Friday, April 10, 2015

Back from Break {Five for Friday}

We made it through the week after Spring Break. I don't know what is worse, the week before break or the week after! That week off has made my little friends very unsettled! Even with wiggly, talkative students the show had to go on, so here is a look at our week.

The crabs are back!! After an extended Christmas Vacation at my house our hermit crabs have returned to class. The kids were so excited! One little guy looked right in the cage and said, "Hermit crabs, I have missed you!" 

We've spent the week working on measurement. I only took this picture. Remembering to take pictures is hard. Blog fail.

Debbie Dunn, a professional storyteller, visited our school on Wednesday and it was such a treat. She told some great stories and got all the kids involved. All afternoon my kids kept saying, "I am the ghost with the one black eye!" 

You can click here to watch videos of some of her performances. 

Our story this week was called Amazing Animals and the kiddos loved it! I found this great resource in a bundle from Dawn Hilburn on TPT. 

We had so much fun with this activity. The kids each got up in front of the class and read their clues and we all guessed. 

It doesn't have legs. It has a shell. It has two eyes. 

This one was my favorite! He had a really original idea and I thought his clues were great. This little guy hasn't had the easiest time, but he loved this activity.

I had to take a selfie and show you guys my new Curious George shirt! We love to watch George on PBS when it's too yucky for outside recess. I've had the theme song stuck in my head all day. 

How was your week? Head on over to Doodle Bugs Teaching and link up! 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Wong Way to be an Effective Teacher

I met Harry and Rosemary Wong last Saturday! My alma mater hosted a fantastic Early Childhood conference and the Wong's were the keynote speakers. 

Before I get to the teaching part, let me just say that these two were adorable! They both talked about how in love they were and how they met and it was just so mushy gushy and cute! 

Back to business. The Wong's have a really refreshing message because it's all about what teachers can do in their classroom to make a difference. It doesn't cost money. It wasn't the next new program. They weren't suggesting everything I was doing was wrong or needed a makeover. It was just some nice reminders of things that someone who's been at this a while can forget. 

The Wong's presented on things effective teachers do. They say all effective teachers have/do these things: 

Bell Work 
Rubrics for Assessment 
Positive Expectations

My Take Aways 
Their agenda consists of a daily schedule, bell work, and daily objectives. I don't post daily objectives, but after hearing the Wong's talk about this I think this is something I'll start incorporating into our day. 

Simply tell students what they will be learning before the lesson begins
and you can raise student achievement as much as 27 percent.
-Researcher John Hattie

That fact alone makes a very compelling case for posting objectives. We aren't required to, so it just isn't something I've ever taken the time to do. 

Rubrics are huge for assessment, I know, just not something I've used a lot since I've moved to first grade. They had some great examples of more visual rubrics that would be perfect for first graders. I also really liked the suggestion of having students help create the wording for the rubrics with you. I think I'll start out by making a handwriting rubric with my students.

They also had a great tip for transitions. It's an acronym called CPR: 
Close up work 
Prepare for the next activity
He also suggests to explain what students need to do then let them do it without talking. Oops! I am so guilty of this one - I give directions and then keep adding in things while the students are preparing to move to the next activity. I need to work on this one for sure. 

Last thing. The Wong's have helped write another classroom management book called The Classroom Management Book. I had no idea this book existed. Maybe I am the only person who doesn't know this. Maybe not. Have you read it? 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Five for Friday Spring Break Style

Warning: this post has nothing to do with teaching or education because I've been on Spring Break all week!! Here is a little recap of what my week was like. Thanks to Kacey for the link up!

I've done some cooking that I wouldn't get to do during a normal work week. That beautiful pepper mess is part of the Pioneer Woman's Cajun Chicken Pasta. If you've not tried this you are missing out! Make it now.

Cleaning. It wouldn't be Spring Break without tackling a few of those dreaded jobs. Windows...thank goodness for the invention microfiber!

Then there's all the antique "stuff" I have on top of the cabinets and fridge in my kitchen. I got that down and gave it a good scrub. 

I'm dog sitting for my mom this week, so I've been hanging out with the animals a lot. We've been playing in the yard and enjoying the very nice weather. 

I tracked down this handsome man while he was fencing and had a little picnic with him. Unfortunately the wind was crazy and we had to eat in the back of the vehicle, but at least we were together! 

The weather was amazing yesterday! I wish you could smell this picture. It smelled like spring and cow Gotta keep it real. It is a farm after all. The smell grows on you. 

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