Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lunch Bunch- Whaaaaat?!

I recently received an e-mail from a teacher wondering what in the world my "lunch bunch" is that I do on Fridays and I thought you might like to hear about it as well!

"Lunch Bunch" is when students who have earned the privilege to come, can bypass the cafeteria and eat their lunch with me in our classroom on Friday.

Yes.  Earn the privilege.

To be able to come, you can either be directly invited by me OR you can do one of the following:
*make some kind of amazing, wonderful, stellar choice
*fill in one side of the AR test log sheet (they write down the tests they've taken and their scores)
*complete a level in the 100 Club
*write up to an increment of 500 on number scrolls (500, 1000, 1500, 2000, etc...)

When a student earns the right to come, I give them a sticky note and they write their name on it and put it on the "Lunch Bunch" poster on our bathroom door.

Here is the sign I made at Vistaprint last summer...

And here it is being used by my Lunch Bunchers...  I'll have tons of friends in for lunch this Friday!

We love "Lunch Bunch".  It gives us a time to eat and have conversation together, work on manners, laugh, and just get to know each other better.  We get to talk about all sorts of random things and, as an adult, nothing is sweeter or more hilarious than listening to conversations between 1st and 2nd graders!

Last year I also had two girls that I ate lunch with every Wednesday in the classroom.  These two girls worked on social skills with me while we dined together.  It was kind of a "fake" situation that I created for one of the girls to be able to make a friend- inviting the one that needed the social skills and the other who I thought could be a good friend to her, and it worked really well!  I plan to begin this with one of my sweeties this week too.  Eating together with kiddos is a very non-threatening way to truly get some good conversation in and work on manners and social skills!

My kiddos get so excited and work so hard to get to come to "Lunch Bunch".  I have one who has taken over 100 AR tests this year (13 gets you "Lunch Bunch") because she just wants to come and eat with me!  She's got sticky notes up on the chart for the next three or four weeks out!

So, if you are able, you should try it!  If you need an incentive for something in your classroom, this is a good one.  And it's a super great way to build community, work on manners and socializing skills, and just have fun with your kiddos!

And, just because, here's a copy of my AR log.  They keep these in their folders in their Daily Five book boxes and just come show me when one side is filled up.  When the whole thing is full, I file it away.  We love pulling them out to see how many tests we've taken!  :)  Now, I don't love AR and that is a totally different rant blog post, but if I have to do it, at least I can enjoy hanging with my kiddos!

On a side note, I just posted a project on Donor's Choose that I would LOVE to have funded!  I've had loads of luck with Donor's Choose thanks to extremely generous people- some who I know and others who are strangers!  I know sometimes they send out random gift cards (my mom got $125.00 in gift cards from them once that she posted to one of my projects!) or offer special promos to earn credits to put towards projects... if you have some laying around and don't currently have a project to fund, I'd love it if you would keep me in mind!  :)  I put a project up to get a Mimio Pad of my own so I don't have to worry about the possibility of potentially having to share the ActivSlate that I'm using in my room!  Yes, I'm being selfish!  This would get me my very own interactive pad so I could ensure being able to keep one in my room at all times!  Anyway, here's a link to my giving page if you do happen to have any codes or unused gift cards- Mrs. Bainbridge's Donor's Choose Giving Page.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Longest Blog Post Ever... Stuff, Pics, Freebie, Giveaways, and a Gerbil!

Ok.  It was a Monday.  Did anyone else have a friend who was hysterical for 40-minutes today and also refused to do work?  And also refused to move from laying in a ball on the floor?  And also wouldn't speak?  Luckily, my friend perked up by the end of the day... but it made for a long morning!

On to the longest blog post ever.  Probably not, but in my mind, it's pretty long right now.

Up first... stuff.

Last week we did a solids & liquids writing assignment.  Students were to write to a poor snowman/girl/lady/boy/kid/etc... who was melting and explain to them what was happening using our matter vocabulary and changing states of matter.

They turned out SUPER cute and so full of learning!  I was impressed!

Here's a picture of one of my kiddo's good work:

And, if you click the image below, you can get a copy of the "liquid" and "solid" words and the "title" one of my girlies colored to put with our display.  The snowman pictures came from Today in First Grade's blog.  I just used two of the pictures and blew them up.  We colored on them and then pained my cool blue dye over them; it resists the crayon and just looks super cool!
Next... pics.

