Thursday, June 20, 2013

My First Donor's Choose Project!

Super quick-

I just posted my first Donor's Choose project! I am so excited! I have seen lots of teachers get their projects funded, so I finally jumped on the bandwagon!

Do you have any tips on how to get donors or how to promote projects? This is my first time, so I am a novice!!

Thanks, guys! I hope you are enjoying your summer!!!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

AAARRRG!! Teach Like a Pirate: Introduction

Ahoy, mate!! 

I saw the book, Teach Like a Pirate, all over the place and I knew I wanted to read it.  I mean, the title alone was intriguing! So, I'm joining in on a little book study fun with Gina from Third Grade Tidbits and Jennifer from Rowdy in First Grade.

First off, PIRATE is an acronym for passion, immersion, rapport, ask and analyze, transformation, and enthusiasm- and Dave discusses each one in the book.

But today is all about chapter one. I'm going to backtrack and bit and share what I think is a HUGELY important part from the introduction.

The author, Dave Burgess, describes why he chose to use a pirate as the symbol for his book. By the way, he travels around DRESSED like a pirate, so you know he must be very passionate about this theme! After reading this section, I'm ready to fly my pirate flag, too!!

Dave says:

"Pirates are daring, adventurous, and willing to set forth into uncharted territories with no guarantee of success. They reject the status quo and refuse to conform to any society that stifles creativity and independence.  They are entrepreneurs who take risks and are willing to travel to the ends of the earth for that which they value. Although fiercely independent, they travel with and embrace a diverse crew. If you're willing to live by the code, commit to the voyage, and pull your share of the load, then you're free to set sail. Pirates don't much care about public perception; they proudly fly their flags in defiance. And besides, everybody loves a pirate."

Are you tingling yet?? Are you ready to raise your pirate flag, too? I mean, could there BE a better introduction to a book?! I am ready to hear whatever this guy has to say, and so far (i'm on chapter 2), I have not been let down. Now, please don't think by me posting this quote that I plan on defying my district or school. I will by no means run through the halls proclaiming by independence and plaster an oversized pirate flag on my door (although that would probably be fun, lol). I hope you get the point I'm trying to make.

Teachers have to stand up and do what's right for kids, which may mean going against the flow sometimes. In this crazy world of high-stakes testing, the focus can easily be pulled away from what's important. Educating students is the voyage we are committed to. We have to equip our "ships" with the most dedicated crew- only those who are willing to stay committed to the voyage- the WHOLE voyage, and pull their share of the weight. Teachers have to be creative and think outside of the box to grab and hold students' attention- it's a tough job.

At the end of the introduction, he shares this point:

"We need entrepreneurial innovators who are capable of captaining the educational ship through waters that are rough and constantly changing. In short, we need pirates...we need you."

Dave, I'm with you!

Are you ready to jump on board and get in touch with your inner pirate?? Pick up the book and join in.

Head over and visit Gina from Third Grade Tidbits and Jennifer from Rowdy in First Grade to check out other posts related to this book and then post your own thoughts! I would love to hear what you think!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Fabulous Find: Positive Discipline A-Z!

Today was such a fabulous day! I am so lucky to have an amazing friend who enjoys spending hours in Barnes and Noble (like I do) spread out on the floor completely in the way of other customers, but totally engrossed in books!! While browsing, I came across a fabulous resource!

Before I can get to that, I have to tell you about this book- Positive Discipline.  This book was an assigned read during my classroom management course in college. Although it was just an assigned read then, it has become a MUST-have now.

This book is chock-full of great tips, ideas, and resources. This is the book that helped me establish my class meeting routine and the wonderful Wheel of Choice. However, the gem of the book (in my opinion) is what the author, Jane Nelsen, calls The Mistaken Goals Chart. This baby helps you boil down a child's behavior to figure out their "mistaken goal," or what they are really trying to achieve with their unacceptable behavior. It helps you identify YOUR emotion (as the teacher) when a child behaves a certain way, describes ways students typically respond, and ultimately helps the teacher identify the child's mistaken goal. Then, it outlines respectful and effective ways for the teacher to respond.

 The four mistaken goals are:

1. Undue Attention (to keep others busy or get special service)
2. Misguided Power (to be boss)
3. Revenge (to get even)
4. Assumed Inadequacy (to give up and be left alone)

Basically, most misbehavior can be traced back to some sort of mistaken goal. Once that mistaken goal is identified, the teacher can go about meeting the child's needs in an effective and respectful way and thus avoid those difficult and confrontational situations. It's a goldmine.

