Friday, March 3, 2017

Photo Friday 3*3*17

Last Friday I blogged about the various Dr Seuss Photo Apps. I was able to purchase the Who Me? App and I had a great time making all of my students citizens of Whoville. 
I had their photos printed and then I had each student create a map of Whoville. Their map had to have 4 requirements:
1- Main Square (center of Whoville)
2- The Mayor's House
3- Star Studying Tower
4- Mt. Crumpit (where the Grinch and Max live)
I made our Reading Specialist (the person who organized our Seuss Week at school) the President of Who Nation, Betty Lou Whooligan and I am the Mayor, LuLu Whoickersham.
 My #TeamBFF across the hall decided to join in the fun as well, I made her he Commissioner of Whoville!
The first draft of my Who Person! What fun activities did you do this week?

Friday, February 24, 2017

Photo Friday 2*24*17

Have you heard of the Seuss Photo Apps on iTunes? There were originally three different ones. The Birthday Camera is free, and the Grinch Cam and Cat Cam cost 99 cents. I just discovered a fourth app, Who Me? that I need to purchase and explore.
In honor of Read Across America next week, I used the Cat Cam for each student and had them write about their favorite Seuss Book. During the winter holidays I used the Grinch Cam and hung those photos up. 

What other ideas do you have for this app?

Friday, February 17, 2017

Photo Friday 2*17*17

I just finished up a 3 week unit on Geometry. In Virginia we focus on solid shapes, lines and concurrency. While my students don't need to know the vocabulary "acute" and "obtuse" they do need to know what's smaller and larger than a right angle.  
One of my favorite activities to do with them is Angle Aerobics. It's an activity from an AIMS book called Shapes, Solids and More. The activity only cost $2 if you're looking to purchase it but you don't necessarily need it. Students use their bodies to show acute, obtuse and right angles. I have them practice standing up and also sitting down.

What resources do you use to teach Geometry?

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Revisiting "10 Commandments to Working in a Hostile Environment"

As a follower of Christ, I know that it reigns on the just and the unjust. I know that we battle not against flesh and blood but against enemies in the unseen world. I know that my battles are far more "spiritual" than "natural." I blogged about this book 5 years ago, I think I initially read it about 8 years ago. I found myself revisiting it's "commandments" recently and thought I'd share them. 

1- Know that you are anointed for the job position that you hold. 
Teaching is my ministry. I've always walked in the authority and power of God when it came to my teaching and I thank God daily for the talents and treasures he's placed on the inside of me. Even when I want to walk away, there's no way I could, teaching is my calling and I can't imagine doing anything else.  

2- Don't expect to be appreciated.
This something that I've struggled with. Over the last year I've had a hard time "feeling appreciated," I know I'm appreciated, but I don't ever really "feel" that way. Then I realized that I had unrealistic expectations of people. As long as I'm walking in obedience then God will be pleased. 

3- Embrace opportunities for change.
In a way, I love change. I've never been in any school... when I was school age or teaching for longer than four years until now. I attended five schools growing up, due to being military. I'm teaching at the fourth school of my career. I've been here for 6 years. I have no idea what doors God might open me, so in the meantime I'll embrace any opportunities he has for me. 

4- Do the job well while remembering the vision.

5- Don't let the environment get inside of you.
I have to remember that "greater is he that is in me, then he that is in the world." It's so easy to get caught in that negativity trap, I know, I've been caught several times. But I'm realizing that I can state something that I don't agree with without dwelling and complaining on the issue. 

6- Increase your capacity to work with difficult personalities.
Lord knows I've had plenty of opportunities to do this and God keeps giving me more of them! But there is a fine line between tolerating difficult personalities and entertaining foolishness. I can work with difficult people, but I will not put up with tomfoolery.  

7- Where you are is not where you're going.
My prayer is for God to order my steps in his word, so I just have to remember that where I currently am may be temporary. 

8- Achieve optimal results with minimal confusion.
God is not the author of confusion, if there is confusion, it is from the enemy. My goal is to always be transparent. With my students, their parents, my colleagues. I've found that if there is transparency in situations, there will be very little confusion. 

