Saturday, June 30, 2012

Math Workshop: Team Meeting (Small Group)

I feel like I've tried typing up this post 10 different ways! This chapter is so long, and I feel like there is so much to discuss! Thank you to the awesome Mary at Pitner's Potpourri and Ms. Whiteley at Toad-ally Exceptional Learners for hosting this information packed chapter! :)

In my room, when it comes to small groups, I have students rotate through 3 different places. A sample rotation schedule may look like this:

Rotation #WorkstationsCurrent EventTeam Meeting
1Lions (bubble)Giraffes (high)elephants (developing)
2Giraffes (high)Elephants(developing)Lions (bubble)
3Elephants (developing)Lions (bubble)Giraffes (high)
Sometimes I will switch the developing and bubble groups just to keep things different. I always meet with my high group last however, and my bubble (average) and developing (low) first so that when they go onto other activities they understand what to do. The extra reinforcement really helps them be successful when they are in independent learning situations (which is the workstations and current event rotations).

How do I organize my groups?
I love that Laney mentioned a ton of different ways to organize groups. In my room I stick to 3 groups which mean 3 rotations. I do weekly quizzes that help me to see how students are doing with the concepts being taught. If students are improving quickly or struggling with a concept, I can bump them to a different group that will better meet their needs. Obviously student work and math talk also drives this as well. Next year I'd like to do an anticipation guide for each unit at the beginning.

Every single student in my classroom is given a math partner as well. That is the person they sit with during mini lessons, and work with throughout math workshop. I change the partners as I feel the need, but will do a big change every unit. That helps keep it fresh! I partner students within the group they are in. In my class I use animal names, so if giraffes are a group, I partner my giraffes together. I try to partner a high giraffe with a lower giraffe. Same would be true for my other 2 groups. I have found that this helps me stay organized and easily be able to rotate groups without kids all over the place.

Team Meeting
I call my small group time: Team Meeting. We meet on the carpet in my room while everyone else is out in the rest of the classroom. I've found that meeting at a table is way too hard, and I love spreading out.

When students come to this station, I always have something waiting for them to work on. Sometimes it may be a word problem on the board, or fact flash cards. Anything they can do without me. During this time I am checking in around the room with students to make sure they have their materials, and any last minute questions. Once I am in Team Meeting, I am not allowed to be disturbed.

My bubble and developing small groups usually have a similar small group lesson. In my high group, we will grade whatever work was supposed to have been done for the day, and if all students completed it successfully, we will extend the lesson. I work in 2nd grade, so I might begin to introduce 3rd grade work to them. If they didn't understand the work they were supposed to have done, we will review it and do extra practice on it.

I sometimes introduce games to students in small group. These games eventually get put out into my math workstations rotation which I'll go into later in the week. I give students practice to do it as a group, and then work with their math partner. I can also differentiate the game between all 3 of my groups, even more hitting the skills that they need.

Important Notes
Here are some things that I make sure to do in my small group:
  • It connects to the mini lesson and goal for the day. I have students revisit what we did in our mini lesson.
  • At the beginning of the lesson, I will scaffold how to accomplish a task, frequently asking "What should I do now?" I allow them to walk me through how to do something.
  • Students sit with their math partners, and will work with them towards the end of the lesson. A lot of times they will work on the activity they will be doing independently. Once I see that they can be successful with it, I will send them out into the room to get started without me.
  • Give feedback! Tell what they are doing well, and what you liked about their thinking. Target in on exactly what might be confusing a student, and tell them what you see.
My Planner
I use a planner to help organize all of my workshop. I have found it useful, and am posting in hopes you will find it useful too! Keeping track of 3 small groups a day can be a challenge, so on my planning page I have included the objective and what I see students doing. I always left a place for what to address next. 
 Click HERE to download the 2 page file.

If you need a more visual please check out the videos on Ms. Whiteley's blog at Toad-ally Exceptional Learners.

