Friday, September 28, 2012

Open House, Days Off and Fun!

Well, it has been a crazy few days. Last night was Open House, and I was at school for about 12 hours. Only to come back 12 hours later to do it all again :) I only had about half of my parents show up (it wasn't presentations style...yippee! was more wandering in and out), so I put all the information I had out in lots of mailboxes.  Here's what I wore to impress the parents (I had wanted to wear my contacts, but my eyes were just not having it)...

Sweater: Fashion Bug
Tank: Target
Pants: JC Penny
Shoes: DSW

We wrote a letter to our parents on Thursday to leave on our desks for our parents. I had them tell at least 1 thing they have learned so far (a lot of them did measurement...can you guess what our latest math unit was? ;), and something they liked about school. I just had them write, and not correct it, so the parents (and I) got a good idea of their skills.

Wednesday was a different story. I got up, got dressed and drove to school...only to be met by the principal in the parking lot. He told me to go home, as a water pump had failed, which meant no water. No water = no bathrooms = no school. :) I asked if I could go in and grab some things so I hadn't brought any work home the night before (bad teacher! ;). He said that was fine, and I could stay as long as I wanted, but I couldn't use the bathroom or turn on the water. I spent the day in PJ's once I got I'll save the outfit and show you at a later time. Almost no one saw it, so it'll be repeated soon :)

I went in, grabbed some things, chatted for about 45 minutes, and drove back home. I was a little annoyed because I didn't get one of those animated phone calls to let me know that there was no school, which a lot of people did (except the new staff members). However, I wound up taking a 3 hour nap, so it all worked out in the end :)

Guided Reading groups have gone great! Today instead of taking groups, I met with smaller groups of students to check up on their writing, and help those who were still brainstorming and not on their first draft. I liked doing it this way, because it gave me some more time to focus in on writing. I feel like writing is kind of hanging around outside, what with the new literacy program and only having 90 minutes to teach literacy.

I've also been wondering about math. I would really like to implement a math workshop type program, as I reading Guided Math this summer and a lot of it makes sense. However, my team has been talking about switching groups for Math, which kind of bums me out.

I've started Math Notebooks with the kids, and I really want to try this workshop idea. I've been talking to the awesome teacher next door (who teaches 3rd grade) and she has given me some really good ideas on where to go and what to do. I don't want to rock the boat, but I really want to do a Guided Math type thing and keep my kids with me. It's something I'll be thinking about this weekend.

For those that asked...I will be working on the 4th Grade CC ELA I Can stay tuned!

Today's Look:
Sweater & Pants: JC Penny
Shirt: Limited 
Shoes: TJ Maxx.

Any suggestions on the Math thing? I have some ideas, but always welcome more! :)

Have a great weekend!

Smiles and Sunshine,

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Picture Day! and a Reader Request

Y'all, today was picture day (which I think about a 1/3 of my kids forgot about), so you know I didn't have a normal day. :)

First difference at this school- we had to sign up for times to get our class pictures taken. Oops. Guess who didn't know about it and all of the times left were in the afternoon during our literacy block.

(I took the last slot possible for littlest disruption)

Second difference- an all school picture that took about 30-40 minutes to set up and complete. In the middle of math. We had a test today. Since no one knew about this picture until THIS MORNING!

Third difference- an all staff picture after school (and yes, I was stuck in the front row with the vertically challenged...even though I was wearing 3 inch heels :). I've had all staff pictures done before, but always before school started (during teacher workshop days), and never after school. Our PLC meeting today was cut a little short :)

What I wore:

Top and Pants: JCPenny
Tank: Old Navy
Shoes: Payless

The kids though it was a little funny that I was getting my picture taken, but then I reminded them that all teachers got their pictures taken. Now I can finally have an ID badge like everyone else!

Now onto the Reader Request. I had a reader email me, where she told me that she loved my task cards and was wondering if I would be willing to share. Well, I couldn't share the ones I had, because of some of the fonts I used were for personal use only. I asked her to give me a little time and I would see what I came up with.

Now, I couldn't remember when I had gotten all of the frames/borders, but I had a pretty good idea, so I went scouring one of my favorite design sites to make sure that I could give proper credit.

My next problem? Making it editable for you guys while preserving all the graphics and frames I used. Thanks to Google and some helpful searching, I found a way to do it.

So let me present....
Click on the picture to download the cards!

There are 4 days worth of cards for each rotation in the packet. You can add text boxes to type in instructions, or just print them out and hand write it in.

