Tuesday, October 25, 2016


Can I tell you about a game that both I and my students love?

First of all they love it because they think they can be loud and obnoxious (which they can) while playing it...they can.

I love it because they have to complete a boring review worksheet, but then check and confirm the answers with their "team" and if they don't agree they have to explain and convince the other person why they are right!

Ok, here is ZAP!

Split the students up into two teams.  Have them complete a worksheet ideally with the number of questions as you have students.  I have 18 students and had them do a 12 question worksheet so had to make a few questions up at the end.  Today it actually got really good and suspenseful!

Basically you are going to alternate between the two teams to answer the questions.  The nice thing is that before you start you let them collaborate. This way they all have the correct answer and if you are monitoring while they collaborate you are making sure they explain why instead of just forcing the answer on the other person.

Now when you call on a student it must be quiet the student you call must give the answer, when they get it correct (which they should since they collaborated) they pull a stick from the ZAP jar.  The sticks are EVERYTHING in this game and range from +2, to -20, ZAP! which brings you back to 0, ZAP the other team! and 10 second dance party.
It is freaking awesome on so many levels!
First of all they are completing a boring review worksheet and confirming their answers and making sure like their life depends on it that they have it right.
Then for the game, since the sticks are so wacky it means that the "smart" group isn't always going to win.
Finally similar to above, since it is so random, the kids love it!!

I totally use this for test review, since I tell them to take their papers home to study, this way I know they have the right answers.

Like I said today was the perfect example of ZAP!  One team was up 28 points the other had -14 and the negative team ended up winning with a ZAP and a few other sticks.

Another benefit is I teach 3rd grade, they are already learning a context for negative numbers!!!!  My -14 team was wishing for a zap to bring them to zero...  Gotta love it!!!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Day 13-Thoughts Have Power

Even though I consider myself a positive person and very optimistic, when I reflect on my work I usually focus on the negative.  Not in a negative way, but in a "how can I fix this" way.  I feel like that is very important to do in order to improve, but I'm also realizing that I spend too much time focusing on what is going wrong.  I need to also look at what is going right and try to learn from and build on that.  
Image result for thoughts are things

So as I look back at this week these are the things that are going well and I hope to build on:

1. I am getting more comfortable with the centers!  My students have learned the procedure for transitioning to the next group and they are getting better at it each time.  I have them switch on a count of 3, at 1 they all stand up and push in their chairs. On 2 the back row comes to the front of the room and stands in front of the first group.  On 3 they all go to the seats behind them.  It has a good flow. 
For now I am keeping the activities simple, but I'm working really hard to make sure they are meaningful and not just busy work. These are Learning Stations, not just Doing Stations.  I am working on building students understanding that the work they do here is their opportunity to play with the new concepts and develop their own meanings.  

2. I feel like my lessons are becoming more effective using the resources and methods I've been accumulating over the years.   For example, I've started pulling the concept development ideas from EngageNY which I think work very well, but also using Whole Brain Teaching to teach vocabulary.  I also like how the Whole Brain Teaching management techniques fit with the Teach Like a Champion strategies, such as 100% and No Opt out.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Day 9/10-"Centers"

I tried the reworked version of my centers and found that it still needs a little tweaking, but it is definitely headed in the right direction.

The baskets worked great!  I had all of the supplies including printed directions in each basket.  I assigned a Captain and a Supply Manager for each group. My Captains kept everyone focused on the task and kept track of time.  The Supply Manager distributed the supplies out of the basket, read the directions and collected everything at the end of the time limit.  I feel like they did a good job with their roles so that is staying.

I did change the desk set up though, I had three groups of six which I really liked, but 1. it was hard to get them in position, and 2. this is a very chatty group of students and although I'm working on getting that under control, I think its too many together.  Right now they are paired up in rows and I have three groups, I had  the middle pair split up and one will move to the right and the other will move left.  So it will look like this:

xxx     xxx
xxx     xxx
xxx     xxx
I  still had 3 activities but I made two baskets instead of one.  Also, instead of the basket moving, I had the students move in order to give them a little leg stretch during this long block.  This worked really well even on the first try!

