Thursday, June 18, 2015

Get Ready for the 2015 Vegas Teacher-Blogger Meet-up!

It's almost that time again! The time that thousands of teachers and bloggers head to Vegas for the annual SDE and Teachers Pay Teachers Conferences. To say we were excited would be an understatement! 

This year will be our 4th annual Vegas Teacher-Blogger Meet Up. What started as a fun little way to get to meet other teachers and bloggers from across the country, has turned into the BIGGEST teacher-blogger meet up ever!

Here are the details you'll want to know:

  • The meet up will be on Wednesday, July 8th, and will start at 6:30pm at the Venetian in the Galileo room. 
  • RSVP on our Facebook event page {HERE}
  • You will need to download, edit, and bring your own name tag.  Download the file {HERE!} Below is an example of how your name tag should look. 

  • You do not need to be a blogger to attend. All teachers are invited and welcome to come! 
  • Please be ready to have fun, meet people, and make new friends! Make sure to post pictures to social media using the hashtag #2015vegasmeetup.
  • Our main sponsors for this event are SDE and TPT, although we have dozens more who will be donating prizes, swag, and other fun stuff! You do not want to miss out on these awesome prizes!
    • Here is a peek at this year's DIAMOND sponsors:

Please take a look at our amazing sponsors, visit their websites, and if possible say thank you for supporting this event! We have never charged an entrance fee for this meet up and it's because of all these wonderful, generous sponsors!     


And just to help you get even more excited, here's a peek at the fun we had at last year's meet-up! This year is sure to be even 

All our happy prize winners from last year!

Can't wait to see you all there!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Mother's Day 2015 Gifts

I shared our Mother's Day gifts on Instagram & Facebook tonight and got a bunch of requests to share the poem. (Y'all make me feel better knowing I was not the only one who kind of let this holiday sneak up on my this year!!!) Our kids will only be coming in at assigned times to do DRA testing on Thursday & Friday this week, and my teammate and I realized *yesterday* that we only had one day to pull it all together!

Luckily, we've had this poem since a few years back. Not sure who the original author is, I'm pretty sure it's one that's just been passed down from year to year. I typed it up quickly this morning and added a little clipart for our first graders to add to their seedling cups!

  {You can grab the poem tags HERE}

We picked up seeds, dirt, and ribbon. Then we used a hot glue gun to secure the ribbon to the cups. 
The kids got to pick which type of seed they wanted to plant in their cups. 

They wrote cinquain poems about their moms to take home too!

All in all a successful day of mother's day creations. :) If you're in a pinch for a last minute gift, this one is pretty fun and low prep! Promise!! Now I'm just hoping that their moms have a better track record of keeping plants alive than their teacher. My mother has a green thumb but I sadly did NOT inherit that gene. HA!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Teacher Anchor 2015

I'm excited to share with you today some lovely new pieces from the C. Jayne Teach 2015-2016 collection! All of the goodies you will find in the new line have been created by Chandra, the talent behind C. Jayne Teach. Chandra is a teacher too and something that I feel sets her resources apart from rest is that they're created for teachers by a teacher! Today I'm going to share a little bit about the updated Teacher Anchor with you.

The Teacher Anchor binder is available in 12 gorgeous colors! I've been swooning over this pretty piece of mint from the moment I took it out of the box. It had me at "personalized" and "select your own color"-!! I went back and forth between the mint, honeysuckle, and tangerine for two days. Ultimately, my current love of all things mint won out and I've been head over heels since it first showed up on my doorstep!! (The hard part now is refraining from ordering one in every color.) This binder has the prettiest glossy finish. It's large enough to hold all of your papers without being cumbersome. I plan to use my binder to hold guided reading & math plans and data for the upcoming school year.
You can also still order the binder in the original solid navy and red options. 

The second piece of the Teacher Anchor is the planner component. I'll admit, after six years of using a paper planner, I started moving towards typing my plans for the first time this year. Still, I know many teachers who live and swear by their paper plan book. If you're the type who can't wait to run out and pick up your new plan book every year, you definitely want to check this one out! The cover is made from a synthetic plastic that makes it a bit more durable. I'm very much a 'throw it all into the bag and hope for the best' kinda gal. So I gravitate towards items I can toss in my tote without worrying about rips or bends.

Card stock dividers are used to separate each section: calendar, planning pages, grade book, and Common Core Standards checklists. Having the standards at your finger tips is one of those features that separates the Teacher Anchor from other planners you'll find. It's also worth mentioning that I'm pretty picky about the look of my planning box pages. This design is right up my alley. Modern with clean lines and easy to read fonts. More importantly, the boxes are big and lined. Quite possibly my very favorite feature!

This quick video walks you through all the features of the Teacher Anchor!  

If you're hoping to nab one for next year you'll wanna act quick. They sell out fast every year. This week, you can also enter to WIN a Teacher Anchor for you and your whole team over on the C. Jayne Teach Facebook page!

And don't forget to check out all the goods in the C. Jayne Teach Shop!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Book Study: Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites {Chapter 13}

Hope you're loving the book study so far! 
We did a little chapter swapping, so I'll be hosting Chapter 13 over here today!! 

Today we're chatting about Cooperative Learning and Reciprocal Teaching.  The first thing that jumped out at me in this chapter was this quote. 

"Students learn 95% of what they teach to others."

95%...!!? That's BIG!!!

So why is this strategy so effective? Humans are social beings.  We like to talk ya'll!!! We're teachers so I know I'm preaching to the choir here. ;) 

But the key is to set our students up with opportunities to actively discuss content with each other. Give them chances to put into their own words what they have learned and even teach it to a classmate. The above picture was one of those precious random moments where I caught two of my kiddos doing exactly that. The little girl on the right is teaching her pal on the left one of the subtraction strategies we had worked on in class using our whole group number line. Talk about a happy teacher heart!!! Admittedly, I didn't set up this moment. Which in some ways makes it even sweeter. But Marcia's point in this chapter is, as teachers we NEED to be facilitating these moments regularly in our classroom, because they're valuable! 

