Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Kindness is Free: Positive Thinking Thursday

Happy 'almost' Thursday my friends!!!  My week started off super slow, but now I seriously can't believe that it's time to link up with my friend and co-worker Jennifer from Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for Positive Thinking Thursday! Check out her blog, and her super cute new button!!!  

This is one of my favorite linky parties.... it makes a huge difference in my day! Here's my positive thought for today.....


This week in third grade land we have really been working on being a team, and helping each other out. My kids have been so quick to jump on each other for mistakes that they are making.... when in reality they probably did the same thing they are getting mad at their friend for an hour earlier.  I have found myself talking about kindness so so so so much this week.  Some things that have come out of my mouth are... "Let's help each other out" "Can we try to talk nicely to them" "Are you telling on them to get them into trouble or just to tell me?"  "Oh, your friend is trying to help you out right now so that you don't get into trouble"  "Oh third graders.... kindness is what matters" etc... etc... etc....and 

This quote has pretty much been my mantra.. Trying to instill to my little friends that being kind is all that matters when dealing with one another... and it''s so easy to give.. because it doesn't cost anything! Just a little something for us all to remember, as we near the time of report cards, conferences, holiday shopping..... anything that comes our way! Live in the moment and be kind. Those around us are all dealing with things and have life going on outside of the normal day to day routines! Be kind!

Be sure to stop by Jen's blog to get some positive energy, better up to share some positive energy! 

Have a happy day!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Kids blogging Away!

Happy Tuesday!
I'm excited to be here today to share something 
super fun that I've been working on 
with my kids for the past couple of weeks---

I'm linking up today for Tried It Tuesday

I have heard about this site a lot,
but never have taken the plunge to do it. 
After a super sweet comment on my blog from Jamie
We decided to team up and give this whole
virtual blogging thing a try... with our two classes!
One from California, and one from Wisconsin!! How fun!

A couple of things before I start:
1. KidBlog can be a completely private site.  So only people with a password can access it, which makes this teacher one happy camper! I'm always thinking safety when it comes to internet sites. 
2.  The site can seem like a lot at first, however it gives you complete access to each student and teacher account linked to your kid blog site. It's so great to keep track of what students are doing. I have set up notification so each time a comment or post is made,it comes to my email!
3. I tried this cold turkey without ever using this site, and have learned right along with my kids. Although stressful because I didn't have all of the answers.... such a great experience!

The main page of our blog consists of the 'blog roll' for each student.  As you can see across the top, I've named it for my class.  I guess, I could have used something more creative ;)  The tool bar in red allows you to see all of the blogs, which is what this picture above shows, go to your individual blog (one set up for each student) or make a new post.  Look at us with 2,464 views!  Our California friends I bet are checking to see that we have our work written up for them!

This is what each individual blog looks like.  Each student has their own page that can be viewed by anyone who has access to their site.  Jamie and I exchanged class codes (found in the dashboard section of the site) so on our blog rolls, both of our classes can be found.  We did find however, that it's easier if the students make new posts from their actual teacher's site.  Then go to the other site (which I will show you in a second) to read other blogs and make comments.  That way the main blog page doesn't get too full with new posts!  It can be a lot to manage. 

The posts that we started with were the current chapter book that we are reading, and an "All About Me" post to share some likes with their buddies.  I had them start with a book post so I could comment and ask them questions. That way the got used to checking their dashboard for new comments. 

This is what the teacher dashboard looks like.  The student one is very similar, however they don't have access to every post and comment made on the site. It's a great place to keep track.  The far left shows how many posts, drafts and comments that are made.  The middle shows the specific comments on the blogs, and the far left shows all of the most recent blog posts.  I've really been trying to teach the kids to check their dashboard for comments so they don't miss anything! 

When a student (or teacher) clicks on new post, this is what it looks like. I feel that it's very user friendly for kids too! They title their post, write it below with options for new fonts, colors, sizes, etc and then to the right they can save, preview and add tags.  I was so impressed with how quickly they understood about tagging.  

