Monday, April 29, 2013

Next Year

Next year I will again be in 1st grade! I'm so happy that I'm staying in first grade and staying in my room! This takes away so much of my stress! It will be my 5th year teaching 1st and I couldn't be happier that I'm staying at this grade level!
Hope you all had a wonderful Monday!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

What I've been up to: Earth Day & Butterflies

The past for weeks have been super busy! I went to a friends wedding, on my bachlorette party, and have done  crossed off many things on my wedding to do list!

I wanted to share with you all a two things we've done this past couple of weeks. 
Earth Day writing:

We learned a lot about taking care of our planet and reducing, reusing, and recycling this past week. My students wrote about how to take care of our planet and about Earth Day.

Beautiful butterflies:

View when you enter my room. It's so happy! :)

My students made these beautiful butterflies after learning about the butterfly life cycle. It was a fun unit that my students learned so much from! We of course did a informative writing about the butterfly life cycle and then made these butterflies. If you are wonder I've had this butterfly pattern since I first started teaching. I traced the wings and the kids cut them out. It was difficult for them to cut the holes but I think it helped their fine motor skills. After they cut the wings they pasted the middle part for the body. Then they tore tissue paper and made sure they covered the holes. The students had to make sure the tissue paper was symmetrical. Lastly they put the antennas and eyes on. 

I can't wait to go into work tomorrow because we find out what our job assignments are for next year. I put down that I wanted to teach first grade again next year and really hope that I get to stay in first. My second choice was to be a reading coach for our school. We already have a reading coach but our school is growing and many school now have coaches for K-2 and another for 3-5. I had previously talked with my principal before putting this choice down. Now that we find out tomorrow though I'm sure that won't be my job next year because I wasn't ever interviewed and I would think she would have to do that before. My third choice was to teach 2nd grade. Although I've never taught 2nd only interned in that grade level I feel like it would be a good fit. I would love to just stay put in first though! I don't want to change rooms anymore! I've had to move rooms every year I've taught so I would love for just once to stay in the same room.

I'll let y'all know tomorrow what my assignment is for next year! When do you find out your assignments for next year? Do you already know where you will be?

Have a great Sunday night!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Mystery Math {My Observation!}

On Monday I was observed formally by my assistant principal. Everyone in our school has to be observed at least once formally and twice informally. I now have all my observations for the year done! (Hallelujah! Hallelujah!)

Sooo hear is how it all went down...

I was very nervous..I had butterflies in my stomach...we had just come back from recess, finished calendar, and finally at 12:15 on the dot my AP walks in!

I launch right into my learning goal which was "We will be able to understand how to subtract multiples of tens from two-digit numbers." Yes, wordy I know! I went over the vocabulary with the help of my anchor chart:

If you read to the bottom this is the same easel the kid hid behind. Lol! 

Then I had my students try to put the learning goal in their own words. They did a fabulous job and then I modeled with our magnetic ten tower cubes how to subtract. I had to remind my wiggly ones our rug rules of sitting with our hands in our lap, feet still, ears listening, eyes watching, and lips zipped! They mostly were just fiddling with their shoelaces.  We then watch a little visually animation that is part of my Envision math series. It break down subtracting into digestible bites and gets the students thinking out loud. I of course stopped to ask questions and check to make sure they were understanding. The kids answered the questions and impressed me on how quickly they were understanding.

I then had my students go back to their desks while my material managers took out the math buckets with ten towers and ones cubes and passed out paper. While the students were get situated I wasted no time in telling them the proper way to use their cubes and how to use their whole body listening.

After everyone was settled with manipulatives in hand I read our first word problem. To my little ones surprise it involved them! I used their names in the cards I made for my subtraction games. They ate it up! They were so excited to see who was next. Here are what the cards looked like.

I have no idea why they look all squished and blurry...they don't look like that on my PDF and powerpoint.

Example: Carl has 83 apps on his iPad. He gives 30 to Jen. How many apps does Carl have on his iPad now?

Carl* (fake name) got so pumped that I said his name and told our AP who was sitting near him "I actually do have an iPad! I really do!" Well I got points for relating it to their real world!

We did four examples like this and then moved on to our Mystery Math game! All I had to do was say we were playing a game and my students all straighten up with excitement. They actually put down their cubes (which are oh so fun to play with) and folded their hands on their desk. Wow!

I explained and showed them how to play the game. I put cards that have subtraction problems in envelopes that said mystery math on them. I had the answer on round cards on separate cards. They had to play detective and solve the math problem and find the matching card/student. The students with the answers had to look for which card/student might have their problem.

Cards to place on the envelope. 


I gave my students who I knew had the concept down the answers and my students who needed more help the subtraction problems. They loved the game! I walked around helping students and seeing who made matches already. While I was doing this Carl decided to hide behind my easel. Umm what?!

This is how that went down:
Me: What are you doing? (stern whisper voice)
Carl: Umm I'm playing mystery math! I'm the mystery number and I need to hide cause I'm a mystery! (very soft whisper because he doesn't want to be found)
Me: Well this isn't like hide and seek. The person needs to just find your number.
Carl: Oooh.. (slowly comes out from behind the easel)

Haha..oh kids! I know I clearly went over the directions. This child just wanted to enhance the game a little bit. FYI he is gifted...leave it up to the gifted ones to make up their own rules.

