Thursday, October 8, 2015

31 Days...Staying Afloat...Some of my ALL TIME favorite TpT SELLERS

Today let's talk about something that makes me extremely happy and sad at the same time..

I LOVE Teachers Pay Teachers...however my PayPal account does not! But that is another story for another day....

Here are my TOP, my FAVORITE TpT stores: (in no order, I just love a COUNTDOWN)

13.  Jamie Rector...was my 2nd grade Writing Coach, but she never knew that! Thanks Jamie for
       always being there with the "write" stuff!

12.  Young Teacher Love...Kristine Nannini saved me from assessment hell. This girl has dedicated
       her life to ELA assessment and classroom data organization! If you need help with that, go now

11.  Amy Lemons ...I used to grab all her goodies, but then I got moved up to 3rd grade, she is a
       Second Grade guru!

10.  Head Over Heels for Teaching...Joanne Miller...are you looking for ELA stuff? she is your girl!
     Joanne is Awesome and her stuff is 3rd grade and higher...(some 2nd too)

9.  Deb Hanson...WOW and oh boy...she is G O O D...PowerPoints and reproducibles that match the
     PP's and games plus tons of "Craftivities" equals one of the masters...she is upper elementary for

8.  Ashleigh's Education Journey...Ashleigh is heaven sent...she has writing, math , reading..she is the
     SCOOT/Task Card master and her assessments are perfect!!! She is 3rd grade and higher , but has
     some lower elementary stuff too!

7.  Bunting, Books ad Bright Ideas....Christina Bainbridge is my teacher crush..OMG this woman! I
     used to read her class webpage and steal ideas, then found her again on her blog which steered
     me  to TPT...she has it all! For all of Elementary!

6.  Mariela Santillana...I L O V E Mariela, plus I used to work with her! She is my TPT HERO! she
     does a lot of 3rd-5th grade Math and "Wonders" series stuff...she is fantastic and easy to follow
     along! I love all her creations!

5.  Sunny Days....Denise is another one who I used to stalk her class web page, then her blog and then
      again on TPT...she is a Florida Girl, like me, so I LOVE her stuff...she is mainly a 2nd grade
      supplier! Check her out, you will love her creativity!

4.  Science Penguin...Ari has the BEST stuff around! Her Weekly Science Centers have kept me in  
         the clear for YEARS!!! Thanks girl, if you haven't seen her stuff, download all the FREEBIE
          stuff first so you know what to do!

3.  Teacher's Clubhouse.....Amanda Madden is one of my all time favorites! She is mainly lower
       elementary, but I find myself adapting her stuff in my 3rd grade curriculum! She is great! I am
       not sure but I think she used to have a partner in the Clubhouse, Jessica Winston, but I don't
       know if she is still in it? I adore Amanda's blog and her creations are just what you need to keep
       you on track!

2. The Third Wheel...ah Mrs. are one of my newer TpT follows. She is exactly what I need in
        3rd grade. Her stuff is CLEAR, and CUTE, plus it is easy to integrate right into what you
        wanted to do! Thank  you for showing up in my life!

1.  Blair Turner.... My MATH guru, what would I do without you??? this woman has kept me alive in       Math for the past 3 years! She is all about the Math and interactive notebooks..I love Blair, I have        a celebri-crush on this woman! (Tell her that!)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

31 Days...Staying Afloat.., Teach Happy Friends

What did I do today to make it....

I joined "Teach Happy Friends" I HAD to!

On this web site I have made teacher friends, and gotten some daily dose of encouragement, plus some great tips and things to smile about.

Why do I need this you ask?....

Well,... I LOVE my career, it is my passion... I love my kiddos, they keep me young, I love my teacher BFF, she makes collaborating fun and valuable...however...I want to teach MORE. I want to teach BETTER. I want to teach WISELY. I need FRESH ideas. I need POSITIVE feedback. I need VALIDATION.

So today I joined Teach Happy Friends. At first I just "liked" and joined the group on Facebook, then I lurked in that space for a week, before I decided it was worth it to be INSPIRED on a daily basis.

It is nice to know that I am not alone on this journey. So many teachers are feeling my feelings, are just as frustrated with things like me, are trying to be happy when so many are unhappy. Together we can make it....SO if you too are dragging, lagging, "sadding", and negating...go visit Sheila J and her great won't be sorry!

Monday, October 5, 2015

31 Days...Staying Afloat...Periscope

"Periscope is a live video streaming app for iOS and Android developed by Kayvon Beykpour and Joe Bernstein. The startup behind the app was purchased by Twitter for a reported $100 million in March 2015. On March 26, 2015, Twitter officially relaunched the application on iOS under its own App Store account. Later, on May 26, 2015, Periscope was released for Android."

