Sunday, October 5, 2014

Currently - October

OH MY ITS OCTOBER! We have made it through a month and a few weeks, WOW! Time is flying!

Well Enjoy!! Posted some items on the blog, some questions, and added a math talk homework goodie! 

Have a wonderful week! Check out my Currently with "Oh Boy it's Farley"

Rule #2 - Just Grade it - - Don't let it pile!

This seems to be one of the hardest things for me to do at the beginning of the year. Getting back in the "swing" of things and I can convince myself that I don't need to grade one day because I will grade it tomorrow. Well tomorrow never comes and a week later, I am forced into my room to grade for what feels like an ETERNITY. (And as much as I love my precious children, after deciphering the hieroglyphics we call handwriting, I am a little frustrated at myself.

So.. Rule #2 is - Just Grade it! (It's kind of like NIKE and how they say "Just do it" teachers have to do that too. ) Just get it done, one more thing off the list and then we can send it home.

Grade it as soon as they return it. This may be the simplest rule, and YET the hardest one to follow through, because on Friday afternoon as your sprinting out the door, no one thinks to take home papers or notebooks to grade. If you need a solution, pick one day a week after school, and shut the door and grade. Pick that one day when you have nothing else going on and assign yourself an hour of grading weekly. ( If it was me, I would pick a Monday because graded papers go home on Tuesday.)

Hope this help someone! We all do it, but it doesn't make it a good thing. :-p

HELP!!! - - Math Talks and Sentence Stems or Frames

Hey Teachers!!

So as we know, talking about math is the HUGE push right now and I am agreeing that it does help with student "digestion" of information. It gives them a stronger sense of understanding and it helps them to be the teacher to someone else. I do believe that when students understand what they are doing they can teach someone else.

I am here looking for  HELP from someone who has some awesome and engaging math sentence stems or frames that I can use for math. Maybe any examples for rounding, place value, or just in general everyday math. Thank you in advance! :)

Please note below the math journal or homework assignment I read about in a book. This is a great tool from the Building Mathematical Comprehension book by: Laney Simmons.

Click on the picture below for a replicated example to use in your room. I am eager to see how the relevance of math and the connection of everyday life will spark interest in students. 
(Text-Self and Text- World Connections)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Rule #1- Always Pay Attention- (Especially during Dismissal)

So I'd like to think I am a very attune and attentive teacher. I really listen to most of what my students have to say because I want them to know that I care. 

It was about the 2nd week of school, and  the first day for our (my partner teacher and I) Intern to be with us for a full day. After what I would call a "pretty darn good day", dismissal comes... so we are lining up the bus lines and sending the students down line by line, as the time changes from 3:30 to 3:40 to 3:50 and we begin to question bus 66. (It's usually one of the first buses to arrive.) 

Needless to say, they called it and we MISSED it. Which brings me back to this being the first rule, ALWAYS PAY ATTENTION. 

We quickly found ourselves stuck passing glances at each other, to our intern, and back at 2 of our precious kiddos (who at this point one is tossing his backpack around and the other is calm as calm as can be expected when he realizes he's been left) #nochildleftbehind 

After walking the halls and calling parents arrangements were made and all was well again.

But we couldn't help thinking... How did we miss this bus?? How did the students not hear their bus?(Rhetorical) How did we only have 2 kids from bus 66 left behind?? These questions go unanswered, however; we learned that there is a first time for everything, and unfortunately We fell victim to paying attention.

Rules are established by not only our mistakes but also our successes. -me


R is for Rules!

Each year, at the beginning of the year we, as teachers, establish "Classroom Rules or Expectations" for our students. We write these rules in such a way that they can only be viewed in a positive light, such as "Always walk in the halls" rather than saying "Do NOT Run." We change the way we word them, so they say what we CAN do versus what we CAN'T do. 

But when I sit and think, it is amazing to me how many rules there are for students. This year I want go out on a whim and write about the rules of teaching, focusing on what we CAN and should do rather than saying what we CAN'T do. 

