Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ready or we come!

Today was our teacher work day. We had the full day to spend in our classrooms on last-minute touches, plans, etc. since the next time we're in the building it is the first day of school.

I knew I had to tackle the beast that is my classroom library. There were so many books from the previous two teachers that my new neighbor and I had to do some nifty switching around in order to get everything back there and I STILL have books off the shelf! I ♥ books and am constantly annoyed that I don't have more room or more shelving in my classroom! I did purchase two wire book racks/shelves of my own this year that are housed inside my actual classroom. I may purchase a couple more because I really like them, they don't take up a lot of space and I have quite a few more books that I would love to add to the library area. Kids need to know that books are important and worth being interested in!

It probably took me a total of an hour and a half, maybe even two hours to get that library under control. It was a huge job! I'm not 100% satisfied with it but at least it is ready for the first day of school. I didn't snap a picture of it because my camera was left at home but I will quickly get one on the first day. I used my old student book boxes and it worked great. Otherwise I would have never gotten as many books on that shelf as I did. The book boxes are great because you can stack books two deep per bin and the children can just pull the bins out to search for books in that level. I need to make new labels for the bins and get those laminated so I can quickly attach them Tuesday morning and make shopping for books very easy for my students!

I had a tentative first-day plan all set and ready to go, I just needed to make copies. Then we got our specials schedules and I had to just chuckle! The first day of school, I will greet my students at their line and then take them to art class and drop them off for 40 minutes! We won't even have time to get to our classroom before they need to be at art. So that'll be a different way to start the first day :) It made me feel way less pressured because I have some time Tuesday morning before school and then the children will already be settled into with the art teacher so I can jump right into routines once they come back to my classroom with me.

I'm so excited about getting started. We are going to have a marvelous first day!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Preparations and New Teachers

It hasn't been that long since I was a so-called "baby teacher" (ie fresh out of college and in my first classroom). I do remember, very clearly, how much I thought I knew and was ready when I did have my own first classroom. Sadly, not everyone has that same level of preparation.

In fact, one of our student teachers from last fall was just hired to fill a vacancy at our school. She student taught there and that poor girl was like a deer-in-headlights today during our PD. I felt really bad for her. It's overwhelming enough to get hired at the last minute (she was hired Monday!) and have nothing to start with, but adding on PD like this can just make your head spin.

So I am doing my civic duty and I am helping her out (I would anyway). She is teaching 4th grade so she's one of my team members this year. I am sharing my first day plans with her and will spend some of my preparation time tomorrow helping her set up her room, get her materials together and get her first week plans ready to go. I'm feeling very glad that I had time to get into my room before and set up the way that I did so it is easier for me to give some of my time to her to help her get herself together and feel like she is ready for that first day.

I'm excited for the start of the year but also nervous because there are some "unknowns" happening. If I had a crystal ball, I would be gazing into it right about now! In all seriousness, I am always beyond nervous those first days leading up to a new year. You just never know what might happen and it can be intimidating. I have a rock-solid team that I am so fortunate to work with (and hey, I just realized...since I'm the only one with two grades, I'm also the only one with double the people to bounce ideas off of--bonus!). I hope my students are as excited about coming back to school as I am.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Getting Closer!

We're two days into our PD before the start of the year! We have PD tomorrow and then a day in our classrooms on Thursday. After a long weekend, we meet our kiddos on Tuesday!

We are transitioning to PowerSchool this year (well some schools in my district are) and we had training on that yesterday. My girls' schools all use PowerSchool and I really like it so I am excited to use it as a teacher. It's a bit weird with a split because I have to do a little bit of  "double duty" so that everything gets categorizied correctly with the separate grade reports and whatnot. 

I am a bit nervous because I had 28 students on my roster in the spring and between yesterday during that training and this afternoon, I have lost 4 students! My 4th grade colleagues are at 31 each and my 5th grade colleagues are at 29 and 30 respectively. I asked Mrs. Principal if it would be wise to just add a few more kids to my room but she still swears I won't stay a split. With budgets what they are, I can't believe that they would add another teacher and have us all at 23-24 when we've been told 28-30 is the "normal" range. 

