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Elementary Teacher

Having fun in the classroom and "balancing" life!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Easter math...freebies to come!


I think I am WAY behind in math. We're reviewing adding 3 digits and adding multiples of 10. Many of you are adding/subtracting  double digits with regrouping! Yikes! I better pick up the pace. I also feel like they don't really have a solid grasp of number sense. Do they really know what they're doing when they add and subtract. I'm just not convinced.

So next week, we'll be all about the number sense, adding and subtracting multiples of 10, all with an Easter theme. I'll keep you posted and send out some freebies.

Glitter Words
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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Experiential Learning

What do you know about Experiential Learning?  Did you see those capital letters?  I think it's a capital letter kind-of thing. To me, it's a teaching/learning model or method. Hands-on. Using authentic assessments. PBL. STEM project inclusion. Research-based. Using movement, music and arts. Limited worksheets. (I can't help thinking that a worksheet here and there is not all bad. But LIMITED.) Real-world. Tailored.

These are some schools I have researched that come to mind:

Tessaract School- Scottsdale AZ
Explorer Charter School- San Diego CA
Tuscon Waldorf School- Tuscon AZ
The Graham School- Columbus OH
Ron Clark Academy -?? Not sure if I would call that Experiential or not

What do you think about these schools? This kind of learning environment? It seems so engaging. Check out this video of a community/city/building project from The Explorer Charter School first grade. It's awesome! It's exactly what I would like to do. That is the teacher I want to be. How engaged are those kids? How fun would that be?

I know it takes planning. I know public schools can't do it, most of the time. I think you have to find your way, find your fit, find what kind of teacher you are, what methods you ascribe to, and go from there. I'm still finding those things! But looking at schools like these and teachers like theirs are helping and inspiring me!

If you know anything about experiential learning, please share!
Glitter Words
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Friday, March 6, 2015

Green Light Classrooms and 48 Days to the Work You Love

Are you a workshop lover? I could be a Professional Workshop Attender and spend the rest of my life living the dream. I had the opportunity to see Dr. Rich Allen last week here in Phoenix. He's a research-based teaching advocate. He was super funny and it was full of great ideas. He's all about movement and music in the classroom. Much like Rick Morris.

*have the kids stand in different sides of the room to give an answer (be it yes or no, opinion, or even multiple choice- it may take longer, but record whether or not they went to the right area, and walla! No papers to correct!

*instead of worksheets, have kids write answers on a markerboard and put it on top of their heads. It's fun for them, and easy for you to see, plus no one can look at each others answers. Again, record answers for an easy grade.
*cut up a worksheet and put it into plastic Easter eggs. The kids go on an egg hunt and record their answers.
*make a hopscotch on the ground full of letters. Hop out the spelling words. Or vocab.

I bought his book (Half.com, of course- $2.99 vs. the $25 at the conference) and am just starting it now.
Product Details
 
But I'm also reading this:
 
Product Details
 
I know I probably shouldn't admit that. If I love teaching so much, and have such great, innovative and creative ideas that I can blog about them, why would I need to read a book called "48 Days to the Work You Love"? 
 
Do you ever wonder if you should really be a teacher? Well, sometimes I do. If you read this blog, you might wonder the same thing about me. Ha. Don't get me wrong, I love the kids and truly do enjoy teaching. But with 4 kids of my own, and a husband and a house, it gets overwhelming. This book is SO good. It's not about finding a new job. It's about how your job/career/vocation is only a small part of your life. It's about finding a new job if that's what you need. But there's so much more to it than that. I highly recommend it.
 
Spring Break starts tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And then for me, its 47 Days to the Summer I Love! Thanks for reading!
 
Glitter Words
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Saturday, February 7, 2015

A trip to Disneyschool. I mean, Ron Clark Academy



Have you seen all the blog posts that are talking about their trip to RCA? I think it looks awesome. And at this point in my life, expensive. It would take me about a year to save up the money I would need for a trip like that.
My husband and Daughter at the Daddy Daughter Dance

And I think it's my husband who should really go. My husband is my principal, for those of you who don't know. He sacrifices being able to go to conferences the rest of us go to because he is either teaching, or working in the office, or at home with our own children. But with all the changes coming to our school, I think it's the perfect time and place to go visit. So  I asked our Board of Ed for help paying for a trip for him. And they're considering it!!!! I'm so excited. It's not a done deal, but just the fact that they're thinking about it is exciting to me!

Even if he can go, it won't be me going. But I don't even care (although I wish I could go with him) that it's him and not me. At least I can hear about it first hand. And it's payback time for me. He is a huge help to me, and lets me go to the annual conference with all our teachers in Palm Springs, CA. A beautiful place. Especially in November. It's a special time to see fellow teachers and relax without kids or stress. So now it's his turn.

