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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mirrors - Whole Brain Teaching and Daily Math Freebie

Using the technique Mirrors in whole brain teaching has been very helpful.  It gives me a very quick way to see who is focused on me and who isn't.  This has been especially helpful in getting the attention of one of my students who is ESL and ADD. 

Mirrors technique is when you are asking the students to imitate your motions to help them remember what you are teaching about.  It keeps them focused.

One of the mirror actions that I have been doing daily is when we are working on the daily math page.  

This is what I say and (students say)
Mirrors (mirrors) (hold my hands up)
Mirror Check (Mirror Check) (I make a movement and they follow me)
The minute hand is long (The minute hand is long) (Spread arms up and down motioning long)
The hour hand is short (The hour hand is short) (Move top hand down and stop quickly near the other hand showing short).
I do this three times.  When I say long and short I also use my voice to emphasize the word.  I stretch out the word long and snap the word short.  

When I ask a student to tell me how to draw 11 o'clock, they are able to use the words minute and hour vs. long and short!  I'm so proud of them.  

My goal is to use mirrors more often but I feel like this was an easy way to start with this technique.  Please share in the comments how you use mirrors.

I bet you want to use these fantastic math pages in your daily routine!  I'm only happy to oblige! I have two versions.  One for the beginning of the year which only has tens and ones.  The second version has 100s and greater than and less than.  I make these into monthly booklets.  

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Scoreboard - Whole Brain Teaching

I just love my class!  They are the best class!

I have been trying out Whole Brain Teaching for a few years but I haven't done more than the rules.  This year I'm expanding to using more of the system.  It went super well!!  The kids were loving the action and they were very focused. 

This is my Scoreboard.  I used a wipe off board and used Washii Tape.  One section is for the morning and the second section is for the afternoon.  I used sticky velcro to attach the dry erase marker!  This is important for me.  I tend to put things down and can't find them again!!  I love that the board is portable.  This will be especially nice when I'm working with a small group and do not want to keep getting up to emphasize their behavior.

The Scoreboard was a fantastic way to get the children to focus when they started talking with each other.  Visit www.wholebrainteaching.com.  There are webcasts and tons of videos.
Every time you catch them following the rules they get a point. (smiley)
When they are breaking the rules you get a point! (sad)
Your job is to keep the points within 3 points of each other to keep the interest!  If they are ahead at the end of the day they win a few minutes to play a class game.  

I hope you try it out - you'll be happy you tried it!

My baby started high school today!!  There were tears shed - mine!!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

10 Ideas to Survive Your First Week

We are all excited for school to start - we actually have trouble sleeping the night before just like our students.  I wonder who is more scared of the first day?

So how do we get through this first week?

1.  Reduce your caffeine intake so you can give sleeping a good chance!  I'm a night owl but I know I won't be able to function with all the problems that will hit me during the week and there will be many.  So get to bed at a reasonable time!  If you're like me, my brain has a hard time shutting down.  Keep a notepad by your bed (not your phone, you'll be tempted to Google!)

2.  Pack your lunch with healthy foods and waters.  My new favorites are carbonated flavored waters so I can feel like I'm having a soda!
I love the Pink Grapefruit!  Very refreshing!  I got them at Pick n' Save.

3.  Be Organized!
  • Get your desk the way you want it!
    • Have a place for everything!
  • Make your copies and put them in a daily organization bin.
  • I love when my closet is even organized!!  Love my paper organizers!
4.  Wear comfortable shoes!  You will thank me for this later!  

5.  Don't plan too much to do on the first day!  Everything will take longer than you think!  Start your day off light with with a get to know you activity.
    • Beach Ball Questions:  Write questions on the ball stripes such as What is your favorite color? What did you do this summer?  Tell us about your family.
    • M&M Buddies:   Put a few kids in a group with a card with a question for each color of the M&Ms.  After they answer the question they can eat that M&M.  You can do this with Skittles or Starbursts too.
6.  Bring a snack for the whole class.  Many will forget to bring one and this will help them get through the long day!  