Last Thursday and Friday we had work days in the afternoon and, on Thursday, I recruited some child laborers who were here due to parents on staff.  One of my first grade teacher friends bribed encouraged them to help me by buying them a candy bar!  :)  They worked their tails off and helped me change the set-up of my room...

To this:

So, the "meeting area" moved from the back of the room to the front.  The main reason for the move is the Active Slate that I'm using.  I've always been a teach-from-the-rug kind of teacher, but having that slate makes the need for a meeting place closer to the board so important!  I'm loving the arrangement!

Freebie:  See "stuff" above.

Next on the list... giveaways!  Who doesn't love those?!

I'm currently involved in two.  One for all of my themed Valentine cards AND a cute tumbler from Ann-Marie at K&K Designs.  If you've not yet entered, it's a MUST check out!  You can click that text to head over there.  I'll be choosing a winner on Wednesday.

The second ends TOMORROW and is for my Groundhog's Day mini-activity pack and one created by my friend Sandy.  You have to enter that one at Ms. Fiorini's blog... click the graphic for more info.  There are only 18 entries right now so you still have a super chance to win!  All you have to do is "follow" us on Teacher's Notebook and our blogs.  Easy peasy lemon squeazy!  This file is still on sale at my shop (along with everything else!) until midnight!

And last... a new gerbil.  I tried a class pet for the first time this year and LOVED it!  We got a gerbil and named her Lily.  Sadly, she did not return to school after Christmas break.  And we've missed her ever since!  Well, one of my classroom families got us a new gerbil last week.  I used my powers of teacher persuasion to help her get the name "Gerbie"!  :)  The other choices to vote on were Sugar, Missy, and Sally... and Gerbie won by one vote!

Here she is!  She was being shy this morning, so it's not great.  I'll keep working on her!

Also... she might secretly be a he.  So... yeah.

Tomorrow my hubby and I have tickets to "Rock of Ages"... and I can't wait!  I got the tickets for Christmas, so tomorrow Christmas is officially over for me.  Ya'll know I'm a nut for musicals and this one sounds like a great one!  All 80s and hair band-ish... YES!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Groundhog's Day Pack that Bill Murray Would Love!

Well, maybe Bill Murray wouldn't love it seeing as Groundhog's Day is the bane of his existance... BUT... your kiddos will love it!

I've just uploaded it to my Teacher's Notebook Store and it is currently 15% off!

There are four activities in 27 pages- Groundhog's Day edition "Fiction Go Fish", compound word matching, ABC order, and a Groundhog's Day FLIPPY BOOK!  If you click the pic you can check out other images and more info at my store.
I had planned on uploading classroom pics today, but am having trouble getting the pics off my camera... so I'm going to re-take them tomorrow and try again so you can see my newly arranged room and new class gerbil. 

In the meantime, enjoy your Sunday!  :)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Favorite Follower Award, Sale, and Reminder

Who knew being a follower would be something we'd ever aspire to be...?  I'm a proud follower of WAAAY too many blogs that I can never get enough of!  I love peeking into everyone else's classrooms and feel like I have made so many teacher friends by blogging too!

Thanks to Lisa and Beth over at Made in the Shade in 2nd Grade for giving me their "Favorite Follower" award!

The rules say I have to pass the award along to two faithful followers... that's so hard!  I so appreciate every comment and e-mail that I get... they truly do make my day!  Thanks friends!  Thank you so much to everyone who posts, e-mails, visits, comments, Facebooks (can I make that a verb?!) with me!  I seriously would love to award everyone with this! 

But... to pass the award along, I'd like to pass it to:

The Teachers' Cauldron

Jen at The Teacher's Cauldron, who posts such insightful blog posts and always leaves me bucket filling comments!

A Teeny Tiny Teacher

My second is Kristin aka A Teeny Tiny Teacher- when I realized she was commenting on my posts and reading my blog, I almost fainted!  She's like an uber teacher blog celebrity!  And so hilarious!

Thanks Jen, Kristin, and all of you for inviting me into your teaching lives and for wanting to come in to mine!

On two side notes- be sure to check out the giveaway I'm doing with Ann-Marie at K & K Designs for a SUPER cute personalized drink tumbler and a set of over 100 different printable Valentine cards!  Aaaaand... all of my items are on sale at my Teacher's Notebook shop until Monday!

