Friday, July 15, 2016

Friday 5--My Week

I am joining Doodle Bugs for Five for Friday!  I have been busy planning away for the 2016-2017 school year and it always starts with getting excited about a new classroom theme!   
1.  This week I joined a new TRIBE Facebook group called Lucky 2nd Grade Learners.  It has been so amazing to collaborate and share ideas with like minded educators, who also teach the same grade!  I have enjoyed getting to know people in this group and have enjoyed getting some new ideas from teachers too!  One of my takeaways was a TEACHER toolbox!  I am sure you have seen them, any many of you probably have them, but I DIDN'T, but now thanks to the group, I DO!  It's gorgeous and will fit perfectly in my classroom.  Here is a link to my Facebook page so you can see how I put it together!  
2.  Planning my NEW classroom theme is in full swing!  This year I am doing a BEACH theme and I couldn't be more excited.  Getting my room ready sets the stage for ME and my students.  When I get excited, I know it spills over into my student's engagement too.  Every summer I scour fabric stores trying to find the perfect fabric to cover my crate seats that students sit on during Guided Reading.  I fell in love with this fabric and know my kiddos will LOVE it too!  
3.  Each year, I have my husband, oh so crafty husband, build something for my classroom.  It is usually the focal point for my reading area and it really draws attention to the heart of my classroom (the library).  I am still keeping this part a secret and will reveal it in a periscope closer to when school starts, but here is a tease on what may be included.  This may not be the final look, but it is definitely an inspiration as to what is to come!  
4.  Over the summer, one of my favorite things is to BINGE watch t.v. on Netflix (as much as my own kiddos will let me).  This week I have found an old gem that is ABSOLUTELY one of my favs--Gilmore Girls.  Who doesn't love the relationship between Rory and her mom?!?  I love their witty banter and the dynamic of their relationship.  If you need something to BINGE on, do it GILMORE style!  
5.  Pokemon Go!  If you haven't jumped on this bandwagon, make sure to at least check it out!  My son and husband have been playing this past week and it has been such a joy to see them wandering the neighborhood catching Pokemon!  They are spending quality time with one another and listening to there conversations has been a JOY.  I am not saying that I necessarily understand ALL THE BUZZ, but I do appreciate what it is doing for many around the world!  People are spending time together, getting outside, and having fun.  Isn't that what summer is all about?!?
Have a great rest of your week!  

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Student Teachers

When I first agreed to have a student teacher in my classroom last year, I wasn't fully prepared for how it would change my teaching life.  I thought I was doing a good deed, but what I didn't know was that my student teacher ending up changing and challenging me more than I could have imagined.  Here are 5 reasons I BELIEVE every veteran teacher should have a student teacher at some point in their teaching career:

New possibilities--man!  I still consider myself a fairly new teacher and one that prides myself on keeping up with the latest trends in education.  However, as we all know, education is CONSTANTLY changing, and unless you are scouring the latest research we can't always keep up.  Having a student teacher is a direct LENSE into the newest and greatest techniques!  

Working Hard--I worked harder.  There is something to say about having someone in your classroom 24/7 that makes you push A LOT more.  I busted my tail to ensure I was setting the best example possible.  I was more organized, graded more often, and really pushed to demonstrate what good teaching looks like.  

Tiptoes--When you have a student teacher you are not only teaching, but answering ALL of their questions.  Sometimes my student teacher would ask me a question that I really had to think about it before answering, mainly because no one has ever asked me before.  I was held accountable by my student teacher and it helped me become a better educator.  

Balance--This is the MAJOR PLUS in having a student teacher.  I have never been a more balanced teacher then when I had someone else in my classroom.  My approach to having a student teacher was to form a strong enough relationship that by the end we were co-teaching.  I was able to do just that and man did it SAVE me at times.  I trusted her enough that while she was teaching, I could grade or plan other things.  This, of course, happened after we established our co-teaching relationship.  This may take longer for others, but my student teacher was a NATURAL and it wasn't long before she was my partner in crime!

