Saturday, September 20, 2014

It's the weekend!!

Happy Saturday, friends! We have been doing a lot in class the last few weeks, so I wanted to show you what we've been up to.  I've mentioned before how I'm kinda struggling this year, and I'm all over the place, because I want to do a gabillion things at once!! Too much going on  in my head.  But, in the midst of all my chaos, I have gotten a few good lessons off.

So, one of the items I'm using this year, and TOTALLY LOVING, is Jivey's Mentor Text Sentences and her No Prep Reading and Writing lessons. OH.MY.GOODNESS. Can I just tell you how much I L.O.V.E. these?!!  A few weeks ago, I read My Rotten, Red-Headed Brother to the class. They really liked the story.  And some of them could certainly relate. After discussing the story, we talked about times that they had gotten hurt, and I passed out the writing activity. This is one example of a story in progress. How cute is this worksheet?

I was just happy to see punctuation!!

In math, we are working on time. This past week, we worked on elapsed time, and will continue with that next week. Boy, is that a hard concept to get across to third graders!! Yikes! I've been using Blair Turner's Interactive Notebook Bundle for math, and I LOVE that, too! Here is a student in action, putting their clock together.

We've also been using our Chromebooks a lot. I am lucky that I get to house a cart in my room this year-woohoo! So, whenever they aren't being used, I get extra time to use them with my kids. (insert evil laugh here) So...I had the kids do a quick write about their weekend, just to practice creating a Google Doc. Not too bad, for a first try.

 Okay, I think I've probably bored you all, so I'll stop. I'm off to the Hollywood Bowl for the Sound of Music Sing-along!!  I'll tell you all about it later. Have a great weekend!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

It's Time...

Happy Sunday, friends! Oh my...this year is C.R.A.Z.Y!!  I feel like I'm a new teacher, just starting in this profession-not the seasoned vet of 15 years that I really am.  I don't know what it is...I guess it's this whole Common Core non-curriculum in my district.  It's my district not having a clue about Common Core.  It's me, trying to figure out what I'm doing everyday in my classroom, to teach my kiddos all those standards, that they are apparently not ready to learn.  But this post is NOT about a rant. Nope, it's a share! We have been learning how to tell time to the nearest minute, and this week, we will be learning about elapsed time. I will be using Blair Turner's awesome Interactive Notebook activities to help me teach this. Hopefully, I will have some pictures later of the kids working on this.  I know this is going to be a difficult subject to teach.  Here's what I'm finding out about my kiddos, NOTHING SEEMS TO STICK! I mean, I teach them something, and the next day, they all have blank stares on their faces-"did I teach this or not?" UGH!  Even with hands-on activities, they just don't focus.  What can I do? I'm just trying my best, and hoping something gets in.

How do you keep your kiddos focused when they get that blank glaze on their faces?

But, in the spirit of "practice, practice, practice", I made my own little time to the minute activity. I'm including the link for it, if you would like to download it and use it yourself.  :)

Telling time to the Minute practice

Have a great week!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Just Another Manic Monday...

Good Evening Friends,
Well, it's actually Sunday night, but I'm already feeling the Monday blues...I'm trying to get motivated to have a great week-honest. I've been printing out some texts for my kids to read this week that are around their lexile levels, and I created some questions for an article we're going to read as a whole class. That way I can model what I'm looking for them to do.  We started working on Close Reading last week, and we're continuing with it this week. I know, it's a whole year strategy.  I thought my kids kind of understood the process, but after reading a worksheet with questions on it, I see I have some work ahead of me.  But I guess that's what this job is all about-right?

I eluded to the lexile levels, and here's the thing-we have been using Accelerated Reader for the past 8 years or so. We use the STAR test to assess reading levels, and group from there. This year, our district has purchased Ready Common Core.  Have you heard of that? Are you using it in your school?  I'd love to know if anyone else is using this.  Anyway, back to my problem...dilemma.  So, using the iReady assessment, the kids' scale scores are lexile levels.  I've never worked with those.  Our teacher specialist gave us a conversion sheet, which will help, but I don't really understand how these lexile levels are equated to AR.  You see, when I had my kids take the STAR test the 2nd week of school, and I looked at their IRL levels, I had kids ranging from 1.7-6.4!  But, I'm not supposed to level them that way this year.  According to the iReady assessment, my kids are all at either 2.7, 3.0, or 3.3 AR level.  How is this possible? Does this even make sense?  Am I really not getting it?  So I'm a little lost at how I should plan for groups.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!