Create your own rules, and always know the only rules in teaching are the ones that work! (Until told otherwise)


Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Gift

"98% of what you say, isn't coming out of your mouth." -Hitch

Today I was gifted the opportunity to be away at a retreat. While there, we had a guest speaker, and if you have any prior knowledge on guest speakers, they love to ask for volunteers. Well... she did ask, and me I was too eager to be her 1st volunteer. (Lesson learned) I quickly stood up and without background info, she asked me to tell her "what is branding?"... So before you begin to ask why... Focus on the word and think about how it has multiple meanings. (As a veteran teacher it amazes me at how my brain approaches topics, words, and thoughts these days. I see a word and view a teacher's perspective, I think of a math concept and can have a song in my head to connect with it.)

So anyway, I stand up and say "I think a brand is something that is trademarked, a brand is something that is popular or well known in stores." If you think like me, you're thinking good answer, right? Well, unfortunately, the presenter was not looking for that definition, she proceeded to get another definition from another lady and then complimented her with a gift. CRAZY! Right??? Yes, I was shocked to say the least, bc I know that I gave her a definition of branding. (FYI- in my mind, I'm really mad at this point, bc I know there are at least 3 definitions off hand) So basically, ... she got the prize and I didn't... although I DID give a correct definition. (You hopefully can imagine how I felt.)

Point is:
As teachers we are often searching for specific answers to questions asked. We ask our students questions based on what has been taught and we encourage them regardless, whether right or wrong. This moment gave me a glimpse into how it feels to be the student(s) who may not have/give the right answer. This made me think of all students who do not receive "class cash" or "tickets" for right answers. The strugglers, the behavior problems and the quiet ones who fear being wrong. If students feel inadequate they will not be their best, they will shut down and hold it inside, just as though I found myself doing today. I can easily see how trust can be broken and how student-teachers relationships can fall apart based off one encounter.

Charge for all:
I charge all teachers and parents to continue to build up your students/children. Encourage them through the struggles, speak positivity into their lives,and should you choose to reward students for answering questions, give them something for participating. Always show that you support them, and are thankful for their hard effort, they may not be right but they ARE trying.

This post is dedicated to all those who have ever felt inadequate. Those who have ever felt wrong and were truly hurt. We as PEOPLE have the power to make someone feel supported, and it doesn't always come from what you say. (Body language)


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Math Madness!!

Okay ladies...  11 days down! We can do this! I think the hardest part is not settling into the summer fun too soon!

In hopes to help give some rigor to these last few days, I would love for you to try out this new page. I have posted a new math madness page for math review!! It is now on sale until Saturday night! However, for a limited time I have it as a FREEBIE under my freebie tab!!

This is only a preview! I have an entire bundle to be released this summer! :) Thank you for your feedback!!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Destination June 5th.. ETA 18 days!!

Once February/ May hits, it amazes me how sometimes I can allow my energy level to decrease dramatically. Not that I love teaching any less, it's just the weight of the work and the pesky student behaviors drain my mental ability and my patience. The daily frustrations and exhaustion, can sometimes hide my excitement of going to work each day.

As end-of-the-year nears and as your students "test the waters", continue to think about the best that they have and the best that they can be. I have learned that when I acknowledge the best in my kids they continue to be their best. And as the year ends I find myself noticing more often their bad habits. (Because I've grown aware of them) I challenge you to locate something positive in each child during these last couple days with them. Tell them when they are doing something right and make sure they see how proud you are of them. It's easy to over look the positive traits and only point out what needs work, however; would we feel excited to come to school if someone was pointing out our flaws? If our principals only told us when something went wrong, how would we feel? Let's be teachers who focus on what is going well and FILL our student's buckets. We are one of our student's biggest "cheerleaders", and if we don't encourage them, they may not see just how awesome they truly are.

We only have 18 more days left of school, and I truly believe that you can do anything with enthusiasm. Find a reason to smile every day, make yourself laugh (even if it means you're laughing at yourself.) Find any reason to be enthusiastic about what you're doing every day and it will make your ending much sweeter.
Think of this school year as a LONG EXCITING car ride, and we're almost home. Think about the way you feel when you have traveled a long distance in a car with your family, even the ones you love most, and think of the feelings you feel when you are almost at your final destination.

