Friday, September 12, 2014

Five For Friday Sept 12, 2014

A few weeks into school and I am finally starting to feel like we are in the groove!  Time to link up for Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching.

This week started with a surprise for my kiddos.  They had been begging for a class pet, so I surprised them.  My class had persuaded me two years ago to get a class pet.  It became a whole unit of study and they loved the frogs we got.  Unfortunately, I moved classrooms last year, and the class I went into did not have a sink which meant it would be difficult to keep the tank cleaned.  The frogs came home with me.  Then, this summer I found these tiny tanks and we have class frogs once again!

We had to get a little math in there, so I had them choose names for the frogs and squeezed in some data work.

As you can see, their names are now Luke and Lisa.  I think it is funny that they named one of the frogs after my son!  LOL!  He was flattered!

We got to experience a little more science as we jumped into a unit on matter with a fun little experiment with water, plastic baggies, and pencils.  All of the students predicted that the water would spill out of the bag if they poked a pencil through it.  Boy were they surprised with the results!

They wondered what would happen if they poked more pencils in the bag...

We have also been learning about multiplication and division.  The students love working on the white boards.  I love that they all do the work!  

I felt like I won a prize when I found these issues of Storyworks in my mailbox today.  I have been wanting to try it for awhile, but I just couldn't justify the cost.  Luckily, I got a Donors Choose project funded and these were part of the project.  I can't wait to try them.  Have you used them before?

Speaking of winning a prize, don't forget to enter my contest to win a $25 TpT gift certificate and 70 product donations!  Contest ends soon!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Together Teacher Chapter 8: Keeping Your Organizational Muscles Strong!

I hope you are enjoying becoming a "Together Teacher" with us through this book study - I know I am! Today it is time for chapter 8 and our hostess is Stephanie from Technology Timeout.

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 If you have missed my previous posts from this book study you can find them below:

      Chapter 7
                                                                             Chapter 6
                                                                             Chapter 5
                                                                             Chapter 4
                                                                             Chapter 3
                                                                             Chapter 2
                                                                             Chapter 1

 Chapter 8

Just like trying to eat healthy or exercise every day, when it comes to being an incredibly organized person, no one is ever perfect 24/7.  In this chapter, Maia Heyck-Merlin addresses the common pitfalls that you may find along the way of becoming a Together Teacher - and most importantly, how to find your way out!

A few of the bumps she mentions:

1. Forgetting to carry our system with us.
2. Forgetting to look at our system. (So guilty of this one!
3. Not writing everything down (Again, one of my weaknesses!)
4. Forgetting to look beyond today (yep)
5. Choosing the wrong tool

Have you ever experienced any of these bumps while trying to become more organized?

What to do when your to-do's are not getting done

When you just don't feel like doing it.

1. Bring on the extrinsic motivation and give yourself a treat when it is completed.
2. Set a deadline - even better is someone else helps keep you accountable.
3. Tackle that task first thing in the morning - Get it over with!

Does It Really Need To Be Done?

1. If not, cross it off your list!

Monster Projects

1. Break it down into bite-sized pieces.

What Do You Do To Keep Your Self On Task?

If you are following along add your link below.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Hot Air Balloon Race Fun!

Every September in Reno (about 30 minutes West of where we live) they hold Hot Air Balloon Races.  This year as part of a STEM class I attended over the summer, my class and one other class got the opportunity to go on a field trip to be part of it.  We made model hot air balloons with our class, and then got to launch them with other schools in the area.

We spent the first two weeks of school during science time working on making our balloons using tissue paper and glue sticks.

We used the directions that are posted here.

The big day finally arrived!  It was a Friday, so the kids got to wear their regular clothes instead of their usual uniforms.  Luke and his buddy still ended up wearing matching clothes!  They made me take a twins picture!  Not sure why the Lunchables made a photobombing appearance - lol!

Then we loaded up on the bus. This was actually my first field trip on a bus as a teacher!  We haven't had the funding for field trips, so I was excited to get this one paid for through a grant!

When we got to the hot air balloon races, volunteers were on hand to fill up our hot air balloons and launch them.  Some were more successful than others and we got the opportunity to rethink our designs.

We had a blast chasing the balloons as they came down!

So much fun - but exhausting too!

Luke was definitely tuckered out!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

700 Follower Celebration - Win a $25 TpT Gift Card and 70 Products from TpT Sellers

My TpT journey has been incredible and I can't believe I have over 700 followers now!  It is time for my monthly TpT gift card giveaway and time to celebrate 700 followers!  I have teamed up with an amazing group of TpT sellers to not only give the winner the gift card, but 70 products as well!

In addition to the items above, you will also win 8 items of your choice from my TpT store!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Together Teacher Chapter 7 - Automate: Create Routines and Planning

This week Sarah from
Kovescence of the Mind

 is hosting chapter 7 from The Together Teacher which is all about creating routines and planning. You will definitely want to visit her blog today, not only to read her thoughts on chapter 7, but also because she is hosting a GIVEAWAY!

 If you have missed my previous posts from this book study you can find them below:

                                                                             Chapter 6
                                                                             Chapter 5
                                                                             Chapter 4
                                                                             Chapter 3
                                                                             Chapter 2
                                                                             Chapter 1

 Chapter 7

By now if you have been following along with us, you should have developed 5 key tools to help you:

1. The Comprehensive Calendar to meet your deadlines.
2. The Upcoming To-Do List to list all of your to-dos
3. Thought Catchers to track your ideas and thoughts
4. Meeting/PD Notes to follow up from meetings and PD
5. Weekly or Daily Worksheets to plan your schedule

If you haven't already bought the book to follow along, what are you waiting for?  It is your time to be more organized!

This chapter talks about putting all of the tools above into use on a regular basis.  It tells you how to plan ahead and make the greatest use of your limited time - all in the interest of taking home less work!  Can I get an Amen on not taking home more work? I thought so!

The Weekly Round-Up
This is what Maia coins the time that you take to plan ahead for your upcoming week.  What, you aren't planning ahead?  You should be!  Maia even gives you an agenda of what to do during your time so that nothing is forgotten!

You can find a copy on her website here.  You need to register, but it is free. Maia says you should ideally conduct a weekly round-up on either Friday morning or Friday afternoon in preparation for the following week.  I have been working on mine on Sundays, but Maia says that you should conduct it BEFORE the weekend in order to reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed during the weekend.  I am going to give this a try this week and let you know how it goes.  We have an early release day on Friday, so the afternoon should work out perfectly.

Your weekly round up should take between 30 and 90 minutes depending on how much work you need to process from the previous week.

Daily Routines: Making the Most of Openings and Closings

Just like your morning rituals of waking up, showering, brushing your teeth, etc. your time when you arrive at school has a set list of things that you need to get done or prepare for your day ahead. Maia says that there isn't one right way to have a morning routine, as long as it is one that is clear to you.  She shares a few examples from various teachers. Likewise, you should also have a closing routine at the end of the day to set you up for success for the next day.

Use Those Preps To Their Fullest

Sometimes it is so easy to waste our prep times when we don't have a plan for how we want to use them.  It is very easy to get sidetracked in a conversation in the copy room and before you know it 45 minutes has just flown by.  Maia suggests mapping out your prep periods with an ideal plan of what you want to accomplish, things might not always work as planned, but at least you have a plan of attack to start from.

She also suggests keeping like items with like items.  For example, you might want to set one prep period for making copies for the following week.  Another day might be dedicated to planning or parent phone calls.

Next week Stephanie from Technology TimeOut is hosting chapter 8!

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If you are following along with us, be sure to link up below:

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