Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Leader In Me Conference, Instagram Link-up, Giveaway, Book Exchange, Chipotle Rumors la de da etc

Friday I was honored to go to a Leader In Me School in Quincy, IL and let me tell ya- It was an amazing experience. It was an eye opening experience to show how a school building should run. I basically fell in love with the atmosphere, organization,  and structure and I'm excited to implement as much as possible into my classroom next fall. This school has been a Leader In me school for nearly 9 years. They also implement PBS with tickets. They are about 92% free and reduced lunch (More or less). Regardless, their poverty level doesn't change their learning environment. They have the structure and discipline of a private school and the love that is inside the building is felt in every classroom. I took a ton of pictures and can't wait to share them all. I'll try not to overload you all today! Click on pictures to enlarge.

The first bulletin board that took your attention was this beauty. Amazing, right!?

It is amazing to teach this generosity at such a young age especially in such a low income area. I think it is important to teach child that not only can you give financially but you can give gifts that are free too!

I think I will add site words and attendance/homework to my goal folders next fall. I also plan on adding monthly behavior sheets. These photos came from their third grade folders.

You can follow my Instagram @ Courtneyljanes
It is my personal account but I add both!

Today I added a picture of the book we just finished! 

Our class would totally recommend this book to any class to read. It was amazing. I might have cried at least 3 times at the end. Read it, it is worth every second. It is my new favorite book and I will probably read it to my fifth graders next year. I wouldn't probably read it to any grade lower than 3rd---some of my kids didn't get the "read between the lines" business.

Woo hoo! We are also having a book exchange! I wanted to do one last year but never got around to it so this year we are exchanging fo sho. I just sent it home yesterday and I already have a student who brought in 18 books today. I plan on going to Goodwill several days before and collecting some other books for my students who brought a ton, as well as going through my own books. (click to enlarge invite)

And don't forget to head over to The Third Wheel for an awesome giveaway. That I'm a part of. I can't remember what I said I was donating though! Whoops. 

It is finally warming up in Missouri! 13 1/2 days of school left! Then I'm heading to my new district for a week of learning. For their last day of school they will come to "my" class! I've got lots of fun things planned for them already and I'm excited to share them with ya all next week.

p.s. This picture is circulating! I heard they are announcing something on Thursday! Get excited. Wish I had one nearby:( click to enlarge

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Our Test Preparations

Today starts our state wide testing! Here at my lovely school we call the week before testing MAP attack week. Each day we did a dress up day and talked about test taking strategies, tips, etc. We even did a practice test and practiced how we would do everything the day of testing to ease stress. 
My favorite day was CAMO day by far! Some of our staff dressed up like Duck Dynasty. Of course, the kids loved it. ( I don't know why this picture is so FUZZY)
Click on the image below to view the rest of our dress up days. We do dress up days at least once a month! Sometimes we dress up the whole week or other times we dress up on certain days! Today, we wore green, blue, or brown to represent Earth day! I feel like it creates a sense of community in our building and also brings some extra fun to the school days. I also snapped a few pictures at twin day.

Click the image below to see the rest of our days!

In order to enforce expectations during testing time our third graders earn stars! I cut out a ton of stars on my  Cricut (which I never use but need to!) and they didn't turn our half bad!

We made this poster together as a class and stick to it during testing times.

One of my lovely room mothers sent these stylish pants to us! How funny!

This morning when my kids came in they received their parent letters! I use THIS (Smart Little Cookies) TPT file for mine and I love it! They all wanted to read their letters to the class and share their photos so when we were finished testing I let them. They make me tear up  every year! Its pathetic  Its amazing how good it makes them feel. I did it last year too and you can read more about it here.

I turned in my resignation to my district this morning. I'm going to miss this place so much. Especially my classroom. I feel like it is my home away from home and my first classroom. So many memories in the big room but I suppose I have so many more to make somewhere else. I'm itching so bad to get into my new classroom and I found out today another one of my friends is also teaching 5th grade at a nearby school, so I'll have a wing man to bounce ideas with! Have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

It is offical!!

It is offical! I will be teaching 5th grade at a wonderful new school next year in a wonderful new district! I'm at a loss of words over the fact that I am leaving so many wonderful students and friends however I know this will be the best choice for me and my career!! Plus no more driving! I am beyond excited and I know everything happens for a reason.
5th grade! Ah new standards..I need some 5th grade blogs to follow! Throw 'em at me!

Monday, April 15, 2013

MAP Attack Video!

7 days until we start our state testing!!! We are on the home stretch. In preparation to the MAP test we have dress up days all week. Today is geek day and I'm rocking some big glasses. Friday we will have a pep assembly to get ready for the big test. Check out what we have been working hard on for the past couple weeks. Can you find me? (I am also the bobcat) I would never recommend anyone ever putting on a moscot costume. I almost vomited. It smelled like old plastic-but it is for the kids right? I know they will love it! What does your building do in preparation for state testing? Anything exciting?

