Saturday, May 24, 2014

Educents Deal for my Readers

Hey everyone! I don't have a whole lot of time to post these days as we are trying to get settled into our new house but I couldn't pass up this chance to share an amazing deal with you!

This weekend (through the 26th), Educents is offering my readers an additional 10% off their purchase AND free shipping!!! Educents has never offered free shipping before so this is huge! There are great deals for every grade level.

Here are just a couple of the deals.
This kinder Summer Learning Fun is on sale for 70% off at $14.99! That is HUGE. I think it would be great for parents to do with their own children and it looks like it is full of great summer bridge activities. If only Payton were just a teeeeeeny bit older!
This next one is for $10 off an Are You Ready game from Lakshore. I would have LOVED to have this game for my last week or two with my kids. Kinda like are you smarter than... my kids would have LOVED to prove they were ready for 4th grade. It can also be used at home as a summer bridge activity.
And these ones are just amazing for little kids. Payton has most of these puzzles and LOVES them. They are on sale for 27% off (prices range).

I have gotten a few things from educents and have never been disappointed. If you are interested in browsing their deals, clicking any of the images will take you to their site. Below is the coupon code that you can use for an extra 10% off and free shipping!! Happy shopping!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

"May" I help you with the paper piles?!

It's May! And time for another Bright Ideas post.

This month's bright idea is one that I have been using for 6 years and helps me with passing back papers. Think about how many papers you collect and/or grade each week. Some schools have mandated times to send these papers home, other teachers choose when to do this. We send home grades and graded papers on Wednesdays.

When I was student teaching, my cooperating teacher sent papers home on Fridays. She stacked all of her graded papers in a basket and on Friday at the end of the day, students would take stacks of papers and pass them back. It was quick... but not exactly something I felt would work for me. I don't like chaos.

In the beginning, I would bring home all my graded papers and sit on the floor making piles. One pile for each student. Staple them together. And stuff student folders. That lasted maybe a month or two. I didn't have time for that. And so was born my "Bright Idea!"

When I grade papers, I immediately put the papers in number order. This makes the big part of this bright idea super easy. The papers then get thrown into a basket next to my filing system.
Next to my basket full of papers, I have a hanging shoe organizer. Each student has their own spot, like mailboxes. So why a shoe organizer? Because I am cheap and when I bought it, it was $20 and I had a gift card. And it has held up for 6 years. Much better than the cardboard mailboxes, and cheaper.
When I have a few minutes throughout the days, I grab a stack of papers and quickly stick them in the mailboxes. This is super easy because the papers are in number order and the "mailboxes" are too. If I don't have time to finish all the papers, they just stay in the basket until the next week. There are ALWAYS papers to be sent home. Even if I am behind on grading (admit it, we all do it), I have SOMETHING to send home because I have plenty in that basket.

When it comes time to send the papers home on Wednesday, I simply grab each child's stack of papers and staple them together. I count the number of grades in their packet and write it in a corner of their top page. (This makes the final step easier since I don't do this all at once.)

Our papers are sent home in a communication folder, which we so creatively call the Wednesday Folder. Inside each child's folder, I place a note that looks like the one below. And this is the final step. I record the date and the number of graded papers (this prevents students from tearing out a page that has a bad grade). Since I already counted and wrote the number of grades on the stapled packs for each student, I can do this quickly. Students must get the paper signed by their parents. There is also a spot for parents to leave comments or concerns if necessary.
This process is so much easier because I can work on it in the spare minutes I have throughout the week and not have to sit sorting papers. The note home gives parents accountability when it comes to signing. They are signing acknowledging that they have seen the papers and if they do not have any questions or concerns, it is saying that they agree with the grades and understand that these are the grades their child received. Because of this, I have never had questions come progress report or report card time.

For more bright ideas from over 130 other bloggers, be sure to check out the link up below.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Real Life Confessions

It's been a while since I did a post huh? Let's just start with the confessions right here... I am so tired I forgot I just did the currently link up. Ay yi yi! Things are getting out of hand here. OUT OF HAND! I am crazy busy and have no time for anything, let alone blogging. BUT my friend Jenn over at Rowdy in First Grade is having a super fun linky so I am taking time out of life to join in on this one. It's confession time folks!

