Sunday, July 27, 2014

T Minus 7 days and counting....

It is almost that time again...time of laughter, lesson planning, assessing, and sleep deprivation.  Yes the school year is quickly approaching.  To commemorate this auspicious event my school district held a two day conference of workshops and development meetings.  Here is a list of the workshops I was able to attend.  I am including what I took from each of these courses bulleted below the title....

Thurs 07/24

  • Breakfast
  • Student to Student Interaction Grades 4-8
    • When planning for s-s interaction you need to ask yourself
      • How will the students demonstrate individual accountability?
      • How will the student demonstrate equal participation?
      • How will the student apply content vocabulary?
      • How  will the student justify their ideas?
    • Some strategies which facilitate academic dialogue include...
      • Expert groups
      • Reciprocal teaching
      • Academic conversation cards
  • Critical Thinking for Grades 4-8
    • Discussed the differences between Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning & Depth of Knowledge Levels and what they looked like when writing objectives.
    • Blooms:  What type of thinking (verbs) is needed to complete a task?
    • DOK:  How deeply do you have to understand the content to successfully interact with it?  How complex or abstract is the content?
    • Great Resource:  Hess' Cognitive Rigor Matrix - combines both Blooms & DOK into one chart to help enhance planning to ensure appropriate objectives for the lesson.
  • Lunch
  • Tiered Assignments for Differentiation
    • Tiered instruction should not leave the students wanting to do what another group is doing.
    • All activities/instruction should be based on assessment.
    • Higher level work is not simply more work.
    • Use the would/should/could questions to breakdown what type of lesson fits the content needed to learn (whole group/small group/individual work).
  • Using Model Drawing in Mathematics Grades 5-6
    • I left this workshop more confused than before.  It was presented by Sue Larson, a phenomenal mathematician.  Who at the end let us know she only learned this strategy 2 weeks before she brought it to us, and then highly suggested to Google the topic and watch the plethora of videos available on the subject.  
    • I found a great app through Google called "Ultimath" which shows modeling drawing as well.  Why reinvent the wheel when "there is an app for that" (LOL)  The link for Ultimath is here

Friday 07/25

  • Breakfast
  • Integrated Language Arts Grades 5-6
    • This meeting focused on the utilization of thematic units.  These lessons help reinforce all content areas and are a great tool to communicate what the student knows or should know throughour all content areas.
    • Plan on focusing this idea especially in Science.
  • Mathematical Practices Grades 5-6
    • We need to shift our thinking in Math from "how to do it" ----> why we do it"
    • Was given a Great Resource for help in finding content:
    • Students should explain & share ideas on how to solve the problem.
  • Lunch
  • Digging Deeper with Student to Student Interaction
    • If you want a great attention getter to settle down your class go to YouTube and search Kid Snippets...soooo many funny clips, soooo many laughs.
    • Be cognizant of where you place s-s interaction in the lesson, it should align with the lesson objective.
    • It will depend on how well the student understands the routine or process which help develop the s-s interaction on a higher level.
  • Balanced Math Framework Fluency & Mental Math Grades 5-6
    • Fluency goes beyond memorization - it help apply what you know.
      • Aromaticity
      • Flow / mastery achieved
      • flexible / ownership
      • accuracy
      • help achieve a desired outcome
    • How to help with fluency
      • provide practice
      • expose to different strategies
      • connections to prior knowledge
    • Mental Math & Fluency help student ownership of numbers.

I took quite a bit of information away from this workshop.  Plus a variety of tools, which as soon as I get the electronic versions sent to me I will be sure to share them with you my friends.
This next week will be filled with final classroom setup, meetings, planning, and to end the event before school begins "Meet the Teacher" night on Friday.  I will post pictures of my finished classroom & the materials I am supplying my parents to help our students achieve success this 2014-2015 school year.

I wish everyone the best of luck on their own school year!!!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Countdown Begins

Well there is only 1 week left until teachers have to report to school, but the overachiever I am I have been working in my classroom since last Monday.  This past week I have been focused on painting my classroom and getting my stored stuff into my classroom to unpack.  Here is what my classroom looks like thus far....

