Friday, September 13, 2013

Thank God It's Friday!

What a week it has been! I feel like it's been crazy non-stop alllll week long... probably because it has been! Before I go and enjoy my weekend, I wanted to share a glimpse of what my week has looked like.

1. Next week we are finally beginning our math rotations, and I couldn't be more excited! I am so over having whole group/independent for the entire math block, and am so glad we're ready for some movement in our lives! Since I have a Hollywood theme in my class, I named my 4 groups after concessions candy. Next to their group name is the rotation they will go in. My lowest group comes to small group first, seat work next, then math facts, followed by hands-on. Underneath the group names are the individual student names, with a cute male/female clip art picture. Loving it!  I am so excited to see how smoothly this works next week!

2. Speaking of small group, do we you see these red boxes? Holy moly (guacamole) I'm excited about these, too! I JUST got my small group table YESTERDAY so I went LAST NIGHT to Wal-Mart and bought all 6 of these bad boys! They are originally $17, but yours truly paid $9 a piece. Gotta love roll back prices. :) As an added bonus, the lids come off for extra storage. Go ahead and drool now. :)

3. I have been trying to instill the basics of story structure, so adapted this popular pinterest idea and made it work in my room.
I made up a quick, simple story structure map, labeling characters, setting and plot. The students used sticky notes to fill in these areas, and then elaborate setting with the mini sticky notes, adding time and place, and then elaborating on plot by adding the beginning, middle and end, and then finally problem and solution. Every kid was hard at work... even those who never are! We displayed some of these beauties in the hallway! The glorious thing about this activity is you can adapt it to almost any fictional story!
4. Documentation is so important these days, and I think I have finally found a system that works for me. I create a notebook (as seen below) where I have a tab for each student. Behind each tab is a parent contact form where I record all interactions I have with parents, whether face to face or via email. I usually print all the emails and just stick those in there. In the pink box I put letters from home, anything that needs to be signed and returned, and forms that invite parents to conference. Sometimes documents are important where parents simply decline a conference. :)
5. I have a two year old! This chick NEVER stays still long enough to take a picture, but here is my Lilly Love (holding Paco) in her new birthday outfit. Where has the time gone?!
I'm off to enjoy my weekend now, but be sure to link up!

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Friday, September 6, 2013

Five for Friday

Happy FRIDAY, friends! I'm not sure how short weeks always feel super long, but man, is it ever true! I'm linking up on this {late} Friday night to share a little of my week with you. Be sure to click
on the picture below to either link up or view other posts.

Five for Friday: 1--Birthday Festivities

Tomorrow we're having my Lilly's second birthday party. This mama has been busy doing some crafting this week, food prep since I've been home tonight, and will be massively cleaning tomorrow morning until the party starts! Lilly's newest "thing" is Dora, so I pinterest-ed it up, and found {this}awesome pin! Now my house is not going to look nearly as cute, but I'm still pretty excited about it! Here are some pictures thus far... with more to follow!

Tico's Acorn Treats!

One of her {many} presents... this one is from Daddy. :)
Labels for the food table! My favorite!

Five for Friday: 2--class scavenger hunt

How boring must it be to students to sit and listen to us go on and on about rules and procedures? Yeah.. I discovered (finally) last year that it was a waste of my time and theirs. So this year I let them figure it all out themselves.. all procedures, times, rules, and other need to know information was/is posted around my room, so I made a quick scavenger hunt for the kids to complete. They LOVED roaming around and finding answers. My favorite was the question that said , "When Mrs. Lopez says Macaroni and Cheese, what should you say?" I can't begin to tell you the strange looks I got! Anyone know the answer? "Everybody freeze!" of course!


Five for Friday: 3--math games!

 These first two weeks of school we have been adding and subtracting with regrouping, using a variety of strategies. I personally am over adding and subtracting, but my kids LOVE it as long as we play this simple game whose name I currently can't remember! It's like a race to 100, where they roll a die, trade in their ones for tens, and the winner trades in their 10s for a 100 first. Simple, yet effective. :) See the pencils? That's what happens when you don't have enough 10s rods.. you improvise!

Five for Friday: 4--I have a co-teacher!!!!

I have never co-taught before or even seen it in action, so this is all new to me! Where I teach in Florida we aren't allowed to have class sizes over 18, and don't have enough space for a new class, so my principal hired another AWESOME teacher and is giving us more kiddos on Monday. It will be an adjustment to have more kids, and all the new kids throughout the year, but it'll be nice for the kids who need that small group intensive help! Plus, it sure does make planning easier! :) I'm definitely optimistic about it and would love to hear your thoughts on it... and how to fit that many kids in one room!

Five for Friday: 5--I feel famous!

Are you a fan of Ideas by Jivey? Well, if not, ya should be! She's such an inspiration and always offers high-quality, relevant posts. Tonight while reading her Five for Friday, I read my OWN name in there! I literally had to read it twice to realize it was MY name! Her students used my making inferences task cards this week and apparently they loved it. So glad to hear! She's currently having a HUGE giveaway because she reached 1000 followers (told you she's awesome!), so do yourself a favor and enter!

I'm off to bed now, friends. Lots of Dora fun in my future!

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Portable Word Walls & Vocab Freebies!

This week marks the third week of school for me and my kiddos... and man, times seems to have flown by. So much so, not only have I NOT blogged, I haven't even been READING blogs! That's how you KNOW you have been busy! I don't especially have a large amount of time tonight as I'm also planning a special someone's Dora the Explorer party on Saturday, but I wanted to share with you a couple things that I'm loving right now!

First of all, I'm LOVIN' the portable word walls my students are using! To be honest, I never have/make time to actually add words to the classroom word wall. We think of words together, I tend to write them on the white board, and that's where they live until they are erased. And ultimately, that's where they die. This year I have a fabulous parent volunteer who put together a class set of **portable** student word walls for me! They're basically manila folders that have alphabet boxes for students to write words they misspell.

Here's how it works:
1. Any word I correct when we edit together, they write on their word wall.
2. Any word they ask me how to spell, they add to their word wall.
3. Any word we discuss as a class as being "difficult," they add.
4. Whenever we write anything (ya know, like all day!), the word walls on their desks.
5. Word wall words are now NO EXCUSE words... meaning they have no excuse to spell them incorrectly!

Ya see that? This beauty is adding a MATH word because she wanted to be sure to spell "estimate" correctly, because she knows good math students estimate to ensure their answers are reasonable. She even did this on her own... so I took a picture! :)

In my TpT store I sell commonly misspelled word wall words that include sentences to teach them with and the basic outlines for these portable word walls. Click {here} if you'd like to see!

Now, the second thing I'm LOVIN'! Vocabulary has always been a huge part of my instruction in almost all subjects. It's just THAT important! This year I'm trying something a little new with the vocabulary words before we discuss what the words mean. Students first record the word in their reading journal, and then RATE the word using the following scale:

1. I have never even heard the word!
2. I have heard the word, but I don't know what it means.
3. I have heard the word, and I *think* I know what it means.
4. I definitely know that word!

How simply, but awesome is that? A friend from school shared this with me, and I automatically LOVED the idea because it requires students to activate prior knowledge and make connections to words. Man, I love it! Here's a quick picture of what a sample notebook might look like.

Aaaaaand here are some freebie posters I made for you to hang in your room if you would like for your kids to this! Just click on any of the pictures to download the file. The awesome backgrounds are from the 3AM teacher... who is also awesome. :)

Enjoy the rest of your week, my friends!

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