Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Open House

Oops a couple heads are falling ;)

 The photographs didn't do the cuteness of this justice.  I stole borrowed this idea from one of my kid's teachers.  I love going to their school and taking ideas for my own classroom ;). 

My students were so cute.  They thought if they hid in another room their parents would actually think that it was them in their seats.  I didn't have the heart to tell them that there parents would know better!  They LOVED this project and it was so easy!

Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Have you seen these?! Classroom Light Filters are AWESOME!

That picture is a slice of heaven.  I suffer ridiculous migraines, not that any are good.  During the school year I get them all.the.time.  I blame the lights for many of them.  Finally this year I decided to try out these light filters I had looked at for years but never bought. 

They feel almost like vinyl shower curtains and have wicked strong magnets to hang them from the lights.  I bought mine in blue and I know they have whisper white as well.  My kids call our classroom "the blue room."  It doesn't take away from necessary light to do their work it just softens it up, quite a bit! 

Someone else on our staff saw them and just ordered some.  She said hers were beach scenes, not sure where she got them but that sounds fun!

You can find them on Amazon here.  I bought mine from School Specialty.  Amazon is cheaper ;).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Teaching Internet Searches and Internet Scavenger Hunt

We have a beautiful computer lab.  Seriously.  We have an even more wonderful tech integrator.  Seriously. 

We got all new computers last year.  Probably funded by a grant but man they are cool!  Then a couple of years ago we got a Technology Integrator.  She pretty much rocks my world.  She is so helpful and always jumps in.  I told her I wanted to teach my third graders how to do basic Internet searches.  So guess what?  She taught them for me.  She is so great with them.  She also put links on their third grade website so they can easily access the search engines.  Watchng her teach them I was so thankful she offered.  She knows way more about this stuff then I do.  The kids would have looked at me like I had 4 heads.  I consider myself fairly tech savvy.  However, being tech savvy does not mean I have ANY ability to teach kids that stuff.  I can teach my classroom subjects no issue but bringing tech to their level... whoa! 

Anyway, she rocked it and showed them how to do it. 
The sites she taught them were:

So, today in computer lab I gave them an Internet Scavenger Hunt.  It is going to take a couple of computer lab periods to complete it.  The kids were SO IMPRESSED with what they could find on the Internet.  It was awesome.  They told me they were excited to go back next week and see what else they can learn.  They strictly used Fact Monster to do their searches.  I have the document here in pdf because Google Docs won't let me upload it with my fonts and stuff as Word.  If you are interested in using hunt you can find it here.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tracking Goals

I think because I don't come from an education background I sometimes am backwards.  Then there are times when I see that as an advantage.  Coming from sales management it would be an understatement to say I spent some time with goals.  My job was goals; setting them, meeting them, beating them, focusing on them, and so much more.  I posted goals up in my house, on my dashboard, on my computer, on my screen saver, you name it I knew where to post that sucker.  When something is in your face all the time you can't help but focus on it.  We all have that student that is there all the time and they get 90% of our attention.  So, I do that with my goals... everywhere.

In my classroom we are all about a goal.  We have a reading goal and a math goal.  Fortunately our district has Accelerated Math and Accelerated Reading.  This makes tracking goals quite simple. If you don't have either of these programs you are really missing out.  Our district tracks reading based on words.  So I sat down and thought about how many words my kids could read and what I thought I would read.  I play along and the kids think that is fabulous.  When they see me read they are thrilled. At our monthly assembly readers are recognized- staff, students and community members.  It really is a team here.  Our math is tracked by objectives mastered.  On a side note, AR and AM solves the issue of "I am done what do I do now?"  The answer is always AM or AR.  So they don't even bother asking.

We have mega bulletin boards in the hallway... what better place to track goals.  So we have tracking sheets for words, math objectives, and a thermometer to track the combination.  Then on the board they all have a "backstage pass" and they get to put a sticker on their pass for every 10,000 words and every 5 math objectives.  They crack me up going through the hall counting stickers.  Inside their desks they have a sheet they color a square in every time the put a sticker on the board.  We are very in your face with the goals.  The kids love it!

Here is our goal board:

The kids also have individual goals for each independent book they get.  They always have 2 books going- reading group and independent (AR).  When they take a test on their AR book and pass it they take out a new book immediately.  Then I set a goal for them on the finish date.  I figure that by how many words are in the book, how many words per minute they can do, and figure they read 20 minutes a day 5 days a week.  Most of my kids read far more then that so meeting their goals is simple.  When they beat their goal they get a ticket, our source of currency and more on that in a later post.  Their goal is put on a "bookmark" for them.  They are required to keep that in their book.  Later I will upload my bookmark document into Google Docs if you are interested.  The great thing about this is your school doesn't need to be AR to do the goals.  You can use the AR site though to get word count... AR word count search.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

"The Box" and National Teacher Certification

Have you seen this box?  Mine has a prominent place on the shelf behind my desk... and a more prominent place in my brain.  I am working on my National Teacher Certification.  Last year our district did Take 1, one entry of the candidacy, and I picked up some new thoughts for my teaching in the process.  So when they offered to pay for the entire process I signed up.  Of course I am sure this year I will have many "WHAT WAS I THINKING???" moments.  I had a few already, well maybe more than a few.  However, I know in the end it is worth it and I won't mind the raise either ;).

I am doing my certification as an Early Childhood Generalist.  I was a bit concerned thinking that certificate wouldn't work with third grade but it goes by age and I am safe, so no need to redo what I did as a Kindergarten teacher. PHEW!

Anyone else out there have their certification or working on it?  What are your thoughts?  I am going to need a TON of lattes over the course of this year!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Common Core Curriculum Maps

Is anyone else out there using this book?

We are phasing the Common Core in and since this is my first year in 3rd I am loving this resource.  It is giving me a great baseline for planning all of my units.  Today we started our first unit.  I will post more on that later!  I was just curious at this point what other people think of this.  If you don't have it I say BUY IT TODAY!

Vinyl on the door

I cut some black vinyl on my Cricut to go with our theme.

So I put this on the window of our classroom door.  The kids found it quite funny as they walked in on day 1.  I thought it was just a fun touch and I love how easy vinyl is to work with!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Piano for the birthdays

So I spent WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY too much time on this.  First I wanted my piano to curve and be all "fun."  So I tried cutting individual pieces of paper and curving it.  I should also mention I am deathly afraid of climbing up on a small ladder, desk, or anything.  It was also WICKED hot in my room and I had my 2 kids at work with me "helping."  It was just plain insane.  Finally I ripped everything off the wall and took the kids to Wal-Mart to buy a fan.  While I was there I got one of those $1 plastic table cloths in white.  I drew lines with a black marker on all of the folds.  The black keys are black construction paper.  I then printed out all of their birthdays and taped them on.

"The Grand Debut" title was cut from my Cricut.

Monday, September 3, 2012

I think I am ready... my rockstar classroom

 Warning... this post is image heavy!

Tomorrow begins my first day teaching 3rd grade!  Yikes!  I have butterflies in my stomach.

I started in Junior High Science, then Kindergarten, and here I am in 3rd.  When I was in K I did a theme for my room each year.  This year I have 10 boys and 4 girls in my class.  So I wanted my theme to really appeal to everyone!  So I went with "Rockstar."  I am not sure I completely pulled it off in a few places and some may think my room is a bit "busy" but it will be busier when all those kids show up tomorrow!

I have a blog for my crafting over at Crafting Misfit so I thought I would chronicle my year in 3rd here.... We shall see how it works out :).   Over the next couple of weeks I will show you what all the bulletin boards are for.