Everyone thinks I am insane but I WANT this split. I want THESE kids! I am more worried they will wait until halfway through the year to make the move when I am attached :/ I know I shouldn't worry because I can't change it...but I do. Give me a few more and call it good!

Tomorrow we have a grade level PD and since I can't be in two places at once, I am going to 4th grade. I am also the go-to person for SWIS data for 4th grade so I should either stay a split or teach 4th grade! It will be okay and no matter what we will survive....I just hate the idea of having kids, getting them going and then having to move them to another teacher. It would mean getting new kids from two other classes and that is never fun. So cross your fingers that they don't split my split up! I really want this group SO bad.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

It's all about Perspective

Last summer, I read Awakened by Angela (Powell) Watson and did a review of it for the blog. Over the last week or so, I have really found myself wanting to pass it along to several people in my teaching life who insist on being flat-out negative.

Just this morning I read an article that started off with a negative title. I almost didn't read it because of the negative title (which was "What is wrong with Education?"). I find it can be extremely difficult to maintain a happy-go-lucky disposition when you are surrounded by negative people. I grew up in a very negative household and have tried hard to escape that in my own life, especially in teaching which is so important to me and fuels my passion for so many things.

Reading that article this morning, in which the author turned it around and said she is going to focus on what is right in education, reminded me of Angela's book. Your perspective plays a huge role into how you approach any situation. I have read blog posts and many articles about how teaching is no longer "fun". Just the other day when I was setting up at school, one of my colleagues told me she secretly envied some of our colleagues who have retired because teaching is no longer "fun". I was really surprised by her words.

I think teaching is fantastically fun! Yes, with the grades I am teaching now, I have a lot more test prep and data to keep but we still have fun. If you solely listen to the "powers that be" and do only what they ask, yeah, I can see how teaching would be pretty boring. My first day of school plans are interspersed with procedures, academics and fun. We will be doing a craftivity that I got on TpT and I am making it academic by talking about how we need to sometimes be concise in our writing depending on who and what we are writing for--it's going to be a lesson on audience. I guarantee the kids are going to love it...and they aren't even going to realize they are "learning". 

So if you find yourself being negative, please do yourself and your students a favor and read Angela's book. It will change your perspective and put the joy back into your classroom.

P.S. Angela is not secretly paying me to say this ;)


Saturday, August 25, 2012

My Classroom 2012-2013

After spending way more time at school this week than I originally wanted to (because, uh, I talk a lot...and therefore didn't get much done *whistles*), my classroom is pretty much set to welcome my new students! We don't start school until September 4th but next week is packed with meetings and PD so I like to have as much done as possible before the official start day for teachers. It makes my life SO much easier!

I have to tackle my classroom library because I have a million books and there are tons of leftovers from the teachers who had my room and the room next door last year so it has to be sorted and dealt with. I wasn't willing to stay at school until 6 last night so it's not done. I have to assemble the student's binders (just have to put the folders in) and finish securing their desktop helpers but otherwise, aside from a couple of headers for bulletin boards or display spaces, we're pretty much set. It feels SO awesome to have it ready to go!

For fun comparison purposes, you can see how I set up this room the last time I was in here which was in 2010-2011 by clicking here.

4th/5th Grade 2012-2013

Entrance. My fabulous friend Kirstin made me that "Mrs. Wood" sign. Love it!

 Immediately to the right of the door. Kinda boring. Those tubs will have books in them eventually.

Homework Chart. It just needs a header! My Behavior Bingo poster will likely also go on that small side.

 Shelving/storage. Mailboxes are there, extra supplies are stored in those small crates and materials for my table groups are in the colored bins on the bottom. (They will have crayons, scissors, etc.) My objectives chart and the poster board do double duty: they hide the (very organized!) stuff on the shelves but also provide a bit of extra display space. The poster boards will hold anchor charts for math, reading and writing!

