February 27, 2015

Five for Friday! What an Awesome Week!!

Link up!
What a week!!!! All I can say is TGIF!!!!

I couldn't be happier or more proud of the progress my littles are making! As I have mentioned a few times before, they were VERY below level when we met in September. This little baby in particular was my lowest. He was unable to pass a Founts & Pinnell level A reading or identify about half of the letters or sounds in the alphabet. We have been doing a lot of phonemic awareness intervention and he continues to amaze me daily. He is now reading at a level C and can read and spell words with short and long vowels, blends, and digraphs! This is my favorite thing about teaching 1st grade- GROWTH! 

Today was our "100's" Day. Technically it was day 104. Given entering late, snow days, breaks, and subs that don't follow the plans.... my team and I were a little off. Opps! Oh well, the kids didn't notice and had a blast. We are breaking it to them on Monday. As this was my first year in primary land, I found today magical! We used ten frames to make 100 snacks, we wrote 100 words, we did odd tasks in 100 seconds! But my absolute favorite was our "When I'm 100" writing prompt. I did not create this, I found it but I LOVE IT!!!!

Hubby and I went to test out the new aquarium that opened near us to see if it has field trip potential on Sunday. It was so stinking cute! Definitely could see my littles LOVING this place!!! 

Again with being super proud of my babies this week (and all the time of course)! We moved on to what I thought was going to be a difficult math concept.... place value- breaking apart numbers into tens and ones and adding "bigger" numbers. They rocked it out! The February Math Centers from Turnstall's Teaching Tidbits are wonderful! 

We have been together for over 5 months now, and it still blows my mind each time I think back to the first day I walked into the classroom to meet them.... We have come so far! 

February 23, 2015

Math Workshop Monday: Part 2

Sorry for the delay! Mid-winter break, vacation to sunshine, and the crazy life of being a full time teacher and grad student took over. Anyways, as promised, here is another look at how we do Math Workshop in my room. . . .

Some of you were probably curious, when I listed off the four work options for the students, meeting with me for small group was not one of those options. Trust me, I tried that. Remember at the beginning of last post, I shared openly about the many failures I was encountering trying to teach math. That was one scenario. I tried teaching a small group during the workshop time, but with the group I have it just wasn't working. My table ended up doing a whole lot of waiting for me to help other friends sign on to the computer, adjust headphones, explain the math tub for the thousandth time, or even just deal with behavior issues. Those poor babies weren't getting anything from me, and everyone was beyond frustrated. 

So what am I doing then? Well besides all of the above tasks, I am free to walk around the room and sit with a child that I see is struggling, or even one that wants to show me how they just solved a problem and be with them. I can help my enrichment group with a project, work with my low students who need me, or help one student work through a new math game on the computer. It's extremely rewarding and a whole lot less stressful for everyone. Imagine the shortest mini lesson possible, that's what I'm doing. One to two minute mini lessons with each student, multiple times. Trust me, they are still learning A LOT! Honestly, it's not what I really wanted, but my room works so much better this way and my kids are making so much progress!!!!! 


Besides the "mini lesson" meet ups and management, I also help students with their math interactive notebooks. They have notebooks that they use roughly 2x per week to review, practice, or introduce new concepts. They can refer back to these all the time during workshop and it's a great formative assessment and mini lesson tool. We use three different notebook products, the first is the amazing notebooks by Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits. The second is a product designed to fit with out Singapore Math curriculum by Kelly Spinks Lastly, I create some notebook entries to combine it all together. 

Journal entries above taken from Turnstall Tidbits

Journal entries above were created by me! 

Thanks for stopping by! Next Monday (hopefully) I will be wrapping it up with the organization behind it all. Where the kids are when? How they know what to do? Where are the materials?
Happy Monday!

February 20, 2015

Five for Friday! One crazy week

Five for Friday

It's been a CRAZY few weeks! Check it out below! 

We were lucky enough to have mid winter break at a great time- we escaped the winter tundra and flew to Florida for a wonderful vacation! We flew down to Tampa and spent the night and day there before heading onto the boat towards Cozumel. It was an amazing 5 days in the sunshine! We got to lay in the sun, walk around together, and just be super silly! We were even lucky enough to see family on our last day before heading home. 

While hubby and I were enjoying ourselves in the sunshine, our babies stayed with my parents. They were wonderful and kept them for a whole week. My mom even brought them to work with her so they wouldn't be alone. Breaks my heart to be away from them- look at this! I missed them so much!!!!

