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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Beginnings of Math Workshop {with Freebies for YOU!}

Attention all: I feel like I am on the verge of something good. Something really, really good. But before I get into that, let's start back at the beginning of my story:

When I heard the words math workshop, I immediately thought No, thank you.  Please, not another thing my first graders have to work at for weeks and weeks in order to become independent.  But then I took a step back and thought about how incredibly frustrated I have been teaching math lately.  Whole group is really not working.  Like, super not working.  The kids who already get it are off in outer space (more than they usually are), while my struggling kids start to drown mid-lesson and tune me out.  No one is benefitting.  Grouchy teacher is grouchy.  Something needs to change.

So the more I thought about it, the more this whole math workshop thing sounded like a good idea.  We already do readers workshop, and math workshop builds off of the same structure and routine.  By implementing them both at the beginning of the year, students should (somewhat) quickly become accustomed to the routines and expectations.

Fast forward some weeks later and here I am, the first grade facilitator for the research and implementation of math workshop.  Pause to be in awe of my fantastic responsibilities.  I am working with one second grade teacher and two third grade teachers in my building to plan professional development for the rest of our staff.  Today was our first work day and we got a lot accomplished!

Here is a picture of me reading up on math workshop this morning:

Okay, confession: That's not me. That's my cat, Jingles, reading up on her masters classes.

HERE is what we have actually been reading.  The top book is the group's favorite (and, in my opinion, the most user-friendly).

Either of these two books are a great place to start if you are considering math workshop for your classroom.  Today we worked on developing a common language for math workshop and looking at different ways teachers could begin to set it up. 

Enter: my math workshop rotation board.  Which I invite you to download, for free!

I also developed a sample of what the first few weeks of math workshop could look like in an elementary classroom.  This sheet will be passed out at our PD meeting and teachers can tweak it to their liking.  It is also yours, for free :)

Some resources I am looking at to supplement my centers/independent work:

In summary (if you're still with me after all that rambling), I am now SO pumped up for math workshop.  Stay tuned for more!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Five for Friday {Sunday Edition}

Oh how happy I am knowing that an extra day off awaits me tomorrow morning!  Who else is looking forward to some extra time off this Presidents Day weekend?  This means I can take a break from grading and homework and research and all that jazz to actually blog!  Granted, my Five for Friday post is coming to you two days late.  But better late than never, right?

On Friday, we had our Valentine's Day party at school. This year, my first graders made little love monster bags for their treats. I threw this together kind of last minute but am very pleased with how it turned out! The kids thought their bags were so cute and really had a blast making them their own.

At 24 years of age, I finally made a batch of cookies from scratch that were edible amazing tasting!  I used this recipe that I found on Pinterest. If you are a fan of brown sugar or any type of sugar cookie, you have to try these! I nearly ate them all within a matter of days.

I've decided to try out some hot dots in my classroom this year. I think we are at the point in the year where my students could benefit from something new, since the novelty of the tablets and computers is starting to wear off. I purchased two pens and two different sets of cards, so we'll see how they like it!

I finally took the plunge and scheduled my first ever fix from Stitch Fix - and boy was I thrilled! Everything my stylist picked out was so me and I could tell she took the time to look through my Pinterest boards to see what kinds of things I liked. I decided to keep the two blouses pictured in the middle and have already scheduled my next fix. It's safe to say I am hooked!

Last but certainly not least, I had an amazing Valentine's Day - dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, a trip to the teacher store, two tickets to 50 Shades of Grey, and one dozen roses.  How sweet is my man?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

February Currently

Hello, blogging world! Long time, no talk! January has been a crazy month so far. From institute days to holidays and four (yes, four) snow days, I feel like my schedule has been all jumbled up. Plus I spent some time at home celebrating my 24th birthday and graduate classes started up again. Have I had much time to breathe? Let me get back to you on that...

In hopes of jumping back into the blogging world, here I am for Currently with Farley :)

Listening: I'm not going to pretend like I am even remotely invested in the Superbowl this year, but nonetheless it is on in the background. On a whim, I chose the Seahawks to win, and so far we are lookin' pretty good!

Loving: One of the best commercials I have seen in a while. It was great because I was just discussing the whole problem of "like a girl" with someone the other day.

Thinking: I don't want to be greedy, but after being out of the classroom for three days last week to attend a conference, I could use another day to mentally prepare myself. My hometown up near Chicago is getting hit pretty hard - why don't they share the wealth down in central Illinois?

Wanting: I just received a handout from the 2015 "I Teach First" conference in Vegas and I am dying to go! Unfortunately it is pretty darn expensive and I doubt my school would pitch in for the costs because they just paid for me to attend the Reading Recovery and Comprehensive Literacy conference in Chicago. But how I would love to hang in Vegas and see some of my teaching idols favorite teacher bloggers.

Needing: I have tons of Pinterest inspiration and nothing to show for it in my apartment. I've been here for over a year and a half and really feel like I need to up my decorating game.

Pageant Title: The fact that it took me forever to come up with a pageant title is quite fitting ;)

Have a great week, everyone!