Thursday, September 25

Random Student Sticks

Because I am also the elementary ESOL lesson planner in my district, I usually require a substitute teacher at least once a month. At the bottom of my sub plans I always ask for suggestions that could be helpful for future subs, because I was a sub for one semester after college, and I know what it's like to feel lost in someone's classroom.

One suggestion given recently was to have some system for randomly calling on students. Good idea! I wanted a system that I could use each year and wouldn't create another thing to update with student names. In my classroom, I number each table spot with a colored dot. I used that idea to create my random student sticks.

Here are my supplies... Please forgive me for working and taking pictures atop my messy desk. You get the idea, though. Can, dots, sharpie, craft sticks. I have five tables. Each table has a different color. I don't have 20 students, but since I move students around sometimes, I wanted to have a stick for each spot available.

I put my dots on the craft sticks. I decided to put a cup inside the can. When I call a student, I'll put their stick around the outside of the cup. It'll be a sneaky way of keeping track of who has already been called on. The kids will think their stick just went back in the pot, so they'll have to keep paying attention just in case.

I cut a piece of paper to put around the outside of the can and glued it on like a soup label. I hope it will be useful for my substitute teachers, and I think the kids will like it too.

On another note, we finished our first GoNoodle champ. Zapp VonDoubler. The kids were SO excited. They were even more excited that I promised them a Brag Tag. Yep, this is totally happening in my classroom. Excited to see Zapp hanging on our Brag Tag board.

He'd be even better if I had a color printer! Maybe I need to start a Donor's Choose project...

Hope you're having a great week!
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Sunday, September 21

iPad and iPhone Comment Shortcuts

I'm willing to admit that I'm probably the last person to figure this out, but just in case 
someone else can benefit from this little tidbit, tonight I present my first tutorial...

I love adding a link to my blog when I comment on blog posts. Oftentimes, that happens when I'm on my iPad or iPhone, though. A while ago, I discovered a way to make a shortcut on my devices. 
I just had to redo my shortcuts when I updated to the new iOS and decided I should create a tutorial. 
All I have to do is enter in 3 letters and my link appears. Definitely takes much less time and thought! 

I started out in Settings. 


You will type your HTML link on the phrase line and the letters you'll type on the shortcut line.
Press Save and you are finished. When you are finished commenting on someone's blog, just enter your shortcut and your link appears. Just like that. Give it a try!

Have a good week, friends!
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Saturday, September 13

Reading, Lunch, and Brag Tags...Oh My!

I feel like I accomplished a lot today, but I also feel like I didn't accomplish enough...

This week will be a big to-do each morning. We will have a normal small group time all week. Hooray! Today, I put together my small group folders to be ready. Previously, I put all my stuff in one notebook, but after the fabulous Jane came and spent a half day with us at the beginning of the year, I felt convicted and am switching back to folders, like Pathways to Reading suggests. I'll give it a try again.

I keep forgetting to mention, but we have added our first brag tags! I'm so excited about them I want some brag tags too. Maybe I'll claim that one on the bottom right side with no name tag. :o) I like how they stick out. Those cute little orange tags say "I read 150 minutes in August." I am thinking about making an "I was on an Amazing Race!" tag for my 3 kiddos that participated in our Math and Reading night last week. Is that a ridiculous idea?

Part of my preparation for small group time being fully functional this week is having a Word Work station set up so that the kids can get their own supplies this year. I'll load it into the drawers before Monday for the kids. The top drawing currently holds extra scissors and glue sticks, just in case. Mondays will be some sort of skill work. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays will be Spelling practice. Fridays will also be skill work. I feel like I've already shared this with you. I apologize, if that's the case. I'm proud of my set up, though. Those Sterilite drawers barely squeezed in to the bottom of that cubby, too. Phew! I would've cried if they didn't fit.

Finally, this little nugget has many of us teachers with our panties in a wad. The decision was made that kids would order their food the day before... instead of the day of, the way we started the year.

