Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I'm so excited to be here from Third Grade's A Charm guest blogging for Courtney today...thanks for having me Courtney!  I hope I can share something you find useful and maybe even inspirational for your classroom!

I won't even try to deny that I love math!  Just like reading, I feel like it's important to build a strong foundation in math in order for students to be successful in the future!

Multiplication is one part of math that is undeniably important!  You need to know how to multiply before you can do the more intricate and complex math students will face throughout their education.  In early elementary we're given the task of setting up that foundation.

Starting as early as kindergarten, we can begin to prepare our kids for multiplication.  Skip counting is a great "beginning"!  It's something that can be done quickly every morning during calendar time or morning meeting.  The kids can easily memorize multiples of 2, 5, & 10 without even knowing it!

Here's a short little freebie you can download - just click on the picture to download it!

Now, by the time the kiddos get to me, hopefully they can skip count and maybe even do some basic multiplication (0's, 1's, 2's, 5's, and 10's)!  But...I don't take anything for granted, and we start from the beginning!  We work on each set of multiplication facts in isolation before combining them!  As I introduce each set of facts, we complete a multiplication table (like this one) together using a power point presentation.  {Click here to download your own!}  The kids keep this in their binder or folder!

From the beginning of the year, we also have a fact of the day.  I can ask anyone in class to tell me the product any time of day - while we're waiting in the lunch line, on the way to the library, during recess {gasp}!  With that fact of the day we write our own word problem.  I use a graphic organizer to help the kids quickly pre-write  and plan all the parts of their problem.  You can download my fact of the day word problem sheet (with examples of its use) by clicking on the top picture below!  They can be printed 2-sided, or the back could be used alone if your students don't need to complete the prewriting.
Have a closer look at the graphic organizer and how it's used!

After we have studied and learned all of our multiplication tables, we take timed tests!  With each test they pass, the kids earn a part of a banana split, yes a real one!  It never fails, when I tell my students about this, one of them always asks me if they get a real banana split!  They love doing this and look forward to it all year (we usually do our tests in the spring).  It always surprises me how well they do!  The quizzes I give are 40 questions long and cover only that table (all 2's or all 6's for example).  This year we set a time limit of two and a half minutes and required a 90% (36 correct) or better to pass.  In my homeroom 16 out of 18 students passed EVERY test!!  Everyone got their bowl and banana and at least one scoop of ice cream to enjoy!  It is really set up so that everyone can earn those basic parts!

My "Multiplication Madness: A Trek to a Treat" Unit is for sale in my TPT store and my TN shop.  Even better though...I'm giving one copy away in my 100 follower giveaway (along with items from other great bloggers)!  I have two freebies on my blog you can use with this unit or alone if you do timed tests for banana splits too!  Be sure to come by and download your copy!

I'd love for you to stop by and visit my blog!  Just click on my button below!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Classroom "Freebie" Welcome Signs & Giveaway!

Enjoy! Click to open in Google Docs-then download to print!
Click to download
Click here to download
Click to download
Some backgrounds by http://Frompond.blogspot.com
I'm thinking about getting a new design for my blog. Any ideas of where I should go? I'll need a background, graphics, logo etc! Also don't forget to scroll down and head over to my $10 Teachers Pay Teachers Giveaway! Ends tomorrow at noon. I'm also looking for a a guest blogger for next week while I'm in Key West! Comment if you are interested.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Happy Birthday to Miss Third Grade Giveaway!

It is official ladies (and maybe some gents) Miss Third Grade finally turned one! It has been an amazing year and I've learned so much in the blogging world. In return to thank all of you for either teaching me something or following me along in this journey I'm giving away a $10 Gift Card to TPT!

There are THREE ways to enter. Comment once for each of the following you complete! If you tweet about this giveaway be sure to tag me in it @courtneyljanes

(1)(leave 1 comment) Tweet about this giveway by posting " @CourtneyLJanes http://missthirdgrade.blogspot.com is having a #TPT giveaway!"

(2)(leave 1 comment) for being a Miss Third Grade follower!

(3) (Leave 2 comments) for blogging about this giveaway!

Entries close on Friday the 15th so I can get the gift card out before I leave for Key West!

