Sunday, October 5, 2014

October Currently

I'm linking up with Farley for this month's October Currently.

Listening: I'm watching last week's episode of Resurrection. I didn't know it started back up for this season until it came on after Once Upon a Time. Love this show. So good!!

Loving: My Young Living essential oils. I'm obsessed with them. I started using them at the beginning of September and use them daily. For everything. Feeling tired in the morning? Inhale some peppermint. Something hurts? Put some peppermint or Pan Away on it. Need to clean? Thieves and Lemon. Distracted? Lemon and Valor. Feeling down? Joy and Peppermint diffused through my house. Stressed out? Peace and Calming or Stress Away. Kids at school are off the wall? Put a few drops of lemon, valor, or peace and calming on their desks or diffuse it through the room. Not getting enough sleep? Mix some frankincense, lemon, and lavender in with some coconut oil and use it as a moisturizer (I have oily skin, and it doesn't make me greasy!). Not sleeping? Peace and calming and lavender. I'm super allergic to my friend's dog and get hives. Put lavender oil on them and they're gone. Got a pimple? Purification. THIS STUFF IS AMAZING!!!!! I use them everyday everywhere. Send me a message if you're interested in learning more :)

Thinking: I have got to grade these papers. I gave a quiz on Wednesday and graded two sets but not the third. Need to get cracking on it.

Wanting: Pumpkin roll! I love pumpkin roll. It's my favorite thing about fall. I can't get enough of it. 

Needing: To plan for the week. We have ACT Explore testing tomorrow and Wednesday, so that has totally thrown off my plans. Sigh.

Trick or Treat: Treat (coming soon)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Taking on Too Much

As usual, I have overwhelmed myself. Theater is my second passion. It is the only thing I love as much as teaching. I grew up on stage and when I went to college I transitioned back stage to stage managing. I got involved with the theater here last October and did every show since. This past weekend, my most recent show "The 39 Steps" went up. The show only had a cast of 4. How hard could it have been? THE HARDEST SHOW I HAVE EVER DONE! I was staying at school until 6:30 then going to rehearsal until 10 or 11 every night since the beginning of the year. I. Am. Worn. Out. On top of that, I'm organizing our field trip in April (over night to DC), heading a committee, and trying to be the best teacher I can be. Now I'm just trying to get caught up.

Over the last few weeks we have...

  • Taken our first mastery test
  • Started SMG
  • Finished Real Numbers
  • Started Exponents/Scientific Notation

Thoughts on SBG...

Personally, I love it. I love that the kids are in control of their grade and I can see where they need more work. Unfortunately, my students are not retesting!!! What in the world!? I can't understand it. I really can't. I'm not giving in though. Progress reports went home today. I sent letters home two weeks ago to kids who haven't retested. Maybe that will get the point across...

Thoughts on SMG...

I LOVE IT! Sign up for the spring competition. My kids are so engaged. They are coming in every day asking if it is an SMG day. Some of them are being safe and only investing in one company (usually Apple) and only a few shares (20-30). Others have invested EVERYTHING and have invested in Michael Kohrs, Nike, Kraft, Johnson & Johnson, Under Armour, etc. I love hearing them come up with different companies to invest in. The conversations about why they should or should not invest while they are interpreting graphs is awesome. I'm so impressed. I have 5 teams in the top 10 in the region right now. So proud.

I, on the other hand, am in 185/194 in the adult division. I clearly need to start looking at their portfolios and investing in what they are. #fail

Real Numbers

Real Numbers are hit or miss. This year we couldn't get the whole rational/irrational concept, but they can estimate irrational numbers and change repeating decimals to fractions like it's their job. WHAT!?

Exponents/Scientific Notation

As usual, they know the rules, but get tripped up because they still don't know integer rules. Sigh. 

I have added multiple foldables and activities to my TPT store. INB Pictures coming soon.

