Let Me Just Make It To…..Spring Break…..Linky

from Snoopy’s Guide to the Writing Life (public library)

D-Day is here!  My students take our standardized writing test tomorrow and Wednesday.  Ummmm….Prozac anyone?  My principal asked me if we were ready…..well, ready or not, it’s coming.  I’m very proud of my students, they’ve worked very hard over the past few weeks with the last push.  This is the first time I’ve ever been teaching a group that has been tested in writing and I am a bit…just a wee little bit….oh let me just come out and say it…..totally and completely nerve-wrecked!

I am trying to keep calm, because I want my students to be calm on tomorrow. It’s that mixture of “Do your best or I’ll kill you” and “Do your best because I know you totally and completely know you can do this”…….I hope that I can pull it off tomorrow…..wish me luck!

Nine 8 1/2 more days until Spring Break so I’m linking up with Brigid’s Daily Lesson Log for her Spring Break Bucket List Linky Party!

I’ve spent 15 years between North and South Carolina and my Spring Break has always been around the Easter holiday.  Not even in 2011 when Easter was at the end of April (which were the longest winter weeks of our life!), did we make any adjustments to that tradition.  How shocking it is to find out that other states (even some that are in the Bible belt) have Spring Break during any other time!!

Last year, baby girl and I had different Spring Breaks (I wasn’t happy….but I was happy), but this year we’ll be together.  I’ve got great things planned for us and hopefully a few days at Nana and Papa’s or Grandma’s house.  🙂  And hopefully my hubby will play hookey with me for a day or two!

Here are my grand plans!!

illustrations courtesy of JWIllustrations

 

What are your plans??  Click here to link up!

What’s Ahead In 2013

It’s day 2 of 2013 and I find myself still in vacation mode. These next 5 days will fly by and if I know what’s good for me, I better get my butt in gear!

So, maybe a way to get my mind right is to start looking at what I want for next year. And it just so happens that Michelle from Making It As A Middle School Teacher has just the linky party to do it!:-)

20130102-093535.jpg

Here are the 13 things that I’ll be looking forward to or taking part in during 2013.

20130102-093855.jpg

Just to highlight a few…..

By middle school, many students are really good at calling words – but have no comprehension skills. They hate to read which makes it even harder to teach them. I’ve heard that the book I’ve Read It, But I Don’t Get It is awesome so my goal is to read it over the next few days.

Before marriage and children, I has time to read school personal and personal personal books. I was able to recommend books to my students that they would love, which increased their reading. Lately, I’ve only been reading trash, none of which would be helpful to my students…. I’m trying to work my way back and Wonder is my next goal. This year, I’ve been using excerpts from my favorite books to teach concepts to students. That has worked out well, because after we finish an excerpt, many of them want to read the book!

Since being back in the classroom (I did four years as a facilitator that was cut during our financial crisis), I’ve been addicted to technology. Because of this I’ve been thinking hard about going back to school for either a Master’s or Doctorate in Instructional Technology. I know….I know….it doesn’t make sense to have two Master’s, but I JUST DON’T WANT TO WRITE A DISSERTATION!! So, I’m going back….just not sure of the details yet.

My principal let me paint my wall green to create a green screen for videos and guess how many I’ve done? ZIP…..ZERO…..NADA The thing is, I have students that are more than capable of independently creating videos for various reasons – I just need to organize it. Hmmm, that’s something else that needs to be added to my list…..gosh darn it!

Well, enough about me, let’s talk about you….if you’re interested, here’s what you do!

To join in, download the image below. Then open it with PowerPoint or any picture editing software you normally use. Add in text boxes and save it as your own version. Not much space so you’ll have to be concise.

20130102-102900.jpg

Write a blog post which links back here and includes the main image above {with the chevrons} as well as your own version of your 13 things.

That’s it! Pretty simple.

Oh yeah…let’s do Farley’s Rule, too. After you link up, visit and leave a comment for the 2 people before you as well as the 1 after you.

