Sunday Scoop Linky Party

It’s been a while since I’ve taken the time to join a linky party… So here’s a fun one! Sunday Scoop is based on the 3-2-1 Graphic Organizers– 3 things you HAVE to do, 2 things you HOPE to do, and 1 thing you are HAPPY to do. Connect up with Teaching Trio by clicking on the pic below…

Sunday Scoop Linky Party

Sunday Scoop Linky Party

Here’s the scoop on my day~~

Sunday Scoop

What are you up to today? Share your scoop with the Linky Party!

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Getting Connected– In and Out of the Classroom!

Please check out my classroom project!

Please check out my classroom project!

http://www.donorschoose.org/Sburrell

Hello my Fantastic Bloggin’ Friends,

Exciting news from my 2nd grade classroom… we’re on a mission to add a few ipad Minis! This school year (and for years to come), I want to ensure that my students have what they need to succeed, so I’ve created a request on a 501(c)3 charity website called DonorsChoose.org. We currently have 8 computers for our classroom of 23 children. I’ve had up to 27 students in the classroom other school years, and the computers must be shared.

I’m asking for any donations possible for my students – no matter the size (seriously, every little bit counts). This week only, any donation you make to my project will be doubled!

If you can’t donate anything at this time, no worries… just share this information with anyone who you know is passionate about education. Your donation will have a direct impact on at least 23 students this year and you’ll hear back from our class about your impact!

One of my favorite quotes that has meant a lot to me in the last eight years since becoming a teacher ~ “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” ~ Arthur Ashe.

Many families in my school district are economically disadvantaged. It is often difficult to provide my students with real-world experiences and access to a variety of learning platforms without access to new technologies.

JCPS is a fun place to be! Our staff and students support each other and work collaboratively to build excellence and real success. Many of my students come from families who are struggling financially. Each family wants to provide the best school experience and education for their child, but there are many obstacles. Many of our students are more concerned about eating for the day, or feeling loved, than learning math facts. When they are with me I just want to show them amazing experiences about our world, but I often run into my own obstacles. Our access to technology is limited or non-existent. JCPS has made some strides in the last few years, but it is difficult to share 8 computers with 25 children. They all need the opportunity to practice individual skills through research-based online programs. My students want to explore and investigate. They want to create and design. Second graders are eager to learn more and participate. My students deserve the same opportunities!

We can use the iPad minis to enhance every subject. There are many apps that the students can use to create a project from their writing pieces- story boards, animations, voice recordings, editing, or sharing. We will use online books for my listen to reading station to help increase fluency and comprehension. There are also some phonics and sight word apps that I would like to use with some of my students who are struggling readers. One of my favorite ways to use an iPad is to practice math skills. Students can create patterns, record problem solving, practice skills, and create math projects. With three new iPad minis available, the device to student ratio would greatly improve. We would be able to do projects and activities online in partner pairs or small groups rather than taking turns. Students could use the iPad minis to practice individual skills and work towards their goals.

The donation of these materials to my classroom will show my students that there are people in the world who don’t even know them, yet care about their success. I believe that it is important for kids to learn about compassion, generosity, and gratitude as well as the subjects they learn in school. If these materials are donated to my classroom, we will be able to provide opportunities to these children that they would not have otherwise, such as connecting with people outside their community.

To have your donation matched dollar for dollar, enter the promo code SPARK on the payment screen. IMPORTANT: The SPARK promo code will only double your donation for the next 7 days.

Please feel free to send me any questions you may have, and know that my students and I greatly appreciate your support. I am also interested in other teachers’ experiences with writing grants… Leave a comment and share with me if you can!

Thank you again!

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How I Got My Groove Back!

I’m not naming any names, but someone we know got busy (at work), got pregnant (at home :P), and then got distracted (with life) and totally blew off her blog… It has been almost a year since I last posted! Whew! Oh well. I do enjoy writing about the events in my classroom and connecting with others who have better ideas so I’m excited to get back to it!!