Earth--Many teachers, myself included, can get into our own heads.  We can overanalyze every move or decision we make in the classroom.  Having a student teacher showed me just how far I had come as an educator and to trust in my ability to lead and teach.  This brought me back down to a "sane" level and allowed me to enjoy my students.  

It is my belief that we owe it to our future students to nurture and mold future educators.  I think every educator should mentor at least one aspiring teacher, just one.  

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Poetry Blitz

I cannot believe how FAST April passed us by!  With 18 days left, I am scrambling to get everything crammed in before I send my 2nd graders off to become BIG BAD 3rd graders.  This time of year is bittersweet because I am sooooo ready for summer, but I also don't want to see my kiddos move on just yet!  

April is National Poetry month and I always love squeezing in some poetry fun while I can.  Amy Lemons and Katie King have made this possible by incorporating it into their amazing Rooted in Reading April  edition!  If you teach 2nd grade and you haven't scooped up one of the R&R are MISSING out!   This unit highlights an amazing book, Old Elm Speaks, and it is FLIPPIN' amazing in how it opens the door to the world of poetry.  My students learned about the following poetic devices....all in 1 week!

  • Personification
  • Onomatopoeia
  • Similes
  • Repetition 
  • Alliteration 
Here is a snap shot of some of their student work!  They kicked booty and learned a ton too!  

To top it off we decided to incorporate poetry into our Tech Tuesday learning!  We used two FREE iPad apps: Draw Free and Chatterpix Kids to create Alphabet Alliterations.  

Now...this is not my idea!  SHOCKER! I stole, well borrowed, the idea from a colleague of mine, April Requard.  She is a FABULOUS technology leader in my district and highlighted this on her own blog Appsolutley April.  She used a paid app called Drawing Pad, where we used a free one :).  I was thrilled that my 2nd graders were able to do this and they had fun too!  

The best part about being an educator is working with so many amazing teachers!  There is no shame in gathering inspiration from others, as long as you give credit where it is due!  Thank you Amy Lemons, Katie King, and April Requard for inspiring Poetry Week in my classroom, we had a BLAST!   
Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Mrs. Patterson, how do you spell.....?

Do you have those students who are constantly asking you how to spell words during their independent writing time?  You know the ones I'm talking about, the ones that are ALWAYS asking how to spell commonly used words like friend or because?  Yeah, you know who I'm talking about...those ones!  Last year I was at my wits end with those students and, YES, I had a word wall, but my students weren't using it and I wasn't sure why (insert clueless emoji here)!

Over the summer, I scowered Pinterest boards looking for a way to give my word wall a little OoMph!  After doing some research I found that my word wall wasn't interactive enough for my students to actually use it.  So... I CHANGED it and I am so glad that I did!

If you want your students to benefit from using a word wall, you have to make it interactive.  It's an easy change, so what are you waiting for....follow these steps:

Step 1: Make the words accessible to all students.  I put my word wall in a central location that all of my students can see and reach.  

Step 2: Make it interactive.  Allow the words to TRAVEL.  My students can take the words right to their desk.  This allows them to apply the words directly into their writing.  

Step 3:  Reinforce problem solving skills.  At the beginning of the year, I tell students to follow these steps before asking me how to spell a particular word:

  • Find the word on the word wall using their ABC (alphabetical) detective skills.  
  • Once they have found the word, jot it down in their student dictionary.  My school has provided interactive student dictionaries (we call these the purple books).  
  • Phone a friend.  My students are in the habit of using the resources around them.  They know to ask a friend before coming to ask me.  
  • Finally, if students have followed all of these steps they may raise their hand and ask me how to spell a word.  This word gets put into their student dictionary right away. 

Start 2016 by amping up your writing block by using an INTERACTIVE word wall, it's not too late!   

Sunday, December 6, 2015

December Currently

Better late than NEVER, at least that's my motto!  Happy December y'all.  To get me out of my bloggin slump, I am linking up with Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for her December currently.  