My school's parent group is holding a scrapbooking fundraiser today, so I've got all of my junk important scrapping goodies sitting in the kitchen waiting to leave when my mom comes over to pick me up!  Between the two of us, we have every scrapbooking item known to man.  I always have to chuckle when I leave the house to go scrapbooking... I wonder if my neighbors think I'm moving out when I go out with a rolling suitcase-looking bag and my arms loaded down with organizational bags and totes... not to mention the Cricut!  And even though I probably won't use any of that stuff, I can't make myself leave it at home because what if there is some random chance that I need one of the pieces of paper that I bought 8 years ago and forgot about?!  Scrapbooking.  It's a sickness!

BUT- I rearranged my classroom on Thursday.  Like an almost complete overhaul.  And I got a new gerbil after a terrible mishap with my Lily- I miss that cutie!  RIP!  :*(  So, I'm going to try to sneak down and snap some pictures so I can share my new room arrangement, cute new gerbil, and a super fun writing project we did last week about solids and liquids.

So, without further ado... I shall publish this post, chug down the rest of my coffee, and prepare to let the creative juices flow!  I'm working on pages from my NYC trip this summer which I just LOOOOOOVE reliving!  Happy Saturday!

Friday, January 27, 2012

You're Gonna LOVE This Giveaway!

Ok, friends, to celebrate FRIDAY, I have paired up with Ann-Marie at K & K Designs to offer a fantastic giveaway!

All you have to do is make sure you've "liked" both of our Facebook pages and leave a comment letting me know about it.  Next Wednesday (just 'cause I like mid-week giveaways), I'll choose a winner by random number generator and you'll get a customized super cute tumbler glass from K & K Designs.  Here's a picture of mine and I *LOVE* it!  I think everything tastes better when it is 1.) in miniature form (ie. mini-candy bars, baby carrots, etc...) or 2.) can be sipped from a straw (ie. how fountain soda tastes a billion times better than when it's from a can).  So, this giveaway satisfies the "straw" component!

And here it is in action filled with Diet Dr. Pepper... YUM!

And I am going to send the winner my set of themed Valentine cards!  This pack has over 100 pages of Valentine cards in 29 different themes!  It's currently on sale at my Teacher's Notebook store, along with all of my other Valentine themed items!

Ok- so that's it!  Just let me know that you liked K & K Designs on Facebook and my class blog page on Facebook and you're entered to win!  If you spread the word about this giveaway on your blog or Facebook page, leave another comment for an extra chance to WIN!  Click the links below to head over to K & K's FB page and mine too!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ready for Another Webinar? This One's on WRITING!

Register Now! Free Writing Instruction Webinar Scheduled For Feb. 1!

I am so excited to share that Marygrove (the college I got my Master's Degree from) is offering another webinar.  This one is on writing, which is an area where I am always looking for new ideas and things I can improve.  Click the picture to check it out!

It's totally free and is a 30-minute webinar on The Four Square Writing Method, which is a great way to differentiate writing instruction. It’s next Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 4 p.m. EST. Check it out!  You’ll learn a simple method that works for teaching all forms of writing, and at every grade level. Please sign up today, and don’t miss out on this free resource that can really make a difference in your daily instruction. Of course you can download my webinar on Goal-Setting and Reading Fluency, if you haven’t already!

If you have downloaded the reading goal setting packet from my webinar, have you used any of the ideas?  How is it working for you?  I'd love to hear about it!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Thanks Friends!

I got so many nice e-mails and comments about my post on Monday about my bad weekend... I just wanted to say "THANK YOU!" for caring!  :)

I'll be back in action in the next day or so, having a giveaway for an awesome product, and sharing some things we've been doing this week.

So, thanks bloggy-cyber-teacher-friends!  The beginning of that blog post did sound pretty ominous, but I'm feeling better now!  Thanks for caring!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Room 10's Lovely Friends!

Well, I had a crummy weekend.  Pretty much as bad as they come.  Yeah.  It was bad.  And I wasn't feeling too kind or nice this morning either.

So, I knew I had to get myself out of the gutter... so...

... we did a little bulletin board project that had all my kiddos smiling from ear-to-ear which just warmed my heart and really did help turn my day around!

A few weeks ago, I raided the Dollar Spot at Target and got all this great loot.  So, each kid got a large foam heart and a variety of the foam/felt heart stickers.