Here is a look of some great things that happened to me in the past year!

I graduated college and landed my first big girl job
I went back to visit Vegas to celebrate Mizzou Graduation with my best friends!
I put in countless hours of hard work getting my classroom in order

I went to Keeneland and had the time of my life at the horse races!
I witnessed the Cardinals win the World Series and take home a #11 victory

I met an amazing guy who I adore!

I went on my first helicopter ride (It was soooo windy)
I took an amazing trip to Texas to train dogs
I finished my second 10k

I become the owner of a sassy little pig with a very cute nose

I survived teaching 11 pre-k kids during summer school!

But most importantly: I survived my first year of teaching, received both a $500 scholarship and a tablet for my class, and met so many amazing kids and people that I will never forget! Thank you all for supporting this blog over the past year. I am looking forward to year numero two! I hope next year I can get my TPT store up and running, get a donation from donor's choose, vacation as much as often, run another half marthon, and attempt to be the best teacher I possibly can be!

Monday, June 11, 2012

First Year Teacher Advice

I had a reader e-mailing me today asking me about some first year teaching advice and since I'm fresh off the first year train I actually had some advice to give! I know several people have told me they are teaching third grade next year for the first time. Hopefully some of you newbies can benefit. I know most of you have more years of experience and if you have any advice you would like to give please comment and share with us:)

In no order of course:
1- Books
Collect books from garage sales, retired teachers, or goodwill. Remember books are only new the first time you open them and they will never look that way again. Put on Facebook that you are needing books, post it at church, send e-mails to family members and look for ads on craigslist or ebay. People love to give books to teachers and lots of garage sales will GIVE you items when you tell them you teach.
2- Parent Contact
You can also never have enough parent contact. You want the parents to be on your side---REMEMBER that. Introduce yourself. You can see my introduction letter HERE. Everyone is nosey and wants to know what their child's teacher is about. Keep it professional but let them know that you are in fact a person that functions just like everyone else. When I wrote to parents I always signed my first and last name..never Miss Janes. Not sure why but I think I thought it made them think I was more of an adult than just their child's young new teacher. (You made have a different opinion on your signature)

In my building we do something called Pay It Forward. Every payday we send a note or phone call phone praising at least one child. You don't want parents to think that every time you are trying to get a hold of them it is because something bad has happened. It gives you brownie points too- who doesn't love to talk about their child's successes?

3- Newsletters
Always have a newsletter that is easy to read and right to the point. NO ONE wants to read 3-4 page newsletters! I kept mine to upcoming events, vocab/spelling list and math/science/communication art topics. You can also list birthday shout outs and parent thank yous. It should be useful you don't want to waste anyone's time. Parents are busy and if you start off my making your newsletter full of junk they will assume it is junk every week. The truth hurts right?

4- Discipline
I sent two kids to the principal's office all year. I think discipline should be dealt with inside the classroom until you A)Run out of options, lose total control and need backup or B)Run out of options, lose total control and need backup. Don't send kids to the principals office for everything. They will remember that and so will your principal. The first time I sent someone to the office was because he brought a knife to school. The second time was because another child (with extreme issues) lost control of himself. When my principal came to get him she told him that she knew he must have broken a lot of rules because "Miss Janes takes the principal's office very seriously". I was so happy when I heard that. Don't forget to be consistent in discipline and follow through with discipline. But have patience--you will learn several students learn slower than others and need more reminders.

5- Build Relationships
One of the best things I did this year was give up my lunch time to eat with 3-4 students each day. We sat in my room and got to know each other. It was so rewarding and really built a connection between students and also myself. It is important for kids to get to know you as someone else besides their teacher. You will gain respect for them and they will gain respect for you. I got to know so many things about my student's lives that I would never find out from just teaching math. Another thing we did was go around each Monday and share one thing we did in the past weekend. The kids LOVED it. We even came to the point where we could predict what each other did. It really build great friendships.