I recently learned about a great app that I am looking forward to using in my room– Groovebook. You can check out the website here– http://groovebook.com/. Groovebook is an app that prints up to 100 of your phone photos and creates a 4.5″ x 6.5″ photobook and mails it to you monthly. Photos are printed on glossy photo paper and are perforated for easy removal. You can choose which photos you want to include and how many of each. The Groovebook comes in the mail in about 10 days. groovebook-photobook

I got my first Groovebook in the mail recently and it was great! I realized how convenient it would be to use for pictures in my classroom. There are many different projects throughout the year (for the classroom or for parent gifts) that I would like to print pictures for… but, let’s face it, the working mom struggle is real and mama ain’t got time for uploading pictures and picking them up! Of course, since the books only arrive monthly, I will have to plan ahead a little. I like that you can “close” more than one book per month so that I can get the prints sooner if I need to.

You should check it out! Even if you decide not to try it in your classroom, I think you’d enjoy using it at home. I’m already on my third book! It’s great to be able to have all the pictures that I’ve taken on my phone of my precious newborn delivered to me without effort, AND I can just tear them out and give them to grandparents and other loved ones.

If you want to try it out, use this code: BURRELL255 and you will get your first Groovebook for free!

Posted in Beginning of school, Class Crafts, I need more to do in my classroom... ha ha ha, So Tech Saavy | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Math is fun again! (as it should be)

Things have been very busy in my room this year so far! We are trying a lot of new things- some working well, some have been learning experiences- but all have been worthwhile.

MATH— I have restructured my math time. This is how it works: On Monday, I review or introduce the skills that we are working on for that week. We do a lot of modeling and practicing routines. I show them the games and activities that they will be seeing throughout the week so I do not have to give directions or explain on the other days. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday we go through a specific routine. First, we spend about 5-10 minutes having Number Talks and then sharing the Number of the Day activity that the students complete each morning. We pull a “lucky duck” to share and rewrite their answers using the document camera for the Mimio screen so the others can see how they did. Then, we set the purpose for the day, make connections, model and demonstrate, and answer questions for whatever we are working on. This only takes another 5-10 minutes. It usually involves making sure that everyone understands how to use the manipulatives for that concept.

The students then go to their group for the day. We do not rotate during the class period. Instead, they go to a different group each day: Teacher, Computers, or Explore. Once they get into their group, the students have some kind of written quick check to complete either independently or with their group. After the written part is completed, they will have a group activity. For example, if group 2 is at the Computer station that day, they will check their directions board at the computer station to find out what game to play or what activity to complete on the computer. We have been using this station in particular for the students to work on First in Math. During the same time, the Explore group usually plays some kind of card game or creates something that is related to the skill. The group that is with the teacher (me!) is of course working with me… We continue to use the manipulatives and practice the skill together.

My rigged math group rotation chart...

My rigged math group rotation chart…

I also have a fourth group that doesn’t rotate from day to day, they just get a different activity each day. It’s my Enrich group. This includes any of my students who do not miss anything on the unit pre-test. They get a new activity each day that is designed to help them extend their thinking.

I am really loving math time! It usually lasts about an hour. I get to see all the students during the week and I can tell who is needing more help with a concept. No one is completing “busy” work and I don’t have a bunch of papers to go over! We usually check the written work together at the end as a summary and then I can really avoid looking at a bunch of papers!

The students came up with all of these ways to describe the number 25... I love it!

The students came up with all of these ways to describe the number 25… I love it!

Doing math this way, I feel like I have a better view of what my students are capable of. I only have to plan for 3 group activities each week instead of 3 new ones each day. AND the biggest positive out of this is that I have noticed that the students that I have this year are so much more engaged and able to talk about and explain math in ways that I have never heard before.

