Sunday, January 14, 2018

Time will Tell

All puns aside, we've been working on time this week in math.  I knew from my pre-test and from classroom observations that very, very few of my students retained telling time from their second grade teachers.  Now this is by no means a reflection on the second grade teachers, but rather an observation...and it makes sense.  As a society, we don't really see large analog clocks on a frequent basis (unless you're in a classroom or you've decorated with a statement clock, as I have) but see lots of digital clocks.

We spaced out learning about time into three days.

Day 1

We did a KWL chart on what we knew about time and cut out these clocks:

They were a {free download} from a fellow TpT seller.  We color coded the different hands and labeled them.

I also had to explicitly teach how to use the brads:


Our goal for the first day was to learn the difference between the hands and tell time to the hour.

Day 2:

Today we used the second page from the above download.  We zoomed in on the phrases half past, quarter past, and quarter til.  This was a little tricky for them, so I'm glad we spent a day focused just on this skill.

They did notice I snuck in a mini lesson on fractions with the clock.  Hey, testing is soon!

Day 3: 

We made an anchor chart together:

We zoomed in on telling time to the exact minute.  We warmed up with a {matching game} with analog and digital clocks.

Day 4:

We took a standardized test in the morning, so math today was just a short quiz and this {I have, Who Has?} game to review with table teams.

Up next? 

We're going to make our schedules and focus on elapsed time. I plan to spend 2 days on this, one day focused on elapsed time under an hour and the following day events that are over an hour long.

The next lessons will focus on rounding, adding, and subtracting before starting a modified (shortened) version of Module 2 from Engage NY.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Second Semester, Day 1

We got through roughly half of what I'd planned for the day.  We did a lot of goal setting today.  But I don't necessarily think that was a bad thing.

We talked about the difference between goals and dreams.

From there, we talked about a goal vs. a SMART goal.

(This image is from my daily morning journals, available {here} and currently on sale). 

We set reading, math, school, and life goals.

I modeled the differences between a goal and a SMART goal:

Yes, taking attendance on time is one of my goals. The office is quite pleased.

We then recorded our goals in our {flip book}.

We also reviewed the difference between daily, weekly, and monthly goals:

It was a busy, busy first day back. We also went to library, looked at our 50+ new books (I've been doing some cleaning), took the math pre-test, talked about our upcoming field trip, and got on the computer for Lexia practice.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Grandma Fifi Quilts

After mulling around with the idea and months of planning, I am pleased to announce my mom has opened her Etsy shop {Grandma Fifi Quilts}!

Together we navigated figuring out shipping, packaging, selling logistics, pictures, and Google Drive.  

She's got an Instagram account (follow her {here}) and has posted pictures of current quilts and past projects:

She's got 9 quilts and table runners available now with new ones coming soon!

This marvel-ous beauty will be in her store shortly!

Valentine's Day 

Living room inspiration

My graduation quilt (UNLV colors of course)

Baby Austynn (10 months) on a Winnie the Pooh quilt

Waffles on B's Denver Broncos quilt

Baby Donovan and his newborn quilt

Below are some items that are currently available in her shop: 

Cheers to new adventures!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Reading Challenge

Our librarian posted this challenge for the New Year:

I love it, although I'm not sure I'll be able to finish it all.

Week 1 (01/01-01/07):  
Alexander, Who's Trying His Best to Be the Best Boy Ever by Judith Viorst. 

 I literally just discovered this sequel to Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and am using it in my class on Monday (1/08) to talk about goal setting and behavior.

I shall count it as the book with a name in the title:

So on to week 2!
Week 2 (01/08-1/14): 

The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan. 

I'm currently over 100 pages into it with high hopes of finish it soon (ya know, by the 14th).  Since it's the third book in the Magnus Chase series, I'll check off the trilogy box when done. 

Any suggestions for the other 50 books?

Centers Hack

It seems silly, but starting in a new grade level is quite similar to being a new teacher all over again.  I don't necessarily know what misconceptions my students will have, I don't have a drawer full of manipulatives or centers for review/extension activities, and there's a lot of learning curves.

One of our most recent grade level meetings focused on math planning and the upcoming unit.  One of the benefits of these meetings is that I can pick the brains of the other teachers who have taught this math unit before.

Here were the take aways:

Elapsed time and telling time apparently is extremely difficult for the kiddos. 

A pre-test for this unit is highly recommended.  (The Engage NY Module covers addition and subtraction with regrouping to the thousands, elapsed time, telling time, estimation, and rounding.)

Pre-teaching is recommended because not all the second grade teachers use Engage NY curriculum.  With computers and phones, telling time on an analog (traditional) clock is a lost skill that's not necessarily reinforced at home.  Very few of my students can read the analog clock in our classroom and often interrupt my teaching to blurt out a question asking about the time.  It's a skill we're working on.

So we're going to do some hands-on practice with telling time and reading clocks before jumping into our next math unit.

We're going to physically build clocks, courtesy of this free {TpT download}.

I also prepped these {I have Who Has} center and {What Time is it} centers for each table.  Both were freebies (my favorite) from TpT.  If my students like them and they're valuable, I'll reprint on colored cardstock and laminate.


To stay organized, I make each table their own set and place it in a sandwich sized bag.  I then place all the smaller bags in a gallon sized bag, along with the answer keys.  It's the little tricks that make the difference.

