Monday, September 1, 2014

Currently September

It's time to connect with Farley over at
for her "Currently" link up!  I love to see what people have going on--and I REALLY love reading Farley's posts.  She has the coolest writing style, and I feel happier and inspired after reading her blog.  So ready?


It's pretty early Monday morning, and I'm the only one up.  I do my best work when everyone is quiet--so I need to capitalize!

So what's "Currently" going on?  A friend of mine got me addicted (YES, addicted) to "Word Chums".  When she told me that she often has about 20 games started at a time, I knew I should have run the other way.  I did not.  

On "First Day of School Eve", I am definitely feeling a little more hopeful than I was last year--I try to not complain, but last year was a tough one!  I loved meeting my new group last week an am excited to get started.  I'm working VERY hard to have a growth mindset this year--for ME and for my students!

Notice a trend on my my "wanting"?  I can't say it enough--I NEED TO EAT LESS AND MOVE MORE.  That is all.

I have a ginormous to do list today...I need to keep focused and do the best I can.  It looks like rain--so that is going to help me stay focused, right?  RIGHT?

Finally, I loved Farley's trip descriptions...I had to do a little thinking about where I would go.  For some reason, I never have had any interest in visiting Hawaii but I've learned some things about the culture recently and now it's a "must see".  I would also LOOOOOOOVE to go to Australia; I've had a fascination with it since I was little and my grandparents went.  They brought me a stuffed koala that plays music.  Yes I still have it.  Finally, my son is college shopping and everything on the list is far far away.  As soon as he decides, that location moves to the top of my list.  Sorry, islands, I'm sure you'll understand.  

So there.  That's my "Currently".  Go check out the zillions of other posts by clicking here and see what is going on in the lives of some other amazing bloggers.  Enjoy your Labor Day--don't work too hard!

Friday, August 29, 2014

The final product and Meet the Teacher

Let me start by reminding you that I am not cute.  There is nothing about me that is cute.  My clothes aren't cute.  My shoes aren't cute.  My classroom isn't "cute".  There is no theme.  Nothing coordinates.  However, when people walk in, they usually feel like it is a good place to be...there's something there.  Maybe it's the colors?  Maybe it's the really nice big size?  I don't know--but I know it's not CUTE.  It's why I'm even nervous posting it--I've seen other bloggers' classrooms.  I know what cute is.

Walking through my door...our calendar and important information board...the bathroom book table, etc

Our desks in clusters with a large group space by the easel and smartboard
Also not cute--but I tried to take a panoramic of my reading nook.  It just looks WEIRD and one whole wall behind the book spinner is cut off.

Chromebook station and "to be filled" boards--for student writing, anchor charts, and more
Even MORE books, and "me stuff"
The door.  Nothing cute.  I'm allllll about learning journeys--we all start at one place and end in another and take different paths to get there.  Project related to this will be coming next week!

Meet the teacher went well! Last year I had a rush in the middle and had a room full of people and felt like I never got to make a personal connection with each visitor.  This year, people trickled in a steady rate so I got to greet and chat with all that came.   I can't wait to get back all the parent intake forms to see what PARENTS have to tell me about their children--such valuable information.  I can't believe we start back on Tuesday!  Lots to do this weekend...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Purposeful Teaching

In our district this year, we are focusing on "purposeful" teaching...making sure that every lesson has a clear and meaningful purpose--so clear that students understand what they are working on, why they are working on it, and how they are doing with it.  There are some AMAZING resources out there with respect to this topic--and this month's Educational Leadership magazine is full of great articles that address purposeful teaching, motivation, and engagement.  If you are NOT a member of ASCD, I highly recommend that you consider an annual membership.  The latest research and top authors are featured and there is a constant stream of information streaming from ASCD.  If you aren't ready to commit to a membership yet, consider following on Twitter (@ASCD) or Instagram (@officialascd) or Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ascd.org) to keep yourself as current as you can.  There's my "Back to school" plug for ongoing professional development!

