Sunday, June 30, 2013

Hello Bloglovin' and Currently

I am cutting it close!  Nothing like waiting til the last minute, right!?
I finally made the switch to Bloglovin.  I wasn't about to lose all those fabulous blogs I have been following for the last year!  
If you haven't made the switch, go now!  Don't delay.  
It is very easy to switch all your blogs over from Google Reader!

While you are here, follow me. 


it's time to join Farley's Currently.

Listening:  After church, Sundays are for football games!  But in the off season, it's for Lifetime TV!  I always get sucked into whatever is on.   The funny thing is that my hubby often ends up watching them too!

Loving:  My daughter will be a junior this fall.  Over the summer she has been a PAID intern at Ally Financial.  (Her pay as an intern is not too far from my salary with a Master's and 21 years experience!)  She has done so well, they offered her a job part time throughout the year!
- My 17 year old has always been a defensive player in most of the sports he played.  He is now trying out for receiver on the football team and is doing well.  I am getting pumped up for the football season and his senior year!

Thinking:  Only 21 days til we are off to our beach trip.  Sand, sun, family, and friends.  Doesn't get much better!
Above: My mom, sister, me, and my best friend, Anita.
We will be joining Anita and her family at the same beach as above.

Wanting: I have been walking/jogging/running since June 10th with only missing a few days.  The shoes I have are not doing the job!  "Mama needs a new pair of shoes!"                
Needing:  I am up to an hour workout & sometimes even burning 500 calories, but the scales are not going down fast enough.  I need to add dieting to this summer plan and I don't want to!  I'm eating well during the week, but weekends are tough!

Tips, Tricks, or Hints:  I love genuine comments!  So, be sure to comment when you feel led.
Join the linkies.  You will meet new bloggers and gain more exposure.  Photos make reading blogs more fun and interesting to read.


Friday, June 28, 2013

Teach Like a Pirate - Chapters 6 - 9

Chapter 6
p - i - r - a - t - enthusiasm  

Dave says if you do nothing else but improve on your enthusiasm you will be a much better teacher!
He writes, "An enthusiastic teacher can learn technique, method, and strategy, but it is almost impossible to light a fire inside the heart of a burned-out teacher (66)."  
Be enthusiastic and rub off on everyone around you!

How do you become enthusiastic? 
  •  Act  like you are 
    • Might sound silly, but if you act like you are enthusiastic, you will become enthusiastic.
  • Change your focus
    • Don't let the negative things influence you.  Let the positive things drive you!
Part II of Teach Like a Pirate:  Crafting Engaging Lessons
Chapter 7 - The Third Circle 

When people stand up to teach in front of others they prepare themselves with the content they are supposed to teach and with the techniques and methods they will use to teach the content.  BUT, they often do not think much about the way they will present the information so that it sticks!

I love how Dave compares presentation to a BBQ at his house (77-78).  (Who doesn't like to think about food?) He says not thinking about how you will present your lesson is like having a BBQ with only the main course served raw without any seasoning and marinade!  The seasoning and the marinade will keep your students engaged.  So, put that lesson on the grill and let it cook in the heat.  He compares the heat to the energy you bring to your lesson.  Oh, and don't forget to turn the steak a few times to add some twists and turns! 

  • Choices - You make tons of presentational choices during a lesson so make them count!
    • music, lights, attention getting question, clothing, etc
  • Transitions - make them short and sweet if necessary
    • don't waste precious time or you will have to re-engage your students
      • ex.  have projector warming up - don't have to sit and wait on it
      • pass out papers before the lesson begins
      • have materials ready and on their tables
Chapter 8 was a quick introduction into Presentational Hooks.  I highlighted the hook where Dave encourages us to use Pinterest!  (Not really, but that's my interpretation!)

"Much of your success as an educator has to do with your attitude towards teaching and 
towards kids.   The rest of your success is based on your willingness to relentlessly search
 for what engages students in the classroom and then having the guts to do it (84)."

Chapter 9:  "I Like to Move It, Move It"
Can you think of ways to get your students up and moving?  Your classes' energy and engagement will increase if you do!  See page 88 for a list of questions that will help you begin to think about ways to get your students moving.

With the push of standardized testing looming over classroom teachers, some may feel this is a waste of time.  Personally, if your students are engaged more and you are instilling a love of learning, How Can It Be a Waste of Time?

