Monday, June 30, 2014

It's that time again...July Currently!

It's that time again...
time to link up with Farley for her monthly Currently Linky!

Currently my pandora is on shuffle.  I generally stay on shuffle on Pandora.  I have a Lindsey Stirling station that I use at school...but other than that I just create a bunch of stations and then shuffle them.  When I started making my currently sheet, Like a G6 was playing.  Right before posting Roller Coaster by Luke Bryan was playing.  Told you...shuffle.

My first week of summer vacation I taught a summer camp.  Then I had one week off, and then taught another week.  I am so loving that tomorrow I am setting my alarm to go running.  Then I can come home, shower, and go back to bed.   :-)

Now that June is over, I only have a month and a half until school starts.  There are so many things I want to do next year...I should probably start planning them.

I live near the beach...but I HATE going alone.  My wife is currently working retail (at a teacher supply store...haha).  And they are getting ready for back to school...which means her hours have dramatically increased.  Which means no beach days for me.  If I had a pool I could at least work on this tan (or lack of one).

My needing and thinking are very similar...I need to find motivation.

4th Plans:
We're those people.  My dog's birthday is on July 4th.  She turns 6.  No...we're not throwing her a party.  But, we are going to celebrate it.  We actually just bought her bday presents and are hiding them in one of the other rooms.  (Told you we were those people.)

All of our friends that we normally celebrate the 4th with have moved away.  So we might go down to the river to watch the fireworks.  We might stay in our house and cry.  We haven't decided yet.  ;-)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Saturday Snapshots

I am rocking the linky parties lately!
Here's the latest:
Saturday Snapshots with Run! Miss Nelson's got the camera!

So, for my first Saturday Snapshots I'm only gonna tell you I helped my parents put together a shed.  We're not done yet...but I thought the pics (sorry, iPhone quality) would speak for themselves.  :-)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Don't interrupt me...

So I was reading someone's blog, and for the second time this month alone, I was explaining how I don't get interrupted during small group.  And so I thought...
"I have like 10 followers, I should just share it on here."
So I'm going to.

Have you seen those pins on pinterest...the ones with the teacher wearing her tiara?  It's her visual for "you can't interrupt me".
Well, I wanted that...but I didn't want to wear a tiara
I wanted it to go with my classroom theme.

As you can tell, my classroom is Disney themed.  So what do I do? Go to Disney and buy Mickey ears, of course.

I have a big head...just a random bit of knowledge about me, for you.  Which means the regular Mickey ear hats don't work for me.  Luckily, Disney has started doing some Mickey ears on headbands.
Last year, I got pair of Mickey ears, on a headband, with the Sorcerer's hat in between the ears.  It rocked.  I used it until I broke them.  :-(

So when I went to Disney over spring break, I had to buy another pair.  But this time I wanted something different.  Let me tell you, Disney is amazing in a lot of ways.  Their merchandise and the way they cater to every demographic is amazing.  Except for Mickey ears on a headband.  When it comes to headbands for women...amazing selection.  When it comes to headbands for choice - sorcerer Mickey.

So I looked...and looked.  And I found ears shaped like the apples from Snow since I'm a teacher, and you know, apples...I bought them.

Here I am wearing them: here's how they work:
I always start the first few days of small group without mentioning the ears.  Just my basics of "this is how we do small group, go here, do this".  I don't wear the ears because I want them to be able to ask questions during this time.

About the 3rd day, I introduce the ears.  I put them on, and explain that this is our visual clue that I cannot be interrupted.  We talk about how in small group we are focusing on something really important.  I can only be interrupted for blood and vomit (our district has a "no restroom during reading" I don't have that as an option anyway).  I normally spend the 3rd and 4th day of small group taking them on and off as I got about my small groups.  That way the kids see they WILL come off when I'm free.

The first two weeks if a hand is raised, I take off my ears, remind the student that my ears were on, and then quick talk about what we should do when my ears are on if we need help.  This does mean that I am going to be interrupted during the first 2 weeks...but I'd rather, as much as possible, limit the interruptions to JUST those 2 weeks.

After the 2 weeks, if someone tries to interrupt me, I just point to my Mickey ears.  As soon as I can give my group something to focus on, I take them off and thank that child for waiting...but sometimes that can take a while (which is why I have the blood/vomit rule...interrupt me...please!).

It's also wonderful when you get a new student who doesn't know the rule.  This year my grade level did a "walk and read" program.  We taught whole group reading to our homeroom, and then we leveled the grade so our small groups were more evenly matched.  Which meant that every so often we would need to switch some kids around.  My kids were great this year, though...every time we got a new kiddo one of my homeroom kids would explain the ears.  I only explained it at the beginning of the year.

They also work well when your art teacher has to come to your room because it's raining (and he's in a portable).  I needed to work on some paperwork, so I just popped those ears on and my kids left me alone.

What small group strategies do you have?

Friday, June 13, 2014

My first Five for Friday

So ever since I started following blogs, I've seen the Five for Friday linky.  I've never linked up before, until now...yay!

Welcome to my FIRST Five for Friday!