  • Foldables for the rest of this notebook and the upcoming unit
  • Getting organized
  • Getting back on track
  • Sharpening my saw!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Initial Thoughts on SBG Year 2

Last year I attempted standards based grading, but I didn't have full buy in from my administration, I absorbed 4 classes into my already existent 4 classes 9 weeks into the school year, and I transferred districts mid-year to stay sane. Needless to say, it was not a success. Fortunately, I did implement it enough to identify some flaws and decide how to fix them. Three weeks into the year, I have given an SBG quiz, SBG test, and we are now in the retest process. Here are my initial thoughts:

  1. It's hard to explain. To anyone. Students. Parents. Teachers. Colleagues. Nobody gets it until they see it in action. They think I'm crazy. "But where's my grade?" they say. "How did I get an 'M' if I only got 6/8 right?" they ask. "How has my child had five quizzes and 7 tests in two weeks of school!?" "You give 100's for kids who don't get everything correct!?" "That's so much work!" etc. etc. etc. Even after giving my first test back, my kids are still floundering with the concept. I expected that, though. I'm hoping by the second test we have a better understanding.
  2. Grading is easy. I'm not just looking for a correct answer. I'm looking at the work. It makes it easy to know if they get it or they don't. I can look at my set of 8 integer addition and subtraction problems and see that they are using multiplication and division rules for the signs. I can look at fraction problems and see that they know to find a common denominator but are doing something weird with the numerator (you don't want to know), or that they can get the answer as an improper fraction but changing it to a mixed number is a skill that has yet to be mastered (scary). It causes me to reflect. It causes them to reflect. They are already getting good at looking at their work and telling me where they went wrong. That's an excellent start and a great skill to have.
  3. It does not inflate their grades--or destroy them. I was concerned that by taking the Mastery=100 Developing=65 No Mastery=0 approach I would be inflating some and destroying others. My grades are about where I would anticipate if they were receiving traditional grades because classwork and homework are graded as usual. Nobody has a crazy high grade, and the kids with low grades haven't been doing any of the other work either. They love that they get to go back and retest. Some of them hate it and say it's too much work--they're the same ones who don't do my homework or classwork though, so I'm not surprised.
  4. It's not as hard to keep up with as I made it last year. I made myself a spreadsheet this year to write their achievement levels. So much easier than making them comments with the grade in PowerSchool. That was insanity. Also, by using the M, DM, NM scale rather than 1, 2, 3, 4, it is more clear cut where they fall and it is easier to enter into my grade book. *sigh of relief*

I love it so far. It will grow on the kids as they realize how it works. My principal loves it. He was on board before I even brought it to his attention. I'm looking forward to seeing it pan out this year.

Meanwhile, I uploaded new foldables for the real number system, cube roots, square roots, irrational numbers, and repeating decimals to my TPT store today, so be sure to check it out! :)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

#MTBoS Challenge Week 4

It's week 4 of the MTBoS challenge! Here's my 3-2-1.

3 Strategies I used this week

1. Interactive notebooks are the root of my class. I love INBs. So far I'm doing well at keeping up with them. Usually I am so scattered and use them on and off. I'm hoping I keep up!
2. Fist to Five keeps me in tune with how well my kids understood what we did for the day. We are working on being honest when we do it, so I think it's a little skewed when the kids give me their evaluations right now. We'll get there.
3. SBG I gave my first SBG quiz AND test this week. The kids and parents are trying to get used to it, and they will. It will just take time. I'm going to spend Monday going through the test and explaining to them the retest process. Hopefully when they see their SBG score compared to their traditional score they will understand better. SBG post coming soon.

2 things I bought this week
1. More composition notebooks. I live in a different town from where I teach. The town my school is in was completely out of composition notebooks everywhere, so I picked some up for my kids to buy from me instead.
2. New khakis. ALL three pairs of my khakis ended up in the washer with something neon pink at the end of last year (along with all of my other light colored things) and the dye transferred. I finally got some new ones. Yay! :D

1 Thing I'm grateful for this week
Good friends. I have the greatest, most supportive friends out there. They're there when I had a good day to celebrate and when I've had a bad day or I'm feeling overwhelmed to support me and keep me going. I don't know what I'd do without my support network, especially being so far from my family.
Monday, September 1, 2014

September Currently

Hang's September? Linking up with Farley for this month's currently.