Closer look at my small group table (need to find my spare chairs!). Everything is within my reach here. My teaching manuals are on the shelf directly behind and my storage carts are there to hold books and other supplies I need for my groups.

 CAFE board and DDI poster

 My Language Arts focus wall and Daily 5 posters.  I have the focus wall split by grade level. The table will likely be used for centers materials as needed. 

White board with my Calendar Board, speeding ticket sign and underneath is my collection of Books on CD. It's a great space because a group of students can sit and listen to the story from our anthology here as well.

Front of my tech stand area. The extra PC will be used for when I want to project anything onto the screen for the kids to see (it will make it so I don't have to keep connecting my laptop) and can be used by students during technology time. The tree is a gift I got from my cooperating teacher when she retired. It will be my Treat Tree (more on that later).

 My desk area. I face it against the wall because I never sit there with kids in the room so it doesn't need to take up valuable space. My clip chart is here along with our behavior expectations poster. I am using that red file hanger for my weekly planning materials. 

 Word Wall and a wire bookshelf that has all of my writing mentor texts on it as well as the Harry Potter series.

Window ledge. I decided to give this space back to students (I've always used it to house my own junk!) and turned it into a writing station. I do have some teacher  materials there in the crate that  is on the ledge but everything else up there is for the writing station. The crate seats make it possible for the kids to just pull a seat out and sit down to work. It's the perfect height!

Close up of the writing center (which I got on TpT). The blue "curtains" are king-size pillow cases ;) I got that idea on a blog too.

The crate seats are lined against the all under the ledge so they are not a tripping hazard during the day. They will be part of our meeting area so my table captains will get to sit on them for our meetings (that way when the captains jobs rotate, so does who gets to sit there). Inside are all of the manipulatives for math that the kids will be able to use when they are working without me. 

Meeting area and calendar. I realized when I looked at this picture how much I must like the color blue! :) That is a spare pocket chart hanging over that chair, I just didn't have another Command Strip left to hang it up. I love this spot because I can hang exemplars and models of work for my students and they will be able to refer to it when they are not in group with me because it's right here! 

Bump out area--my library is behind that lime green curtain. It is a MESS so no "after" picture yet. I share that space with the teacher next door. 

Back wall with my makeshift bulletin board (I used a shower curtain liner and some borders!). The cart will hold materials for Reading Street/Daily 5 stations, there is a listening center and another wire shelf for books. The bulletin boards will be a math focus wall and a writing wall with exemplars and student samples. That small table will have math games and centers and my Math It Up! Game. 

Computer station, Thinking Maps, Parts of speech posters and my Eechy Speechy posters are above the bulletin board. The bulletin board will be for student work. No idea what I am going to do with that red pocket chart yet! 

My room from the door. I have 28 students currently on my roster.  

A couple of my colleagues have their rooms set up in two long rows with 14 students in each row. I kind of like that setup also because it makes it feel SO much more roomy in the class...but I'm not sure I am willing to redo all of that work by switching my desks now ;)


Friday, August 24, 2012

PlanbookEDU winners & a Surprise!

Happy (really early) Friday, bloggers! I am so excited to announce the winners of my PlanbookEDU giveaway. A HUGE thank you to everyone who entered and who commented with their praise for the site. I really love it too! 

Thanks to Rafflecopter, everything is automatically calculated, generated and I push a little button to pick the winners totally randomly. I'm super excited to say the following three followers are the big winners!!
If you did not win the full-year subscription but left your email, don't worry. I have a surprise for you that hopefully will help. I will be contacting everyone shortly via email.

Thank you again for entering and Mad Props to Erika and Matt at PlanbookEDU for being SO awesome and providing 3 free subscriptions for us!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Registration and Progress

Today I volunteered to help with the registration at school. This will be my 3rd  year at this school and I haven't done registration before. I figured it was as good a time as any!

