Sunday, February 26, 2012

Permission to Pin: A Fanatics Post about the Social Pinning Place

Found this from a pin on   Do You Have Permission to Pin? Check out the article to make sure you are in accordance with Pinterest's terms and agreements.  Just wanted to let you know that you have my permission to pin from my board onto Pinterest. You might even want to start following me on Pinterest.  I may not have a lot of blog posts yet, but I am a pinning fanatic when the house is quiet at night. Sleep, who needs sleep!

No Animals were Harmed during this Blog; A reflective post about life, state-assessments, and human contact.

        I find myself on yet another Sunday holed away from my family completing life-inspiring lesson plans (well at least as I am picturing them), emailing parents and colleagues, playing  researching on Pinterest and writing my blog in my head as I do all the above.  I must confess that I was feeling pretty unin"blog"spired until my 2 1/2 year old, love-of-my-life, had a meltdown when for some odd reason I wouldn't let him shove my only car key into a variety of places, including the dog's ear.
       That's when I started feeling thoughtful and started comparing his exploration with the key to my struggles and joys of teaching my students.  As we draw near to,gulp, test time, I can only hope that what we are doing in our classroom is not only giving the students' keys to successful state testing, (I would like to keep my job), but more importantly are helping them figure out the keys to their future.  My desire is that even one activity, conversation, or moment in my classroom might help them in a positive manner.  I'm not naive enough and hopefully not vain enough to think that their short time with me will be worthy of a Lifetime Original Movie, but I do hope that in my classroom students can feel inspired, smarter, closer to becoming successful members of society, and have a fun time getting to that point.

    Ok, enough reflection...maybe I ate too many carbs this weekend, and it's making me a little pensive.

       The question after that long ramble, (did you not read the title of my blog), is how am I working towards giving them keys?  I have to say that my pizza night was a great success!  While we didn't have a huge turnout, we had a great time, and it was nice to visit with families about non-school related items.  I think families need to see me outside of being the 5th grade teacher, and as teachers we need a chance to get to know the different families and what is important to them.    When I first started teaching, I felt I needed to keep more of a distance personally to maintain that professionalism.  Luckily I realized within that first year that that is a bunch of garbage.  We talk about being a team, and teams need personal connections.  Can't wait until next month to hopefully see more families at the next pizza night!!  (Have to shout out to my brother who is the GM at our Pizza Huts in town- THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! Also, THANK YOU for next month and the next and...)

     Two weeks ago, I found a fun bulletin board idea on Pinterest.  Thought it was a great idea, but needed to "kick it up a notch," as Emeril would say.  Here are the pictures of my spin.  The original idea was to create a 6'4" Abe Lincoln and allow students to measure themselves.   I kept that idea, but as a class we are also tracking the information and using it in our class landmarks of data; mode, median, mean, range, outliers, and even some conversion practice.  Not only are my students loving the project, we have already had many visitors from 6th grade and down stopping to see how they measure up to Honest Abe Lincoln.
Feel free to be amazed at my artwork. Good thing I don't try to
make money as an artist!  Interactive board for measurement and
data organization/analysis. 
Having students add 12" due to a
short tape measure.

Let's see how long the post-its last! :)

(I spent over an hour trying to find an original post to give credit, but seems many sites have similar bulletin board ideas. If someone find the original, let me know so I can give credit.)

To finish this blog post, I feel I must be honest and return to the story of my son and the keys.  You see, I probably should have let him just explore with the keys, though Amber the Dog is thankful her ear has been spared.  The reason my key is unimportant right now is because my car is out of order...for a long time...No, I wasn't in an accident, it hasn't be repossessed, nor did Aliens abduct it.  However, only with my luck would a 4 legged rodent make a home under the hood of my SUV and chew on almost every, yes every, wire in it this week.  Who needs keys when it's not going anywhere?  Hmmm, maybe I can use the key as a paperweight or a hallpass. Guess you'll have to wait until next post to find out!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Late Night-Coffee Drinking Ramblings of a 5th Grade Teacher???

    I promised myself that I would faithfully blog at least once a week.  However, just like my resolve to keep up with the laundry, exercise daily, and walk away from the chocolate, it hasn't happened.  The good news is that it is 11:06 pm and laundry is washing, I played some volleyball (that had to have burned at least 3-4 calories!) and  I bought a candy bar today, but didn't eat it most of it. Guess that means I can also blog.  So much time has past, that I don't want to bombard everyone with a massive overload of pictures about things we accomplished, which is phenomenal if I do say so myself. Instead, we will start fresh.  How about an idea for my parents and a teacher tip instead?
    As I was driving between, no joke, school and basketball practice, a dinner with several legislators, and my volleyball game, (Yes, I am amazing: I accomplished all of that plus laundry this evening! LOL!) I was thinking about how I hope to be the teacher that the kids remember fondly. With all of the push for assessments and rigor in the classroom, I don't truly get to know my students as well as in previous years.  It is a really depressing observation, but they are the reason I teach. Not assessments. While I try to attend games, concerts, etc if my kiddos ask, I would really like a chance to get to know them and their families.  So what I am proposing is a monthly dinner night.  Wish I could pay, but well, I'm a teacher not a doctor.  I'm thinking Pizza Hut this month.  I will be calling everyone tomorrow to send out the invite.  Hope to see whole families there and I can't wait to "Get To Know You Better!"
     Here is a teacher idea; you be the judge if it falls under "great."   How many teachers have their "pensives" or thick 3 ring binders filled with classroom observations, student data, and conferring notes? I did, but found myself cramming things in, losing it, and finally started dreading using it. This year I created a clip board with small pieces of paper taped to it, like a file-o-dex.  Student names are in the corner so that I can flip quickly to their sheet.  Writing small, I can get several weeks notes of conferring on the paper.  It makes it easy to visit with the students regarding previous conferring sessions.  When the paper is full, I add it to their file folder and start fresh.  I am adding a picture of my clipboard.  (I covered up their names however, for privacy.)

My Clip Board Conferring Sheets, aka "Life is sure a lot easier without that big bulky notebook,clip board"
       My handy computer clock is now reading 11:28, my contacts are starting to get blurry, and my caffeine energy is finally fading. Of course, I might find some time for Pinterest before the clock strikes midnight.  Good night all, and will "blog" with you soon!