Tuesday, July 30, 2013

AGC Institute

So, this past week I spent 3 days at Access to the General Curriculum Institute at Region 4 in Houston. I walked away was some really good information and I thought I’d share it with you.  One of the keynote speakers was Dr. Marcia Tate and her session was Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites.  I thought this was a fabulous session, not only was it good information, but she’s very entertaining.  Basically, her session was all about brain research and how the brain works best.

Here is a list of the 20 strategies to use to take advantage of how the brain learns best.

  1.   Writing- when you write something down, you are more likely to remember it better than just hearing it. 
  2.  Storytelling-students are more likely to remember something if you tell a story (I LOVE to tell stories!) & I’ll give you an example below on how to use storytelling.
  3.  Mnemonic Devices or Acronyms- You know these, educators use them all the time. For example, ARD (admission, review, dismissal)  
  4.  Visuals-students learn better if they can see instead of you explaining it.
  5.   Movement-get the students up and moving. Remember the attention span of a child equals their age. (If they’re 7, then they can only sit & listen for 7 minutes)
  6.  Role Play-have students act out what they’ve learned.
  7.  Visualization 
  8.  Metaphor/Simile/Analogy
  9.  Cooperative Learning
  10. Music- music helps energize, relax, set the daily mood & stimulates the brain.  It can also be used to review content.  Rocknlearn has several CDs that review just about any content using rock, rap or country/western songs.
  11.  Graphic Organizers
  12.  Drawing- I used this strategy when I read the book Wonder this year.  If you haven’t read it, you MUST!  Anyway, there’s a part in the story where the sister describes what the main character, Auggie, looks like. So, I read it aloud once, told the students to get out their notebooks & draw what they picture in their head as I read the description again.  AMAZING!  
  13.   Humor-What we learn with pleasure, we never forget.  Incorporate jokes/riddles that pertain to what you are teaching or just do it to get a good laugh before the lesson.
  14.  Discussion
  15.   Games-My students LOVE games…who doesn’t?! After you’ve taught a skill, play a game of jeopardy or whatever!
  16.  Project Based Learning
  17.   Field Trips
  18.   Manipulatives
  19.   Technology
  20.  Work Study-This is more appropriate for students in high school
Ok, here is an example of one of the strategies.  Let’s say you are trying to teach the students the 7 continents.  Tell them a story to help them remember.  So, here’s the story…

There once was a man named North. His last name was America. He fell in love with a beautiful woman named South. They got married and she took his name so she became South America. They honeymooned in Europe. This couple was blessed to have four daughters whose names all began with the letter A. Their names were Africa, Antarctica, Asia and Australia. The End.

Using this same objective, you could incorporate movement too.  After they’ve learned the continents and you’ve shown them on the map, then make the students become the map of the world. Use masking tape to divide the room in half (this being the equator) Split the students up into small groups and assign each group a different continent. Then the group has to decide where in the room they’ll stand.

If you’re interested in seeing her in action, then click on this link to view a short video.

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Friday, July 26, 2013

And the award goes to...

Apparently, I've been on vacation WAY too long and in workshops all week.  I missed out on the fact that I've been nominated by 3 different bloggers for the Liebster Award. YAY, me!

 Jessie from Lil' Bit of Country in the Classroom,  Kris from The Poole Pages, and Lindsey from Mrs. Johnson's Little Prowlers all nominated me. Thanks, ladies!
To accept the nomination there are a few things I have to do:
1.  Link back to the blog that nominated me
2.  Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers
3. Answer the questions posted by my nominator
4.  Share 11 random facts about myself
5.  Create 11 questions for my nominees
6.  Contact my nominees to let them know I nominated them

First, 11 Random facts about myself...
1. I've always wanted to be a teacher.
2. I worked in the "real world" before becoming a teacher.
3. I spend WAY too much money on coloring my hair because I've always had blonde hair.
4. I'm addicted to that stupid Candy Crush game.
5. When I put up a bulletin board, I purposely off center the letters because I wouldn't be able to put them up straight anyway.
6. I can't cut in a straight line.
7. I love The Walking Dead and can't wait until October!
8. I'm the baby of my family, but the only one to get married & have kids.
9. I've never traveled outside of the United States (Mexico doesn't really count since Texas is right on the border)
 10. I love to wear the color black because it hides all my imperfections.
11. I’m not a crafty person, so it’s a good thing I’m not a primary teacher.

Now, here are the questions from Lindsey @ Mrs. Johnson’s Little Prowlers…

1.       I'm a quote kinda girl, what's your favorite quote? “If you have the choice of being right or being kind, chose kind” from the book Wonder (I don’t know if that’s the exact quote, but something close to it)
2. If you weren't a teacher what would you be? I’d be a stay at home mom.

3. What's your favorite store to shop at? I love Target, but for clothes I love to shop at Kohls.

4. What books are you reading this summer? So far, all adult books…The Execution of Noa P. Singleton & The Dinner.

5. What's your greatest accomplishment? Being a mom!

6. What's your favorite candy? Anything that’s chocolate!

7. What's your favorite summer activity? Relaxing and reading!

8. What is your funniest teaching moment? Not sure, but I love to tell funny stories about my own personal kiddos that will make my students laugh.

