Do you use Facebook for your blog?  In your classroom?  Lately I have been thinking about Facebook's positives and negatives.  I currently don't have one for my blog, but have been thinking about it.  Not sure it would be beneficial or just another page people follow and never go back to, I have few of these pages...haha.

Our Superintendent doesn't want us to use Facebook in the classroom or have a school FB page, although we are able to have a PTA FB page.  We are encouraged to use Edmodo instead.  I have noticed a large number of products on TpT that utilize FB's layout (456 Free items) for character analysis, student information, and etc.; I do think students would {heart} these types of activities.  Have you used any of these, if so how did your students respond to the activities?

Smart Chick Teacher Blog has a free FB Character Biography sheet I plan to try out with my class here.

I know I have a lot of questions tonight, but I have really been thinking about this lately.  Also, do you have parents or students on your personal FB page?  Administration?  I personally do not become friends with current students or parents on FB, but will accept request from former students and parents (I am particular though).  I have also friended my Principal and Assistant Principal as well.  I don't post status related to work, except for the blanket statement "What a day!" :), and try not to post too many personal status (this is often difficult because FB is how I keep up with family and friends all over the world).  Just curious as to your thoughts and personal policy on using Facebook related to work.

Working on our biography unit for next week is what prompted my Facebook questions, I know my mind wandered a bit :).  I created the following worksheet for my students to use for organizing information from our text.  The first three people to comment on this post discussing FB and provides their email will receive this for FREE :)

I have utilized some free downloads from TpT recently so I felt I should offer some new freebies to you!  Enjoy!

I plan to staple this sheet into my student's writing journals and have them complete a prompt a week, possibly two, for morning work or for our writing block.  I used prompts related to February events; President's day, Random Acts of Kindness week, dental month, ground hogs day, etc.

My son came home from school today with a paper he did poorly on, this is unusual for him, so I created a similar sheet to review with him.  He is in Kindergarten and his teacher reads aloud the directions once and he is to follow them.  He did not understand "color the shape outside of the circle", he thought he was to color the outside of the shape named.  Lately he has had difficulty listening to directions at home too :) 

Last week was good up until Thursday...I was going to post about it but decided to just let it be and move on.  My students worked hard on researching their animals for our animal unit.  We are using my Spot On Research unit; my students have already identified the animal they are researching, discussed questions with their partners, and practiced taking notes.  This week we used our school's portable computer lab to conduct research.

My students {heart} using the lap tops!  They will search websites all day long if I let them, so to keep them focused and on task researching I give them a time limit on how often they should be taking notes.  For example after they were all longed on I told them they had to have notes from at least one website in ten minutes. I then continued to set time limits like this.  Once they all have notes/research information from at least three different websites and a text we will begin working on organizing their information.

(even if it is a few days late)

Utilizing Technology for Personal Gain:

I mentioned in a previous post that I use to help keep me on track for my weight loss goal here.  Well yesterday after my morning weigh in I was excited to learn that I had hit my 20lbs loss!  I am so excited!

I started using this site back in July after seeing a picture of myself that I was embarrassed about.  I now have my hubby, friends, and fourth grade team utilizing this free online tool!  I know I have made the healthy change for good because the other day I ate a cupcake at lunch and decided to workout so I would have enough calories to eat dinner, in the past I would of skipped the workout and turn my day into a cheat day.  

Being a mother, teacher, and wife can be very stressful and at times we tend to put ourselves last.  I hope sharing this picture will show you that you too can find time to do something for yourself, may it be exercise, meditation, a hot bath, etc. We all deserve to find time for ourselves, even if it is 5 minutes :)

I planned on writing a post about what we did this week in school, but due to a VERY rough day I am going to work on this instead...

What do you usually do to relieve stress related to work?  I normally do not turn to wine, this is a very rare occasion.  This at least tells you how bad my day was :)
I haven't posted since last Friday because I have been working on my personal goals.  I wanted to thank everyone for leaving comments!  I normally like to respond but I have been super busy...please forgive me :)  In regards to many comments I do work for a great administration team.  They are very supportive of my teaching (we do disagree on somethings when dealing with other issues) and provide my class with a lot of extra support as well.

This past week we have been implementing our new reading small group instruction, and yesterday I was validated that it is working!  The students had to answer comprehension questions relating to Runaway Ralph and write their responses on a sheet of paper.  EVERY paper I graded had complete sentences, correct answers, and great reasoning!  When I passed the papers back I told the kids to go home and put them on the fridge.  My support team (Tutor, TA, Floating teacher, & EC teacher) praised them and did a happy dance as well to show them how proud we were.

