Saturday, February 23, 2013

End of a short week!

       This was a short week, and even shorter for me because I was out an additional day.  But what a full three days it was!  Lots going on in the classroom and with the kids.  I think it's time for some warmer weather so the kids can run around outside again.  We've had a cold and wet winter with little snow, and I think everyone's over it already.  I love winter.  But only with snow!  This inch of snow that turns into rain stuff doesn't do it for me (as if I have ANY say in it at all!)

     So, instead of whining about all the boy drama (hard to believe, since in sixth grade, it's usually girl drama at this time of year) I was challenged by on Friday, I've decided to do something fun and link up with Reagan, from Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits.

     My favorite product from this year is something I created in the Fall while my kids and I were learning about Character Traits.  I realized they needed more vocabulary for what traits should look like, and so with the help of a great product I purchased on TpT by Tar Heel State  we were off and running.  The kids still come back to the vocabulary they learned, and they had fun created the puzzle person for a book they read.

      I wish I had pictures!  I have two huge tubs of pillows and stuffed animals that my students have access to.  They love to curl up on the floor with a pillow and a good book.  And it's surprising how many of them cuddle up with a stuffed animal too!  It's pretty sweet to see!  There's no question that my bookcases (and all  the nooks and crannies around them) are my students' and my favorite spots in the room.

     My go-to signal is "Let me have your attention in 5-4-3-2-1."  I use that when my kids are all talking in groups or there's a lot of commotion in the room.  They know that they need to have to 5)get to their seat or just stop where they are, 4) have nothing in their hands, 3) bodies facing me, 2) no talking, 1) eyes on me.  We practice it a couple of times at the beginning of the year and we're good to go from then on.

      My students arrive around 8:10 and my first break is at 12:50!  I know!   It makes the afternoon really short and the morning flies by!  I need my little coffee maker for a quick sort-of pick me up, although I'm drinking decaf at this point.  That and a piece of chocolate after lunch and I'm good to go for the day!                            

       So that's it for me.  Hope you have a great Sunday and a good start to next week!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Thank you bloggers!

    Some time ago, I read about interactive journals that Jen uses in her classroom - see her most recent blog post about interactive math journals here at Runde's Room.  I thought it was a great idea, but I wasn't sure when or where I would use them.
   And then, lo and behold, I was working with a group of kids who were a bit unhappy about needing to work again on some comprehension skills with me.  This is a group of kids that I'm now meeting with three times a week for an additional half an hour.  They're just frustrated that they're not "getting it."  And the truth is - they're SO close!

    While we were talking about how we were going to tackle this learning curve, I remembered interactive journals.  I can't honestly say that they're the miracle cure, but my goodness, I've never seen kids so excited to tackle some of the concepts in their journals!

You can't see really well that the the students created a foldable with examples on the inside.  And then, moving from there, we created a way to identify what facts and details questions might look like.  So we drew hands and worked from there.
   Sometimes it only takes a little "something" to make an idea click.  I'm pretty happy that the kids are investing a new level of energy into mastering these concepts!

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Giving this a try

    So....I took a break from watching football (and commercials) during the Super Bowl game last night, and got on my blog.  And proceeded to make some totally unanticipated changes.  That's a kind way of saying I lost my background, my colors, my font, everything.

   Let's be honest.  I was pretty frustrated.  But I don't tend to wallow for long, so tonight I decided to see if I could change things again.  And this is what I came up with.  I like it.  For right now.  It's a little bright, but I need that in the middle of winter.  So I'm going to let it rest and see how I feel tomorrow.  And the next day.

   The cool thing is that I'm learning my way around this stuff, and I'm feeling a lot more comfortable with what I can do.  Which is a whole lot more than where I was a couple of months ago!

    So, fellow teachers, what do you think?  Stick with it or change it up again?


Sunday, February 3, 2013


  Reading other people's blogs, you see all kinds of cute ideas.  And so I decided to play with my background.  Only I don't like it.  And I can't figure out how to go back to what I had without starting all over again.  Anyone have a clue about how to do this?


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Just a quick check....yeah, right.

   Isn't it amazing how you get onto your blog, just to "check quickly" and suddenly you're sucked into that world of "Oh, look at what he said" or "What a great idea, let me just read that blog" and you look up and an hour (or more) has gone by?

    Yeah, me too.

     It's February, and with a new month comes Farley's Currently

     Clothes are getting clean, groceries will soon be purchased (have to get off the computer to do that!) and the house put in some semblance of order.  All good stuff.

    I love Saturdays because I wake up on my own.  No alarm clock.  What a treat!  In my younger days, I never imagined that "sleeping in" until 7:30 was something people did!

     My husband and I are running a Capital Campaign for our church - this is the month when our days and evenings will be full.  In addition, I coach a Quiz Bowl team, which I love, but that's extra time.  And I teach.  And I'm a mom to three kids, who are older, but still need to talk, cry, bounce ideas off their parents.  And I'm a wife to a great guy.  There you have it - a full month!

    Which is why I need to remind myself to be gentle on myself.  Just breathe.  It's all good.

      Yesterday afternoon,  I had to deal with a bunch of kids who were pushing and shoving in one case, and spreading rumors in another, and I just wanted to stop everything and have some kind of  "Love Fest" or something.  Something to make everyone a little more thoughtful and compassionate.  But I didn't.  I taught Science instead.  :)

     I hope you have a great weekend.  With time to relax and refresh!