Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Google Form for Open House

Yesterday I attended a Google Chrome Book training and couldn't wait to share this idea one of the presenters shared.  Why not use a Google Form during your Open House or Back to School Night?  



Create a new Google Form with questions that fit your needs.  I have created a sample here.


Using your link have the Google Form open on a few computers or laptops for parents to quickly fill out.  This looks less intimidating to some parents compared to all the lengthy forms we usually have sitting out.



Create a little sign or have a post-it note instructing parents to select "Submit another response" for the next parent to complete the form.


At the end of the event you will have all of your students' information in one spreadsheet, already organized for you.  Simply print out the spread sheet and add it to your teacher binder!

I bet your parents will also be impressed with your use of technology and thankful it's one less paper they have to fill out by hand.



For an upcoming post I am working on I am hoping you will help me out by completing the following Google Form :)  Thanks!


Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Made It


Thank you everyone who have asked about my hubby!  He still isn't feeling better and waiting to see his specialist in the coming weeks.  I promise to keep you all posted! :)


Today I am linking up with Tara for Made It Monday!  First I must say I am a bit sad that I don't have a classroom to make stuff for anymore :(  Although, it is helping my wallet! :)

Yesterday a few of the girls from my "old" school and I got together to paint and drink wine.  I didn't drink any wine because it was 2:00 in the afternoon and I had to drive across town :)  Our painting was "Spring Trees".  This was the first time I have have gone to one of these places and I must say it was fantastic!  It was nice to hang out with the girls, relaxing to create and paint, and a great little escape from my busy schedule.


My painting is proudly hanging in our downstairs half bath.  The walls are chocolate brown so the colors really pop on the wall!




I finished up a back to school unit a few days, maybe a week ago, that I can't wait to share with you!  The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi is a great Back to School read aloud!  Here is the summary from Amazon.com




The new kid in school needs a new name! Or does she?

Being the new kid in school is hard enough, but what about when nobody can pronounce your name? Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious that American kids will like her. So instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she tells the class that she will choose a name by the following week. Her new classmates are fascinated by this no-name girl and decide to help out by filling a glass jar with names for her to pick from. But while Unhei practices being a Suzy, Laura, or Amanda, one of her classmates comes to her neighborhood and discovers her real name and its special meaning. On the day of her name choosing, the name jar has mysteriously disappeared. Encouraged by her new friends, Unhei chooses her own Korean name and helps everyone pronounce it—Yoon-Hey.



The book is also currently on sale for $3.94!


With this unit you will receive THREE DAYS of lesson plans, Comprehension Questions for when you read aloud, Vocabulary, and a Student CENTER MENU.  Each day as you read aloud students will complete a graphic organizer independently, whole class, or in pairs (your choice).  Each day students will also complete a Word Work Center, Vocabulary Center, Comprehension Center, and Independent Assignment related to the whole group skill/discussion.





































These centers are designed to help you set your center expectations with students, and set the tone of your ELA block for the new school year.  This unit will also help you quickly determine who will need support during centers and review skills from the previous year.




The Name Jar is a great beginning of school book to teach summarizing, character traits, and comparing and contrasting. This sweet story focuses on the importance of identity, a fabulous topic for the beginning of the school year.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Your Daily Schedule


I recently posted the following question on IHR's FB page, "Do you create your daily schedule or does your admin tell you when to teach each subject?". I was shocked to find out how many of you are told when you are to teach each subject area.

I understand being told when you go to lunch and resource classes, but I don't understand why administration tell you when to teach Reading, Writing, Math, Science, etc.  I have only worked in two schools and only one of them provided me my daily schedule, thankfully I was only there for two years. I will also be very candid with you, I didn't always stick to the schedule...I did what was best for my kids.

I have had the privilege of spending most of my teaching career at a school who allowed us, the teacher, the opportunity to create our own daily schedule.  I was given a specific amount of time I was to teach my ELA, but that was as far as it went.  Some years I taught ELA first and other years I switched it up and taught Math first, all based on the needs of my students.  I have had some classes who struggled more in Math than ELA, and therefore taught Math first thing in the morning.  I've also had classes who couldn't handle going from Reading and straight to Writing instruction, it was just too much for them.  With those groups I would break up the long ELA block to provide them an opportunity to switch gears for a bit.



I personally find it insulting when administration tell me when to each subject area.  As a teacher, I am a professional and put the needs of my students first. I am also curious as to the reasons why administrators tell teachers when to teach each subject area.  While working on my administration degree I was never taught this rule or expectation.  What are your personal feelings about this topic?  Do you find it unnecessary or something that administration should do?  I am curious as to what you all have to say about it. :)


I will step of my soap box now......  :)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Worst Vacation...EVER!

Well I have been MIA for a few weeks, thanks to all who have linked up to the Back to School Goals Linky!  It is still open, so feel free to link up!



This is how we eat on the road!