We  started Long Division yesterday, oh how I loathe it, so today we attempted using our small groups for math.  It worked well for reteaching, but we will definitely will have to continue to keep practicing.

I personally am continuing to try to work on my personal goals for 2013.  This week I lost 3 pounds! I use to keep track of my workouts and calories.  Tuesday we had a staff meeting and I had a cupcake and two mini cupcakes, I ended up having to go to the gym so I could have enough calories to eat dinner.  I {heart} sweets too much!  This tool keeps me accountable and I {heart} it!  My husband also had me create him an account because he saw how well it was working for me.

Calorie Counter
(This is my total weight loss since July)

I also have left work by 3:45 every day!  I have limited myself to socializing one day a week and even then I try to keep it to 15-20 min so I can still leave earlier than normal.  So far 2013 is off to a great start!
We went back to school on Wednesday, I was not ready to go back but do appreciate that I was able to catch back up on sleep after three days rather than five.  (This is me working on my OLW embrace :) ) Thursday my wonderful Assistant Principal stopped by my room to do a quick visit.  She came in when we were working on our Runaway Ralph unit.  We had just divided the students into their reading groups to work on and complete the Character Comparison sheet.

Due to having the EC cluster I get a lot of support in my classroom.  The EC teacher comes in twice a day, I have a classroom tutor four hours M-Th, a Teacher Assistant two hours a day, and a floating teacher about 2 hours a day.  I decided to try something new after break, my Reading block just wasn't effective or utilizing everyone efficiently. I created reading groups for each of my support help (except for my TA, she is in the classroom at the end of the day) each of us have 5-6 students.  When my AP came in we were each working with our groups, I will tell you that I was cringing inside because the "Controlled Chaos" was killing, but my students were doing awesome!  They were all engaged and on task, this is not the norm, they are usually off task, arguing with each other, or any other avoidance behavior.

When my AP left she left me the following note on my table ( I do not use a desk).

Mrs. Scott,  You've got so many good things in place for you struggling learners.  Mr. Hasinger was using you in an example during the 5th grade team meeting on Wednesday when he was speaking about teachers who know how to help kids grow.  It's been a challenging year for you but I see a very special and dedicated teacher in the person that you are.  I appreciate you!  Beth Burnett

This made me day, week, and year!  The week before break I was in her office in tears due to frustration, exhaustion, and at a loss.  There is nothing better than having the support of your administration!

This week I was even surprised by how much my students retained over the break.  Many of them have short term memory issues so learning facts can be difficult, along with lack of parent support for some of them.  To keep my students accountable and on track for memorizing their multiplication facts they take a 5 minute multiplication test before each Math lesson.  Here is a what it looks like:

This sheet is OLD!  Our school and grade level have done this "drill and kill" practice for many years.  It is very effective.  Classes with students who are above average or gifted and talented strive for who can do it the quickest.  Since my students do not practice their facts at home they highlight the boxes they did not complete in the 5 minutes and complete it for homework.  I started having my students write the facts they missed three times each as well, I required this before break, and they where then remembering them more and more.

We also use this sheet once students have mastered the standard Multiplication Table.  The same process is used.  This sheet is just a bit more challenging because the facts are mixed up.  This sheet is also OLD!

What are some strategies you use in your classroom to help students master facts?  Addition or Multiplication?
It's a new year and a new month which means it time for Farley's Currently Linky Party!

Listening:  The TV show Dooms Day Preppers.  I don't care for this show and surprised they still air it even after the fail of the Mayan Apocalypse.

Loving:  My Life.  Just the other day I was sitting in my house holding my baby boy and watching my older two play,  I was just amazed at where I am in life.  We are very blessed to have three healthy boys, a nice home, jobs, etc.

Thinking: I don't want to go back to work tomorrow!  I am used to having at least two weeks off for Winter Break.  We were shorted this year and I am not adjusting well.

Wanting: Craft and create.  I am feeling creative today so I wanted to craft but ended up not using my creativity.

Needing: To go to the gym.  I didn't make it to the gym, I hate going out in the rain.  I did walk/run on the treadmill for 30  minutes so I will count that as going to the gym.  I think it is crazy that I have a treadmill and a gym membership, weird I know :)

One Little Word:  Embrace.  I am going to embrace what I have been blessed with, embrace things I can not change, and embrace those I adore and love.
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