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Friday, April 3, 2015

Five For Friday

Another day, another linky!  Today I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday to tell you all about our first week back after track-out!

Last Saturday I blogged about how I was going to try to tackle transitions this week with my kids using my little Eeyore hiding in the Easter egg.  Well, the first letter they guess was E, and then they guess R!!  I couldn't believe it!  By Tuesday, they had it figured out.  So, I had to figure out something else because we still need to work on transitions.

So off to the workroom I went Tuesday afternoon to cut out some die-cut shapes - one for each table - pink, green, blue, and purple.  Since it is spring, I chose these cute little flowers.  Now they are competing with each other and will have to get hole punches all the way around their flower and their table will win a prize.  Now, I just have to be consistent with the transitions and reminding them so they can earn punches!

Wednesday was April Fools Day and I tried to pull one over on my kids - keyword: try.  I saw from another teacher in a Class Dojo Mentor Facebook group that she was going to trick her kids with negative points and I knew that would work for mine!
I made a new class so their parents wouldn't freak and it wouldn't mess up their percentages and such and then took 5 points from all of them.  I had a great plan on when to show my kiddos this trick of mine, but our classroom laptop has been a little wonky this week and my plans got delayed so it didn't have the same effect.  I had them for about 3 seconds and then they knew I was tricking.  Plus, I'm terrible at keeping a straight face, so my back was to them just about the whole 3 seconds!

Back in October/November, I started doing a monthly book raffle.  The way I have done it has changed a little bit, and now I only have one book up for grabs each month.  Over track-out, Erin Condren had this wonderful little sale on St. Patrick's Day and I grabbed this acrylic book stand along with some planner stickers for next year at a discount!

Added a little vinyl and we have a perfect stand for the book raffle book so it isn't just propped up against the wall.

My plans for writing this week all changed on Sunday afternoon about 5PM.  I saw another teacher post her writing prompt and creativity for this week about writing how to get Easter bunny unstuck from his burrow hole.  I couldn't find it anywhere at the time, so I just made my own!  They turned out too cute.

We had a half-day of school today as part of our #snowdaypayback.  So, we had an Easter egg hunt!  All the eggs were filed with ELA & Math questions and since the weather was super nice today, except for that darn wind, we went outside, I threw all the eggs out in the grass and let them have at it.

Then we came back in and had a surprise!  Bunny Bum doughnuts fresh from Krispy Kreme this morning - I was out the door at 6:15 and on my way to KK to get these cuties for the kiddos.  But they earned it - 90% or above as their class percentage on Class Dojo this whole week.

Have a great Easter weekend y'all!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

April Currently

I'm linking up again (for a second time today!) with Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for April Currently!

Listening - to Grey's Anatomy - my Thursday night show!  Started watching Grey's when I was a freshman in college and I've just had to watch since!

Loving my new blog design!!!  Gabby over a Gabby's Classrooms installed my new design last Saturday afternoon and I am over the moon in love with my new design!

Thinking...more like wishing that we didn't have to make-up all those snow days we had back in February.  We lost 6 full days and then had 2 half days due to late arrivals.  So in technical terms..we had 42 hours of instruction missed - we have to make up 15 of those hours to meet the minimum hour requirements for the state.  So there is a positive in that we don't have to make up all the time.  We start tomorrow by having to go a half day and then a full day on Monday.  In a couple weeks we have a half day Saturday school...ugh!

Wanting - a long weekend...only get an early afternoon tomorrow - boo!

Needing to make a to-do list for our all day planning day on Tuesday.  Each grade level gets one all-day planning each quarter and ours 3rd quarter got pushed back because of snow - so our is Tuesday.  Hoping to get the rest of the year planned out and plan some end of year stuff - go to make a to-do list so we make sure we do it all!

My blog name is based on my alma mater's new campaign slogan.  A couple years ago, my alma mater, Meredith College, adopted a new campaign slogan of Going Strong.  As a women's college, empowering women is a theme - and our alumnae are going strong all across the globe.  I won't step up on my soapbox about how much I love my alma mater and what it did for me and my leadership.  And since I teach second grade - it just fit - Going Strong in 2nd Grade!

Have a great holiday weekend!
Happy Easter!


I am linking up with Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd & Lucky Little Learners for their new monthly link party and this month it is all about schedules!

I'll start by showing you my daily schedule that I started with back in July when we started school.