That is what the internet has told me about Periscope.
Here is why I LOVE it!

1. You get to SEE your favorite TPT teachers and bloggers.

2. You get great advice from teachers all over the place.

3. You LAUGH out LOUD for real at the craziness that is some other teacher's reality...instead of laughing  crying about how your teaching life is cuckoo !

4. You get to comment (if you watch it live) and send hearts to them when you are rolling on the floor.

5. If you can't catch it live, you have 24 hours to catch it on a replay. You still can send hearts at the funny parts.

6. You don't need to make a scope to join, you can lurk in the shadows and watch and learn without getting "involved" if that is your thing!

7. Find your teacher twin and stalk  enjoy their company laugh at them without them knowing.

8. If you decide to make a Scope, play with the camera before you post....and comb your hair!

9. If  you hate your Scope you can delete it.

and the last reason I LOVE Periscope is because you can....

10. Watch it in your PJ's and with a glass of wine, and no one can judge!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The GOAL here is 31 Days..ONE Topic...Wish me Luck!

I haven't been very faithful to my blog. I am a bad blogger!
The new year has started and so many new things going on, both at school and at home, not sure where I will end up in the end.
I have discovered Periscope this summer and totally love it! I actually made a Scope and NO ONE watched it live, which I am so glad, because I have no idea how to turn the camera around, so I would have NEVER even seen your comments! I am really enjoying watching the Whimsical Teacher, she really cracks me up. I also joined the Facebook group Teach Happy Friends by Sheila J. These two things have helped me stay a little more focused on the real point of my job.
 I have come to realize that Facebook is the enemy of the Common Core...people just don't understand and because all change is bad, so is the Common Core. Well, mainly it's the Math portion of the CCSS that is taking the hit. Most parents and teachers don't get the point that all the CCSS is doing is breaking numbers down into small digestible bites, even if they don't need to be broken down that small. I don't break them down unless I fell they need to. 12-3 will always be 9, not broken into 12 is really 9 and 3, so therefore 3-3=0 and the answer is 9...because that is cray cray....if your are teaching it and it doesn't make sense to you, why confuse the kids? Teach it the right way, not just because the NEW series you are using says  you must teach it like that! Don't do it! Teach it the way it makes sense, stop trying to be a martyr for the CCSS....okay I'm off that soap box....

How did I end up here? Okay, I love Periscope and the Happy vibes from new teacher friends and I am not digging the negative views on our new curriculum...and to tell you the truth this year so far has been uneventful, new Math curriculum, new computer programs, that are pointing  us to what  skill needs to be taught  in order for achievement to happen... Now if only I could find the time to squeeze in a really good writing lesson? Always a challenge!

I am going to try to blog every day in October, and look I am already 4 days behind....I am suppose to pick ONE topic to blog about and write about it everyday, so my topic is...Things that are keeping me afloat this year! Tomorrow I will discuss Periscope as I know it! (If I remember to blog or have time.)

Thursday, July 9, 2015

What IS the "Best" Lesson Plan Template out there? Help Please!

     I am doing some research about lesson plan templates...WHY? I don't know, it's just that over the years I have switched up my lesson plan templates so many times, that I am finally done with it!

     So today I am going on a Teachers Pay Teachers "Best Lesson Plan Template" hunt. I might include Pinterest too!

What did I just get myself into?

     Excel or Word? Weekly, daily or by subject? Standards based?

Do I need EVERYTHING in them besides standards, objectives materials and the actual lesson plus an assessment piece if needed?

So far I have found some that are so comprehensive:
     They come with things like, Objectives and Goals, Materials and Equipment, Anticipatory Set, Direct Instruction, Guided Practice, Independent Practice, Closure,Assessment and Follow-up, Homework  and just when I was feeling overwhelmed with the "basics" these lesson plan templates even include... Learning Modality Tracking ,Multiple Intelligences Tracking, Class Room Activities and  Reflection Section . I am not saying these things are bad or not useful, I'm just saying how many pieces of paper will I have to print to get it all in?
Kudos to Teacher Snacks for such hard diligent work!
 ...and then I found the rather less involved plans with just objectives, "I can" statements, warm-ups, pre-asses, essential questions, activity and then on the bottom of the template the exit. There was a simple box for CCSS, DOK and resources. Simple- yes, concise- yes, easy to print-yes...but do I like it? Hmmmmm I think I need something in the middle.

     Did I mention all the "Drop-Down"menus...those are great, but alas I still have not found exactly what will work for me.

      I know that I don't like Excel,Word is easier for me to navigate. I like expandable boxes, and I like the freedom to color code my subjects and change up the schedule when I need to. I want to be able to look at my plans and see what I am teaching in whole group and what each small group is up to. I want to be able to keep track of all the FSS (CCSS) that I am teaching and that I need to revisit. Do they make that? I might also like to have a place to check off each activity that I did really did teach.