Listening: To nature. I love the sounds of summer. Even though I hate bugs, hearing the cicadas is calming to me. Birds always remind me of my Pap, so it's nice hearing them too.

Loving: how motivated I am! I have been super proactive and I'm doing really well at planning ahead and not procrastinating. I really hope I am able to keep it up.

Thinking: I should be outside! It's beautiful and I haven't enjoyed enough time outdoors this summer for some reason.

Wanting: summer weather to never end! I love the sunshine and warmth. I hate cold. I hate snow. It's why I moved south. Someone told me the other day that this winter is supposed to be worse than last. Not looking forward to that.

Needing: To grade my classwork assignments from Friday. Maybe I'll do that outside :)

3 Trips: I would die to go to Greece. My family is Greek. I love Greek food. I love Greek mythology. The isles look beautiful. I want to go and never come back. The Maldives are where I go mentally when I'm stressing and need to think of somewhere peaceful. Every photograph I see of the Maldives is amazing. Australia just because I want to see a kangaroo and some Koalas. The landscape looks beautiful there too :)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

3-2-1 and Week 1 Recap

One week down, only 40-something to go! That first week is always exhausting. I feel like I could have gone to sleep on Friday, not woken up until Tuesday, and still felt just as tired. There's just so much to do in the first week!

Monday was crazy, which was to be expected. Between kids not having their schedules, random interruptions, practicing hallway procedures, etc., I didn't get through as much as I had hoped. I had wanted to do the marshmallow challenge on Monday, but only one class actually got to do this. I like doing the sticky note activity as well, but I didn't have a chance to grab paper, and they won't stick to my whiteboard, so that was a flop this year. Oh well.

Tuesday we did mock stations to practice procedures in my room. I had a station with procedure task cards, a station where they had to complete a 7 Habits Puzzle, and a station with me to do "math about me." Unfortunately, only my second block actually got to do this. My first block was so scattered the first day, that I had to take Tuesday to go through my syllabus and procedures, and my third block had to spend half the period (literally) remembering how to come into a classroom the correct way. I'm going to have my hands full with that one.

In my TPT store :)

Wednesday we dove right in to reviewing integer operations. We completed a foldable and setup our notebooks. We then did some integer task cards, played Integer Insanity, and went on our way.

Thursday we covered fraction operations and did a set of fraction/decimal task cards.

Friday we went over PEMDAS and reviewed Wednesday's and Thursday's topics. The thing I love most about SBG is that it makes me reflect more when I'm looking at work. Even though I don't grade classwork SBG, I still look to see what is causing the issues. When we played Integer Insanity, I noticed that a lot of kids were forgetting the order of operations ALWAYS applies. On Friday, I gave them an assignment on PEMDAS that did not have any negatives, and I gave them a separate assignment on just integer rules. Separated, they can do it. Combine the two, and it's a disaster. We'll work on it.

We also are focusing on the 7 Habits in our "Patriot Period" which is half DEAR and half "advisory" for lack of a better word. We talked this week about "The Man in the Mirror," setting goals, paradigms and principles, and wrote letters to ourselves in the future. I'll give these letters to the kids when they graduate from 8th grade in June. They really liked this activity and put a lot of thought into their letters (I think). I didn't read them because I wanted them to be personal and I thought if they knew I was looking at them they may not be as honest with themselves.

Now for....

3 things that happened this week:
1. The kids started! I have an awesome advisory group, two awesome blocks, and one that is going to need some tough love, but I'm hopeful that they can evolve into another wonderful group :)
2. I tried stations. It didn't work. I'm giving up stations. Sigh.
3. I wore myself out. Big time. Staying at school until 6 then going to rehearsals until 10 is exhausting. 