This Missouri rain is making me so sleepy this morning. I had a big day yesterday too! I spend the day in STL at the MS walk in Forest Park then went to the end of the Cardinals game!

Have a wonderful week. Hope you enjoy our video:)
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Thursday, April 11, 2013

One step in the right direction... AR Goals & Ipad Apps

Howdy do? Yesterday was Wednesday, which means we had an early out day with PD. A lovely young man from STL came up from The Leader In Me and presented a pretty interesting talk. I don't know if I really learned that much about Leader In Me but it cleared up a couple of things that I was unsure of! Plus I'm super excited because I get to travel to IL on the 26th of April and visit a Leader In Me school in action! With that in mind I thought I would share with you how I track our AR goals in our goal folders.
In my classroom books are either pass or fail. If you get an 80% or above you receive full points for the particular book. If you receive less than 80% then you don't earn any points. Bummer--but if you aren't understanding 80% of the book are you really becoming a better reader? I'm not so sure. So here is how we track our points:
I've made 5 point sheets that track points up to 77.5 points. Which is way above and beyond most students will go. Although I do have a student who has a quarterly reading goal of 74 AR points-but most average from 15-35. It really holds the students accountable for keeping track of their reading goal progress and elimates 20 students asking me each week how many points they have. They love filling in the sheets and I love meeting with them and seeing how close they are to reaching their new quarterly goal. It is fun to set them, it is crazy to see how much fire it puts under their little hineys! If you are interested in snagging your own you can purchase them at my TPT store for $1.50

At our meeting yesterday we discussed a few new handy I-pad Apps. Our building is becoming 1-1 technology in the next couple years. They are working out kinks to the process right now! We are deciding if we want tablets (not Ipads :( ) or laptops. 
I would love tablets with keyboards. I think keyboarding skills are very important for young child. Some great Apps were tossed around yesterday that I can't wait to try out.

Scoot Pad breaks down common core standards individually!

Teachers in my building use this Screen Chomp for struggling students. They have high students record examples then share them with lower students who need extra help in math. The struggling student can  play the example over and over for guided help!

Remote mouse can be used so your iPhone or iPad is a cordless mouse on your computer! Now you can walk around your room and use your mouse on your Smart board at the same thing! Genius!  I just downloaded it today and I'm obsessed!

Anymore Apps I need to know about? What are your favorites?

On another note, I found out last night I have an interview in another district Tuesday! It is for a fifth grade position. I'm really excited for my interview and I'm praying it goes well. I drive about an hour to work right now. I love my job and my students but the price I pay in fuel each month is insane! I can't save any money. I work in a wonderful building and really don't want to leave but with Master's classes, boyfriend, pets, family and driving 2 hours each day it is hard to balance everything. But only time will tell! So if you think about it say a prayer for me:) 
Have a wonderful Thursday!

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

My April Currently!

Spring is in the air my friends! Click to link up!. The next couple weeks are going to fly by! State testing, field trips, field day, carnival day! It is going to go fast. We get out on the 17th!
Last year I came across this measurement project and I finally got to hand it out last week.


The projects are due tomorrow and are slowly trickling in. The ones that have been turned in so far are pretty good. I'm excited to share a few at the end of the week. We did one together in class so everyone knew what to do at home. I think that helped them!

Like this font? It is FREE right now at Lettering Delights!
9 Free Fonts
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Friday, April 5, 2013

Teaching Blog Addict Birthday Celebration

Teaching Blog Addict - Ultimate Freebie

Hey guys, today teachers across blog world are celebrating Teaching Blog Addict's second birthday with a freebie celebration! Currently, we are working on sequencing,ordering events, and timelines so my freebie is a Timeline over the history of Teddy Bears.
Click the image below to take you to the page when my freebie is accessible!

I finally switched over to Bloglovin.com too! You should too. I'm really going to miss my Google Reader but I guess it is time to move on! Before it is to late start your account at BlogLovin and move over your blogs. It is super easy.
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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

My fabulous journey with Mountain Math + Promo code!

You may be saying "What is Mountain math?" , and that is okay! I was asking the same thing about a year ago! Mountain Math is a review program used for grades K-6. It comes in a kit that contains a bulletin board (notebook and Smart Board versions available too)   that focuses on skills taught in an individual grade. It can be used with any curriculum or program. 
Each morning when my students arrive they do six math review questions. These questions are posted on the Smart board and are completed on a 1/2 sheet of paper. After students complete their six questions they move onto their Mountain Math problems. Each day they complete 4,5, or 6 problems depending on what I have planned for the morning. They keep this sheet in our turn-in box for easy retrieval. I love the expectation is creates when students immediately walk into my room. They already know what is expected of them and where to find all the tools they need for the first 30 minutes of class. When my students are finished with their 6 questions and M.M. they read silently or take A.R. test.

