Friday, August 29, 2014

Week Two!

Hello Friday!

I'm starting to believe what they say: There's no tired like teacher tired! I'm
exhausted. It's been a long week.

Despite my Friday exhaustion, we did have some fun this week:)! Here's my Five For Friday!
1. Here are our back-to-school self portraits that I forgot to share with you all last week. Aren't they adorable? They are one of my favorite back to school projects. It really let's me see who can cut, glue, and follow directions:).

2. This is my absolute favorite beginning of the year activity! I read the story, Elmer. Then, the kids write about what makes them special and create an Elmer. Meet Elmer, the elephant:).

3. Next up...number bonds! Math has been quite the struggle this week. But, we are making progress. Progress is good:). I had to throw out what I had "planned" and get creative (sorta)! Each student worked with their own number bond and manipulated the beans, which seemed to make it a little easier. I also made these simplified recording sheets. Stay tuned for more number bond fun next week...

4. We used some of our new math skills to help out with this cute little activity created by Melissa Machan (you can find it for free in her TPT store).  Hopefully my firsties were able to see how math relates to real life:).

5. Last, but definitely not least...number 5! This week, my first ever Donors Choose project was accepted and funded in less than 24 hours!! Our class will be getting an iPad! I am beyond grateful! The kids are going to be so excited! I already submitted my second project in hopes of receiving a couple more iPads for the classroom. It was very refreshing to see that there are people out there who value education and are willing to give so generously. Room 16 is truly blessed.

Happy three day weekend!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Back At It!

Back to school! 

Can you believe it?! The first week of school is complete!

I'm still having a hard time believing it's already that time again. Back to school has been really tough on me this year. I lost my grandma unexpectedly a few weeks ago. She has volunteered in my classroom two days a week for the last three years. So, putting my classroom together and starting back to school this year has been pretty rough. I miss her so much and will remember all the love and joy she brought to me and the kiddos. She always read my blog posts and would call me after she read it. I sure will miss those phone calls. She's probably smiling down on me right now as I'm writing this:).

Thankfully, I had a few amazing teacher friends who helped me come back to school and hang all my paper and borders! 


Here is my Five for Friday and classroom reveal {With My Carolina Classroom's linky party} this year!

Here is our math meeting/carpet time area. I'm loving my new chair:). I also re-did the fabric on my crate seats.

Writing wall & word wall
These frames are my favorite:))!

Here's my "Teacher Spot!" I'll hang all my important teacher papers know, schedules, reminders, and pictures. Yes, pictures are important:). I'm loving my bunting letters made by Lessons with Coffee!! She is awesome!!

Isn't this teacher wreath the cutest? My aunt got it for me before school started. I think it looks great on my desk!

Ok, we had to take first day of school
pictures! I made this frame for the kids to use, isn't it cute?! 

Don't worry...I took my beginning of the year picture too:).

Here's our picture wall! Sorry it's blurry, I had to blur the faces. Can you tell I'm obsessed with my new bunting letters:)?!

I know that was number 5...but here's number 5 1/2. :)

Jitter Juice!! What's the beginning of the year without Jitter Juice?! I read this book to the kiddos every year. Last year, I found this awesome "jitter juice" activity from Babbling Abby. The kids love it! 

I hope you enjoyed my classroom reveal. What back to school activities do you do with your students?

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Blog Surf-Let's Talk Math!

Hi! Thank you for visiting my blog and "surfing" this blog hop with us! This is my first blog hop. Yes, my first! I've been so lucky to connect with such a sweet group of bloggers and join in on the fun!

I'm further away from the beach than most of the lovely ladies on this hop; however, I absolutely love the beach! The closest beach to me is about two and a half hours away-I live right in the heart of The Central Valley. To get you started and in the spirit of "surfing," we are all sharing our favorite beach. My absolute favorite beach is called Bellows Beach. Unfortunately, for me, it is not located in California. It's located in Hawaii on the island of Oahu. I was lucky enough to be able to visit Bellows a couple weeks ago on my trip to Hawaii! 
Gorgeous, right?!

Ok, moving on to the fun stuff...number talks! Some of you might be familiar with number talks and some of you might be a newbie, like me! If you are not as familiar with number talks check out this awesome video! If you're experienced with number talks, it's still a great video.

This summer, I was able to attend a week long Common Core math training. It really changed the way I think about teaching math in my class, and more specifically, how I run my daily math meeting. The trainers talked to us a lot about the 8 mathematical practices (which I wasn't so familiar with before the training) and how we can incorporate these practices into our lessons. 

A topic that caught my attention during the training was this idea of "math talks." I'd heard of them and I even started using a very basic form of them in my classroom last year. But, I wasn't really sure how they fit into my math lesson for the day. I questioned what exactly their purpose should be?

During the training, I learned that a math talk is not meant to be the math lesson for the day, and does not necessarily focus on a specific standard. Math talks focus on strategies. It is 5-10 minutes where the students will explore numbers by finding patterns, discover relationships between numbers, build number sense, and most importantly, explain their thinking. Through this process, students will use algorithms less and less. They will begin to rely more and more on their critical thinking skills.

Having students defend and explain their thinking is key in this process. It allows the teacher and classmates to understand other ways of thinking. It also provides a time for the students to self correct, if necessary.

Previously, during my math meeting, we spent a lot of time on calendar facts. We would count up how many days we had been in school, practice place value, use counters, memorize the days of the week and the months in the year; while these are all still important, my math meeting was lacking-and I didn't even know it! It was lacking those higher level thinking skills. This idea of math talks has completely changed the way we will spend our math meeting time. 

I've spent some time this summer planning what this could look like in my room this year. I will definitely start my number talks by using a tens frame to build numbers. Now, remember, this doesn't have to be anything fancy. This is not your math lesson. Keep it simple. Last year, I made a couple of power points with a math talk on each slide. I didn't feel like the class was engaged. I was up at my desk controlling the PowerPoint while the kiddos were all sitting nice and quietly at the math meeting carpet. Ha! We all know what happens when the teacher leaves and walks over to their desk:). This year I plan to keep it simple! A cookie sheet, tens frames, and some magnets! It will look something like this:

I really like the idea of using magnets on a cookie sheet because it's easy to use, manipulate, and interact with. If you click the link below you can get a copy of my classroom conversation guide and both tens frames. The classroom guide can be hung up on your math meeting wall and used as tool to help guide your students through these conversations. 

What activities and skills do you teach during math meeting? I would love to hear your ideas:).
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