Monday, April 30, 2012

Teaching Class While Taking Classes

One thing I have learned is going to school after teaching school is another job in its self. Some days my brain is so overwhelmed I just need to go to sleep. Being a teacher and a student is not easy. Sometimes I want to say to my teacher, “hey this is not how you should teach that or why didn’t you model that first before asking us to do this”. I see what I would not do in my class. I see the value of the teaching strategies I learned in what seems like a million classes ago.  What pushes my buttons the most is how all these textbooks on instruction discuss using menu’s to provide a variety of options to differentiate instruction and allow students to choose options based on their interest, yet I do not see those options in my classes. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

           Teachers, make sure you visit 
           Homeroom Teacher and purchase a new tote at

     Also visit Sub Hub @   
    To enter a contest to win a tote. Plus she always has great ideas 
    and insight to share. It's a win win.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

It's Rewarding

How do you encourage success and reward your students. Here is my easy full proof system. 1) Any student who earns 75% or higher on any assessment gets to write their name on a little slip of paper,  fold it up,  and place it in the test raffle basket. 

2) After 7 test I shake the basket (dramatically of course!) and pull a few names and call the students up to collect a prize. They are all very excited to hear whose name will be called. 

3) Afterwards, I take all the names that were in the test basket and place them in the test box that holds all the previous names that were emptied out of the test basket. When the test box is filled we have a class party. This provides opportunities for the individual student and the class as a whole to be rewarded. It encourages everyone to do their best. I do recognize growth even for students who do not earn 75% because all progress should be recognized. What do you do to reward students? Please share your great ideas. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

1, 2, 3 Who Do We Appreciate - Our Volunteers

I know this is a busy time of year for many of us (teachers) as we are in the mist of a testing frenzy. Please take the time out this week to thank a volunteer at your school. They are one of the key components of an effective school. The time they take out of their day to read to or with a student, help with preparations for class work, or cutting patterns, frees us up an extra 20 minutes or more a day that allows us more academic time with our students. We can’t afford to take them for granted.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Planting Seeds (of Knowledge)

My 2nd graders can hold a very in depth discussion about plants and what they need to survive. They can easily tell you the three types of soil and what’s best to plant with. Not because I taught those to chapters with fidelity but because they had hands on experiences with soils and planting repetitively. Their vocabulary includes germination, blooming , and humus. We planted with a purpose.  First we planted squash, radish, and pumpkin as an experiment. We made predictions about which would germinate first and which would grow more in a months time. Daily we discussed the why’s and why not’s, this lead to more research. They learned to look for key words and phrases on the internet , which only lead to more sites to view.  They were sharing information with each other.  We enjoyed watching the plants grow. 

Day 1
Day 9

After a month I had to replant the pumpkin (big leaves) and radish (small leaves) in the ground at this point. The students enjoyed the experience.

Now we are growing plants to take home as presents for Mother's Day. 
Even though the chapters are complete the learning continues.
Day 1

Day 8

I will keep you guys posted. So far 10 out of 16 plants are growing well the other six have not started to grow yet. So, we have discussed potential reasons why they might not be growing, did we plant the seed correctly or did we over/ under water them. We we will figure it out.  Now we are taking on a bigger challenge we will be starting a school garden that all grades will participate in. Wish us luck and happy learning.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Bringing Vocabulary to Life

I have been trying to make the vocabulary come to life. Instead of saying words, and using context clues in isolation. I have been trying to build the students schema. This weeks vocabulary includes menu, assemble, and celebration. We had a celebration and ate ice cream. We made a menu for our own restaurants and set prices to review our money skills in Math.  Also, we assembled seahorses. I used the opportunity to teach inflected verbs as we worked on the seahorses. I wrote sentences on the board. 1.We are going to assemble seahorses.  2. We are assembling seahorses. We assembled the seahorses. The students really enjoyed learning vocabulary this week. My students did a great job. I'm proud of them. 

Thanks a lot to Cindy from for the great seahorse patterns.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Check Out the Spring Break Linky Party hosted by: Ms.H over @ Live, Love, Laugh in 2nd Grade

      Here's a great Spring Break linky party to join by  Live, Love, Laugh in 2nd Grade

                      I spent my Spring Break at home relaxing and spending
                                        time with friends and family.

                                  Lunch with my handsome god son.

                                I caught up on all the episodes of House.

           And my guilty pleasure "Housewives of Atlanta" I had to watch that also.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Assessments, It’s all in how you Use Them

       In college I took a course on assessments. Yes, the whole class was about assessments. When to give them, how to give them, why we give them, and what todo with them afterwards. As teachers, how in depth do you go with the use of assessments?  Do you analyze your students test results?  Do you data own your data as my AP calls it.  After assessments I’m sure we all reteach. What else do you do?  I reteach the skills, I make it a small group center, I create mini lessons, and of course I reassess those students in need to see if they have mastered the skill. This is where I think some of us (teachers) lose focus. No matter if I have 2 students left who have not mastered the skill the process starts over. We may even need to change the way we are delivering instruction. My Professor swore by using the multiple intelligences to create lessons to engage students. Simply using music or technology among many other resources can allow students a new way to engage in the learning activity and walk away with an understanding. That is our goal right. So let’s reflect on how we deliver instruction and what we do with our data to better ourselves and create a better learning experience for our students.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Learning and Blogging

        Lately, I have been learning a lot about blogging and creating great activities for my students. Thank you to everyone who has visited my blog and my TpT store and left feedback on my product.  I will be applying all that I learned to my blog and future products within the next couple of weeks. It seems to get so busy in school around this time of year. I feel like I have been running in circles. I’m torn between my students, lesson plans, PLC’s, PTA, and earning my Gifted Endorsement. Oops! Did I forget my family l.o.l ! Yes, it’s a lot but I’m grateful for the opportunities.