The reason for today's post is that I am making a commitment to do a better job keeping my students involved in understanding the purpose of my lessons--especially when it comes to process standards.  

I'm going to play around with different anchor charts to see what works best...for our first "spotlight strategy", we are going to talk about perseverance!

Stay tuned to see how it goes!  Tomorrow is our all day inservice...Thursday is our work day and "Meet the Teacher"...and then I start counting in hours rather than days!  Hope all of you are doing well as you either get to know your students or finish your preparations!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday Made It: Bulletin boards, signs, giveaway winners, and more!

I missed last week because of the giveaway but it's time to link up with Tara at...

My days of summer are tick tick ticking away...so I am pretty focused on school!
A few "decor" ideas in now in place...
This is SUCH an easy one to have up for a few days until I have student work/content...it's just a list of all the topics we will be studying.  Parents love to see it at "Meet the Teacher".
I updated the sign for outside my room...the old one was actually on black paper....once upon a time.
Above the lockers...ready for students!
My "cooperative team" name tags are now firmly attached to desks!  See the post about these HERE. 
My "People Picker" jar is spruced up and filled with my new "people"!
My birthday pencil jar is restocked
This was BIG...I got my Chromebooks and got my charging station all set up.  I took an idea from our tech person and changed it up a little to have room for all 12.
Pot lid racks inside a crate on top of a cheap shelf!  All the cords hang out the back...love it!
The sign perches on top with the two kids assigned to each Chromebook.
Travel folder labels are made and put on folders...travel folders are made with all the key info inside!
Copies are ordered for all my reading launch lessons...
I'm going to REALLY work on "Accountable Talk" with my students this year...we'll work to really practice each of these 5 strategies.
Finally...a few weeks ago I posted the first in a new resource series that I have been working on and brainstorming and tweaking....and now I got the second set finished.  I can't WAIT to challenge my students with these open ended challenges--and I knew I had to make them differentiated because of my VERY mixed ability class.  This one is all about "Back to School" shopping!


I also published a set of activities geared toward getting our students to work together starting the first day of school.  If you are looking for some quick and easy ways to help teach teamwork in your classroom, you might be interested!

Hope everyone has a great week and thanks for stopping by.  Make sure to check out all the other great posts at 4th Grade Frolics...just click RIGHT HERE to see more!

FINALLY...My week of giveaways is over and it's time to announce the winners!  
Monday's winner:  Lena Troxtell
Tuesday's winner: Shaunda Jennings
Wednesday's winner:  Krista Reid
Wednesday's EXTRA winner (of the bag, earrings, BN gift card, etc):  Laura Hubert
Thursday's winner: Misty
Friday's winner; Toni Nicholson

WATCH YOUR EMAIL for directions! :)  Thanks to all of you for playing along...tune in for more classroom updates this week!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Math Books That Will Change Your Life Blog Hop!


So...even though my giveaway POSTS are finished, don't forget there are still a few days left to go read the posts and enter the raffles.  Need something to keep you occupied while you wait for the winners to be announced?  I thought so!

I have paired up with some GREAT math bloggers to share some of our very favorite professional books to help guide our math instruction.  One of the bloggers has organized this fantastic blog "hop" to introduce you to these great texts.  The best part?  Each of these bloggers is GIVING AWAY a copy of their featured book!  That's right...stop by EACH blog to learn about a book and enter to win it.  You could get your bedside table stacked full without even leaving your keyboard!

Here's all you have to do...check out MY post first and then follow the button below to visit "Live, Love, Math" to see what she has to share!  Visit all the blogs and add some great texts to your reading list.

So what did I choose as MY book?

Why?  Because I think this book is the PERFECT book for someone wanting to make a shift in how they structure their math time and math instruction.  It is easy to read, applicable for intermediate and middle school, and gives great real-world examples of how to make some shifts in what you do.  One of my favorite parts of the book?  Each chapter has a "Yeah but" section where Hoffer counters all the arguments for why something won't/can't/didn't work!  I love it!