2 things I'm looking forward to this week:
1. My first SBG test of the year will be on Friday! :)
2. Getting into more of a routine myself and with the kiddos 

1 thing that I need to work on
1. Getting everything together for my second unit, which is my first real unit of 8th grade curriculum. I was very proactive with my review unit and having everything done ahead of time. I want to keep up that work ethic all year :)

Check out my TPT store--I added lots of new products this morning :D

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Math Workshop--A plea for help!

Just a quick post...

I wanted to implement workshop last year, but our periods got cut to 60 minutes and I just didn't see it possible.

This year I have 80, but I am having a hard time coming up with how to organize things. Here are the two options as I see them now:

Option 1:
* 10min to do warm-ups, check hwk, any announcements etc.
* 20min for a mini lesson--whole group. This is where we would do our INB/ISN right hand page.
* 50min of rotations--I have my class in 4 or 5 groups (one class only has 21 kids, the others are 24 and 28). I need to have 5 rotations because of this, but is 10 minutes enough time to do task cards? What if they don't get all of them done? If I did this, my math workshop board has the following rotations:
Math Journal--Complete the left hand page in their notebooks
At your seat--Partner work/task cards
Teacher's Choice--task cards/game/SMG on Thursdays
Help Desk--With me
Skills Practice--independent work

This leaves no time for recapping at the end of the block. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Option 2:
*10min for hwk/warm-ups/announcements
*60min of rotations
*10min recap

The catch with this is rotations would either be 4 15min rotations or 3 20min rotations. I would do the lesson as the help desk. My problem with that is I will have to have two groups at a time (12 students instead of 6. Not as effective), and kids will have to be working on task cards for skills that I haven't taught unless they are in my first group.

So the question is...

If you use workshop or rotations as part of your daily routine in middle school math, how do you do it? What works, what doesn't? What do you recommend?

Monday, August 25, 2014

3-2-1 (A day late) and Day 1 Recap

In 2011 and 2012 I was hired to work for schools in towns I didn't teach in (in Pittsburgh after I had  just moved back to my parents 4 hours away LITERALLY only a week before in 2011, and in NC in 2012) the day before school started. I'm not kidding. It was Friday, school started Monday, and I went from sobbing about how I couldn't find a job to setting up a classroom in 2 hours. Insanity.

So how did I feel more prepared those years than this one? First day of school round 4 should have been the easiest yet! Sigh.

Between things being thrown on us last minute (typical), timing not going as planned (more typical), kids not having schedules and having to look them up (also typical), not being able to figure out how to work the built in locks in the lockers (UGHH! HEADACHE!), mixed in with all the other first day of school things, it was a mess.

Not to mention I forgot the adapter for my MacBook to use it with my projector AND my teacher binder at home. What. A. Day. Block 1, we didn't even get through all of the school paperwork let alone get to talk about my own class. Block 2 flew through the syllabus, but there wasn't enough time before or after lunch to do the activity that I wanted to do (Marshmallow Challenge from Sherri at Middle School Math Rules!), and Block 3 was "turned up" from lunch and never really got themselves in check. Of course that's my biggest class.

Didn't leave until 6 then straight to play practice until 9:45ish. I'm exhausted. 

Anyway, here's my 

3 things that happened this week:
  1. I went to Pittsburgh to see my family :D My aunt retired from 30+ years in the school system this summer and my parents just moved my brother in at Pitt on Thursday, so we had a retirement celebration Friday night. I have only seen my aunt once since I moved two years ago, so that was nice :)
  2. I got ALL of my copies and plans made for the first two weeks of school. WHAT!?
  3. I started rehearsals for the next play I'm working on, and my high school best friend who also ended up down here in NC (same town, actually) was cast in it. Our first show together in 10 years. Yay!
2 things on my to-do list:
  1. Sharpen my saw. Not a real saw. Talking 7 Habits here. I need some me time immediately
  2. Get my apartment back in order. It's been kind of neglected. Oops
1 thing I'm looking forward to this week:
  1. Friday. Kidding! Getting my classes into a routine and the schedule calming down. I like routine and there was just far too much chaos for me today. 
Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Back to School!

We started back for workdays this week, and I am worn out. I haven't gotten HOME before 9 any day this week, and today and yesterday were both after 10:30. Yoi.