How do you assess and group your kids for small groups in reading?

Have a wonderful week, friends!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Just a Quickie

Hi Friends!
I just wanted to post really quick tonight. I'm watching the finale of "So You Think You Can Dance" while I'm trying to do my science lesson plans.  I just made this organizer, and wanted to share, in case anyone is teaching wetlands this year.  Our book teaches about marshes; bogs; and swamps with wetlands, so this is just a simple sheet for the kids to write the definitions of those words and draw pictures of each.  Feel free to share. I used KG Lego House.

Have a great "hump day" evening! Only 2 more days 'til the weekend!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Three crazy weeks

Oh my, hello friends...yes, I've been crazy busy, as have the rest of you, I'm sure. So my district has been back in class for 3 weeks already!!  And let me tell you, this is going to be ONE.TOUGH.YEAR.
This is what is happening: everyone knows that common core is all the rage. (except in some states who are not buying in) In California, we are the last ones to join the party (it seems). This summer, my district got a bunch of teachers together (no, I was NOT one of them) and labelled them "Learning Leaders" and "trained" them to train the rest of us in common core practices. They also had a group of teachers creating common core aligned curriculum for us to start using. Let me say this, the "training", I was told, was REALLY BAD.  The curriculum they were supposed to create was just going through our old curriculum that isn't CCSS aligned, and try to make it CCSS aligned. RIDICULOUS? Absolutely!  Fast forward to our first report day, and our big PD. WASTE.OF.MY.TIME!!!  (and everyone's)  The long and short of it is that what they created is a "resource" or "tool", but we don't have to use it. As long as we are teaching the CCSS standards, it doesn't matter what resources we use. Confusing? Yep. Frustrating? Heck yeah! But kinda exciting and pretty cool, too! I view this as my chance to use all the awesome products I bought on TpT from all my fav sellers/bloggers.  I'm on cloud 9, really.  But...I'm also confused because I read so many blogs, and I'm trying to do what I see other people doing, and I am ALL.OVER.THE.PLACE.  I need a week off to try to organize myself thoughts and figure out how I want my lessons to go.  I know-I did this to myself.  But I kinda idolize my fav teacher bloggers because it seems like you all know what you're doing, and I wish I did!  Aahhh....I love reading what's going on in your classrooms, and I will get my own groove going soon. I guess I just had to get my feelings out for my own sake.
Keep up the amazing jobs you all do! Because I'm going to keep stalking you and trying to do what you do.

Monday, September 1, 2014

September Currently

Yay!! I've never done this, and I'm so excited I'm finally going to here goes my attempt at linking up with the fabulous Farley of Oh Boy 3rd Grade.

Here's my September Currently...

Listening to...
It's so hot out today, of course my air conditioner is on. I'm enjoying listening to the hum of the air blowing out and keeping me cool. What would I do without the a/c?? Perish the thought!

As all of you are, I am loving that today is Labor Day and I don't have to work!! We've been back in class for 3 weeks already, and friends, I'm exhausted!!  This year is a tough one, and it's only just begun! 

Yep, I'm thinking about those lesson plans that I have put off all weekend long, and I really need to get crackin'! But blogging comes first. I like to see what everyone else is doing, and get some awesome ideas from you.

I really want to be at the beach right now. Just laying on the warm sand, listening to the ocean waves crash on the shore...but, not gonna happen today. Too much to do inland, instead. :(

Okay, so anyone who owns a condo or maybe even lives in some kind of housing development, probably knows what I'm talking about. When I bought my condo 5 years ago, I was given the CC & R's. (big ol' fat packet of papers that talks about all the rules of the housing association, etc.)  Fast forward to last week, when my neighbor's bathtub drain and overflow, plus the valve under their toilet needed to be replaced. I know all this because her pipes run through the ceiling of my garage, and I came home last week to a big ol' puddle in my garage!!  So now I have a hole in my garage ceiling that needs to be repaired-mold remediation; replace the drywall; paint; etc...but, I can't find my big CC & R packet and the insurance lady is coming tomorrow to give us her estimate!! I'm in trouble. So, that's why I need those papers. UGH!!

3 Trips...

So my #1 place I've never been that I want to go to is Italy. I'd love to go along the coast, rent a little house/villa, and relax on the fresh Italian coastline. I'm hoping to go in a few years for a milestone birthday. Keep your fingers crossed!
Ever since I can remember, I've wanted to visit Australia. 
I've heard so many wonderful things about New Zealand, I want to go there, too. 

Have a wonderful Labor Day!