This afternoon, our external instructional coach came in and I got some really good feedback.  She said I was on the right track and gave me some things to tweak. Especially the type of work I should be having the students do.  I am super excited to try it out tomorrow.

Another observation I've made is that this group of students, while they are challenging as far as their behavior goes, they have already demonstrated some great math talk and reasoning!  I can't wait to start actually blogging about their math soon!!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Day 7/8-1st Full Week Done!

First let me say, I survived the first full moon of the year!  If there is one thing that I have learned during my time as a teacher, it is that students are definitely more challenging on a full moon.  That doesn't have to be a negative thought either, and its not just them, I believe I have to watch my own behaviors during this time as well.  I try to be more soothing and calm and not get them too hyped up.

I have learned soooo much this week and I am excited about that!
I attempted to introduce "centers" and conferencing with students.  This is something I have struggled with forever and I am more determined then ever to get it right this year.  I now have a 120 minute math block in the morning and about 95 minutes in the afternoon.  There is no reason this can't work!
Lets just say this was a great learning opportunity for me.  Especially since our wonderful RTI specialist, who I just respect so much and adore was in the class with me.  She gave me some really great suggestions and helped me make a plan for next week!
What I learned and how I'm changing it and concerns:
Not enough structure!  Since I have 18 students and set my desks up in three rows of pairs, after the mini lesson, I will have the pairs of students turn their desks and face each other. This will create 3 "groups" of 6 students.  I will have 3 activities planned with all of the supplies in a basket.  I will designate a captain for each group, that person will keep the group focused and on task.  Each group will have a supply manager who will be responsible for distributing and collecting supplies from and to the basket.  There will also be a messenger who, if the group is having a problem or question and cannot figure it out themselves, the messenger will be the only one who can ask me the question.
Concerns:  I'm pretty sure I know my high, middle and low groups already, but I know there is not a perfect 6 of each.  Something I plan to do is pull 4 students at a time to my back table.  So I will also have to take that into consideration, would I want all lows together and when I pull my 4 only 2 are left?  Still a lot of learning for me to do and I think I won't be able to know for sure until I try it.

WBT is going well and still a lot for me to learn here too.  Of course in my mind I expect instant perfection and I'm not there yet, but that is OK.  In the first week I have seen more than one student who has the tendency to be off task and disruptive, self correct and work really hard to get a "line" on my tracker sheet to earn a star.  That is success in my book!  Here is the other thing I noticed this week.  I've raised my voice once or twice and said some negative things (Do you want to lose recess?  If you can't follow the rules you are not welcome in my classroom-things like that) and some of the support teachers have done the same.  The students respond to that really well AT THE TIME, but then go right back to the behaviors we do not want.  On the other hand, I've already seen as mentioned before, behaviors being changed from the positive reinforcements even when I'm not actively talking about it.  I'm not sure I'm explaining that correctly.  Anyway, I plan this week to really focus on and call out all of the good behavior I see and less focus on the misbehavior.  I won't let the misbehavior off the hook, they have already learned my stink eye and I will stand by students who are talking out or not focused, I will still wait for 100% and things like that, but I will go out of my way to make a big deal over students who are doing the right thing.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Day 6 The Super Improver Team

I introduced my Super Improver Team board today and I think it went over pretty well.  I did not hand out the goal cards today, I don't think they need them yet.
Here was the board from the first day of school until yesterday:
And today they walked in to this:
I explained that the SI Team is like a video game where the object is to "level up".  The way you level up is by improving things like your behavior or academics.  It can be anything that needs improving!  As I observe students doing things better than they were, I will praise them and mark a line on my chart.  Each time I mark a line I am making a star.  When they have a complete start I put an actual star sticker on their card, 10 stars and its time to level up.  I showed them that I had already printed their names on every single color so that they knew I expected them to level up.
It felt really good to be on the lookout to catch students following the rules who normally didn't and a lot of students got 2-3 lines today towards their stars.  It helped with redirecting unwanted behavior too, there were a few students who I simply asked if they wanted to earn some lines and they instantly changed their behavior.  I am hoping I can get  a few of them on the yellow level by tomorrow to get them excited.  The hardest part about this for me is the students who are really great anyway!  Its hard to not want to just give them stars for being "good." I think I will conference with those students to see if there are any goals they would like to strive for that we can monitor on the SI Team.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Day 5 Such a Learning Curve!