It was kind of slow. We didn't have nearly as many families as I thought we would but I got to see a lot of my former kiddos and it was so great to see them and talk to them. I had a mom praise me for helping her son last year and said she is glad I am back up to "big kids" because she wants her son to have me again some day. ♥ If that isn't a reason to be a teacher, I don't know what is!!

Before the registration started, I had just under 90 minutes in my room. Yesterday while I was there, The Littles helped me with getting things set up on the tables (notebooks and such for each student). My mission for today was to UNPACK. I have several tubs of books I need to deal with tomorrow but all of my other tubs and boxes were unloaded and the contents now scattered across the back counter and tables. At least this way I can see what I have and it will be much easier to begin the process of "putting away". I need to get the rest of my reading and math materials so I can figure out where I would like to put them...

I did hang my poster boards (blank) and my objectives chart. They cover the shelves AND provide me with a spot to put other teaching items. I think this year I am going to use them to hang my anchor charts. I'm SO not done in my room so I haven't taken full out "finished" room photos but I had to take pictures of my progress mess....

This is the view from my desk/ELMO cabinet area. Student materials and chair pockets (which have to be reattached) and some things I need to take care of (the pile of binders for example!).

Proof that I have a lot of stuff!! I emptied all of my boxes/totes and spread everything out so I can organize it and get it put away. On the shelves you can see the purple objectives chart and to the left are the 3 plain white poster boards. 

Tomorrow I get to spend a full day in my classroom and I'm really excited to see how much I can get accomplished with an entire kid-free day in which to do it!

I don't know where I saw this but someone had posted about using half spiral notebooks for math journals. I loved the idea, especially to go along with some CCSS thinking projects I want to do with math so I made these cute little labels and of course they have smart frogs on them because frogs rule.

Don't forget to enter my GIVEAWAY for a free year of PlanbookEDU! 


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Teacher Week: Must Have Monday & Technology Tip Tuesday

I didn't link up with Blog-Hoppin' yesterday to avoid the faux paux of posting twice in a day! But here I am with Monday and Tuesday :)

Must-Have Monday

1. Diet Coke -- I've tried to give it up and drink more plain water but it is SO never going to happen. If I don't have a DC on hand, it's probably not going to be as good of a day (I do prefer the Fountain variety though).

2. PlanbookEDU -- Can't live without this fabulous planning software. (Enter my contest to win a free year's subscription here Trust me when I say this is FABULOUS).

3. My laminator -- I laminated 65 pages worth of stuff last night...while in my pajamas. LOVE!

4. My Teacher Binder -- I keep everything in this bad boy, like most of you do. I don't have updated pics of it but I'm sure you can imagine it. I use a 1 1/2" notebook and have spots for Student Info (names, birthdays, parent contacts), School Calendar, Plans, Staff Meeting notes, and parent communication [I don't keep paper grades so I never have a tab for that].

Technology Tip Tuesday

Organize your files on your computer for easier access. I am horrible at doing this often enough! When I have find time (hahahahahaha), I try to put my files into folders that are common so I am not searching through hundreds of places to try to find what I need. Maybe this only helps my ADHD brain but I used to have folders EVERYWHERE and once I consolidated them, I have so much more time.


Monday, August 20, 2012

A PlanbookEDU Tutorial & GIVEAWAY

I've had a couple of emails and comments about using for my lesson plans. They have some great tutorial videos and overviews available in their Knowledge Base to help you get started but I know that it is often easier to get a feel for something when it is recommended by someone else who has actually used it.

Note: Yes, I DO collaborate with as a guest blogger but they are not paying me to write this content here. Not a single thing on this blog is sponsored by anyone but myself. Everything I write here is true, honest and directly from me. [If someone WANTS to sponsor my blog, I would probably say SURE, but not one does so it's all just me!]

That being said, I stumbled upon the site in the spring sometime. I honestly can't remember if I saw an ad or how I found it but I knew I wanted to be able to have some flexibility and ease with my plans and be able to quickly and easily make changes as needed. PlanbookEDU makes this very easy. 

