Sunday, March 30, 2014

I've Been Doing Well...After All

  I officially started Spring Break yesterday and cannot believe there are only 8 more weeks left of school.  That's 40 days minus Memorial Day, a planning day and 5 days I will be out of school to take my daughter to the Cheerleading Worlds in Orlando, Florida.  That's 33
  This is the time of year I wonder about my teaching and my student's growth.  I have been doing it for about 3 weeks now, which is earlier than my usual.  I believe that is because this is the first year I've fully adopted the Common Core.
  Don't get me wrong, I've been doing bits and pieces 3 years prior, but this is the first year our state has to implement them.  It wasn't as hard to teach because I'd been doing it.  To assess-well, that's been a nightmare.  All we have is the end of year standards and my district did not give us any grading guidelines for the first 2 trimesters, so we collaborated and hoped and prayed we were right with our grades.  I also told myself I would make mistakes and it was ok.  I was learning, too.
  At the start of the year I was concerned about math because our district uses Everyday Math.  When we looked at how many lessons actually met CCSS, we'd have around 3 months of curriculum and then we'd have to supplement. Our principal was wonderful and ordered Eureka Math, from Engage NY to help. After purchasing it, my team realized it met all of the CCSS standards and had so much more teaching than Everyday Math, especially with number sense.  We begged to only use that instead of piece-mealing.  Luckily, she said, 'Yes" {love her}.
  I used Everyday Math for 10 years and was quite comfortable with it.  I had every unit (with supplements) on Notebook for the SMARTBoard. I worked for a good 8 years on it and it was beautiful.  Now I had to start all over again.  Eureka Math is a lot of work and a lot more teaching and now I had to prepare for math--something I did not need to do for the last 8 years.  But, I have to tell you, it was SO worth it.  I have better mathematicians than ever who have number sense, fluency, flexibility and can solve problems in more than one way.  It is A*MA*ZING! 
  To illustrate how good it is, my first graders took a 5 page test with word problems involving 3 or more addends, missing subtrahends, data analysis, measurement story problems, missing addends, etc.  all mixed up.  Each story problem required a labeled picture, number sentence and written statement and the lowest grade of all 23 was an 80, more than half in the 90's and 6 100's!  No way my class from last year could have done this and they came to first grade more prepared than this year's class.
  In reading, I have 7 kids at a DRA2 28, 4 at a level 24, 5 at a level 16, 3 at a level 14 and 4 at a level 10-12.  At the beginning of the year, 14 were at a level 3, 3 at a level 6, 1 at a 12, 3 at a level 1, 1 at a level 2 and one could not read. That is FABULOUS progress and the year is not even over.
  I had three kids at the year's start who could not write their name.  They lacked stamina and needed a lot of help getting started.  Now they are writing 4 page chapter books with titles, topic sentences, many details and a closing sentence.  Their books have nonfiction text features!

  I am so glad I reflected on how I was doing this first year of completely implementing CCSS. I have a lot to learn and can do better next year.  I have learned a lot and will be better prepared in years to come.  All year I felt like a first year teacher, still learning how to teach.  After 19 years, that was uncomfortable.  I spent a ton of time lesson planning, preparing, collaborating and reflecting and I hated it a lot of the time.  But I did not fail my students like I thought I would.  I did not need to spend sleepless nights feeling like a failure and worrying.  I did just fine and even if I didn't, I did the best I could and that's all I could expect of myself.

  I found a lot of support through the First Grade Study Team.  I facilitate it for my large district. It was very reassuring to hear everyone else, even teachers of 30 years felt like me. If you have something similar at your school, I highly suggest it.  It was a great support system this year.

Let me know how you survived this year.  I love hearing stories of other's successes and thought processes. And, you, too, just may make someone feel better!