I have to admit it is very frustrating "starting over" again.  I was just getting into a groove with middle school kids, and even though I moved from 7/8 to 5/6 over the last 6 years, it was an easier transition.
Teaching 3rd graders is a whole new experience and I feel like a first year teacher.  Every day I make mistakes and immediately realize them.  I guess that is better than making them and not even knowing it.  I feel like I should know better though.
For example, I planned to teach rounding 2 and 3 digit numbers to the nearest ten and hundred.  Well, I should have just started with rounding 2 digit numbers to the nearest ten today and build on from there.  Tomorrow we will review just rounding 2 digits to the nearest ten and then 3 digit to the nearest ten.  If they have retained today's lesson, I will move on to rounding 3 digit numbers to the nearest hundred.

I am still struggling with behavior in one of my classes.  There are many students who refuse to follow directions.  Not only do they not follow them, they go out of their way to do the opposite of my directions. They have the mindset that they are "BAD" kids and their expectations of themselves are so low.  Today I couldn't take it anymore and started calling parents.  I am really trying to stay committed to WBT strategies and I feel if I start handing out consequences like calling home it is going to reinforce their beliefs.  I am introducing the Super Improver Wall tomorrow and boy do they have a lot to improve on!  I plan on telling them that I believe in them even if they don't believe in themselves and that I will not give up on them!   I also plan on giving them index cards with the goal I want them to work on.  I know this is the Star Card strategy and I should be waiting to introduce these new "games" but I think this might help them.  I feel like if I just introduce the Super Improver Wall, they will be thinking "I'm never going to move up a level"  but if they have the card and I start making lines when I catch them improving towards their goal, it will make it a little more concrete and attainable.  I really do believe they can do it!

I will blog about the wall and the cards tomorrow after I introduce it.  Wish me luck!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Day 4 Disaster!

Yuck!  Today was awful!  Everything that was wonderful about Friday was the opposite today.  I am going to point it directly at not doing the Teach/Okay!
I am still struggling with this younger grade as to knowing what to do with them and for how long.  I normally would jump into my curriculum starting today just like all of the upper house teachers were doing, but I thought no, I need to stick with practicing routines and procedures.  Bomb city.  They actually know the routines and procedures that I've taught and practicing them over and over is driving all of us nuts.
So tomorrow I am going to start teaching some content, but going really basic with a LARGE focus on the routine and procedures.  I feel that having the content will give more of focus on why we have are routines and procedures.
All I know is that today did not work and if I was to judge 3rd grade by this day I would be looking for a new job right now instead of writing this blog!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Day 3-Glimpse of Teacher Heaven!

Today I pushed myself to fully use teach/okay.  I had taught the procedure to my "good" class, but not my challenging class.  This was the step of WBT that I struggle with since I had such a mental block with the gestures.  Since I decided that I was going to break down the rules on anchor charts (I don't know why I didn't take pictures of them!) I decided that was the "lesson" I was going to use.

Here is how it went:
First of all I used big exaggerated gestures, funny voices, walked all around my room (*racked up 16000 steps on my fitbit!!) and just went all in!
Me:  Claaaaassss!
Students:  Yeeeeeees!
Me:  Mirror Words!
Students: Mirror Words!
Me:  Rule 1 looks like following directions quickly but carefully (repeated 3 times)
Students: repeated what I said and my gestures-anyone not engaged (maybe 2 at the most) I would walk over and get right in front of them squatting down if I had to until they did it!
Me: Clap clap teach!
Students: Clap clap okay!
Boom they were doing it and loving it!!!!  I did about 3 "looks like" statements for all 5 rules and it was AWESOME!!!
The best part was not only did my "good" class do it, but my challenging class loved it even more!!!!  It was truly teacher heaven.
It was a lot of work but man, I had a blast.  It was fun!