I do have a paid version which is $25 per year. After playing with the free version for a couple of weeks, I went ahead and upgraded because of the features. To me, the $25/year cost is totally worth it. Here's a breakdown of the difference:
As you can see, you do get a lot of features for the free cost. The average school year is somewhere between 33-36 weeks long. That means upgrading would cost you about $0.70-$0.75 per week. When you break it down like that, you can see it is VERY cost-effective. And look at all of the added features: you can attach files to your plans, add Common Core standards or your own standards, put your plan book directly on your website/blog, share the plans (ie with your principal), and print from your browser or save as .pdf files. I spend more money on fountain diet cokes per week than I do on this software so its definitely worth the price in my mind.

Throughout this post, be sure to click on the pictures to enlarge them for best viewing!

When I log into the site, generally I am brought to the last planbook I had open. You can go to your list of planbooks by clicking on "Planbooks" along the top. This is what I see when I do that.

This is my home screen. (Sorry I had to point out that when I wrote this tutorial, it was MY blog post featured up in the corner. I'm almost famous! At least in my mind *wink*) I have four active plan books: one for 2011-2012 and 3 for 2012-2013. I only used one last year since I had one grade for all subjects. This year I am using three plan books since I have a 4th/5th grade combination class. I can open any of my plan books simply by clicking on the name. You can name them whatever you like. The site allows you to customize "off days" (ie planning days where you don't have students plus holidays) which is great because then they automatically show up in your book for that particular week.

Since I have 3 plan books this year, I will briefly show you each one. I have one for math, one for Reading Workshop and a general one. I did this because math and reading are the two subjects that I need to teach separately as the standards and some of the content are not the same. Putting together separate plan books makes it easier for me visually to separate those subjects since I have to tackle them a bit different.

Let's start with Math since it's been on my mind so much lately. When I click on any of my plan books, I am brought to a page that looks like this:
It will have the name of my plan book across the top and show the calendar of my year. (You customize your start/end dates when you create the plan book.) In Michigan, our first day with students is September 4 this year so I started my plan book on September 3 and ended it on June 7 which is our last day of school. From any of the plan books, when I am at this screen, I simply click on the week I want to work on and it will pop up.

Here's a sample of my Math plan book for the week of September 10. I have filled it out as a template already. It's blank of course because we haven't gotten there yet! (Go to PlanbookEDU's knowledge base for specific tutorials on how to create templates.) You can see that I have decided to use a modified Daily 5 for Math as well as my calendar board time. 

This is the same screen shot as above except that I have color-coded my boxes. This is a freebie feature! You can do this without upgrading! This is a nice feature to be able to highlight specials classes and/or events that might be different one week so they stand out in your plans. We aren't able to use colored ink at school so I would need to print these at home if I wanted to color code my boxes but it would be worth it if it was something I felt really kept me organized (and honestly I think it's a great feature for a sub--see the BLUE BOX in the plan book--or whatever so that the substitute teacher would be able to jump right in with what you've left for the class to do).

Here's a printable version of my Reading Workshop plan book. I can export to PDF because I have the upgrade. This is what it would look like if I were to print it as it stands. I am also doing a modified Daily 5 for my reading block which you can see here. I left a box at the bottom that I called "notes for tomorrow" so I can add, tweak or change anything that we didn't finish or that I noticed and need to address the following day. (I simply typed the words in and then hit enter a few times to leave the empty spaces since the plan book boxes default to the size of the text included in the box.) This way I can make notes and don't have to fret over rewriting my plans if a big change or reteaching needs to happen.

Here's a sample of my regular plan book. You can see that for my math and reading times, I simply wrote "see attached plans". That way anyone who is checking them will see that those plans are included behind the overall plans. Of course this plan book will change as I have no idea when my specials classes will be but you can see how easy it is to use.

