Thursday, April 17, 2014

You gotta SCOOT fast! Flash Freebie!

Earlier in the week, I said that I might do a giveaway/freebie. Let's just say, this week was tough. We had our Reading MCA state test that just drained my kiddos (not to mention myself), my husband's grandmother passed away and we now are traveling to South Dakota early tomorrow for the wake and funeral on Friday and Saturday, and I just turned into a crab with all the stress of the week.

I need something to pep me up and try to once and for all get me out of this funk.

For that, I offer you a flash freebie. Not just one, not just two, but three!


That's right. I'm putting all my new/revised Scoot games as freebies for a lil' while tonight only!

Each Scoot game comes with 30 cards of mixed skill difficulty for a particular learning focus. I've also included the same problems, but numbered them differently so that you can use them as differentiated task cards. They are color coded so that you can have students work on skills in the same learning focus at their level. 

What's included exactly?

  • 30 Scoot Cards: problems ranging in difficulty and mixed up for constant variety during the game
  • Same 30 cards: problems grouped by difficulty to allow for easy differentiation
  • Task Card Recording sheet for all levels, plus a mixed version sheet
  • Scoot Game Recording Page
  • Scoot Game Answer Key


The learning focuses I have so far are: 

Telling Time



Patterns



Geometry


Click on the pack you want to snag (or do all 3) to be taken to my TpT store.

I hope sharing a lil' something, something, will help bring some smiles across my grumpy face. Enjoy! Snag them and spread the word quickly... these won't be free for long (really until dinner and dishes are done)! I appreciate any feedback love!


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Lean, Mean, Creating Machine

I was in a slump for a while. A slump I like to call... "too busy with school to do anything else with my life." Now that testing week is upon us, I am starting to have more time to create things for my classroom (I'm especially excited about things I'm creating for next year!). I'm excited to share later this week how I'm revamping the Scoot Games I've already created and my plan to add one for each of the mini-units that Math Expressions has in their curriculum. I love using them for subs and for independent work and I think this new layout is going to better suit both of those needs! Check back later this week on a possible freebie/giveaway!

Anywho. Another reason for getting out of this slump is the amazing artist Krista over at the Creative Chalkboard! She is ah-mazing!! Not only is her clip art amazing, she truly is an amazing person! She is so generous and her work inspires me to get creative. She's honoring all of her followers with an amazing 10 days of amazingness (are you sensing a pattern with my adjective there?) and in turn, many are honoring her by sharing freebies they've created with her amazing clips.

The gals over at A Tale of 2 First Grades are hosting this linky:


I've added my newest freebie inspired by the "bugginess" Krista created. 


It's all about how parts of speech can help students in narrowing down possible synonyms for words. By identifying the part of speech, students can determine the type of word they are needing to figure out.



There's 12 cards in this set, a recording page, a direction page, and an answer key! 

Feedback is always appreciated. Just like Krista, it motivates me to keep on, keeping on!

Hop on over to the link up to score many other freebies as well!!




Saturday, April 12, 2014

Five for Fri... I mean... Saturday

I'm glad that the rules of this linky aren't too harsh. Otherwise, I'd constantly be breaking them and be in the 'take a break' chair far too often. I tip my hat to all of you who accomplish what I think is a huge task by posting your 5 for Friday on a Friday. I've only achieved this goal maybe 2 or 3 times (if that).

Anywhos, here's my Five-for-Friday-on-a-Saturday-as-usual!


(1) Mini-Update on Wall Pops and Another New Use for Them!


I blogged about a purchase that I was super stoked about. And I'm happy to say, the feeling has maintained and flourished over the last couple weeks! These wall-pops turned small-group-table-pops keep on giving me inspiration. We've been in the middle of test prep season and we've been doing a lot of practice passages. Sometimes, I feel like it's too exhausting for my kids day after day to complete so I decided one day not to do one. However, I still wanted some insight into if they 'got' our lesson for the day or not. I posted a multiple choice question about the mood of a poem they had to read on the Smartboard. I had them on a post it write their answer. Then, I had them write down the words in the text that helped them choose that answer. They put their classroom number on it and placed it on the bubble that matched their answer. So if they chose "A", they put their post-it on "A," for example.  This took less than 5 minutes, and students got a break from the mundane practice passages.


 I instantly could see which answer was most popular as they came in, which was a great way for me to start analyzing their answer choices.


