Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Linky Survey

I am linking up with Mimi Hager from 5th Grade Rocks 5th Grade Rules to complete the teacher survey below.  Here goes nothing...

1. Are you married, do you have a bf, or are you flying free as a single lady/man?
I have the most wonderful boyfriend in the world, Brandon :)

2. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Burke, Virginia and moved briefly to Massachusetts before returning to Northern Virginia.

3. Do you have any pets? If so, what kind and what is his/her name?
Yes, my kitty, Annabelle, is the cutest.  My family also has three dogs: Franklin, Ranger, and Benjamin.

4. What is a favorite TV show you are embarrassed to admit to watching?
Though I have not been following it as much lately, I have been known to watch Jersey Shore.  It's hard not to laugh while watching this show because it is so crazy and random.  For an hour I can just laugh at how ridiculous these people sound and act.

5. Are you a saver or a spender?
I am definitely a spender.  My money burns a hole in my pocket, but I really do need to learn to save more.

6. What is your favorite children's book?
I love Lemony Snicket and The Series of Unfortunate Events.

7. Were you the class clown, teacher's pet, or neither?
I was definitely not the class clown.  Sometimes I think I'm the only person that finds myself funny.  I was probably more of the teacher's pet, but hopefully not in the obnoxious way :)

8. Who is your favorite athletic team?
I love the Yankees and Giants.  Go New York!

9. Where did you go on your last REALLY fun vacation?
St. Thomas for my boyfriend's sister's wedding.  It was so warm and relaxing!

10. Who is your favorite actor? Actress?
Actor--Mark Wahlberg
Actress--Emma Stone

11. Tell about the last time you cried because you were happy.
While watching the previews before a movie I cried because I was laughing so hard.  If you are familiar with Despicable Me then you should know exactly what I am talking about.  The preview for the next movie was so cute and funny that I couldn't control myself.

12. What is your favorite season?
My favorite season would have to be Fall.  I love the changing colors and the cooler weather.  There's just something about pumpkins, turkey, and football that make me all warm and fuzzy inside.

13. What is your biggest regret?
I'm not sure if I have any regrets yet.  I try and think of everything as a good learning experience instead of regretting something that cannot be changed.

14. What food do you just NOT like at all?
I hate seafood.  End of story.


15. Who was your most memorable teacher, and why?
My most memorable teacher is my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Nix.  She was so kind and really helped to instill a love of school in me.  I have so many happy memories from sixth grade and hope that I can one day be the teacher a student looks back at as his/her most memorable teacher.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tangram Quilt

As my time in my Student Internship is running out, it's time to begin thinking about a culminating activity for my math unit on geometry!  In talking with my cooperating teacher, we have come up with a pretty fun idea to display all of our knowledge on shapes.  The activity directions are displayed below:

Unit 8: Geometry
Culminating Activity

            You have just been hired to help design a brand-new sculpture that will be placed out front of McIntosh Elementary School for all your friends and family to see.  The contractor that has hired you has several requirements that you must first meet before you are given permission to proceed with your sculpture design.  The contractor must first test your knowledge of shapes, and only after you have passed the test may you design your magnificent sculpture.  Below are your directions:

¾    Part I: Your pretest—

  o   You must choose one of the following shapes: square, rectangle, triangle, or circle.
  o   Glue your shape to the white square background (you may decorate later).
  o   You must demonstrate your knowledge of your chosen shape by doing the following:
à        Mathematically name your shape.
à        Label the following elements directly on your shape:
§  Square, Rectangle, and Triangle—measure the base and height and then find the perimeter and area of your shape.
§  Circle—correctly label the parts of your shape (chord, diameter, radius, center, and circumference).

Once it has been decided that you’ve passed the test, you may move on to designing your sculpture that will stand outside McIntosh Elementary!

