Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Did It Really Work or Did It Just Look Good? Part 2

I thought I would surprise you all and post today:).  I am sorry for the lack of posting!  Since I am feeling just a little better everyday, I have discovered a backlog of things that need to be done (and yes, I made an absurdly compulsive list of everything that needs to be done).  Little things like mowing the lawn, serious cleaning, and changing bulletin boards have been taking up my spare time.  Not to mention that my after school hours have been filled with IEP, SIT, and Math Adoption Committee meetings.

Since today it looks like it is going to rain at any moment (and we NEED it) and edging the lawn does not seem like a good idea, I thought I would do a quick installment of Did It Really Work or Did It Just Look Good?
First up are my Read 180 Rotation signs!

Not the best picture, but it will have to do.  These are a HUGE success!  I use them everyday!  My kids check for their start position and we go from there!  The listed behavior expectations were invaluable for the first few weeks of rotations, and we revisit them from time to time.  These are available in my TPT store as a FREEBIE with the Classroom Expectation signs.

Next are my OCD Lesson Plan Templates!
These are used every week!  I love how they keep me in a routine.  At our school, lesson plans are checked weekly, and having this set up really helps me stay on top of them.  Right now these are hanging up on a clipboard under our weekly standards - for students, visitors, and administrators to see.
This week, they are five pages long.  I might have been a little stressed this week.  If you would like a copy of the template, just leave a comment and make sure you are not a "no reply" person.  This weekend, I will find the time to send you the template for you to play around with for your class.

Big Sale!
Before I go and read through some essays (and okay, watch NCIS on the DVR), don't forget to check out the big sale on TPT starting tomorrow!  It will be a Thursday and Friday sale!  All items in my store are 20% off, plus the TPT additional discount!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Divisibility Rules Reboot and Sale!

Good Morning Everyone!

Real quick post today, because it is too beautiful of a day here on the West Coast to be blogging!  First of all, I wanted to remind everyone that today is the last day of my Puppy Day Holiday Weekend Sale in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store!
He is thinking about all the dog food that I am going to have to buy for him.  Look at those paws!

Also, I have gotten a bunch of requests to "share ownership" of my Divisibility Rules foldable that I shared last summer.  

I have to admit that I am not all that sure about the etiquette of Google Drive, nor am I sure as to why the requests are bunched in the last week.  To solve the issue, I spiffed them up a little and put them for free in my TpT store.  Please click on over there for the Divisibility Rules foldable.  It will be a forever FREEBIE - just basic stuff that every teacher should have access to, and I am happy to share!  For more information on how I use them in my classroom, click here to read the original post!

Peace out!  (I am such a dork!)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Five for Friday and Puppy Day Weekend Sale!

It has been forever since I was able to link up with Doodle Bugs for Five for Friday, and this one will be random, short and sweet!

1.  My injury is definitely on the mend. Thank you!  I am one of those people who do not "sit" well.  I need to move, clean, organize, and create.  I actually feel the difference when my house is clean, and the yard is neat and trimmed.  This week, I spent every afternoon working in the yard for just a bit.  The front yard wasn't too difficult.  The back yard had not been mowed in FIVE weeks.  It took me two nights to weed whack it down to a height that the lawn mower could work.  And then three rounds of the lawn mower before I called it quits tonight.  Something tells me that it is not a wise thing to mow the lawn using the porch lights to guide you. 

2.  After several years of harassment and hostility from my friends and family regarding my stupid phone.  I gave in and got an iPhone.  On Monday, I finally entered the new millennium.
What was I thinking?  I love it, but of course it doesn't fit in my wallet!

3.  Homework!  I have had a cute little HOMEWORK pennant banner up on my board for the WHOLE year, and it still has every letter.  This week, after a serious mean teacher talk, my kids almost made it.  One kid left his at home.  I didn't give in, because this kid always leaves it "at home."  It killed me!   I didn't have to say a thing.  I just lavished points on everyone else, and I suspect that there was some serious positive peer pressure going on at lunch.  

4.  My sister was out of school today, and she came by to see me.  It was hysterical!  I thought she was going to get there before lunch, and told the kids that she was coming.  One of my students asked, "How are we going to know it is her?"  They are not allowed to open the door unless they know the adult.  I told them that they would know.  At lunch, I come out of the lounge and rushed up to the front office because I could hear this huge ruckus!  I thought that the secretaries needed help handling a fight or a riot.  It was a riot...of my kids.  They had seen my sister come on to campus, and had ran like maniacs to the office to introduce themselves.  My sister and I are obviously sisters, and they were fascinated by how much we looked alike.  They followed us to the classroom, chattering away at her.  Sometimes, they are just too cute...even if I still have every letter of HOMEWORK on my board.

