Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Snowmen Grammar

This week we are working on "extreme" weather. It IS January. Last week we were out of school for ice. Today...it was 70 and we were outside with no jackets! Extremely unpredictable for sure.

I saw this idea (don't ask me where) and made a simple three circle handout for the kids to write two nouns, two verbs, and adjectives. The kids loved it. With so much "teach to the common core" and testing and just regular curriculum standards there isn't time for fun. So...shhh...I gave the kids a "creative" way to assess their knowledge of the parts of speech.

Once they had recorded their "knowledge" I gave them free reign of a tray full of recycled items. 

And a request from one of my firsties: "Are you going to hang them up and put a slideshow of our pictures on the website?" Melt my heart! Yes! 

I do plan to make a movie maker video of some more "snowy learning" and add it to our class videos.

So what is special for your kids? 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Weather Stamina

January has been a little un-predictable. We haven't had a five day week. We have had holidays, floods, snow, and now ice. It's hard to keep our stamina going for reading and writing workshop. It is even harder to make sure place value is understood in Math.

But, I did have time to work a little more on my home office.

I wanted these little shelves. They were a great buy at TJ Maxx. But, oh they gave us a run when we tried to hang them. Let's just say swiss cheese walls. Which meant some dry wall patch and that gave me the dreaded task an opportunity to paint the walls a little lighter color. I used SW Versatile Gray--mixed at Lowes in their brand. This paint is eggshell finish and much more durable. See--the shelves are now hung (minus decorations) and no spackling staring at me when I work on the computer. And I changed the room arrangement a bit.

I made the bookcase a different direction. That;s what it deserved after having to empty several shelves again in order to paint the walls. I got a $10 table cloth at Wal-Mart to cover the table top. I know...it's a dining room table. But it has memories!

And I removed the blanket hangar from this shelf and painted it black. (I tried sawing that pole until I realized that there were screws in the outside that held it on. 10 seconds and a power drill and that baby was gone! 

I've already purchased a nine-cube bookcase to go below this shelf. That should give me extra storage so I won't have so many piles!

Now, on to school. Our theme this week is Stormy Weather, Seems appropriate! I made a powerpoint to use with Learn360 and PebbleGo lessons. It allows us to use fewer paper copies and use the whiteboard to work together. I plan on the kids using their reader response journals to work on this also.

We are going to brainstorm types of weather. There is a great video on Learn360 about the Alphabet of Weather. I plan on the kids watching and listing on slide 3. I'll probably print that one off for us to use. Slide 3 will follow along with our basal story: Stormy Weather. We will compare and contrast extreme weather according to moisture or sunny days. The kids love to work with the Tornado in the bottle. Since we are writing "how to" this will work out great!
Since we are all into assessment the last slide will serve as our formative assessment on the study. So, lots of research, lots of visuals, and hopefully nice weather to actually go five days!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Home Work Zone

Other than the recliner with trusty laptop--well I really do have a spare bedroom that I consider my office. I've been inspired lately by two beautiful home offices that I cannot compete with. Take a look here and here
Oh, these are definitely a showcase.

I started with baby steps. First up--change the color of my bookcase and computer desk from two different shades of brown to basic black.

Baby step 1: sand the table lightly and clean the dust off! /And of course I'm trying to accomplish this task IN the office and not IN the garage. HMMMM may want to reconsider that next time.

The actual re-staining didn't take long at all. And it actually dried in a couple of hours and I was able to put the second touch up coat on.

Pardon the mess surrounding the desk. I keep telling fussing at my husband that we really need to do something with all those cords!  Another project is adding some additional storage!

Step 2: Use the above polyshades and change the bookcase. This project did NOT go as planned. It seemed that the bookcase was not real wood. Stain and laminate = bad combination.

It appears black. But if one (ME) touches it, the color is flaking off. Sadsville! Double SADSVILLE!
But for now, it will stay. Next project is to put together one of those nine cube section bookcases (already black!!!) to get the bookcase organized in a better combination.

Until step 3--I'm trying!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Fast forward or Rewind???

I am confused. Where do I go from here?

It all began on a Monday. A Monday in which I wanted to finish our research on Penguins that we had been working on last week. The common core, researched based, writing workshop, reading Penguins book that they wrote. We did the final page and made the Table of Contents.

So we finished it. Since I had taken stolen some minutes from our normal Monday introduce our spelling pattern, work on high frequency words from our basal text, etc. = we were behind.

Fast forward to Tuesday. Rainy day Tuesday. Flooding roads Tuesday. We got to school to gasp hear that we were going home before lunch, Do you know how teachers and kids react to this? Well.  out minds wander to those free from school hours that are coming soon.

I crammed spelling introduction, vocabulary with new dictionary skills introduced for the first time, and quickly reading our basal stories.

We left at 10:30 a.m. Well, car riders left then. Bus riders not so soon. We sent home three buses (those that don't serve the high school) at 10:30. The remaining kids sat...in the front hallway areas of our round space shaped school,,,for about a hour. Some were still waiting at NOON.

So now the problem. We are out of school today for flooding. Tomorrow is not decided yet but I won't be at school since my mom is having surgery. Anyway you look at this is the earliest I will be back at school is Friday. What would you do? Just start anew next week? Forget this week happened? Oh, and by the way--next week is a four day week.

I think I'll think about all this...another...day!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

How I Plan

I like to cut. I like to copy.. AND...I love to paste. Anything that will help me get my plans done in a somewhat timely manner.

My grade level helps each other. We all take a subject area and do the searching, finding, and rescue! :)
Well, you get the idea. Each month we rotate the areas so that we are getting to experience the full effects of all curriculum areas. Since we are required to turn in plans each Monday--and that means plans containing common core standards, assessments, etc. it has really helped us to combine our efforts.

Since each of us has  a subject, we put the week's activities on a powerpoint and email it to each other. Then we can copy and paste, add to, change, etc. This allows us to work within our class needs and not eliminate areas of concerns.

How I do Lesson Plans

I've recently been adding pictures and examples so that I can have a better memory of exactly what I wanted an anchor chart to contain, etc.