Top 3

Last October, I attended a teacher conference and the keynote speaker gave us each a copy of his book:

His advice was to savor the book and read it over the course of a full school year (or season as he calls it).  Baffled, I resisted my binge reading impulse and have been slowly reading a chapter or two per week.  There are lots of thought-provoking questions and reflection space,which does hinder the speed reading.

I'm glad I've taken my time. I've had quite the range of emotions this school year, ranging from excitement to disappointment to exhaustion.  I've been able to pinpoint why I'm experiencing those emotions and examine my teaching practices through a critical and empathetic lens.

Today's chapter focused on time.  The one thing we never seem to have enough of as educators (and well, people in general).  It focused on getting rid of the glorification of busy and talked about the negative impacts of multi-tasking.

I pride myself on my ability to multi-task, but maybe that's not such a good thing.

The chapter's call to action was to truly examine how time is being spent.  By constantly toggling between various tasks (and social media), we (teachers) spend day in and day out feeling distracted, disappointed, overwhelmed, and juggling a lot of tasks, yet never really completing them.

I found myself agreeing with the author's description of the because I can syndrome.

"Loehr refers to this multitasking tendency as the "because I can" syndrome. Why do I check emails while on vacation? Why do I text during family dinner? Why do I interrupt a conversation to take another call or return a text message? Why do I work every night until after midnight? Why do I answer my cell phone during my daughter's concert? Why do I skip my work out? Why do I miss breakfast?

Because I can."  (HEART, p. 72)

The author goes on to state "everyone I know has this issue  I suspect that, at one time or another, you have taken on too many tasks and become overwhelmed.  The demands of managing work, family, and your personal health (and energy) make it impossible not to skirt the edges of faulty assumptions.  Eventually, one of these areas, if not all three, begins to suffer." (72)

As a teacher, there's always more work that can be done. Being aware of this is the first step.  However, life can't be all work.  Instead, I should focus and fully commit to three goals per day instead of attempting everything with varying levels of focus.

Even as I write this post, I had to make a conscious effort not to have Netflix on in the background, not to be checking my phone, not to be texting, or not to be on social media.

Newsflash: It was difficult.  I was uploading some pictures to dropbox, so I checked the status of that.  My phone went off a few times, so I checked the social media updates.  It was nothing crucial or important.  I also listened to music. B's at a softball tournament, so it means I can listen to the Wicked Soundtrack without his sassy comments.  My mind started to stray about the laundry I could start, or the errands I could do, or the chores that could be started, and as a result, this post took a while to write.  

This is exactly what the author is talking about: the superficial tasks and the "simpler, better, faster" mantra.

The blunt truth of this chapter really resonated with me:

Except in rare will never be as good as if you focused on one thing at a time. Period.  That's the bottom line. " (71)

He goes on to quote The Way We're Working Isn't Working with "We create plenty of distractions for ourselves by juggling tasks, making ourselves perpetually available to others, opening several windows on our computers, and focusing on whatever feels most urgent at the moment without regard to whether what we are doing is really important." (71)

The book suggests thinking about 3 goals per day.  So, that's what I'm going to try.

I found this while cleaning:

And it seems perfect for this new strategy.

My goals for Monday (the first day back) are:

1) Plan my smart notebook for the day and gather necessary materials
2) Plan for Tuesday (lay out copies, etc) right after school
3) Plan with Ms. H (we were supposed to plan over break, but family time was more important)

My going into Monday with my goals in mind makes it easy to grasp.  My day is planned.  My 3 goals for the day are laid out (and written down in my goal setting planner).

However, I don't want to wait until Monday to try this new strategy.  I've started today's list of my top 3 goals:

1) Go to Target for a few items
2) Spend 45 minutes in the garage organizing and going through teacher boxes
3) Nail appointment with two coworkers (It's been a month) 

What are your top three goals for today?

Friday, January 5, 2018 was break?

I hate that question because there's no right answer.

If I talk about the work I did, I get attitude.

If I talk about the relaxing I did, I get attitude.

So, here was break:

My hubby, our pets, and I headed down to Arizona for five days.  We enjoyed time with my momma, brother, his gf Leah, my bestie, her family, and met my bestie's boyfriend.  We played lots of board games and I helped my mom set up her {Etsy Quilt Shop}.

We also prepared for our new roommate.

Ms. P, my second student teacher, is moving in for a few months while she subs in CCSD.  She's not sure if she wants to teach here or in Utah, so this is a short term solution for her while she figures out her next steps.

We cleaned out the far guest bedroom and got ready for her arrival.

I did a lot of grading.  I saved my retakes and semester exams for the last week of school because I wanted to maximize Ms. P's teaching opportunities in my classroom by letting her actually teach, not just

Yes, three whole inches of grading!  All of that had to be done and entered before I could write 25 report card comments.  Don't worry, all of those got done too!

With help, of course.

I made copies for the first day back, wrote lesson plans for the month of January, prepped new books,

and fought with curriculum engine (the online tool where we write our lesson plans):

I also enjoyed lots of pet snuggling time, 

got my teeth cleaned, went to the orthodontist, took Crooksie to the vet, watched Season 1 of Stranger Things, got my eyebrows waxed, got my nails done, took down Christmas decorations, enjoyed several lunches with friends, had Starbucks time, wrote, reflected on the new year, watched a lot of Netflix, napped, and did some reading.

I look forward to a restful weekend and doing no school work until Monday.  #balance