02 October 2015

George the Shark

Last week, I was contacted with an awesome opportunity! I was asked to review the book, George the Shark by teacher/author, Mary Dave. I was very flattered!

I read the book a few times just for fun, and then read it with my specific class in mind. Given the vocabulary level and length of the text, I would most likely George the Shark as a quick expository text read aloud (a great way to link science and reading) and then add it to my classroom library.  That whole train of thought set my brain spinning, so I began making a list (is that just me? Or do all teachers love lists?!) of...

 Reasons I Would Use George the Shark In My Classroom:

-It contains high level vocabulary, which I especially appreciate when teaching my students who are ELLs. There are plenty of words that are related to shark-specific content, but also generally useful, but interesting words for students to learn ("blotches", "tourists", "enormous", "social", and "cooperative" were some of my faves) use in and out of our science curriculum.

-The book provided lots of interesting details about a wide variety of shark breeds, so if you happen to do an animal research project or have a friend who has an obsession is very interested in sharks, this would be a fun resource!

- Each shark described had at least one "I am different because..." sentence. I love a book that celebrates the differences, especially in a classroom where we all VERY different! I could also see myself using this do to a little compare/contrast work (maybe even with a triple Venn for some differentiation?)

-At the end of the book, there are dry erase activities. One requires students to connect each shark to the type of hat it was wearing in the illustrations of the book. I could see this being a lead up to the "look back in the text to prove your answers" skill (something my third graders sometimes struggle with).

-The illustrations and layout are simple, which could encourage my students to be authors and illustrators.

If you'd like a copy of George the Shark, or want to check out some Mary Dave's other fun books you can check out her website here!

To be clear: I was contacted to do a review of this book and provided with a digital copy of the book to review. HOWEVER, the above review/opinions are MINE and they are honest!

26 September 2015

Five for Friday... late.


i'm linking up with doodlebugsteaching for a fun week week review!

Looping is the bomb. I got the incredible opportunity to promote to 3rd grade with my 2nd graders this year and I am 5 weeks in and it has just been amazing. I love teaching this little group of nuggets so much and I am already devastated that I won't get to be their teacher next year. We are just chugalugging right along with small groups and Daily 5 and all that is good and wonderful and the students are continuing to make leaps and bounds academically and socially. I started my 2nd grade class with about 70% of students at a Tier 3 reading level and this year? 14%. Partaaaay, we are going to be doing book clubs all day erryday!

If you follow me on insta, you know that my Yeti cup is my new little boo boo. I am drinking at least 5 cups of ice cold water a day now and I am probably the healthiest teacher ever ever ever (because the water obviously counters the insane amounts of Smarties I'm consuming  from my candy jar because my lil smarties aren't earning them often enough... but that's a story for another time). However, then I have to pee during class, and ain't nobody got time for that. 

Ryan, you swing by anytime, boo. Actually if you are a moderately functional adult and it's about 2pm COME ON DOWN. SERIOUSLY.

Speaking of smarties, I pinned this little game and then a sweet friend of mine from college said she was using it and it actually worked, so I've been trying it with my little dahhhlings in the class that rotates in for 2 hours of reading and writing. My looped homeroom has their behavior on lock (and they are teaching me sassy phrases like that so I sound hip), but the other class apparently doesn't know how much I love them and want them to succeed and dream the biggest dreams they can and be authors and readers and extraordinary even though you best believe I am trying to tell them. Currently, all they seem to know is if their little mouths are not talking and their little behinds are in their chairs by the time I get to zero after counting down from 10, they get a point and are one step closer to some candy at the end of their block with me. I did read this sassy article about why not to do it and while I feel it had some good points, I am seeing success in being able to limit excessive chitchat and increase time on task. I definitely DO NOT celebrate "my" points, I just slap them on the board and move right along. And the only thing that gets us points is when the students are quiet and seated for a countdown from 10. I'm hoping to phase it out, ok?!
My new favorite cardigans: JCrew factory Clare. They are not totally cheapo but they last a long time and are the perfect 3/4 sleeve length and hip length if you are the height of your average 5th grader like me. I own them in four colors currently. If you click on the link, you're probably going to think I am an old lady, but they are super cute on. Promise! I would add a cute little picture of me wearing one right underneath this buttttt I am an absolute failure at selfies and I think we would just all be embarrassed.

I have successfully been working out three times a week for the last couple of months. I recently added ten minutes of running to that and I am daaaaaang proud that I can run 10 minutes without stopping. However, I am also slightly embarrassed because hello, I was a collegiate athlete not that long ago. I'm thinking of trying to work up to a 5k. Is that ridiculous? Too low of a goal? Are you a runner and if so can you please tell me how to run without feeling like I am going to hyperventilate?

