Fortunately for us, he ONLY does this to toys, or his dog bed, as is the case here.
Doesn't he just seem to be saying "What?  You know if you'd stay home with me I wouldn't have to do this!" ??  I love that little bugger!

Finally, I'd like to leave you with a little freebie.  I created this to use with student work folders that I will be sending home with completed assignments.  I'm using it as another tool to increase school-home communication.

Click on the picture to download your free copy! =)  Have a great rest of the week!