Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter and the Quietest pencil sharpener

Happy Resurrection Sunday!!  May God bless you and bring you closer to him!

Isn't this little guy the cutest?

Tomorrow starts Autism Awareness Month.  April 2nd is go blue for Autism day.

I have had several autistic children in my classroom over the years.  They each are different from the other.  They all need our understanding and loving guidance.

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I have heard so much about this sharpener.  I am dying to get one.  I keep entering giveaways for them and still have not won.  I will keep trying until I get over 100 followers, then I can review one.  I am waiting for the day.  I have become frustrated with pencils and pencil sharpeners.  They are not made the way they used to.  From what I hear about this one, the company stands behind the sharpener. The teachers and kids love it!  If I cannot win one this time, maybe one of you can. Follow the link to enter!

Have a blessed Easter!


Saturday, March 30, 2013

bloglovin v feedly and I forgot a freebie.

Most of you have heard now that Google Reader is on its deathbed.  A few alternatives have arisen.  Among these are Bloglovin and Feedly.  I have tried out both.  I know what I like, but what will you discover?  Here are screenshots of both of my landing pages.

Both are available in the itunes store.  Both will move your reading lists over from google reader.  In my opinion Bloglovin is a little more user friendly.  It allows me to do more with the blogs themselves.  I tried to manuever through Feedly and found it more difficult and clumsy.  I tried to move to the next blog in both.  Bloglovin did so with ease, Feedly couldn't find the next blog. Feedly will allow you to mark old blogs as read, Bloglovin will allow you to mark posts from a blog as read.  Feedly allows you to change the way you see the lists of blogs.  Bloglovin allows you to see it one way by date or blog.

Experiment with them yourself and find what works best for you!!

I forgot to transfer a freebie over yesterday so here it is for you!!
It is my math strategies freebie!  Click the link to get yours!

Check out a new giveaway!


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spring break revelations and a time to laugh!

Oh my goodness I get to........

1.  Eat.
2.  Eat leisurely.
3.  Go to the bathroom when I need to.
4. Stay in my comfy clothes.
5.  Rest my voice.

For those on spring break, may it be restful, rejuvenating, and fun!
For those back to school, may they be productive, fulfilling, and the best days of your year! 

you begin to call everyone "my friend" in that specific voice. 

you are in a checkout line and purchasing 20 of the same product.

you know when random holidays are.

you have pressing the "snooze" button down to a science with exactly how many times you can get away with it and not be late.

you know how to eat a lunch in 5 minutes.

you know how to not have to go to the bathroom until the bell rings at the end of the day.

you correct others grammar ALL the time (or maybe that's just me cause I used to work in editing, but please excuse an occasional typo on this blog). 

you have dry erase marker on your favorite pair of pants and shoes. 

you go out to dinner, reach your hand in your coat pocket, and pull out a pad of post-its and a glue stick. 

Thanks to Lindsey at Lessons learned for this funny moment


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A new way to look at bingo!!

Today I was giving my students a test.  Quite a few were done and I needed a chance to concentrate on the others.  I needed something I could just put up real quick while I finished tests.  I found Teachers Classmate!  This is interactive bingo!  I tried out the addition and subtraction.  It kept my kids more engaged and made them really think about the problems.  They only go up to 10, but I have asked the creator if they could look into a version up to 20.  There is also place value, bingo, and a version that mixes immediate grade level skills.

You can buy bingo cards to match the interactive boards at their teacher pay teacher store.

You could also make your own bingo cards to use with the website at Bingo Baker.

Bingo Baker - Bingo Card Maker

Since I was using it "on the fly" today, I used the bingo cards I had.  Then I gave them wild cards every so often to fill in numbers that the website was not using.  This also gave them the chance to strategize which is a great math skill.

Check them out and you will not look at bingo the same again!!


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Let's get acquanted and another giveaway

The Noun Game

My favorite person
It would be wrong for me not to pick my husband of 15 years.  He is my best friend and I love him more today then when we got married.  I do have to say that my three sons do come a close second.

My favorite place is home.  I love to have all my men with me.  Sometimes we all climb into bed which is getting harder with a 14 year old.

This is a really close competition between my iphone and my laptop.

My favorite pet is a cat.  Yes I am a cat person and if given the chance I would become a cat lady!!

This is my sweetie, Midnight.

My other favorite animals are otters and jellyfish.  I just love to sit and watch them.

I found another giveaway!  Here it is!


Monday, March 25, 2013 giveaways

We interrupt this blog......

The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

March 21, 2013

Criticized teacher ‘contemplating suicide’

Guest Column
TARBORO — Lately, I find myself contemplating suicide.  Don’t be alarmed…not physical suicide.  I’m talking about professional suicide.  I find myself on the ledge of a very tall skyscraper, and all I can think is “JUMP.”  Just do a swan dive off that ledge.  Watch a twenty year career splatter into bits and pieces on the sidewalk below.

You might wonder what’s pushed me to this despair.  Let me try to explain.  In high school, I was awarded a scholarship for perspective teachers.  I attended a prominent university, majored in education, and graduated determined to make a difference.  I began my career right here in Edgecombe County in the early 1990’s.  Since then, I have devoted my entire career to the students, families, and community that are Edgecombe County.  For more than twenty years, I’ve taught in our district, serving under various administrators and working alongside outstanding colleagues.  I’ve been recognized as a National Board Certified teacher and received other accolades as well.  I’ve formed deep, lasting relationships with my students, their families, and this community.  So, again, you might wonder what’s pushed me to this despair.