I hope this was helpful.. small group meetings is such a hard concept to fit into one blog post!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday Made It Behavior Chart

One thing I can check off my to do list: Behavior Clip Chart Safari Jungle Theme! I have loved seeing the pins for different ways to go about it. A few of my favorites and inspiration:

The Original, click the picture to go read more about this amazing chart and how to implement it!

Pirate - Rock N Roll - Superhero

And here's a preview of what mine looks like!
I'm planning on putting little safari hats with numbers on the sides of the clips. Can't wait to put it together when I am back home on Wednesday. I'll definitely post with updates on how it turned out! :) I'd also like to share it.. but am nervous with all the copyright scariness! The borders and people were drawn by me.. the clipart from microsoft office. Any advice?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Math Workshop: Whole Group

Oh whole group. I have a love/hate relationship with it! I love being able to teach one concept in one swing, cutting down on prep work and planning. I hate when I see students start to stare off... or in my second graders case- making EVERY single thing in their pencil box turn into an airplane/spinning top/microphone! (Oh yes, I had one student who just LOVED to sing silently into his eraser)

Chapter 4 in Guided Math is all about whole group lessons. The lovely Sweet Seconds and Once Upon a Teaching Blog are hosting the chapter. They have some great ideas, and are hosting a link exchange, so definitely check them both out!

One of my favorite things about this book had to be the way in which they help you wrap your brain around a math mini lesson. This is something that was absolutely impossible for me to understand as a beginning teacher! Here are the 4 components Laney outlines as a minilesson. Underneath I have put a few examples of what I might do.

CONNECTION - How will you hook your students?
  • I will use my dogs (Hunter and Max) a lot and tell a story about a problem they encountered that pertains to the math concept being taught.
  • Show a picture/prop, or some sort of visual to get students thinking about a concept. For example, when teaching area/perimeter I will show them some real life examples where this is used. Like apartments! Many of my students live in them, and knowing perimeter/area helps place furniture, know the space in a room, etc.
  • Restate a math concept from the previous day and expand on it today. Sometimes I'll let them know we are doing third grade work! And having taught third grade previously, some of my lessons I actually USED in third grade!
TEACHING POINT - How will I model the concept?
  • I will ALWAYS introduce our objective for the day. "Mathematcians, today we will...." After they hear it, I will read it again while students repeat after me. I use a wonderful Whole Brain Teaching method here called "Mirror". (I LOVE WBT!!!)
  • Model, model, model! Just like in reading! The teacher thinks aloud! I usually have my students sitting on the carpet while I use a whiteboard or chart paper to map my thinking and create anchor charts!
  • Students listen! Many of my mini lessons go over because we start going off on a tangent talking! I really need to work on keeping talking to a minimum, and focusing on getting the main point of the lesson across.
ACTIVE ENGAGEMENT - How will students participate?
  • Think/pair/share - I always have students sitting next to an assigned math partner.
  • Whiteboards!!! Such a great and easy way to assess students. Perfect for knowing which students will need extra help, and which are getting it.
  • Visual Cues - Have students hold up cards (A B C D), or fingers, or hand motions for true/false to quickly assess understanding.
LINK TO ONGOING WORK - How and why does this fit in to our math learning?
  • I'll be honest, I need to work better at closing a lesson. I'd like to have students retell what it is they learned. Perhaps we can review the objective.
  • Most of the time I have explained how this will fit in with their rotations today, and our expectations on what students will be doing during math workshop. I expect students to understand their mathematician JOB for the day before letting them go. If anyone does not understand, they can stay on carpet for clarification, as well as talk to their math partner.
I also found a wonderful writing mini lesson template that follows a VERY similar format to Laney's. I now try to make ALL my mini lessons in ALL subjects match this outline. Check out the Writing Mini Lesson Template HERE.

Although my math workshop (which you can read about how I organize it here!) uses mostly small group, there are times when I will take a whole day doing a whole group lesson. I usually refer to this an an anchor lesson. One of my FAVORITE lessons is when introducing 2-d geometry. Laney mentions using math literature, and I use it frequently!!! Here's a short outline of a sample anchor lesson I use with the WONDERFUL book The Greedy Triangle.