Now, the only issue I need to work out is this.  I still don't have my challenging class when we are not doing mirror words and teach okay.  I still keep thinking that when I start Super Improvers and star cards and I can already tell I'm going to need the Bullseye for 2 of my students, that things will get better.  Yet I also want to say that its only the third day and they will get it.

The other issue is I feel so vulnerable not having any real consequence like warnings, detentions etc. but then also I guess recess squad will be that once I get that going.  I did take a few students out into the hall for a talk, happy to say 4 of them were to tell them privately how thankful I was to have them in my class, they were doing such a good job and I was proud of them.  Then my two major rascals, I took them out and gently told them to knock it off, very very gently, one cried, but it did "work" for the rest of the class.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Third Grade Day 2

So today I thought that my challenging group from yesterday afternoon would act a little differently since I had them in the morning.  Unfortunately, they were worse.  I fought the urge to move on to keep up with the other class.  I am determined to keep working on their behaviors and solidifying my expectations, rules, procedures until they improve.

I've noticed that although they can recite the 5 rules, they do not put them into practice.  We are working on making anchor charts of what each rule "looks like."  I feel like breaking the rules down and giving that visual reminder will help.  I know that once we get into the super improvers game and the practice cards I should see some changes, but everything I read says to save them for as long as possible.

I will keep pushing, it is so hard to not jump into content, but I know that if we don't get the behavior issues resolved, getting into content will be a waste of our time.  I am giving them a diagnostic test, Its a 6 page test that I've broken down and giving them 1 page per day.  This weekend I will be able to see where they are academically and begin planning from there.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Third Grade - Day 1

I survived!
It was so hard to plan this day since I had no idea what to expect from 8 year old students!  I am extremely grateful for all of the WBT materials I have been studying all summer.   As I thought, it felt like a natural fit in 3rd grade.  Did every student act perfectly?  Nope, but it was a great first day and start.

Since I teach math and science, I have two sections.  I had my homeroom class for the whole morning and then the other class for the whole afternoon.
My class did a fantastic job. We did class/yes, mirror words, teach/okay, scoreboard, 5 Rules and Star, and hands and eyes.  I have two definite beloved rascals in that class but they are not overbearing.

My second class really struggled with  the 5 Rules, LOTS of blurters.  They were not able to handle mirror words or teach/okay - I didn't even try it with them.  They do have class yes, but started to struggle right away with the Mighty Oh Yeah and Mighty Groan on the scoreboard.  I even let them do a "Mighty Dab" when they say Oh Yeah instead of clap, but that didn't get me the 100% I need.  Lots of beloved rascals in this class.  I'm probably going to start recess squad tomorrow!

So tomorrow the groups switch and I have the rascally bunch all morning and the other class in the afternoon.  I am interested to see how that changes anything, if at all.  I know students are usually a little more focused in the morning and "off" after lunch.

One thing I learned today is to slow down!  Even when I think I'm going slow, I need to go slower.  I can tell that if I don't get these routines down now it will be a rough year!    I feel pretty confident that we will work it out.  They are going to be an awesome group for the Super Improver Team!  Can't wait to get that started next week!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

My New Classroom!

In general, I use a lot of exclamation points and this year it will probably get annoying, so I apologize!  I can't help it though, I am terribly excited about this new school year.  We have a lot of great new staff members on board and there is just such a positive vibe running through our school that I haven't felt in a while.  I am also really happy with my new classroom! So I wanted to post some of my hard work and also how some of it relates to my WBT journey.

Welcome!  Yes, I did the superhero theme.  Not usually a big fan of themes but found a new teacher store and went a little crazy.
My outside bulletin board waiting for some student work!