20130103-221157.jpg

Happy New Year and January Currently

Happy New Year! I cannot believe that it’s 2013 already! What a whirlwind year we’ve had. I’m linking up with Farley at Oh’ Boy 4th Grade for her monthly currently.

20130101-092234.jpg

There have been some lazy days in the family! DD usually has a strict schedule (it really helps children with autism), but I haven’t been sticking to it much this holiday season. She goes back to school on Thursday and I’m afraid there’s going to be heck to pay tomorrow night and Thursday morning. Pray for me!! She just woke up a few minutes ago – only to come by and pick up the iPad and climb back in bed. That and put on the bathrobe her godmother bought her for Christmas. Not. understanding the fascination – but oh well…..

DH is not feeling well, so he’s knocked out. I was sick last Thursday – Saturday (really still having a few issues), and I found. RiteAid brand of Tylenol Cole and Sinus that worked great! It has a Nighttime and Daytime formula which I love. You actually get some sleep!!

That’s right – you heard it! We don’t go back to school until January 7th!! Although it was hard going until December 21st….I am LOVING it now! That means two whole days with out the constant “Mama can I have….” questions. DD will be in school….DH will be at work….and I will be all alone….:-)

OMG, I have so much work that I need to do before school starts on Monday! Planning for my kiddos, my room is a mess, and I should begin planning for the PD I am teaching on January 18th that I kinda sorta….maybe…..actually have not much of a clue of what I should do. The class is called “Web 2.0, Apps, and You”. I only have 2 hours, and there’s so much I want to share so I need to narrow it down…

Our district is moving toward a 1:1 iPad deployment. My principal selected me to participate in the district committee responsible for planning the deployment, but I still need to submit my proposal for classroom use. Our 6th grade team is actually submitting a group proposal, but crazy me agreed to do the groundwork….crazy me…..

But, the most pressing thing is that I need to get my butt up and head to the grocery store. All GRITS (Girls Raised In The South) know that New Years Day dinner consists of chicken, collard greens, black eyes peas as staples. We only arrived home from Va. on yesterday and all I have is the chicken. Gotta get a move on! Gonna cook some Mac and cheese too! Mmmmmmm.

OLW – Blessed…..I have a wonderful family, a great job, and pretty good health. The health part I can control. No resolutions, just a plan to get back to what I know works. Healthy eating and exercise. No other words necessary.

Well, I’m off to the grocery store….wish me luck!

20130101-092043.jpg

12 In 12

Miss Kindergarten is hosting the 12 in 12 linky party.

All you have to do is think back at your favorites in 2012 and add a few pictures. What a fun way to remember the year, huh!? You can use these prompts if you’d like, or just type up your 12 favorite things!

12. Favorite movie you watched:
Django Unchained – Although I don’t think it is an entirely accurate depiction of that time period, it was definitely entertaining. Definitely QT fashion with all the blood…all the blood, but I’d go see it again.

11. Favorite TV series: Scandal
Who doesn’t love Olivia Pope? I am so addicted to this show!

20130101-205328.jpg

10. Favorite restaurant:
Anyone who knows me knows I love I eat! I don’t just have one favorite….Outback, Olive Garden, Longhorn, Chickfila, Cookout….I better stop, I’m getting hungry right now….

9. Favorite new thing you tried:
Hmmmm, I usually would say I’m adventurous, but this year I’ve been pretty tame….so one goal for 2013 is….to be more adventurous….try something new….

8. Favorite gift you got:
The gifts from my students. Each and everyone of them are special, because I work in a very high poverty level area. If I received a gift from them, it means all the more to me because I know they had to sacrifice to give it.

7. Favorite thing you pinned:

20130101-205634.jpg

I am not a fan of Steve Jobs, more like indifferent, but I definitely admire all that he had done during his lifetime. And I absolutely love this quote.

6. Favorite blog post:
I had a difficult time determining this one, but I finally made a decision. This blog post describes how I felt after the first quarter and showcased some great work that my students had dne.

