Sunday, September 30, 2012

The One With Reading Mastery

Man, I have been so busy lately.  I have a lot to tell but I will try to keep it all pretty short.  I don't even know where to even start.  LOL.

I think the last time I posted was right before parent teacher conferences (gosh, has it been that long since I posted!)  They went pretty well.  I had an okay turn out.  I think I had 16 out of the then 19 students show up.  It is always hard doing conferences so early in the year.

Our state does a teacher Professional Development Dossier to have teachers move up in levels.  Our state has 3 levels of licensure.  The first level is for only 5 years.  After that we must complete a Dossier to move to level 2.  I then can either stay in level 2 or get my masters and do another Dossier to move to level 3.  Each move in licensure also gives us a $10,000 raise.  I'm currently in level 1.

Our district provides us with Dossier classes so we know how to prepare for the 3 strands of it.  I started going to classes 2 weeks ago and they are from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Wednesday.  I appreciate the help in preparing my Dossier but I'm starting to dread Wednesdays.  LOL. I'm just so tired after sitting through the class and it's in the middle of the week.  It will all be over in December.  Hopefully by then I will have my Dossier complete.  However, I more than likely will not be able to submit it until July.

I have to have 3 successful evaluations before I can submit it.  The window is only open from July to March and I'm not sure if I will have my evaluation done before the window closes.  I may get lucky and my principal can do it early.  If I do submit it in March, and it passes, I won't see my raise until next year.  It will be nice to be done with it all, though.

We also found out that our district will be doing Reading Mastery district wide.  We have yet to receive the materials but I spent my Saturday (yesterday) sitting through training for it.  It seems interesting and sort of easy to do.  I say sort of easy because the way we do the program is going to take some practice.  Does any of you do Reading Mastery?

We are only going to be using it for our small group interventions for our low kids.  I think it will work pretty great.  I might use it for all kids so the others are not getting neglected.  It always seemed funny to spend so much time bringing the low kids up but not helping the middle or high kids.

I was going to spend some time planning stuff for next week but I think I will wait until tomorrow.  We have tomorrow off because our county fair starts tomorrow and they have a parade to celebrate the start of it all.  We are also going on a field trip to the fair on Friday.  I love taking the kids to the fair.  It is always a lot of fun.  They have a kid's day on Friday so they do shows and demonstrations.  The rides and vendors are not open but we wouldn't have time anyway with all the stuff they plan for us.

Ok, I told you I was going to keep it short so I guess that is all for tonight.  I hope everyone has a great week!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The One With The First Grade Common Core

I know it has been a while since I've had time to post anything.  It has a crazy past couple of weeks.  We've had parent teacher conferences and tons of meetings.  I thought I would check in with the blogging world and talk about The First Grade Common Core Workbook.

From what I've seen of it, it looks like a great resource for first grade teachers to meet the First Grade Common Core.  Teachers don't have a lot of time to create worksheets and other materials to adjust to the CCSS.  This book has done all the work for you.  There are over 550 pages of worksheets, activities and posters to be used in the classroom.

The other great thing is that you can have it right away because it is a digital download.  No waiting by the mailbox for it to come in.

I downloaded a sample of the book and it does really have some great worksheets and activities.  So take some time to look at this great resource.

I am in no way affiliated with the company that makes this workbook, but I highly recommend you check it out.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The One Where It's Finally Feeling Like Fall

It was a gloomy day in Roswell, NM.  The temperature was in the low 70s and it has been raining.  Rain doesn't happen a lot in Roswell and it's been ever drier than normal.  I love the rain.  I also love it when the temperature is in the 70s. 

I spent a lot of time in doors except for a quick run to Target and the grocery store.  Target has put a lot of their teacher stuff from their Dollar Spot on clearance.  I got some stickers, magazine holders (3), and a set of addition flashcards for 30 cents each.  It was pretty wonderful.

The rest of the time I spent trying to get some stuff done for next week.  I've been racking my brain for more math centers ideas.  It's always hard to have stuff for the beginning of the year.  The kiddos are still reviewing a lot of kindergarten stuff and majority of my center stuff is for later in the year.  I usually mix reading and math together in centers but this year we have to do an hour of each. 

I was not prepared for it because we all found out about it a few days before school started.  The kids have been doing great in centers.  Last week's centers went very well.  They were a little hard for them at first but once they got used to them it went so much smoother.  If you have any great beginning of the year math centers you like to do, please feel free to share them with me.  I would greatly appreciate it.

While I was trying to come up with some ideas I did make some Problem of the Day math worksheets.  Each one has a word problem and a space for the students to show their work.  The students will be in pairs to do the worksheet. 

I will read the word problem to the students and tell them how to complete the worksheet.  I will not tell them what they need to do to solve the problem.  They will need to solve the problem any way they can with their partner and show how they did it on the space provided. 

I'm excited about giving this a try with my class (and a little scared).  It helps the students build their problem solving skills.  It fits into the Common Core State Standards for first grade.  If you would like to grab yourself a copy, I have put it in my TpT store... for FREE!

I guess I should get back to planning out my math centers.  Again, if you have any suggestions please feel free to share them.  :)

Friday, September 7, 2012

The One With A Friday Freebie

I know some of you are just starting school so parent teacher conferences are a little ways off.  For me, and probably many others, parent teacher conferences are just around the corner.  Our district has parent teacher conferences in a little over a week.

Most of the teachers at my school do parent teacher conferences the week before along with our scheduled day.  This really helps get all the parents in for conferences.  So all next week after school I will hold conferences, as well as on Monday, Sept. 17th.

I already have 14 parents signed up and I have 5 more that I still need to get forms back from.  Our district has all the teachers set up the times with the parents.  I've worked at other districts where the principal (or secretary) sets up all the time for the teachers.  I find this way much easier.