Two other "hooks" Dave talks about in this short chapter are 1) using your students as props and 2) going on a "safari."  (a walk, a different location, etc.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ten Pin Linky - Math Idea Pins

I needed something fun to think about today after someone ran into the back of my parked car & then my husband's car needed a new compressor so the air conditioner would work!
So, I was so excited to find Just Reed's fun linky.
Below are some of my favorite pins.
This is a great pin to share with parents.  I haven't decided whether to use this in a beginning of the year newsletter or as a Math Tip of the Week.  How would you share it with parents?
What a quick and easy way to include daily graphing!   
Could be used as Part Part Whole, Decomposing Numbers, or Missing Addends.
Understanding the equal sign was one of the hardest common core standards for my firsties this year.   Any cute idea with the possibility of extending their thinking is worth giving a try.
I love how this looks like a balance!
Guess who changed into Guess My Number!
This is a must for my math stations next year!
Anytime I can use something from my craft room in math makes me happy!
I saw this idea last year and tried it.
Students loved the Bears in the Cave activity.
I can't wait to make this!
My firsties will be lining up to try this!
I bought these from TPT last summer.
It was one of the easiest to set up and change out all year long.
I used small erasers for the inside pieces.
This would be perfect for developing vocabulary as discussed in Building Mathematical Comprehension.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Building Mathematical Comprehension - Chapter 3

Chapter 3 - Making Mathematical Connections

Our brains have different "drawers" where new information can be placed or organized.  
When students are exposed to something new, they may need to open up a drawer and pull out some prior knowledge to build connections.  Some students may not know how to do this.   It is up to us as teachers to show them how.

In literacy, we talk about the following connections:
text - to - self, text - to - text, and text - to - world

Let's see how these same ideas can be used in mathematics
  • Math - to - Self - Happens when students see how math relates to them.  
    •  between their age and math
    •  seeing a quarter being what they use in the gumball machine
    •  recognizing the number 8 as the number of legs on the spider they caught
  • Math - to - Math - happens when students make connections between some math concepts they already learned about and the math they are learning now. 
    • An example might be...  students previously learned about "turn around facts" and now make that connection when learning about fact families.
  • Math to World - happens when students see math in the world around them.
    • Student sees patterns in the weather
    • Student can tell you how many more points their team had than the other team.
    • Student uses money at the grocery store.
What strategies can teachers use to help students make connections?
  • Think-Alouds
    • Model, model model
    • To do this you must prepare and plan the connections
    • Use precise language or sentence stems such as...
        • I remember ....
        • I know that ...
        • This reminds of when ...
        • That is like ....
  • One Minute Schema Determiner
    • Create a T-chart - on one side list a familiar term & on the other a not so familiar term.  Start the timer and have students share what they know in 1 minute about both terms.   
  • Math Stretches 
    • Quick & Focused Discussions
      • How did my family use math last night?
      • ______ makes me think of ________.
  • Mathematical Current Events 
    • Include them as part of your morning routine
    • Have students bring some in also
  • Anchor Charts

  • In Context Problem Solving 

  • Use Children's Literature - Books can take you places you have never been and they can  help you experience math and begin making connections.  As children connect with characters they can begin building their schema.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Teach Like a Pirate - Chapter 4 & 5

 p-i-r- Ask and Analyze - t -e

Dave begins chapter 4 talking about some myths people have about Creativity.
  • You either have it or you don't
  • It comes like a flash from a camera
  • Creativity is easy for some people
Dave explains the creative process is more about asking the right questions, analyzing the responses, and taking action!  He writes, "Asking the right questions is like tuning the radio to the correct frequency (34)."   If you prepare your mind to be creative by asking the right questions, creative ideas will start to come your way because you are engaging in the process.  You begin to focus on creativity.   Your brain begins to filter stimuli to what you are interested in and need.  Dave makes an analogy of this to buying a new car, a mini van (36).  Here's my version:
        I didn't want a new car, but my daughter needed another one before she ended up on  
        the side of 85 with no transportation.  I had done just a bit of research.  If we had 
to get a new car (I was not dealing with another car with no warranty),
I wanted one fairly cheap and with good gas mileage.  I ended up with a Kia Soul. 
 In the days to follow this purchase, we began seeing them everywhere!  
They now seemed to be the most popular car on the road! 
 Everybody had the same car I did!
 What really happened?  
My brain now saw the Kia Soul as important.

