Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Paper Passers

Summer school started on the 8th and it got really busy.  Go figure!  I've been wanting to post but finding time or energy to post was a problem.  Now that two weeks of summer school has flown by I figured now would be as good time as any to share with you how I handle paper passing.  I also use this to deal with scissors, glue sponges, and manipulatives.
I hate passing out worksheets and other things.  It takes up valuable time and leads to talking and behavior issues.  The students that get their papers first get bored and tired of waiting for me to finish passing out worksheets and for the last kids to get ready.  I worked on this issue a lot last year.  I had a very (I mean VERY!) loud, talkative class.  I also had lots of behavior issues.  I had to find ways to combat these issues and make better use of my time.  However, I'm not saying that my new way is te best way but it has definitely saved time and cut out fighting.
Let me start with how the students are grouped.  We have desks and the students are grouped in pods of 4.  The students keep their supplies (pencils, crayons, erasers, and markers) in their pencil box that is kept in their desk.  The only other thing in their desks is their homework folder.  This way any fliers or completed work can be put right into their folders.
In the middle of each 4 desk pod is a green bin.  I bought the bins at Dollar Tree.  Inside each bin are their scissors and a glue sponge.  We spend a lot of time at the beginning of the year practicing to share the glue sponge and use patience while others are using it.

Now comes to the part about the paper passer.  Each week I pick a paper passer for each pod.  This student is responsible to passing out all supplies and papers to their friends in their pod. Only this student can touch the stuff in the bin and only after I had told them to pass them out (this takes some practice too).  Every Monday, I take a Sharpie and I draw a smiley face on the corner of one desk in each pod.  Like this:
 I always remind them as they walk in Monday morning to check their desk for a smiley face to let them know they are paper passer for the week.  To remove it I use hand sanitizer.  Some dark colors don't always remove as easily.  For the more stubborn colors, I also use an eraser and just erase the smiley face.  (I usually try to stay with the lighter, brighter colors.)

Now on to the bins and paper passing.  Each bin always holds the group's glue sponge and scissors (as mentioned before).  I also use the bins to put in manipulatives we will use that day.  Students are not to touch the bins until I tell them to.  When I pass out papers I just count four for the pod and I set them in the bin.
The students are not allowed to touch them until I say so.  It has really worked well and it was such an easy system to set up.  Not really sure if it's the best system out there but it definitely works well in my class.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

June Currently

Today I spent some time at trainings for new intervention software for math and reading.  My district is going with Symphony for math and Lexia for reading.  My school has used Lexia before but our district decided that they wanted to go district wide on iREAD last year.  However, it was a huge flop.  My students disliked it and I was not able to monitor their progress in a timely manner.  I liked Lexia.  I'm not experienced enough with Symphony to tell yet.  Ask me in about a month!

Now on to my Currently for June.

Most are pretty self explanatory.  I do start summer school on Monday.  I moved classrooms so I will have one day to be set-up in my new classroom for summer school.  I would really like an extra week but I know it will not happen at this point.  Also, if I get the extra week now that's a week taken away from my break after summer school.  I guess I can live with the shorter break now.

I had so much fun on our camping trip that we are already planning a longer one for after summer school lets out.  I am also going to use this time during my summer school time and break time to plan more stuff for the beginning of the year.  I will then use the remainder of the time to relax.  We all need to relax, right!?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Starting Over!

I have decided to start this whole blogging thing over again.  I don't know why I haven't blogged in about a year.  I do miss it.  I do like it, too.  I just got down and felt like no one was reading.  Then, I think, who was I doing this for in the first place?!  ME!  It's all about ME!
A weird thing is after a year all my pictures are gone from my posts.  I don't know what happened to them but that was another good reason to start over.  I have also decided with this starting over phase to redesign my blog.  Hope you like!

So here I am... starting it all over.  I am currently a first grade teacher in Roswell, New Mexico.  I'm on summer break (until Friday when I start teaching summer school).  My first week on summer break was a busy one.  I spent a lot of time getting ready for a camping trip that me and the hubs were going on.  Our camping trip was only for the weekend.  He had to go back to work today.  It was also our first camping trip together.  I love camping but hadn't done it for about 15 years.  The hubs and I have been together for about 11 years.  I took some photos of our camping trip but not a lot.  I was having phone troubles.  It wouldn't hold a charge for long because it was consistently looking for service.  

Here are the photos of our trip.  By the way, we stayed at Along the River RV Park in Capitan, NM.  It is about an hour or so away.   

Here's my small 2013 Ford Focus all packed up for the trip.  I'm amazed that it all fit.  We had to stick a few things in the backseat with the dogs.  One of the dogs got sick and vomited all over the seat.  Yuk!!!
Here's our campground spot.  Sans all the stuff packed in the car.

