Saturday, April 18, 2015

Celebrate This Week: My New Perspective on Teaching

Tonight marks the beginning of the weekend and most of us are excited about the 2 days off!  As I think about the weekend my mind rushes past the days off and right to the week ahead.  You see, this Monday I will step into my classroom as I have done all year, but this Monday I will walk into a dark room.  I will walk into a room waiting to be opened and prepped for the day.

Our class has had the benefit of having a student teacher all year… until today.  Today we celebrated her accomplishments and wished her well as  she moves onto the hunt for her very own classroom.

Having a student teacher share your class and your space can make a teacher a bit dependent.  I can't help feeling a bit anxious when I picture Monday morning.  I imagine myself standing in that dark door way frozen in fear! 

Will I remember to:
  • turn on the lamps
  • gather ALL teaching materials
  • set up the tables with student work mats
  • choose read aloud books 
  • login to the computers
  • pair blue tooth speaker with iPad
  • turn on projector 
  • tune on document camera
  • sharpen pencils
  • change the student jobs
  • compose a morning message
  • refill paper trays for writers workshop
  • answer parent emails
  • refill caffeinated beverage
  • visit the ladies room
  • greet the kids at the door
  • take attendance
  • check in books
  • schedule reading groups
  • confer with kids
  • watch the morning announcements
  • send the kids to lunch, recess, special
  • and ….
Hmm… What am I forgetting?  Only Monday will tell.

I am sure you're wondering how this post fits the celebration linkup by now.  I am celebrating the opportunity to share a class and a classroom with a student teacher and my new perspective on teaching.  

As I guided and coached our student teacher I noticed~
  • teaching isn't as easy as it appears
  • coaching isn't as easy a it appears
  • thinking on your feet as a teacher isn't easy
  • thinking on your feet as a coach isn't easy
  • choosing a teaching point is challenging
  • choosing a coaching point is challenging
  • getting to know students is crucial
  • getting to know student teachers is crucial
  • reflection is essential to teaching
  • reflection is essential to coaching
  • it isn't easy being a student
  • it isn't easy being a coach
  • this job takes grit!
So Monday, when I stand in that cold dark doorway I will take a deep breath, mumble some self talk and step inside, not with trepidation, but with perseverance and bravery.
Wish me luck! 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Math MondayThe Power of Independent Math

I have been reworking and adjusting my math workshop for a few years now.  I have found a few pieces of our math workshop are invaluable.  One is the first 15 minutes of the workshop. This is independent work time. Time to curl up in math work and practice what you need to practice as a mathematician. Kassia Omohundro Wedekind explains in her book Math Exchanges the need for kids to have time to practice math skills independently. Some kids may feel they need to take things slower, use different tools, or may be even embarrassed to work with a peer. Independent math time allows the mathematician to set the pace, chose the skill, the tools and do the learning!
Here's peek into our independent time~

N uses what her knows in basic facts to try adding to 200!

Ani starte with what she knows about doubles and pushes herself to higher numbers. 

Z rolls our dice and practices counting up on the 100's chart. 

E discovers counting by 3 is always 3 more. 

A explores the relationship between addition and subtraction.

The mathematicians designed the work, chose the tools and guess who did the learning? 
What's your favorite part of your workshop?

New Voices, New Auidences

Tuesday I have the honor of speaking with a class of preservice educators. We will discuss using technology in the classroom in a natural way, a way that not only modifies the learning, but makes what was once not possible, possible!

Our conversations will form around this thinking~

Monday, February 16, 2015

Math Investigations and Twitter

#MathMonday is hosted by @MandyRobek on her blog Enjoy and Embrace. #MathMondays provides teachers a place to come together and share math learning, ask questions and grow as  lead mathematicians in the classrooms.  I hope you stop by and read more math thinking and share your thoughts in the comments, we would love it if you joined us!  You can also find more math talk by following #MathMonday on twitter. 

Math is everywhere and I am passionate about kids asking questions, exploring and solving real 
math in our workshop. Our most recent math inquiry came from a student who commented, "I think addition is like subtraction."  Many students agreed while some disagreed, this discussion grew and became the focus of our math work for many days. As we investigated our questions we decided to share our question on twitter to gain new ideas. 

Soon Tweets were filling our Twitter feed! Watching the tweets come in with mathematicians from @MrsMaleysclass and @MsBaydasclass in Saskatchewan Canada was exciting and lead to new strategies for investigation. 

Then, Wonderopolis Tweeted us…

We know it takes a LOOONG time to get a wonder published, but if we make it we will  let everyone know! 

Then, this tweet from our district math coach appeared in our feed

Which lead to the investigation shared here in this Educreations. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Three Classrooms, Sixty-six Books, ONE conversation~ Today's Meet!

Today's post is my first post on Margaret Simon's DigiLit Sunday event. I am excited to be joining this great community and look forward to continuing in the future.

This post is also in reply to a tweet from @MissLuce1st. I found I may
need more than the 140 characters allowed by twitter to help you understand what it is that brought last night's reading alive in our three first grade classrooms!

This space is open to all three
1st grade classes for collaboration.