So, let me tell you a little about my schedule.  Our "Excel" time is our RTI time and each grade level has a specified time throughout the day since we have interventionists and even our specials teachers helping during Excel. 
During Excel our intervention students receive reading/math interventions and our EC students receive their pull-out services.  This way they are not missing instruction some other time during the school day - I LOVE this aspect of Excel!  The rest of the kiddos I split up into smaller groups to focus on different topics.  I have help during this time from our media specialist, so she will take a group to the media center to work on math or reading projects.  I keep a group and we work on different math topics as needed on Tuesdays and then Wednesday and Thursday we work on reading fluency and comprehension.  On Monday we do mClass math progress monitoring and working on strategies for that assessment and we don't really do much for Excel on Friday - that's catch-up day!

Now, I have swip-swapped some things during my Writing and ELA Block/Snack time since we started the school year.  I am so thankful that I have the ability to do this too - our original schedule just wasn't working for us!

So, now when my kiddos return from Excel at 9:15, we eat snack and I either read aloud from The Doll People series or we work on one of the chapter reading response pages from the companion novel study I created.  One day I read aloud a chapter, the next day we do the written response.

After snack and read aloud, about 9:30-9:35, we start our Letterland lesson.  Letterland is our reading phonics program and I absolutely LOVE it.  The stories that go along with the letters and spelling patterns helps the kids remember why they make a specific sound - and they remember it!  For example, this week we are studying ar (Arthur Ar) needing more AIR in words like pair and square.  So, Arthur Ar is a vowel stealing robot and he goes around Letterland stealing vowels, but reports back with his last name, Ar.  But sometimes he captures 2 vowels (a and i) and as he is running, he needs more air, so he says "air" like in pair.  Then he sometimes captures an e and has 2 sacks, one with Annie Apple, and one with the E, on either side of him.  As he is running, he needs more air, so the "are" sound makes an "air" sound. 

Back to my schedule - after Letterland, we move into writing.  We usually do writing for about 30 minutes and that includes a mini lesson and time for the kiddos to work.  We work on a writing topic for a week usually, unless we have to do research, or a craft and we might work on it for longer than a week.

After writing, we move into Daily 5.  I LOVE Daily 5!  We do Daily 5 for an hour in my room and I meet with all my students for reading groups each day.  Each Daily 5 round is 15 minutes, so they do 4 activities each day.  Now, I don't do Daily 5 the traditional way in my classroom - my students do about 8 different Daily 5 activities during the week - some they do every day - some twice a week, some only once a week.
Here are the posters I have in our room so the kids can keep their Daily 5 schedule straight.

After Daily 5 we get our lunch boxes out and either head out the door to Health or PE.  We have 2 K-4 PE/Health Teachers, so we have 2 classes going to PE/Health at the same time.  We are a K-12 school sharing one gym - so we have to be creative when it comes to PE time!  So one week my kiddos go to PE for 30 minutes each day and then the next week they go to Health for 30 minutes each day.  On their Health weeks, they also get to use the Wii room one day, so that is always a favorite!  On our Health week we will go out to Recess for about 15 minutes before we go back in for lunch.
Depending on if we have PE or Health, our lunch time fluctuates start time, but we start lunch between 12:05 and 12:20 and finish up at 1:00.  Now, I know to some of you, 40-55 minutes for lunch is a really long time - BUT, I eat with my kiddos in our classroom every day.  We do heat-ups so students can heat food for lunch and while we have 2 microwaves in our room - it can take a while to get through heat-ups some days.
On our PE weeks, we do our minute math tests about 12:45.

At 1:00 my kiddos are off to specials.

I pick them up from specials and then we are back to the classroom for math.
Last year I began flipping my classroom for math, so when we do math, we usually just come back and do math centers each day, so that I can do small guided math groups covering the concept that they watched on their math video the night before.  I give directions for the day and we start about 1:55 and work until 2:45.  Each center lasts about 12 minutes - I use my Class Dojo timer to keep me honest!
While I am working with math groups - my kiddos are split into 3 other groups working on different math centers:
1.  My monthly math review centers (reviewing concepts learned this year as well as 1st grade concepts we haven't covered yet)
2.  iMath - Reflex Math App on their iPads
3.  Math Journals - working on Stuckey In Second's mClass Math practice sheets - I staple them into a booklet and make a cute cover to be their journal.  They work on 2 concept pages each day.

About 2:45, when the last timer goes off, the kiddos go back to their seats while cleaning up math centers - and I've gotten them trained to put everything back in its place so I don't have to do it!!  We get out our COLLEGE notebooks, color in behavior graphs, check our Class Dojo percentage, pack up, stack chairs, line up and head down to the gym for carpool.  Our carpool is from 3:00-3:30ish and then everyone goes outside to watch for their cars.  We don't have buses so all students go through carpool or ride home with a high school sibling.  I have parents who volunteer with carpool each day (PTL!!) so our grade level works it out so that each of us can have 2 days of not having to do carpool but we have planning time instead.