SPELLING— This week, I am also trying something new with spelling. While sitting in a meeting recently, a friend was telling me about something her son’s teacher was doing: giving a spelling pre-test on Mondays. Hmmmmmmm… At first it sounded like more work for me to keep up with. BUT I think I have figured out a way to make it work. The students are excited about it because if they do not miss any on their pre-test, then they do not have to do spelling homework for that week or retake the spelling test on Friday. (Who wouldn’t love that?!) WELLLLLLL, I made a checklist that will last for the next 10 weeks. I gave the students their pre-test on Monday during our Daily 5 time just like I normally do on Fridays. This works well because we have 4 different spelling lists. I give one group at a time the test while the other students are working on an activity for Daily 5. Then, we rotate. After each group, I eyeballed the tests as I collected them and made two stacks of “mastered” and “not yet”. After our spelling time was done, I gave each student who had “mastered” their words a certificate that lets their parents know why they don’t have to do spelling homework (along with the date and the list number so no one tries to reuse it).

It’s great though because we already practice spelling each morning- we spend about 20 minutes with the students choosing a Word Work activity (rainbow writing, pyramids, small/medium/large, typing, tracing, etc) and practicing their words and then spelling with a partner. I told the students who “mastered” their words that they could still participate in these activities because they’re fun and it’s not going to hurt them to have extra practice! So, it hasn’t gotten confusing yet during our school day… those kids are LOVING not doing spelling homework though. It will be interesting to see how it goes on Friday. I’m assuming it won’t be much different. The students who are not taking the test will never come to me, they will just keep choosing Daily 5 activities until we are done.

Another fun thing going on this week is our Reading study of Anansi stories. The kids are loving them! Using Anansi is a great way to discuss character traits, comparing similar texts, and how a character responds to a challenge. My students surprised me by applying the questioning routines we’ve practiced to discuss the two texts we’ve read so far. They also really enjoyed the character trait discussion today… second graders love learning new and interesting words! This was a great way to extend my higher reading group to complete a word study on some of these new words (like sly, clever, ambitious, etc). They are going to teach the class what they learned about the words today, including modeling how they used the dictionary and thesaurus. We also did some really cute Anansi drawings that I can’t wait to hang in the hallway to show off.

My kids are starting to think a little deeper (or thicker) about their text questions!

My kids are starting to think a little deeper (or thicker) about their text questions!

There are so many new adventures in Mrs. Burrell’s classroom! Thursday will be it’s own kind of adventure on Halloween….

What have you been working on in your class this year that’s a new idea that seems to be working well?

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Our schools need your prayers {ALWAYS}

SparksMiddleSchool-front

I am glad that I do not know what it’s like to be involved in a school shooting, and I hope I never find out first-hand. I have some friends and family that have experienced this very trauma, but thank you God, I have not.

Being extremely empathetic, I often find it hard to separate my feelings from the people I love’s feelings. I am the cryer… If you cry, I cry. I tend to get fired up about any injustice. Unfortunately, anger passes easily to me as well…

I think my empathy is why I act like such a fool so often. I love to laugh and to see others laugh. Smiles are contagious. I don’t like to see my friends feeling confused, mad, sad, or irritated… thus, the sarcasm and inappropriate jokes ensue and there’s me, the fool, trying to change the climate of the room. I’m sure it can be quite distracting at faculty meetings, but I suppose it’s my defense mechanism in a way.

I can’t imagine that there are any words of condolence that could ease the pain of the people in Sparks, Nevada today… or any other school or town on any other day when a tragedy like this has occured. As an on-looker, it feels to me a lot like the wreckage after a tornado. Whether the shooting is done by a student or by an adult, there are no BIG warning signs that anyone can really act on to prevent it. There are no life-changing laws that will stop the madness. There is no school policy or routine that could possibly prepare people for something like this. Of course you can take as many steps and preventative measures as possible, and it might help, but there is no special formula to make these events go away. Whether we lose 1 person or many, there is still an irreversable pain and mourning that can be felt throughout the nation.

The sentiments afterward may always be the same, but they always ring true. We need to keep reminding each other of these things. We’re all human, trying to be independent, but dependent on each other. What is most important to you? Your job? Your car? Your house? Your money? Our most valuable assets are our relationships with others– the people that we love, that deem us worthy of love in return.