9- Do not pledge allegiance to cliques and groups.
Now I have some very good friends that work at my school. There is one in Kindergarten and First grade that are my core. The Word says "Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." These ladies are my iron, they are believers and I can call on them to pray for me when I can't find the words to pray for myself. There are two more ladies, one in second grade and one on my grade level and we are pretty good friends as well. We check on each other, we encourage each other, we laugh together and cry together. Friendships are one thing but cliques are "restricted groups." With them can come a lot of negativity and sometimes they use their power to hurt others by excluding them or by being mean. This is what you want to stay away from. Most times you don't even realize you are apart of a clique until the damage to others is already done and your own reputation is questioned. 

10- Always keep your song near you.
Take this literally... whether it's before or after school, or even during resources. I've started playing my inspirational music again and it's really helped me stay centered. I have my "going to work playlist" that puts me in full worship before I even arrive at school. Then my "getting for the day in my classroom playlist" that puts me in a positive mood before my students arrive. My goal is to always have a word of praise on my lips. 

My spirit has been heavy for about a month now. Between the news, the demands of teaching and this upper respiratory thing I got going on, I'm not going to sugar coat it... I have been struggling. But I know that trouble doesn't last always and at the end of the day I have to remember my purpose and my purpose is to teach those children to the best of my ability and I don't have for anything that is going to interfere with that. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Photo Friday 2*10*17

Have you heard of GoNoodle? You probably have, but if you haven't it's the best tool you'll ever use in your classroom. Once we turn those lights off, the GoNoodle turn up is for real!  
Basically GoNoodle is a website that houses many different types of brain breaks, you can even upload your own from YouTube (we personally love Michael Jackson).
The Blazer Fresh channel is probably my favorite, their brain breaks are educational. 
But we also love the Koo Koo Kanga Roo gang.

All you need is a computer and a projector, hop on over to the GoNoodle website and sign up for a free account today! Students love getting their wiggles out and I love seeing them just being children.

What brain breaks do you use in your classroom?

Friday, February 3, 2017

Photo Friday 2*3*17

My third graders are moving towards the end of our multiplication unit. I wanted to share a snapshot of our multiplication is taught in my district. As per our state standards, students learn multiplication facts in third grade. We spend a couple weeks engaging in conceptual activities and talk about what multiplication really means.

Our district suggests we teach multiplication in this sequence with the following strategies:
*Zero Property of Multiplication
*Identity Property of Multiplication
*2's Facts- double the other factor
*10's Facts- add 0 to the other factor
*5's Facts- count by 5's
*9's Facts- find a pattern in the products
*11's Facts- find a pattern in the products
*4's Facts- double, double the other factor
*8's Facts- double, double, double the other factor
*3's Facts- think two's facts, add one more set 
*6's Facts- think three's facts, double that product
*7's Facts- think sixes' facts, add one more set

I teach multiplication facts on a three day rotation.
Day 1- on day one I create an anchor chart with the strategy and examples on how to use it, students then complete the corresponding page from Multiplication Activities as independent practice. 

Day 2- on day two students partner up and play a multiplication dice game. These games can be found in the Math Folder at the Teaching Oasis

Day 3- on day three students take a quiz on the facts, the quiz also assesses students using the inverse operation and correlating their knowledge of multiplication to division. These quizzes can also be found in the Math Folder at the Teaching Oasis
Students who score 79% and below receive their quiz back with the above note. Students may retake the quiz when they're ready. Students who score 80% and above, earn a Multiplication Master SMART (Brag) Tag for the fact.
For extra practice opportunities, I created a booklet with the following two products. Some days I allot 15 or 20 minutes for them to work in the booklet, other days they work in it when they have time.
Multiplication Search
Spin and Multiply 
 What are your favorite resources to teach multiplication?

Friday, January 27, 2017

Photo Friday 1*27*17

I ran across an idea on Pinterest about writing strategy rings. This summer I decided that I'd implement them this school year. Every time my students take a writing prompt through the entire writing process, I conference with them. We do this at least twice a quarter. 