Then I passed out these copied on red and pink paper:
I had already written each kids' name at the top of one heart and it was random who got who in the classroom.  My kiddos had to think of a way their person had been a good friend and write it in the space.  Then sign their name and use the materials to decorate it.  We did brainstorm a list together of ways people had been good friends to us and I put it up on our LCD projector so they had some ideas.

When everyone was done, we sat in a circle and everyone went around and read their heart to their friend.  The smiles and blushing cheeks were SO nice to see and hearing the "thank yous" at the end was even better!

Then I hung them on a slightly un-balanced bulletin board in the hallway... I'm trying to get over the uneven distribution of the hearts... it's hard!  I love to make a sign for my bulletin boards that a student colors, so I usually do that instead of cutting out letters.  They enjoy having a hand in the bulletin board too!  So, a couple of my boys decorated the sign.
And how could my day not turn around when one of my sweeties shared the one she did for me:

So, if you're looking for a way to add some sunshine to your students' day... or even to your own... do it!  :)

Here's to hoping for a better week for myself! 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Wonderful, Lovely Prefix and Suffix Winners!


Congrats Rachel and Amber!  Please e-mail me at christina4062@hotmail.com to claim your prize!

If you missed out and would like the center set, it's currently on sale at my shop!

Yesterday was quite a day at school and I am looking forward to enjoying my weekend!  Next week I'll be sharing a "LOVEly Friend" bulletin board we're making on Monday... we'll be taking our matter properties assessment using a "Scoot" game, and wrap up the week with half days on Thursday and Friday as our semester is ending.  It's hard to believe the year is half over!  We still have so much work to do!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Penguins, Promethean, a Plethora of Pictures, and Pumped for P-Friday...!

Alliteration at its finest!  I claim poetic license on that "P-Friday".  Whatever works!


Here are two of my favorite things we did this week.

I shared earlier how I had acquired a Promethean ActivSlate to use in my classroom.  And we are loving it!  On Wednesday, we did a sink/float lab.  I made a quick table in Publisher, added some clipart and shapes for the things we were testing, and the kids used the tablet to move the items into either the sink or float category, depending on what the prediction of the class was.  It was a HIT!  And super easy!  Since I don't have an actual Promethean Board, I'm not sure about making the flip charts and stuff... but this worked perfectly and was truly super easy!  On a side note, I also typed up words using Tux Paint and then we used the paint feature to circle "hunks and chunks" to practice decoding.  I love this ActivSlate!

So.  Back to sink and float:


Then we tested out each item and re-evaluated our predictions.  It was GREAT!

We also read and learned about penguins.  Each of my table groups made have/can/are charts for penguins, we combined our ideas and typed one that we displayed on the LCD screen to use for ideas, and then they wrote informational paragraphs about penguins.  And, in my classroom, no hallway display writing piece is complete without a super cute craftivity to go along with it... so check this out:

I traced the body which they cut out.  Then each kid got a different color hat and had to trade around with others to get three different colored hat pieces.  We added the googley eyes, feet, beaks, and the hat.  Then we mixed shaving cream and glue to make the white bellies.  Did you know that their white bellies help protect them from predators...?  I didn't!  So we learned that when they are swimming and predators look up, they may confuse their white underside as a reflection of the sky!

You can get your own "hat" pattern here:

Ok!  That's a wrap for me for the week!  Tomorrow I'm going shopping and Sunday will be laundry and school for me.

Don't forget about the giveaway for my prefix/suffix pack!  All you have to do is head to that post (click the pic below!) and leave a comment that includes a word with a prefix/suffix.  I'll announce the winner on Saturday morning!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

HUGE Giveaway Coming Soon!

Just wanted to put a bug in your ear about a HUGE giveaway coming soon from over 20 creative blogging teachers!

Courtney, over at Swimming into Second, is such a sweetie and is organizing a massive Valentine's Giveaway!  More info will be coming soon... but I just wanted to get you excited!

It also seems like all of my favorite bloggers are having sales at their online shops, so I'm having an "Everybody's Doing It!" sale over at mine until the end of the weekend!

