Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Sub plan frustration

Just a few months ago I had spent days, DAYS I tell ya, with my giant pregnant belly, swollen feet and oodles of paper clips getting everything ready for my sub. I had no idea what I was doing. How do you plan for long term leave? I'm a bit of a control freak so giving my class over to someone else is hard. You don't want them to ruin your kids, right?! I had spent the first nine weeks getting my kids used to our routine and into work stations and our team mentality....

Everything in my classroom is routine and I felt if the routine could continue it would help my students be successful and help my sub as well. I copied morning work, poetry, fluency homework, station work, holiday items, science journal items, etc. and placed it all Sterlite drawers. I made super cute labels (presentation people- it matters!) for everything. The idea being that the sub didn't have to worry about anything. It was all done for her.
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My sub spent the mornings with me for a full week. She took notes. Lots of notes. I showed her my awesome drawer system. I showed her the sub binder with custom made plans from A Teachers Plan.  I signed my class up with RAZ Kids so that my sub wouldn't have to search high and low for leveled books to meet levels of individual students.
My last week at school I took half days. It was getting to hard for me to be at work for a full day. That gave my sub a week to transition into my room which helped put my anxious students at ease. I left feeling relieved that EVERYTHING was in order and my students would get the same routines and work that I would be giving them.

Today was my first day back at school. (It was so very hard to leave my baby today, but I'm thankful she was with my mom. I only cried for a few minutes then pulled it together before getting to school.) I'm so frustrated, furious, confused....MORE THAN HALF OF WHAT I HAD PLANNED AND COPIED WAS NEVER DONE. (Didn't you take like a bajillion notes?)

Morning work- was never done. I have no idea what the kids did every morning.
Fluency homework- looks like a few were sent November.
I can go on and on.
I've been a sub. I appreciated good solid plans. I know I'm not the only teacher to feel this way, but seriously, I would never just decide to do whatever the heck I wanted in someone else's classroom. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Currently January

It's 2015 and I'm hoping to be back to blogging on a more regular basis. But I have a really fabulous reason for not blogging... this little angel!

Amber James joined our family October 24 at 7:45 in the morning. 
Being a mom is so wonderful- who knew your heart could be this full?!

It's been a few months but I'm excited to be back linking up my Currently for the month of January. I like getting a peek at other teachers real life outside of school.
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LISTENING: Well, with a baby it's literally taken me hours to write this post- HA! When I started I was watching the Ducks (GO DUCKS) play Florida State and it hadn't gotten ugly yet. Now we're watching Alabama and Ohio State. Love me some football!

LOVING: We are up in Seattle for a couple of weeks. My husband made a quick trip up here a few weeks ago and surprised me by putting up our Christmas decorations. We keep it simple here with a decorated mantle and glass ornaments on little twinkly fake birch trees. LOVE!

THINKING: I am so blessed! We love our sweet girl and I hardly remember what life was like before her. My husband is the best father and right now he's rocking the baby right now- swoon! 

WANTING: time to slow down! Maternity leave is almost over and I keep looking back at pictures and can't believe Amber is almost three months old. December just flew by too! I never made a single Christmas cookie - which my pants thank me for I'm sure.

NEEDING: I feel like I put this in Currently way too frequently, but seriously my desk is a horrid mess. Piles of crap everywhere. It's on the top of my to-do list when we get back from Seattle.

YES- I really like being organized. Give me something monogrammed or color coordinated and I'll knock your socks off. I have the Erin Condren Life Planner and it's been a big help keeping baby appointments and my appointments and my husband's traveling schedule straight. 

MAYBE- I will master Photoshop. It's a love/hate relationship. I'm sure once you get the hang of it it's not so bad but I get so frustrated that simple tasks take so many steps. GRRRR. I WILL figure it out darn it! 

I WISH- I could be a stay-at-home mom for a year! I love teaching, but I would love to stay at home for a year. Teacher dream!

Can't wait to catch up and see what everyone else is up to!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Snowman Math Races- an indoor recess solution

Have you been hit by those terrible snow storms over the past week? Are you DREADING indoor recess? You don't have to! I have a FREE solution for you and it helps your kiddos practice their math facts.

December means it's time for snowman math races! Snowman math races are a big hit in my classroom. We use addition wheels to practice our facts and turn it into a race. If you aren't familiar with them
Here's how they work:
Draw a donut shape and place numbers around the inside. Then place another number in the center. Students line up and take turn adding the number inside the donut hole with the center number. They place their answer outside the circle.
 When we race I usually have just three or four students in a line. Students are NOT allowed to whisper or call out an answer OR let another student know their answer was wrong. After a student writes down an answer they pass their expo marker to the person behind them and go to the end of the line. If a student writes down an incorrect answer someone else in the line has to fix it. They simply cross off the wrong answer and write the correct answer next to it.  As soon as all of the answers are written down, and all the answers are correct, that group wins. I don't write the same numbers in each wheel when we race because I don't want anyone sneaking a peek at the other team's answers. It's a great way to get students to practice addition facts.

Snowman math races are easy and quick and great for indoor recess, end of the day, brain break, or as a competition with other classes. (I'm just a wee bit competitive!) My students BEG to have these races! I've also used them for finding the missing addend. If you're an upper grade you could do multiplication wheels. 

Here are our snowman races in action.

*notice the wrong answer!

*If you don't have a whiteboard you can laminate some butcher paper or poster paper and cut out your wheel and use dry erase markers to write. Post-Its will work in a pinch too.

To help my kiddos understand how to do addition math wheels I use wheels from this product. Students quickly understand and your students who are still struggling with their facts get some extra practice. I usually incorporate some of these into our math stations too. My struggling students will take wheels home for homework all month. This packet also includes missing addend practice.

This pack will be on sale during the Cyber Monday sale!

To give your students a tutorial/taste of snowman math races I've created this freebie. Just click to download!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

October Currently

I love all the Fall decorations, pumpkins, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin soaps, and the fact that my baby is due this month! I love watching scary movies- except Candyman and anything with a doll. That new movie Annabelle is a definite no for me. My ringtone beginning October 1st is the Halloween theme song. And we've actually had like 2 whole days with Fall-ish weather here in Texas. By Fall-ish I mean- there was a breeze and it wasn't 97 degrees out. 

We're also almost through nine weeks of school. 9 is the magic number. That's when my students are officially "trained" and our room is really chugging along. Stations are working like magic and I start to see amazing progress!

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Listening: I swear Blue Bloods is the only decent show on tv on Friday nights. We've watched since season 1. (Plus Donnie Wahlberg- yes please)

Loving: my team threw me a baby shower yesterday at school and I got so many thoughtful goodies for Baby Tice.

Thinking: 4 weeks left! Baby Tice is due on Halloween so not long now! Hard to believe it's just a few weeks away. The nursery is almost complete and all her little outfits washed and folded up in the drawers. I'm so excited!

Wanting: My sub plans to be complete! I'm getting there. I've got about half of the copies I want done and I'm working on finishing up everything else. I'll be relieved when that's all done. (I'm probably making it harder on myself because I'm just a wee bit OCD. Hard for me to give up control of my class!)

Needing: Sleep! My to-do list starts running through my head and then I can't settle down. Anyone else like this? Plus, I'm really big now. There is no comfy position....even if you have eleventy pillows surrounding you.

Lastly, I choose TREAT! Most of my kids have kept their desks pretty clean so far. It's time to give them a little treat. They'll be so excited on Monday. Just click the picture below to grab your copy.

Sorry to make so much of this post about Baby Tice, but that's pretty much all that's on my mind these days! Hope y'all enjoy the weekend!


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