I've been busy busy busy getting everything set up in my INB, in my classroom, and for SBG. I posted two new foldables in my TPT store tonight and finally got my data trackers updated there as well. I was also inspired by Ms. Rubin at Everybody is a Genius to create a more visually appealing syllabus. Here is the result:

Front--General Info
Back--SBG Info

I'm obsessed. I wish my teachers gave us fun looking syllabi like this!

My principal and the other two 8th grade math teachers are on board for piloting SBG in Math 8 this year full force, so I'm really excited about that. I will do a full post on that in more detail once things are up and running. Crossing my fingers all goes well on that front!

In the meantime, I finally got my class website up. Yay! 

More details to come when my brain starts functioning properly again.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday 3-2-1 Summary

My last day of summer. Sigh. Part of me feels like summer flew, but other parts feel like the last day of school was so long ago. I spent this week in and out of my classroom and in and out of workshops. I have a few odds and ends things to finish up in my classroom, but I'm mostly ready to go on that front. Yay!

Today is my first go at the #MTBoS challenge hosted by Sherri at Middle School Math Rules. The challenge is to post once a week for the entire school year.

3 things I need to accomplish this week:

1. Make copies of my open house papers, first day papers, and data trackers for my kids
2. Plan workshop for at least my first unit since it is only about two weeks long
3. Write my syllabus! Eek! I hate writing those things.

2 things I am letting go of for now

1. Being an OCD perfectionist. It makes me crazy.
2. Worrying about getting everything done in time. Put first things first!

1 thing I need to remember

1. I cannot control everything. Sometimes it's ok to just let things happen as they are.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

WOW: Workin On it Wednesday

Today I am linking up with Middle School Math Moments for Workin' On it Wednesday.

Workdays start next week. I spent today and yesterday in workshops about Standards Based Grading and the Stock Market Game. I have most everything I need ready to go for school, but here is what I am working on:

  • My top priority right now is my ISN. I'm revamping some foldables and overall redoing how I am approaching things. Check out a sneak peak below.

  • 7 Habits Curriculum: We have a 50 minute "Patriot Period" (flex period basically) each day and for the first quarter, we will dedicate 25min of this period to re-teaching the 7 Habits. I've been working on getting the 8th grade curriculum together.

  • SBG update: The session I went to today was super helpful and I think I will have a much easier time this year. I'm updating my trackers to read "mastery" "developing mastery" and "no mastery" rather than a 1-4 scale. More on this later.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Stock Market Game

I went to an extremely short (too short, in my opinion) workshop today on The Stock Market Game (SMG from here on out). I called my mom on my way this morning:

Me: "Remember that game we played in middle school gifted where we traded stocks and I absolutely hated it?"
Mom: "Yes, what about it?"
Me: "I'm on my way to a workshop about it because I want to use it in my classroom this year."
Mom: "You're kidding."
Me: "I suddenly see the value in it. Funny how things work like that, isn't it?"

I HATED SMG. Like, REALLY hated SMG. I can't remember if it was 7th or 8th grade, but it was the bane of my existence and it made me hate going to my gifted seminar. The only thing I do remember about it is that my mom told me to invest in Hershey and I think I quit after about two or three weeks because it was way over my head. Honestly, it is probably still way over my head because I am more than likely one of the most financially illiterate human beings on the planet. I'm hoping this will be a learning experience for all of us.

If you are not familiar, here is how it works:

Students are split into teams of 3-5. Each team gets a login and an imaginary $100,000 to invest in a portfolio. They can invest in any stocks they want, but cannot invest more than 30% in one stock because they need to diversify. They can buy, sell, and trade as often as they would like, but the goal is to make the best investments and have the most valuable portfolio. They compete amongst their classmates, regionally, at the state level, and at the national level. Winning teams are somehow rewarded in various capacities. You can participate just in the fall or spring, or you can participate for the full year from September through April.

So how am I going to use this?

