Friday, February 24, 2017

Photo Friday 2*24*17

Have you heard of the Seuss Photo Apps on iTunes? There were originally three different ones. The Birthday Camera is free, and the Grinch Cam and Cat Cam cost 99 cents. I just discovered a fourth app, Who Me? that I need to purchase and explore.
In honor of Read Across America next week, I used the Cat Cam for each student and had them write about their favorite Seuss Book. During the winter holidays I used the Grinch Cam and hung those photos up. 

What other ideas do you have for this app?

Friday, February 17, 2017

Photo Friday 2*17*17

I just finished up a 3 week unit on Geometry. In Virginia we focus on solid shapes, lines and concurrency. While my students don't need to know the vocabulary "acute" and "obtuse" they do need to know what's smaller and larger than a right angle.  
One of my favorite activities to do with them is Angle Aerobics. It's an activity from an AIMS book called Shapes, Solids and More. The activity only cost $2 if you're looking to purchase it but you don't necessarily need it. Students use their bodies to show acute, obtuse and right angles. I have them practice standing up and also sitting down.

What resources do you use to teach Geometry?

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Revisiting "10 Commandments to Working in a Hostile Environment"

As a follower of Christ, I know that it reigns on the just and the unjust. I know that we battle not against flesh and blood but against enemies in the unseen world. I know that my battles are far more "spiritual" than "natural." I blogged about this book 5 years ago, I think I initially read it about 8 years ago. I found myself revisiting it's "commandments" recently and thought I'd share them. 

1- Know that you are anointed for the job position that you hold. 
Teaching is my ministry. I've always walked in the authority and power of God when it came to my teaching and I thank God daily for the talents and treasures he's placed on the inside of me. Even when I want to walk away, there's no way I could, teaching is my calling and I can't imagine doing anything else.  

2- Don't expect to be appreciated.
This is something that I've struggled with. Over the last year I've had a hard time "feeling appreciated," I know I'm appreciated, but I don't ever really "feel" that way. Then I realized that I had unrealistic expectations of people. As long as I'm walking in obedience then God will be pleased. 

3- Embrace opportunities for change.
In a way, I love change. I've never been in any school... when I was school age or teaching for longer than four years until now. I attended five schools growing up, due to being military. I'm teaching at the fourth school of my career. I've been here for 6 years. I have no idea what doors God might open me, so in the meantime I'll embrace any opportunities he has for me. 

4- Do the job well while remembering the vision.

5- Don't let the environment get inside of you.
I have to remember that "greater is he that is in me, then he that is in the world." It's so easy to get caught in that negativity trap, I know, I've been caught several times. But I'm realizing that I can state something that I don't agree with without dwelling and complaining on the issue. 

6- Increase your capacity to work with difficult personalities.
Lord knows I've had plenty of opportunities to do this and God keeps giving me more of them! But there is a fine line between tolerating difficult personalities and entertaining foolishness. I can work with difficult people, but I will not put up with tomfoolery. My motto "Miss me with the foolishness."   

7- Where you are is not where you're going.
My prayer is for God to order my steps in his word, so I just have to remember that where I currently am may be temporary. 

8- Achieve optimal results with minimal confusion.
God is not the author of confusion, if there is confusion, it is from the enemy. My goal is to always be transparent. With my students, their parents, my colleagues. I've found that if there is transparency in situations, there will be very little confusion. 

9- Do not pledge allegiance to cliques and groups.
Now I have some very good friends that work at my school. There is one in Kindergarten and First grade that are my core. The Word says "Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." These ladies are my iron, they are believers and I can call on them to pray for me when I can't find the words to pray for myself. There are two more ladies, one in second grade and one on my grade level and we are pretty good friends as well. We check on each other, we encourage each other, we laugh together and cry together. Friendships are one thing but cliques are "restricted groups." With them can come negativity and sometimes they use their power to hurt others by excluding them or by being mean. This is what you want to stay away from. Most times you don't even realize you are apart of a clique until the damage to others is already done and your own reputation and integrity is questioned. 

10- Always keep your song near you.
Take this literally... whether it's before or after school, or even during resources. I've started playing my inspirational music again and it's really helped me stay centered. I have my "going to work playlist" that puts me in full worship mode before I even arrive at school. Then my "getting ready for the day playlist" that puts me in a positive mood before my students arrive. My goal is to always have a word of praise on my lips. 

My spirit has been heavy for about a month now. Between the news, the demands of teaching and this upper respiratory thing I got going on, I'm not going to sugar coat it... I have been struggling. But I know that trouble doesn't last always and at the end of the day I have to remember my purpose and my purpose is to teach those children to the best of my ability and I don't have time for anything that is going to interfere with that. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Photo Friday 2*10*17

Have you heard of GoNoodle? You probably have, but if you haven't it's the best tool you'll ever use in your classroom. Once we turn those lights off, the GoNoodle turn up is for real!  
Basically GoNoodle is a website that houses many different types of brain breaks, you can even upload your own from YouTube (we personally love Michael Jackson).
The Blazer Fresh channel is probably my favorite, their brain breaks are educational. 
But we also love the Koo Koo Kanga Roo gang.

All you need is a computer and a projector, hop on over to the GoNoodle website and sign up for a free account today! Students love getting their wiggles out and I love seeing them just being children.

What brain breaks do you use in your classroom?

Friday, February 3, 2017

Photo Friday 2*3*17

My third graders are moving towards the end of our multiplication unit. I wanted to share a snapshot of our multiplication is taught in my district. As per our state standards, students learn multiplication facts in third grade. We spend a couple weeks engaging in conceptual activities and talk about what multiplication really means.

Our district suggests we teach multiplication in this sequence with the following strategies:
*Zero Property of Multiplication
*Identity Property of Multiplication
*2's Facts- double the other factor
*10's Facts- add 0 to the other factor
*5's Facts- count by 5's
*9's Facts- find a pattern in the products
*11's Facts- find a pattern in the products
*4's Facts- double, double the other factor
*8's Facts- double, double, double the other factor
*3's Facts- think two's facts, add one more set 
*6's Facts- think three's facts, double that product
*7's Facts- think sixes' facts, add one more set

I teach multiplication facts on a three day rotation.
Day 1- on day one I create an anchor chart with the strategy and examples on how to use it, students then complete the corresponding page from Multiplication Activities as independent practice. 

Day 2- on day two students partner up and play a multiplication dice game. These games can be found in the Math Folder at the Teaching Oasis

Day 3- on day three students take a quiz on the facts, the quiz also assesses students using the inverse operation and correlating their knowledge of multiplication to division. These quizzes can also be found in the Math Folder at the Teaching Oasis
Students who score 79% and below receive their quiz back with the above note. Students may retake the quiz when they're ready. Students who score 80% and above, earn a Multiplication Master SMART (Brag) Tag for the fact.
For extra practice opportunities, I created a booklet with the following two products. Some days I allot 15 or 20 minutes for them to work in the booklet, other days they work in it when they have time.
Multiplication Search
Spin and Multiply 
 What are your favorite resources to teach multiplication?