5.  So, I decided to have a Puppy Day Holiday Weekend TpT Sale in my store!  This is a picture that my sister in law sent me of my puppy - she and my brother are fostering my puppy for me until school is out (yes, I know how lucky I am and how amazing that is:).
The first day, he totally fit in that little bed.  What follows is the text exchange between us.

Her reply was followed by a series of pictures that looked like this...

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Money, Money, Money!

Hello Blogging World!  Sorry that it has been so long since I posted.   If I were teaching 7th grade Social Studies, this could have been a cool post about a real life simulation of the Black Death and how it decimated a classroom in one week.  Alas, I am just teaching 6th grade, so consider this a warning; when the first kid bolts out of your classroom for the bathroom, just go ahead and make sub plans. 

Since I finally feel like a human being, I thought I would post about my promised money activity and do a double linky with Joanne's Spark Student Motivation
and Erin's Thursday Throw Down.
Do you remember how exciting it was to play with money?  You know, before it became a depressingly real thing in your life.  Play money was the best!  Since I have been teaching before the dawn of time, I have been able to "inherit" items from retiring teachers and those who were moving on.  One of my best finds was a tub full of play money.  I remember standing there in the lounge hugging the tub close and wondering why anyone would ever toss it out.  It was play money!  Over the years, I have used it to teach decimals and just life skills.  Last week, I got it out for an open-ended activity with my Intervention group.

Twice a week, I teach a small "7th period"  or Intervention class of 6th graders.  I really enjoy it because it allows me to really teach to what their needs are and not to the pacing guide.  Also, it allows me to try activities and lessons, that might end in disaster with a larger group.  With a smaller group, it is easier to switch gears and make adjustments if things go awry.  Sometimes, that is when the magic happens.

Before the kids came in, my TA and I counted out six groups of $170 in various denominations (including quarters and half dollars, for which we used little Dixie cups to sort and hold them).  We included only ONE twenty dollar bill.  All of this was laid out on the back table.  They squealed when they saw the money (very much like I did when I found it years ago in the lounge).  They zipped through the warm up.  No complaining about the timed drill, no fights over snacks, and who sat where, because there was money waiting to be played with on the back table.

I had them pair up, and gave them each a small piece of butcher paper to use a counting mat and scratch paper.  Then I gave them all of their money.  Before they could count it all, we reviewed what each denomination was worth - yes, this was necessary.  Then they had to count their money and give me a total.
This was so difficult for them!  I went around and "coached" them into grouping and then multiplying.  There were so many lessons that I could have pulled out of this, but I kept it simple for them.  After much checking, they discovered that they all had the same amount.  Their reactions were so funny!  

Then we talked about how many $20s they could get out of their $170 pile of money.  The immediate response was to hold up their only twenty dollar bill and argue that they only had one.  But finally, one student looked at me and said, "Eight?"  After he explained how he divided 170 by 20 to get his answer, he showed us all one way to make $20 without using their only twenty dollar bill, it was on!
For the remainder of the period, they counted and regrouped, talked with each other, shared ideas, and begged me for "change" to make it happen.  They quickly learned that to make it happen, they had to continually shift the money around, regroup their piles of $20. 
I had planned on them making a chart of their combinations and then comparing them with the other groups.  At the end of the period, we realized that we did not have time to the chart.  Because of my sick days, I only got to meet with them one day this week and they begged to play with the money again.  Since I was not exactly 100%, we went with something smaller.
Best $6.25 I ever spent!  My little group struggled with it, but loved it.  After the "Bingo" occurred, they had to add up their Bingo cards, and show me how they did it.  Needless to say, I got a little informal formative assessment done while they were adding up the decimals.  I let them add up the coins one at time, then I reminded them of how they had added up the money last week.  Some of them actually needed the play money to figure it out.

There are so many possibilities with play money!  My kids loved it, and were excited to be there working with me.  Several of them found me out doing my duty and asked me if we were getting the money out again.  We meet for 7th period after school on Thursdays and Fridays.  On a Friday afternoon, after school, they were bouncing with excitement about getting to do math.  Bazinga!  Interactive Motivation!

One last thing before I get going, Kelly of An Apple for the Teacher, is having her 300 Follower Giveaway this weekend!
Make sure you head over there and enter to win all of the amazing prizes! 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Puppy Peek at My Week!