I think once a week it will be the "Teacher's Choice" for math workshop. When we get to functions, we can look at stocks. When we get to systems and linear equations, we can look at stocks. When we get to scatter plots, heck we can look at stocks! All the while, I will never hear "When am I going to actually USE this!?" It will be glorious and hopefully my students will hold it in a higher regard than I did in my middle school angst.

Check it out! North Carolina lets its teachers participate for free, but other states vary. The facilitator told us that most teachers spend as little as 30-60 minutes PER WEEK on this. Really? That's absolutely doable! It would be great for a "when you finish" activity as well. You can spend as much or as little time as you want on this, and I can see the kids really getting into it if they start investing in things like American Eagle, record labels, Bojangles, etc. It's relevant to them and to the real world. I'm looking forward to seeing how this goes and keeping you all updated.
Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday Made It

Happy Monday! It's the last Monday of summer. How sad! Next Monday I'll be in my first workday. BOO! Where did summer go!? I'm linking up with 4th Grade Frolics today for Monday Made it! I've been working on everything that is not crucial, of course, so now I'm panicking about getting things done. I'm way too obsessed with my room looking cute. I need to get on track!

The wall behind my desk is BORING! I didn't know what to put up, but I know I wanted it to be bright and colorful. Enter Sudoku! I haven't been into school to print, laminate, or put it up, but I will be doing that tomorrow. For now, here's a sneak peak :)

The black numbers will be the "given" numbers. Each square will have velcro so I can adjust from week to week. Students will have to hand in their solutions on Thursday, and on Friday, I will put the white circles up to show solutions. Each week a student gets the sudoku correct, their name will go in a drawing for a prize such as sit in the cozy corner, listen to music, extra points on a test, etc. The bottom picture is the first two letters of the "SUDOKU" bunting I'm going to put up because I've become obsessed with bunting lately. That brings me to...

I wanted my name across the front of my desk, but I didn't want anything huge. Enter more bunting! I'll post pictures of it hanging once I get into school tomorrow :)

Bunting, chevron, and polka dots. What has happened to me? Am I becoming a southerner?

I don't want to post pictures until everything is completed cleaned up, but I did start on my notebook today! I've been making foldables galore and it's making me giddy. It's the little things, right?

How are you spending your last week of summer? Don't forget to check out my TPT store for my updated data trackers, word wall, and I Can statements! 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Summer is Fading

I woke up Friday morning and realized I only have a week left of summer. My stomach sank, and my boyfriend foolishly told me that I've been doing school work for the past month, "so what's the big deal?"

 Sure, I've been neglecting my apartment's organization (though I've kept the important parts clean, there is stuff EVERYWHERE right now), and done nothing but plan, prep, and re-plan for school to start, but there's a difference between me doing it on my own time and when I'm at school and doing it because I have to. I don't know what it is, but I will sit all summer and prep for the next school year like nobody's business, but as soon as school actually starts, motivation goes out the window. What's up with that?

So anyway, I talked about power standards in my last post and updated my data trackers and I Can statements then bundled. They can now be found in my TPT store YAY! :) I also updated my vocab because I changed from giraffe to dots and chevron. I'm going to hold out on posting about the other things I've been working on for Monday Made It tomorrow :)

Now in the next week I am hoping to at least get my first semester or first marking period of my INB completed. I have to get cracking on the 7 Habits curriculum for 8th grade too. So much to do, and so little time! AHH!!!

Click the image to see this product in my TPT store :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Word Walls and Power Standards

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I spent yesterday at a training about Power Standards. The idea is simple and something that I think a lot of us overlook--focus on the most important standards, and tie everything else into them. Now, I could sit and easily tell you what standards in the 8th grade curriculum are most important and which are not hit upon as much, but I never took into account the relevancy in the real world or how heavily the standard weighs into other classes (science) or the following courses.

Using a spreadsheet the county prepared for us that had all of the standards in it and coding, we ranked the importance of each standard in the real world, in future grades, and on the state test, whether it is useful in only math, in two subjects, or in multiple subjects, and what level of RBT it is. each response had a certain number of points attached, so the formulas ranked the standards in order of importance according to our responses. It color coded the top ranked in blue, the bottom in red, and everything in between in a shade of purple. From there, we were able to identify the Power Standards, Complementary Standards, and Remaining Standards.

