I'm sitting in my home office, hunkered down with my coffee standing by. We are getting pounded in Wilmington, DE with severe thunderstorms! So I figured that I would update my blog to let you know what's been happening with me!
The past year has been a whirlwind of a year for me! Summer/Fall 2012 (about 8 days before the first day of school) I found out I was moving from 1st grade to 4th grade. Then in January 2013, I was moved into my DREAM position . . . Reading Specialist at the same school!
Needless to say, I had to deal with a lot of transitions and new experiences. Now my husband and I are expecting our first child in about 3 weeks! I've been so negligent with my TPT Store and blog that I felt as though I should give my readers an explanation just in case you decided to visit my blog and was like "What is this place?"
I am working on a new FREEBIE product on my TPT store so it should be done sometime today. Then I have more plans for some projects. . . depending on when this baby comes, I may or may not be able to finish them.
Hope all of you are well and gearing up for the start of the 2013-14 school year!
I hope all of you had a wonderful Turkey Day and vacay! Mine consisted of lots of eating, shopping Black Friday at midnight, and then spending the weekend with family and friends.
So tomorrow starts a new marking period for my 4th graders! With every new marking period, I always give my students a "Fresh Start!" I buy a few bags of peppermints, spearmints, or some sort of mints and then give each student a small snack bag full of them with a little note that says, "You have a fresh start!" It helps boost the morale at the beginning of the marking period and also wakes them up a bit after the Thanksgiving break.
With the fresh start in mind, over the holiday weekend, I was also able to update and create some more Common Core checklists! If you are just starting your 2nd marking period, consider using them as a way to give yourself a fresh start with assessment!
Be sure to check them out at my TpT Store! All Common Core checklists are $2.50 each.
At my school we are very lucky to have a super duper supportive PTA and school community. Every Fall and Spring, our school becomes a "flea market/garage sale" for one weekend. SWAP SHOP is our school's fund-raising event. As a result of Swap Shop, we hardly ever have to do fund-raising events.
Swap Shop is in it's 51st year and helps bring the school and community together. Anyone can buy seller's tags and sell items at swap shop. Most of the items are children's toys, clothes, strollers, high-chairs, etc. There's also a small housewares area as well as small furniture items. Sellers receive 70% of the sale and our school receives 30% of the sale.
The most amazing part of Swap Shop is that it is completely run by VOLUNTEERS! If you volunteer, you get to shop the pre-sale. . . basically you get the "good stuff" before the doors open to the public. People from all over the local area come and volunteer! Some of the volunteers don't have any children at our school and just come as part of our school community!
This morning I write to you about linking teacher evaluations with student test scores. In about 1.5 hours, I will be in a staff meeting regarding Delaware's Component V. . . there are many other states who already have something similar with their evaluations. There are pros and cons to each side of this and I am grateful that "pay for performance" has not yet reached The Small Wonder.
This is my personal list of pros and cons. . . feel free to comment!
Teachers will need to be on their toes all the time - no more fluff!
Students will learn what they need in order to be successful post-high-school
Teaching will be data driven
Stressful for all involved with testing
Although it is only 1 of 5 components for evaluation, Component V is heavily weighted compared to the other components.
For a testing grade, approx 50-100% of a teacher's evaluation will be based off of 1 test
Student's performance is summed up with 2 test scores (fall and spring tests)
Maybe I am making a mountain out of a molehill as I am notorious for doing. . . at least everyone in The First State is in the same boat!
To all of my fellow followers and visitors. . . I am at the half-way mark of the 1st marking period and I feel like I have been "stuck". We have been state testing, STAR testing, and having schedule changes out to "wazoo". Every time I feel like I make progress with the curriculum. . . .WHAM . . . we have another schedule change or day off that slows the pace of the lesson. I then have to go back and review before continuing on! Please tell me I'm not the only one!
So needless to say, we have been working on place value. We are now onto factors and multiples but the students still need so much support with place value! I want them to get it and move on but as we all know. . . . slow and steady wins the race. Soooooo I've made these place value worksheets as a daily morning activity to help them get quicker and faster with place value and understand the difference between the "digit" and the value of that digit. It is available in my TPT store so be sure to check it out!
Those of you who've been following me or those of you who may have stumbled upon my blog, may know me as a 1st grade teacher. Well . . . change was in the air for me! About 2 weeks prior to the start of school, I was moved to 4th grade. It was not something that I had predicted but I am so happy to be a 4th grade teacher!
Although my love for early elementary remains, I have to say that I love my fourthies. They are funny and fun and bring sunshine to some of the dullest moments of the school day. I couldn't be happier! So needless to say, I am excited to be able to do upper level projects with my students.
THE DAILY 5 and FOURTH GRADE
So far the biggest challenge has been implementing the Daily 5. All summer I was prepping my D5 implementation with first grade so to change to 4th grade required some additional brain power. I am happy to announce that the D5 is working with my fabulous fourthies! So far we have learned Read-to-Self and Read-to-Someone. (The latter is a work in progress.)
Because my school is BIG into Accelerated Reader (AR), I have found that D5 is a perfect fit with AR! The students absolutely LOVE reading and are always asking if they can read after a test, quiz, etc. This school year we are giving out awards for students who meet 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% of their individual goal. Goals are set for each marking period and are based upon the individual student. Because I want the students to be proud of their accomplishments and also keep their individual goals private, I created a banner that I put in the hallway. When students meet that percentage of their goal, I will hang a clothespin with their name on that percent. In the past we celebrated students meeting a certain number of points. However, this could lead to bullying or teasing of classmates. This way, regardless of the number of points accumulated, students of all reading levels can earn 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100% of their goal!
I've included a few images of the banner that I created below. It is also a free downloadable resource at my TPT store if you are interested!