Hook/Prior Knowledge- I always start asking students what they KNOW about shapes. Laney mentioned KWL charts, and this is a great prelude to 2d and 3d geometry. We brainstorm shapes we know, and discuss what we know about them. It's a great way to see which students might already know the 2d shapes we will encounter in the book.

Goal/Objective- Here I will explain to students their mathematician job for the day. We will describe 2-dimensional shapes using The Greedy Triangle and a foldable. After we have gone through the objective, I will give them a 6 flap foldable. First I fold it in half hamburger style.

Then I fold the sides into meet the half fold I made.

Next I cut each flap into thirds, so there is a total of 6. I definitely premake these for my second graders, so they don't worry about cutting or folding. On the front we will write 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. These will be the number of sides on each shape.

Inside we will draw and write the name of the shape as we learn about it in the book.

After students have folded and written their numbers on it, we walk to the carpet (where they, as always, sit by their math partner) and get ready to listen to the story. They bring a book, pencil, and their foldable so they can write as we read.

Active Engagement - When finished with the story, students will be going on a scavenger hunt around the school to find the 2d shapes in real life! This a great way to get them actively engaged, and looking for the shapes on their own! We use this table below. Before going out, we review the shapes we learned, draw a picture, and write the number of sides again. FIND IT HERE (I still have no clue how to embed google docs... anyone help?)

Then we line up and head out!

Closing - Upon coming back to class we discuss what we found. I always close the lesson by discussing what shape was the easiest to find, and which was the hardest. We talk about why we think some were easier than others.

Every year I teach this anchor lesson, and every year I LOVE it! Something I did not do but would like to do is create an ANCHOR CHART. I'm not sure it would be beneficial to do it during the read aloud, the next day, or after the read aloud? Do you have any thoughts?

I hope this was helpful! :) Can't wait to hear what everyone else thought of Chapter 4! :)

Oh and I MUST give a big thank you to Brandi at Sucess in Second Grade, Jodi at Southern Sweetie in Second, Amy at Where Seconds Count, Katie and Lisen at Second Grade Smarty Pants and Heather at Teach It Today for awarding me :
I cannot express how much I appreciate your thoughtfulness! I'll be passing it along this week! :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Thank You! You're Welcome!!! Monday Made It!

Yea, I actually made something today! :) So I'm linking up (and promptly pinning all the new things others made today!)

Before my student teaching, I interned in a 5th grade classroom for 8 weeks. The first day there, my cooperating teacher asked me to pass out multiplication tests. As I handed one to the first student, they said thank you. Surprised, I answered you're welcome. I turned to the next student. Again I received a thank you when handing them the paper. As I moved on to each student, I received a thank you from EVERY SINGLE one. I was astounded! When I commented how polite of a class she had, she told me she worked hard to instill manners and good habits in her students. She even mentioned how it carried over to when they had substitutes! I knew that day that this was something I absolutely wanted to practice in a classroom of my own.

It is now my sixth year of teaching, and I take the time every year to teach my students to say thank you when someone opens a door for them, hands them a paper, picks something up for them, gives them something, etc. It takes a lot of practice at the beginning, but is absolutely worth it! I'll never forget how each and EVERY one of my students (with NO prompting from me) told a custodian who held a door open for them "thank you". Brought the most enormous smile to my face.

To keep it interesting however, I teach them how to say thank you and you're welcome in a NEW language every week or two. It's a great way to introduce and show them the countries where the language is used and how it is written. It's also perfect for students who use a different language at home because then THEY can teach us how to say them! What a fun way to build culture!

A problem I found this year though was that I wasn't keeping a record of words we learned. After seeing this on pinterest:

I decided this would be AWESOME to keep track of thank yous and you're welcomes:

I just spent all afternoon creating a spreadsheet that has the country, language, thank you, you're welcome, and translation to English.

I am HOPING they are correct. I tried to look on more than one website for translations. If you see something that is incorrect, please let me know so that I can fix it. You can find the SPREADSHEET HERE.