5. Best accomplishment:
Being selected as a Top 25 Middle School Blog! 🙂

20130101-211047.jpg

4. Favorite picture:

20130101-210109.jpg
These are my kiddos (well about half of them). They have the best personalities….In the words of Farley, I {puffy heart} love them to death!

3. Favorite memory:
I have so many, but my current favorite is this Christmas. My DD didn’t wake up until 8:30 and when she did she wasn’t all loud about it. DH and I heard her moving around and shuffle up towards the den. Her gasp of surprise and quiet exclamation of “Santa came!” warmed my heart.

2. Goal for 2013:
To get back to healthy eating and exercise.

1. One Little Word:
Favored

How to link up:
Create a blog post sharing your favorite 12 things in 2012. Go to Miss Kindergarten’s website, add the button to your post, and link it to this blog post. Then link up below, making sure to link directly to your post, not just your blog.

20130103-221315.jpg

By George, I Think I’ve Got It!

It’s been 10 weeks and I’ve still been struggling with my self-selected reading time. At the beginning of the year I created “book bags” for each student. I put the books bags in a bin behind each zone for the students that sit there. But I teach 107 students in four periods, and the bags were being thrown in the bin, and it was taking forever of the kids to get their bag, etc, etc, etc…..

After many different attempts to organize the “book bins” I finally solved my problem. We were provided with hundreds of Target bags last year and they had hardly been touched. Eureka! I hooked those babies on the back of a desk and voila! It is now a storage space. My sweet children will only have to reach behind them to grab their bag and begin the glorious process of self selected reading!

Problem solved….meltdown averted…sanity preserved….that is until I change my mind again…..

Till the next time!

20121031-194000.jpg

20121230-200504.jpg

First Quarter in Review and my October Currently

I can’t believe that we are heading in Week Eight of our 1st Nine Weeks! Where did the time go? I’m enjoying my new kiddos and we’re having a good time in class. But, these 60 minute periods are killing me! I know I should be used to it by now – it’s my third year….but eight years of 90 minute period spoiled me!

I’m working on streamlining my lessons so that I get in all the necessary components – but I just don’t like it. Now, I’m probably about two weeks behind in my pacing guide, but I’m achieving my goal of 80% student mastery of skills. So, I’m doing quite a few things right.

My kiddos are loving the technology. You would think our ActivExpression devices are little piece of magic – and I guess they are. We’ve actively begun blogging (which they have actively dived into) and using VoiceThread; and I’ve introduced them to Animoto, Xtranormal, Wordle, Socrative, and Voki. Skype, Bitstrips and Edmodo are coming up next.

 

 

Here’s our VoiceThread about our school:

I’ve adjusted my homework plan and it’s saving me 210 copies a week….that’s right you read it right…A WEEK! I might actually only have to buy one additional case of paper this year! 🙂

Things are good great! Of course there are always a few things to tweak, but when isn’t there?

And now for my October currently……

I’m linking up with Farley from Oh’Boy 4th Grade yet again (I just love these things!); It forces me to be reflective and aware.

 

I have two iPod touches and an iPad, but I’ve been hemming and hawing about getting the iPhone for about three years. I love my HTC Inspire, which has an Android platform, but the battery life is killing me! I’ve heard the battery life on the iPhones are better. This time next week, I will be the content owner of one – just not sure which one…..stay tuned!

I am such the procrastinator (which I actually plan to stop doing…..tomorrow), but I know first hand how smooth the mornings are when I get clothes ready for the week on Sunday. So – I’m going to bite the bullet and do it…..a little later this evening. 🙂

 

 

We’re participating in The Global Read Aloud, and they are loving The One and Only Ivan. It’s such a sad story and I’m pleasantly surprised how much they care for that gorilla already. If you haven’t heard of The Global Read Aloud, click on the link above and check it out.

My next read will be Wonder. I’ve heard so many wonderful things about this book and actually downloaded the sample.

But, as I have exhausted my bi-weekly book allowance, I will purchase it next week. A great book about teaching tolerance – from what I’ve read (and heard about) so far.