I love this idea. I could have told you months ago that there is no reason for me to spend a month on the real number system. The NC EOG only has 2-3 questions on those standards. My problem is that I'm a perfectionist and I want my kids to master each and every single standard. In reality, I would much rather them master things like systems, linear equations, functions, Line of Best Fit, and the Pythagorean Theorem and have a decent grasp on everything else because that is what is most important in 8th grade, in the real world, in their science classes, and in future math classes. 

Now, I had already mapped out my year, but after doing this, I wanted to do it over. Now my units are centered around the power standards, more time is focused on those standards than things like differentiating between rational and irrational numbers, and I can see my power standards cycle back through different units as complementary standards. I have a nice little flow chart set up for my first semester using sticky notes. Of course,  I color coded--Power Standards in green, complementary in blue, and remaining in pink. If this works out, Systems will be covered before Christmas in a perfect world and definitely by the end of the first semester. I'm fine with moving my scatter plots unit to the second semester if it means having systems done in the first half of the year. I like this because I can pull systems through the rest of my curriculum to keep it fresh for the rest of the year. In a perfect world, the two weeks after Christmas are completely open for reviewing, reteaching, and retesting.

So what does this mean?
Redoing all of my I Can statements and data trackers. In the long run, it will be totally worth it. I just wish that I would have had this training before I got all motivated and decided to start planning my year. Look for new data trackers coming soon in that case. Sigh

The good news is, I haven't started my INB yet, so I don't have to start that over.

New Products!

INB Frayer foldables for all 8th grade vocabulary. Cut them apart, fold each in half, and you can fit 6 to a page in your INB. Alternatively, you can just keep them attached, or cut them and use them as flash cards. There are places for the student's definition, your definition, examples, and counterexamples for each one. There are over 150 words included. This file is available in my TPT store here.

 Word Wall posters to go with the Frayer's. There are a few words or terms in there that I did not include in the Frayer models because they were not things with definitions (for example, I use V/C to teach solving equations rather than the traditional algorithms). Three per page. Cut apart and use on your word wall or agenda board. This is available on my TPT store as well.

You can get both of these files bundled together as well.

Purchase today to get 20% off!
Saturday, August 2, 2014

Currently August

I'm linking up with Oh Boy 3rd Grade for Currently August.

Listening: It's a rainy Saturday. It's rained the last three days and I think we have one or two more. Sigh. Also, I've been on a Beatles kick, and my cat is running around chasing her tail. I think she has species confusion.

Loving: I'm loving my classroom setup! I love the bright colors and the way it all tied together. I've been super motivated to get things together for this year, and I hope it continues!

Thinking: I need to get cracking on planning the 7 Habits curriculum for 8th grade at my school, mapping out my year, and getting some lesson plans ready. I want to get my ISN finished before school, too!

Wanting: Is summer vacation ever long enough? I wish we had a few more weeks. I hope the few we do have left are nice and sunny--I'm losing my tan!

Needing: I have an ugly brown podium that I brought home to paint pretty so it matches my classroom. I need to get that done. I also need to get cracking on that planning!

1st day: I go back on the 18th for work days and the kids start on the 25. I have a lot of training sessions the next two weeks for various things though. Oh, August. You are not kind.

Friday, August 1, 2014

#myfavfriday 2014 Classroom Reveal

Setting up for the year and decorating my classroom is one of my favorite things about teaching, so it seems appropriate to post it for this week's

After spending Tuesday-Friday in my classroom this week, it's finally put together! Since they changed me from Enrichment to 8th grade math, I also had to move classrooms. I'm in a MUCH larger classroom, I have storage, and I'm not out in the boondocks anymore (my old room was in an annex), but I will miss how quiet it was out there and my huge floor-to-ceiling window.