Don't forget about my giveaway for a prefix/suffix center pack too... see yesterday's blog entry to enter!  The comments you all have left are SO funny and have totally made me laugh out loud until my husband has had to question what in the world I'm doing on the computer that is so funny!  After a long day yesterday with a crazy kiddo which followed having to drag one in their chair down the hall on Tuesday because the sweetie refused to get up and walk, two days of crazy kids makes one teacher who needed a good laugh!  I can't wait to see what others have to say!  :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Midweek, Wonderful Giveaway!

It's for a prefix and suffix center set!  I tried to fit a prefix and a suffix both in the title for good measure!

When I was working on prefix and suffix activities this past weekend, I couldn't find a ton of center activities online so, I just made my own!  I'm pretty excited about how the pack turned out.

Here's a pic... if you click it, it takes you to my Teacher's Notebook Store where there are a few more images:

So, to enter to win this set, just leave a comment telling about your week... BUT... include a word that contains a prefix or a suffix!  :)

I'll choose 2 winners on Friday to each win the pack!  It has 31 pages with 4 great games for students to practice identifying prefixes and suffixes and attaching meaning to words with prefixes and suffixes.  And the graphics set is so stinkin' cute!

My word for today... painful!  I started doing the Biggest Loser cardio workout this week and my legs are KILLING me!  And a word for school for the week... eventful... two hour delay yesterday, one crazy kiddo today, field trip tomorrow.

That's it!  I am hopeful that I will get to read some comments filled with happiness!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I'll Show You Mine...

lesson plans, that is!  :)  You can even show us yours if you have it on your blog!

I have a typed template that I print off, but still hand write in.  I need the comfort  flexibility of being able to erase!  I have a really hard time with not doing something if it's written in my lesson plan book... so I can't take the leap into total typing yet because I wouldn't be able to erase and re-work my lesson plans if I didn't get to something!

Now, this is just my template... I didn't actually take a picture of one I had written on.

But, here's what I print out and then store in a 3-ring binder.  It HAS to be color coded... I'm just a little weird about that part!  I do like that, the things that are always the same, are typed on there every week and then I just add a little more specific.  Sometimes, if I'm doing an involved unit or something, I just write "see insert" and then I add a page for the week with much more detail about what I'll be doing each day of the unit.

I have them in a 3-ring binder that has tabs for subs (sample schedule, emergency plans, substitute handbook), student info, emergency procedures, school policies, and a pencil pouch full of pens and markers for when I bring that bad boy home to write lesson plans.

Ok.  Here they are!  I just uploaded them as images, but they *should* be bigger if you click on them!

Are yours posted on your blog?  I'd love to see them too!  Leave a comment with the URL to them... I'm sure everyone would love to head over and peek into your room through your plan book!

PS- just 3 more Facebook fans to go until 800... and 13 more blog followers until 1300!  You guys are so sweet!  :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Guess What I Got Today?!?!

I didn't really *get* it, so much as no one else in my building was using it/knew it existed so my techie-friend helped me get set up and Room 10 is officially techie!

We are using this:
an ActivSlate which acts as a mouse pad but is totally portable and wireless... so we downloaded  a calendar file from Lakeshore Learning which is for interactive whiteboards and were able to project it with my LCD projector and then the kiddos could manipulate the things using this slate rather than using the pen on the overhead screen since I don't have an interactive whiteboard!

I'm so pumped about it!

I'd love to hear from anyone else who has one... what do you do with it?  How do you use it?  Do you love it?  Did you pay for it yourself?  How much was it?  Where did you get it?  I think I might like it enough to splurge and just buy my own that way I wouldn't have to worry about anyone wanting to share!  :)

I'll try and take a few pics of us using it this week just incase you're totally confused by my rambling explanation!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Ladybug Math Match Freebie, Giveaway Winner, and One More Thing!

 Ok.  First- math match freebie:

I worked on this FOREVER in Publisher and couldn't get the base-10 "longs" to line up right. They look correct, but print just a liiiiiitle bit cock-eyed.

So, I'm just going to share it with you for free rather than include it in a math unit at my store since it isn't quite right!  If you click the link, it'll take you to download it!  :)

Second... the giveaway winner for my buggy spring themed language arts/grammar centers is...
Congrats Jennifer at First Grade Blue Skies!  Please shoot me an e-mail at christina4062@hotmail.com and I'll get your item off to you!