What can you do to work toward being more creative?
  • Ask yourself specific questions about how to make your lessons more powerful and creative.  The more specific and "positive," the better.  Which question is going to lead you to the greatest creative potential?
    •  Can I make this lesson more engaging?
    •  How many different ways can I make this lesson engaging?
  • "...Actively and consistently attempt to create." (37)
    • Look at objects/ideas with fresh eyes thinking what can I use to engage my students more in my lessons
  • Have a quick and easy way to capture and organize your creative ideas when they come to you when you least expect it (in the shower) or don't want it (trying to sleep at night).
    • I love using the notes on my iphone, especially since it sinks with my computer and ipad.  I almost always have my phone within arms reach!
  • Don't be afraid to take risks - safe lessons are going to be boring lessons!
    • Make your lessons memorable!
  • There is no failure - only feedback.   
    • If a lesson flops, figure out why and change it.
    • If your student's are not engage, use that as feedback and make the necessary changes. 
  • Take more time to explore other hobbies and interests.  It can help your creativity.
    • I so needed to hear this.  I know I spend too much time working and not enough time exploring my hobbies except in the summer. 
I will end with this quote from Dave:
"... creativity results from properly directed attention, laser-like focus, relentless effort, and hard work.  Outsiders see the glorious results but know very little about the blood and sweat that happens behind closed doors (38)."
Chapter 5
p-i-r- a - Transformation - e

Is your classroom a brown cow or a purple cow?
Brown Cow Classroom - boring
Purple Cow Classroom - new, exciting, out of the ordinary

Choose to have an exciting Purple Cow Classroom, take a realistic assessment of your current classroom, and set sail on achieving your vision!

Dave suggests asking yourself these 2 questions:
  • If your students didn't have to be there, would you be teaching in an empty room?
    •  Do your students enjoy being in your class?  
    • Would they come on a Saturday if invited?
  • Do you have lessons you could sell tickets for?
    • Are you so entertaining your students forget they are learning something? 
Position your classroom to be the one classroom where the line between entertainment and education is blurred, just as Burger King positioned themselves as the place to go if you want to "have it your way!"
It may be necessary to reframe some of the beliefs of your students.  They may already dislike math or think reading is hard.  It is your mission to present content in a way that makes them change their mind!

    Wednesday, June 19, 2013

    Most Wishlisted Item Linky

    I am absolutely loving my summer so far and it hasn't been a full week yet.  Could it be that I have exercised 10 days straight?   We will have to see.  I hear if you do something for 21 days, it becomes a habit.  So, I am halfway there!

    One of my favorite things about having a blog is making new friends through linkies!   This is my first of the summer!  YEAH!  I am joining one today with Molly at Classroom Confections for The Most Wishlisted item in your Teachers Pay Teachers Store. 

    My most wishlisted item is ......
    Owls are all the craze! 
    Your students will love measuring these 11 adorable owls with
    unifix cubes, paperclips, and more.
    This product meets common core standards 1.MD.2 and 2.MD.4.
    A recording sheet and math talk examples are included.

    Hope you will stop by my store to see my other products!


    Tuesday, June 18, 2013

    Building Mathematical Thinking- Chapter 2

    Chapter 2 - Recognizing and Understanding Mathematical Vocabulary

    Children come to school with a varied amount of vocabulary.  They pick up on words when others talk to them, through daily conversations with others and through reading experiences. 

    When we talk about math vocabulary, it is a little more difficult to learn.  These vocabulary words are not likely to come up in general conversation or children's literature (unless math related). 
    If students are to truly find success in math, they need direct vocabulary instruction.