18 miles to go… we're almost home, but enjoy the ride because once it's over, it's over!

Have a great 18 days!! :)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Only the beginning...

Today was the first day that I decided to reach out to others besides people in my social circle and seek help for my classroom. I am a teacher who strangly believes in the use of technology for all students and I a want every child to be able to have that experience. I have attached my first donations box to the top right of my blog page. If you could please stop by and view my page it would greatly appreciated! With these funds I hope to purchase technology as well as proper storage for the devices I am able to purchase! Thank you so much!

Kelli Love

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Science Brain Break Success!!

I can't believe these mini-labs are becoming a great incentive/enrichment!! I'm loving that is making my kids love science and behave in order to complete one of these labs!! JACKPOT!!

We observed a chemical reation between the hydrogen peroxide and the yeast. It was great to talk about! This experiment became a hit instantly and kids were asking for a list of ingredients to do it at home.

I have listed information below, let me know how it goes!! @ Loven3rdgrade or comment below :)

Materials Needed:
  • an empty plastic soda bottle (about 16 oz)
  • 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide 
  • 1 pkg of yeast
  • 1/4 cup of warm water
  • dish soap
  • a cup
  • optional: food coloring
Adults: Pour the peroxide into the bottles

1. Have the kids place a few drops of food coloring into the bottles with the peroxide.
2. Add a squirt of dishsoap and swirl the bottle to mix.
3. In the cup, mix the water and yeast and stir for a few seconds to combine.
4. Then have them pour the yeast into the bottle with the peroxide and watch what happens!

Afterwards, talk about what they observed.

Warning: Food coloring will turn fingers colors, and it will come off. :)

Estimated time of completion: 10-15 minutes - Do outside to avoid mess!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Seeking relief from the wiggles, and giggles I like to call "spring fever"!!

Alright teachers.. It is February 17th and if we're honest with each other for just a few minutes, we will agree on some things.

  1. Our kids are more hype now than ever.
  2. The students are beginning to act like brother and sister and get too comfortable. (Result = more drama)
  3. The learning material is getting harder, so students get frustrated more often.
  4. The wiggles and bathroom/water breaks for movement and a "brain break" are becoming more common.
If you're like me, you have tried making learning more engaging as well as incorporating time to move and breathe, and maybe a little time to do a craftivity. :) However, my group of kiddos, cannot seem to "come back together" after too much movement and while I want their brains to rest, I want them to be exposed to something soooo exciting they don't see it as a lesson.

After trying some different things and thinking about what to do, I have decided to attempt to try various science labs, as a whole group in order to encourage a time to enrich, move, and discuss things that are educational and interesting. 

Today was the first day of this and I have to say the students and I were so excited!! I allowed the containers of water and the flowers to sit in the back of the room as the students were inquiring. As the day went on, we were able to predict, discuss, and then add the food coloring. Students would stay focused and finish their work because they wanted the time to talk about them, walk up and observe them, and then draw and write about it in their science notebooks. I was SHOCKED at how much they enjoyed it and how much more work I got out of them by allowing them to take a "detour" from their everyday learning!! Little do they know this is a real life skill and they will be seeing physical and chemical changes the rest of their life, however for the moment they were "tuned in" and all they wanted to do was know more. They learned so much about physical changes and by the end of the lab students were able to give me other examples. (Tomorrow students will write down the full color changes due to the overnight absorption time. - however the flower petals were already changing during the day.)

I just had to share, I am sure this is not something I invented, however I have looked online and my coworkers have suggested various videos. While those were awesome for the moment, I was trying to find something that we could all participate in together in order to stretch our mind. As I continue to look at experiments, I will be looking for enrichment labs based on our concepts in science. Labs that may be an extension of what we are learning in class, however it would be a mini-lab/demonstration they can be involved in.