Here are a few ways we use our thank you's in the classroom:

One of my classroom jobs is having a line patrol. They help keep the line quiet and orderly, while also opening any door we encounter. Once they have opened it, each student is expected to give eye contact to the person and tell them thank you. The line patrol will respond with a thank you while looking them in the eye as well. I am super big on eye contact when students are talking to others.

Another of our classroom jobs is a paper passer. Students are to tell them thank you (eye contact again) and the paper passer responds with you're welcome (eye contact too!)

During class we do so many partner activities. I expect them using thank yous when playing games, doing work together, or anything that might warrant a thank you! At the beginning of the year we role play A LOT so students get really good at getting in the habit of using it! :)

Each of our students are expected to voice what they would like to the lunch workers. Upon receiving their lunch, I expect them to say thank you for what the get. It's also fun because then the staff gets to hear thank yous in different languages too!!

Those are just a few places I specifically TEACH them to use their manners. Can you think of any other places you might encourage a thank you?

Oh and I'm off to Laughlin, Nevada tomorrow for boating, swimming, tanning, and gambling with the fam! Here's hoping I don't get too sunburnt.. although coming from a redhead... that's basically impossible! :)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Math Workshop: Little Extras

Are y'all following the Guided Math book study? It's pretty spectacular! Dana at 3rd Grade Gridiron did an excellent job of hosting Chapter 2- equip with a powerpoint and voice recording! Can we say awesome?!? I wanted to link up with her, and share a few ways I use some of the ideas outlined in the book.

Something mentioned in the book is having areas for whole group, small group, and workshop areas. Here is a visual of how my room is laid out:

The purple is where I do my whole group mini lessons and take my small groups. This part of my room is where we have the large carpet so it works out perfectly. Alongside the wall I have some plastic bins which house math manipulatives, whiteboards, extra pencils and erasers, and any graded work or other things needed for the day.

The yellow is where math station students go. They are next to all the supplies they need and can work either in the desks or on the floor or even the kidney table desk to the left.

The green is where students go who are working on the current event. It's right up next to the board where I might leave examples of what they are to do. Sometimes I will even project directions or reminders using the ELMO.

One of my favorite things about how my room is set up, is that the yellow and green parts are connected to the purple part! This means that students who might need help can sit alongside the carpet and I can quickly check in with them easily.

This is something new I did this year and enjoyed! I broke mine up into a problem of the week. I did NOT come up with the super cute IPAWS acronym (althought I wish!). I got the idea from proteacher (another addiction of mine!). I believe the original author was Ms. Sanchez who has a super cute I PAWS worksheet too.
 Click HERE for the google doc version.

P - Monday
A - Tuesday
W - Wednesday
S - Thursday
On Fridays I would leave time for students to come up and present how they solved their IPAWS. You can do this by having poster paper up for them to write their responses on, or students could use the board and give a presentation. Lots of different ways! If you have a way you share problems, please do share! I'd love more!

What's the "A" box all about? The A box would contain something like 'draw a picture' 'work backwards' 'act it out'. I teach problem solving strategies, post them in the room, and then students can refer to those to help solve problems. In the A box, they would just write 'draw a picture' or whatever strategy they chose to use. Tuesday's we would discuss what we could use, and students can choose their own when they are able to start doing problem of the week's individually. At the beginning of the year we do these together.

I always have vocabulary posted on one of the boards in my room. I'm thinking this year I will retire words around the board or high up towards the ceiling, and make sure current words are actually ON the board for students to see.  That way they'll be up all year long. I always have students copy the vocabulary word I teach into their notebooks as well. We write the word, the definition, then draw a picture. Anyone else have some other suggestions on teaching math vocabulary?

This is an example of what students glue into their notebooks.

I have students write notes on one side, then flip it over and write math work on the other. In the notes side, we glue in foldables, vocabulary words, write examples. On the math work side students might solve a problem or do a quick write about a closing question I might ask. I think I may just combine it all this year, and have students really take care of what they are writing. I'd also like to put a table of contents in like I do for science. I have been pinning some great notebooks, so you can take a look at what I have found HERE.