I send home a sign up sheet the week before and ask parents to sign by the 3 times that work best for them.  I, of course, get a few that just sign up for one time so I have to try to work with that.

After I get the forms back I send out notices letting the parents know their time.  The parents that take a while longer to get the forms back to me don't get as much say in what times they get to pick.  It's a first come, first serve type of thing for me.  Next week, I will send home the sign up sheet again with the times already taken black out and ask again for them to pick a time.  If I don't hear anything from them by Wednesday, I will call to set up a time.

After all that I am ready for the conference.  I have this lovely form (see below) that I fill out for each student.  It's a way for me to stay on-task and make sure I have covered everything that needs to be discussed.  It reminds me to talk about report cards or progress reports, and their assessment data.  It has a place to write the student's strengths and what they still need to work on.  It also has a place at the bottom for any questions I need to ask the parents.

As I go through the conference I use the form to take notes.  After that conference I put the conference form in the student's portfolio.

I have decided since I was already taking the time to jazz up my form (my old one didn't fit my style any more) that I would include it as a Friday Freebie!!!  So grab yourself a copy.  It really helps keep my focused during a conference.

All fonts are from Kevin and Amanda.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The One With The Winner!

I first would like to thank everyone for all the support and participation in my first giveaway.  It was a lot of fun to read all the comments and watch my followers rise.

Well, here's the winner!
I have sent an email to Lori Van Hove so if you are her, please check your email.  I need to know where you would like your gift certificate sent to.

I have had a very tiring day.  I know I mentioned about my love/hate relationship with 4 day weeks.  It makes me feel rushed and exhausted.  Also, I have crosswalk duty this week.  AND... It was 103 degrees and there's no shade at the crosswalk.  It was so hot!

I feel like I got so much done this week but am still running around like a crazy man.  We have our assessments this week and it's a new program.  Do any of you use the assessment from Discovery Education?  I'm not really sure if I like it or not.

Anyway, I wanted to get on to announce the winner of my 50 Follower Giveaway.  So congratulations to Lori!  I will be looking for your email. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

The One With The September Currently

I can't believe September is already here.  Not only that but we are on day 3 of September.  Crazy!

I went by my classroom to get some things done.  I rearranged that student desks.  I usually do it every month.  I meant to take pictures but I forgot.

I'm now making sure I have every thing done for this week.  I like my days off but I hate 4 day weeks.  Is anyone else with me on this?  I hate it because I also feel like I'm behind of everything.  Our grade level also has crosswalk duty this week.  That always makes matters worse.

Well, I won't take all your time.  Here is my September Currently.
If you would like to join the party, go to Oh' Boy 4th Grade.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The One With A Relaxing Day... and A Freebie!

I have spent a very nice relaxing day at home.  Well, sort of.  I did run to Petco to buy Migo some rawhides to chew on and I made a stop at Starbucks.

The rest of the time I spent with Migo and trying to clean house.  I didn't realize how hard it would be to clean a house with a puppy.  I'm working on making him more independent.  He is very clingy (which I do love unless I'm trying to do something).   I had to wait until he was asleep to try to clean but then he would wake up and whine.

I finally got him to stay on the couch and sleep without worrying where I was.   It took me forever but I got the dishes done, vacuumed, and cleaned up the garage.  We never put away all the stuff we didn't sell at our garage sale in June so I haven't been able to park my car in the garage until today.

After all that, I've been sitting here trying to plan out math centers.  This is the first year that we had to have separate centers for math and reading.  For reading we are doing Daily 5 and Cafe.  Daily 5 is going fantastic.  We are up to 8 minutes for Read to Self and 9 minutes for Work on Writing.  This upcoming week I will be introducing Read With Someone.

As a grade level we decided to make our stamina a competition.  So I tell my kids that the other classes are catching up so we need to work harder to stay ahead of them on our stamina.  It is working great!  

So for math I have been trying to have 5 centers that they rotate through.  By the end of the week they will have done each center twice.  Last week's math centers went very well.  I'm hoping this next week's will go as well.  Here is what I have planned so far:

Center 1:  Using blocks and addition flash cards.
          Students will use unifix cubes to match the addition problem on a flash card.  They will use one color of blocks for the first addend and another color for the second addend.  Then they will need to find the sum.

Center 2:  Base Ten Blocks and Number Cards
          Students will use a work mat with a tens and ones place.  They will have to use sticks and units to match numbers on cards I provide.  I just use a index card, cut in half, to write a number on.  They will be working on numbers 1 to 30. 

Center 3:  Ten Frame/Twenty Frame Worksheets
         Students will use worksheets that have ten or twenty frames on it.  Under each one will tell them the number of dots that need to be filled in and in what color.  I hope this one makes sense.

Center 4:  Computers - Education City
          Our school has a subscription to Education City.  I have my own city set up where the students can click on the game they would like to play and then choose their name.  I am able to check their scores if I need to.  I have it set up with games about number sense, ordering numbers, place value, and operations of numbers.  The students love to play on Education City.

Center 5:  Dice Race (freebie for this to follow)
        Students will use 2 large foam dice that I bought at Dollar Tree 2 years ago.  They each will have a Dice Race game board.  They each have a choice to roll either one die or both dice to get the number they need.  They have to get all 12 boxes covered.  If they have already rolled a number previously then they lose their turn.  Which ever student gets all their boxes covered they win.  To get numbers 7 through 12, they will need to add the dice together.  It will all make sense once you see the game board.  So, here's the game board:

Click on it for your freebie

The fonts are from Kevin and Amanda.

Well, I guess that is it for tonight.  Sorry this post ended up being longer than I was expecting.