Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Independent Work

Do you let kids move around the room when working individually? 
I've let my students try it out "on probation." 
I think that I make color code my kids and then each day will be a certain color's day to move out of their seat.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Squiggle Lines

What do you do when your co-teacher is caught up in a meeting and can't take her half of the kids? 
You pull out some task cards that are waiting to be laminated, 
have the kids draw pictures 
and compose a story to go with that picture using the basis of your reading programs.

(Honestly, I can't remember who I got the task cards from. It was a freebie sometime this last summer and I can't even find it in my mass of products that I own, so if you know whose they are please let me know!)

Our reading program that the SPED teacher and I both teach, though different levels, have the students work on writing sentences and paragraphs that report on pictures. After students created a picture based off their squiggle line, they had to create a story using the Before, During and After structure.

Here are some of the pictures they create. I outlined most of the shapes in black but I missed a couple. See if you can find the shape. 

I probably shouldn't have a favorite, but this one is definitely it!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Staff Birthdays

I like birthdays apparently since this is my 2nd birthday picture & questions but... staff members have birthdays too!

Does your school do anything special for staff birthdays?

We are doing birthday lunches this year. Each grade level picks a month and then brings in lunch one day during that month. This was November's lunch. It was delicious!
Santa Fe Soup
Chicken & Beet Soup (yummy! even though I didn't eat the actual beets)
Salad and homemade rolls.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

5th Graders are Thankful for

There are a few things that we make sure to do as a 5th grade team, not matter which reading class we have. That way all kids feel included and it helps create community. 

This is a great activity because students have the opportunity to think creatively and express themselves. We begin with the normal THANKFUL acrostic poem. I challenged my intervention students to think about things that weren't tangible. If they wanted to say something tangible, they also had to explain why. 

 Then we looked at different autumn scenes, mainly pumpkin oriented, and the students created their own using crayons. When they were finished, I washed over them with black watercolor paint.

The finished product….

I'm linking up with Joanne from Head Over Heels For Teaching and her Spark Student Motivation Saturday linky because my students were completely engaged in this activity. Being able to express themselves and draw with crayons made them feel really good about themselves. Since we spent a decent amount of time noticing things about the autumn scenes, the artwork came out much better than on others that we didn't talk about. Also, they love being able to have their work out there as a grade level. It makes every one feel good. :) 

 Thanks for stopping by!

Halloween Closure…

So I know that we have all moved onto Thanksgiving and some of us are even onto Christmas planning. I'm trying really hard to wait for Thanksgiving before moving on, but I'm really feeling the tickle to just put out all of of my Christmas decor! We'll see if I can be the master of my actions.

BUT… I took a bunch of pictures during Halloween because my school goes all out for it and I wanted to share. There are some teacher/team costume ideas here too...

Outside and our front office

The 5th grade team decided to dress up as Despicable Me characters. Our one team member has alopecia and she thought it'd be fun to Gru and our 5th graders be minions. I don't remember the scientist guy's name and I am Lucy from Despicable Me 2. 

I even borrowed my daughters play lipstick so I had my lipstick taser.

Minion goggles were ordered and the kids just wore a purple or yellow shirt.

Look at these adorable cupcakes for our party. I had to snag a picture before they were all gone!

Our 1st grade team dressed up as "Fly Guy"

Our Kinder teachers were all the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree.

This is our registar secretary.

A 2nd grade teacher

4th grade Jasmine and Abu

Our admin secretary

Our principal.. before the parade begins, she reads a Halloween story with the pages projected up on a screen and makes it interactive where the kids says certain parts with her.

Our school also hosts a safe night the night of Halloween. We had P/T Conferences so the parade happened on Wednesday and then the safe night was Friday. There are lots of activities and my hubby and I took our little girl.

Kind of playing Goblin Golf.

Waiting for the cake walk to start

A family pic (thanks to my mom for my dress and my daughter's)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Bags

What size of bag do you take back and forth from work?