I'd like to get better with making math anchor charts this year, and displaying them. I have found so many great ones on pinterest that have been quite inspiring. I've also been pinning lots of math literature as that is one of my FAVORITE ways to get students connected to skill being taught.

I hope you have found some useful ideas today! In my next post I'll go more in depth into what I do for each station (current event, math stations, team meeting) and how I set it all up! Again PLEASE leave any questions or suggestions! There is still so much more I'd like to improve!

Oh! ANNNND! I am going to participate in a new blog completely centered around awesome pinterest pins! There will even be themes at times such as 'back to school' or 'thanksgiving'. How cute does that sound? Come join in on the fun!!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Math Workshop: Organization

I've tried quite a few different ways to set up math workshop, and so far, this year's set up has been my favorite. I mean when I hear "Ms. Wilkie, we're NOT going to do math stations today?!? *groan*" I KNEW that this was something good! Here's a snapshot of what a typical math day might look like for me.

For my math workshop, I see every student, everyday. Sure there are some exceptions, but for me, this is what worked.

10-15 minutesMini Lesson on math objective for the day/weekread aloud, foldable, math notebook, vocabulary, new game
20 minutesRotation 1developing: team meeting
bubble: math stations
advanced: current event
5-10 minutesMini LessonCan be a mad minute fact practice, problem of the week, address problems you saw going on
20 minutesRotation 2developing: current event
bubble: team meeting
advanced: math stations
5-10 minutesMini Lesson: CalendarSomething new. Maybe something like HERE or HERE I'd LOVE more suggestions!
20 minutesRotation 3developing: math stations
bubble: current event
advanced: team meeting
5-10 minutesClosingShare things that were easy/hard, math write, share what they learned today

My schedule follows something similar to Daily 5. I also use I-charts during the math workshop launch to describe behaviors. That makes it a great connector of classroom expectations throughout the whole day. This is just a rough idea, my students and I always make new ones each year. I make I charts for Math Workstations and Current Event.

 When it is time for a rotation I use a chart like the one below. Each of my three math groups has an animal name, and are flexible (Ooooh buzz word!!)! Students do not stay in the same group all year. I've found my students have different math strengths and slide in and out of groups. During the day, I will move their animal cards so students have a visual on which station they will be going to next. All students will go to all three rotations in one day.

You will notice orange numbers. Those are my different math stations. I'll go more into what I do for math stations later in the week. Every day I move the math numbers down so students will be going to a new station each day. The white cards are my students who will be going to that station. I pair my students up with a partner so that they always have someone to work with. The chart on bottom shows how I might move the orange station numbers the next day. It takes students over a week to cycle through all the stations. I try not to double up students in math stations unless I HAVE to. So in other words, two students per math station. If there was an odd number in my classroom, some students could have a group of 3.

Here is what I store my math stations in. I LOVE this effing thing!!! I  bought mine on craigslist for 20 dollars- which makes me love it even more!!! Each bin is a different numbered station with all the supplies kept inside. I of course put them in all nice and neat, and if you can believe it, my second graders sometimes have trouble putting their station back as neatly as they found it. Okay. Let's be honest. This happens MOST OF THE TIME. To help with this problem, I invented a stations inspector as one of my classroom jobs to help keep it tidy. They make sure everything was put back at the end of the day and will give tickets to those who left their station messy.
Next time I'll talk a little more about what I do in each rotation and how each of them might look. If you have any questions please feel free to ask! Or any suggestions that might fit, I'd love to hear them! As I'm rereading Guided Math, there is more I'm ready to tackle and try to put into my workshop. But it's a slow (and slightly overwhelming) process.

On a personal note I'm home visiting my parents for a few weeks. It's so nice to be home and pretend I'm a child again with no worries or responsibilities in the world! Well... a child who gets to drink lots and lots of wine with their mama! And who doesn't love to do that?