This mini- lab (SOD- Science of the Day) is what I call it, was only $4 ($2 flowers from grocery store clearance) and took 5 minutes to set up. Students were able to look at it and continue to think about it throughout the day. I set the timer, we talked for 15 minutes, (because that is all i could spare) and then students talked in their free time when they finished work, and wrote about it in their journals! (students will be able to write their results in the morning, due to the need for absorption time.) I definitely got more "bang for my buck," the kids learned something new including my GT, my average and my low.

Helpful Hint: If you're thinking, "yea thats great, but where do I get these experiments." Try condensing one of the science labs that you may not have gotten to do this year. (Yes we all have labs that we skipped :-p )The kids can always use exposure, even if you have already covered something. Call it a review! :) I myself, will go back and look into my AIMS curriculum for science experiments I didn't get to do earlier.

I can't wait to do another tomorrow! :)

Thanks for reading! 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Contraction Surgery and a FREEBIE!

I can't believe that we are officially past the 100th day of school! What a great moment!! There are days when we feel like the days aren't passing and unfortunately I feel like they may be passing too quickly noW! :)

Any whoo!! I wanted to share this activity. I have been "racking my brain" about ways to make word work and language fit into my schedule. A coach of mine suggested Contraction Surgery activity and I am pleased to say it was fun! BEWARE that the kids loved it so much that they were loud, however I think they understand contractions a little better. 

Can't wait to finish out the week!

Now on to the freebie!! 

Context clues!! This is something our kids need and can always use. I am can't wait to have feedback on what your kids think. This was a good thing to do in groups and then discuss whole group. In my class it kind of became a game because they were so anxious to guess what they were! :)

Click on the pic to grab the freebie! 

Night teacher world!! This teacher needs some sleep!
 One hundred and 1 days down.. and many more to go. 


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Area Freebie

It's been a while since I have posted a freebie!! 

Click below to download!


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tickets Please!!

Tickets Please!! 

"A kid stands up in the hallway, walks into the room quietly unpacking their things and begins their morning work. I walk by only to hear the student say "Did I earn a ticket? I came in the room correctly."

It amazes me to see how different children are these days. Back in the day, when I was elementary school age, kids behaved and followed the directions because it was the right thing to do. We always aimed to please our teachers and parents by not having any conduct marks. (For me, I aimed to please with the fear of not getting it right. -- At home motivation) My parents always had a way of motivating me to do the right thing, whether it was a negative reinforcement or positive, however the frequency of these reinforcements, were not as frequent so I appreciated it more. (Or not)

Now a days we are in the world of instant gratification and rewards. Many kids play games on phones and computers and immediately after they win they are congratulated by a noise/graphic, points or both. As teachers these devices and these sounds are what we are competing with in the classroom. We are expected to give rewards for all types of behaviors, including the behaviors that students should already be doing.

When I think about young children and classroom behavior, I picture a time when students are young and they need to be taken to the "treasure chest" or the prize box in order to continue doing well. I also see a time when students need stickers to track progress. However, I am lost on when exactly we as teachers should teach our children when it is time to do the right thing because we want to feel good. When do we do the right thing so that we can learn and be smart. When do the classroom rewards end?

As a teacher who gives out tickets, I have become critical of myself, for I am not certain if using tickets are benefitting the students or hurting them in the long run. Teaching character is just as large as a topic as any other in my opinion, for that is something they will use in their everyday life.

Do others see this as a potential problem? What classroom management techniques do you use, and when do you think it is important to begin to ease off of these incentives? I sometimes feel that by giving trips to the "treasure chest" and trading in tickets too much is hurting the students for later on. Next year, teachers may not do rewards as often and I want them to be able to understand the reasoning. I love rewards, however should we reward kids for things they should already be doing? I feel like the kids who already do these things sometimes get left behind, because they are ALWAYS doing the right thing!

As an adult, we do get rewarded (Jean Passes), however they come far and few in between. By being intrinsically motivated, I am able to be so much more positive without the disappointments when I am not given a reward for something I should already be doing.

Thanks for reading! Tuesday's are for THINKING out LOUD!