We went to Arkansas and Oklahoma to visit my in-laws this year for our family vacation.  That's right we drove across country with three small boys....CRAZY!  Our trip was off to a great start, the boys were doing well, considering, and we spent three days at my mother in laws in Arkansas.  While there my hubby worked on redoing her front flower bed. It quickly became a BIG project!





The fourth day we headed on to Oklahoma, eight hours away.  The trip was okay, no major melt downs or events.  We arrived at my father in laws at dinner time, which was delicious homemade noodles!!!  We spent the next two days visiting and working on the go cart he got my boys, or really my hubby!

Whatever keeps him from screaming!

During these first few days in OK my hubby started feeling weak tired, and not normal.  On the morning of July 4th I took my husband to the ER because he thought he was having a heart attack (Praise God it wasn't).  He was admitted that day to complete some testing, therefore the kids and I spent the 4th of July with my husband's family.


Waiting to find out if daddy was okay.


Stopped by to visit before heading to the fireworks.

The next day my husband was released and did not feel good when he left and went back into the hospital.  They said all his test were normal and there was nothing they could do.  So, his dad brought him home.  That night we had another family get together at the pool (my husband's aunt owns the town pool) and my husband looked awful and felt awful.  His cousin's hubby is an EMT and took him to a different hospital.  He was admitted.


They pumped him full of fluids and he felt a little better, but was extremely fatigued and still having chest pains.  He was referred to a cardiologist in OKC, 2 1/2 hours away.  We went back to his parents, took a nap, and packed for our stay in the city.

The next day I dropped my hubby off at the cardiologist and took the boys to Chuck E. Cheese for two hours.  There wasn't anyone available to keep or watch our boys.  After two hours there, (*Note: NO ONE goes to Chuck E. Cheese on a Monday), we went and did some retail therapy at Target.  I can always count on Target to take my stress away!

Hanging out at Chuck E. Cheese and I think I successfully taught him about retail therapy!


Well, the doc didn't like something he saw during the stress test and we were told my husband would have an angiogram in the morning.  Yep...I was stressed, exhausted, worried, confused, and trying to hold everything together all while trying to keep my boys busy.

My in laws came that night so they would be there for the procedure the next day.  We went to the hospital with bags of toys and snacks the next morning.  While in the waiting room the nurse came out to speak to me about how the day would go and what to expect...this is the moment I realized I am the adult.  Now, yes I do know that I am an adult but what hit me like a ton of bricks is the nurse was talking to me, the wife, and not his parents.

During the procedure I was able to go to a waiting room separate from the one my kids and in laws were in, this is what I needed.  I was finally able to ONLY be a worried wife.  The doc came out and said my hubby had a small build up in one artery, but not a major concern, a heart flutter, and an enlarged aorta.  He said a CT scan would be needed when we got home, and that my hubby was clear to travel the next day!  Relief!

We have been home for a week now, but my hubby still doesn't feel well.  He's been back in the ER twice and saw a doc this past week.  He did have the CT scan and found that there is no aneurysm, and has a referral to a cardiologist here and a referral to the GI.  He has lost 18 lbs since the 4th (I am jealous!), still tired, and not 100%.  The newest docs believe his chest pains may be pressure from his stomach, and that the issue lie in that area.


Heading Home!


They love hotels!

I do want to share that through all of this my BBBs were there for me!  They listen to me vent, prayed for my husband and me, asked for updates, Christy even tried to help me find childcare help in OKC, and most of all supported me through all of it (and continue to as we continue through this difficult season in life).  I am very blessed to call them my friends, not just my "Best Blogging Buddies"!

This week I hope to share with you somethings I am working on :)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Back to School Goals...Reflect & Set New Goals

I recently read Kaitlyn's post from  Smiles and Sunshine and loved that she went back and reflected on her Back to School Goals from the linky I did last year.  So, following her lead I am going to reflect on mine, and set new ones for the upcoming year.  I hope you link up your reflection post and/or set some new goals for the 2014-2015 school year.


Here are my goals from last year:

How I did:

Personal:  I did it!  I left everyday by 3:30 to workout all the way up to January.  My trainer was no longer able to keep my class time so I had to stop that, but I did not stop leaving work by 3:30!

Organization:  I was very good at this, I didn't do it all the time, but was better than past years.  

Planning:  I kept up on my planning.  I wasn't always two weeks ahead, but was at least a week ahead with ELA planning.

Professional: I didn't do to well with this.  I think my goal was a little much.  I did accomplish implementing Reading and some Writing Workshops.

Students: We had fun!  I had a great group this year and they loved activities and craftivities!  I think I was challenged more than they were, they were a bright group, but I feel I met the challenge. :)

Motto: I focused a lot on my motto.  We started the year reading Wonder and used it as the basis of treating others with respect.  I wanted my children to have respect and love for each other.  I also snuck in God into lessons.  Many of my students were Christians and I knew I could without creating waves.  

