Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Hump Day!

We've done T and we've done H. Today is A.
A is for Activities…

Activities like…
Introductory activities that keep my children engaged, challenged, and feeling successful at the same time! 
Today we did a fabulous introductory division activity that my mini-team came up with. I gave partners an amount of stickers. (Each group got a different number for differentiation! Go me!) The students then had to give each of the 3rd grade teachers (not really) the same number of stickers. There are 7 3rd grade classes at our school, so this was definitely a challenge! 
Some of the groups really surprised me! 
One group took a while, and worked by using multiplication. They basically guessed and checked their way. They finally decided to make 7 groups and split the stickers. 

These two students definitely worked as partners. The young lady cut her stickers into strips and then split those into 7 groups. The young man cut his stickers into individual stickers and then added those on top of the strips. I feel as if I'm not explaining it too well, but they did a great job! 

This group made an array. They were actually the first group completely finished. They made 7 rows and then put stickers in the rows until they had less than 7 stickers left. Those were their remainders. 

Franky is making an appearance from Amelia at Where the Wild Things Learn

Counting stickers…

This activity was awesome. After we sorted the stickers, students wrote about how they solved their problem and wrote an equation. Now to sit down and grade those writings… [womp womp]. 

Another activity my kids and I both love is when they do book partnerships. Three of my students on a similar reading level are reading Roald Dahl's The Witches

Two of my three girls are really into this book. They love it. One girl is kind of meh. Which is surprising. How can you be meh?!? Anyway. Twice a week they get together at my kidney table and talk about what they've been reading. They use my question stem cards to ask each other questions about what they've read. I simply sit there and moderate. Sometimes I take notes, sometimes I butt in. Other times I sit there and observe. They really enjoy this time to separate from the rest of the class and to talk about a book that they are all reading. They also love to pick questions for each other!

Linking up with Jivey & Blog Hoppin!

Have a terrific Thursday!!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Time-Savers & Helpful Hints! [Link-Up]

Oh goodness. It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is only TWO WEEKS AWAY!! Our first quarter at school completely flew by.
This week, Blog Hoppin' is having a major Thanksgiving linky party! I missed yesterday, but I will link up for Monday & Tuesday together.

Time-savers for me…

1. These mailboxes…
Look back there. No. By the cabinet. Hiding. THOSE! :)

They are FABULOUS. I also have a mailbox (like you would have at your house). Any papers that need to go home go into that mailbox. I have one student who passes those papers out every single day. Papers go home as soon as I grade them. (Unless they need to be kept for portfolios). It is a huge time-saver. 

2. Giving students as much responsibility as possible

I have jobs for every single student. I have a student in charge of recess equipment. A student in charge of the blue bag (has inhalers, epi-pen, etc). A student in charge of recording the clip chart. All these jobs do take training at the beginning of the school year, but once the students are comfortable, are SUCH a timesaver. I also have students help me staple, file, and sort in the morning before the bell rings. 

3. This planner

I pink puffy heart love my Erin Condren planner. It was definitely a leap, since it is a pricey little item. BUT SO WORTH IT! At the beginning of each quarter, I put the standards for each week in my planner and go ahead and put in things that stay the same. 

Helpful Hints:

1. Have someone on your team that you can turn to. My mentor from last year was amazing. This year, I have another amazing mentor, but she teaches ESL, not fourth grade. So I have kind of adopted two of my teammates to be my mentors. I can ask them anything. Questions about curriculum, about a student's behavior, or about something going on at the school. I still ask my official mentor questions, but during the day I'll run across the hall to Courtney or talk to Amber at recess. 

2. Use your prep period!
This is something I'm trying to get better at. I'm trying not to spend my entire prep period chatting or sitting around. I try to make a plan and stick to it. Of course, things come up, like a phone call or something else that must be taken care of, but using your prep period for what it's for makes a world of difference!

3. Come in early
Okay, I know some people will definitely not agree with this one. It's not for everyone. I typically get to school between 6:30 (when it opens) and 6:45. With that said, I don't have a husband or kids. I do live 40 minutes away though. I get to school early and get so much done. I make copies if I need to, laminate sometimes, finalize lesson plans, and prep Guided Reading. It's not for everyone, but it works for me! 

That's all the tips I have for now. As a second year teacher, I feel as if I have some advice. :) 

I hope everyone has a fabulous week!