    Marzano (2004) lists 8 research based characteristics to effective vocabulary instruction:
    1. Copying the definition from a dictionary is not an effective strategy.  They are often too complicated and confuse students more.
    2. Students must show their understanding verbally and non-verbally.
    3. Involves multiple exposures
    4. Learning word parts (prefixes, suffixes) can help with understanding
    5. 1 type of instruction does not work for all types of words
    6. Discussion is a big part of learning the vocabulary words.
    7. Playing with the words (games) makes learning them enjoyable.
    8. The words chosen for instruction should be the ones that will most help them in develop mathematical comprehension of the concept being discussed.  
    So what activities can you do to help your students learn new math terms?
    • Encourage your parents to use and discuss math vocabulary at home.  
      • I often include vocabulary as part of my weekly newsletter.
      • What about including them on your class website on a math page?
    • Mathematics discussions
      • Create a risk free environment where students are encouraged to talk about math.
      • Number talks, math huddles, etc
      • Problem solving lends itself easily to discussions.
      • Ask questions which require more math talk.  Use why and how questions.
        • How do you know?
        • Can you solve it another way?
        • Can you think of other terms that are related?
    • Writing about Math helps students organize their thoughts.  It is important for teachers to model, model, model what is expected in their writings.
      • journal writing
      • vocabulary notebooks
    •  Math Word Walls - not exactly like your word wall for literacy, because these word walls hold more than just words.  Include:
      • correct spelling
      • graphic representation
      • symbol 
    I like to group math words by the Common Core Standard.
    I also like to play games with the math word wall words.
    Ex.  Guess the Word I'm Thinking
    Give 3 clues that will help narrow down the specific vocabulary word.
    By the last clue, their is only 1 possibility.
    • Graphic Organizers - provide a structure, makes patterns more visible
      • Frayer Diagram 
      • Venn Diagram
      • These Are.../These are Not... Chart
      • Matrix
      • Concept Maps
    • Games that will make vocabulary "stick"
      • Vocabulary Charades
      •  Make My Day - if a students card matches the clue given by the teacher, they step forward
      • I Have, Who Has
      • Math Hunts - find items from home or class that represent the vocabulary term
      • Talk a Mile a Minute - "it" tries to get their teammates to guess all the words on their list by describing them quickly without using specific words or rhyming words
    • Use Children's Literature as an activating strategy and then again to study the vocabulary more in depth.

    Monday, June 17, 2013

    Teach Like a Pirate - Chapter 3: Rapport

    p - i - rapport - a-t-e

    Dave Burgess hit the nail on the head!
    We should have techniques in place to avoid behavior battles!
      Rapport is the #1 technique.
    It is what sets teachers apart in the classroom when it comes to discipline!

    In this chapter, Dave Burgess describes how he builds rapport with his students. 
    What are his suggestions?
    • Make connections in your lessons with the lives of your students.  This might be their personal interests and/or connections with tv, music, etc
    • Get to know your students - what do they like, dislike, find interesting, enjoy doing, etc
    • Build the trust of your students.
    • Spend time outside the instructional time with your students:  lunch, playground, before school, etc.
    • Make your classroom a safe, learning environment.  He calls this a No - Meanness Zone (pg.25)
    • Make your classroom FUN and out of the ordinary!
    When you build rapport with your students, they will be hooked!

    For a play by play of Dave's first 3 days of school see pages 22 - 32.


    Thursday, June 13, 2013

    Are you a Lifeguard or a Swimmer? - Teach Like a Pirate - Chapter 2

    p - Immersion - rate
    Are you a Lifeguard? - standing on the sidelines giving orders, hovering above, directing from the side?
    Are you a Swimmer? - in the "water" with your students, guiding them side by side, and totally present?
    My son, Tanner, is totally immersed when he plays with little ones whether it be swimming with his cousin or teaching the neighborhood boys to play basketball.
    In the classroom, on most days, I am a swimmer!  I don't sit behind a desk (and don't have one) and give orders. I don't give an assignment and then go sit and grade papers or chit chat with my assistant.  I am in the floor with my students or walking around beside them at their seats.  How else am I going to really know my students?  
    I especially love "swimming" with my students in guided reading and math small groups.  If I am in the moment, fully present, I am able to reach my students and give them just what they need to move them forward.  I don't teach from the sidelines!  

    Just as you know when someone isn't really "with" you, so do your students!

    However, I have to admit, after swimming all day with my students I often come home and become a lifeguard.  Not in the sense that I am barking orders or halfway doing things at home.  But, my attention is divided.   I am not fully present when I am at home because I am always busy with homework, blogs, and making items for my classroom.  While that might make me a good teacher, I need to learn to STOP and be fully present when at home.  
    My family is more than worth it!


    Tuesday, June 11, 2013

    Teach Like a Pirate - Chapter One

         If I wasn't still working, attempting to begin a workout routine, cooking supper, participating in 3 book studies, and driving the "sports" taxi around, I could read the entire book tonight!