To celebrate Spring Break everything in my TPT store is 20% off until 3/31/14.  Happy Spring Break!!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Fire Marshal and More

Whew!  It is that crazy time of year where everything seems to happen at once.  Report cards, conferences, workshops, and lots of driving to and from cheer with my daughter.  On top of all of it, the fire marshal came into my room telling me I had 2 weeks to take down the items on my walls that weren't teaching material.  That means all but 2 of my bulletin boards and spaces on the wall with kids work may not have background paper or cloth.  Also, decorative borders such as my ruffle border and tissue paper (beautiful) border must go. Every time he comes it is something new but this is the most drastic.  First, I had to only hang things from the ceiling with magnets.  Then, I had to shorten the fabric and ruffle border 10 feet away from the door.  Next, I had to remove the background paper from my hall where the kids cubbies are.  Now, this...

I am not happy.

Our school is 12 years old and has never been painted.  I can put in a work order this summer for the sheet rock to be repaired and painted but the only color choice is white.


I am not happy.

I had some darling 4th graders help me and it almost done.  They keep saying how beautiful my room was and now it is just boring and plain.  Thank you very much but I already knew that.  That is why I spent hundreds of dollars and weeks in the summer decorating.  They mean well but it is sad that they even know the obvious.  It lacks flavor now.

I am not happy.

It will take some time for me to get over it. I have no choice but I will deal with it.  So, if anyone has ideas on how to add color and liveliness and joy to a room without adding paper or fabric, please, please, please let me know.  I need help!!

On a personal note, we are going to Dallas on Friday for the National Cheerleaders Association All Star Championships.  Here is what is all about:

Pretty major event.  Emily is excited but very nervous.  Here is the arena she and her team will compete in.

It is so intimidating.  I get anxious just looking at it and I will not be on that stage. Only the highest 1level (Level 5)and special needs teams perform in the arena. There are 4 other rooms for the rest of the levels.  I am excited to go!

Did you know Teachers Pay Teachers is now 3 million strong?  Unbelievable.  My entire store is on sale 2/27-3/2.  On the 27th and 28th it will be 28% off using code TPT3 at checkout.  On 3/1 and 3/2 it will be 20% off.

Go fill your shopping carts now to make sure you get a great value on everything you need and want!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

100 Day Fun

Yesterday was 100 Day. It was a TON of fun. Since our Denver Broncos are in the Super Bowl this weekend, I decided to make out 100 Day entrance in their honor.

Some of my firsties did not want to walk through the entrance.  They moved the paper to the side or crawled below. It was very interesting to see which kids did not enjoy the paper.  I was a little surprised by it.  Me, on the other hand, loved the paper.  I came barreling through it at least 20 times.

We began the cay by making 100 day crowns.  We used 5 1 1/2 strips of white paper, dot paint and a 24  x 6 1/2 black strip of construction paper.  The kids put 20 dots on each strip to make 100.  They are so much fun!  

They require a lot of stapling and I sure was happy when I was done!

After making our crowns, we opened up our 100 Day Bottles.  We sent home a note asking parents to clean out a recyclable water bottle, take off the label and affix the label we sent home that says ______'s 100 Day Bottle.  The students are to choose something that will fit in the bottle and count out 100 of them.  Next, the parents need to attach a ribbon around the neck of the bottle {so we can hang them} and place it in a brown paper bag so no one can see what is inside.  Finally, the children write 3 clues about what is inside the bottle.  I instructed them to make their clues difficult, but not to deceive the other students.  After they read their clues, 3 kids get to guess what is in their bottle.  If they do not correctly guess, they win.  If one of the 3 students guesses correctly, they know their clues were too easy.  It was a great activity that incorporated critical thinking, mathematics, writing and speaking.  It is super aligned to CCSS!

Students made 100 Day necklaces with Fruit Loops.  It took awhile and they were pretty focused on doing them which gave my ears a little break.  I have a chatty group this year so I ADORE when they are quiet and concentrating on doing their work.

Finally, we made 100 Day glasses and played Race to 100, then the day was over and this here teacher was beat.  But it was a great, happy day in first grade!  I even overheard a few of my friends say, "This is the best day EVER!!".  It just warms my heart to hear that and makes my headache and tired body worth it.

 These activities can be found in my unit Hooray for the 100th Day of School!

I also have sold a lot of my  I am 100 Days Smarter Craftivity packs, which we will do on Monday.
Here is a sneak peek:

Plus, my store is on sale today and tomorrow for The Super Bowl.