I hope you enjoy these!

Smiles and Sunshine,

Monday, September 24, 2012

Weekends and a Surprise!

Hi Peeps!

Guided Reading groups went great today! (expect, you know, the part with the fire drill right near the end of my whole-group lesson and took up 15 minutes of GR Groups).

This weekend was a great one. I went and ran some errands and scored some nice deals. I went into Staples, Target, and Michaels, in addition to heading to a local furniture store and scoring a couch for a nice deal :)
I actually got 3 packs of cardstock, but I used most of one for something I'm going to share a little ways down.

Tank and Skirt: Old Navy
Shirt: Target
Shoes: Zappos


Shirt: Kohls
Pants: Gap Outlet
Tank: Target
Shoes: TJ Maxx

I actually added on my gray open cardigan, and kept it on for most of the day...It's starting to get cold up here!

Now, I was working on something for me, and I decided to share it with you. It's only for 4th graders, so I'm sorry lower and upper grades.

So, 4th grade teachers, if you would like them....

...I have created mini I Can statements for 4th grade Common Core Math.
So, please, if you could use them, take them. They are 32 slides, over 100 statements (and this is where most of my cardstock went out of that third pack). I plan on cutting them and laminating them and sticking them on my standards board with tape) Click on the picture to get them. :) 


Smiles and Sunshine,

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Guided Reading Binder

I mentioned the other day that I had set up my Guided Reading Binder. And I'm all set to take my first groups tomorrow! I wanted to show y'all how mine is set up. Right now, I am using a 1/2 inch binder, though I have a feeling that I will easily upgrade to a 1 or 1 1/2 inch before long :)

My Binder Cover
 On the right side of my binder I have all the groups/plans divided into sections. I have four groups (all with sea animal names :), and a tab for the 'extra' papers. On each group sections, I have a list of kids who are in that group...but it's really easy to switch out and reprint each sections as the kids change groups.

 Behind each tab, I have lesson plans that for the book I am working on with that group, and anecdotal record sheets for each student in that group. I can use 1 1/2 by 2 inch post it notes to record my observations while they are reading, and then stick it on their record sheet after we finish reading.

 Underneath my 'Extras' tab, I have extra Anecdotal Records sheets, Lesson Plan sheets, Running Record sheets (which will be first transferred under their group tab, and then to my data binder), and Fluency Record Sheets (which will follow the path of Running Records).

On the Left side of my binder, I have some helpful papers.

Reading Level wheel I got from Scholastic (this is actually my 2nd one...I got one last year too!)

Students divided into groups based on their levels, and where I'm starting them

NWEA/ MAP Reading Scores for my class.

 Some books recommendations that I have found helpful...

This is where I got the Anecdotal Record Forms, and the Lesson has many more resources!

I ordered it over the summer, helpful, but I like the first one and the next one better :)

Scored this baby when Borders was going out of business for next to nothing...SO useful for upper grades!!

LOVE Debbie Diller!

Like her Literacy Workstations book, but for upper grades (Ditto!)
 Click on any of the books to take you to their Amazon link. Some of these I was able to buy used, so they cost less than full price-if you don't mind if your book has been 'pre-read' and 'gently loved' before :)

I hope you found this helpful!
Smiles and Sunshine,

Friday, September 21, 2012

This Week in 4th Grade...

This week in 4th grade....

...we took 2 NWEA/ MAP tests and impressed our teacher :)
...we added Word Wall Words to our Word Wall (they're colored coded...purple ones are vocabulary words, and red/pink ones are 'no excuse' words that they should know how to spell. I'll also be adding other subject area words in different colors)

...we used task cards that helped us with our reading rotations (and that our awesome teacher made ;)
...we wrote a class report on penguins and learned about the writing process

...we got new Word Work folders to help us practice our spelling words for the week (you can find most of them here at 4th Grade Frolics ..isn't she awesome?!!)

...we learned about the Post-It Strategy to help us record our thinking while reading

...we learned about meters, millimeters and how they relate

...we did a fun measurement activity thanks to Dana at 3rd Grade Gridiron (I laminated the cards and had them work in partners and rotate throughout to answer them)

...we then recorded our notes in our Math Notebooks

...we learned more about our State Government and read a Scholastic News about the election
...we took a couple of Spelling Tests, and an End of Theme Reading Test
...we started on our Heart Maps to help us with ideas for writing/writing poetry
...we brainstormed a lot of ideas for our story that we will write with our next theme
...we learned about determining importance

Wow! We were busy this week! We had lots of learning and fun going on...and we are gearing up for Week 5!