Hug your children tighter. Teach them that they are loved. Show them that they are loved. Our tongues are a strong tool for change- a single sentence can change somebody’s whole perspective on life and a little encouragement can go a long way.

A few wise quotes {not spoken by me… I’m not that wise} to hold on to when you’re feeling down or angry:

“God is good, and heaven is forever. These two facts should brighten up even the darkest day.”~ Marie T. Freeman

“Life isn’t a matter of milestones but of moments.”~ Rose Kennedy

“Getting things accomplished isn’t nearly as important as taking time for love.”~ Janette Oke

“Nobody is perfect. Look for the good in others. Forget the rest.”~  Barbara Bush

“His strength is made perfect, not in our strength, but in our weakness.”~ Hannah Whitall Smith

See the link below for a recent article on this event if you’re interested…

http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/21/justice/nevada-middle-school-shooting/

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Dear Teaching Friends: A Letter about Letting Go

 

Dear Teaching Friends,

I see you over there, wringing your hands, fretting about lesson plans. I know that’s you, out to eat with your family while thinking about tomorrow’s activities. You’re second-guessing your decisions today. You’re wondering how you can do better. I bet you’re thinking about next year, even though it’s only September!

I know there’s never enough time. I know there’s dwindling support. I can feel the pressure from all sides, too. Sometimes there’s not enough training. Sometimes there’s too much. I can’t find the materials I need either, but I know they’re here somewhere! The lesson plan says to make pieces for a new game?! Ain’t no body got time for that!!

I see you worrying about each and every student, even the ones that annoy you the most. The ones that are sweet and quiet. The ones that need your love most of all. The children who need acceptance and safety bring tears to your eyes some nights… I know how you feel.

But Dearest Teaching Friends,

You are what everyone needs. Everyone needs a teacher. You’re making a difference. You work so hard to make learning fun… for you and the kids! All the time you spend preparing and worrying makes a difference. All the time you spend planning and reflecting makes a difference.

We often hear throughout life how important it is to forgive others and give people a break. I mean, we’re in the business of forgiveness and patience!

Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s time for you to give yourself a break. Forgive yourself. Forgiveness for all the times you made yourself feel guilty about wanting time alone. Forgiveness for all the times you doubted yourself even though your ideas were great. Forgiveness for those moments when you tried something that didn’t work and you gave yourself a hard time. It’s time we let things go. Let go of being perfect! Let go of things you cannot control. Look at those little smiles… hold on to those smiles!

If you walk out of the worst meeting ever and you need a smile… try what I do. It’s called “Hugs or High Fives?” Sometimes when my students are in a line to leave or enter the room, we say “Hugs or High Fives?” Then they pick one as they pass me and that’s what we do, simple as that. I promise it’s precious and it turns the whole day around. I enjoy this tradition so much that I do it randomly when I’m feeling low energy or whenever I need it. Today, I got 21 smiling hugs and 3 high fives. Who doesn’t love a high five?! We all walk away smiling and we get back down to business. Keep in mind, I teach second graders…

Dear Teacher Friends,

You are loved. You are appreciated. You are needed. You are important. If you love teaching as much as I do, then I know you sometimes feel the opposite of these statements. It comes with stress and stress comes with teaching. I hope that you will forgive yourselves for being unkind to yourselves– Find one habit/ activity/ tradition/ time that’s just for you and RELISH in it.

Then, when you need it, try “Hugs or High Fives”. Or, think about that poster that was around in the 80’s… the one with the little kitty dangling from a tree branch that said “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Or, I suppose you could think about it like this…serenity

Love always,

Sara 🙂

 

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Currently September and Listen to Reading Response cards

Wow, I have really been slack on adding to my blog lately! But ya know, sometimes life happens and it’s a good thing smiley

I feel like school life has been moving right along… maybe even a little smoother than the beginning of most school years! My Everett is keeping us all busy, all the time. I can’t believe he’s over 2 1/2. Time doesn’t just fly, it seems to zoom along at warp speed!