A view of the front of the classroom, calendar, my scoreboard, the WBT rules up top and the Super Improver Team board!  I will cover up the title for the first few days and build suspense until the second week. 

My word wall, or power pix wall, it will probably extend over the windows since I am doing math and science this year. 

Classroom jobs, there is a pocket to put a popsicle stick with the name of the student. Cute jobs like Super Sharpener, Captain Line Leader, etc. 

Close up of the Super Improver Board.  The colored strips have the titles of each level, they will be turned around next week once the board is totally revealed. 
My clock!
So there we have it!  I didn't show the back wall with the student cubbies, I want to go this weekend and buy some plants to put on top of them.  What are good plants for a classroom?

Friday, August 19, 2016

Happy New Year! 2016-2017

I absolutely love the beginning of the school year!  Its so much fun to have a fresh start full of so many possibilities.  I am really excited about this year because I am moving to 3rd Grade!!  I am a little nervous but as I am getting used to the idea, the excitement is truly replacing the nerves.

The thing that has me fired up the most is I that I finally feel 100% comfortable with Whole Brain Teaching!  I had a lot of success with it last year with my 5th and 6th graders as far as classroom management goes, and I am looking forward to seeing how it improves lesson delivery as I finally add in gestures, teach/okay, and the assessment strategies, etc.  I know that it is proven to be successful with older students, but it just seems like with 3rd graders it will be a perfect fit. 

In addition to having both books, Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids and 122 Amazing Games by Chris Biffle, I am also going through the certification option on the website to make sure I know all of the ins and outs.  The first part is the Bronze Certification and it requires you to take quizzes based on the different levels and I've already passed the advanced level!

My 1st goal of the new year is to finish the Bronze Certification before the start of school!  

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Almost Giving Up on This Blog

I've had a really discouraging year.  I can't really say why, but I don't feel that after 5 years of teaching I am where I want to be.  Now granted I have switched grade levels and definitely feel better about the content this year than I did last year, but still I am not happy with my performance.
Anyway... I saw this on Facebook today and it reminded me of a few reasons I started blogging in the first place. So as summer approaches I might not blog a lot but I will try to keep this a little more current.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Takis Friday

Today was a GREAT day... I bought a 25 pack of mini bags of Takis.  My students LOVE these!!!! They get a kick out of the fact that I love them too. LOL 
What I did was created a competition, since they love these chips so much I figured I would use it to my advantage.  
I cut up a bunch of construction paper into squares.  Every time I caught a student "doing the right thing" I gave them a square.
At the end of class they put their tickets into a bag and we had a drawing for the 6 bags of Takis for each class! It was awesome!!!
I have been using a stop light behavior system and one of the requirements was they could not be on yellow or red to participate.  
Will definitely incorporate this into the daily routine.  Tickets every day for appropriate behavior, then Takis Friday every week or every other week!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Any Questions? #EXPLOREMTBOS2016


This week we are to write about questioning.  I think that this is one of the most important parts of teaching.  I will never forget the time a math coach who observed my lesson typed up everything I had said during the class.  We reflected on how many and what type of questions I asked and I was pretty embarrassed by the results.  Thankfully that was an eye opener and ever since then I have been trying to improve my questioning skills.   I always start with anything I want to "tell" my students I will rephrase into a question.  I still need a ton of work on this and now I find that my lesson planning is most focused on the questions I'm going to ask.

I also noticed a big part of this is not only asking the questions but making sure everyone has an opportunity to answer.  In my classes I notice that there are 3-4 students who want to answer every single question and the rest of the class is more than happy to sit back and let them.  So I started doing all the usual tricks like making sure I wait long enough, using craft sticks to draw names, using the name picker on the interactive white board, etc.  But I noticed that those students who don't want to answer will just say any old thing to get it over with.  Also, it still doesn't help me to know if everyone understands the lesson.