        Teach Like a Pirate, by Dave Burgess, promises to help you increase student engagement, boost your creativity, and transform your life as an educator.   Part I of the book is called Teach Like a Pirate.  It is broken down into six chapters - one for each letter of the word Pirate.  Chapter 1 is for P - Passion.
    •   Content Passion 
      •  What part of your curriculum are you passionate about?
      •  What part do you most enjoy teaching? 
     I love teaching students how to read!  I could teach reading all day long.   I love reading to my children throughout the day, meeting with them in small groups, and watching them grow into readers!  It is almost magical.
    •     Professional Passion
      • What are you passionate about in your profession?
      • What drives you?
    I always knew I wanted to work with children or animals.  When I entered college, I thought I was going to be a child psychologist.  That is, until... I walked into a second grade classroom and had the opportunity to work with students.  I was hooked!  I immediately knew what I was going to do with my life!  I am in it for the kids - and for me!  Selfishly, I love the hugs, sweet notes, and sometimes mistakenly being called, "Mom." 
    •  Personal Passion
      •  What are you passionate about outside of the classroom?
      •  Can you bring that passion into the classroom every now and then?
    I am passionate about my family and scrapbooking.  My students know my children and husband by name.  I use them in classroom writings and "life lessons" all the time.  They even come to visit every now and again, especially my husband.

    I also incorporate scrapbooking into my classroom when I can.  Most often we use photographs and journaling to capture special events in our classroom.  I have had students create a scrapbook page as an end of year project and craft Mother's Day presents.  These lessons are fun for them and fun for me!  I get to share another passion of mine.

    Be an educator with passion!  If you are, you will become contagious!  It is a drug!


    Building Mathematical Comprehension - Chapter One

        Summer officially began for students yesterday @ noon.  Me - two more days!  But 2 of my summer book studies already began.
        I am linking up with Thinking of Teaching and Primary Inspired for their book study on Building Mathematical Comprehension, by Laney SammonsLast summer I read another of her books, called Guided Math and loved it.
        First of all, I have to admit I was one of those teachers who taught across the subjects integrating reading with science, reading with social studies, and reading with writing.  BUT, I saw math as a separate subject, very different from the others.  Yes, we wrote in math all the time, but I never really thought about using the same strategies in reading and math.   On page 22, Laney shares the Similarities Between Good Readers and Good Mathematicians.  Laney writes, “Just as good readers create meaning for understanding, mathematicians create meaning as they process mathematical concepts and solve problems (23).”  In the back of my head I knew this!
        In this book we are going to look at the seven comprehension strategies and see how they fit into mathematics.  They are:
    •  Making Connections
    •  Asking Questions  
    •  Visualizing  
    •  Making inferences   
    •  Determining Importance   
    •  Synthesizing    
    •  Monitoring Meaning
         While most of us know about and use the Gradual Release of Responsibility Model in our classrooms, I appreciated how Laney shares with her readers how to explicitly teach these strategies to their students.  On page 31, she breaks it down into 6 simple steps:
    1.  Explain what the strategy is
    2.  Explain why it is important
    3.  Explain when to use it
    4.  Model how to perform the strategy
    5.  Guides students while using the strategy
    6.  Students independently use the strategy
         I hope to see this in action with specific examples in the chapters to come!  

    What are you most excited to learn about in this book?


    Wednesday, June 5, 2013

    Last Round of Math Workstations

    We are in the middle of our last round of math workstations for the year!
    The favorite center has by far been the Barrel of Monkeys.
    Students practice 3 digit addition with the help of some numbered monkeys!
    (I saw this idea on pinterest.  Searched on google, ebay, etc for a Barrel of Monkeys and wasn't sure I wanted to spend another $8 at the moment.  Went to school the next day, opened up a cabinet & right in front was a Barrel of Monkeys!  It was meant to be!)
    Practicing addition facts with 12 sided dice. 

    Practicing 3 digit addition.
    Students toss 3 balls and add the numbers where they land.
         Students practice a variety of math skills to build fluency on
    Data Collection with a Fairytale Spin and Graph from Kelly at
    Castles and Crayons.
    Students practiced understanding place value with this cutie from Bunting, Books, and Bainbridge.
    More addition and subtraction practice with Function Tables from Cara Carroll @ First Grade Parade.  
    Understanding the Equal Sign had to be one of the hardest concepts for my first graders this year.  In this game, students sorted equations as true or false!  I was so excited to see everyone doing well on this, finally!
    You can pick up your copy of this game here.
    This game has a recording sheet, but to save paper, my kiddos fold the paper in half, label it and record their answers.