Which brings me to my Currently for September. I’m linking up with Farley from Oh Boy! Fourth Grade. I just love these! I realize I’m about a third of the month too late, but no big whoop. I have been clicking on all the blogs that are linked up and reading about all these other great teachers so I kinda forgot to get in on it!

currently-septI am Currently

Listening to the bees buzzing behind me in the crepe myrtles as I sit on my front porch~ working on blogging and lesson plans, but enjoying the light breeze, the sunny day, and of course all of our country wild life (insects). It’s extremely peaceful.

Loving that the Dawgs whooped up on South Carolina! Ya-yeah! Great game yesterday. I love my Dawgs and I love me some football.

Thinking that grandparents are great! Yes, indeed. This summer we have been blessed to have my parents and my husband’s mother to move closer to where we live. They each keep Everett at least once during the week so he only has to go to day care a few times. They help with dinners and cleaning. They ROCK! Happy Grandparents Day!!!

Wanting to go to the mountains soon. I need to see leaves changing colors, feel cool mountain air, smell a campfire, and hike to the top of somewhere high. I miss it. I can feel fall coming and that means my yearning for the mountains begins! I hope we can make a retreat up there sometime soon to enjoy the peace and tranquility.

Needing time with some dear friends. I have the greatest friends that anyone could ask for (No, don’t try and one up me here, I’ve corner the market on awesome people in my life). I have 3 ladies in particular that I love like sisters, but none of them live close to me {If they did, they would probably have to deal with me coming over every day, plopping down on their couch with a glass of wine, and lamenting about days gone by :} I am hoping that we can at least make some more phone time for each other, and plan some future visits to sooth my soul!!!

The last box is a LOVE YOURSELF spot. I am hoping that before September is over, I can address my dire need of a pedicure (maybe even a hair cut… heck, maybe I’ll get them all cut!) That is my favorite kind of me time with a magazine, a frappe, and someone rubbing my feet. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Also, I LOVE my friends from work and we never spend time together other than when we are working. I hope we can change that this year with some girl time plans! And lastly, I’m gonna be gettin’ my craft on! I love making and crafting but it seems to always fall WAY down on the list of priorities… especially since it’s not a priority. But it’s fun, and this is about me and what I like, so I hope I can make time for it and come up with some cute gifts for the holidays.

It’s not the holidays yet, but here’s a gift for you! Not so much a gift since this one’s not free, but hey, mama gotta try and make some money sometimes! I am adding some Listen to Reading Response cards to my TPT store. Check them out!

 

I printed them, cut them, and placed them in a cute box next to my Listen to Reading station. I steam-lined the process of the students choosing a story by linking all the websites they can go to from my classroom website. So, each computer basically only has one icon on it. They choose a website that they will try, then the children are responsible for filling out the appropriate card once they have finished Listen to Reading. I wanted them to be short, like check lists so that the kids would be more likely to fill them out. They place a completed card in our voting box. Once a week I will draw one card from the box and the student who filled it out gets to share it aloud. Then, the story they listened to or the game they played becomes the “Book of the Week” for the next week and we encourage each other to check it out. I love the Listen to Reading component of Daily 5, I just needed a little something extra to use with it.

Happy Sunday!

 

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Five for Friday… on Sunday cause “I’m all caught up.”- said no teacher ever

fiveforfriday2_thumb[3]

Yeah, I’m aware it’s Sunday… but I really wanted to get in my Five for Friday! That always seems to be my life at the beginning of a new school year–>Always playing catch up and never quite getting there. Which leads me to my Five…

A good friend of mine posted a movie on Facebook recently that some friends/ coworkers of his created. You may have seen the “Said No Teacher Ever” clip that’s been blowing up the web lately… If not, watch it {here}.