And last... one more thing, last night while my husband was camped out on the couch watching football (which I'm done watching since my team *GO LIONS!* is out of the play-offs), I started working on a little center pack of synonym activities to pair with my antonym ones I shared yesterday.  These are summer themed with super cute beach koala bears!  I'm posting them up on my Teacher's Notebook store, but will also send out a copy to the first three comments who request one!  Please include your e-mail address so I know where to send it!
Sale at my store until tonight too!  Everything is 15% off!

Happy Sunday!  Back to school tomorrow!  :)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Polar Opposites

1.) The weather this week is the polar opposite from last week!  Twice last week I didn't even wear my coat when I left the house for school... and now we have 8-inches of snow!  The roads are *pretty* clear but we've been cooped up in the house all day and I am SOOOOO not a "sit at home-er".  I'm freaking out... there was talk of us going out for Mexican food for dinner tonight... I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it is still a "go"!  Must get out of house!

2.) We'll be reviewing antonyms next week and I made some antonym activities!  I'm putting them at my Teacher's Notebook and TpT shops right now, but will send a set for free to the first three friends who comment and leave an e-mail address... if you'll promise to e-mail me some feedback too!  :)

And the giveaway for the spring language arts/grammar centers is still going on!  Winner picked tomorrow at the first sip of coffee!  So, if you'd like to enter, just head to that post and leave a comment!

Friday, January 13, 2012

New Language Arts Centers Giveaway, a Wonderful LInky Party, and Sorry For Two Posts Today!

Sorry for the double post today, but I really wanted to do the linky party in the bottom of this post and didn't want to wait to link up until tomorrow, which is when I was scheduled for this post... so, anyway...

Sorry to break blogging etiquitte!  Don't miss my earlier post with a super cute ABC order winter freebie and info about my Teacher's Notebook sale to celebrate today's SNOW DAY!

My snow day was quite productive as far as making stuff for school goes.  My kitchen floor is still grody- you know, the floor I thought about mopping... but never got past the initial thinking stage.

But I did make some cute language arts centers for the upcoming weeks in my room.  My kiddos will be sorting nouns and verbs, reading Fry phrases for fluency, making compound words, and reviewing adjectives and end marks.

I'm going to choose a winner at random to receive a free copy of my center set (appropriate for 1st & 2nd grades)!  If you'd like to enter, just leave a comment!  The winner will be announced on Sunday!  You can read more about it by clicking the picture if you're interested.

I've also sent a copy of the pack to Erica, a teacher in Joplin, Missouri, who is collecting files to share with teachers in her area who lost everything in last year's tornado.

Head over to Mrs. Willis' Kindergarten to find out more and link up to tell about a file you've shared!  What a wonderful, small thing we can all do... thank you, Mrs. Willis, for organizing this!

Snow Day Celebration and a Freebie for YOU!

It's official!  "Boom Boom for Snow" works every time!

I got my snow day call at 5:00am this morning and I am loving my Friday off at home... I've already had WAAAAY too much coffee to drink, listened to several episodes of "Will and Grace", and put some serious thought into mopping my kitchen floor.  Serious thought is as far as that has gotten though!

To celebrate, I've created a super cute ABC order freebie that is free for a limited time and I'm having a 15% off sale until tomorrow night!

You can click the image of the freebie to head over there and get your copy... if it's not free anymore, it's just $2.00!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Why Do You Do What You Do?- Learning Beliefs

Earlier in the year, one of the teachers in my building came up with a set of her beliefs about teaching and learning. She posted them outside of her classroom as a way to let everyone know her rationale behind why she does what she does and to hold herself accountable for them in her classroom decisions.

Well, since then, we were all asked to do the same- come up with a list of our own personal beliefs about teaching and learning and post them outside our classrooms.

I think it's a great idea. Now everyone who walks down our hall can see every teacher's personal philosophies behind why they do what they do. And it's been really interesting to see other peoples' beliefs. It has made me wonder about my bloggy friends... what are your personal beliefs about teaching and learning? I know that I had never really thought before about why I do things how I do them. It's just how I do it! But it was extremely insightful to have to think about why Room 10 is the way it is. So, here are my beliefs about teaching and learning:

It feels good to work hard and do a good job. (And sometimes we do the right thing just because it's the right thing to do.)
Learning made fun is fun. (This is HUGE! Who doesn't want to make school more fun?!)