I have students bring me their completed writing and they read it aloud to me. As they're reading I'm grading it using my district's holistic writing rubric (it focuses on the 6 Traits). When they finish I decide what trait I want the students to focus on and I write a note card with that strategy (see photo above with white card including Voice and Sentence Fluency Strategies). I add that strategy to a metal ring. 

Students frequently refer to their Writing Strategy rings during writing workshop. The next time we conference they bring their ring and after they finish reading their writing we talk about their specific strategies. I might ask "Can you show me where you used voice in your writing?" If they've used the strategy, I write the date on the back of the card, if not, we discuss it and hopefully they'll use it next time. 

In addition to the writing strategies I add to the ring, I found a set of Mini Writing Charts for FREE from Teaching to Inspire! These can be added to their rings as well.

I use No More I'm Done by Jennifer Jacobson to get my 6 Trait Lessons and ideas for writing strategies.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Photo Friday 1*20*17

Have you heard of the Reading Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo? Well if you haven't, you are definitely missing out!

I absolutely love this book. It has reading strategy and skill lessons for every guided reading level with anchor chart ideas and question prompts. It's not a book that you read from front cover to back cover, it's meant to be a reference book to pull ideas from. 

I went through the book and tabbed each lesson that correlated with the 3rd grade reading standards in Virginia. I then created a chart. It includes Lesson Title, Strategy, Standard and I Can Statement. I created larger I Can Statements that have magnet strips on the back of them so I can put them on the board and refer to them during guided or shared reading.

What are your must have reading resources?

Friday, January 13, 2017

Photo Friday 1*13*17

I've been assigning Top Secret Snow Day Missions for 3 years now. The first year I did, we missed school for ten snow days, last year we missed school for six snow days. This year, we've already missed several days this week to snow. Good thing I sent my snow packets home last Friday!
I use to send home all the copies the students would need to complete each mission, but last year I decided to put them on my classroom website for parents to print themselves. There's always one activity that's mandatory and this year it was completing the Ready Freddy Super Secret Valentine Comprehension Packet.
I purchased this from Stories by Storie. I think she use to be a member of the Second Grade Teachers Club I was apart of years ago. I love her book companions, they're perfect for my 3rd graders. 
I also found the book on Scholastic Reading Club for $1 each. I purchased one for each of my students to include with their packet as well. They get to keep the book for their personal collections.

Do you send home any activities for your students to complete during inclement weather days? 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Photo Friday 1*6*17

I first saw this idea on Facebook. Learning in Wonderland had shared the photo below and I fell in love!  
Katie Mense from Little Kinder Warriors created the inserts for these mugs. I found the file in her TpT store for $5. I'm purchasing my mugs from Hobby Lobby (mainly because I have gift cards to this store). They are $.87 a piece. That would make them $10.44 for a dozen. Many people were purchasing theirs from Oriental Trading, but I saw they were $16.99 a dozen. As you can see in the top picture, the one from Hobby Lobby worked just fine. I simply threw the inserts that came with it away and printed off one from the file, cut it out and viola... a super cute gift! 

They'd make a great Christmas gift with a packet of hot cocoa, I missed that window. Even thought about Valentine's Day, with the cocoa and a card that says "You make my heart melt...". But I think my students would also appreciate them as End of the Year gifts. What do you think?

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year

Happy New Year from The Teaching Oasis! This school year has been super busy. That coupled with the fact that I've been helping my friend launch her very own LuLaRoe business, I haven't much time for blogging. I'm hoping to change that.
Starting this Friday, I'll be conducting "Photo Friday." Every Friday I'll feature a photo from my classroom or just a photo of an idea I have. Hopefully that'll get me back on the blogging track and back to doing something I'm passionate about... sharing ideas and resources with others!
If you haven't had a chance to check out the Teaching Oasis tab at the top of my blog, take a moment to do so. The official Teaching Oasis website has been discontinued and all files are now housed in Google Drive folders. Want the link to those files... check out the tab!