After our fun mystery math game I wrapped up the lesson and referred back to our learning goal. All of my students showed me that they understood. I was so proud of them and they gave high fives to each other. At this point my AP left the room.

I was sad she didn't get to stay to see how math centers are run. I know she wanted to stay but she was out sick Friday and had to make up other teachers observations.

I group my students by ability into 4 groups. My group that usually needs more assistance or just needs to work in a small to understand works with me first. Then I have my other groups go to Moby Max on the computers, play hands on games, and do independent seat work.

Here is what I used for hands on games:

This is Moby Math: It's a free! It teaches kids mini-lessons on concepts they need to work on in math. Then they have to solve problems and play timed games. They get badges when they complete a concept. It is a fabulous tool to help kids with fact fluency and in those areas where they need extra practice. Each student is on their own level and you can monitor how much they practice in class and at home. It has been a great addition to my classroom this year!

Click on the picture to check it out!

Since I think you are all wonderful followers for this week only I am putting up my Mystery Math game for free on TPT! Click on the page that says Mystery Math to view it on TPT. Check it out and have fun with your kids! 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Formal Observation {Oh Monday!}

Tomorrow I have my formal observation! I'm very prepared my I still get butterflies in my stomach. I can't stop thinking about it right now which is of course why I'm telling all of you! I get so nervous when administration walks in with their iPads to check off everything we're doing and not doing and busily type notes. After a few minutes a calm down and get into my groove but it is like being camera shy at first. I think this is natural for most teachers.

I planned this fabulous math lesson on double digit subtraction which I'll tell you all about tomorrow. I would tell you now but I want to reflect on my lesson and how it all really went down. You know what worked and what didn't work...what was fabulous and what needed some more attention! Hopefully everything will go smoothly but you know when your teaching little ones anything could happen.

I've created a detective game call "Mystery Math" and some differentiated centers for this math lesson that I'll be sharing with you tomorrow.

I've already practiced my whole lesson. I'm not sure if other people do this or it is just me but I actually teach my entire lesson to an empty room. I know geek/crazy alert! I also think about what someone would say if they just walked in to me teaching away to no one...luckily for me no one ever has! 
I do this so I know I have everything I need ready to go in the room and know what words I should choose to say to make the most sense. I'll be "practicing" my lesson one more time in the morning before the kids arrive.

See I'm super prepared...I way over think these observation but it is just so important to me! Send over some teacher prayers at 12:15 tomorrow! I'll let you know how it all goes down tomorrow night!

Have a lovely Monday!

Friday, April 5, 2013

5 for Friday


1. We reviewed basic subtraction for 3 days and then moved into double digit subtraction. My kids LOVED playing subtraction Bingo. We play three days in a row during math centers at my table. They were pretty pumped about it which makes me pumped. Win win!

2. We read If You Give A...stories this week and my little ones reflected on what could really happen in the stories and what couldn't happen in the stories.

BTW this awesome student reflection sheet is from Reagan Tunstall.

3. My students like these silly Laura Numeroff books so much sooo chances are if you give a kid a pencil....they'll write a story! Lol! Yes, I can laugh at my own jokes. Seriously though most kids would probably make the pencil a drum stick or poke someone but in a perfect world they would write a fabulous story. Well my world is not perfect but during writing this week I did have my kids write stories like the If You Give A...books. They had to pick their favorite animal and match it with a food. It had to have alliteration and be super silly of course! So some of the titles included:

If You Give an Alligator an Apple
If You Give a Dolphin a Drumstick
If You Give a Hamster a Hotdog

They got pretty creative and the stories/books came out great. It did take forever to do though. Some of my kiddos are still not finished.

This is a from a circle story packet created by Made for 1st grade.

4. I had my pre-conference for my formal observation. My formal observation in on Monday! Look for an entire post about my super subtraction lesson coming up soon! I created a game called Mystery Math for my math deceives to solve subtraction problems and new center games for them to play.

5. Lastly my kids were terrible today! They better be on their best behavior Monday. I told them the vice principal knew they were so bad that she decide to come see our class on Monday...haha. Little do they know we've planned this formal observation for a few months. They were super talkative today, whining, tattling out the wazoo, and said the word motherf*****.  Umm really?! We had to have HUGE talk about not using bad words or words we don't know the meaning of because they could be super bad. Awful! The little girl that said it said she just repeated what she heard someone saying. Ugh! I told her NEVER to repeat words she didn't know. Most of my class luckily didn't know the F* word at all so they sat looking confusing but scared of my wrath. The other that knew the word were super shocked someone would say it and also scared of my wrath. SO happy it's Friday. Between getting ready for my formal and my kids not behaving I've had to get ready for a giant IEP meeting on Wednesday. The fun just doesn't stop...I might have looked like this by the end of the day...

I'm ready for a restful weekend so I'm prepared, re-energize, and ready for teach my heart out on Monday! Hope y'all have a great weekend!