Above is another part of the dashboard.  In this case I clicked on "My Classes" and it took me to all of the collaborators of the blog.  In my case, since teaming up with Jamie, both of our classes show up.  This is one way that my students can get to her site.  The other is just clicking on a student name from the main page. Like I said, both of our classes are listed together for easy access!  I like how they can easily go back and forth between the two classes, and have access to what she's working on as well.  

Here is her site. As you can see you can also personalize it to be just right for you and your class!!!

For now, because she's awesome, she has posed several questions to her students about various things, and my students have been allowed to comment.  We both read Stellaluna last week, and are both working on multiplication concepts. I plan to have my students read her post, follow up on her student comments and then make their own to answer her questions. I will assign them to find their buddy that we assigned them too, and also comment on their response! 

We're in the works to plan a November activity for the students. I also plan on giving this as a choice in my writing center as we become more comfortable. Students can blog a story or two during their writing time on here for me to read instead of always doing it on paper. 

Do you have any advice on using this site? 
I'd love to hear how you use it or if you have any suggestions!

Thanks for stopping by! 

Have a great week. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thankful Positive Thinking Thursday

Happy Thursday, Friends! 
I officially have not blogged in a week. 
I'm hoping to change that as the weekend approaches... 
however this Thursday, as I'm liking up for one of my favorites, 
Positive Thinking Thursday, I am thankful. 


I am thankful for so many wonderful things: 
my family, my friends, my job....
the list can go on and on.... 
and I'm also thankful for
 this blogging world that I entered 9 months ago. 
This morning I awoke to 100 followers. 
 Now, to some that may not be a lot, but to me, 
who didn't know where this journey would take her, 
it means the world.  
The ideas, inspiration and friends
 that I have made are priceless.  
So, as I wake up today, I am thankful for so much.  

What are you thankful for today???? 

Stop by Jennifer's blog, Mrs. Laffin's Laughings,
 for some positive energy today.  
Read some wonderful posts 
by my blogging buddies, 
or even better yet, 
link up yourself to share some positive energy as well. 

Happy Thursday, Friends!!!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

"Hello You...." Positive Thinking Thursday 10-16-14

Happy Thursday! Welcome back for another Positive Thinking Thursday Post. The linky where you can stop by to get some positive energy to get through the week, or leave some for others. 


I feel like a broken record these days... but there are one or two things that have been happening each week at school lately to make me question my place in this teaching world.  Some things are super little that I just need to roll off, but one or two of them have been larger that I just can't shake. When I saw this quote I just knew that I had to share it.  I think that sometimes we get a little bugged down with other things going on, but we all just need to go for it and be AMAZING & AWESOME .... all of the time--- because let's face it, we are all amazing teachers! Every teacher I know and work with is awesome, and I think that they need to be told that a lot more. I think that I need to remember that I just need to keep moving forward and be both amazing and awesome all of the time!!

Enjoy the rest of your week and be sure to be amazing doing it! :)  Be sure to stop by Jennifer's blog Mrs. Laffin's Laughings to check out Positive Thinking Thursday.  It's a great way to start the day!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday Scoop 10.12.14

Happy Sunday!
It's a beautiful, cool, Fall day here in Wisconsin. 
I hope to enjoy some football and baby time before 
I have to dive into my 'big kid' responsibilities!
So I'm linking up with Teaching Trio
for the first time for their Sunday Linky:

Stop by and check it out! :)

3 Things:
1. I have to clean the house. I've been half done with it for what feels like the whole week. It's just that every time I go to finish up with dusting and pull out the vacuum I feel the baby is sleeping!
2. I have some correcting to do. Ok I will admit... a lot of correcting to do. I've brought my teacher bag filled with papers back and forth between school and home all week. Yes, you guessed papers were corrected!
3. We teach skip counting songs to our third graders to help them memorize the multiplies of each number. I burned 50 CDs last weekend for me and the team. Mine have gone missing. I was supposed to hand them out on Friday. I was hoping that I would find them...but no such luck. Back to burning more today!