20130103-221439.jpg

Beginning CAFE….or rather…CRAFT

Getting the idea from Kristen at Ladybug’s Teacher Files, I decided to go with the CRAFT idea using the two sister’s CAFE model. Craft is just so relevant to middle school students and I loved her CRAFT board layout. After two trips to Hobby Lobby (I left my first order of bulletin board fabric in my god-daughter’s car) and much walking back and forth for laminating and cutting, my CRAFT board is finally up!

CRAFT Board….Thanks Kristen! 🙂

On yesterday, my students were allowed to pick books that they thought they would like to read. Today, we reviewed how to find “Good Fit Books” using the I PICK method. We also discussed using the 5 finger method to determine whether books were too hard, too easy, or just right. I had students use the books that they had chosen on yesterday to practice. They did a fabulous job!

20120823-212310.jpg

Now that they have books that they would like to read, tomorrow begins the real test…..Read To Self!

Wish me luck!

Carla

;

;

Continue reading

Why I’m Joining the Global Read Aloud

I love to read. As a child, I was fussed at frequently because I was reading when I should be doing something else. In high school I jumped at the chance to take AP English but didn’t even contemplate taking AP Calculus. Before texting and driving – I was reading and driving….yes, I admit it! Then I found out about audiobooks and gave Cracker Barrell a great deal of my business until my local library caught up. Because of my love of reading, I find it unfathomable that there are children in this world who don’t like to read.

Last year, my class participated in a book read with classes out of Mississippi and North Carolina. They loved it! They enjoyed the idea of using Edmodo to respond to other students’ posts in another state. Add to that a Skype experience and I had to beg them not to read ahead – but they did it anyway!

So why the Global Read Aloud? Instead of just two other classes, we will be reading this book with approximately 100 other classes – all over the world!  Multiple opportunities to Skype and use Edmodo (which the children love) as well as get the students excited about READING!

This year, the Global Read Aloud will be reading Charlotte’s Web (for younger children) and The One and Only Ivan (for older students).   Excited – heck yeah I am!  I devoured The One and Only Ivan  in a day with tears streaming down my eyes as I finished (and yes, before you ask I’m a HUGE crybaby) and am still wondering how I’m going to get through it since there isn’t an audiobook available yet.

Have I piqued your interest yet?  I hope I have.  If so check out the Global Read Aloud Blog and Wiki.  Also, you can follow information on twitter by using the hastag #glread12.

Hope to see you soon!

My Real Life Fairy Tale

Courtesy of disboards.com

Who needs a fairy godmother when my reality is a real fairy tale? I am living my dream life – making a difference daily in the lives of children. I am the fairy godmother that has used chalk, dry erase markers, and now my Promethean board’s ActivWand as the magic wand to change school attire into business suits, medical scrubs, and military uniforms. I am the fairy godmother that uses magical words like, “I believe in you” or “I’m taking nothing less than your very best” to create, not princesses, but scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and best of all – educators.

These words, although cheesy, truly express my feelings about being an educator. As I embark upon my 15th year of teaching, I cannot imagine doing anything else. I have to be around children – I know that it was meant for me to improve the lives of children. And despite the challenges I face on a daily basis (funding, standardized testing, increased pressure to perform, the occasional apathetic child and/or parent), I know that I make a difference.

It’s evident in the hugs I get at the end of the day (even after having received a tongue lashing), it’s evident in the smiles and the high fives, it’s evident in the confidence parents give me to do what’s best for their child.

Who needs a fairy godmother when my reality is a real life fairy tale? I am living my dream life – making a difference daily in the lives of children.

Are you?

In The Beginning…..

I’ve toyed with this idea for a while now.  Should I?  Shouldn’t I?  But, I’ve done it – I’ve made up my mind to begin a personal reflective blog.  I have one for my parents and students, I have one that focuses on technology (which I’ve sorely left lacking and is another reason why I hesitated creating this blog), but I’m planning so many new and exciting things in my class this year – so why not?

This blog will allow me to not only showcase the work that my students create, but also reflect on these new practices.

I appreciate all the input and feedback I hope to receive as you experience my life as a sixth grade warden teacher!