I found a great write up on one lesson plan template and it was this and tell me what you think....
     "After using several different lesson plan templates over the years and not being totally happy with any of them, I decided to create one that would work perfect for me this upcoming year. This is a weekly lesson plan template is color coded and easy to use. It is an editable template so you can arrange it in a way that will work for you. You can type then print your lesson plans weekly or print the template and write in your plans by hand. Best of all, it's free! Happy planning!"~Sandy Price

     I think I used Sandy's lesson plan template two years ago? It looks so's on my list to revisit.

    I found some editable lesson plans that looked promising, but they are on PowerPoint...not so sure how I feel about that? I opened one and got very confused because I couldn't edit it..back to the scrolling....

     I wish I had an ipad!!! The amount of lesson plans that I found that can be kept on your ipad, plus if your ipad was hooked to your classroom's doc cam or smartboard you could open your plans onto that and show videos PowerPoints and other techie devices that could really make your lesson plans interactive...but alas I am in low tech world and do not own an ipad at home or at school...bummer!

Back to the search
      This sounds promising "Have you tried 50 different lesson plan templates and still aren't extremely happy with what you have?? Well, that's how I've been this year! haha :) However, I came up with this one that has actually made me feel so much better!!! It gives me a week view for each subject so I can easily file each subject's lesson plan for the week into specific binders for easy use next time. "~Nicole Swisher

     It looks good, but it is in PowerPoint, still not sure how that will work out for me, but I like the subject by the week, instead of the whole week full of small print with all subjects on it...I might have to invest the $1 on Nicole....

     Here is another PowerPoint one, but this one sounds like I could do it, because it is a visual thing...I wonder if I could just add the "visual" stuff to the Nicole plans, either way check this out.. here is Brianna Newell's write up about her visual plans:

     "I don't know about you, but plans are a whole lot easier for me when I can type them up, print them out (or send to administration), and visually see exactly what I am going to be doing next or what materials I might need. There are so many days when I know what I am going to be teaching, but can't remember exactly what it looks like. I have everything neatly sorted in drawers, but there's always that time I have forgotten to put something in there. 

      These have been my lifesaver in my classroom! What's best of all...they can be edited to your favorite color scheme and also to fit your daily schedule. Whether you have the typical elementary setup or the middle/high subject area classes, this can work for you! "~Brianna Newell

I might have to use some TPT credits and check this out???

     I have been at it now for over two hours, I just didn't talk about ALL of them. The more I look, the more I either really hate this task, or feel like I should just make my own. I would love for you to share with me some of your favorite lesson plan templates that I should really take a look at! 

H E L P!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Science Fun with Solar Cookers!

     Yes I have been lacking in my blogger duties, so sorry. After finally finishing up my Master's in Literacy Education I got caught up in the craziness that is 3rd grade!
     This year I decided to loop up with my 2nd graders from last year. What an amazing group of kids! I couldn't resist looping with them. However, the perils of 3rd grade just crept up on me. State testing woes. I have never had to deal with the pressure involved in this high-stakes nonsense! 20 years into my career I am finally face to face with the "T E S T" !
     I decided I needed to make sure these kids got the BEST of me! So here is the beginning of our year ...hands-on and fun times in Science!

     We asked ourselves how can we use what we know about radiant energy to make a solar cooker that can actually make a snack?  I divided the class into engineering teams of three or four. Then introduced them to the material that they were allowed to use;shoe boxes or cardboard boxes; aluminum foil; wax paper; colored construction paper; plastic wrap; masking tape; clear tape; string (only those materials were permitted). Each child had a role to play too, that made it more manageable! Together they had 15 minutes to create and label drawings of their solar cookers. Then they estimated how much of the materials they would need to do the job. Once I signed off on their blueprint, then they could create.

We then used our "21st century skills" and collaborated, took initiative, used our curiosity and imagination.

The class had to problem solve together and really be flexible with one another so everyone's opinions could be heard.

Making sure they used effective oral and written communication with each other was so important!
 It took us two days from blueprints to  actual cookers. We waited for a super sunny day (4 days later) and went outside to make a snack.

This group had an awesome design, but will it work?

Another good design, complete with a flap to check what is cooking!

The open oven design is what we called this invention.

This oven has a large door to cook open or closed.
Another open design.

Finally we got cooking!

We didn't have to wait long, the slowest cooker took 22 minutes, but in hind sight I would not have put the chocolate with the marshmallow and cookie, 

As you can see "Solar Cookers" were a big hit,  
Next time on "Being the Queen Bee isn't Easy" expect to see what goes on in Math....I promise it won't take three months to get that post out!