Friday, February 28, 2014

Engage NY - Devil's Advocate

Engage NY Math is quickly becoming a hot topic across the country. NY Department of Education developed curriculum to support Common Core and published it online for free. Our district has adopted the math portion. I would like to play devil's advocate and see what everyone thinks about Engage.

~It is free online
~It dives deep into numbers, both composing and decomposing and makes our kiddos think differently

~It is only available online which means everything must be printed, no materials can be purchased pre-made
~ Each lesson is an hour long of direct instruction
~ The first grade lessons include a lot of papers, typically three double sided pages each day if you do the homework

~ Does it say anywhere that it is research based?
~ Why hasn't a publishing company picked it up?

Post your thoughts in the comments.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

TPT Sale!

Help us celebrate 3 million members this week!  February 27th & 28th!  I am offering 20% off everything in my store and TPT is offering an additional 10% off of that, which equals 28% off the original price!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Phenomenal First Grade Phonics - 36 Weeks of Phonics Fun!

It is finally done!  207 pages of blood, sweat, and tears!  I made a new phonics program for firsties!  36 Weeks of Phonics!  Help students associate a picture and motion with a sound using the 70 sound cards provided.  Then practice sight words, decoding words based on the pattern of the week, dictate words to students to sound out, and finish the day with a sentence.  Monday and Tuesday the sentence needs to be corrected and re-written.  Wednesday and Thursday the sentence is dictated by you and written by the students.

Conclude the week by dictating two sentences on Friday following the pattern and using the sight words provided.  Students are graded in three areas including:  handwriting, spelling, and capitalization/punctuation.  A grading sheet has been provided to make your life easier.

Lesson plans are included along with student pages for all 36 weeks!  Check out the thumbnails and the download the preview to make sure you understand how in-depth this program is.  Please message me if you have any questions!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Interactive Whiteboard Units

A section on our evaluation involves using technology in our classroom.  The district is also replacing all of our SMARTBoards with Prometheans.  We wanted the kiddos to be more involved with our lessons and keep their attention.  Sometimes, I am just sick of passing out a paper for them to do.  The kiddos also have a hard time seeing a book when I read it on the carpet.  You know the scenario..."Johnny isn't sitting on his pockets."  "Sally forgot her glasses."  Although our document cameras are wonderful, they are also a SMART product and the district hasn't decided what exactly they are going to do about them.  I scoured the internet for free ebooks and setup an account with our librarian so that we could access even more ebooks.  Reading was our main focus this year as far as interactive whiteboard units were concerned.  I just finished our Text Features unit and you  can see a PDF version below.  I did not provide a copy of my lesson plans, so some slides may not make sense to you at all, but you get the picture.  I chose to make them in PowerPoint for several reasons...1)  We just got our Prometheans at Christmas and I started making these units last year.  2)  PowerPoint enables you to do so much more when it comes to fonts and shapes!  If they could somehow merge the PowerPoint program with the concept of interactive whiteboards it would be amazing!!!!

I want to make it very clear that the books that are in this are not mine, will never be mine, and I have no intention of claiming them as mine.  This also applies to a TPT product or two.  I took everything we use for our unit and put it one place.  The PowerPoint is mine, the things in the PowerPoint are not all mine!  ;-)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Data Walls, Valentine's Day Base-10 Activity, Math Milestone

Teachers are being encouraged to focus on data more and more these days.  Our team wanted to show that we were looking at data without it taking over our lives.  We made several data walls in our hallway to show where our kiddos are.  Each class has a different animal with their class numbers on them so that the kiddos stay as anonymous as possible.

Here is our guided reading wall.  It continues down through the letter M which would be the end of second grade level.

Our district also adopted Scholastic's iRead program which could be a post entirely by itself.  The kiddos are marked as "red-far below grade level," "yellow-below grade level," or "green-on grade level". Unfortunately you can see where the majority of our kiddos are based on Scholastic, but we are working hard and each week more and more kiddos get out of the "red".

We created five levels of writing for our kiddos to consider.  We made an example for each level of writing and the corresponding picture.  We move our kiddos along the wall as their writing improves.

My teaching buddy was out sick last week so we combined our classes and went into survival mode.  We got our lessons done and even managed to squeeze in this fun project.  We introduced base-10 blocks last week and made a number line from 10-60 out of hearts.  We connected the hears with a paperclip and used string to hang them up in the hall.  I am still not sure how we survived with 44 kiddos and no recess thanks to the weather.  

Our district adopted Engage NY math and although it took some getting used to our kiddos are sailing in math right now.  We started out the year focusing on pre-k math activities and now we are cruising right along.  We have been working on subtraction and word problems for an eternity and I couldn't stand the thought of standing in front of them explaining each step over and over again.  I decided to see what they know and let them loose with the problem of the day.  "Bill has 18 toy cars.  10 fit in the box.  How many do not fit in the box?"  We read the problem three times together to make sure they understood it and then I sat at a table with my roll of stickers and waited...

"Bill has ten cars in the box and now there are 8 toy cars not in the box."

"Bill has 8 cars not in the box."

I was amazed!  They didn't all look like this, but everyone had a picture, math, and words!  Even my little peanut who always needs help, sneaked over to help a friend "when I wasn't looking". Who would have thought they were actually listening to me this whole time?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Life Happened - Baby, New Floors, Dog Surgery, etc.

I know I have completely neglected all of you the last few months, but I have a good reason...I promise! Baby Leib is due July 1st!  I was sick and exhausted this fall.  I would come home from school and curl up in bed for the night.  
During Christmas break we got new flooring for the house!  This is the first "big" remodel for the house (not counting paint and so forth) and it was a huge undertaking.

Right after the floors got done, I thought Sadie had a bug bite on her leg and took her to the vet just to be sure.  They took a look and found abnormal cells so she stayed at the vet for surgery.  Keep in mind this spot was the size of a dime. It would be no big deal, we would come back in 7-10 days, have the stitches removed and she would be as good as new.  Sadie had other plans.  She ripped 3, yes 3, sets of stitches out, including one set of steel stitches.  The morning she ripped out the steel stitches I woke up to a puddle of blood in our bed.  An emergency phone call to the vet at 4:30 and weeks later, we are still healing. Bandages, cones, bitter apple spray, you name it we have tried it and she just won't leave it alone.  We probably have another few weeks of healing.  She is an emotional wreck and I spent 3 weeks sleeping on a mattress on the floor of the living room with her so that she wasn't jumping on the bed and tearing her leg up more.  

We also bought new office furniture and are still trying to get all of our junk put away.  (Pictures soon!)

My mom is coming out for spring break and I can't wait!  We are going to go baby shopping!  I miss living close to her so that we could go shopping whenever we wanted.

That's my crazy life!  We are getting everything ready for the baby and for next school year as I won't be taking any time off.