I am sure Jennifer will not mind if I hijack her A Peek at My Week linky for a chance to share some puppy pictures:).  She asked for more pictures!

And I have to be honest, there was no real lesson planning done this weekend.  I have a pretty good idea of where we are headed, and will sit down tomorrow and map it out for the week.

Fractions:  Yes, there will be more multiplying before we move to dividing.  My hope is to be in decimals by the end of the week.  Last week, I did this really cool activity with my Intervention group.  It was supposed to be an activity for equivalent fractions.  It turned out being something entirely different and totally phenomenal!  I will share it later this week.

Read 180:  Brown Tree Snakes, they love the snakes!  We will be starting a persuasive essay this week.  It will be slow, and we will do it together.  Plus, I have an idea for vocabulary centers that I need to get on.  Our training last week was pretty good!  I have a few freebies and tips to share in a later post.

Social Studies:  We are moving slowly through Mesopotamia.  Last week we worked on an irrigation plan.  They had to show me that they really understood the "irrigation" part of Mesopotamia.  My job would have been so much easier if we lived near an actual river, and not one paved in concrete.  So, this week, we are back to our text breakdown of the Social Studies text.

And now for the puppy pictures!  Oh my gosh, he is so adorable and the absolute smartest puppy ever! I know that some of you are rolling your eyes, but just you wait and see:).  He is a German Shepherd/Border Collie/Cattle dog mix from Old Yeller Ranch Rescue.
His name is Hank, and his paws are my favorite feature.  They look like they got dipped in an Oreo Blizzard.
He just walked in and started chillin' by the slider in the sun room.  Apparently, he has decided that it is his room.
My sister-in-law and I ran to the store, leaving my sweet 13yr old nephew puppy sitting, and this is what we came back to.  When Hank finally collapsed and fell asleep, my nephew covered him up with his own jacket because he didn't want him to get cold sleeping by the window.

Needless to say, we all have a case of puppy love - including the older members of the pack!  I am so grateful to my sister-in-law for volunteering to puppy foster him for me until summer break.  It works out well for them too; one of their dogs is getting up there and not doing so well, so Hank will be a welcome distraction and comfort for the kids when the inevitable happens.   My Lucy is quite the road-tripper, so we will be spending a couple weekends a month up there with them.   Whereas the drive is long, the drive is also beautiful up the 101 and the views are spectacular.
This was the view from their kitchen this morning.  I think I can suffer through it:).

Have a wonderful week!
Don't forget to check back, I will be posting on that great activity later in the week!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Currently!

Finally it is February!  It could not come any sooner!  I am so ready to leave January behind.  How could three weeks of school seem like half a century?  Enough small talk, I have places to go and puppies to meet, onto the Farley's Currently!
Listening:  I love my dishwasher, but not when I am waiting on it!  Those newfangled things take forever!
Loving:  For those of you just checking in for the first time, I fell during workouts - chest first into the ballet barre and mirrored wall - during the first week of January.  Let me tell you, a bruised sternum and inflamed chest cartilage (yes, by that I mean my "girls") REALLY, REALLY, REALLY HURT!  A month has gone by and I can finally function at a semi-normal pace.  I thought it was never going to happen.  It was all I could do to get through the day.  My microwaveable bean bag and I have never been closer.
Thinking, Wanting, and Needing: All three of these are regarding my puppy.  During November, I had to say a final goodbye to my beautiful Maddie girl, and Lucy (and me too) have been really lonely.  I especially have missed having a BIG dog, because it is a little easier to sleep at night with a 90lb dog keeping watch.  Today, I am picking up my new puppy! 

He is a compromise puppy.  I was looking for a smaller dog to keep Lucy company, my brother had other ideas.  He kept sending me pictures of giant scary dogs (one of which I am pretty sure was an actual werewolf).   Then we all fell in love with Hank.  My brother and sister-in-law have graciously offered to foster him for me until I am out of school at the end of May.  Not only was my brother a K9 trainer and handler in the Air Force, they raise great dogs, and they are home during the day.  Not to mention that Tex will teach him how to be a great watch dog.  Remember Tex from the great yarn escapade last summer? Aside from the yarn, I never felt safer than when Tex was with me.
And I will have an excellent excuse to drive up the coast to Solvang and visit.  Oh, the torture of a drive up the California coast and winding through vineyards!  How will I ever survive?

Thanks for stopping by, and don't forget to link up with Farley!  Oh, about the fib...if you are a Stephen Colbert fan, you already know the answer.  I could care less about the Superb Owl, I always watch the Puppy Bowl:).