Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Absent and Homework Freebie

I haven't posted in two weeks. Sorry! (I know I was really missed.  :)

About two weeks ago I started to feel really bad. I mean REALLY bad. I talked to the nurse at school and she said I needed to go see the doctor that day. I went in and he did a full blood work-up and sent me for a CT scan. Let's just say I was worried. It turns out that I have pre-diabetes. Ugh. Not fun.

I am on medicine and I am hopeful that I won't have to be on it long. My doctor told me that with diet and exercise I should be able to reverse it.

Do you know what this means? I will have to severely change my eating habits forever. I have always had a hard time dieting and saying no to things like pasta, bread, ice cream, and chocolate. Those things are now, not off limits, but have to be reduced like crazy. I am proud to say that I have made some major changes and I am feeling better. I just know that this time I have to stick with it.

Any advice?


On a different note, I am loving my class this year! I really think that 4th is the grade for me!

I had shared my WBT inspired homework earlier. Here it is again.

This worked really well, but I could tell the kids were getting bored. I decided that I needed to include other things in my weekly homework, so I made this:

We are using the revised homework this week. Here is my procedure:
  • I copy this onto colored paper for emphasis
  • Then I cut them apart
  • I use a 3 hole punch so my students can clip these into their STAR binders for the week
  • Students will check off the activities as they complete them throughout the week
  • Parents will sign off every night
  • I have a student who checks homework daily
  • I will collect their bookmark with all the papers stapled to it on Friday

Reasons why I love this:
  1. It limits the work I need to do every week.
  2. It keeps students accountable.
  3. It is easy for the parents to remember what their child should be doing and what is coming up that week.
  4. The homework won't take longer than 30-40 minutes, which is in keeping with my school's requirements.
  5. I only have to look at homework at the end of the week.
Hopefully I will be back on my blogging schedule now!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Writing Wednesday ~ Get Well Cards

I want my students to have authentic writing experiences, don't you? I want them to see that writing skills have a place in real life. One of my students has been out sick this week and we wanted to let him know we were thinking about him, so today we worked on Get Well cards.

When the kids walked in the morning, I had them choose a piece of construction paper. My only instructions were to write our friend a get well note. I said they needed to be finished by the end of the day because his cousin would be dropping them off this evening.

Here are a few...

inside of the same card... She wrote him a song! Love it.
I really liked this one.
inside, I guess this is abstract art?
I was so happy with what they created. So many sincere words and illustrations!

Look at this one...

He had bought some stickers at the machine, so he decided to use them.

This is hard to read: 
(top) I hope you will feel better soon.
The illustration beneath:
(left) Before Bad (stick figure laying on the bed)
(right) After (figure sitting at the table, maybe at school?)

Isn't that great?!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Save some money...

Where was this when I was in college? Especially for those core classes. The ones with huge, expensive books that I sold back as soon as possible. Ugh.

Check this out!

Spread this around to friends in college, friends with kids in college, or look into it yourself!

Click to visit their website.
Do you need The First Days of School by Harry Wong? You can get it here!

Your choices are:
Semester: $28.94
Quarter: $25.94
Summer: $24.80
or you can choose your return date.



It is free to sign-up and they have a policy for 30 day risk-free returns. You can highlight and annotate, just remember that it will be used by another student, so keep it content oriented! They award textbook scholarships with some of their profits and they partner with Operation Smile. They will be donating a portion of the profit on every book sold this year to help meet higher goals with Operation Smile.

Click to learn more.

Inspired by Pinterest ~ Look up!

After I saw this picture on Pinterest, I decided to utilize my ceiling for review of some math concepts.

Here are a few files for you!

Transformations Posters

Measurement Posters

Lines Posters

I added scrapbook paper to group concepts together. Then I spread them around the room!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Anchor Chart Saturday

The week in review...

Monday ~ No school. Labor Day.