2 Things:
1. Have you ever tried a Jamberry Manicure?  Well, I haven't but recently bought some through a friends part. I've been nervous to try them...but today I really hope to give it a go. I just love having my nails done. I hope it works out!
2. I've been working on a multiplication product for my classroom and TpT for a couple of weeks now. It just is not seeming finished to me. I really want to start using it in my classroom though, so I really want to finish it today. 

1 Thing:
1. Organize! I love to start the week with our meals planned, my planner full and the little things put away. It makes me feel so ready to start the that I'm all for doing today!

I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday and a great week ahead!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

#MyMathJourney Part 2- Spark Student Motivation

Happy Weekend!!!
I am just loving the Fall weather that we've been having!
How is the weather by you? 
I'm excited today to share part 2 of #MyMathJourney 
with you today. 

Part 1 wasn't huge, but it was the start of everything. 
Here it is, if you would like some background. 

I'm linking up with Head Over Heels for Teaching
Here's how I'm doing it in math!!!

 First of all I want to give credit where credit is due. I've been following these bloggers closely and have gotten some great ideas from them to help me get started on my journey!!!  Without this blogging world I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing... So, THANK YOU!

I've also done some purchasing from TpT. 
This was a great one to get me started!

I've decided to start small, but It's been going great! 
Here's a look at our 4 centers. 
Most days we do all of them, 
but it all depends on how many activities 
we need to get accomplished from our teaching resource. 
Our school is in the second year of Math Expressions. 
Some days are a lot more difficult than others,
but I have found that doing math stations helps
to break apart the different lessons that I need to teach. 

I start my math block at 8:45 and we all start together.
Typically my mini-lesson goes unit 9:10 or so. 
There are a lot of aspects of the mini-lesson 
so it takes longer than maybe it should sometimes.  
We do a lot of math talk, 
so that is usually what takes longer. 

From 9:10-9:25 we do our first rotation. 
From 9:25-9:40 we do our second rotation. 

Rotations are:
1. Small Group- With me at the back table.  I have set up groups so that everyone does this EVERY day with me. Even when our RtI starts and kids are pulled out for intervention, they will never miss small group time with me.  The would only miss a choice rotation like computers or daily centers. Here is a sampling of our distributive property lessons in small group. 

2. Independent Word Center- This is where they work on something on their own about the topic that I've taught for the day. Typically they do this right after the small group center, except for my challenge group.  Those kiddos start the independent center right after the mini-lesson.  I like this a lot because even if they have trouble with it, the activity really gets them thinking and working together to challenge their brains. When they come to work with me, we start by going over their independent center and talk about their thought process. 

Here are two kiddos working on an assignment after they work with me at the back table. This reinforces what I teach and gives them time to explore with the topic being taught. 

3. Computer- We just went 1:1 on chrome books, so I'm trying to incorporate a technology component each week in rotations.  Right now we're just using some websites that can help us with our basic facts.  A favorite right now is 
digitwhiz. Next week I will share a new site shared with me by a teammate. 


4. Centers- There is a new center for each day of the week. I mix them up. This is more for review and spiraling of materials. One day is a review center from an old topic, two days are activities that work on current skills we are covering, one day is a math journal so we write about our current topics and one day is a fact practice activity. 

Centers are laid out in boxes for the week.  Don't be fooled, they mostly look like worksheets, but they aren't the typical ones.  The sheet usually give directions to them to use hands on manipulatives to answer problems. There is not always something to hand in. 

I've been making season task cards to practice skills like addition with regrouping, subtraction with regrouping and place value. These are three concepts that they need to keep in their minds as we move on with multiplication.  So far they are really loving them.  Check them out from my TpT Store! You can buy just one or the whole bundle at a discount.