I can honestly say that nothing else in my career has helped me better understand my students than this book. It has helped me identify the hidden cause of typical misbehaviors and equipped me with the tools to handle difficult situations with respect for myself and the student. It has increased my confidence and my relationships with my kiddos have been more rewarding than ever. I could do a whole series of blog posts about this book (and I just might!). And no, I am not getting payed for this- promise!!!!

Now, with THAT being said, imagine my surprise when I found THIS baby on the shelf!!!!

Seriously?!!?? MORE greatness?!?!?!

This book is a practical guide- imagine an instruction manual- that breaks down numerous typical behaviors seen in the classroom and alphabetizes them from A-Z (hence the title). The biggies are included (anger, disrespectful behavior), but lots of other behaviors are addressed (gossip, graffiti-just to name a few) as well. Each section includes a general discussion of the behavior, suggestions to help handle the behavior, suggestions for planning ahead to prevent future problems, PLUS inspirational stories!!!

I wish I could take pages out of the book and show them to you here, but I don't want to infringe on any copyright laws!!! Head on over to Amazon now to take a look for yourself. I promise- you will NOT be disappointed.

My amazing friend, who just so happens to be my teammate, and I discussed how valuable this resource will be during the year when we have our team meetings. I think every teacher needs a copy on their shelf!

Positive Discipline also has their own website where you can find the whole line of Positive Discipline products. It's worth a look!

Do you have any other tips, suggestions, or advice related to these books?? Has anyone read them and had positive experiences?? I would LOVE to hear your feedback!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Hello Sweet Summertime!!!! (and a Five for Friday!!!)

Today is the first day of summer vacation and as I write this I still can't believe it. The time flew by so quickly!!!

Ha! How true is this! Cracks me up!!

I have completely abandoned this little blog of mine so I could make it through these last few weeks, but I'm alive and oh-so-ready for summer! Although, I must admit, I am the total NERD who loves everything about school- my co-workers, my kiddos, school supplies, that funky cafeteria smell (don't judge!), all of it!  So, I go through some pretty serious withdrawals before I can completely embrace summer. :) Surely I'm not the only one.... right?!?

Moving on... it's time to link up with  Doodlebug's for the first Five For Friday (on a Saturday) of my summer!

Parent Presentations!

Last year, I started a tradition of giving a small parent performance after our annual end-of-year awards ceremony and we continued with it this year. The kids chose their favorite thing they learned from third grade and spoke about it for a minute or so. Some of the kids made posters to show what they learned, others used props, it was too cute!  Two little ones were the MC's for the whole thing, we served cookies and punch, and the parents seemed to really enjoy it! I was so proud of them! 

Class Gifts

This year I went with a simple end of year gift- a copy of the class picture slideshow, a writing tablet, and a pen. That's it! The kids loved it and it sure did save me a lot of time and money!! 

Self- Contained!!

I recently found out that I am going to be self-contained next year!!!! I have wanted this for a while now and I am super excited! I have been self-contained before and have team taught for the last three years. I'm ready for this change, but I have lots of math and science planning to do!!!  

I can finally use some of those amazing pins I've pinned over the last three years!! 

Summer Book Study!

I am teaming up with the amazing Sabra from Teaching With a Touch of Twang and several other fabulous bloggers for a summer book study! Each week someone will be blogging about a particular chapter from the book. The book we will be reading together is called Word Nerds: Teaching All Students to Learn and Love Vocabulary.

Vocabulary instruction is hugely important for my students' success. I can't wait to dive into this book and learn how I can improve my instruction. If you want to join in, go get the book and dive in with us!! Check in on Sabra's page each week starting the week of June 13th for the weekly posts. I will be blogging about Chapter 4 the week of July 5th, so be sure to check back in for that! :)

Rest and Relaxation!

This is my parent's backyard where I will be spending lots of hot and humid summer days with my family. It's time for this teacher to relax and rejuvenate!!!

How has your week gone?? Head over to Doodlebugs and link up!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

June Currently! Woop Woop!

It's time again for Farley's currently- and it's June- which means the LAST week of the school year!! Ahh!! Where did the time go??

My brain is already in summer mode. I need to get myself back in gear to survive this jam-packed-so-much-to-do-and-so-little-time week!

By the way, if you haven't checked out the girls over at Collaboration Cuties for their Mentor Text Linky, do it now! Be forewarned- these linkys have only added to my major book hoarding problem. Let's just say my Amazon account and I currently have a love/hate relationship.

...and I want THIS. I have to jump on the bandwagon. I can't resist any longer. Must. Have. Planner.  It's amazing how excited we teachers get over planners- I cannot wait until this baby is in my hands! Of course it will have my name on it. In chalkboard writing- LOVE!

It's almost summer! I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...!

Head on over and join to linky fun! Can't wait to see what everyone else is up to this month!!!