Wednesday, December 3, 2014

December Currently and Some English Stuff :)

Oh wow. I have seriously neglected this blog.
I am literally in survival mode right now 
and just counting down to Christmas Break...
which, by the way, is in 11 days.

So if you haven't check out this book.... you're seriously missing out.
 Our Lit. Leader passed it on to me and we're currently working through Chapter 2:
Express and Reflect.
My students are writing memoirs based on a single event in their life  that really stands out to them.
We're focusing on reflection and figurative language.
Let me just say, from what I have seen so far... my students are doing FANTASTIC!
This book by Kelly Gallagher has some fun writing activities to do with your students for the different modes of writing.

One of the activities is titled
"An Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life."
It stems from this book:
Students use each letter of the alphabet and incorporate thoughts or short phrases for each letter.
Then they add a few sentences to explain their thinking.
I started making one as an example and it was actually relaxing.
My kids took 8 pieces of paper and folded them in half to make a book.
Each page of the book has a letter of the alphabet on them.
It gives my students an opportunity to reflect on their lives thus far.

Such a good read!!
Very interesting! Check it out! :)

Anyway, I'm linking up with Oh Boy 4th Grade
for this month's December Currently.

It's currently my off period and my classes are spending the day in the Library.
With that said... I'm sitting here listening to the peacefullness of the Library...
with a gymnasium right around the corner.

My parents just bought me a Surface Pro 3 to replace my Apple MacBook.
I am in L.O.V.E.!!
It comes with a pen to write with.
And it's just awesome.
I love having a tablet/laptop all in one!!!

I started a PiYo workout yesterday.
I actually joined a challenge group on Facebook for the month of December.
It kicked my butt, but I had a blast doing it.
And the best part?
I didn't feel like death today!
Can't wait for my BeachBody PiYo videos to arrive!

Since I started my healthy eating yesterday,
I can no longer eat my beloved mac 'n cheese.

My head is pounding and my cheerleaders have a basketball game tonight!

We have so much non-healthy food in our house.
This weekend I want to take it all out and donate it.
I figured that's a better idea than just throwing it away!

Monday, September 1, 2014

September Currently

Is it September already?!
Holy cow!!! 

Did you know....

Is it bad that I'm already counting down?
Heck, even Thanksgiving will do at this point!

Anyway, I'm linking up with Farley over at Oh Boy 4th Grade for this month's currently! 

Listening: The fiance and I are watching Breaking Bad. 
He's trying really hard to get me hooked on it.
I'm enjoying it, but not enough to watch the entire series.

Loving: This lovely three day weekend!
We didn't have kids on Friday so it actually feels like a 4 day weekend.
And at least it's only a 4 day week of teaching!!

Thinking: I didn't bring home any work this weekend.
I'm in bit of a panic mode right now for what I'm doing this week.
Pretty sure I had everything planned before I left... 
but this year, who knows?

Wanting: This is a tight month for me since I'm in between pay checks with different schools.
I am seriously wanting to go shopping. 
There's so many cute things online and there's this pair of boots I want...
This are on my MUST HAVE list.
I cannot wait until Christmas to get these babies!

Needing: This is my second HORRIBLE migraine for this week.
I took some Naproxen and tried to sleep it off with no luck.
Hoping I can beat this thing before tomorrow because I won't survive the day with this pain.

3 Trips: Italy has always been my number one dream travel destination. 
I would love to go to Vatican City as well.
And I want some serious Italian food :)
Greece is number two on my list... mainly for the beauty of the land.
Fiji would be the ultimate honeymoon destination... if it wasn't so darn expensive.

Have a fantastic week!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Play-Doh in the Classroom!

So this is a super fun activity I've done with 3rd and 4th graders in the past.
I was a little hesitant with my 6th graders, but who doesn't love Play-Doh?!

To start of this lesson, I gave each of my students a canister of Play-Doh.
Not the super tiny ones, but the bigger canisters.

I allowed my students about 3 minutes of free-play time.
I found this works best so they are focused on the lesson.
"I allowed you 3 minutes to play, now it's your turn to listen."

Then I begin reading the script. 
The ultimate goal of this activity is for students to create a pencil holder.
They go through the entire writing process from the perspective of a sculptor. 
The script will talk about how alike sculptors and writers really are.

 Here are some of our finished products :)
We had a contest to see who could create the most creative pencil holder. 
I think it's safe to say we had some pretty good ones :)

My big classroom reveal still won't be for another month or two.
I'm still waiting on bookshelves that the school ordered for me to arrive. 

On to week 4!! Mid-Quarter is almost here!


Monday, August 25, 2014

Socratic Seminars ... BEST EXPERIENCE!

Today I had a tear-jerking experience. 
It was probably THE best experience I have had thus far as a teacher.
If you haven't heard of socratic seminars... you need to check them out!

We've decided to implement socratic seminars once a week.

Check out this video to see one in action.

So one of our big themes this year is "Speak Life"
If you haven't seen the Toby Mac video check it out here.
I absolutely LOVE the song and everything it stands for.
It's actually my new ringtone! :)

So our discussion for our first socratic seminar was "Speak Life"
As kids entered my room 8th period, they were given a paper with a few questions:
"What does speak life mean to you?"
"How do we show speak life in school and outside of school"

Students had about 5 minutes to jot down their thoughts.

Then we went over our Socratic Seminar Norms:
*keep an open mind
*make eye contact with the speaker or when speaking
*raise your hand/take turns
*no names (as a way to ensure no bullying and a safe environment)
*be respectful
(I'm sure there's a few more but my brain is completely fried!)
I was pleasantly surprised with my students by this point.