I've noticed that I get more done at school and don't bring as much home when I use my smaller purse. It's just the right size for 1 maybe 2 assignments to grade. That means more time spent focusing on my little girl and sleeping, if I wait until she's in bed to grade!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Currently November

Finally…October is OVER! Not necessarily my favorite month. I enjoy Halloween but it gets kind of crazy at school. Also, the 1st quarter ends, grades are due, and we have Parent Teacher Conferences. It's kind of a lot to be prepared for. We also seem to have the possibility of snow looming over us almost the entire month. It becomes pretty tiresome.

Luckily, it is now November! I'm ok if we have snow this month, and we should have a fairly routine month at school. Routine = Sanity  :)

Silence: We put our baby girl down to bed and she asked Daddy to lay with her. He said for a minute. I'm pretty sure that they are both asleep by now. :) 

Loving: We spent the better part of our Halloween night at the fire station. My daughter just loved being around all of the awesome people there. They had out their fire safety training door and she made sure that all the kids (and even some adults) that visited went through it. 

Thinking: I love the holiday season! Thanksgiving and Christmas are usually a pretty happy time. Living so far from family can make it a little bit difficult. This year will be even more different as our "adopted" Alaskan family moved back to America, I mean the Lower 48. I'm going to look and see what things we can do as just our little family and maybe start some new traditions.

Wanting: Lately, the hubby and I haven't had much time for just us. He mentioned working on us having a "date night" and I think that I may remind him that we know of a great babysitter :)

Needing: Between everything that we do, work, school and homework, my house is in desperate need of a clean up! I'm thinking I may stay home one day and just clean away.  I feel as if I'm always behind on laundry. It is my nemesis, as are the dishes. Bah to them! If it wasn't so bad for the environment, I would totally use paper & plastic dishes all the time.

Reading: I'm part of a book club with some friends and I'm a little apprehensive about our book this month. Stiff by Mary Roach is a book about cadavers. I don't do well with death or dead bodies. I have my personal religious beliefs about death so it's not the "what happens to our spirits" that I'm not ok with. It's with the actual body that left behind. A couple of the people who have read the book so far have said that overall it's pretty interesting. I'm on the waiting list to get it so we'll see. 
Sorry if that was too much for you…

Hope that you are off to a fabulous start of the new month!!

Check out more Currently links here:


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Five for Friday/Student Motivation: Quarterly Incentive

I am going to be linking up with both Doodle Bugs and Head over Heels!

As a fifth grade team, we came to the consensus to keep points for each students. At the end of each class period, we go around the room and the kids tell us how many points out of 3 they have earned.

1 for being prepared with EVERYTHING they need for class
1 for participating, not just sitting there like a bump on a log
1 for on task behavior that follows expectations

We, the teachers, can award an additional point to a student that we feel went above and beyond what was expected. That is few and far between. 
At the end of each 9 weeks, we calculate how many points they earned, what was possible accounting for days the student was absent, and then come up with a percentage.
Then we come together and take an average from their three classes (reading, math, & homeroom)
If they have an 85% overall, they qualify for the quarterly incentive. We do not tell them what it is before. It is a surprise! 
(If they don't have 85% then they go to a study hall room and have a packet of work to keep them busy.)

Our plan for this quarter was simple. We were going to watch Mr. Peabody & Sherman and have caramel apples. We found out about 20 mins before school that the movie was a no-go and all of us started thinking a million miles an hour. What were we going to do to fill an hour & a half with 60ish kids? Luckily we have our prep first thing in the morning and I hit Pinterest for "Halloween Crafts". I found a lot of idea but what could we do with whatever supplies we had in the school? 
After scrounging and begging from our fellow staff members: 
Ta Da!
The kids loved it and it turned out super cute!

This was probably the favorite of most kids…
They just got to be kids.
The grass was covered just enough with frost that they could slide down on their coats or shoes if they didn't have that great of traction.

I tried to take a picture with just a couple of kids… others noticed and wanted in on it too. 

Their yummy treat!

This wasn't part of the incentive. This has been a tradition as the advanced/on grade level reading classes use it to spring board into How To speeches. We decided to just make a day of the activities. 

Yes, his head is completely inside his pumpkin.

Most of the 5th grade team…missing one.

Hope you all have a fabulous Halloween week! I have conferences on Thursday and Friday so it's a short week. However, my school basically drips Halloween so I won't miss out on the chaos.