The Teachable Moment~
I have found that the teachable moments come at the most challenging times.  Do you abandoned the plans and follow the moment or do you stick with plan?  This is where the art of teaching comes in….and you have a decision to make!
One morning I heard a student in our class ask another student if Brady (a boy from another classroom) liked to read Ted Arnold's Fly Guy books.  It was clear he wanted to confer at reader's workshop and wanted to talk with another Fly Guy fan. When I heard this conversation (insert my OLW Listen which is helping me catch more of these moments) I knew this is exactly what readers do and what I wanted for the readers in our classroom, authentic reading!  This is when  it hit me, Today's Meet!  Today's Meet will allow the readers in all three classrooms to share their reading and connect with other readers in meaningful and purposeful ways. It may even breathe more life and energy to our reading from the previous night!

Today's Meet~
I quickly set up a room on Today's Meet, created a QR code (quick read code) and passed the codes out to the other first grade teachers, while enthusiastically asking, "Hey, does your class want to join us on Today's Meet to share last night's reading?" Of course they said- "YES!"

So Here's What Happened~
  • Students came in in the morning and found a QR code on the table along with an
    iPad. The students began scanning  the QR code which took them to our room on Today's Meet. 
  • Students began sharing their names and telling us about last nights reading. 
  • As students finished posting they watched the live feed which is projected in all three classrooms for the students to follow.  
Chatter and excitement filled our rooms as kids watched their post pop into the feed and saw the post of friends from other rooms! I heard one student tell another to look at their post on the big screen, while another student gasped to see a friend in another classroom read the same book last night, and another grab a post-it-note to jot down two names who also like Mo Willems books, which lead to the conference pictured here to the left!  This book chatter warmed my heart and breathed new excitement into reading outside of the classroom, what a great way to start our day!
We plan to continue this classroom collaboration using QR codes! Maybe one day kids will find all three classrooms are visiting their blog! What ideas do you have for inviting collaboration into your classroom? Please leave us a comment we would LOVE to learn from you! 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Raising the Bar in Math- Taking Math Beyond the Answers and the Classroom, Math 3.0

This week I am taking the plunge and diving into Math Monday! Math Monday was started by my friend Many Robek as a place to gather and talk math.  Mandy shares ~
 "I've wished for quite some time there was more math discussion and conversations in the twitter/blogging world." 

Today I am jumping into the conversation. I have a few post in mind, but I am starting with one that's weighing on my mind~ purpose and choice in math. Choices are a part of our math workshop.  I wrote about the choices and struggles I had as I worked to create a Math Workshop that mimics the Literacy part of our day here. 

Listening to Student Choices~
Recently we were talking as a class about a web based computer game and one student recommended "We shouldn't go on that game so much, it doesn't allow us to be creative or show our thinking. It's like it just tells us what to do." WOW! This statement really struck me, not only did this statement let me know this game wasn't a choice for him, he also told us why. This student is making purposeful choices for his learning and sharing this information with the class.  

It's All About Choice~
If you've read my blog before you know I am advocate of choice in our classroom and in promoting choice I also know it's important to teach children what needs to be considered in making choices for learning.  We talk about how the choices you make should support your thinking and your purpose. If you are working to figure something out then choose the tool(s) that work best and efficiently for you. If you want to share your learning with others or get feed back from others choose a tool that allows you to share and receive feedback.  Our workshop provides choice in manipulatives, paper, pencils, iPads, laptops, desktops and the apps and software that go with them.  As kids leave our focus lesson they choose their learning, tools and how they will share or if they will share with others. 

Here's a peek into our workshop choices~

Mathematicians present questions for others to answer on Kid Blog

Mathematicians work to sort and count math tools on the dry erase table. 

Mathematicians share counting by ten with the help of Educreations.

Mathematicians choose paper and pencil to show the combination of ten.

Mathematicians show us their understanding of doubling with the help of Educreations. 

Mathematicians explore the relationship between addition and subtraction on the dry erase table. 

Mathematicians solve doubles plus one with manipulatives on the dry erase table. 
Math 3.0~
Giving students an opportunity to explain how they solved a problem or even record the process helps the child to reflect on the work and often make changes in their thinking. In addition this allows others (including the teacher) to see and often HEAR the process behind the work.  In addition this creates a record of the child's process skills and flexibility in math thinking.  Adding the choice of digital tools makes what was not possible before, possible!  I am humbled by all that is possible when we provide the opportunity of choice to our students. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

When I Stopped to Listen to My Classroom~ OLW

This week I am taking a second to #celebratelu a few gems I heard when I stopped to ….


Thanks Ruth for being such a gracious hostess! 

Sitting in a quiet chair, in my comfy pajamas and just listening to my week~ 

 I heard...

 6 year old bravery...
Sofia and Ani learned how to "App Smash" (embed a Voicethread into a blog post) and they did this one all by their little 6 year old selves! 

amazement and awe...
After listening to her class discuss Ruby Bridge's acts of bravery and perseverance D innocently replies~ "She changed the world for everybody."

I am a reader with purpose and intention...

This reader combed through 4 books tubs looking for ONE specific book HE wanted to read! 

perseverance ...
After working for several days to craft her love of Pete the Cat into a blog post she drafted this! 

 author an make intentional decisions...
After receiving feedback that the page on the left was difficult to read the author chose a new tool to allow him to write smaller and adjusted the size of his letters to make them stretch across the page without "smooching up at the edge."

what I have always dreamed of hearing...

This first grader remembered our FIRST read aloud together! 

What is your saying to you?