My own version of “Said No Teacher Ever”…

#1~ “New technology is so convenient and useful.” Don’t get me wrong, of course technology can be useful… but when it’s new and you have to do training, then practice, plus time to set up and investigate the “technology” so that you know more than the children, and it doesn’t consistently work correctly– it pretty much makes you want to pull all your hair out and throw things out the window. We are currently getting some new student desktop computers in our classrooms, so I hope that some of the frustrations will lessen.

#2~ “I feel totally caught up with all my paperwork.” Nope. Never gonna happen. I’ve learned to live with that… I’ve said before I am a recovering perfectionist! It does get easier to let things go and to prioritize what needs to be done, but the feeling of a long To Do list never really feels any lighter. As long as I have time with my family, I don’t need to be caught up at work!

#3~ “I love having so much free time to see my friends.” I’m so glad that I have friends that stick around for the other 9 months out of the year that I go MIA! I don’t even have as much time as I would like with my friends from work… but we manage to find some tom-foolery and shenanigans while we’re working and that makes every day fun 🙂

#4~ “That’s not part of my job.” I’m pretty sure most teachers don’t do well with saying ‘no’. We are moms, doctors, secretaries, janitors, and every other thing under the sun at any time that our children need us to be. And I love it.

#5~ “I can’t think of anything I need to do in my classroom.” This one is HEAVY sarcasm. I think especially because of Pinterest and TPT, I will ALWAYS have things I want to do in my classroom. School has begun and I am trying to get everything settled in my room before I realize it’s Christmas break… and when I do, I’m looking forward to sharing some of the awesome ideas that I’ve acquired from other teachers and a few gems of my own! Until next time—

What are your “said no teacher ever” moments? It’s fun to share them… maybe even a little bit of a stress relief to laugh about 🙂

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Spelling- schmelling… Words Their Way ~woes~

 

 

Well, with the beginning of a new school year starting and then not having internet at my house for a while, I have missed my blog!

I have had a great start to the school year so far. I am excited about this being the second year of using Common Core… It feels more familiar. Familiar always leads to a wider variety of ideas and fun activities because I am more comfortable in what I’m teaching. It would be so much easier for me each year if only I would just use the same ideas in the same way…I definitely hold on to the gems that work so well from year to year, but- let’s face it- I live in a Pinterest world and I’m a Pinterest girl. Is that song stuck in your head now?! I just LOVE LOVE LOVE other people’s ideas and trying new things.

If you know me, then you also know I LOVE Daily 5. I’m leading somewhere with this… stick with me here…

Last year I struggled with figuring out the best way to teach spelling. We use Words Their Way word sorts. I like the way it’s set up, but it can get confusing. Their might be 3 or more spelling lists going on in your class at one time, according to what level of phonics and spelling instruction the children need. I did find it helpful to use Word Work in the Daily 5 time to allow the different groups time to learn and practice their words. But, I still didn’t feel like the kids got the connection between the list of words and the skill that they were supposed to focus on. I couldn’t seem to find the time every day to let them sort and explore the word sorts. Most importantly, I didn’t always see the skill from each list transfer to their writing… where they are supposed to use it!

This year, I did the spelling inventory and I am starting with three Word Sort lists in my room. I put the students into groups and made a BIG deal about our special spelling groups. I let them choose an animal name for their group. Every morning, they meet somewhere in the room (on the floor, at a table, etc) and spend about 10 minutes practicing their words together. Even though I haven’t begun to teach them about the Word Work part of Daily 5, I am using these morning spelling groups to begin to introduce the students to some of the Word Work choices (although they don’t know that yet).

Yesterday, the Jaguars all chose a Wipe Off Word Work activity- dry erase markers, plastic plates, and eraser socks OR wipe off iPhones and iPods… see the connection below for this great idea!

These are so cute!

These are so cute!

The Kittens worked together on Act It Out Word Work- a pack of cards that give the students fun actions or voices to do as they spell their words: pirate spelling, strike a pose, baby talk, etc… see below!