Today's Outfit:
Our principal said no jeans...but he didn't say anything about khakis!(He doesn't think jeans are professional...and as long as we aren't wearing cargo pants khakis...I think that I'm okay :)
Gray Khakis: Kohls
Shirt: Kohls
Sweater: Kohls (came off fairly quickly :)
Shoes: Endless

Have a wonderful weekend!

Smiles and Sunshine,

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Blown Away, Task Cards and Outfits

Yesterday was a really good day. My kids are almost fully independent through their rotations (except for some focusing issues :) I'm all set to start Guided Reading groups on Monday, especially now that I have most of the data! (Still waiting for some...but I have enough to start with.) I actually just set up my GR Binder (which I'll show y'all at a later time).

One of our Special Ed teachers also came in see how I was doing, introduce herself, familiarize herself with my room (she is going to take my lowest reading group, since half of them are identified and her kids :). She was looking around, and she saw the task cards that I had made and started asking me about it. She was super impressed!  : D

She was asking me how I made them, and I told her that I used Powerpoint, and if she ever wanted to make worksheets, she should use Powerpoint....and then she asked if I would be interested in giving a WORKSHOP! Holy guacamole batman! I said I would be interested, but was unsure if I could fill an entire hour. I was also blown away because, as y'all know, this is my first year at this school...and we've only been in school for 15 days! She told me that she felt that she could learn a lot from me this year...People, this is a teacher who has been teaching for awhile and she felt that she could learn from me! Blown Away!!

Here are the task cards that I made...they are numbered so all I have to write is the task card number on the board. Some of them will stay from week to week (the earlier numbers) and the back half will change each week based on the LBD series instructions for that week/theme. The fonts are Janda fonts from Kimberly Geswein and Gingersnap Handwriting from Gingersnap's Treats for Teachers. The graphics are Melonheadz Illustrating, and the frames are all freebies from a variety of people (who I don't remember so can't credit :(  (actually, almost everything I use is a freebie! :)

We do EEKK Reading (elbow elbow knee knee) instead of Read to Someone
And now, my outfits from yesterday and today :)

 I had the gray sweater on for part of the day...but got too hot and took it off.
Gray Sweater and Pants: JC Penny
Shirt: Marshall's
Tank: Old Navy
Shoes: Payless


Shirt & Pants: JC Penny
Tank: Target
Shoes: DSW

Have a wonderful Friday!

Smiles and Sunshine,

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Winner! and Today

Congrats to Kelly for winning my 150 follower giveaway! Your giftcard should be arriving in your email shortly :)

Today went really well! The kids did their rotations today with hardly any intervention from me, which is GREAT for when I start taking Guided Reading groups. I think that I am going to add in a handwriting rotation (to practice their cursive), for them to do right before Read to Self, but I won't be making new'll just be on the board :)

We also took the Reading NWEA/ MAPs today. They did such a great job! I was really impressed with their scores and hope that they can continue! We take the Math one tomorrow. Hopefully all my kiddos will be in, I had 3 out yesterday, 2 out today (and 1 sagging at the end of the day).

I give the end of theme test tomorrow...and we'll see how they do. I'm hopeful they'll do well. We'll see. I hope your week is going as well as mine! :)

Today's outfit:

Gray Sweater & Pants: JC Penny
Teal Sweater: Maurices
Tank: Target
Shoes: DSW

I did actually keep the gray sweater on for most of the was cold up here! (It still is!)  Fall/Winter will take some getting used to!

Smiles and Sunshine,

Monday, September 17, 2012

What Do You Think?

So, what do you think about my new look?  :) Instead of planning for Wednesday (which I did this morning at school), I decided to have a new design for fall. I started a few times before I found something I really liked.

Sweater: Maurices
Shirt and Tank: Target
Pants: JC Penny
Shoes: I think I got these from Zappos, but I know I looked at them on Endless and at DSW as well.

Tomorrow my kids take the Reading NWEA/MAP test, Wednesday the Math and Thursday we finish the GMRI (Gates) test. I really looking forward to getting the scores so I can start my guided reading groups!

The kids are doing really well with their center rotations, and today I introduced the task cards I made. I made two copies of each, so there would be plenty to go around. They seemed to do a good job with them! We'll see how they do tomorrow :)

Happy Monday!

Smiles and Sunshine,