Finally, I am linking up with Farley with this month's Currently.  Here it is:

My goal for this year was patience and seeing my students and children as Jesus sees them.  In addition, I am trying to always use words that build them up.  I feel as if I am doing great with it, moreso at school, though, than home.  My son has been in a bit   a lot of trouble at school and potentially with the police as the security guard pressed charges.  I am praying that they see he is a 13 year old child with autism and do not pursue it but you never know.  His advocate says it can take up to 6 weeks to find out (we have a month remaining).

Last weekend my daughter's All Star Small Senior Coed Level 5 cheer team,  Cheer Central Suns Solstice, competed in Oklahoma City.  We flew out on Friday afternoon, got to the hotel, had practice, ate and slept then competed mid morning on Saturday and Sunday. They got a bid to The Cheerleading Worlds, which is a big deal.  Now, besides, Dallas later this month and Anaheim 3 weeks later, we get to go to Florida. All of my vacations are revolving around cheer and going to see our families in NY and NJ.  I plan on going on a Mission trip to Zambia in July but I would really love a vacation with just my husband.  9 years ago we had our last in Maui.  I am so ready to have another but do not see it in the distant future.

Here's a photo of Emily's team:

So proud.

Have a beautiful weekend and GO BRONCOS!!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Currently and More

Happy New Year! I hope this year brings everyone good health, success and joy.  And may you keep your resolutions this year. I've only made one this year and it's similar to the one I made last year.  And that is to try my hardest to speak positively to everyone I come in contact with even when I'm stressed or impatient.  I've done pretty well with this but have found that when I am positive life is just  . . . easier.  And I need easier.  I have two teenagers who aren't always the easiest people to be around.  Especially my 13 year old son.  One minute he is hugging me and the next he is screaming profanities and making holes in his wall. Gotta love autism . . .

I'm linking up with Farley with this month's Currently.

I've been busy over break.  I finally finished two products I have been working on since August.  (insert sigh of relief)

One is the 3rd in a series of Nonfiction News.  I made a farm animal version last spring and an African animal version last summer.  This one is perfect for January --penguins!  What I love about this product is it not only teaches science, but reading and writing informational text.  

All you need to do is

 print and teach! 

Here is the product description:  This 101 page product is what you need to implement ELA Common Core Standards in your classroom. It includes nonfiction articles for close reading on penguins - All About Penguins, King, African, Gentoo, Adelie, Galapagos, Chinstrap, Fairy, Emperor, Rockhopper and Macaroni Penguins. Lesson plans for 11 days and the CCSS ELA standards (K, 1, 2) are included. You will also find all of the worksheets, writing materials, posters, sorts, activities in this pack.

Kindergarten Standards-
K.R.I.T.1 With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

K.R.I.T.2 With prompting and support, identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.

K.W.2 Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose informative/explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic.

K.W.7 Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., explore a number of books by a favorite author and express opinions about them).

K.W.8 With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.

First Grade Standards -
1.R.I.T.1 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

1.R.I.T.2 Identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.

1.R.I.T.5 Know and use various text features (e.g., headings, tables of contents, glossaries, etc.) to locate key facts or information in a text.

1.R.I.T.7 Use the illustrations and details in a text to describe its key ideas.

1.W.2 Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.

1.W.7 Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., explore a number of “how-to” books on a given topic and use them to write a sequence of instructions).

1.W.8 With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.

2nd Grade Standards -
2.R.I.T.1 Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.

2.R.I.T.2 Identify the main topic of a multi –paragraph text as well as the focus of specific paragraphs within the text.

2.R.I.T.5 Know and use various text features (e.g., headings, tables of contents, glossaries, etc.) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.

2.R.I.T.6 Identify the main purpose of a text, including what the author wants to answer, explain, or describe.

2.W.2 Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.

2.W.7 Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., read a number of books on a single topic to produce a report; record science observations).

2.W.8 Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.

In addition, video resources to meet CCSS RIT5 and W6 are given in this unit.

If you buy any Common Core product this year, this is the one to get!

 Get it here, where it is on sale until the end of the day.

The other product I finished is part of a series as well.  Last spring I created Common Core Collection - Operations and Algebraic Thinking for 1st Grade.  It is selling really well and getting fabulous reviews.  So I decided to make a version for Numbers and Operations in Base Ten.  This product is called Common Core Collection *Numbers and Operations in Base Ten* 1st Grade.

