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 :).  
Friday, September 18, 2015

Student Generated Alphabet

Happy Friday y'all!  We just finished our 5th week of school and I am LOVING my class this year.  So first, I have 15 students....YES, 15 students in my class and I got the cream of the crop, no joke! They are such curious little learners and have been eating up all that I am teaching. One of their most favorite things that we have done so far this year is our student generated alphabet.  

Over the summer as I was reading my favorite blog (stepintosecondgrade), or should I say STALKING it, I came across the idea of a student generated alphabet.  HELLO, can I just say GENIUS!  For the past 7 years I have used the same store bought alphabet that hangs on one of my walls for students to refer to, and it has been fine, but I was ready for something new!  #FRESH 

Amy Lemons (cue the angelic music) has had her students create their own alphabet for years, YEARS people!  Her alphabet and information on how she does it can be found by clicking HERE.  So, this was the year I decided to change and MAN am I glad I did.  

Here are the steps we took to create our alphabet:

Here are some pictures of my favorite letters:

#theclassic: APPLE

#starwars: Lightsaber

#current: Minecraft 

#creative: Pixels Movie

#myfavorite: Quail

#aquatic: Octopus 

#ownership: Student Generated Alphabet 

At the unveiling, my students LOVED seeing their ideas up on the wall.  Doing this student generated alphabet created ownership, helped build our classroom community, and brightened up our walls!  Thank you Amy Lemons for your amazing ideas (that I steal often).  

I will be doing this again next year!  

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Lesson Planning

Oh the dreaded lesson plans!  We all have to do them but we DON'T have to like them, do we?  Lesson planning has become a part of my teaching routine over the last eight years.  Every Sunday, I sit down to write out all of my plans, even though I pretty much know what I am going to do each week.  I'll admit it does help me stay organized throughout the week...just don't tell my principal that! 

Over the last few years I have tried different lesson plan methods.  I've tried writing them out using a fancy lesson plan book, creating visual plans, or typing them out on a word or excel spreadsheet.  Each of those ways worked, but I didn't find my TRUE lesson plan groove until I found.... PLANBOOK.COM. Cue the music and the heavens opening up, ahhhhhhh! forever changed the way I planned my weekly lessons.  From its color-coded classes to the learning standards drop down menu, I was SOLD!  I started out using the free, yes free, month trial plan and I was hooked after the first week.  It was easy to navigate and it helped that there were a ton (still are) youtube tutorials on how to set-up your plans and get started.    

Here is a picture of my weekly lesson plans from last week, (morning work and Literacy) looks like a ton, right?  Organized? Neat? Well-planed?  Yup!  

Trust me, once you start you won't go back to anything else!  After your free trial it is just $12.00 a year.  The coolest saves your lesson plans year after year.  You can print them, store them digitally, and share them with others.  With all that is expected of us on a daily basis, lesson planning should be painless and easy!  Give it a know you want to :).