More and more, I find teachers being criticized for NOT making a difference.  The difference, in this case, is solely measured by standardized test scores.  As teachers, we are now evaluated and judged based on our students’ performance on end-of-year testing.  That seems fair, actually…As a teacher, it is my job to teach my students and grow them academically.  The problem, though, is the critics are not “judging” me by the growth or improvement of my students.  They are, instead, “judging” me by the overall proficiency rate.  They are “judging” me when they make blanket statements that are demeaning.  For example, one critic indicated that I must not be teaching the curriculum because less than 50% of my students were proficient.  After reviewing test scores from a formative assessment, one critic said that I could probably could have just stayed home and not taught at all, implying that the scores should have been better if I’d actually taught.  Finally, most recently, one critic indicated that based on recent testing results, I should be on an “action plan”.  Now, I do need to clarify.  Each time these comments were made, these critics weren’t directly referring to me; they were referring to teachers in this district in general.

Glancing at the data, each of these critics has a right to make these statements.  My students, as a group, did not score highly on the assessments they mentioned.  More than half my students were not proficient on these tests.  Furthermore, a majority of my students come to me having failed the standardized testing in previous years.  However, looking solely at proficiency does not give a true indication of their performance.  When academic improvement is considered, I AM making a difference.  Reviewing past years of data, my students are making expected growth, according to released analysis by NC’s Department of Public Instruction.  They are making gains and growing academically.  I can not imagine why these critics have made these blanket statements without apparently knowing the facts.  As they love to point out, the data speaks for itself.  The data says that I AM making a difference in the academic growth of my students.

Let’s move past the data.  They say that right before you die your life flashes before your eyes.  While I stand on the ledge, peering down at the sidewalk, considering professional suicide, my career flashes before my eyes.  I see the student who came to me briefly, before transferring to an alternative school, and immediately found a special place in my heart.  I see him and his sons at their first birthday party, a party which I was invited to attend. Even though nine years have passed since he was my student, he knows that I, as his teacher, did all I could and will continue to do anything to help him.  I AM making a difference.  I see the student who I drove on Saturdays to take the SAT or ACT so he could have a chance at college.  I AM making a difference.   I also see the student who finally got a pair of glasses because I took her to the eye doctor.  I AM making a difference.  I see the student I have this year who is so proud of himself because he hasn’t been suspended a single time this year.  I AM making a difference.  I see the student who asks me almost every day at lunch for more to eat after finishing her own lunch, while I try to find food that other students didn’t eat.  I AM making a difference.  I see the students whose eyes gleam when I show them the new books I purchased for our classroom.  I see them reading those books and enjoying them.  I AM making a difference.  The memories and moments continue to flash before my eyes….too many to list here.

Those moments and memories keep me from jumping off the ledge.  I AM still passionate about teaching.  I AM a teacher who loves her students more than anything.  I AM a teacher who will do anything within my power to help my students be successful.  Sadly, though, the moments and memories may not always be enough to keep me & other teachers balanced on that ledge.  Too many teachers are quitting the profession.  Too many positions are vacant in our district because teachers have quit during the year.  Too many students are suffering because quality teachers feel compelled to teach to a test, rather than to truly teach.  What is the solution?  I honestly do not know.  I wish I did.  So, for now at least, I have talked myself off the ledge.  I go into my classroom each day, knowing that I AM making a difference.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: While it is not the standard policy of the Daily Southerner to published unsigned submissions to the Opinion Page, we made an exception to that rule based on several factors. First, we know the author. Second, the author holds a genuine belief that if their identity were to be revealed, they would be subjected to possible retribution. Third, the author believes in their profession and what they and their fellow teachers are working to accomplish.)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Yeah for 60, shout outs, and new giveaways

I think the holidays bring out the giving spirit in the blogs.  There are a ton of giveaways happening right now.  I am so excited because printing and laminating is on my spring break bucket list!!  I am not only trying to get ready for the end of the school year, but I am looking to what I can do next year!  Remember that you can get a hold of Easter freebies and get them ready for next year.  Don't count them out if you are on spring break or you do not want to use them for only a few days.

I am so excited to reach 60!!  I thought I would never leave the 50s.  I have been there for  a while!

I have four days until spring break, please keep me in your thoughts and prayers.  The kids have spring fever very bad this year.

I wanted to give a shout out to one of my bloggy friends.  She is super close to 100.  I follow other grades blogs for a variety of reasons.

1.  For struggling students, kindergarten blogs show another watered down version of my concept/lesson
2.  For excelling students, 2nd grade blogs can provide them with a challenge
3.  I can take a lesson, idea, concept from any grade and adapt it to my grade.

Polka Dot Kinders

Sara shares freebies, photos, and ideas that are student centered and fun.    Here is one of her photos.  I may need to find a way to do this with number words and math vocabulary.  Check her out and follow her!!!

Now you reached the end for all the giveaway news!!!

400 follower giveaway