Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Advanced Learner Programs

Today I attended my first training with the third, fourth, and fifth grade teachers. Before today I had only heard about Jacob's Ladder, William and Mary, and Touchpebbles. I have implemented one unit of M3 and have had 3-4 years with Hands-On Equations. It sounds like next year we will have one teacher focusing on achieving William and Mary for 2/3 of the year, and another teacher implementing advanced math. I am so torn! Reading would be very fun and creative, but I have the most experience on my team for the math. Another issue is my 8 year old. I might be excluded from teaching either of these classes because he would be in both. I am looking for feedback on which programs you use and how much you use them "as is" and how much you modify them.
I am working on some ladder questions for the last 16 days of school with my second graders. This will be fun!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Checkin' in, Achin' and Winnin'

We're trying to get planned and copied to the end of the year. And PACKED. One of our permanent subs taped up a wall of boxes that are used up. My grade switch is sinking in, so I've been busy trying to find the differences in curriculum since I left four years ago. Our county is only adopting common core for math in k-2 next year, but the following year we all switch, so I've been looking for resources and creating some of my own to meet the new standards.

Last night I noticed a strange pain in my ear. When was the last time you had an ear infection?  I haven't had one is decades so I had forgotten. I slept last night keeping my ear warm, but I thought the pain would be gone in the morning. WRONG!! We were already short on subs, so I knew there was no way I could go to the doctor.  During planning I sat in the teacher's lounge and cried because it hurt and because if I sat I didn't have to worry so much about my equilibrium. It feels like someone just stopped the roller coaster. If any of my students complain that their ear hurts, I will now instantly write their pass.

I am a confirmed winner at Teacher's Notebook. I've known this whole post but I waited this long to tell you. I am trying to go through the third grade stores looking for wonderful things that I need. Does anyone have any suggestions of what they can't live without? If you want your chance in the sweepstakes, you've got one more day to enter. Good luck!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Sale & Candy Bouquets

I have joined in the Teacher Appreciation Sale at Teachers Pay Teachers running from May 6-8th. There will be lots of great products on sale. I'm hunting up good Common Core materials myself.

I am also planning on trying to make the candy bar centerpieces on my Pinterest board. Check out the candy bouquet! Our art teacher would definitely get a kick out of them. Fifty bucks is the LIMIT for candy, so hopefully I can make one for each building. I am planning on taping the candy bars to wooden skewers that are poked into styrofoam hiding inside the Hershey bar base.
Pinned Image
If it doesn't work out, I'll have a lot of candy to eat! Have a great weekend!

Mine didn't turn out as fancy, but they were very much appreciated!

  • I used a can cozy from the craft store as my container. 
  • 8 regular sized Snickers or Milky Ways fit around the outside.
  • I cut a piece of styrofoam to fit inside the cozy.
  • I purchased 5 10 count snack-sized candies and two each of 6 full-sized candy bars for each bouquet.
  • I used bamboo skewers that I hot-glued for about three inches on each candy bar. 
  • I used heavy kitchen shears to take three inches off the skewers for the smaller candies to provide levels.
  • Last, I used the wired stars to add sparkle. My son liked wrapping it around his fingers to make it curly.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

End of Year Assessment & looking for suggestions

Yesterday we met with the reading teacher to get our articulation cards. We write the names of our students on pink or blue slips that ask us to rate them in reading, writing, and math. We add their county reading and math assessment scores from the last major test, and their current running record level. Next week we will also give DIBELS again.
I knew my little guys were making progress. At the beginning of the school year, they were Cs and Ds. By January we were at J. Now most are at P, and one finished a STU!!!  From a C. Now this is un-timed, picking up the main idea as they read to the end of the passage. DIBELS is timed without reading to the end of the passage to pick up comprehension. But I get to tell them the words they are stuck on which might help comprehension. Do you give these assessments and if so which do you feel best reflects your students' performance?  
I still don''t have word about whether or not I am looping with my class or just two of my special friends, and I don't want the other third grade teachers to say I totally misjudged my students.
Some students did a great job with selected response questions on the formal assessments, but don't have much to add to classroom discussion about what they read or experience in math class. The Walls. You probably have a few of those. My check mark on the top of the form saying they are not in my high group should mean more than the advanced mostly SR assessment. We try to group for balanced academics, gender, and race, but then personalities become a factor. 
We started packing our grade group closet. We gave the teddy bear counters to our after school program, ancient wooden rulers to to the art teacher and small, medium, and large attribute blocks to the Pre K teacher. And we threw away dominoes, paper clocks, colored rings, links, and a lot of other stuff. There is sooo much to pack. We also have materials  in a closet we share with the music teacher, and reading materials in a reading closet. And our personal classrooms. And our cumulative records have to be done the morning after the students leave so they can be cleared out of our office. But NO PRESSURE.
Looking ahead, we have about 6 school days when we will be done our math and reading programs. Does anyone have a great idea on how to spend those last few days productively with no books and few materials? I was considering having the kids write tall tales and include US geography, the life cycle of an animal, and measurement in units that are appropriate for a  tall tale. I think our computer lab will be packed up, so we will have limited technology:(