Friday, January 10, 2014

Five for Friday 1/10/14

Happy Friday to all of my fabulous teaching friends! I am excited to be linking up again with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday

The frigid temperatures are slowly moving on, and things are returning to the normal conditions around here: rain in time for the weekend! Not complaining though, it could be all ice and snow.
The cold weather stirred up some inquiry in my boys and allowed for some great weather observations and discussions about temperatures. They are becoming keenly aware of the typical conditions of their environment  and the impact it can have on their lives. 
My oldest have informed me, they  were not huge fans of being stuck inside and are really looking forward to warm weather. Guess, they really are Southern boys!
I adored watching my youngest dress up in his hat and gloves every time we went outside, even if just to retrieve the mail.
He really embraced the winter gear! Oh that boy is such a little ham and brings such joy to my life!
Short weeks = Long weeks! 
Mathematically that probably seems like I should have written that as an inequality, but as a teacher you know that equation is accurate! 
Perhaps it does not help that this short(er) week back entailed finalizing grades, proofing report cards, sending test reports home, mid-year evaluations, and a few meetings. 
That all equates to some serious juggling! Thank goodness for a weekend to recover!
This was me, last night, stuffing report card envelopes. 
Question of the day: Report cards go home today, right? If I do some extra credit today can you count it? 
This week we have been plowing our way through mid-year evaluations in math, writing, and reading. Data, data, data! 
We use Fountas and PInnell for for reading benchmarks and it was extra stressful at the beginning of the year when many were scoring below grade level. It meant we were really going to have to work hard and make daily reading a priority. 
I am pleased to report that my kiddos are making progress. So far they are all exhibiting growth in words per minute and achieving at least 2 levels of growth in comprehension. After each assessment I take a few minutes to praise them, tell them how much they have grown and let them know what aspects I think are helping them make their growth. The process of F&P takes a lot of time, but it is great to see their progress and to know that the plans are paying off! 
I know that weekly fluency assignments are really helping my lower/reluctant readers out. During the first semester I used this book. I bought the e-book from Teachers Pay Teachers (loved the credits!), but it is available in school stores and probably from Amazon as well. 
We completed the whole book in the first half of the year, and are now adapting other reading passages as our weekly fluency assignments. I plan to differentiate it more on their levels and sneak in some non-fiction text on Social Studies and Science topics too!  
Do you know how you teach something and the kids don't quite grasp it the way you envisioned? Well, this year, I have had lots of those moments. It can be incredibly disappointing and discouraging. I experienced this when teaching how to cite evidence and explaining their thinking in their writing.
Today, much to my surprise, I saw a light at the end of the tunnel. They do listen to me and with persistence they will catch on. Oh, it was glorious! 
While reading and discussing a passage about Alexander Graham Bell several students started supporting their answers with phrases like, "The author said..." and "I know this because..." 
The best was when a student said, "I figured out the answer by looking in this other book and finding this fact.... and then put it with this information...." My heart was smiling over this small victory! We are going to make it! 
As if that wasn't enough to make my day, several students made the connection between the components of my math problem solving sheet and the required components of our mid-year exemplar evaluation. 

A few even asked if they could use that format on their exemplar problem. 
I usually dread giving/scoring the exemplars, but I am actually excited about it because the light-bulb clicked on for so many of them today. 
As I walked around, I saw charts and visuals being used to solve and prove their answers. Another serious moment of pride. It is moments like these that refill my teaching energy cell and keep me going through those tougher days where it feels like I am not breaking through on anything, and trust me those moments occur regularly.
I was pleasantly surprised to come home to a box filled with a birthday gift for me. My amazing big sister sent me a package in an effort to start the celebration. 

 My birthday isn't until next week, I share my day with Martin Luther King Jr., and this one is a biggie. Yep, you guessed it, I am turning 21! {Bahahahaha} 
This gift got me excited about the great things ahead for me and I am actually looking forward to reaching this benchmark. Maturity has its perks! 
 My sister sent me a sweet card, a beautiful scarf, and some pampering items. With all this cold weather, the kit will do wonders for my wintry feet. 
Seeing as I am getting older, I am staying true to my resolutions in an effort to remain young and vital, or at least be able to keep up with my kiddos and look halfway decent doing so. It feels great to take care of myself, but I am exhausted. 
Today I completed day 2 of T25 and wow, my legs are screaming at me that I am out of shape. I know the pain means I worked hard and in the long run I will benefit. 
I tell you what though, it might only be a 25 minute workout, but it is 25 minutes of fast and intense muscle moving. I know I am just at the beginning of this regime and it is going to keep getting harder, but I am not going to give up. I know, most people do after a few days. But the teachers at my school are doing this together. We are encouraging each other to go, supporting each other through it, and helping each other stay positive through the aches and pains (and there are tons!). 
It feels great to be taking care of myself and it is even better that we are doing this together. 

I hope that you have felt some teacher love this week and are thawing out in your neck of the woods. Don't forget to check out the other links at Doodle Bugs Teaching Five for Friday party. 


  1. Found your blog through the linky. I know how frustrating it can be to benchmark and realise that not only do you have to make the expected progress over the year, but accelerated, so sounds like you are really doing well for your class. Oh and Happy Birthday for next week!

    Butterflying Through Teaching

  2. I am turning 21 in two weeks! You're older than me! Lol! It's warming up here, but the rain has GOT to G-O! I'm proud of you for doing another day of T25!!!!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  3. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment! Thanks too for the birthday wishes.


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