Saturday, October 26, 2013

Conferences, etc. {and some freebies!}

We made it through the first round of conferences.  It was a long, long week - but we made it!  We had conferences two nights this week and then again on Friday afternoon.  Yes, Friday afternoon!  I don't know who thought up that nonsense - but I was one sad, sad teacher who didn't get to wake up a wee bit later {because of course Fridays aren't hair washin' days}and sport her jeans and tennies.

Aside from that, conferences went really, really well!  I have such a nice group of kiddos this year and their parents are just as nice. I don't mind one bit that the apples didn't fall far from those trees.  It was nice to have a number of conferences where I could say "Yup, your kiddo is awesome...and I could end this conference here and now".  

I always open up my conferences with asking the parents if they have any burning questions or something they'd like me to address before I go into my spiel.  Sometimes they do and sometimes their questions require me to do a little "research". I don't want to forget - so I jot them down {because Lord knows, I can forget something mere seconds after you've asked}.  

I also have my parents write a love note to their kiddos and then I do a "special delivery" the next day.  

You can pick these up {here}...
Feels good to have those under my belt...

I'm tired, though.  All that smilin', thinkin' and talkin' just plain tires me out.  My laundry is ALL out of control and my house...let's just say it's Halloween Ready with all the dang cobwebs.  Who wants to spend their weekend taking care of that business?  Not me!  It's times like this that I REALLY wish I had a cleaning lady.  

I am so happy for bloggy friends who have my back...I already know what I'm going to do next week thanks to Leigh over at The Applicious Teacher...have you seen her new "Not So Spooky" Halloween pack?  

I am just in love with the how-to's and the adorable pumpkin craft!!!!  If you are looking for some fun learning next should go check it out!

Alrighty...time to watch some Vampire guilty pleasure!

Happy weekend!!!!

Friday, October 18, 2013


...oh the acronyms abound these days, don't they?

Our school district is using the Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model. Luckily, we are not evaluated on all 41 indicators.  My understanding is that it was never the intent that any teacher would be evaluated on all 41. I'm still new to all of this - so I'm curious what your school district is doing.

I will say, my district has done an AWESOME job helping teachers navigate through this new evaluation process and have really put an emphasis on GROWTH, not "gotcha".  

Here are the 14 indicators that our district is focusing on:

I'll be honest, when I first heard about this model I freaked. I might have even shed a tear or two.  But when it all came out in the wash; I realized what I'm being evaluated on - I already do, it's who I am as a professional.  It's probably who you are too.

What I'm still a little nervous about is the amount of growth expected by my students and how my evaluation is growing increasingly more dependent on that.  I'm sure you've seen the parody essay No Dentist Left Behind.  When I read it, it just makes me go "yup, and that's MY reality".  This is what keeps me up at night. I do the absolute best job that I can do, but there are factors out of my control that impact the growth {and lack of} of my students.  

It seems that kids these days {Did I just say that?  Does that mean I'm officially "old"?} come to us with video game trauma {i.e. teachers don't move as fast as a video game, so students can't focus on what they are saying], over-booked and over-cooked {football, soccer, travel ball, piano lessons...busy five nights a week}, hungry, unloved, angry, or tired. Not to mention that teaching children using the words subitizing, schema, viscous liquids and composing and decomposing numbers is WELL over their heads causing them to tune out....and if they don't show the expected's ALL on me.  

What happened to "it takes a village"?

But I digress...

I've put my faith in God on this one. I work my butt off and I'm always trying to do more and do better. That's all I can do. That's all any of us can do, right?

My to-do list today and every day....I hope it's yours too!
It seems that "data" is the new "developmentally appropriate" {Remember that concept? Yeah, I hardly do either} and we spend a good deal of our time talking about it.  I'm not saying data is all bad.  I just think it can be dangerous.  Dangerous to the point that we might forget that we're actually teaching little, sweet, kind and THINKING human beings.

I hope I never forget.

Anyhoo...what got me pondering this on a Friday night was the form I made for my team to keep track of our PLT's  {formerly known as PLC's}  Here it is if you want it!

Happy weekend friends!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

My Week in {lots of} Pictures {Five or More for Friday}...

Hey Everybody!

How's your school year going?  Hanging in there?  Feeling on top of the world, or ready for a break?  If you remember, Michigan doesn't start until after Labor Day, so we're just finding our groove around these parts. And our groove we have found!

My 18 boys and 5 girls are really getting the hang of this first grade gig.  We've been taking a lot of brain breaks {which is good for everyone - myself included!!!!!  I've been known to cut a rug!}.  When I give my students a 5 minute brain break it buys me about 20 more minutes of learning time.  What a bargain!  I found this website that is FULL of great ones.

Here's our current fave:

Daily 5 is going very well!!!! We're up to 15 minutes Read to Self, 12 minutes Work on Writing and 10 minutes Word Work...can't wait to start our guided reading groups!  Almost!!!!

 Great Tower Challenge:  Using what we know about properties of solids to build towers!

Daily 5 book shopping
This was last year - remember how proud I was of those shelves?

This is today...I'm sad, sad, sad to say...

A student is bringing me one fruit each week - she even included a peppermint stick to help make the lemon cute is that!?!?

My little pumpkins weren't wanting to clean up after snack time - this snail race timer did the trick!

We go a little wild at our house....

If you make a "mummy line" he'll sing and dance for you!!!

Look what I came home to yesterday!!!!! has been so good to me!!!!  The letter they sent said that "Christmas has come early this year" and that they "hope the package of goodies will tide you over for your 2013 holiday crafting season".  My first graders are going to be SO excited to use the fun stuff they sent....FREE!!!!  The quality of their products is awesome. I've purchased some craft materials in the past that were so flimsy and hard to create with that my kiddos would get so frustrated.  Their stuff rocks!!!!!  Go check them out on Facebook for some fun ideas!!!!

I hope you had a great week...what went well for you?  What do wish might have gone differently? Share your Stars and Wishes...

Happy weekend!!!!

Go check out Doodle Bugs for more classroom snapshots at her classroom Five For Friday {or in my case - a little more than that} linky party...


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