Math Workshop: The Beginning

My first year teaching, I taught 5th Grade at a Title 1 school. I can still remember touring the school during my interview. The excitement, the nervousness, the 'am I ready for this?' thoughts in the back of my mind. I had worked so hard in college to graduate with a 4.0, had spent so much time and effort during student teaching in 5th grade to create 'engaging and hands on' lessons- how could I NOT be ready? I mean, I had already been in a 5th grade classroom for most of my senior year in college- I had learned how to teach from college professors and veteran teachers! Looking back, it's amazing to me how little I actually knew about guided groups.

Math was 50 minutes every day. Most of the time I would plan my math lesson during lunch (which was right before math). It took me about 10 minutes to copy down vocabulary and important notes onto overhead sheets. I would use bright colors in hopes of jazzing it up. I didn't need to use outside resources- everyone else at my school followed the text book. During student teaching, and interning in other classrooms- that's what the teachers there did too! They followed the book lesson by lesson. Everything was already laid out for you. And afterall, the authors of these textbooks were experts weren't they? Isn't that why we spent all this money to buy their math program? Because these authors KNOW how to teach students math and the progression in which they should learn it? Thinking the answer to these questions was a big YES! here's what a typical day looked like for math in my first years of teaching:

1. Homework check at the door. I would collect it and hand it back randomly to different students to grade it. They would walk into the classroom and begin grading the paper they had. The answers were posted up on the overhead. I would then call out each problem number, and students would raise their hand if their person had missed the problem. When a lot of hands were up, I would write that problem on the board so we could go over it. Once papers were traded back, we would solve the problem as a class while student's fixed the problem if they had missed it.
2. Students would then get out their Saxon math books and turn to the lesson we were on. I would go in order, so it was no surprise which lesson we were on. Notebooks would come out, and students would begin taking notes and copying what I wrote down on the overhead. Notebook checks would happen, so I expected them to be following along.
3. We would go over vocabulary, and then I would model a problem for them based on the lesson. Students would copy it down. Then they would get out their whiteboards and try solving 1-2 on their own. They would raise up the board when I asked for it, and then they would write down the answer and correct process into their notes. I would usually end the lesson with a 'hired or fired' where I would solve a problem, and students would hire me if I did it right, or fire me if I had done it wrong.
4. Students would then do the practice set  from the lesson (10 problems) and check their answers which I placed up on the wall in the classroom. When they finished, they would bring it to me so I could check the work, and once accepted they could begin their homework for the day.
5. For tests coming up, we would do a review (which was EXACTLY like the test, just different numbers). They had the whole class period to do the 20 problem test. The next day we would check it (if there was time), and would begin a new lesson/unit that same day.

This was a 50 minute class period.

As the year went on, I began to notice that whole group wasn't working for ALL my students. Study sessions after school were also NOT enough. These students who needed extra support, weren't getting it. And the students who WERE understanding the lesson quickly, were bored during class.  I decided something had to be done. During the last 15 minutes or so of class, I began taking a small group of students down to the floor to work on the practice set together. Those that did understand the lesson, would continue to work at their desk independently. I began to see the value in working with small groups, and how just a little extra help, really went a long way for these students. And although I had no idea what guided math was at the time, it somehow found its way into my teaching.

After reading up on guided math and math workstations, I have finally come up with a plan that fits me. Since I haven't been able to get into my current classroom because of construction and cannot take photos, I have been working on creating graphics to show what resources I've used during math. As I finish those up tonight, I'll be posting an overview of a typical day in math compared to the one I have described above. What did math look like for you when you first began teaching?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Math Workshop

UPDATE: So, in trying to visit my room today and take pictures, I found a construction zone blocking my path. I'm going to try to go back next week, so that I can give a visual tour through what I do! :)

I also joined the Guided Math book study over at Primary Inspired. I hope you will join us through the course of June and July!

