Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Great Loss

Hey there Bloggy Friends. It's been awhile and this blog post is one that is heavy on my heart to write. Normally, this time of year is full of excitement and fun, but right now, those things are the farthest from my memory. As you know, I am a contributor on a group blog called the Teaching Tribune. Through this outlet, I have met the most fantastic group of bloggy women. They are all brilliantly smart, extremely sweet, and uber creative. I've developed friendships with all of them over time and, despite being states and even continents apart, I consider them all to be great pals. However, our little bloggy family is broken right now.

Our hearts are sad because we have lost one of our own. You see, just yesterday, our dear Teresa from Second Grade Pigpen went home to be with Jesus. It was very unexpected and we are all completely shocked and heartbroken over her passing. Teresa was beautiful, fun-loving retired teacher. When snow days rolled around, she danced right along with us, helping us pray for that coveted early morning phone call. She danced her way through life, made us laugh til we cried, and was a great friend. She will truly be missed by our little group, and I'm sure the blogging world will miss her just as much. We are truly going to miss her but we all know she's dancing her way through the pearly gates right now. We love you Teresa!

With Love,

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Just Keep Swimming...Just Keep Swimming...

In the words of my most favorite Disney-Pixar character, it is that time of year to JUST KEEP SWIMMING! Spring testing is rolling in and this time of year is brutal with all of the upcoming meetings, trainings, and dare I say it...TEST PREP! Test prep is the bane of my existence as a classroom teacher. There is nothing I despise worse than sucking the life out of a classroom with boring and monotonous test prep activities...but we've all got to do it. After all, we studied place value and habitats wayyyyyy back in August, so those little granules of learning have to be reviewed and often times, completely retaught!

As a member of a fantastic team, we have come up with a fantastic way to cut the dreariness of test prep and allow ourselves a bit of a break from teaching all subject...every single day. For a mere five weeks of the year, we get to DEPARTMENTALIZE! A lot of folks are against it but I absolutely love getting to teach to my strengths. Beginning in two weeks, up until testing rolls in, I will be teaching three segments of language arts (to each of our classrooms), two segments of reading (to my own kids) and a short segment of mixed review designed specifically for my kids weaknesses. In my room...it's math facts, so we will be diving into those big time.

As far as breaking the monotony, I pull in as many games, stations, and interactive tools as possible into my departmentalized segments. A few things I use are Jeopardy games, I Have, Who Has activities, interactive voting devices, and station rotations throughout the classroom with specific skills in mind. Task cards are a big hit with our lively third graders so we will be working with those quite a bit. Below you will find a few of the ideas that I use to break up the boring.

First of all, my Activotes! These little babies link up to my Activeboard and allow for real-time voting and practice activities. We use them for all sorts of things, multiple choice activities and there are days when we even use them during Powerpoint Jeopardy Sessions.

Next up, GAMES! My kids love games and so do I. They really help to break up the boring and get the kids excited about the competition. In case you are looking to purchase Jeopardy-type games, you can check my TPT store! I have a whole category of them for all sorts of applications.

And the last little tip I have for breaking through the Spring craziness is to get your kids up and moving! Task cards are a great way to get them out of their seats and keep them learning. You can hang them with tape around the room, or just lay them out on the desks. Games of SCOOT! are always fun and move quickly, and they serve well as center or station activities. I also have a TON of those in my store as well!

I'm also linking up with a fantastic bunch of teachers who are also sharing some tips to keep your head above water in all this Spring craziness! You can check those out below!

And since you've stayed with me throughout all this, I'm going to do a real quick Rafflecopter and throw a GIVEAWAY!  And just for this one, I'm going to give away my BIGGEST bundle from my TPT store. It is my Growing Math Task Card Bundle Pack. As of right now, there are over 30 different sets in it, all ready to go with recording sheets and keys. They are mostly prepared for third grade classrooms but other grade levels may find them useful as well!
Ready or not! Here we go!

One lucky winner will receive EVERY Mathematics Task Card Resource in my store. There are 32 sets total and each one is common core aligned and lots of fun! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And one more thing before I go, have you heard about the TPT Three Million Teachers Strong Sale Event? It starts on February 27th and runs through midnight on the 28th! This is a great time to stock up on some Spring materials for school. My store will be discounted 20% and TPT tosses in another 8% off if you use the coupon code! Click the image below to hop on over and check out the newest goodies on the site!