Facing the front of my classroom walking in from the door.

Closer look at the wall color, called Sea Glass, and the desk/office area I created.  This will be so needed due to advising the Student Council this next school year.

This is my personal bulletin board in my desk/office area.  I love the hot pink against the light blue/green wall color.  The black border is sparkly/glittery as well.

So, I have at least 4 more bulletin boards to finish and then get all my resources and beginning of the year activities filed away I believe I will be ready to face my parent on "Meet the Teacher" night.  But, before I can meet my parents I need to finalize my math syllabus and get my welcome letter translated along with my supply list for my students so they can be set for success at the beginning of the school year.

I have to say a humongous THANK YOU!! to my mother.  Because I am switching curriculum this coming year getting resources for Math and Science have been priority one.  Upon looking at the curriculum map for 6th grade Math set by the school district I saw they are incorporating EngageNY's Math Modules.  My wonderful and dear mother took the time to print each of the six modules set by EngageNY - all 3 segments for each module; teacher material, student material, and copy ready material.  All this information was put into 3 5" 3-ring binders, and then each element separated behind a tab for each module.  I am very set when it comes to being able to utilize this amazing resource.  So, again THANK YOU MOM!!!

On a side note I was able to spend the morning alongside my sister and 2 of her daughters as we perused the aisles at Treasures4Teachers.  This company is a non-profit for teachers of all kinds to get supplies they need for the classroom at next to nothing.  It costs $35 to join and then you get a bag & everything you can fit in it only costs you $5.  There is also an area that has supplies like pencils, pens, markers for $0.50 - $1.00 for almost everything in the room.  Not to mention the plethora of free items for the taking.  All the products are donated to the business so that the teachers can get the necessary tools to help guide their students success.  If you want to learn more about this wonderful organization/non-profit check out the link below.

Because I have so much to do & so little time I am off to continue to get my homework completed and get the school year off to a great start.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

My Deepest Apologies!!!!

    My wonderful friends, first off I need to ask your forgiveness for my lack of posting over the past school year.  But, as you can tell by the title of my blog I WAS a first year teacher.  I rationally thought I would be able to keep on top of everything and be able to regularly keep you all up to date, but alas I was not.
So, to aprise you of my status thus far.  I did end the school year wonderfully with signing a new contract for the 2014-2015 school year.     There is one great change, I was fortunate to stay on in the 6th grade, but I will be teaching Math & Science next year.  I really enjoyed teaching Language Arts and Social Studies (especially since I am a book hound and I adore teaching about Ancient Civilizations) -- I am ready for the challenge.  So, with my eyes and mouse constantly on Pinterest I think I am beginning to feel that I am ready to meet the task before me.  I also am going to be working with a new teammate.  One of our 4th grade teachers moved up to 6th grade and I am excited.  We have already begun collaborating and getting things planned for the insuing school year.
Along with having to recreate my curriculum from last year I have also been asked to be the advisor for the Student Council.  So, I have to get things ready to help ensure success for our future government leaders and help raise money to better our school community.

    Now on my enourmously growing to do list...

  • Paint my classroom (it is 1/3 of the way done - I am painting it a calming and delightful color called "Sea Glass"
  • Finish printing the the rest of EngageNY 6th grade Math Modules...our district has recommended them for a resource and has incorporated it into our Curriculum Maps
  • Finalize my Math syllabus (I luckily have finished my Science one)
  • Finish completing my bulletin boards for Meet the Teacher night.
  • Get volunteers for our Scholastic Book Fairs (we scheduled it for Meet the Teacher night to boost sales and encourage parents to buy their students books to start the year off).
  • Finish my schedule for the Student Council workshop that I will be advising the week before school.
  • and there is so, so, sooooo much more!!!
So, my friends again I apologize for not making a better presence on my first attempts of blogging.  But, now I kind of know what to expect I will make a better effort on entering my adventures for these first few years of teaching.