This is another product where all you need to do is print and teach.  I appreciate easy, so I try to make my products easy for anyone to use.  This 163 page product is all about numbers and operations in base ten. It is jam-packed with all you need for teaching Common Core Math-Numbers and Operations in Base Ten -in first grade. This product includes games, worksheets, teaching tools, answer guide and assessments for 1. N.B.T., 1 through 6. It could supplement your math program or stand alone as your curriculum.
What's included:
1.N.B.T.1-Individual Assessment - test, materials and recording sheet, 2 games, 13 worksheets with answer key and 4 assessments

1.N.B.T.2- Individual Assessment - test, materials and recording sheet, 9 worksheets with answer key and 5 assessments

1.N.B.T.3 - 6 worksheets with answer key and 3 assessments

1.N.B.T.4 - 6 worksheets with answer key and 5 assessments

1.N.B.T.5 - Individual Assessment - test, materials and recording sheet, 3 worksheets with answer key, 1 game and 4 assessments

1.N.B.T.6 - Individual Assessment - test, materials and recording sheet, 4 worksheets with answer key and 4 assessments

Get it here, where it is on sale until the end of the day!

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Cyber Monday Sale for Teachers

Tomorrow Teachers Pay Teachers huge Cyber Monday and Tuesday Sale begins.  You can finally buy all of the items on your wishlists!  My wishlist only has 95 items on it!!

All of the items in my shop will be 28% off when you use promo code "cyber" at checkout.  I thought I would share some of the winter items in my shop.

Go head on over to TPT and fill your carts now!  When tomorrow or Tuesday comes, you will just need to type in promo code cyber and, VIOLA!, they are all yours!!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Cold Weather is Coming--And so is Indoor Recess-HELP!

With the cold weather coming, I thought I'd share my Youtube channel for Brain Breaks.  We use this as a way to give kids exercise when they have indoor recess as well as a quick Brain Break.  I hope you and your students enjoy it {and it helps keep your sanity during these high energy days}.

Click here to get the complete channel.

If you know of any other great brain break or fitness videos, please share!  Leave a comment with the link.  Thank you!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Crunch Time And Surprise TPT Sale

Teachers Pay Teachers is about to receive 100,000 likes on Facebook.  To celebrate this MAJOR accomplishment, they are offering 10% off when you use code FB100K at checkout.  This sale will end on October 14th.  Who doesn't love a sale and what a fabulous reason to have one?

I am in crunch time.  Our first trimester ends next Friday which means I'll then have to do report cards and conduct parent-teacher conferences.  This is our first year using Common Core Standards in Colorado.  It is a little stressful...just a bit. (actually very stressful)

I facilitate the First Grade Study Team for my district.  I was comforted in knowing I wasn't the only one stressed but felt like I needed to do something about it.  In years past, actually for the past decade, we have used Everyday Math to support our standards.  This year we abandoned it.  I needed to come up with evidence that my students are on track to meeting end of year CCSS.  So, after looking, unsuccessfully, I created math assessments for this time of the year that only test Operations and Algebraic Thinking and Numbers in Base Ten, since that is all I've taught.  I've tested them out with my students, made a few changes and finally uploaded them to TPT. As the standards are written for the end of the year, I did not want to use assessments that included items I had not taught yet or measured skills meant for the end of the year. This product, perfect for the month of October, only includes Operations and Algebraic Thinking and Numbers in Base Ten.
This 21 page product includes assessments for 1.O. A.1, 1.O. A.2, 1.O. A.4,1.O. A.5, 1.O. A.6, 1.O. A.7, 1.O. A.8 and 1.N.B.T. 1, 1.N.B.T. 2, 1.N.B.T. 3, 1.N.B.T. 4. They happen to be on sale till the 14th with 15% off.  If you use code FB100K at checkout, you will get them for 25% off.  Here is the preview.

 Get it here.  Have a beautiful weekend and happy shopping!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Best Selling Math Linky, Giveaway, and What is Going on

Caitlin and Carrie from Table Talk with C&C are hosting a very exciting *TpT Best Seller Linky Party and Giveaway* for Math this week.