Tuesday ~
In reading, we are working on listening to our inner conversation to monitor our comprehension. We discussed the different kind of connections we make while reading.
We all added a heart map to our writing journals.
Reviewing place value and adding the millions period.
After our assessment today, I see that we need more place value practice! I will be adding a few things to our daily routine. I know that they need a million or so repetitions before they master a concept, so.... that is what we will be doing over the next several weeks!
We did this one last week, but I wanted to share it anyway! Mrs. Hewitt is a wonderful teacher that comes in to help us with math.
Wednesday ~ no charts

We talked about narrowing our topics. We started with large subjects and got smaller. Our third step was to choose a few things to write about from the topic/subject we chose. This was my example and the students chose their own. 

We are starting our weather unit, and boy do we get in detail! On Friday we talked about warm and cold air masses, fronts, weather changes, temperature, humidity, and air pressure. We are really learning a lot about the atmosphere.

I came up with some movements to help us remember the definition of weather.
We say, "Weather (arm out in front of you with your fingers forming a W) is a condition of the atmosphere (use both arms to form a large A) in a certain place (point down the the ground my your feet with both hands) at a certain time (hold out your arm and pretend to point to your watch.)

Friday ~ no charts

I think I am doing good with my charts so far! I didn't prepare my charts for this coming week, because I haven't decided what I am going to be using yet. That is on the agenda for this weekend!

I hope you have a happy weekend!

Friday, September 7, 2012

September Currently

Don't you just love these? We are all doin' it!!

Jump on over to visit Farley for the latest linky party! 

I just have to say that I am loving my class of 4th graders. They are such a relief after last year. I really struggled last year with the group I had and the new expectations from my district. It was rough...

I have been thanking the Lord daily for my great group. I have high hopes for this year. I also love that they are more independent and we can do more. They still have problems listening and following directions, but would it be school if we didn't have that problem?

I have a few pictures to share with you. I know, shocker right?  :)

I added some great reference material to my ceiling.

These are just a few...

My name plate outside my classroom door.
Have a great weekend!!!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

I ♥ Technology Thursday ~ Videos for Teaching

I love using videos to launch a lesson. It grabs student interest and gives them something to remember and anchor the lesson to! Our kids thrive on technology. How can we not integrate it?

Here are some great sites:

Check out these great videos!!!

I ♥ it all! So will your students.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Writing Wednesday - Heart Maps

I was inspired by this pin:

Source: via Rebecca on Pinterest

I made a large example to get them hooked. 

I am not an artist.
We are just beginning our year, so I wanted to get my students thinking about what they can write about. So many times, I have to give them a prompt, but I do try to let them free write periodically. I wanted them to have something to pull from that was personal. 

I didn't want to give them a template. I wanted it to be unique to each student. I showed them my example and here are some of the results!

Cute, right?

I am going to be amping up my writing with WBT this week, so I will have plenty to share on next week's Writing Wednesday!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Inspired by Pinterest ~ Around the room

During the first week of school, I made a few changes in my room. Nothing outrageous, but I thought I would share.

This is the pin that inspired me to put my filing cabinets back to back.

Source: via Rebecca on Pinterest

I originally had my turn in boxes on top of these filing cabinets.
I have also moved the hand signs a little and posted an anchor chart on the right. It is a chart that we will refer to daily, so I wanted it to be up and visible all the time.

After the first day, I realized that my students are shorter than I thought they would be! So I moved the turn in boxes to the table under the charts. It is working better now!

I have to say that I am loving my anchor charts!!! I have added a writing chart and another math chart to cover the bar graph chart. The bar graph chart didn't turn out too good...

I will take pictures next week and post them. 

This is how my library corner looked at the beginning of the week.

This is how it looked on Friday. After school, I got another desktop. So it doesn't look like this anymore! I added the 3rd desktop to the end of the table and moved the laptops to another table. I love having computers in my classroom! We can do so much with them!

I just have to say that I have been blessed this year. I have a G.R.E.A.T. class. They are compliant and eager to please. It is wonderful!!! They are ready to work, for the most part. I already know who I will be spending extra time with and who will be leading the class and helping me out.

They are so excited about the classroom economy! I think it is going to be great. They applied for jobs on Wednesday, I received about 8 or 9 recommendation letters (applicants for banker and police officer had to provide a letter of recommendation), I assigned jobs on Thursday (I think everyone was happy with their assignment), and I passed out bonus money on Friday. Training will begin on Monday. I have some prep work to do. 