Something I learned about myself while reading this chapter, pairs are my go to. There is something safe to me about a pair. I do tons of partner pair ups, but anything that involves more than two working in a group that is not directly supervised by an adult makes my inner control freak a little nervous. So one of my goals after reading this chapter is more ways to incorporate group activities where students need to work together to complete a task. Luckily, before I got too down on myself, Marcia said this: 

"However, even periodically, stopping during class time and having students re-teach what they are learning to a student sitting nearby is time well spent!"

Here are a few examples of ways I've made this work in my classroom...

1. Have students briefly engage with multiple classmates (non-ability groupings) 

Left: Inside Outside Circle - Students sit facing each other in a circle. After sharing with their partner the outside circle moves one spot to the left and re-share with their new partner. Repeat. 

Right: Hand Pair Share -You can read my whole post about this activity, here.

**BONUS: The two above activities also incorporate Strategy 10: MOVEMENT**

2. Math Stations: During Math Stations students work together in pairs or groups of 3 at hands on math tubs. When students get "stuck" they turn to each other for help and clarification! Stations are short (10-12 minutes) so they have little time to get off task and their conversations are centered around the task at hand. 

3. Partner Reading Buddies: I especially like to give these guys plenty of opportunity to share favorite facts and re-read important vocabulary together during our non-fiction studies. These are clips from when we studied Spiders in October and Penguins in January.


4. Students as Teachers: After math partners had a chance to talk with each other about the 'counting on' addition strategy, I called on a few kiddos to come up to the board and share their thinking/re-teach the strategy to the class before we ended this whole group portion of our lesson. 

I'm eager to add more ideas to my tool belt on this one!! Can't wait to read what you all have to say in your posts and comments!
Here are the ladies you'll be visiting for the remaining chapters:

KinderGals Chapter 14 &15 (April 18th)
A Rocky Top Teacher Chapter 16 (April 21st)
Mrs. Wills Kindergarten Chapter 17 (April 25th)
Little Warriors Chapter 18 (April 28th)
Falling Into First Chapter 19 (May 2nd)
Kickin' it in Kindergarten Chapter 20 (May 5th)

It's not to late to jump on board!! Even if you just want to keep the conversation rolling over in the comments. Our goal is to keep chatting about these research based best practices and continue learning from each other, just like we learned about in this chapter!!! :)

Your turn. Link it on up down below!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Brainstorming & Discussion

I've only made it to Chapter 4 so far but already I'm thrilled that I got on board with this read. Anytime I find myself going - YES, YES, YES within the first chapter, I know it's worth the read!

This little poem right here. This is something I've always said. We as teachers are ALWAYS talking. It's human nature. Imagine if the first thing teachers had to do every morning was sit together and work in silence. Imagine them working or walking silently anywhere for that mater.

A buzzing classroom is where it's at in my opinion.

Here are some more take aways.

Pair Share With Elbow Buddies

Stdents sit "Elbow elbow, Knee Knee" with their buddies to discuss. This one works in every subject for just about anything. I especially like it when I see the same 3-4 hands going up again and again. I'll say something like, "Hmm. I'm noticing the same people wanting to share but I'd like to hear from everyone. Turn to your elbow buddy and tell" Then 30 seconds later when I reel them back I'll say, "NOW, who can tell me xyz." All the hands go up. It's short, pointed discussion time, and for many of them it helps gets those schemas up and moving again. Now they're ready to bring something to the table. They just needed to get those mouths moving again!!! :)

Modeling Discussion Language

This is something I think I've gotten better about doing this year but deff. think I need to work on more. I'm the first one who will tell you that it's critical to model e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. in the primary grades. But sometimes, I need to remind myself that I still need to model things again and again and again. Including the type of language we want our kids to use.

I find that the more I say things, the more the kids start to use them in their own language. When we're discussing anything in class, these are two sentence stems my kids know they should be using. The "respectfully" in the disagree is particularly important. It sounds like such adult language for little people but it's also amazing to hear them use it!

I hope these first few chapters have left you feeling as re-energized as they have me!! See the rest of the links ups going on over on Elizabeth's post by clicking the button below!

To Link up (click on the blue button on Elizabeth's Blog) and prepare for your chapter 3 discussion over at Mrs. Wills Kindergarten on Tuesday! Here is the rest of the schedule and you can join in at anytime!
Queen of the First Grade Jungle Chapter 4 (March 10th)
Fabulous in First  Chapter 5 (March 14th)
One Extra Degree Chapter 6 (March 17th)
Mrs. Jump’s Class Chapter 7 (March 28th)
The First Grade Parade  Chapter 8 (March 31st)
In April, you will be visiting these girls for the remainder of the study:
Mrs. Ehle’s Kindergarten Chapter 9 &10 (April 4th)
What The Teacher Wants Chapter 11 (April 7th)
First Grader At Last Chapter 12 (April 11th)
Erica’s Ed Ventures  Chapter 13 (April 14th)
KinderGals Chapter 14 &15 (April 18th)
A Rocky Top Teacher Chapter 16 (April 21st)
The Inspired Apple Chapter 17 (April 25th)
Little Warriors Chapter 18 (April 28th)
Falling Into First Chapter 19 (May 2nd)
Kickin’ it in Kindergarten Chapter 20 (May 5th)

If you are not a blogger (which is totally fine!!!) we still want to hear from you! Leave a comment below so we can discuss and share together!!