I feel a little like I'm wanting to do what all the cool kids are doing. But what a place RCA seems to be! It's hard not to be curious! So in the mean time, I'm reading this:


Crash Course : The Life Lessons My Students Taught Me by Kim Bearden (2014, Hardcover) Image
 
So far, so good. An easy read, and good for me to read at this point in my year. And only $.75 at Half.com!!!
 
"Enjoy" your Sunday. Can a teacher really do that?
Glitter Words
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Sunday, February 1, 2015

A Tough Week


Last week was a toughie. "Requests" from parents and administration, kids wired up for our special Christian Schools Week with all of its dress up days and activities, kids with Fun Dip in their lunches, a computer that is dead. How many files do you have on your computer that you use on a daily/weekly/monthly basis that you totally rely upon? Well, mine are gone.

I got so distraught. I sent a lengthy email to my sister and she said "I'm fed up just reading this. Make sure you just enjoy the sweet ones."

This week that is my goal. I will enjoy the sweet ones. Aren't they all sweet? Of course. But is there ever a time where the sweetness is overcome with mischief or the need for attention, good or bad? Yes. Nobody's perfect. So this week, I will try to give those "sweet ones" (you know the ones- they are ALWAYS good, trying to please, doing what is right, making the best of choices) their due. Because, honestly, sometimes they get overlooked. And to those who don't always make good choices- are throwing pencils and paper instead of putting them where they belong, wrestling in the library, hitting others with a bean bag, etc.- they will get limited attention for those things, and I will praise them for their own "sweet times". Will I have a perfect classroom without any stresses? I doubt it. Sometimes I just say little short prayers throughout the day: "Lord, I don't like this kid right now. Help me. Give me Your love for him." or "Lord, it's a rough day and I am OUT of patience. Help me to remember I am here to serve You." or "Lord, I need you." It has really worked in those desperate times and He changes my attitude.

Pray with me and for me and I will remember all of you in prayer this week.

Glitter Words
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Monday, January 26, 2015

Roller coasters and cross-curricular learning




I think Science is a great way to go cross-curricular. It's automatically hands-on and what 6-7 year old doesn't LOVE science?!  Over the last few weeks we've been learning about balance and motion. This week and last especially we've been diving into rolling motion, specifically roller coasters. This is a great book:




The pictures are super cute and so full of richness that adds to the dimension of the story. There's also some great videos on youtube of how and what to teach using this story. You can find one here.

We are also planning our own amusement park in groups of 3. First we looked at some videos of roller coasters made on a Go camera that make it seem like you're on the roller coaster. A virtual field trip! Then we brainstormed some things you need to make an amusement park. After that we broke into groups and decided where we would put our parks. It was a great way to teach maps, too! We used this one:



Locations of US Amusement Parks
 
We divided the maps into N,S,E,W and then further into NW,SW,NE, and SE. We discussed which parts had the least and greatest amount of amusement parks, and the weather and landforms in each region. This led to discussions on cities vs. states, population, and the Midwest region.
 
Here we are choosing the region and state we want to plant our amusement park in:

This is my new phone!!! A Galaxy 5S!! What's with the blurriness? I thought it would be a good one!
Tomorrow we start planning and drawing the maps of the parks. I'll let you know how they turn out. So far, it's been some pretty engaged learning!  
Glitter Words
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Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Change

One of my favorite bloggers is Sara from Sara At School. I know I've talked about her a lot, and what I like about her is her honesty and real-ness. She's positive in an "It's a marathon, not a sprint" kind of way. She made it a goal to write 100 posts last year. I thought that was a great one. So I'm trying it. For better or for worse for you people.

Our school is going through some changes. I don't even know all of them yet. We are small, private and Christian. So you know what that =. Tuition-based. But we're not one of the biggies. We don't have a big budget. Money is always TIGHT. It's not because people don't pay their bills, it's because our size is so small. Small class sizes are a dream for all you public school teachers. I get it. I'm actually embarrassed to tell public school teachers how many kids I have. But at our level, it's a bane because it's too small. We lose kids a lot, especially in the upper and middle grades because there aren't enough kids. Which is just a vicious cycle, because to get more kids, you need more kids.

So we hired a marketing firm. I am so proud and thankful to the Powers That Be for making this happen. I'm not sure if that was the principal or the board or the church that is in partnership with the school. Probably all of the above.  But it's super exciting. The company is based out of Massachusetts (Ovus Ater)and the representative has been here interviewing staff and seeing the school. He has interviewed many of the parents and has been back a second time to meet with the principal to unveil the marketing plan and school concept. For little old us, this is huge. I don't know what it is yet, or which direction it will take us, but I am excited to be a part of it. Honestly, I worry about the life of our little school and I think this will be such a powerful and positive force in helping us grow and better ourselves. It's so exciting, I can't wait to share it with you.

Glitter Words
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