One of my favorite features is that you type into the boxes like a Word Processor. You can bold, underline and italicize as well as add color (not simply to the whole box but you can actually highlight words in other colors if you want). See?

I can embed my plan book on any website or share it with a colleague too. Here's a sample from last year's plan book. (I only let 2 days be visible so you could scroll down to see it since the width of my blog is small.)

When I am ready to edit and input my lesson plans, I simply click on the edit button or double click the box and it will open up like this:
Now I can type my lesson plans into the box, adding word processing features (bold, italic, highlighting, etc) and you can see underneath that I have the option to attach files. This would not be there with the free version. You can also see the Standards window. I can begin to type in my standard code and it will show up in that box.

I clicked on the little green plus sign next to the Standards box and this popped up. It's a brand new feature and I LOVE it. When I set up my plan books, I selected the standards I plan to use, which are Common Core for 4th and 5th grade. Now whenever I am planning, I can simply click that green plus sign and my standards pop up. I just select one and on I go!

I selected 4th grade math and up pops a box with ALL of the 4th grade Common Core standards for math! I just scroll and select the standard(s) that apply and they will automatically appear in that box on my plan book.
Here's the math standard I added for that particular day. You can also select to simply add the code OR to include the entire standard per your preference or school expectations. 

As you can see, I am quite in love with PlanbookEDU. I love the features, I love that I can embed my plans to my website for parents/administrators to view if I want to do so. It is SO easy to use it and since I hated hand writing my plans, this is an amazingly easy way to ensure that I don't have to do that anymore.

Would you like to WIN a free year of PlanbookEDU? Erika, co-founder of PlanbookEDU, whom I collaborate with for my blogs, found out I was doing a giveaway and graciously offered THREE free one-year subscriptions to the site!! Exciting! (And proof that they ARE awesome!)

Follow these super simple steps to enter my giveaway!  In honor of my upcoming 7th year of teaching, you have seven chances to win. 
1. Follow my blog and leave a comment (with your email)  that you are a follower (1 entry)
2. Leave a comment letting me know how this software would help you with planning and organizing for instruction (1 entry)
3. Like PlanbookEDU on Facebook (2 entries)
4. Blog about my giveaway and leave a comment with a link back to the post (3 entries)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note: A super HUGE thanks to Erika and Matt at for stepping up and offering the free codes for this contest. It was unexpected and is totally appreciated!


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Introduction for the Next Book

Being a writer is sometimes annoying as all get out. 

Why? Because, at least for me, I get great ideas for writing when I'm trying to SLEEP. It's SO irritating. I am laying there all ready to slumber and POW! a great idea slams into my conscious and I can't let it go. Thus, I lose sleep. Then I'm irritable the following day because I didn't sleep. (Poor The Husband...)

Anyway, this idea I got last night just won't quit. It's being downright rude if you want to know the truth. Perhaps this idea is so persistent because many readers have emailed me to let me know that the parts of my book they enjoyed the most were the teaching parts. I decided I kind of like writing in the form of a narrative. So I decided to spend some time on my Sunday focusing on this idea and see what comes up.

I also decided to bless you (or maybe curse you...hmmmm) with the introduction. 

Working title is "ABC Shorts: 26 short essays on life, love, teaching and chocolate".

My name is Raye. I am not a guy, let's just be clear on that, shall we? (I blew off colleges my senior year of high school that would call and ask if MR. Raye LastName was home...if you can't figure out I'm a girl, I'm so not wasting my time.) I was the first granddaughter in our family after 5 boys and rumor has it that Grandpa Windy said, "The first granddaughter and you give her a boy's name?!" Yes, he was fabulous. I'm a teacher, mom, wife and a bit crazy! I can't sing or dance but I CAN teach and swear (but not at the same time!). I love my job and find passion in what I do. Kids make me mad or happy and the real talented ones do both at the same time which makes my job worth doing. They pick up on my sarcasm. They tell me Im fabulous (more because they repeat what I say rather than because they believe it). They also know after just a couple of days with me that I am just not myself without a Diet Coke.