Then, we went over the grading sheet.
In a socratic seminar there is an inside and an outside circle.
The inside circle discusses while the outside circle assesses their assigned partner.
After time is up, partners meet with each other and discuss what went well or what they can work on.
Then partners switch and the outside circle moves into the inside and the process repeats.

My first group had a FANTASTIC discussion!
I thought I would have had to pull teeth to get them to talk.
They shared their ideas and built off of each other and even went off the recording sheet!
I almost started crying after listening to them.
Then I just about pulled out my phone to record them.

The second group was a little bit of a struggle.
However, they managed to carry on without me.

Below you'll find the handouts our kiddos use::
Teacher Observation Checklist
Student Observation Checklist

And finally... here is a link to other handouts and ideas.

I challenge you to give it a shot this week!
Lemme know how it works for you!!


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Long First Week and Some Good Reads

I feel like I have seriously neglected my blog this past week.
My first week teaching 6th grade at a new school literally FLEW by!!
I didn't have time to do anything but survive.
Needless to say... I have lived to see another week of 6th grade.

I'm just about done lesson planning and I feel like I'm actually prepared for this week.
I'll just have to go in early tomorrow and make some copies.
I'm still desperately trying to figure out how to fill (without over-filling) a 45 minute period.
Some days last week I was underplanned... some days overplanned.
I don't adjust well to change so I like when my lesson plans work out perfect....
but as we all know as teachers... that very rarely happens.

Sigh... still waiting on bookshelves that my school ordered for me to arrive.
Until then, I will not be posting a classroom reveal.
And I am DYING to post a reveal. 
I LOVE my classroom this year.
Being put into a classroom with absolutely nothing in it was refreshing.
The past three years I inherited a classroom full of junk.

So, since I can't post a reveal yet, and I had no time for a Monday Made It this week....
I'll post something else.

I've been asked MANY times for a list of my favorite good reads.
Here it is!! 
(Later this week I'll post clothes from my most recent shopping trip!)

Ashley's Favorite Reads
1. Tell the Wolves I'm Home (LOVED this! Totally different than my norm!)
2. I Hunt Killers
3. The Game (the sequel to I Hunt Killers)
4. Delirium trilogy (the ending of the first two made me so mad!!!)
5. Gone series
6. If I Stay
7. The Mortal Instruments
8. Digital Fortress (or anything by Dan Brown)
9. The Testing
10. Maze Runner series
11. Legend series
12. Wonder
13. Ungifted
14. Out of My Mind
15. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
16. The Hunger Games
17. Divergent trilogy

I'm sure there's many, many more I could add... but I just can't come up with them right now!
I'm currently reading Freak the Mighty.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday Made It... More Classroom Decor!

Today is my last free Monday.
School starts tomorrow!!!
I will have 6 periods of anywhere from 19-28 brand new, little 6th graders!!!
I just might throw up. lol
Just kidding.
No really....
I am FREAKING out!!!

If you know me at all, you know I am OBSESSED with minions and Despicable Me.
Well, a few weeks ago we went to the county fair and I could not win a unicorn.
I tried and tried and tried. Spent a bunch of money. And lost. Darn carnival games.
Well this little guy arrived yesterday and

I'm linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for today's Monday Made it!

I am so proud of this!!! Today I hung up a banner that says "Sudoku"
Every week I'll put up a new puzzle for students to solve. 
They'll have an entire week to complete and turn in the puzzle.
Students who complete and get it all correct will get one bonus point.
On the counter next to the game I have a container with blank sudoku puzzles.

I made this Truman Award Nominee banner early last week. 
I finally finished decorating the rest of the bulletin board.
Students will "tweet" a book review after they finish one of the ones posted.
We're also going to set class goals on how many books we can read this year.

Finally, I made this with a friend for her classroom. 
She's a 6th grade ELA teacher so we turned my Sudoku board into a Boggle board!!
She'll switch out the letters every week.

And last but not least... I am super excited to announce that my 
Donors Choose project has been fully funded!!!!
It only took just a few short days. 
I am sincerely grateful for everyone that donated!!
Soon I will have brand new books on their way to my classroom!!!

Anyway, wish me luck tomorrow!!!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Stress, Classroom and Some Donors Choose

I haven't been this stressed out in a long time.
It's not only the fear of a new year... but it's also a new school and a new grade level.
Let's be honest. There's a BIG difference between 4th and 6th graders.

However, with all that stress, I could not be any happier with my new "family".
This new school has offered nothing but kind words and support.

And it feels amazing to be able to do my own thing.
No more complaints about us not all doing the exact same thing, at the exact same time.
Oh the joys of Middle School.

My classroom is getting closer to being ready to go.
Unfortunately, I don't know when the bookshelves my school ordered me will be in.
It's driving me nuts that I can't finish my room until then.

My lesson plans are just about done too.
Again, it is wonderful to have such a supportive team. :)

 As a secondary teacher, I have the opportunity to receive 24 copies of the Truman Award Nominees.
These books are great for kids this age because it's usually something they can relate to.
When finished, the board will have copies of the covers of all the books.
It's also going to be a tweet was where students can leave "tweets" as reviews of the books.
I can't wait to finish everything!! :)

Did I mention that I'm a 6th grade teacher teaching ALL of the subjects?
This is my science wall.
Scientific method and lab team roles all courtesy of The Science Penguin.

This is probably my favorite part of my room right now. 
I LOVE my expectation frames. <3 <3 <3
The baskets will be for each class to turn in work.
I'm also super excited I was able to get a horseshoe table for small groups!! :)

This week has been super long. I've put in about 10 hour days.
This weekend will be full of much needed rest and relaxation!!!

But first...
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE check out my first ever Donors Choose project
Visit my Donors Choose Project Page to donate.
I'm really hoping to get more Truman Award Nominee books and the next ones in their series.
Your donation will help my students immensely!!