Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Under Construction


     Well friends, you may have noticed recently that my blog design disappeared ?! Yes, it did!  I, being slightly neglectful to my blog, hadn't even noticed it until recently, but apparently it happened a while ago.  I have had the same blog design since starting out and what was once a free design template is no more and so it was taken off the blogs on which it was being used!  
     Luckily, I recently saw some blogging friends who had their blogs updated and I decided to try a custom design route.  So, I am now in the works to have a custom design created for my blog!  YAY!  I am so excited, even though I have no idea what will be in store or how it will turn out.  
     It will be a while before my new template is up and running, so this template is in place for the meantime so it isn't just a blank screen.  

Thanks for understanding and stay tuned for what's to come!


Monday, January 27, 2014

Mentor Text Linky- Coming to America

      I am linking up with Collaboration Cuties for a Mentor Text Linky. I haven't linked up with them for a while and thought it was about time!  This week's focus is on Social Studies, which is perfect because we are getting ready to start a new unit in Social Studies and Reading.  
      I chose the book called Coming to America: The Story of Immigration by Betsy Maestro.  Our team has created an integrated unit to teach content, reading, and writing.  The content portion will consist of teaching about how our communities became diversely populated.  We will learn about cultures within communities and how transportation had an effect on immigration and community changes over time.  We flex group for reading, so we all try to cover the same  standards and read aloud the same books as mentor texts.  This was the book that we chose to use to begin our unit.  

The book jacket description says: 

"America is a nation of immigrants.  From the first nomadic settlers, to the huge wave of immigrants in the nineteenth century, to the refugees from troubled areas of the world, each group of immigrants has contributed in its unique way to the rich fabric of American life.  This book explores the evolving history of immigration to the United States, a long saga about people coming first in search of food, and then, later in a quest for religious and political freedom, safety, and prosperity.  It is a fascinating story that explains the richness and diversity of the American people, past and present."

         I am looking forward to using this book and for starting our unit! My school is incredibly diverse.  I have 26 students in my homeroom and 8 of them are the children of parents who have immigrated to the United States.  I know that this will be a sensitive subject but one that will help educate the students in our classroom and appreciate the diversity within our school!

       When I taught first grade I used lapbooks a ton!  I wanted to start using them again, but just hadn't made any.  This unit, I bought two packets on TpT and then added a little of my own touch to create a lapbook.  If you are in need of some resources, head over to grab these two products.  Click Here and Here!!  I don't have any pictures yet of the lapbooks, but hopefully will add them as we get started! (We had today and tomorrow

Today was a snow day and I just got the call that tomorrow is another "cold weather day".   Hope you are staying warm!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

A Day Our Way- A Schedule Linky!


     Amelia at Where the Wild Things Learn is having a linky to share the different ways we have our days organized/scheduled.  So I am joining in!  I have to say that in all of the schools I have worked in, my schedule has always been given to me, with some variance and movement allowed.  Now, I have been able to decide a few parts of my day, but since my grade level flex groups for reading and math, a lot of my day pretty set in stone.  I am not sure if I like that or not! Either way, my schedule now as a third grade teacher is VERY different than when I taught first grade.  Here is a day in my life...

Prep Time
This time is for us to get prepared for the day and it is also when we have intervention meetings or staff meetings.  I usually get to school at about 7:45, even though we don't have to be there until 8:20.  I like going in when it is quiet and having time to get things done without feeling like I have to rush.  

Morning Routines/Announcements
The students come in the room, put in their lunch count, unpack, begin their morning work, and eat breakfast (if eating that day). Our announcements are pretty short, but they do give me to time put in attendance, etc.  

Multiplication Fact Practice/Timed Tests
I use this little bit of time for students to practice multiplication fact fluency and to assess twice a week.  In Ohio we have SLO's or student learning outcomes that we are monitoring.  Our team chose to do multiplication for our math SLO, so we try to give students time to practice their facts on a daily basis.

I love teaching phonics.  This program is a phonics based program.  This is my first year teaching this program.  In the past I always used the Phonics Dance and Scott Foresman Reading Street.  I do like this program so far and I am excited to see how it will have an effect on the students that have had it this year in 2nd grade, when I have them next year.  

Social Studies/Science/Writing
Our team works really well planning integrated units of study.  We do our best to incorporate our writing standards into our content instruction.  Some units have lent themselves to this better than others.

For the FIRST TIME EVER in 9 years teaching, I get to enjoy my lunch break!!!!!  We have recess and lunch monitors that give us at least 30 minutes each day free.  I have lunch duty once a week and recess duty once a way.  Our grade level team meets during our lunch/recess time once or twice a week to plan and eat together.