These are all pics of the park.  It was really nice.  I liked being able to hear the river.  It was right next to us.  However, it got so cold at night.  Brrr!
 Here's our camp spot.  Our site didn't have a picnic table.  So, we took the one from the camp site next door (nobody was staying on our side).

 Deer walked right above our camp site.  It was so cool!  There was a family of about 7 of them.  They drove the dogs crazy!  Our chihuahua, Dori, barked like a mad woman.  However, it didn't phase the deer one bit.
Here we are making s'mores.  That's my husbands marshmallow stick.  And that is all the photos I was able to take.  It was a lot of fun and we plan to go on a longer trip after summer school is done.

I can't promise that I will post everyday but I will try much harder to stay up on my blog.  I really do enjoy it and want to keep doing it.

Monday, June 9, 2014

The One With Monday Made It

I am so excited!  This is my first Monday Made It.

As a first grade teacher every time students hand in assignments there are always 1 or 2 students who forget their names.  I'm tired of asking "who's paper is this?" over and over and over.  So I recently found this on Pinterest and fell in love.

 Unfortunately, I cannot find the original source for it.  I've tried to locate it but I have no idea where it came from.  I believe it's linked to Mrs. Brown's Blog but I could not find the post that had the pic.  So if there is no post, there were no directions on how it was made.  So that means I had to get creative.  My favorite thing to do.

If you remember a few posts back I talked about the hoards of scrapbook supplies I have.  So I dug out some scrapbook paper that I liked.  Laid them out and glued them down.  I then found these punch-out letters that I bought from Wal-Mart several years ago.

I glued down the letters then, as you can see, it was huge so I had to cut it to a decent size.  I cute it to 6" x 11"

Then came the part with the clothes pins.  I have a ton of clothes pins.  I use them a lot.  You can get them usually at Dollar Tree.  If they are out (which has happened to me before) head to Wal-Mart.  I found another post on dying clothes pins.  All you need is food coloring (liquid drops... I bet Easter egg dye will work too), 1 tbsp of vinegar and boiling water.  I put this mixture in a jelly jar (minus the jelly, of course) and let the clothes pins sit for about an hour.  Take the clothes pins apart or the metal pieces will tarnish (unless you want an antique look).

While the clothes pins were soaking (sorry no pic), I laminated the paper part and then headed to my local Dollar Tree for some adhesive squares.  Well, just my luck they were out.  However, I did find some gel Super Glue.  

I laid out the clothes pins where I wanted them and then glued them down.

Tah-Dah!  All done.  I will use the poster putty to attach it to the wall.  

Hope you enjoyed my Monday Made It!

Friday, June 6, 2014

The One With The Guided Math Book Study-Chapter 2

Today (a day late...sorry) is the chapter 2 book study of Guided Math by Laney Sammons.  If you would like to start at the beginning, please click here: Chapter 1.

Chapter 2: Using Guided Math to Create a Classroom Environment of Numeracy

This chapter goes over they many different portions that help make up a positive mathematical classroom experience.

In a classroom, students' environments are rich in reading and writing concepts.  As teachers we have word walls, anchor charts, posters, books, journals, and conversations all pertaining to reading and writing.  Laney Sammons says that the same needs to be applied to mathematics instruction.  We can help get there using the Foundations Principles of Guided Math.  I have jazzed up the graphic Sammons used in the book.

These principles are actually adapted from the Guided Reading principles.

There is not a specific way to teach but I have noticed that the traditional way of teaching math was not working.  I noticed I was not able to actually teach to all students.  Some students got it and others didn't.  Well, in a realistic classroom all students are valued and respected.   Teachers need to have the expectations that all students can do math.  There is no more excuse of "this student is just not good at math."

Just like with reading, we need to have a mathematically rich environment.  Your classroom needs to be set up in a way that promotes this kind of environment.  This can be accomplished by using word walls, math focus boards, anchor charts,  math journals, and a space designated for calendar time.  I don't currently use my word wall for math but it is such a great idea.  Since I am moving into a brand new classroom next year I am finding ways that I can make my classroom more mathematically rich.  I have decided to plan a space for a math focus wall.  This wall will include our math vocabulary and other math concepts for the week.

Also, your classroom arrangement plays a huge role in the success of your students.  The classroom needs to be set-up for Guided Math.  The classroom needs appropriate spaces for each part of Guided Math.  It needs to have places for group work and individual work.  Students also need to have access to the supplies and manipulatives they will need to complete their work.  The classroom arrangement can help promote a students' independence.

The home area  can be any area where the students' supplies are kept.  These spaces are using their desks or tables.  Students need to be able to access their supplies quickly and easily.  

The large-group meeting area is a space that the teacher has deemed appropriate for the entire class to be able to take part of the lesson.  This is usually a carpeted area, or any place that is comfortable for the students. 

The small-group area is usually a table that will fit up to 6 students and the teacher.  The small-group area needs to have all the supplies needed to teach the lesson.  The teacher usually has some way of taking notes or to keep records on the students.  This could be a clipboard, binder, or a notebook.