6- Make The Time For it
Whatever you put into this job is what you are going to get out of it. If you don't do research, don't get to know your kids, and don't make engaging lessons etc. you better kiss it goodbye. You won't enjoy work, your kids won't want to be in your class, and basically you won't last in the teaching field. I was so proud to say that all my kids told me they would miss my class at the end of the year. I can't say that they would have all said that back in December but with lots of hard work I did whatever I could to make everyone happy(most of the time of course).
Don't forget to work early because by the end of the day you will DIE and be emotionally drained. The first weeks or even months your bed may turn into your best friend. I'm pretty sure this is acceptable as long as you pull yourself together by December or so:) The first 2-3 months of school I was there over an hour 1/2 early to prepare and left the MOMENT I could! I needed the quiet time to organize and prepare myself for the day.
7- Resources
When you get to the your new school you may be alone and that is okay. But you won't be alone for long. Your team should be people that you can turn to in time of need rather it be for a laugh, vent, or educational resource or question. Find someone who has been in the field that you can turn to and trust. It may not even be your mentor. Mine wasn't and that is perfectly fine! It also was great that I had a few friends teaching across the state that I could also call or e-mail when I needed someone outside my building to relate to. (shout out to Katie HOLLA) Save everything but not in paper form...Beg, borrow, steal,--- use resources like teacherspayteachers and google. Start a Pinterest account and start pinning!! Also get a Googledocs account to back up EVERYTHING you find. Organize all your files on your computer and upload the files to Googledocs. You never know when your computer will crash-it happens. You can also share files easier that way with other teachers AND search them. It's like having a secretary find all your papers for you whenever you need them.

8- Reading
Find a reading program that is structured and allows children to read what they CAN read and what they want to read. I wish I would have found this out last fall when I started school. My kids made amazing improvements in reading and I know it was because I finally put a limit on what they could or couldn't read. I really pressed that reading too easy/too hard books is a waste of time because it doesn't make them a better reader. I drilled this into their little brains until they were able to pick out just right books and maybe scared them a little bit. I took books away from kids allllll the time and gave kids books that I made them read and take test on. I really focused on teaching the kids how to help themselves and I know all my kids benefited. I only hope they take this to fourth grade. I also told them if their teacher didn't have books for them on their level to come back and I would help them. Read this post and be sure to send home book bags with your struggling readers. Make sure the child knows how important these bags are and so do the parents. You may have parents that are not involved in your kids reading (unfortunately) and that is when you must make sure the little person knows the responsibility is on them. Celebrate the small successes in this! If you assign books to kids they can't read they will hate reading. You have to find ways to make it fun and spark their interest:)

9- Technology
You will realize that technology is your best friend. KIDS LOVE technology and most of them already know how to use it. Don't be afraid of the computer lab. The first couple times it may be rocky but you can use it to your advantage if you are using it properly. Don't waste time in there, get straight to work, and practice it often. Some of the best learning tools can be found online.. You just have to look for them:)

10- Enjoy Your Life
Don't forget the real world and don't get offended when people talk about your job and say it is easy. Most of those people can't handle kids or had bad experiences in school. Go to happy hour, online shop on your lunch break, and if someone asks you on a date don't use an excuse that you have to grade papers or something. It makes the rest of us look bad;)

I hope this helps some of you think a little more or differently than you were before - hey you may not even agree with all my advice and that is okay. We all teach in buildings with child that have individual needs. These are my experiences and what I have learned from them. If you would have anything to add please share with us! What are the biggest things you learned in teaching? Or wish you knew before? And a BIG THANK YOU to Ashlie who inspired this. I love hearing from readers.
Remember If you would like to guest post this summer please comment with your e-mail or e-mail me at cljtz3@mail.missouri.edu! Hope to hear from you soon. Have a great week

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Guest Bloggers Wanted!

With my last post in mind I've realized I probably won't blog as much this summer as I would like too. I won't even get back into my classroom until the middle of July since they are putting in new tile (YIPPIE) and I'd like to take a break of thinking about school until then. This is where you come in! I'm looking for guest bloggers for the month of June and July! You don't have to be a blogger, or even a writer. I would just like anyone who can share some teaching stories, strategies, or ideas that would benefit others. If you would like to help please comment with your e-mail or e-mail me at cljtz3@mail.missouri.edu! Hope to hear from you soon. Have a great week!

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