¾    Part II: Your design—

o   You may now begin you design!  The contractor has provided you with your materials (the tangram shapes), and you may only use these materials (you may, however, trade colors with a friend, but you must use all shapes provided).
o   Your sculpture may be a person, animal, place, thing, etc.
o   Glue your shape to the white square background (you may decorate later).
o   Finally, name your sculpture and provide 5-6 sentences that mathematically and narratively describe what your sculpture is and what shapes you used.

Upon completion of your designs, we will create a class quilt that will display all of your wonderful hard work in our hallway.  But remember: only one person’s sculpture will stand proudly outside McIntosh Elementary!

As stated, all of the student's squares will be collected and displayed in our hallway as one giant math quilt.  Stay tuned!  Pictures of our final project to come after Spring Break :)

Click here for the complete project handout and rubric.

Want a great literature connection?! Grandfather Tang's Story is a perfect book to read your students while working through the geometry unit!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

We Scream for Ice Cream!

So it's been a little while since I've posted.  I've found myself getting swamped beneath all of my requirements for my teaching internship.  Who would have thought teaching would be this much work?! :)  On a lighter side, our students got the chance to go to see the Virginia Symphony today at the Christopher Newport University Ferguson Center (my Alma mater!)  We listened to some great music, including the theme song from Harry Potter :)  Things are growing a little stressful as benchmarks approach and we realize just how much material we have left to cover.  Our relaxing field trip was a nice break from the chaos that seems to be my life.

Through my student internship I have been learning more about the available technology and becoming more familiar with SMART board.  The other day our newspaper club asked each class to take a poll on the students' favorite flavor ice cream.  Instead of doing the standard, "Raise you hand if you like...," I used our SMART technology to administer the poll.  My students moved the ice cream cone to indicate their favorite flavor on the table.  It was a nice visualization of our favorite flavors of ice cream (and it tied in a little bit of math, which is always nice!).

Looks like cookies and cream is his favorite!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

"Plan B"

My biggest struggle thus far in my student internship has been behavior management (an area in which I feel may people have difficulty).  Luckily, I have the best cooperating teacher in the world, Mimi Hager, and she has already taught me so much! 

A simple, but VERY effective, strategy she uses is called "Plan B," and it goes a little something like this.  As teachers we usually plan fun and exciting activities to do with our students.  We like to refer to these plans as "Plan A."  They usually include interactive SMART boards, games, centers, and partner work, and these are the lessons our students want us to teach because they are enjoyable.  On the other hand, we have "Plan B."  These lessons are student-taught straight from their textbook.  They are completed quietly at their tables.  Our students hate "Plan B" because they are boring, and most important of all, SILENT.

I have begun implementing "Plan B" in the classroom when the students cannot control their behavior and focus during a lesson.  They are given a warning, and if their poor behavior continues, we go to "Plan B."  I have started writing "Plan B" on the white board in the morning so that the students are aware that it is there.  It serves as a little reminder of what choices they can make throughout the day.  "Plan B" worked very well today, and I am hoping that the students' behavior will improve so that we no longer have to go to "Plan B."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

No Reading Homework Tonight!

So the topic of today's post is behavior management during small group.  I love meeting with my small reading groups at the end of the day, but I have been finding it very difficult to control the rest of the class.  Nothing seemed to work, and my students seemed to always be off task and too loud. 
Today my cooperating teacher, Mrs. Hager over at 5th Grade Rocks 5th Grade Rules, came up with a strategy that was very successful!  The idea is like a reverse game of basketball "HORSE."  Instead of a letter being negative, the students word towards earning words through their good behavior and staying on task throughout our reading block. 

I labeled different colored index cards with each of the groups books.  Each group got a set of cards that said, "No reading homework tonight! (on the same colors).  I had one card for each team with me at the back table that was labeled with an "X."

The different cards for the reading groups.
At the end of each rotation, if the students had stayed on task, their group would receive a card to put up on the board.  If at anytime the groups were misbehaving, the teacher would simply hold up a strike card.  As in baseball, three strikes and you're out!  In terms of our activity, three strikes mean extra reading homework that night.  It's really amazing how well students behave when there is extra homework on the line :)  I am happy to report that this behavior management activity was a success, and I am hopeful that it will continue to work for our small reading groups.  My students stayed on task and worked quietly while I met with my other reading groups (and they didn't have any extra homework).