My new strategy is a tracking sheet I've started using in the past few weeks.  It works like this: my students watch a video lesson in class, when they are finished or if a small group of them are finished, I confer with them and ask specific questions that I have prewritten and sometimes I generate others on the spot.  I then mark on my tracking sheet if I spoke with them and if they understand based on the questions I asked.  The nice part is spending a few minutes with each student or small group of 2-4 students really allow me to find their misconceptions early and help them understand the concept better.  I also like having the space on my sheet to write the questions down that I plan on asking them.   Or the room to write down their questions as well as any other comments during our conference!
Here is an example.  Its really low tech and I've thought about making it on a spreadsheet, but I think I like it best hand written because I can switch up groups at a moments notice if needed.

Sorry its sideways!  The circle next to their name means I talked to them and the line through it means they got it or answered questions successfully.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

My Favorite #EXPLOREMTBOS2016


Without a doubt my favorite thing is my Hands On Equations class set.

I won this set at a math conference a few years ago when I was teaching 7/8th grade.  I used it the first year with my 7th graders, but since they had been exposed to algebra, they didn't really embrace this method and would get themselves confused.  But for younger students its almost like magic!
Embedded image permalink
Here is my nephew and son when they were 7 and 8 years old.  They were blowing through two step equations and then multi-step equations like it was nothing! 

So last year was the first year I was in 5/6th.  At the end of the year I pulled out the Hands On Equations and we worked through the entire program.  It was amazing.  Some of my struggling students had success that they had never had before in math class!
The best part was this year in 6th grade I have referred back to H.O.E. when teaching opposites, simplifying expressions and solving equations.  It is great to be able to pull out the set and see their eyes light up with understanding.  In the past I would have more than half the class try to tell me x + 2x + 6 simplifies to 9x.  This year only 1 or 2 made that mistake!  In fact when I asked them why you couldn't add the six to the 3x they would tell  me "because the x's are the pawns that are unknowns the 3 only tells us how many unknowns we have!"
I can't wait for the end of the year to start up again with my 5th graders!  

Friday, January 15, 2016


Here we go!  Here was my day, sort of typical but with an extra meeting thrown in. Figured I'd do today since the rest of the week was a blur!