Whole Group Reading (Mini-lesson)
In Ohio, they have something called 3rd Grade Guarantee   It is a new law that has many aspects, but one is that certain at risk students need to be instructed by a reading teacher with more qualifications (masters in reading or reading endorsement). Therefore, we have designed our reading classes so that those students are instructed by one of the two qualified teachers (me being one).  So, my class has primarily struggling readers. While we plan as a grade level team, my mini-lessons are adapted to meet the needs of my students.  This is also a protected time.  We have a LOT of services that students receive.  During this 30 minutes NO students can be pulled out, which is great!

Guided Reading Groups/Independent Reading
Each day I meet with 3 groups for 20 minutes each.  I also meet with one of my most struggling students daily one-on-one for 10 minutes.  During this time, I focus on decoding skills, reading comprehension skills, vocabulary development, and writing about reading.  The students who are not meeting with me read independently, unless being pulled. My students on IEP's leave for portions of this time, as well as students who receive reading intervention from our Literacy Facilitator and Title 1 teachers. 

We pre-test each unit and students are grouped for each unit based on what they already know about a topic.  I generally begin my lesson with a warm-up activity, followed by my mini-lesson, and then math work stations.  I like to keep my math class exciting and allow for fun ways to practice concepts.

We only have 35 minute specials, which is short, but I always shave something to get done, so it is a nice breather!

Catch All
The end of the day is really a catch all time.  I use this time differently every day, based on what I need to do on that day.  I try to always end the day with a read aloud!  For dismissal, we walk the students out to the buses and car riders, after school, and car riders are dismissed from our classrooms.

So, there it is!  Tomorrow, I won't be sticking to any of that schedule!  I will be enjoying my day off!


Friday, January 17, 2014

Five for Friday- Measurement Olympics!

     It’s time for Five for Friday friends and this weekend is a LONG weekend!! We had a two week winter vacation and then two and a half "cold" days, so going back to work for a full week this week was tough!  We tried to make the week go quickly by having a lot of fun and I took a TON of pictures.  Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted a bunch off my phone today and I don't know how to get them back!  So, here is what we were up to this week.  Sorry for not having all the pics I planned on.
1. We started out our week with our Economics Project.  The short week, the week before, we prepared for our budget project and this Monday we went SHOPPING!  Check out my last post.  You can grab a freebie on here, too.  HERE  Half of my class designed inventions.  The other half were the shoppers.  The inventors gave commercials.  The commercials were GREAT!  Then the kids went shopping.   They bought anywhere from posters to dog translators, to eye glasses that will never break!  They practiced counting money and making change.  It was a great experience.  
2. What do you do to prepare in advance? This morning I went in early and made TONS of copies.   For me, it relieves a lot of stress to have copies ready in advance.  I love having the copies prepared so that I can pull them as needed.  When I taught first grade, since I had done it so many times, I would pull things that I knew I would use and prepare them in advance.  It makes it easy to plan when you already have materials ready. I have all my math homework and morning work copied for the next few weeks!
3. MEASUREMENT OLYMPICS! (These are the only pics I managed to save!!)  So when I realized I would be teaching some of the advanced math students around the time of the Olympics I knew I wanted to have some fun!  We are in the midst of the Measurement Olympics. Granted some of the activities are summer sports and some are well, made up sports (hula hooping?), but the kids are LOVING it.  Each event requires the students to measure in inches, centimeters, feet, and/or time.  The students are collecting data.  Next week we will use this data to create a line plot and analyze the data.  They are having fun and so am I!  
      I was looking online for some ideas and one of the best free packets I found was from Classroom Magic Blog.  Click this link to check out her packet. I did make some adjustments and obviously added some "new" events, but this was what I used for my jumping point.  We used her events and then added Hula Hooping, Jump Roping, Basketball, Sit and Reach, and Curling!

This is Sit and Reach.  I guess this is a PE activity for flexibility.  I had never heard of it, but the teacher I am working with thought of it.  The students lean forward and try to reach as far as they can.
The starting point and ending points for the discus throw.  AKA throwing a paper plate!  They loved this one.  It was interesting to see them come up with different strategies to throw it the farthest!

This is bad picture, but it is an action shot!  One of our sports was Curling.  Our version consisted of a cornhole bag being pushed across the hallway floor with a broom!  They LOVED this activity! 
And of course, no Olympics is complete without Jump Roping!  We had one student who jumped 95 times!
4. SO long Smartboard!  At my new school we do NOT have Smartboards in every room.  The good thing is that the Smartboards we do have are able to be moved easily from room to room.  When I first came to my school, my room had an Elmo, but no Smartboard.  I was teaching the lowest third graders and one of the other teachers was so kind to share her Smartboard.  Now, we switched math kiddos and I have the highest group.  I have since given her back Smartboard.  So sad to see it go, but I am happy to know that the kids who need that interaction the most will get to use it! 
5. Last but not least...two little words...  LONG WEEKEND!!  WOO HOO!  Enjoy your long weekend!

Hopefully, next week I won't delete most of my pictures!

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