9. What is your favorite book to read to your students? This past year it was Wonder. Love, love, love that book and I’ll be reading it again this year!

10. What is one of your goals for school this year? I want to try flipping my classroom (or at least semi-flipping)

11. What's the best part of your job? Having fun with my students and having them tell me how much fun reading is.

Now, here are the questions from Kris @ Pooles Pages

1.     What is your favorite teaching memory? When I received letters from my former students telling me that I was their favorite teacher and how much they loved my class.
2.     How long have you been teaching, and what grades have you taught? This will be my 9th year teaching and I’ve only taught 3rd & 4th grade.
3.     Where are your favorite places to shop? Kohl’s & Target
4.     What is your favorite movie? The Breakfast Club (I’m an 80’s kid)
5.     What's your favorite kind of cookie? Chocolate Chip
6.     What's the best gift you ever received? Besides my kids, my Kindle.
7.     What is hanging on your living room walls? Curtains…still trying to decorate my home. I’m not very stylish.
8.     What's your favorite area in your classroom? My classroom library…wish it were bigger.
9.     Your classroom runs on love, laughter, and lots of _________? Coffee…I have a coffee maker in my classroom.
10. What would your 'perfect' Saturday look like? Sleeping in!
11. What's the one thing in your classroom you can't live without? My Mr. Sketch markers!

Now, here are the questions from Jessie from Little Bit of Country in the Classroom…

1. What was your intent when you started your blog? Share my ideas and meet some cool new people!
2. How do you organize what/when you will blog about? It’s not organized, so right now it’s just random.
3. Tell me about your pets. We have one cat named Tiger and he likes to sleep with my girls and hang out with my husband. He pretty much has nothing to do with me.
4. What movie title would you pick as your life story? The Hunger Games because once a month I’ll cut you if you stand in between me and my chocolate…kidding (ok, not really)
5. What would a utopian society be like to you? Everyone would be kind and considerate of others.
6. Which TV shows world would you want to live in? Friends…I’d love to hang out in a coffee shop (because I love coffee) and chat with my girlfriends all day long.
7.Tell me about a memorable student that you taught. Sadly, my most memorable student wasn’t a positive experience and actually made me consider leaving teaching.  It wasn’t really the child’s fault, but I’ve learned how important it is to have support from your administration and how it’s their responsibility to give their teachers the support they need to help ALL students.
8.What was your favorite memory as a kid? Going to Disney World for my 8th birthday.
9. What is your favorite subject to teach, and why? Reading because I struggled with it as a child, but I’ve grown to love reading.
10. What advice do you have for a first year teacher? You aren’t going to know everything, so don’t stress yourself out. It’s going to take time.
11. What are some of you favorite blogs to read? I love Oh Boy 4th Grade because Farley is hilarious!  There’s so many that I love and I’m having a hard time keeping up with blog stalking.

Here are the nominees that I’ve nominated for the Liebster Award…
1.     Deb @ Crafting Connections
2.     Lindsay @ Pretty Pretty Primary
3.     Amanda @ The Primary Gal
4.       Sara @ The Aspiring Teacher
5.       Tessa @ Funnies in Fourth

Now, here are the questions that I’d like the nominees to answer…
1.       What grades have you taught and which is your favorite?
2.       Why did you want to start a blog?
3.       What would you be doing if you weren’t teaching?
4.       What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?
5.       What’s your favorite subject to teach?
6.       What is your favorite adult book?
7.       What is your favorite read aloud?
8.       What’s your favorite part about summer?
9.       What do you fear the most?
10.   Do you like change or are do you like to stay in your comfort zone?
11.   If you could teach any grade/subject, what would it be?

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Made it Monday-July 22nd

Wow!  Where did summer go?  I've been MIA for a few weeks.  I'm still trying to recover from my vacation.  We had a great time at the Jersey Shore, but I'm glad to be back.  

It's Monday, so I'm linking up with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics for another Monday Made It...

This week's Made It isn't something new, but it's new to me! I bought this 8 1/2 x 11 3 drawer plastic organizer (I bought it at Walmart) and added labels to the front of it.  I loved the idea because I often lose my extra copies of handouts and leave graded papers in the "turn in" baskets for weeks.  Hopefully, this will help me keep organized this year.  Here it is....

Now, I wish I could say that I was the creative genius behind these cute little labels, but sadly no!  If you like these labels, then head on over to The Tattooed Teacher to download a copy.  She also has another set of these 3 drawer labels in another design...super cute!

Tomorrow I'll be heading to a 3 day workshop,so hopefully I'll be back with some good stuff.  Until then...have a great week!

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Monday, July 1, 2013

Monday Made It-July 1st

Holy Cow...is it really July?  Well, it's Monday & that means it's time to link up with Tara @ 4th Grade Frolics and Monday Made It.  