Something that I absolutely LOVED about my classroom this year was my math workshop. I had taken ideas from these two books:

Then I meshed them together along with Beth Newingham's workshop, and ended up with what I taught this year. I even incorporated I-Charts similar to Daily 5, so that reading and math would have the same expectations. I had so much fun with it, and my students really grew! After taking our post test, more than half of my class passed with A's or B's. I had 4 RTI kids who scored between 60-68%, which was huge for them considering it was a 40 QUESTION TEST! (Ugh so long). I felt like my students were really engaged this year and enjoyed math. Anytime we weren't doing math stations, you would here groans coming from all over the room! My plan for the next few weeks is to outline what I did, in hopes it could be helpful to others out there.

1. Materials and and Overview of Math Workshop
2. The three rotations: Team Meeting, Current Event, Math Stations
3. Mini-Lessons and Transitions
4. Launching Math Workshop

(I'm sure there is much more that I will add as I get myself organized!)

I'm also looking into reading this book this summer in hopes of linking math and reading beyond just behavior expectations. Has anyone read this?

I hope you will join me over the next  few weeks and send any helpful hints about things you have found that worked in your class!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I'm busy pinteresting right now!!

How many times have I used pinterest as a verb? Seriously. I'm pretty sure my boyfriend has a love/hate relationship with my obsession with the site. He LOVES all the recipes I find, HATES all the time I spend 'pinning'.

I've never joined up with a linky party, but as I love all things having to do with pinterest, this just seemed to fit me so well!

Amber over at Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher is hosting it, and I am THRILLED. So out of my 1750+ pins, here are some of my favorites. (If you're interested at looking at my 1750+ pins, you're welcome to follow that little red button over there and check them out!)

Chicken Enchilada Pasta- This has to be by far the BEST thing I have made so far for dinner. It's super easy, and absolutely fantastic!

Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes- Now, if I didn't feel so guilty about eating these, I would make them every week! They are absolutely DELICIOUS, and addictive.

This has so many great resources for mini lessons for reading, and I cannot wait to look through it this summer.

I absolutely want to make this for next year. I absolutely love that students can move UP and down!

Morning meetings are going to be new to me next year, and these ideas seem fantastic!

 This is just too darn sweet, and would be such a positive message to wake up to each morning! :)

I have so many more that I'd like to add, but apparently my internet connection isn't strong... although my computer is in the same spot it is EVERYDAY! AHH! Frustrating.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Checking off the TO DO list

Alright, so week 2 of summer is underway and I'm feeling great! So far today I have accomplished the following:

- Updated my "Helping Hands" job board and gave it a makeover.
- Delved into the first week plans of my Daily 5/CAFE for next year (w/ the help of a coworker)
- Created a VOICES board using these WONDERFUL printouts which you can get HERE.

I'm hoping that I can post some pictures tomorrow, as I am not sure if I can post the actual file. All this copyright regarding clipart/fonts is scary to me in the blogging world! I don't know a whole lot about what I can put up, and what I cannot yet. If anyone has some advice, I'd be happy to hear it. I'd like to make this blog a place where I can post things of mine, especially if others can find use in it!

Oh another late night... how does time manage to fly by SO fast?!?!?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Summer Time (and READING!)

Yay yay yay! Summertime is here, and I couldn't be more energized! Week 1 and I have already been planning for the next school year! A little crazy? Maybe....

In addition to planning, I've also been able to visit the library and pick up some summer reading. It has to be my absolute favorite thing to do! Here are a few books I picked up this summer:

I'll be reading both of these in hopes of implementing more next year. I've already had a few A-HA! moments since rereading them. If you have any to share, I'd be interested in hearing! :)

I have been really struggling with vocabulary this year. Trying to use the basal, and implement all the words they suggest has been hard for me. I'm hoping this book will provide some insight.

I randomly just picked this one up as fluency is really being pushed next year. Not sure what all there will be, but it came with a CD which is always exciting!

I've heard amazing things about this book, and am interested in seeing what it is all about.

And could I get ANY MORE EXCITED about this book? What a difference it has made this year in my math workshop! I absolutely cannot wait to tackle more of the ideas listed here.

I have an obsession with books, so PLEASE recommend anything you are currently reading (fiction included! I could use a break from professional knowledge).