Link up how you did on your 2013-2014 Goals here:






Now on to this year!  Here are my goals for 2014-2015:

My goals are a bit different this year due to leaving the classroom, but they are ones I hope to achieve.
I won't have any students to work with, but all of my teachers will and I want to ensure that they are using collaborative learning in their classrooms to increase student involvement.  Many of my teachers don't know about Scoot, task cards, or cooperative learning structures...yet :)

My new school has a brand new administrative team and there are going to be many changes at the school and district level.  My motto is to remind me and them that with change comes challenges and growth.

What are your goals for this school year?  Here is the template for you to use and link up!


Clipart from Pretty Grafik, Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Zah, & Dancing Crayon Designs


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Decorating the Classroom-Something to Think About

As many of you know I am now an Instructional Coach and recently have been attending Professional Development with my new district.  I will not have a classroom to decorate this new school year, but recently attended an administrative Professional Development that got me thinking about how I used to decorate my classroom.

At a recent Professional Development the topic of Word Walls came up.  The presenter didn't focus on how to use Word Walls, but rather how to ensure they are user friendly and "clean".  When looking at his examples it was easy to see how distracting some boards were and how others were simple and cute.

As elementary teachers we often focus on the "cutesty" or "Pinteresty" look for our classrooms, but forget that the room is supposed to focus around learning.  We often get carried away with everything looking perfect for us, but fail to look at our bulletin boards and anchor charts through the eyes of our students.  Some students may become overwhelmed with all of the information or over stimulated by all of the colors and designs.

To show you what the presenter was showing us I have pulled some images from a google search, if any of these images are yours I am not putting anyone down, but using them as a tool for us to think about how we decorate our rooms.



The background is cute, but it is too busy for little ones.  The images are what catches the eyes, rather than the words that the students are supposed to reference.  I asked my little guy going into Kindergarten (the board is from the beginning of the year K class) where the letters or words were, and he pointed to the title.

This one is for upper grades, but is very busy!  Words overlap, and there is no organization of the words.  From the PD I was reminded that our minds, and especially those of our students, work better when items are grouped or organized in to categories.  (This is why we teach with graphic organizers and make list. )



Again, this word wall is VERY busy and there isn't any organization.  Imagine you were a student looking at this board, would you know where to look for a word you needed to reference?  

This board is very cute and creative, but not very effective as a Word Wall.  The words are small and going in different directions.  As a student would you be able to know what the words were for, other than music?  Creating a large grid or tree map would be more effective for students to reference.
Personally, when I look at this through the eyes of a coach I see a teacher who is complying to the request of word walls in classrooms, not utilizing the word wall.  (Through the eyes of a teacher, very cute and took a long time to create.)


The background on this WW is simple and the words easily stand out.  I ask my little guy to find the words on this board and he found them as soon as he looked at the board.  This board is still cute and functional for students.


This board I believe is for an upper grade Science class, possibly middle school too. The board is colorful, but still organized, neat, and easy to use for students.

This word wall is great because it shows the relationship of the words in a graphic organizer.  As a student you would not only reference this for how to spell a word or to use in your writing, but as a reference for what the words mean.  ( I think I would even have my students copy this into their notebook.)


This is an example our presenter showed us.  The board is simple, clean, and organized. One of the great attributes of this WW is that there is a key at the top of the board letting students know that the words in red are for Reading, Green for Math, Blue for Science, and Purple for Science.


This ins't a WW, but an example of a focus wall that is also neat, clean, and functional for students.


As you begin to redecorate your classrooms in the coming weeks sit down in one of your student's desk and view your room through their eyes.  Just something to think about :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Worksheet Wednesday-Magnets!


Today's Worksheet Wednesday with The Teaching Tribune is for ANY subject!  I know many grade levels teach Magnets in Science so I thought I would make today's FREEBIE be something that could be used in several grade levels.



My Magnets Find-Someone-Who is part of my Magnets Science Interactive Notebook.  If you have never used Find-Someone-Who in your classroom it is a great cooperative learning strategy I encourage you to try this new school year.

Directions: Provide each student with a copy of the sheet below.  Students go around the room "finding someone who" can answer any one question on the page.  Students continue finding classmates who can answer a question until all of their questions have been answered.



Teacher Tips:
#1 Have students write their class number in the box that they answer on a classmates page so you know who answered the question.

#2 To check answers call on a student to provide the answer for question number one.  The student who answered it on their paper (you know from the class # being written along with the answer) will provide the answer to number two.  Repeat the steps until all answer have been reviewed with the class.

#3 Once a student has all questions answered on their paper they return to their seat.  This helps you know who has finished.  Students who are seated are still available to answer questions on those who are still finding someone who.


Do you teach Magnets?  If so what grade level?

Do you use Find-Someone-Who in your classroom?
 
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