Kids have fun with these

Kids have fun with these

The Horses shared the Stamp It Word Work center- letter stamps… pretty obvious. Each of the Word Work stations has a recording sheet that goes with it where the student writes down their word with a pencil first. All three groups were working so hard and I could hear encouragement between the children. They seemed to really enjoy doing the activities together!

Today we had our first spelling test for this year… If you’ve ever given a spelling test for three different lists, I’d love to hear how you do it effectively! Last year, I would give my tests during the Friday Daily 5 time. The groups who were not taking a spelling test would be Reading to Self, Working on Writing, or Listening to Reading. I did not allow them to Read to Someone or do Word Work because they are distracting. Today, I had them choose from Read to Self or Work on Writing since those are the only ones I have introduced.

On Friday afternoons, I have the spelling groups get together and look over their tests from the morning to see how they did. Then, I give them their list of words for the next week. They spend about 10 minutes recording the new words in their Friday Folders… I told them it’s their preview. I have found that a lot of parents (especially those of struggling spellers) like to have more time with the words, so it’s up to each family whether or not they do anything with the words over the weekend, but at least they have the choice!

If my students use their spelling words in their writing during the week, we make a big deal out of it and they often get to move up on the behavior chart to Way to Go! I think academic behavior is just as important as anything else.

So that’s how I’m hoping to solve my spelling woes… I don’t ever want to do anything with my kids “just because”… I need to have a purpose… I need things to work well. What do you do for your spelling routine?

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Let’s Get Acquainted: New Goals for a New School Year

I am excited about this linky! I am a goal-setter… a list- maker… I love to see what I need/ want to accomplish and then being able to check it off or cross it out! As always, I have some lofty goals for myself this year. I think they’re all doable, but I MUST remember to keep perspective in things. I tend to get carried away with school “stuff” and then I have to get grounded and remember that I need to take care of myself and my family… that things will get done as long as I do my best and keep the BIG picture in sight.

What are your goals for the upcoming school year?

What are your goals for the upcoming school year?

That being said, here goes…

The topic for this week is “Goals for the upcoming school year”. My school year feels like it has already begun this month, but it actually starts on Monday. I’m excited and nervous, but I LOVE my school so mostly I’m looking forward to spending each day with the people I work with and for, and seeing all the kids again.

Goals:

1– Keep Student Achievement in the forefront of my mind! Of course, it’s always present, but I think we often weigh ourselves down with all the “details” that may or may not directly impact our students. I had a lot of fun yesterday at a Data Teams training working with a team to –weed out– programs and activities from our school that were getting in the way of our vision and purpose. Yep, we got to get rid of things!!! Clearing the plate! I am lucky that the people I work with think me worthy of being the lead for second grade and I want to make sure that I continue to have a positive outlook and an efficient process for discussing, refining, and increasing our students’ achievements.

2– Initiate blended learning during my math time. I think I was already doing this to a certain degree, but it needs refinement and more accuracy in order to lead back to goal #1! At our primary school, we do a lot of small group rotation and working with skill-based flexible groups. BUT I don’t want the small groups who are not with me at that moment to being doing something extra or to stay busy. And I certainly don’t want to “grade” everything! UGH. I would like to plan some Flipped lessons through a combination of my own videos, Kahn Academy and other online lessons, and online practice games that match my students’ needs and also to pre-teach or re-teach lessons that I will be working on in my group. There will also be another independent group who is doing some sort of hands-on activity in which they must work together to solve a problem. We’ll see!

3– No more weekend work! Blogging and creating things for my classroom is fun, but I refuse to bring home papers and/ or lesson plans that need to be worked on. I will accomplish those during the week. ‘Nuff said.

Summary– 1. Positive outlook with a purpose in mind, 2. Blended Learning in Math, 3. No more Weekend Warrior.

What do you think? Have you set up goals for yourself this year? Make sure you link them up with Latoya at Flying into First Grade so that other people can read about your awesomeness! Just click on the picture above.

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