7.  If you're as unfortunate as I am to not have air conditioning, it always seems to get hot when we go back to school!  Let the students have water bottles, get drinks and take extra bathroom breaks - you do not want unwanted accidents. 

8.  Reward them with an extra recess.  They will love it and you can see them in a different environment. Provide some fun outside toys like hula-hoops, Frisbees, sidewalk chalk and bubbles.

9.  Take time to go through the rules.  Keep it short and simple but repeat it throughout the week.
I love this video that a principal did.

10.  Leave on time to go home to your family, friends or pets!  Give your brain a break!  You deserve it - you have worked very hard!

Have a great week back!
Share your tips for a great week!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Little Priorities Classroom Reveal 2014

This is a view to the corner of my room from the door.  I would love to have the TV taken down but they have no place to store all the unwanted TVs.  The only time it is used is after school by my own children to watch cartoons.  In the corner is going to be my guided reading and math area.  I have all my tubs available with hands-on games and much more.  I'm very excited to have it all together.  I'm not as organized as some of our fellow bloggers but it works for me.
The tall white tubs hold all my math games.  The small basket on the floor is the overflow!  I just bought another one so I can add more!  The pink tubs came from Walmart.  They hold my reading games.  The other three tubs are where I put the weekly math games for students to go to during centers.  I try to differentiate these activities.  The names will be on colored slips once I evaluate the class.
 This is to the right of my table.  I have my guided reading books in bags by level with the teacher guide included.  Then I have all my wonderful Lakeshore games!  I got most of these from a Donor's Choose project last year.
 This is a problem area.  These are my literature books that I teach with.  Last year I put them in bags to keep the same subjects together such as plants or nouns.  Update... I organized my books by months, science, social studies and mentor texts.  I think this will help me be able to find a book quicker!

Here are some of my math manipulatives.  I am in need of new labels!!

On the back of my guided reading cart I added pocket charts with velcro.  I am going to use this area during guided reading to make sentences and store their sight words.  Students will be able to remove the words to take to their desks.

 I love the pink and green together.  It's so cheery!  The baskets above were all from Dollar Tree.  I love that that the paper baskets are large enough for folders.  Currently they are holding everything I need to pass out to them the first week.  On the side are my new group supplies.  I haven't tried this for over 15 years so we'll see how it goes.  I'll keep you updated!

This is the back of my Writing Cart.  I have their sight words on rings.  Students use these to practice their words while playing games that I designed.  These words correlate to the Treasures Reading series.  Our district has also added in words that were not in the series.  All the words are introduced and need to be secure by second grade.  If you would like the set click here!  I will put the current game in the baskets.  They are hanging on peg board clips.  These were from Walmart for $1.  They had a lot of different colors. Update...my baskets keep falling off the hook!  I'll need a new and better idea.

These were also from Walmart.  They are holding the math tool kits for each table group.  I may also put their binders in here.

Finish "I'm Done" activities.  I purchased this from Miss Kindergarten Love.  I ran off all the copies in advance and put them in this file box so it's easy for me to change out when needed.  I love the file folder label stickers.  So much easier than those old plastic ones and trying to slide the label in!
Anchor Chart Holder:  This is a curtain rod I got from the Salvation Army for $1.  I used command strip clips.  I put it right on the fabric.  I then added four staples around it so it doesn't pull out.  This will help me have access since I don't have wall space to hang them.  Next to it is a pocket chart for vocabulary words for the week.
 I started using this board last year but I am going to be adding to it and using it from the start. Labels are from Mrs. Rhodes and the original idea and trees are from Dandelions and Dragonflies.  I'll probably need to add more trees but it's a start.
I'm going to be using this book:
Prefixes and Suffixes Resource Book
Click book for link.  It uses word walls and making words.  It's written for grades 3-5+.  However, I do not feel it is inappropriate for my firsties.  

Here's a photo wall of my children.  I need to put updated photos in the frames!  I should probably add my husband too! XXOO

These are my student mailboxes.  I've had them for awhile as you can tell my the remnant of labels.  Now look at it with duck tape over the labels!  Wahoo!  I tried Wasshi Tape first but it was see-through.