Since technically this post is about 5 things that happened within the past week, I'm going to start with Saturday...
I teach a Sunday School class at my church for 1st-5th grade (in one class...I know!)  Which means lots of fun...but it also means I've got a lot of kids who are in and out of my SS room.  And most of them are dancers at one of our local dance schools.  Saturday was recital day.  And I was asked to come watch them dance.  So I got to go to 2 of the 3 performances.  I LOVE dance, and the school teaches ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, and hip it was wonderful.  And my kids totally rocked it.

For the past few years I have been working off and on with a summer camp at our local university.  The summer camps are a week long, and are on a broad range of topics.  This summer I am teaching three camps, and this week was my first one...Robotics Camp for rising 1st-2nd graders!  We used the Legos robotics kits...and it was wonderful!

Which brings me to number three...
Every year I make my kiddos create a "dream robot".  What would your dream robot do?  What would it look like?  And then they have to make it out of recycled materials.

There's a time machine, bodyguard, milk shake maker (with attached TV) and a robot that you fly you wherever you want to go.  Personally I think these rocked.

A few years ago, I remember there was this big science project centered around Eggbert.  Eggbert was an (egg) astronaut who had to stay safe in the rocket you built for him.  What would you have to add to keep him safe?

Well, since I try to tie in all kinds of robots, we always talk about the Mars Rover and different things about it.  One of them, of course, is about how when they sent the rover, they had to make sure it would land safely.  So instead of Eggbert, we have to make sure our rover (the egg) lands safely on Mars.  I've never done this project with a group this young...I should've given them a LOT more cotton balls.  None of our rovers survived.  :-(
Oh well, something to remember for next summer!

I've got another camp in a week so honestly I've been planning and supply listin' and whatnot for that camp this week.  No rest for the weary!

Thanks for staying with me for my first Five for Friday!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Monday Meet Me

I'm joining the Teaching Tribune for one of their Summer Linky parties.

Meet Me Monday!

I've been teaching 3rd grade for the past 2 years...but I am so happy with my move.  I started in ESE, and I am glad to be "going home".

I have a HUGE movie collection.  As in, I have so many movies that during FCAT week (our state test) and during the last week of school other teachers come to me to borrow movies.  I also have a "library" in my house.  We took our formal dining room and turned it into a book nook when we moved in..that's how many books I have.

I could seriously watch nothing but movies, back to back to back.

I listen to all kinds of music.  I really don't believe in that "I'm afraid to admit I listen to..." mess.  I like country, pop, boy bands, angry grrl rock (I know it's misspelled), some rap, etc.  I currently am listening to Karmin (if you haven't heard of it!). 

I don't read as much as I should.  I have a book nook with lots of books, but I'm too busy playing on Facebook.  :-/

I often as I can...which is not as often as I should.  I really should run more.

So...go link up!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Rewind Post: State Project and Last Day of School

So this is (hopefully) my last rewind post.  Because (hopefully) I won't get so far behind again.

Two reasons for this rewind post:

1. State Projects.
Like I have said before, my class has 4 iPads (plus a teacher one), that aren't used NEARLY enough.  Well, it was almost time to turn them in, so I wanted to fit in one final project.  Using ComicLife again, my kiddos created a comic about a state.  They were placed into groups (with some input from my kiddos) and each group picked a state.  Then they had to research their state.  Things like:
  • state bird
  • state flower
  • state motto
  • state flag
  • when did the state join the union
  • what region is the state in
They did all of this in one of our computer labs.  And they did wonderfully!  Then we went back to our room to turn them into comics.  Which were also wonderful.  Except for one group, who kept have "technical difficulties".  Oh the joys of 3rd grade boys.  :-P

Personally I think they turned out rather nicely.

2. Last day of school.  :-(
We had a great last week of school.  For our class party we had a water balloon fight (sorry, I was soaked, so no pictures).
My third graders asked for a pajama day, so we did that Thursday.  Again, sorry, no pictures.  But just imagine me in Elmo pajama pants.  It was great.
And then I made a "photo frame" shaped like Mickey.  All of my kiddos took individual pictures in it on Thursday, with a few group shots.  I then made a little collage with those pictures and class pictures from our field trip and field day.  I printed them at Office Depot, for a pretty good price too.

Here's what the Mickey frame looked like...and yes, that is Lil Wayne in the picture with me.  :-)

We had our ups and downs, but I am really going to miss this class.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Rewind Post: Fraction Kites

That's right...I'm posting again!  Oh the joys of being able to schedule posts!  It means I can sit down at one time and write two (or three) rewind posts and have them post themselves.

So here it is, another rewind post...on Fractions!

For some reason my kids had a really hard time with fractions this year.  I don't know if I didn't spend enough time on them, or if I taught it in a way they didn't understand, or if they didn't have the background knowledge...but for whatever reason, it was just hard.  Next year I'll be trying something different.

Anyway, our FCAT is split into 4 days - 2 reading, 2 math.  So on the reading days, I try to do some kind of math activity after the test, and vice versa.  Every year, we do fraction kites on the first day of FCAT.  I can't find where I found the idea from if you know, please let me know!