This week's Monday Made It is a Summer Fun Calendar for my kids. My kids are always like "I'm bored, I want to go somewhere!"  Summertime for me means I get a little raise because I don't have to pay for daycare for my youngest, so I don't want to spend a TON of money.  FREE is even better!

I spend a few days searching for inexpensive or FREE activities for the whole summer.

I usually start working on these calendars (using Publisher) in May, but I was super lazy busy and I just finished July's calendar.  I haven't even started August's calendar, but that's usually not much since I'll be at workshops and setting up my room.  Take a look...

Now, this does take quite a bit of time to research, but it's totally worth it.  And, after you do it once, it won't be so hard for the summers to come because you already know where to go to get the 411 in your town. 

Where do you find all these cool places? Here are some ideas...

1. Check out your local library!  My kids are enrolled in the summer reading program, so we go there to check out books.  Plus, they have Story Time & Free Movie Nights & Afternoons.

2. Do you have a Cinemark Theater in your town?  Well, Cinemark has a Summer Movie Club on Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays @ 10am. The movies are only $1!  Click here to find your nearest theater!

3. Research the local Museums in your town.  We have lots of Museums in the Houston area and many of them have FREE days at certain times.  For example, the Children's Museum is FREE on Thursdays from 5-8 and the Museum of Natural Science is FREE on Thursdays from 3-6. 

4. Have you heard of Santikos Movie Theater?  They offer FREE movies on Tuesdays & Wednesdays @ 10am.  Sadly, I think these are only located in the GREAT state of Texas (Houston & San Antonio areas) Click here to check out their schedule! 

5. Do you have a Zoo in your hometown?  Check out your local Zoo for discounted days/times.  Unfortunately, The Houston Zoo no longer does FREE admission on Tuesdays during the summer...bummer!

6. How many of you like Bowling? Check out your local Bowling Alley.  Many of them have discounted days/times.

7. School Play Dates-One of the teacher's at my school organizes a weekly play date for all the teachers' kids.  This way we get to stay in touch over the summer while our kiddos play. Some teachers offer to have the play dates at their house because they have a pool or we meet at park or neighborhood splash pad.

8. Neighborhood Amenities- Some of you might live in some fancy shmancy neighborhoods that have TONS of amenities...massive playgrounds, multiple pools, multiple splash pads, ect... I'm not as fortunate to live in one of those neighborhoods, but mine isn't too shabby either.  If you have a friend who does have these amenities in their neighborhood, then hook up with them one day.

9. Local Parks-We have LOTS of parks in the Houston Area that have weekly events going on throughout the entire year, especially during the summer.  However, I usually like to stay close to home. Most of these parks will also have some type of splash pad too!

10. How long has it been since you've been roller skating?  Check out your local roller skating rink. Many of them have discounted days/times.

11. Do you have an Outdoor Theater in your town?  We are lucky enough to have Miller Outdoor Theater in Houston.  Some of their activities include children's plays during the day, Live Music, Broadway Shows and movies at night.  It's all FREE!  And, one of these outdoor theaters just opened down the street from my house.  I just found out they are showing FREE movies at night there too...SCORE!

12. VBS (Vacation Bible School)-check out the local churches in your area.  Also, be sure to check the age limits.  Most of these are available for kiddos ages 5-5th grade.  My littlest isn't 5 yet and I'd hate to drop one off & not the other.

13. Parents Day Out-check out your local gymnastics or dance studios to see if they are offering any type of "Parents Day Out" programs.  For a small fee, you can drop the kids off for a few hours of fun while you indulge in some retail therapy.  Hey-it's your summer vacation too!  We all need a little break!

14. Teacher Discounts-Do you belong to any type of Teacher Organization?  If so, chances are they offer teacher discounts to local attractions.  For example, mine offers teachers discounts to places like Splashtown, Six Flags (no more Astroworld for Houston...anyone remember that place?), Space Center, ect...

15. Snow Cones!!!  Who doesn't love snow cones?  Walk or ride your bike to your local snow cone stand (or drive...like me!)

16. Drive-in Movies-Do you have a local drive-in?  OMG- these are so much fun, especially when we lay down the seats in our Mini-Van and cuddle up.  We have a drive in theater not far from where we live called Showboat Drive-in.  For $6 you get to see TWO movies and they are all CURRENT!  It is a little HOT, but it is at night & we crank up the A/C between movies.

17. Farmer's Market-Check out your local farmer's market.  Have the kiddos help you make a list & give them some money to pay for the items (practice how to count money)

18. Go visit your local Fire Station-maybe bring the firefighters a little homemade (or store bought) treat!

19. Do you have a Blueberry or Blackberry farm near you?  Take the kiddos and go pick some berries!  ( I think blueberries & blackberries are the only berries in season during the summer) Most farms don't charge an entry fee, and you just pay for what you pick.

20. Feed the Ducks!  Do you have a little pond near your home or one at a neighborhood park?  Don't forget to bring along some bread to feed the ducks!  We have 2 small "lakes" in our neighborhood and sometimes there's a few ducks swimming.  

After you make your calender, print it out & stick it on the fridge!

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