So...take a peek at a few little excerpts from the text and see if you can get a feel for what this book is all about.  If you agree, I bet this is the book for you.  See what you think.

"Students are capable of brilliance."

"Understanding takes time."

"There is more than one way."

The book focuses on the four key aspects of a math workshop.  I am hanging this sign in the math area of my room this year--for the students AND for me!  When planning my lessons this year, I am really striving to keep these features in mind.
The book covers everything from how crucial it is to build community in the classroom to create a climate for risk taking, ideas for structuring your time, how to make good use of student work time, the critical nature of discourse, and more.  The appendix even has a set of high quality problems to use as you dig into a workshop model in your classroom.
Want to look at it more closely?  Here's a link.  Want to WIN a copy?  Enter the rafflecopter below!  It's super easy...and the best way to get entries?  Leave a comment below about a GREAT professional book that has changed YOUR teaching!



Ready to move to the next stop?  Click the button below to see what is in store for you!
Live. Love. Math.

Baby steps...classroom prep day 4

I do NOT know why I cannot seem to get moving this year...everything is taking me far too long.  After coming home from an unsuccessful, unproductive day on Thursday, I made myself a HUGE to do list--2 pages long!  Hopefully that will keep me more focused when I go in on Monday!

Here's a few photos to show the little bit I DID get done!
Popsicle sticks with names are made for our "People Picker"!
My pencil jug is filled...so students can get birthday pencils and more!
Outside the classroom, our "Who in the world"is in our class bulletin board.
Name tags are on desks.
In the process, I created 3 different areas that look like this.
I am TERRIBLE!  I have bins and boxes and piles EVERY YEAR. 

I left feeling pretty defeated--and I am vowing that on Monday I am going to purge piles and cupboards and bins.  I need to remember also that I spent 2 hours of my day going through student files and making a spreadsheet of data from testing...so THAT did get accomplished!

So...remember that there are still a few days left to enter my giveaways and read those blog posts and maybe you can have a better day than me!  Stay tuned for an update--and check the blog tomorrow for a very interesting opportunity!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Half Million Views: A Celebration of Blogging and Giveaway Day 5


It's the FINAL DAY of my celebration of blogging, and if you missed the start of the week, here are the details!  I have invited 20 blogging friends to share some of their favorite blog posts with all of us!  Each day this week I will focus on 5 blog posts that are full of great content--one from me and 4 from my illustrious guests!  The giveaway posted each day will feature $10 of prizes that YOU CHOOSE from each of the featured blogger plus $10 from my store for $50 worth of prizes each day!  Ready to see what content is waiting for you today?  Just scroll down and click on each bloggers logo to take you right to the post they have chosen to share.  ENJOY!

Big numbers--no problem!  Check out this great post from Math Coach's Corner!
This post is a great one to get you thinking about your math classroom as you start the year!
Poetry can be SO much fun to teach...check out the great ideas in this one!
Looking for some more interactive notebook tips?  Check out THIS post!




...and now MY FINAL of 5 featured blog posts!

This was one of my math posts focusing on math misconceptions and math discourse.  This lesson was NOT at all what I thought it would be...but I learned SO much about my students!

Ready to go do some reading?  Ready to win $50 to spend?  Enter the rafflecopter below.  This raffle will be open for 3 days--so make sure to stop by EVERY day this week for more great posts and giveaways!  By Friday, you will have $300 worth of prizes that you have a chance to win!  ALL WINNERS will be announced on Monday!

And today's 1/2 price deal?  How about THIS one?  Another HUGE savings!  Seriously...this ends up being only a little more than a dollar a set...and it's usually $3.50 per set!  $10 today only...This is a crazy deal.  I hope you had fun this week...I know I sure did!


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