My desk
 I covered my icky mouse pad with fabric a year ago and it's holding up great!  I got a new fridge!  I'm so excited to have cold drinks available and a place to store some healthy snacks like cheese etc...
Window behind my desk!   
I love my new valance!!  I bought coordinating fabrics of pink and green.  I used my quilt fabric cutter to cut the fabric into 1.5 inch strips.  I bought curtain rods from GoodWill and my wonderful daughters tied them to the rods.  I used Command Strip Hooks to hang the rods so I can take them with me if I move rooms.    I've gotten a lot of comments from staff!  They look so cute!

View of my classroom from my desk.  My awesome 12 year old daughter helped me put all the name tags on!  She was so helpful.

My reading corner!  I wish all my baskets matched but I guess the books inside them are what's important!  My two daughters took my old beanbags that had rips and put the beans in the flat beanbags!  It was quite a mess - I'm glad I had them do it outside!!

 Word Work!  Love my pocket chart!  It's from Lakeshore!  I love that store!!
 I'm having the parents and students take a tour through the room on Back to School Night!

This bulletin board is outside my classroom.  Each student has their own spot where I have a tack.

We're going to have a WILD Year!!

 I wish you all a fantastic and productive year!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Clip Chart Clips

 Sorry this photo is so fuzzy.  I was taking a photo of my new clips.  I decided to use numbers on my clips instead of names so I don't have to keep redoing them.  This will be a big time saver.  I also use numbers on my mailboxes.  Here is a photo but I'm planning on fixing up my mailboxes.  Wait for an update!

I clipped them to the top of a paper box and used spray paint that I already had in the basement!  After they dried I used Sharpie permanent markers that have a brush to draw on polka dots.  I tried a regular Sharpie and the color did not show up as well.  These are smudge and water resistant too. I did this to both sides and I added the numbers to both sides too.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Meet the Teacher Blogger Linky

I'm a veteran teacher now!  Boy how time flies!  I've been teaching for 21 years.  I taught kindergarten Title 1, special education for 5 years, second grade for 1 year and the rest has been in first grade!  I also teach for the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater in the EC program!  

I've also been married for 21 years to my soul mate!  We have 5 wonderful children that keep us extremely busy!

This is the most recent photo taken in Wyoming with our best friend, Julie! We've adopted her too! :)

Q: These Are a Few of My Favorite Things
Christian Music
Scrapbooking when I can

Q: If You Weren't a Teacher, What Would You Be?
Author - I love to write.  I've been published for a little article but I'd love to write a children's book!  Blogging fills that niche!

Q: Three Little Words That Describe You

On Bad Days when I wish my children were back in school!!!!: 
Frustrated, Grumpy, Impatient

On most days: Caring, Dedicated, Creative

Q: Finish This Sentence, "________, Said No Teacher Ever!!
"Please give me the new student, Said No Teacher EVER!"

Q: It's Your Birthday And You Can Invite Anyone To The Party. Who Are You Inviting?
I could ask famous people but in all honesty I would rather just spend time with my family!

Q: If Someone Wrote a Book About Your Life, What Would Be the Title?
It's Time to Leave the Building, Mrs. M

Q: You Get To Pick One Superpower. What Is It?
Could I make up a superpower to control children behavior?

Q: What's Your Favorite Quote?
You didn't grow under my heart but in it!

Q: If You Had to Sing One Song On American Idol, What Would It Be?

Blessings by Laura Story 
Overcomer by Mandissa

Q: Are You a Morning Person or Night Owl?

Both - but I prefer nights!

Q: What's Your Favorite Resource You've Created?

 I developed this plant unit and my brother made the Mr. Potato Head pieces!  I just love his work!  You can either purchase the whole unit or just the the pieces!

Q: Share Something We Might Not Know About You!

I'm going to try to stop drinking soda!  Ahhh what am I thinking?
I'm going to need help, strength and prayers to get through this.

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