I'm crazy. No, I am. I write and write and....not much happens. I'm too busy, tired, [insert other lame excuse]. I realize I like to write like I talk--a conversation between friends. Except often these friends are people I have never met. That's okay, I had imaginary friends as a kid, too. I can pretend people read what I write. I do all the time!

The idea for these ABC shorts came to me while I was trying to sleep. This happens often. It is downright irritating! All cozy in bed, wrapped in a blanket and the best idea for a book, essay, blog post, or teaching activity comes to me. It's rude of my brain, don't you think? Sometimes the ideas stick...sometimes they don't. The ones that do, I try to write seeds of them down so I can turn them into something; maybe someday when I'm not trying to sleep! This collection of shorts idea just wouldn't quit at 2 a.m. As my attempt at counting sheep continued to fail (because visions of pens, paper, back-to-school everything floated in my head), the ideas for this collection just kept coming.

I try to be funny but I'm probably not. My husband laughs at my jokes (or possibly at me). As a fabulous husband, that is his job. Even if he thinks I am acting like I am 10, which sometimes I do, his job is to smile, grit his teeth and love me anyway. Oh well, at least I try to be funny. That's what I tell my students: try! So if I want them to listen to me, I should listen too, right? (Or at least fake listen...) I overuse exclamation points, go off on tangents and get way too excited over the Common Core standards, Sharpies, composition books and organizers for my classroom. I am also psychotically obsessed with all paraphernalia frog-like (except live ones, which makes no sense). I hope you enjoy my ABC shorts on life, love, teaching and other random things like chocolate. Oh and Diet Coke. Cant forget that one. It's nearly a food group.

My chapters include titles such as A is for ADHD, B is for Bragging and K is for Kryptonite. Many of the short essays will be about teaching but some will be about other random events in my life. I'm super excited about it :)


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Hodge Podge Saturday Post, Linky Party & Giveaway Info!

Happy Saturday bloggers! It is beautiful, yet cool, here in West Michigan and I am loving it! I hope you are having a fabulous Saturday!

I have several things to share today and decided to combine them into one Hodge-Podge post!

1. While I was working through my study of Guided Math (you can check out those posts here), I remembered an article I had read during a math PD I attended last year. I couldn't remember the name but on Monday when I was in my classroom, I dug out the binder so I could share it. It's worth reading. It's called Understanding and Supporting Children's Mathematical Vocabulary Development. As I read Guided Math I thought of this article again and again. I found it in .pdf form online which you can find here. This article emphasizes the use of language arts strategies to help teach mathematics which is why the Guided Math book made me think of it over and over. 

2. I know many bloggers read Guided Math this summer just like I did. I also read Number Sense Routines (geared for K-3 but applicable to K-6 in my opinion) and it has solidified for me that I need to make sure people come into my room and understand that math is taught in there. I jumped on board with some fellow bloggers and made a Calendar Board. I got this on TpT from Stephanie at Teaching in Room 6. I purchased her bundle set so that I could pick and choose what I wanted/needed to use to meet the standards for my 4th and 5th graders. I decided my board was a tad boring so I added some ribbon (that I stapled on because I was lazy!) and some letters courtesy of Kristen at Ladybug's Teacher Files.

This will hang on the front board each day (after we slowly introduce it of course) so that my students can begin working on it immediately and then it can be moved to the meeting area for the rest of the day so that students can refer back to it as needed (I am 99% sure that Calendar Board extension is going to be part of my Math Daily 3 choices).

3. Please be sure to join my first Linky Party about the First Day of School Plans! Even if you've already had your first day with kiddos, I would love you to link up and let us know what you did!

4. STAY TUNED for an upcoming giveaway right here at The Caffeinated Teacher! I am SO excited about this giveaway that I might just have to dance around in anticipation. It's going to be GOOD! (And you won't have to wait long because it will be announced Monday, August 20!)

Happy weekend!!