 I am very excited to be donating my best selling math activity for this linky and giveaway! My best selling math product is Subitizing.

 This is a compilation of Common Core lessons and activities similar to Math Recovery for subitizing. Subitizing is a way of instantly counting or immediately knowing how many are in a set without counting. Subitizing is a critical skill because it makes abstract mathematical ideas more concrete. Subitizing makes math more meaningful {and easier} instead of the traditional memorization method. Subitizing is part of the Common Core Standards.Kindergarten: Counting and Cardinality(K.CC.1, K.CC.4,K.CC.5),Operations and Algebraic Thinking (K.O.A.3), Number and Operations in Base Ten (K.NBT.1)
First Grade: Number and Operations in Base Ten (1.NBT.1, 1.NBT.5), Operations and Algebraic Thinking(1 O.A. 1, 1 O.A. 4, 1 O.A. 8)
Second Grade: Number and Operations in Base Ten (2.NBT.2), Operations and Algebraic Thinking (2.O.A. 1)

Here is what's included:
Flash Activities, Ten Frame Games, Dot Plate Lesson, Can You Make Ten? Game, Flash Frenzy Game, Dot Card Activities-lesson, games, printable cards with regular and irregular patterns, Senses Subitizing Lesson, Bead Flash Lesson, Spill the Beans lesson, directions and recording sheet, Foam Block Lesson, Foam Block Flash, Shake Your Counters lesson, directions and recording sheets, Part-Part-Whole Lesson and template and subitizing homework activities.
You can use this product with the whole class,a small group, one on one as well as math intervention.
Perfect for grades K-2 or intervention for intermediate grades.

Caitlin and Carrie wanted to have a linky and giveaway that showcases all of our hard work that goes into making meaningful and engaging products on TpT.  We all know how passionate teachers are about blogging and TpT product making, that we wanted to also celebrate all your hard work and accomplishments as a TpT seller.  The countless hours of creativity  put into these beautifully and thoughtfully made products deserve a little bit more love!  Why not celebrate them right here, right now?!?! Who's with us?
Hop on over to Table Talk with C&C to check out the fabulous giveaway and put in an entry. 
I finished my October Smartboard Calendar for Second Grade.

This 24 page SMARTBoard calendar is all you'll need to begin each day of second grade in October with a rigorous yet engaging start. It is aligned with CCSS ELA and Math.

This product includes an October calendar, odd/even days of the month, days of school page, place value days in school, money count, ten and twenty frames, modify-able sight word scramble page, modify-able sight word fluency phrase page, fact families, weather graph, temperature recording and comparison page, greater/less than page, skip count page, clock page, flip a coin tally chart with additional graphing opportunities, number line subtraction, number line spinner subtraction, and place value with addition and base ten blocks page.
You can pick and choose which activities to do each day. You and your students will adore this calendar. You MUST have Notebook installed on your computer to access this item!

Here are the standards this products addresses:
Math - 2.O.A.1, 2.O.A.2, 2.O.A.3, 2.N.B.T., 2.N.B.T.2, 2.N.B.T.5, 2.N.B.T.7, 2.N.B.T.8, 2.N.B.T.9, 2.N.B.T.10, 2.M.D.7, 2.M.D.8, and 2.M.D.9.
ELA - 2.R.F.S.3, 2.S.L.1, 2.S.L.4, 2.S.L.5, 2.S.L.6, 2.L.1 and 2.L.3.
Get it here.
We have been super busy in first grade.  This week Q and U got married so we always remember that they go together when reading and writing.
We began Read to Someone and charted 7 minutes worth of stamina!
Since Autumn has begun, we wrote books about our favorite things to do in the fall.

Finally, we read The Little Old Lady Who Wasn't Scared of Anything and made scarecrows.

My daughter went to her first homecoming dance yesterday.  Here she is with her date.

He wore a bow tie that matched her dress and got her a corsage.  So sweet.

I volunteered my time with the Colorado flood cleanup.  They just started letting people into a small community called Lyons which is just north of Boulder.  That is where I went.

Have a fabulous week!