Can I just share that I have several students who fail to remember what they ordered for lunch that morning? Ordering the day before is going to be even worse. We had our routine worked out perfectly. One of my student helpers was able to take lunch count and deliver it to the necessary recipient. Oy, this ruins it all.

So, this is my solution. The "today" and "tomorrow" words are attached with velcro so I can move them accordingly. The kids will use a dry erase (or Vis a Vis, haven't decided yet) marker to write their initials on their choice for the next day. At the end of the day, I'll erase the lunch choices for that day, switch the velcro words, and write the new lunch choices to be ordered (a day in advance, GRR).  This way I can easily see who should be where in our lunch line.

Unnecessary problem solved!
Happy weekend!
I still have work to do...
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Friday, September 12

Five For Friday

Hallelujah! Another Friday has arrived. This Friday was necessary. 

Tonight, I am participating in a little Five for Friday action with Doodle Bugs

I went to our state's fair with my mom and dad last weekend. My parents live about 25 minutes away from the State Fair town, so it was an annual tradition growing up. Even now, there are certain traditions we must uphold each year. Riding the train (like in the picture above). Pronto pups. Pig races (which we barely missed out on this year...sad face). Butter sculpture. Gigantic fruits and vegetables. That's a little taste of a Kansas State Fair.

I tried to spruce up some walls before our big events this week: Grandparents Tea and Math & Reading Night. This is the activity we did with our fifth grade Panther Pals. It was a really great beginning of year activity. You can find it here.

We've started small group Reading rotations this week. I was nervous, but it's been a great week. I think this is going to work! Monday and Tuesday we practiced 3 rotations (Buddy Read, Work on Writing, and Read to Self). Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday we practiced 4 rotations (we added Listening). It really worked out the way I had it planned. Building stamina is key! Monday and Wednesday we practiced each center for 5 minutes before rotating. We did that twice each day. Tuesday and Thursday we practiced each center once for 10 minutes before rotating. Today (Friday) we practiced each center for 15 minutes before rotating. We've been doing our Word Work together each day at the end of our small group reading practice sessions.

Next week we'll add our fifth (and final) center, Word Work. I'm excited to see it all as it should be. I'm excited to get started meeting with my kids. I'm excited for us to be a well-oiled machine, especially because I will be gone several days in the near future.

One of my sweet families sent me these flowers this week. It was so thoughtful, especially for such a rough week. I hate ending on a sad note, but my grandpa passed away this week. It is sad, but it was not a huge surprise. His health had been declining. I hope that my grandmother is doing well with this. They were married for 32 years.

We'll celebrate his life in a little while on his birthday. 
Hope you have a great weekend,
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Monday, September 1

September Currently

It's September, so you know what that means...

I am currently listening to the sounds of the house. My husband went to a coffee shop to grade some papers (he teaches college Math). If he were here, I'd probably be listening to the sounds of tennis.

I just love 3 day weekends. I like to sleep. I like extra time to get things done.

Tomorrow is our 8th anniversary. Tomorrow is also a day where my husband has an evening class and doesn't get home until very late, so we're going to celebrate tonight.

Even though Hubs left to grade papers, I decided I better get up to make sleep even nicer tonight. I'm a natural night owl, so sometimes I try to make myself get up early to help me fall asleep easier. I wish I could fall asleep like Hubs. He hits the pillow and is out seconds later. Not me.

What I should be doing right now... what I need to do is finish getting ready for school tomorrow!

1. I have been to California but never to see any redwoods. They just seem so amazing.
2. I went to Washington D.C. when I was very little, maybe 5 or 6, so I don't remember very much of it at all. Just the changing of the guard. I want to go back for sure!
3. We often talk about going to Europe, but I'm not certain that would ever really happen. My sister-in-law just moved to Spain for the second time, though. She lived there last year but had to come back in June. She worked through the summer trying to find a job again so that she could go back because she'd started dating someone there. I suppose if she ended up making it a permanent home we'd have to save up and go see her. Boo hoo, right?

Hope you enjoy your 3rd day of the weekend!
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