Teacher Week- 5 Facts About Me!

I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' for Teacher Week 2015! Today is all about me!

I love teaching inclusion! I have my degree in both elementary and special education, so inclusion is the perfect balance for me. I have my own first grade classroom, and I get to work with students with special needs. I can't imagine anything more perfect! Plus, first grade is the BEST grade, so really, I have my dream job!

After living in Germany for a year in high school, plus a semester in college, I speak fluent German. Well, maybe I should say "spoke" instead. It's been a few years, so it's rusty. I lived in the Schwaebsich Alp region in high school and they have quite the dialect there. My host family was awesome about trying to speak Hochdeutsch (aka real German) around me, but I picked up a little bit of schwaebisch. 

I'm a big fan of Abraham Lincoln. He's a pretty great guy.

I love nature, exploring, traveling, and discovering cool places. There are so many awesome places both near and far to explore! I went to Portland, Oregon last winter and absolutely loved it out there! I would love to go back!

I love flowers!

...but I can only grow succulents. 

Thanks for stopping by!


Five for Fraturday


I didn't get my post done on Friday, but I did survive the week, so I think that's what really counts. :) 

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I've felt a little discouraged as I've seen all the posts and pictures of fun station and center activities people have been doing in their classrooms. I see people who have all their kids at different stations and classes who had 3 minute reading stamina in the first 2 days of school and are now up to 8-10 minutes. We are 23 days into the year and we have learned 3 of the Daily 5 stations and we hit 6 minutes with stamina last week, but haven't been able to get past 4 minutes since then. 4 minutes rolls around and then my boys start rolling around. Literally. But then I remind myself that I have 28 students (not 20, not 22, not 24) and I am training them now, so they can be fully independent later.

On a positive note, Read to Someone is going well and the kids are really into it! I have Elephant and Piggie books, Yo! Yes!, and partner plays from A Teeny Tiny Teacher out right now. One of my teammates shared last year that she lets one group share after each round of stations. The kids go crazy for this and it has transformed Read to Someone for me! It used to be my least favorite station and now it's probably my favorite! The kids get so into it and the students love to see the books up on the screen and listen to their peers present.

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Blue came to our school! Full disclosure: I am not a football fan (I live in Indianapolis and don't own a Colts shirt), I do not like mascots, and I greatly dislike convos. However, the kids had a blast! Luckily for me, the convo occurred during my prep, so the music teacher sat with my class and I got to escape to my classroom. The kids had fun and I had peace. I call that a win-win. Blue came for a Blue is the New Green program, and while I have no idea what educational content they learned, I do know that Blue threw something at the screen, unplugged the cable because the guy on the phone was annoying, and Blue shook his butt at them! *gasp* I have no actual pictures, because I high tailed it on out of there before all 1,100 kids went wild. 

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We have been practicing ways to make 10 this week in math, and I stumbled upon this awesome, FREE name in a 10 frame activity from Fun with Firsties on Instagram. Kids get to practice 10 frames, quantity discrimination, and how many more to get to 10. And they are adorable and fun! Can't go wrong there!

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When I decided I wanted to do a fun craftivity, I thought it might be a good time to try math without whole group. I greatly dislike whole group math. It has never worked for me and it drives me insane. I haven't quite prepared my kids for math stations, but I decided I might as well see where we are at. So I had half the class at the carpet with me and I sent the other half to work on a dice game at a desk or table. We LOVE dice games from Teach with Laughter! We did exploration math stations last week with pattern blocks, geoboards, and base 10 blocks, so I had those set out in case they finished their dice game. I was blown away by how awesome it went. The kids working independently were QUIET and they worked the whole time! Granted, I had 4 kids absent and half the class was with me, but still! It was amazing! I am so excited to get math stations rolling now!

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I actually made and posted a product last weekend! I have slowed down with my TPT creating, just because life has been so busy! I was hoping to get some stuff made over the summer and fell short of that, but that's life. This cute little freebie has 5 positive notes to send home when students have had an awesome day. In my room, they get to take a note home if they make it to the top of the clip chart/get 3 or more Dojo points in a day. This one is my personal favorite:

Have a great weekend! I hope to link up with Bloghoppin next week for Teacher Week, so hopefully I'll be back soon!


Five for Friday!


Hopefully you will be happy to know that I did not, in fact, fall off the face of the earth. I started school, which, let's be honest, is synonymous with falling off the face of the earth. We started school on July 29th and today was our 18th day of school! It has flown by! I'm finally at the point where I feel like I have enough energy to write a quick Five for Friday post.

I just have to start with this photo because it was the highlight of my week. This little guy was in my class last year and he just wasn't quite there yet with reading and spelling. Spelling tests were always challenging for him and I think he lacked motivation. He was very upset this summer when his mom informed him that he would be repeating first grade, and he acted like I was a total stranger the first few days back to school. I am happy to say that he is now right at home and we were both so excited today because he got 100% on his spelling test! I'm pretty sure mom and I were happy when he got 5 words right last year. He told me, with confidence, as he turned it in this morning, "I got them all right!" He did! He was excited (possibly just because he gets a Pokemon card for every word he gets correct) and I praised him for all it was worth. Happy teacher moment!

Another priceless moment this week was when I told them to draw a rectangle on their desk/table with a dry erase marker. 
"You want me to write on the table?!" 
"Are you serious?"

It was great. 

I was just trying to take 5 minutes to do a phonemic awareness activity whole group, and it just wasn't working. They were uninterested, and only half of them were participating. So I changed my tactic. I told them to get their dry erase marker and eraser and find a desk or table to sit at. Then when I asked them to draw a rectangle on their desk, they were in shock and awe. I just had to soak it up. Once we got past the fact that, yes, I did in fact want them to draw directly on the table, we drew sound boxes and listened for how many sounds in were in the word. I used our spelling words, and we spelled them below the boxes. Double final consonants was another skill this week, so we practiced putting both letters under one box because they only make one sound. I just hit 3 skills at once and held their interest. BAM! 

I'm really hoping I can get math stations up and running soon, because I don't know how much longer I can handle whole group math. It drives me crazy and half the kids tune out and play around. Seriously, it's impossible to get anything accomplished. I don't know how other people do it. Anyway, I've been teaching them lots of math games and trying to give them plenty of opportunities to practice and build independence. I'm really lucky because my kids this year LOVE the Everyday Math games from the beginning of the year, even though I think they are the most boring games every and I can't believe anyone likes them. Mostly, they are obsessed with Monster Squeeze. Whatever makes them happy. 

Another important part of my math stations is Interactive Notebooks. I decided to be brave and we did our first interactive notebook page together this week. It took us awhile, but we got it done! I didn't have a document camera or a projector at the beginning of the year last year, and I can't even begin to express how helpful they both are. It makes modeling a thousand times easier. #sograteful

Today was such a nice day, and we'd only done one other lesson outside so far this year, so I decided to go for it with a quick living and nonliving scavenger hunt. Who doesn't love to learn outside in the sunshine? The kids were obsessed with finding spiders and then screaming, "IT'S POISONOUS!!!" and sending their friends into a running, screaming frenzy. At 3:30 on a Friday, what do you expect? Okay, there was one really terrifying looking spider. Luckily, it was inaccessible. But now I understand why they were screaming. It is scary.

Now I'm off to enjoy the weekend! I promise I'll be back soon! With classroom photos! I didn't change too much this summer, but I do have some fun additions!