 Once I got everyones, I quickly peeled them off and jotted down the words that students wrote down on their post its and tallied how often that word came up on the post-its. I also noted who chose that answer. I could still pull strategy groups, but my students got a welcomed break.

(2-3) Test Prep Happenings


I decided Friday of last week to have parents write little notes for our testing coming up. It was a random, "It's 7:00 am and I don't have the day ready, but I really want to do this," idea. I looked quick on TpT and found this resource (for free none-the-less) and began to prep it. Our amazingly, awesome, one of a kind, Education Assistant copy lady helped print these and stuff them into envelopes so they could go home. The kids were so curious what was inside the "Top Secret" envelopes! I knew I wasn't going to get them all back. I had 14 send them back with notes done. Some families went all out and it brought so much happiness to my heart. One is a teacher herself and had her 5th grade class all sign one; others attached pictures; others even attached a little candy here and there. I had another 6 send them back, but the notes were blank still (maybe a miscommunication?). And another 7 didn't return any. I then organized my staff. I needed 4 notes per student and had sent out an email to the 2nd grade teachers last year, our EL teachers, custodians, librarian, office staff, nurse, intervention teachers...you name it, I contacted them. I have most kids covered all 4 days now! The staff really helped me out and I know the kiddos will be just as excited to receive a note from their teacher last year, their STEM teacher, or the principal! This one was decorated by one of our EL teachers for one of my EL students she works with. She wrote a very nice note on the back.


I had a parent volunteer help assemble my little "end of testing" treats. The toppers were supposed to be in color, but our printer had a major meltdown and I had to print at school. Oh well, they are still cute!

(4) Getting Summer Ready?
Have you seen the pin that says if you mix Listerine, vinegar, and water and let your feet soak you will have beautiful, smooth, feet?
Well, in my at-home test... it didn't work. I followed the directions, but doubled it. A few pins said not to use blue Listerine, because it would stain your feet blue. Others said it was what they prefer. I just went with the blue. Risk-taker.

Mistake.

They did turn blue.

And not a pretty blue like in the bottle.

But a moldy blue that made my feet look like all blood had been cut off from them.

Let's just say, I won't try it again for a little while (and sorry you had to see my long, frog toes... I've always been self conscious of them).

However, I also completed my 2nd week of AQUA ZUMBA to help get 'summer ready' (to be honest, it's more for fun). I'm loving it!

(5) Super Teacher Moment

Friday was a whirl-wind of a morning. Here was my first two hours of school (and neither of those 2 hours was spent teaching my students):

  • 8:00-9:00 am- Lead my first EVER staff meeting on our bully prevention program Olweus. 

I am one of two Site Leaders now and we had to do a booster before the year ended. I was so nervous as ALL staff were invited (even like secretaries, custodians, paras, recess monitors, etc.) My co-leader and I got fabulous feedback from the staff afterward though, which was fabulous to hear!
  • 9:00-9:30 am- (and yes, there wasn't any transition time) Parent meeting to discuss going further in the evaluation process for special education for one of my students. It was the first time I had to do a meeting like this, so again, I was trying to be very prepared.

Meanwhile....
School starts at 9:10 and my instructional coach had to cover my class for the first 20 minutes so I could stay in the meeting.
  • 9:30-10:00 am- All School Morning Meeting- I then had to leave the meeting right at 9:30 as I had to act in a staff skit in front of the whole school. On top of that... I was the "lead" in it!  

I didn't even really get to talk to my students until 11:20, as the Phy Ed teacher kept my class later so that they could have their full gym time that they lost due to the All School Morning Meeting and so that I could try to prepare for the rest of the day (which was VERY appreciated!). It was such a busy morning, but it felt good to take on some leadership roles in my 2nd year of teaching and balance it all! Even better, I had so much support from others in the building that helped make the day go smooth... I'm truly grateful for everyone who helped me out!

It was a very busy week, as it was our last week before we take our state test. I can't wait for it to be done and we can get back to a more relaxed atmosphere. I've tried to ease any stress and worries, but at the same time, it has been very rigorous and with 3rd grade being the first year they take 'the test' we have a lot of pressure to make sure they are prepared to know what to expect.

Whatever the outcomes, I am so proud of how hard they have worked and believe that the work they've done to become stronger readers is more important than this score they'll receive during the summer. Good luck to all those who are testing!! :)