All kids can learn. (And, yes, ALL means ALL.)
Celebrating the success of others is important. (I never realized how much of this we do until I started thinking about my beliefs. Sometimes school feels so competitive- which isn't all bad- but I think it's equally important to teach our students to be proud of their peers too. One way I help do this is by my weekly awards I give out on Fridays, which you can read about HERE if you'd like! Anyway, celebrating others as part of character development is a biggie for me, so it had to be part of my beliefs set.)

Students can be accountable for their own learning. (ie. keeping graphs of their reading progress, math fact mastery, being asked to explain what they are learning, empowering them with choices via Daily Five and math workstations)
Parents are important in school success. (Thanks, parents! We love you!)

There is only one I did not add and it is one I feel very strongly about, but couldn't think of a way to say it that wouldn't be offensive. I teach in a district with a very high free-and-reduced-lunch rate, but I truly believe that poverty does not stand in the way of learning. I know that this can be a hot-button issue with some people and I get it that what happens at home is out of our control... but those 8-hours we have with those kids, IS in our control and I refuse to allow home situations to hinder my students' learning. Is there a way to re-word that so it sounds more positive?

I would love love love it if you would share some of your beliefs here too. It was really good for me to get them down on paper and spend some time actually thinking about the things I do in my classroom and what beliefs I have that lead me to do those things.

So, if you wouldn't mind, let's hear yours too! Why do you do the things that you do?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

How To Make This Teacher's Heart Happy...

I know it sounds so cliche, but truly, my favorite thing about teaching is seeing that "light bulb" go off and watching a kid realize they understand something... I love those moments! It is amazing to watch someone know they have acquired knowledge and it makes me so proud to have helped one of my kiddos get to that point.

But another thing that makes this teacher's heart so happy is when I get to see that my kiddos know stuff when they aren't trying to show me they know it. Take today for example. I have this AMAZING writing table in my room (thanks Donor's Choose!) and a long piece of paper runs across the top of it. Usually that paper just becomes something fun to draw on during free choice. It's actually an art table, but we love it as our writing area.

Anyway, today one of my girlies was writing on it during "work on writing" at Daily Five. I was intrigued, but didn't want to interfere in her work. So, afterwards I went to see what she had been doing, and this is what I found:
A complete kid-made-kid-initiated web of things that are magnetic... and the starting of a list of magnetic and non-magnetic items!

I was so excited!

So, this teacher had a happy heart today!

This morning, we did TONS of magnet stuff including making these after we tested these (and many many many other) different items with our own magnets. You can get the pattern for it by clicking HERE and going to a previous blog post.
I totally didn't give them enough time to just explore with all of my magnet goodies and paid the price they asked me about it all day. So tomorrow we will be making my magnet flippy book and will definitely spend some time just having fun with all of my magnet stuff. I do have some really powerful magnets and they LOVED feeling them repel one another! And one of my girls figured out that she could put a magnet under the table, move it, and it would make a little magnetic ball on top of the table move too. That was super exciting for us!

All-in-all, it was a successful Wednesday. I'm excited about tomorrow as I finished AIMS Web testing my 2nd graders today and will start my firsties tomorrow. I can't WAIT to see how much they've grown on that assessment! My 2nd graders had great results! BUT tomorrow night you will be hearing this girl doing the snow dance in hopes of a free day off on Friday... Boom Boom for Snow!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A "HANDY" Way to Learn About Texture Freebie!

The matter unit is in full swing and we had so much fun today playing with properties of matter.

I found this project on Pinterest last night, but forgot to "Pin It"... so I don't know where the idea came from, so I'm sorry if I stole this from you and you aren't getting credit for it! I created the freebie for the hand and it's on my Teacher's Notebook Store... you can click the picture below of what we did to download it!

I ran copies of the hand on many colors of paper and passed out pieces of sandpaper, waxed paper, cotton, beans, and macaroni. We talked about the texture and what the best describing word would be to tell about the texture of each of those pieces of matter. We glued a piece on each fingertip and wrote the texture word on the finger. They LOVED it! Then I hung them in the hall with the chart we made earlier in the day about how to describe properties of things after we sorted bags full of randomness into groups based on their properties.

Tomorrow is the magnet freebie I posted yesterday and some other fun magnet play!

I don't know what happened, but we did SO much work today... I'm hoping for another successful day on Wednesday, again on Thursday, and then a snow day on Friday! HA!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...