Anyway, the project starts with a square divided into 25 equal squares.  My students are required to use certain colors when they color in their squares.  But they color in the squares, and then have to figure out what percentage of their kite is each color.  We then write the fractions on bows to add to the tails of the kites.  It's just an easy, quick refresher about the basics of fractions.   They look wonderful going down the hallway.

What do you do to teach fractions?  Cause I would LOVE some new ideas for next year.  :-)

Monday, June 2, 2014


Do you remember that song "I'm going through changes"?  I think it's by Ozzy Osbourne or something?  Well, it perfectly describes my school life right now.

I recently found out that I will not be returning to third grade next year.  I am headed back to ESE.  I am very excited for the change, but sad at the same time.  It occurred to me that every two years I make some kind of change.  I spent 1 year as an assistant and 1 year as an ESE teacher (2 years in ESE), then 2 years teaching in a behavior unit, and just finished 2 years as a 3rd grade teacher.  I guess I thrive on change.

I truly am excited about the switch.  I've been inclusion for the past 2 years, so I'll know most of the kids I'll be working with anyway.

I know it's selfish, but I spent the two years in a behavior unit feeling like I didn't belong to my school.  My kids weren't allowed in the building, we weren't allowed outside if other classes were outside, we weren't allowed in the yearbook.  So the fact that the past 2 years I have been so included has been wonderful.  Field trips and recess with other classes and yearbooks (this year anyway) and Christmas musicals and just being allowed to go to presentations has been amazing.  And I didn't want to give that up.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I did want to make that change.  I can still be included in things, and I can make a bigger impact on my school in the process.

I am just asking that all my praying followers just pray for me and this next year.  Like I said, I'm excited, but like I tell my Sunday School kids, I can always use some extra prayer.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

June Currently

I love linking up with Farley for the Currently Posts.  If you haven't done it yet, please think about joining this month - click here's my Currently for June.

1. Listening - self explanatory right?  My cable is having issues, so we're having to watch SYTYCD on OnDemand...after watching the first 90 minutes DVR'd.  And of course, you can't fast forward with On Demand.

2. Loving - The next two days are our Post Planning no kids, and time to pack up my room.  Even though I have to set my alarm, at least there are no kiddos.  :-)

3. Thinking - Next year is going to be very different.  Teachers leaving and teachers changing grade levels.  Keep your eyes peeled for a future post from me about my changes.  Just thinking about it.

4. Wanting - a pool.  Obviously, since I live in Florida and it is crazy hot.  I just need a little bit more extra money to buy a pool.  And again, while thinking about next year, I want to know how things are going to work.

5. Needing - I NEED a pool.  And, as always, to win the lottery (especially to help pay for a pool.)

6. Summer bucket list - I do live in Florida, so I am close to the beach, I just don't go enough.  I gained 70 pounds after high school.  I've lost about 10 pounds of it...but I want to be high school skinny again (or close anyway).  I still need to really start training for a marathon, but since I'm putting it off until January 2016, I have time.  And I'm hoping to go to Disney this summer...we'll see.

Rewind Post: Saturday School

Time for another Rewind Post.  This time we're focusing on Saturday School.  Yup, you read right, Saturday School.

Our school decided that for 3 Saturdays leading up to FCAT (our big state assessment) we would offer Saturday School for our upper grades.  Our teachers were strictly volunteer, and could volunteer for any of the 3 grade levels.  I, of course, wanted 3rd grade reading.  We had a lovely mixture of teachers from all grade levels volunteer to work Saturday School.  Each grade level got 2 teachers for reading, and 2 for math.  My partner for all three Saturdays was one of our first grade teachers.  And she is AMAZING!

Our activities consisted of hands-on reading lessons.  We watched Flocabulary videos and moved and read and went outside for character drawings.  It was just a fun way to show what we knew and reinforce things we weren't sure about.

What a way to spend some Saturdays!

Rewind Post: Perimeter and Area

Time for another Rewind Post...this time with math.

For as long as I have taught (which isn't really that long) perimeter has been a third grade standard.  This year, with Florida finally fully implementing Common Core, third grade was also responsible for area.
So in addition to just regular teaching of the standards, I have to do things a little...different.  This year, though, instead of being crazy by myself, my wonderful team got in on the action.

First, my hallway is tiled, with lovely, perfectly square tiles.  So what do I do?  Bust out the painters tape and make shapes running down the length of the hallway.  (Thank you to my partner for helping me this year!)  Then the kiddos have to go into the hallway and measure the perimeter and area using units (so one square is one unit).

 Our kiddos always do really well in the hallway.  We talk about how the 4th grade classes do not want to be interrupted so we have to whisper and no running.  It was wonderful.

I also do perimeter/area names.  This year I got the brilliant idea to create the alphabet ahead of time.  I have done this project in the past and just expected my kids to be able to figure it out.  Not so much.  With the alphabet already created, my kiddos rocked this project!  As did the other two classes.

How do you teach area and perimeter?