This is the first year that we have used Mountain Math and I must admit I've fallen completely in LOVE with it. At the beginning of the year I found it nearly impossible to complete the whole worksheet each week-of course right? So with time we have managed and learned how to do each type of problem independently. 

If you don't know anything about Mountain Math you can find out more information HERE and If you were thinking about buying it do it immediately. Kits are only $75 and once they are laminated can be used forever. 
My Mountain Math Advice:
1. Start slow. There are about 30 math problems on the worksheet and don't except students to be able to do them all the first week. I started by having the whole class do just a hand full the first week. Each week I added more problems until eventually we were able to complete them all. I just added division, perimeter, and fractions in the past month, however I wished I would have introduced them way earlier but you live and learn. In order to prevent confusion on the worksheet I photocopied the M.M. sheet with post-its covering the problems we wouldn't be doing that week. Each week I took another post-it or two off. It eased everyone into a steady routine. 
2. Don't expect perfection. Many of my struggling math students take extra time to complete their M.M. but know it has to be done before recess. Some of these students even miss the same problems week after week. This allows for me to realize who needs to visit standards again during small group math time. For example: I have a new student who was missing the rounding questions every week. He wasn't here when I taught it and this allowed him to practice the skill even though he wasn't going to get the whole unit. Eventually after weeks of practice he is able to do it on his own. So proud!
3. This is just another tool for your classroom. When our whole school switched over to M.M. you have to know it caused a slight uproar but eventually we modified it to fit our needs and each teacher made it their own. Don't be afraid to play around with it. If you don't have the time to use it everyday then don't. On short weeks we skip it totally but always come back. There is no right or wrong way to use it.
4. Reinforcement and accountability is key.
No one wants any student to forget what they have learned in the beginning of the year. Mountain Math reinforces key points that they will be tested on at the end of the year. It also makes students accountable for their own learning. Students must have their worksheet completed by Friday because they know it will be graded. Also when students come to a problem in math class I can say, "It is the same thing you do on M.M." And they remember! My neighboring teacher allows her higher students to complete it all on Monday if they wish and then spend the remainder of the time throughout the week reading.

I hope that you can take what I've learned and apply it to your own class if you plan on using Mountain Math in the future- and if you don't use a daily reinforcement activity you should really look into it. You will thank yourself later! Also Mountain Math is offered with an online version that is only $49.95 a year. A little more expensive in the long run but if you don't have the bulletin board space it may be worth it.
Think you are ready for Mountain Math in your classroom? Thanks  to MtMath.com they are offering MissThirdGrade.com readers $10 off a purchase of $40 or more on their website. The great thing about it is that it is good until September 1, 2013. So keep it in mind in August when you are purchasing back to school resources for your classroom if you don't want to buy it now!

  • Check out their classroom resources for your grade level (I use THIS)
      • When you check out enter MissJanes in the promo code box for $10 off a purchase of $40 or more! 
  • Code expires September 1, 2013
  • Link up to this post to share with friends!
  • http://www.missthirdgrade.com/2013/04/my-fabulous-journey-with-mountain-math.html  

What are some other reinforcement practices you use to make your students continuously accountable for what you have taught?
*I was not paid or asked to write about my lovely experience with Mountain Math. I'm just a fan! 

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Flawed Teacher Tenure Bill in Missouri

This is what is in store for Missouri Law Makers this week! What do you think? My thoughts in bold. The Flawed Teacher Tenure Bill in Missouri:

         ·  Repeals provisions of law governing the remediation and termination of probationary teachers and instead requires that probationary teachers may only be let go once they have received two consecutive ratings of “ineffective”. (I don't know if I agree with this... In my eyes onces an ineffective teacher is always an ineffective teachers. People don't really change do they? )

· Revises the "last-in, first-out" rule for placing teachers on leave of absence, so that decisions will be made primarily on the results of performance evaluations instead of length of service. (Agreed! Why should a great teacher who preforms well be asked to leave when someone else has been there for 20 years and isn't up to standards?)

· Requires teacher evaluation to assign at least 33% of the evaluation’s weight to student achievement on state assessments for those teachers who teach courses aligned with state standards and allows the district to set the percentage for those teachers who do not teach courses or grades subject to state assessments.  (Not sure if I agree on this or not, I have a student this year who has hardly made any reading progress and also did not qualify for SPED. She reads WAY below my sped student too! She came in reading 15 words per minute and is up to 22 words per minute. The benchmark for May is 119 WPM.  I don't really feel like I should be blamed for her lack of retenion, I know she is trying her best. We really work hard on her reading everyday!)

· Changes the basis of tenure from five consecutive years of employment to at least four consecutive years with four consecutive ratings of “effective” or “highly effective”. A teacher will lose permanent status after a rating of “ineffective” or two consecutive ratings of “minimally effective” and will regain it with three consecutive ratings of “effective”, “highly effective”, or any combination of the two. ( I agree with this! Why do we want ineffective teachers in our schools!?)
What do ya think about all this?

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