I need to make sure I know what I want each person to be doing. I will have to really train a few of them! They are already wanting to know when we will have our auction. I love hearing them talk to each other in terms of the economy. I have heard:

"Stop that. Do you want a fine?"
"You have to have a job. Don't you want to pay rent? If you don't, you have to sit on the floor."
"I am going to make good choices, so I can get bonus money."
"When is pay day?"

I am looking forward to next Friday when they get more bonus money and have to figure out how much money they have altogether. They will be applying math skills in an authentic way!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Blogging Plan for September


Last year I forgot all about my blog once school started. I don't want that to happen this year so I made a plan. Plans and lists are my forte!

Be on the lookout for these posts this month!!!

 Don't we all love Pinterest? I will be sharing pins that have inspired me to create things for my house or classroom. These might not always be school related, but... that is ok, right?

My students and I will be working hard on our writing this year. We have a state test to prepare for! I am planning on sharing student examples and freebies!

Isn't technology wonderful? I love it all. I will be integrating things into my classroom, so I will keep you posted. I am going to be sharing online resources and how I integrate iPods, eReaders, laptops, etc. into my class.

I knew I needed to provide support to my students during and after lessons with anchor charts, so I made frames for my walls. I knew that if I had a designated place to them, then it would force me to stick with it! Sometimes I need that motivation! I will be sharing pictures of the anchor charts we make and the lessons to go with it!

I will also be throwing in posts about Whole Brain Teaching and random things that come up. I am looking forward to the month of September.

WBT Lesson Plans

 Let me begin with a confession. After the first week, I realize I am a coward. This summer I decided to fully integrate WBT into my classroom. I did plenty of research, watched the videos, and read the eBooks. I read many blog posts and blogged about it myself, but I am a coward.

I started the first day off in great WBT fashion. I followed the first hour and first day suggestions. My students know the 5 rules, Class - Yes, and the Scoreboard. Then I lost my nerve. I was unsure and nervous about making all my lessons follow the WBT format. So I just didn't do it. That also led me to drop the Scoreboard.

We had a good first week, but it could have been better. I kicked myself all week, but I just couldn't get the nerve to do it. So here I am, spending time on Saturday night watching the webcast, making notes, and forming some lessons. I didn't bring home my lesson plans, so I can only do a few this weekend.

I know if I can get this going it will change my teaching style completely and help my students retain the knowledge they need to know. I also know that I will have to step out of my comfort zone to do it. Ugh. It's a little scary to me.

My notes from the webcast have given me hope. I always work better after I get things written down.

Watch live streaming video from wholebrainteaching1 at livestream.com

The WBT lesson plans always begin with Class - Yes! After I have my student’s attention I will make my point. Then I will use Teach - Ok. My points shouldn't be longer than 2-3 sentences. I need to speak briefly so that I don't lose my kid's focus. Kids get disruptive when they stop processing my words. I am blessed with a great class this year. They are not disruptive, just prone to talking off topic!

Sample lesson:
-Question; Don't waste time with background knowledge.
-Answer with a gesture
-Critical thinking
-Students give their partner examples from their heads.

The annotations to add are scoreboard (S-, S+), mirror words (MW), and hands and eyes (H&E). I need to work on using the scoreboard more often. It feels like a distraction, but I know that it makes all the difference with engagement. One of my goals this week is to integrate the scoreboard effectively!

Coach B made a big point about the (BR) Bridge. Students will turn to their partners and repeat your words over and over again. This is something I need to model and practice with the kids until it is second nature to us. We need to repeat concepts over and over to move them from short-term memory to long-term memory.

The last thing we add to the lesson plan is PPL - Praise, Prompt, Leave. It is the comprehension check. I love that it is a way to assess learning during the lesson. I can evaluate the lesson as I am teaching it!

I have added critical thinking to the end of the lesson on both of my plans. I have made plans for reading and science. I will be teaching these lessons on Tuesday, since we are out of school on Monday for Labor Day. I will write out the rest of the week on Tuesday night when I bring my lesson plans home.

Wish me luck!