Lastly, Sammons talked about the math workshop area.  This area is a space where the students will work independently.  These spaces could be a desk, table or a place on the floor.  During this time, the teacher will be working with a group of students.

Organization and Storage of Materials

The materials need to be organized in two ways.  One way for teacher use and one way for student use.  The area organized for the teacher is done in a way that the teacher can easily find what he/she needs.  The materials for the students are organized in a way that the students can quickly and quietly get what they need without bothering the teacher.  The student materials can be organized into Steralite containers (usually 97 cents at Walmart).  For students to identify the supplies they need quickly, you could tape a picture or label the side of the container that faces out.  I would suggest not to put the teacher materials in the same space as the student materials.

This was a long chapter full of ideas and plans to make the classroom a mathematically rich environment.   As I'm reading I am finding ways to make my classroom more enriched for math.  Take a look around your room and see what can be changed. We all want our students to be successful.

Monday, June 2, 2014

The One With June Currently

Well June has arrived.  I hope this summer doesn't speed by like it did last year.  However, it didn't help that I taught summer school.

I'm joining Farley @ 
for her June currently.

Listening:  I was listening to Will and Grace.  However, that ended and now I have switched it over to Friends (big surprise!?).  

Loving:  I love being on summer vacation.  It takes me a little time to finally get into not having a lot going on.  I was supposed to be at a training today, tomorrow, and Wednesday but we ended up with a leak in our garage by the water heater.  So instead of making money I'm spending a ton getting a plumber to fix it.  Fantastic!  

Thinking:  I love being able to wake up and just start the day slowly.  It's nice not having a million things to do.  I am able to sit back and think about changes I want to make for next school year... and actually get them done, too!

Wanting:  Well I waited forever it seemed for the plumber, who has now finally shown up.  I'm just hoping the leak is not too bad.  I think it maybe coming from the line coming up through the slab (foundation) but it could be coming from the line that connects to it.  I'm hoping for the latter.

Needing:  This is in connection to my wanting.  We had to shut the water off because the garage was flooding.  We had to go to my parent's house last night so we could take showers.  I'm hoping it gets fixed soon so I can take one today.  We might have to spend the night in a hotel if it is not fixed tonight.  You don't realize how much you need and use water until there isn't any.  We have drinking water but no water for showers, brushing our teeth, cleaning, etc

Summer Bucket List:  
Read!: I'm currently reading Guided Math by Laney Sammons (I am also doing a book study with it, too).  I want to finish reading and implementing it before summer is over.
Clean!: I need to get and keep this house super clean before school starts again.  I never have time at the beginning of the year to keep up with it.
Organize!: I also need to get the house organized.  We received a lot of gifts from the wedding that need to be put away.  I also would like to make our lives easier but getting it really organized.  I think if it's organized (more than it is now) it will make it easier to keep clean at the beginning of the school year.  I would also like to reorganize all my teaching stuff.  Such as my files, books, and papers.  That should help with the beginning of the year chaos, too.

Well, that is it.  Link up with Farley to let me see what you currently have going on!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The One With Guided Math Book Study - Chapter 1

Like many other teachers out in blog world, I am currently reading Guided Math by Laney Sammons.

I started reading it this week in between my busy schedule of watching Orange is the New Black and Revolution, cleaning, grocery shopping, and making stuff for my classroom.  Oh! and Facebook stalking.  I noticed that on The Primary Gal Facebook page, she was doing a Guided Math book study with about 10 other bloggers.  Is this a sign?? I think so!

If you would like to follow along with the book study, click on the picture below.

I'm not part of the book study per se, but I'm jumping in anyway!

Chapter 1 of the book goes over mostly what you are to see throughout the rest of the book.  The author talks about how the way we all learned math was not helpful to make us lifelong mathematicians.  Many adults can't even mentally figure out the tip on a restaurant check.  That's pretty scary!

At the end of the chapter Laney Sammons asked the reader 2 important questions:

1) What aspects of it are successful?
   I think back about the year of teaching I just completed and see that there wasn't much that was successful.  The students were not engaged majority of the time and I spent so much time keeping them on task.  However, not all my years have been the same.  Some things in previous years that were successful were the ability to do hands-on activities with the entire class.  It saved me time and we were able to use the Promethean Board together.

2) What aspects of it trouble you? why?

   My district requires 90 minutes of math instructions.  Our curriculum was out of date (it was adopted in 2007) and just wasn't good.  I found it hard to keep the students engaged for a full 90 minutes.  Some students got it easily and others still needed the help.  I found it hard to keep the kids that got it to stick with me while I continued helping the ones that needed it.  Looking back I can clearly see that my teaching wasn't helping the entire class.  It hindered the highs and I couldn't always get to help the lows.  

If you are reading Guided Math, or are thinking about it, start at The Primary Gal's blog to get started in the book study.