Here is a set from my Back To School Pack

Here are my fall centers. 

We then come back together and discuss
or do another mini-lesson from 9:40-10ish. 
This one is dependent on how much is in the lesson
 and what kids are having questions on. 

From 1:15-1:30 we have our third rotation
From 1:30-1:45 we have our fourth rotation

It's a split block, which is hard,
 but our intervention time is in the afternoon from 1:15-1:45.
 I like to run my classroom in small groups,
especially during RtI time
 so that kids don't feel like they are missing things 
if they are pulled from class. 
Also so I can get more time with students 
who need extra help or a challenge!
Since it's not in my math core time, 
those students who get pulled 
will not miss any new core materials 
or small group time with me. 

I'm only 2 weeks in.  
They light up when it's time to do rotations. 
On the days that we aren't able to they are begging to do them!

 When my mom came to visit the other day, 
many of them shared their favorite things with her. 
Most kids shared more than one, 
but for the first time I had the majority of kids
 talking about their math rotations being their favorite. 

I'm gong to share more later! 
If you have any ideas or suggestions, please let me know!
I hope you all have a great weekend. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

A lot of Friday Randomness! Five for Friday 10-10-14

Is it Friday already??? 
 I don't know about you but these weeks are flying by
 and that makes me slightly nervous. 
 I can't even remember what I did yesterday! YIKES!  
The good news?? 
My third graders are finally starting to be third graders.
The key word there is starting.... I know it's a process,
but we're getting there!

You know the drill...It's Friday, 
so I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching 
Here's what we were up to this week!

Well, as I stated in a post not to long ago,
I have decided to do my math time differently.

It's going fantastic. Seriously Fantastic!!!!
I will write more about it tomorrow, 
but just know that I am beaming with JOY!!!!!

This week I started using interactive notebooks. 
I am loving them, and so are my kids! I'm using a combo of two great ones that I've gotten.

I'm using this along with Jivey's Mentor Sentence pack and the kids are doing awesome with it!!!

I'm loving the technology component that Erin uses in this product!!!

The kids are loving the technology component from Erin's product, too!
We just went 1:1 with chrome books and I'm trying to use them 
as much as I possibly can.  It's been hard but we have found so many 
great ways to incorporate them into our daily routine!!!

We watched a short video from Frozen and then did 
a great inferences activity!  It was a hit with my kids!
After we watched the video, we started by making a list of things we know about summer.
Then we make a list of things that poor Olaf didn't know about summer. 
From our information we were able to conclude that Kristoff 
wanted to tell Olaf about summer but Anna warned him not to. 

It was so awesome, that I had to share two.....

Some of my kiddos got done with their activities for the week early,
so we also had time to do an Angry Birds video.
This one was a challenge activity,
where students had to interpret many characters at once.....
and make inferences about what they were doing. 
I have to say they were pros by the end of the week!

Writing Word Splash!

We're well on our way to finishing up our first stage of writer's workshop. 
This week we talked a lot about using different nouns, verbs and adjectives in our work.
One way we did that was to do a word splash.  It's so fun!!!

This was part of our new writing resource that you can find here
Thanks to Mrs. Laffin for the great sheet to record our splash on!

1. Set a timer for a particular amount of time (I did 2 minutes to start)
2. Give a topic or say 'anything splash' to put in the middle of the splash. 
3. Write the WHOLE time, even if it's not about your topic!

The whole purpose is to gather ideas.
We then took all of the ideas and made a list of nouns, verbs and adjectives from it. 

I'm starting to collect things again.....

I don't know how it happens, but I literally have 
what feels like 500 book shelves in my room.
This week I added another by my guided reading table.
So now that makes two full ones of 'stuff.'!!!!!

Funny how I feel like I still don't have enough room! 
Anyone else do this????

Happy Friday! Have a great weekend!