Monday, August 31, 2015

Monday Math Stations!

Mondays have a bad reputation. But, if everyone had a Monday like our class did today, Mondays would be the king of the week!

We started off our day with our reading and literacy block.  We are practicing building our Read-to-Self stamina during Daily 5.  Our previous record was 6:34 set on Friday of last week.  Today, we blew that record right out the window by over a minute!  Way to go, Readers!

Speaking of windows...we got our first Sight Word list of the year today.  To make sure these words were visible to each of the kiddos, I grabbed an Expo marker and wrote them on our window.  The gasps heard in our room was too funny!  They seriously thought I was writing with a permanent marker and it wouldn't come off.  Needless to say, they were surely engaged in learning these words after that point!

After lunch, we had our first day of Math Stations.  I LOVE teaching math using math stations!  Basically, I group the kiddos based on their needs for our unit of study.  Since we are beginning our place value unit, I used a formative assessment we gave last week to see where each learner was in their knowledge of hundreds, tens, and ones.  I then grouped them into three groups of various needs:  the learners that need reteaching in this concept, the learners that are on target with this concept, and the learners who can go beyond on this concept.  These three groups will rotate between three rotations during each day's math block.  The groups will meet me at the teacher table for small group instruction, spend time with a math partner at a station, and then work independently.  We have four different math stations that they will complete, one station per day.  We complete either Math Fact Work, Math Technology, Math Writing, or Math with Someone each day.  Click the pic of the math stations below to see a Google Sheets copy of my rotations and stations.

My little learners did GREAT today for their first Math Station day!  During Math Fact Work, we rolled out the 0-20 floor number line, grabbed a fact card, and hopped out the sum or difference.  This one is always a favorite!  During Math Technology, we used's numbers in ten frame to practice subitizing.  We answered two math tasks in our math journals during Math Writing.  Finally, in Math with Someone, we used The Primary Techie's "Watch, Think, Color" clues to work to find a mystery picture on a 100 chart.  Each learner was responsible and productive today.  Absolutely awesome!
And just a little extra pic...we love taking our shoes off in our class.  These Converse and that pink stool were too cool not to capture.  :)  I'm looking forward to another GREAT week with these sweetie pies!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Fantastic First Week!

We have had such an engaging and FUN first week of building relationships.  On the first day of second grade, we read Wemberley Worried by Kevin Henkes.  After making connections with Wemberley's worries for starting school, we wrote down our second grade worries and placed them away in our class "Worry Jar."  What better way to get rid of those worries but to take out some bubbles and "blow" our worries away!  We are settling right in to second grade with each other.  They are such a fun, funny, intelligent group of Panthers!

This week we have begun our Daily 5 Read-to-Self procedures.  Look at the picture in the top left corner.  Do you see that? on task reading to self!  We love trying to build our reading stamina and encouraging our classmates to not break our stamina!  Today, we briefly introduced Read-to-Someone.  These two cutie pie girls did a perfect job of modeling the correct EEKK position for partner reading.  Great job!  Next, in order to formatively assess our prior knowledge of Daily 5 terms, we played Hot Seat.  In this activity, one student sits in the "hot seat" with their back to the screen.  The rest of the class takes turns giving clues, trying to get the person in the hot seat to guess the word behind them.  They had GREAT clues for the word "purpose!"

This first Friday of the year brought exciting guest readers to our room!  Our Panther Readers came today and we loved hearing about Pete the Cat's adventures.  Later in the morning, our principals came to read to us and let each one of us know that #YouMatter!

As we work to build a true number sense, each group of learners were given linking cubes and asked to make the number 48.  It was interesting to see the different strategies for building 48.  Most groups had wonderful conversations about building a tower of 48 cubes, but when they noticed how difficult that was, they began looking for easier ways to count the cubes to get 48.  We realized we could group the cubes into 10s and make it so much easier to count.  Smart cookies!

Finally, as we ended our unit on how scientists work by making observations of a yummy cupcake I grabbed from the teacher's lounge (wink! wink!  I actually baked them, but the teacher's lounge made for a better story!).  We put the cupcake under the document camera to zoom in and make observations about its texture.  We used our five senses to smell it, touch it, and listen to it.  And then, what do you know?!?!?!  I snuck enough cupcakes out of the "lounge" for all of us! ;)  It was a great way to end the week and say that second grade will be a piece of cake!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

T-minus 2 Days!

The VAES annual teacher postcards are mailed!  Each year, as soon as we get our class lists, all of the awesome VAES teachers write a personal welcome postcard to each new learner on our roster.  Our office staff then stamps and drops the cards into the mail.  What a great way to make a positive first impression on the families we get to spend the next year with!  Having my own personal kiddos, I know this is something that each one looks forward to finding in the mail.  In just two short days, I will get to meet each of my new friends I just mailed postcards to.  I.  CAN'T.  WAIT!  See you all on Thursday!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Turquoise = Mrs. Thompson

It has taken me a while to think of a topic to write about for my first blog post on my new-and-improved, super-stinking-cute blog (thanks Kelsey!).  Last night, as I was flipping through my pictures I had saved on my phone, I ran across this screenshot taken a couple of weeks ago.  And there it was…this adorable picture of Miss E that her mom sent me…and the inspiration for my first post.  


The staff at my campus are wonderful teachers, and they are absolutely top-notch at building relationships with our kiddos.  I grew up in the same school that I am now teaching at; these teachers were great at building rapport with their learners and they still are today!  Everything I know about student relationships, I learned from VAES.  

The Top 3 Ways I Build Positive Relationships with my Learners:
1.  Develop their confidence, in themselves and in you!  Build them up.  Everyone feels down and a little unsure about themselves at some point.  Build them up.  Encourage them.  Fill their bucket.  Give them a hug.  High-five them.  Just be there.  Remember that even though they make mistakes and will fail at things…so will you!  Just because they are an adolescent doesn't mean they aren't a person.  I love the Dr. Seuss quote, "A person's a person, no matter how small."  How true!  Yes these little balls of energy that sit in our classroom are small, but they are still a person.  And everyone…yes even you!…needs a confidence every now and then!

2.  Listen.  I know we all have given up five minutes of our life listening to a student's story about their weekend and at the end of the story we ponder how we will ever gain back those five minutes of our life again.  I know.  Sometimes those are never-ending stories!  But please….just listen to them.  I once listened to a guy in my class tell me all about his weekend.  After I looked for any excuse to put me out of my misery, I quickly understood why he was telling me this story.  His story answered many of my questions and concerns about him.  I learned how his family spent their normal weekends and I understood why he acts the way he does.  He was telling me this story to let go and have a way to relief the stress the story was causing him.  After he finished with his story and I meaningfully responded, he had the best day he had all year.  He had relived that stress and he was able to focus on our jobs the rest of the day.  Each Monday morning, he would come to me, tell me the story of his family's "normal" weekend, and we bonded.  We connected.  And he had his best year yet!

3.  Be REAL with your learners.  Show you are a real, true, honest-to-goodness human.  Many learners do not see their teacher as being a REAL person.  They see their teacher as this mythical creator that lives 24/7 at the school.  Don't let them think this of you!  Share your "favorites" with them.  Tell them your favorite color, favorite food, funny story of your pet.  Just share.  Open Up.  See that pic above?  That's a kiddo from my class last year who connected with me and thought about me every time she saw the color turquoise (my fave!).  That picture made my day this summer.  Even on vacation with her family, she saw the coolest turquoise guitar and knew I would just love it.  She was right.  :)

As you begin your new school, make it a goal to build positive relationships with your students.  Really work to get to know them, and let them really get to know you.  #kidsdeserveit!

Here's to a great year!