Listening: After meeting up with my #NMbloggers last night, I realized that I never finished Ron Clark's, Move Your Bus book!  So, I am listening to his inspirational voice on audible and playing catch up to a book I started months ago.  If you haven't done so CHECK IT OUT.  #amazeballs
Loving: I don't know about you all, but I am DECEMBER tired, if you know what I mean!  So, to help ease my pain I have purchased Amy Lemons' and Katie King's December Rooted in Reading series.  IT IS FANTABULOUS!  They have done all the work for you and it makes literacy in December so much fun!  If you haven't checked them out, you are MISSING out.  

Thinking: doesn't my title say it all?  Need.To.Blog.More. Yeah, I'm working on it!

Wanting: 14 days, but who is counting?!? I want to spend time with my kiddos, husband, and family!  I cannot wait until winter break is here, so I can sleep in and just enjoy those around me :).  
Needing:  I would LOVE some time to myself, but who am I kidding?  I am a mama, wifey, teacher, and blogger...there isn't much time!  

Real or Faux: I am a FIRM believer in the REAL thing baby!  I don't care if it's not's BETTER!  Real trees smell DIVINE, are BEAUTIFUL, and really get me in the Christmas spirit!  #onlyrealtreesforme

Monday, September 28, 2015

#moveyourbusmonday Part 2 & Chapter 6

Welcome to another week of #moveyourbusmonday!  Teachers from around the world are reading and discussing this amazing book, Move Your Bus, by Ron Clark.  If you haven't heard of Ron Clark, where have you been?!?  Ron Clark is the DA MAN and his educational strategies and approaches are world renowned!  Check out his books, including this one, ASAP!

If you would like to see what the previous chapters are all about hop on over to Kacie Biggs' blog Second Grade Sizzle.

Part 2: How to Accelerate
#accelerate Moving forward and moving quickly

Ron Clark starts off Part 2 by saying that he believes we all have an innate want to improve.  Essentially, we all have a drive to get better and be better, but that drive is different for every person.   Each one of us has a special talent and with those talents we can contribute to "our bus".  He explains that we can all contribute in different ways as long as we take part in something.  

Ask yourself these questions:
How can we get better?
What can we do to contribute?
How can we help move "our bus" forward?
How can we accelerate?

His biggest tip, for those who want to contribute, is to PACE YOURSELF!  If you aren't a runner, but rather a jogger or walker, you will want to work yourself up to a running pace.  Don't accelerate too FAST!  Take the steps needed to become a runner--ONE.STEP.AT.A.TIME.
The next chapter describes some steps at becoming a runner.  
On your mark, get set, GO!

Chapter 6: Get There Early
A common habit that MANY runners possess, is their ability to get to work on time, and even a little early.  Ron Clark believes that runners possess these traits:

*They get to work early and start their day with LOADS of energy.

*If they aren't early, they are always ON TIME, and usually stay late.  

*They are working while at work.  

If you aren't showing up to work on time or putting in the work while at work, your leader (the driver) will start to doubt your abilities.  

Being on time to work and putting in the work will increase your worth.

I feel like I'm a runner, but I know that I jog sometimes too.  For me, knowing that I get up each and everyday and put forth my BEST self is good enough.    

Join us next week when Alyssa Aguilar from Miss Aguilar's Adventures  hosts Chapters 7&8.  

Please check out other blog posts and comment with your thoughts!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Managing Attendance and Lunch Choices

Happy Friday!  To celebrate the upcoming weekend I wanted to share an easy management tip.  Here is an efficient and CUTE way, if I do say so myself, to keep track of daily attendance and student lunch choices.

At the beginning of the year, my students colored superhero avatars and labeled them with their names.  Then, I laminated each avatar and attached magnets to the back. The avatars can be found in my TPT store HERE.   

How It Works

At the end of each school day, I place avatars on one of the student's chair legs and in the morning students place them on the lunch count board under their chosen lunch choice!  This helps me know what each student is having for lunch that day and counts as an attendance freebie too!  

This has become apart of our morning routine and it makes taking attendance and lunch count easy peasy (as my students would say)!  I hope you enjoyed this little management tip and if you haven't incorporated it....DO IT!  

Have a  great weekend :).