We are thinking of trying to adapt it for our small groups in math centers as well because it was so successful.

The students would put the cards up on the board as they earned the different words.

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Little Luck of the Irish

We're getting into the spirit of St. Patrick's Day a early this year!  My cooperating teacher found a cute St. Patty's Day craft which our students started on today.  We had such cute (and creative) leprechauns.  Next week our students will finish their craft by making their leprechauns talk.  We have been learning how to properly use and write quotations, so our students will continue practicing by adding some speech bubbles.

On another note, I received the "One Lovely Blog Award" from the wonderful Miss D over at Daydreams of a Student Teacher.  Take some time to check out her page (if you haven't already)!  I enjoyed her post about "Letters to Miss D."  What a great way to allow your students to get to know you.  They get to ask as many questions as they want, and the teacher can answer in their own time. 

So here are the rules to the award:
1.  Link back to the blog that gave you the award.  Check!
2.  Pass the award on to 15 other lovely bloggers.

Please stay tuned and check back as I am on the hunt for other lovely bloggers!  More to come :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

My Scotties Rock!

And...exhale.  The writing test is finally over!  Today, our students finished the writing SOL prompt portion of the test, and they worked their little butts off.  They have prepared so much for this week, and I hope that all their hard work is reflected in their scores.  They did not go at it alone, however, and we were really thankful to those teachers and fellow Scotties who lent a helping hand and were there for moral support.  I think the extra positive motivation gave our students the boost they needed to dig deep and do their best. 

The fantastic motivation from our fellow
Scotties.  Each student was given a smaller,
lucky rock for their desk to remind them
throughout the test.
As always our students were well taken care of :)
I'm so glad that our classroom can return to its semi-normal, chaotic self, but as reality sinks in, I begin to realize how much work we still have left to do and just how much material we have left to cover before the end of the year. While we do not have to focus as much on writing now, we are going to need to buckle down for the intense ride that awaits us on Monday!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Behavior Management

I would like to share one of my behavior management systems with you.  I use a money reward system called, "Monkey Money," and my students really love it.  In fact, when I forget to pay them, my students are quick to remind me that I "owe them money."  Each of my students has an envelope and a balance sheet which they keep in their desks.  When they receive money, it is their job to record it on their balance sheet, and at the end of every week, they get to "pay" for a prize.  My prizes include candy, homework passes, a good phone call home, and everything inbetween.  My students earn money through good behavior, turning in homwork, and scoring well on exams and quizzes.  They lose money through bad behvior (and at the teacher's discrestion).  You can download my templates by clicking here.  Please feel free to customize the system to fit your classroom, and watch the dollar signs fly.  Cha Ching! 

On another note, the writing test is almost here!  As our students leave for the day so that they can get a good night sleep and return in the morning to tackle the first part of their writing test, Mrs. Hager and I got into the spirit and painted our nails to resemble pencils :)  Our students have worked so hard, and we hope that it all pays off.  We wish them nothing but luck for tomorrow and Thursday! 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss

Well, here it goes--my first blog post as a Student Intern.  I am very excited to share my ups (and downs, as I'm sure there will be plenty).  I hope to learn just as much as I plan to teach my students.

As the week comes to a close, our students helped celebrate the birthday of Dr. Seuss.  The students participated in a school-wide parade in which every grade level displayed posters, sang songs, recited lines from popular books, and dressed up in honor of the legendary author.  It was nice to allow the students a little time to unwind as we are quickly approaching the writing test (only one full school day left)!  Our students designed posters in which they carried around the school.  Their posters illustrations included book covers, characters, and birthday greetings for the Dr.  I believe they enjoyed themselves, and it was a nice way to end a long week of writing preparation :)

Some students proudly display their Dr. Seuss posters.