While in Florida, I picked up this ADORABLE Starbucks mug. It's keeping me happy now that I'm back home to snow and WAY too cold temperatures. It's filled with lemon mint water now that hubby and I are starting Whole 30. 

Prior to break, we began our states of matter unit! This is my ABSOLUTE favorite science concept to teach to the little ones. There are so many amazing things you can do with it! Besides that, we have got to the point in the year when we start partner editing. They did so well!!! 

Just sayin'

February 2, 2015

Math Workshop Monday Pt. 1

I am not ashamed to admit that it took me several trials and errors to figure out the best way to teach math to my little friends. Having spent the last three years in 4th grade, 1st grade math was a big change. Especially given the level my kiddos were at at the beginning of the year.... it was a challenge. I can happily say that we are now rocking it out every day in math and I couldn't be happier with their behavior and progress. This is how we do math in my 1st grade classroom.

15 Minutes- Mini Lesson
We meet together in front of the smart board and I do a quick lesson (no more than 5 minutes) about what we are learning. We then do a practice problem or two together (again, no more than 5 minutes). For example, when talking about numbers to 40, I introduced them to numbers 11-20, we looked at each number in a ten frame and how each number is ____ more than 10. We made a few number bonds demonstrating this concept. Last, we typically play a quick class game or listen to a song/animated module to further explain the concept. The game can be hands on, a quick review, or a game on the smart board (like with ABCya). I do this for two reasons;
1) it's super engaging and I often notice the students signing the songs while they are working. On Friday we took our data unit test and almost all the students were singing "1, 2, 3, 4, number 5 shuts the door" while making their tally marks. And guess what?! All of them passed the test!
2. it's interactive- their little minds can't listen for that long. When we are playing a game or singing a song, they don't even know they are learning!

60 minutes - Workshop
There are 4 centers- Computers, Intervention Binders, Fact Fluency, and Math Tubs. The students rotate through each of the 4 centers for 15 minutes EVERY DAY! This ensures consistent practice and growth in all areas. 


Computers are very simple. The students log on to Moby Max Math and work through lessons that I have assigned them that align with our unit of study. The wonderful thing about Moby Max is it's grades K-8, so if a student is really struggling with the concept, I can assign them a lower grade level lesson until they understand. Plus I get constant progress monitoring data! SCORE!!!!


At this time, students are practicing their addition and subtraction facts. The goal is for them to become fluent mathematicians. They have many options here.... 
They may play a game with others in their group- Power Tower, Kaboom, Bingo, and Math Wars are the most popular in our room
They may use manipulative activities like using dominos to add and subtract, hands on number lines, or counters and word problems. 
Some choose to time themselves and continue practicing how fast they can solve the problems. 

Math Tubs

The math tubs contain activities (most of the time hands on) for the students to do to reinforce the concept we talk about during our mini lesson. Sometimes, a math tub may be as simple as a workbook page and some manipulatives. As you can see in the photo above, student's are very engaged. 

Math Binders (Intervention Binders) 

I was beyond excited to find Miss Decarbo's No Prep Intervention Binder. I printed a few, placed them in dry erase sleeves, and placed them by the manipulatives. The kids LOVE them! They are engaged, and have grown so much. The little one in the video above couldn't identify numbers past 19 and was very behind. As you can see he is rocking it OUT! If you don't own this and you teach K-2 you are missing out!!!! No Prep Math Intervention

Thanks for stopping by to read all about how we organize math workshop in our room. Next Monday I will share how things are set up, organized, and scheduled. I will also share what I am doing while the students are rotating through areas.  

Currently February!

I am very happy to say it's February! I love Valentine's Day, the shorter month, and cruises! Plus it mean's winter is almost over! 

Listening: We got about 16" of snow this weekend! WOW!!! The poor plow people have their work cut out for them...me on the other hand- I have a SNOW DAY!!!!!

Loving: Lying in bed working on this post, the sun is pouring through the window, and the greenhouse effect is wonderful. It almost makes me forget the 16" white blanket and negative temps outside.

Thinking: It's a snow day and I worked really hard this weekend- I should be able to take a nap today right?

Wanting: We cruise in T minus 10 days, therefore this girl has been extra good with dieting and working out. The cravings are so HARD though!

Needing: Can a girl have some summer PLEASE!

Pageant Title: I feel this title more than fits me. I am probably the most indecisive person in the world. 

Go link up and share how you are spending your first few days of February!