I continued the owl theme from last year, but brought in more of the bright colors. I opted out of the lights around my room because they were a pain to put up and take down when I changed schools. I will miss them and their ambience, but it will be ok.

Panoramic view from my door

Calendar--I like to put up birthdays and obviously holidays etc. I will also post the school calendar and any other pertinent information here as well.

This worked out really well for me last year until supplies started going missing. I decided this year that I will only put supplies out when we need them, and only the supplies we need that day. It will be a little extra work for me, but it will save me $$! Supplies will go in the caddies. The bottom folders are their data notebooks for their data trackers. I had to move all of my bookshelves home to my apartment when I changed counties, and the other three bookshelves from my old classroom are now being occupied by things here, so I decided to only take three to school and some tables will just have to share.

Front of my room. I left the center empty because I am having a SMART Board mounted soon. CUBES posters and TEAM Posters displayed above and SWAG down the side.

SWAG is part of the Fab 5 (found on Pinterest but I can't find the Pin). Our principal always talks about Patriot Swag, so this is fitting :)

My main resources that I use and the homework wheel from Teaching Ninja above. I made it out of washi tape and a lazy susan. I used industrial strength velcro to hold it to the wall and I'm hoping that's enough. I'll add an arrow to the wall, give it a spin, and that's how we will determine how homework is graded that day.

Close up of the homework wheel

Front of my desk. I am in LOVE! I love to have my own corner and had been struggling trying to figure out how to place my desk so I can keep the kids out from behind it (I HATE that!). I forgot about my black table that had also come home from my old county and had been hiding under my guest bed. Yay! I also found this super cute chevron fabric at Hobby Lobby and used it to cover my desk. So cute :)

From behind my desk. Important binders (parent contact, Teacher Binder, Resources) in the crate.

The rest of my corner. I swear, that cart is the best investment I've made for my classroom. LOVE that thing.

This hangs on the cabinet behind my desk. One folder per day per block (left Filetastic and top of the right one) plus one folder for next week. This is how I stay organized. All of the papers for each day go in here so if I'm absent it's easy enough. The other folders are for things to copy, things to file, things to grade, things to put in the grade book, things to deal with later, and a MISC folder.

I've seen this done on Pinterest, but not in person. I put my two filing cabinets back to back, put some fabric and a border up and had an instant Vocab wall :) I'll put words on here for the whole unit then transfer them to the cabinets on the opposite wall to build the big word wall. Above the cabinets are the Properties of Equality and Properties of Real Numbers from The Enlightened Elephant.

Cozy Corner--I use this as a reward for students. The criteria varies depending on the week and my mood. 

Back Wall--I'm not sure what I will use this filetastic for--either extra practice or for workshop resources. Above it is my math mantra canvas. I'm going to really commit to Math Workshop this year, so I"m really excited about that, and I think the board is even cuter on the purple than it was on the brown last year. Above are the mathematical practices. I can't remember where I got them from, but when I figure it out, I will link.

Close-up of the workshop board. The activities spell MATHS--Math Journal, At your seat, Teacher's Choice, Help Desk, and Skill Practice

Data Wall--I know I am going to do a data wall, but I'm not sure how I am going to display the data. I want to do it with the I Can statements and data trackers, but the format has yet to be determined. I'd love to talk data walls and SBG with someone out there!

Above--Respectful Team Talk posters from Mrs. Hester. I wanted them to match, so I made my own, but the questions are all from her. The "Today..." board will be the focus. It will display our I Can statements for the day as well as our standards for the day. Down the right is LEAD. Hobby Lobby still hasn't gotten in an E, so right now it is just LAD. 

I just realized I didn't get a picture of the other canvas. It says "Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you see the world."

We are a 7 Habits school, so here are the 7 Habits posters I made for my room. They are available in my TPT store.

Paperwork station--turn in papers, late work, and absentee binder. Word wall will be on the cabinets above here and down the rest of the wall above the computers. I have made labels for each of my cabinets, but the laser printer at school wasn't working properly today, so I couldn't get them printed.

There you have it! I'm so excited about this room. I just love it!