5:00am:  Alarm goes off and I snooze for about 2 minutes...  I set the snooze for 5 minutes but
This girl decides that I am not allowed to sleep any later because she MUST eat!
Then this sweetness has to go for her walk, I'm dreading the first snow storm!
5:20: Hop in the shower and get ready
6:00: Cook breakfast for me and the pup (I eat egg whites and cook the yolks for her)
6:20: Put lunches together for me and the kid.  Make sure the kid's backpack is ready with his school Chromebook charged.  Hunt down his cell phone and glasses and put them on the kitchen counter with his Zyrtec (I won't tell you how old he is, but let's just say he's a little spoiled.)
6:40: Hubby comes home from his 3rd shift job and we chat and spend a little bit of time together.
7:00: Leave for school.
7:25: Get to school and head up to my classroom.  Get my laptop set up, print out a bunch current event articles that my students emailed to me so I can print for them.  The social studies teach won't do it.  Whatever.  Read other emails, empty out my bags, make sure room is ready for the day.  
7:50:  Go outside for morning meeting.  We used to have a nice auditorium where the whole school gathered to hear daily announcements, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, Mission Statement and Excuses poem, but now we have to do it outside as long as the temp is above freezing and its not raining/snowing.
8:05-8:15: Stand in my classroom doorway and get kids to their lockers in groups.  This was one of my big culture shocks I'd guess you'd say about switching from being an 8th grade homeroom to a 5th grade homeroom.  The students have such a hard time at the lockers!  This year is a tad bit better than last, but its still an event.
8:15: 1st class (5th grade double block)
10:00: 2nd class (5th grade double block)
11:40: Get students to their lockers and ready for recess/lunch and the afternoon.  Happy beyond words because today they are finally getting better about hallway procedures.  Its been a little rough since winter break, but having them "practice" during recess a few days really helped!
11:45: After dropping off students for recess, run back up to my room and get ready for the afternoon with 6th grade.  I have two 6th grade classes, and one of them is struggling with simplifying expressions so I have to make new copies of the practice pages from the 5th grade resource book.  Make copies and bring them back to my classroom and get my lunch. 
12:00: Eat while grading some papers.
12:30: Pick students up from lunch. 
12:35: 3rd class (6th grade) 
1:00: Go to Director's office to sit in on a conference call with a consulting company that we will be using for our charter renewal and possibly high school expansion!!!! So super excited to be a part of this process.  It will be my 2nd charter school renewal but adding the high school is going to be such an experience!  If, it's a go, there is still a lot of research to do first. 
2:10: Run back up to classroom, check in with the sub to make sure the rest of 6th grade went well, thankfully it was our RTI coordinator who I work very closely with so everything was cool and on track. 
2:15: Get my homeroom packed up for the end of the day and down to music class.
2:20: Back to Director's office for a meeting a students we are concerned about in 5th/6th grade.  There are a bunch.
3:25: Run back up stairs to put down my laptop and grab my coat.  Pick kids up from music and bring them outside for dismissal.
3:30:  Chat with a few former students who pick up siblings.  I LOVE when I get to see them!  One of my favorite girls that I've know since she was in 4th grade when she came here from El Salvador is becoming so grown up, she's in 10th grade now!
3:45: Bring my 2 stragglers inside so they can call parents. 
3:50: Back to classroom and sit for 2 minutes deciding whether I should stay to get caught up with grading and stuff for next week or shove it all in my bags and leave... Decide to start shoving.
4:00: Punch out and notice that my hours look weird. Go in and talk to the secretary and we investigate the software and the time clock.  There seems to be something buggy going on, my punch didn't show up and it looks like a few of my punches didn't take.  
4:20:  So we get that straightened out and I finally leave school.  I will never be able to walk out at 4:00,  I don't know how some people do it!
4:01: Call hubby and he asks me to pick up Subway for dinner.  I am so stingy and I hate spending money on fast food when I have food to cook at home, but this is my daughter's last weekend home and she wants it, so I go. We take her back to college on Sunday and I'm already starting to get teary thinking about it.
4:30:  Get the Subway and head home.
5:00: Home!  Walk the puppy. Eat dinner with family (teary eyed again thinking about the girl leaving) 
5:30: Start grading the 5th grade quizzes.  I usually don't touch work on Friday night, but I know that with the road trip to Rhode Island on Sunday and  wanting to spend time with family before girl leaves (tearing up again) I better start chipping away at it!
7:00: Walk pup again, this time a longer walk gotta get my fitbit steps up!  
7:30: More work, take a ride with girl to Sally's Beauty store for her to get hair dye.  I don't know how the child still has any hair. She bleaches it and dyes it a new color every week or so.  
9:00 Start writing this post and will then shut down for the night.  Watch a little TV or maybe my guilty pleasure-play a game or two of Twenty.
10:00: goal is to be in bed!  

Friday, January 8, 2016

Challenges and Resolutions

I love both of them.  I love a fresh start.  I love setting goals.  Sometimes I think to myself I've failed at the many challenges and resolutions I make each year, but then I remember that I never give up so I never really fail!
In 2015 I only posted 36 blog posts, each year from 2012-2014 I had posted 50 blog posts, so I felt a little bad about that.  So, this #MTBoS blogging initiative is a great match for my resolution to blog more!

This year I want my blog to focus on the math and teaching/learning.  My 100% focus is student growth/success.  In the past my blog was mostly "ooh I'm flipping my classroom", "oooh I'm trying math workshop!", "ooooh I'm a whole brain teacher"  The really cool thing is that I've married all three of these teaching techniques and it is really working for me!  When I say working for me, it means I "feel" like it is making me a more effective teacher, but now I want to really document if it actually is!

So here we go!  The first step was to dust off your blog and kind of say your are participating.  This is my blog post that does that!