1. Some papers that I collect with full intentions of grading just happen to find their way into the recycling bin. For a couple different reasons. 1. "Ugh what happened that day?! Why are these scores so bad?! Let's teach this again and try another day." or 2. "WHOA how did I get so many papers in this pile to grade....with grades due next week?! Oh I have a lot for this subject, we can let this one go."

2. We have a routine for collecting papers. At this point in the year I would hope my students know the difference between math, science, reading, etc. Except EVERY SINGLE TIME when we go to turn in a paper I get "Mrs. S. what subject is this? Is this reading?" REALLY HONEY?! With MATH problems on it?!

3. Sometimes I extend morning work time just a teeeeeeny bit longer than necessary... because I just need a few more minutes to get myself together awake.

4. Annie and Moby have become a staple the past couple weeks. Even without a projector. We just turn around an iMac and we all watch on one small screen. Teacher's gotta stay sane during testing season!

5. That motion sensor in the corner of the classroom.... didn't you know it is REALLY a video camera? That's right friends. Don't try to lie to me because I will just go "watch the video from the camera". Love that thing!

6. Sometimes we earn "bonus recess" for nothing other than it was a nice day and we need to be out of the four walls of our classroom.

7. After state testing is over, we may or may not listen to Disney World park music all day!

8. I tell my students that 75% or above is passing, when in reality it is 70%. But in reality 70% IS NOT proficient on TCAP so might as well prepare them in advance. And if they are at least striving for the 75% to make me happy, then we can hope for the same on TCAP.

9. We sent progress reports home last week. 21 students and one teacher.... ONE parent noticed and sent me a note that mine were the THIRD nine weeks, not the FOURTH. Ummm ooops? I didn't even notice it and my grades are actually in!

10. I am the worst at planning for holidays. All of a sudden it's "oh it's Mother's Day?! Quick bust out the construction paper, crayons, scissors, and glue and make a card!"

Saturday, May 3, 2014

It's May!

Which means a lot of things.... it's my 30th birthday month (on the 10th), the end of the school year is upon us, TCAP is over, and I have a couple other things to announce... but you will find them out after my Currently!

Listening- seriously when are we NOT listening to Frozen?! Payton is obsessed with it. Even if she isn't watching it, she is singing it! Today she happens to be watching it.

Loving- TCAP is over! We finished yesterday. Things have been crazy stressful here and this being over is one BIG weight lifted off my shoulders a little. Not completely because I don't know their scores yet, but the hard part is over.

Thinking- I need to pack. We are moving. And not just a little move. We are moving from TN back to our hometown in NY. Almost all of our stuff is already there in our new house... just some of our stuff and us are still here.

Wanting- Now that my students know (not that any read this or anything but just to be safe, I waited) it is safe to tell.. this week is my last week at work. I tried to make it until the end of the year but my husband's job needs him up there now, so we must go. I want the week to hurry so we can move onto the next phase in our lives, but I know (as stressful as things have been) I will be sad to leave my kids and coworkers. Also, Saturday is my birthday. My 30th. And I will be spending it driving. YUCK.

Needing- more of the big news. I will not be teaching when we move. Unfortunately, I do not have my teaching license in NY. It is a very long story but basically, because I held an initial license once and it expired (because we moved here) and I never got my master's degree... I am out of luck until I get my master's. I am not sure if it is worth it because teaching jobs are hard to get there and I am afraid I will pay 10k+ and over a year of my time getting the master's and still not get a job. So I kinda need to figure out what I will do if it isn't teaching.

Surprise- I am so glad this is in this month's currently. I was JUST bragging about this on my facebook page, but now I get to do it here too! This year, for morning work, my students did a plethora of things. We had a routine. And it was GOOD. And effective. And just perfect. One portion of my morning work routine was the Weekly Word Work made by Denise at SunnyDays. We did 4 boxes each day and checked them together. Because of this, when skills came up in Language Arts, for the most part, my students already knew them! It was a great help because we didn't have a lot of time to focus on the language arts portion and it makes up a BIG chunk of our testing. Thank you Denise for making this so easy to use! I saw tons of growth in my students this year compare to prior years.

Be sure to check out Farley's blog by clicking the button below!
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