03 May 2015

may currently

I am recently obsessed with Downton Abbey. I'm on the third season and it just sucks me in. I'm usually in bed by about 8:30 (#promiseimnot50), but a few nights last week I was up until midnight! It's free on Amazon Prime if you have that option and need something to binge watch.

week-end: (n) a time to sit on the couch and follow the journal of the crawley family
My house has been awfully quiet lately, but my sweet puppies and cat are so fabulous at keeping me company. I won't lie, I used to judge people who posted zillions of pictures of their pets, buttttt, I've turned a new leaf... So here's a few of my little nuggets lately:

Agh. Currently, I have been given the opportunity (LOL) to remediate 5th grade students who need to pass a second administration of our state standardized test. I have mixed feelings. I love working on projects like this (plus I get to teach reading allllll daaaaaay). However, I am super sad that I only get to see with my little second grade besties for breakfast each day. I miss them, and I know they were sad when I told them that once again (more on that later...) they would be without me. Here's to hoping for a quick, but successful last week of intensive instruction, and then thoughts on how to spend my last three weeks with my little darlings.

Speaking of, I have heard lots of talk about where I might be going/what I might be doing next year. I am on a VERY strong team, and as much as I hate to admit it, I know that often the beauty of that doesn't get to last long. I have been pulled to work with 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students so far this year, plus I was last one hired onto my grade level, so... Who knows. We have a staff meeting on Wednesday this week, so I'm hoping to hear some new information! I'd love to be able to plan ahead effectively. I hate starting out a year behind the curve!

AGH, I desperately need to incorporate a workout routine into my life. I am please with my shrinking figure, but I think now the time has come to focus on maintaining a +/-5lb weight range and begin building some muscle tone and losing some of my delicious bingo wings. Anybody have an recommendations for something I can do at home and still kind of hold myself accountable to?

my year... thank goodness i started paying attention to how i was living!
This summer, I am in a wedding, and attending three others. I got married a tiny bit young, and now many of the sweet girls my age are jumping in on the adventure, too. I am so excited for the showers/bach parties/dinners/ceremonies that are starting this month, especially because this is likely my last year to live in Texas (and so my last year to easily attend these kinds of events). I hope that my summer flies by, honestly. August is going to be an exciting month for my fambam and without working all summer, I am afraid it might drag on. I am going to a couple weeks of LETRS training, weddings, to see my parents and precious sister, and hopefully prepping for whatever is going to happen next year. I'm dreaming that I'll be able to squeeze in some kind of beach-y adventure before I have to go back to school at the end of August, but it will be a tight fit!

12 April 2015

Currently: April

Let's begin by making it clear. I am the absolute worst blogger. I am joining Farley for the first time in months... and I'm joining halfway through the month. But better late than never, right?!

I have taken up binge watching The Office again ever since I finished listening to Mindy Kahling's audio book on my long drive back from my parents' house over Easter weekend. It cracks me up. I wish we could do a little documentary-style show about my classroom. I have some characters that are quite similar. Also, my injured dog is basically almost all the way healed, so I am enjoying listening to two sets of puppy paws prancing around my house again!

The weather was fairly crappy through February, and I seriously wonder if I have a little bit of seasonal affective disorder. I am generally a pretty happy person, but overcast, rainy weather brings a sister down. I would not be awesome at living in the Northwest, I think (even thought I did live there a couple years when I was little... probably not my best years). BUT, Praise the Lord, it has been fairly sunny the past few weeks and I've been feeling SO much happier!

We are having a concrete patio poured and a sprinkler system put in to basically complete the amount of work we are going to put into our yard before we get ready to move (OMG) next summer. I am super excited for it to look nicer and be more user friendly, but since the projects are being done in stages it is basically unusable right now and that makes me want to go crazy. I have to take both dogs out front on the leash any time they have to go outside and let me tell ya... they would not be good apartment dogs. And I would not be a good apartment dog owner.

Have I said this before? I would love to have a chef. LOVE to have a chef. I have been cooking for uno a lot lately, and by cooking I mean eating Chiobani for one a lot lately. I finally found some Amy's frozen meals that didn't seem super incredibly unhealthy, so I'm excited to try them the next couple of weeks. I also made these ten freezer meals that I found on Pinterest with my mama over Easter break. They are good, but I am still trying to figure out how to adjust the crockpot cook time. 

I need, truly, very little. I like that this always gives me some good time to reflect on how blessed I am. I mean, what do I really, truly need? Very little, my friends, very little.

Uh. My last name is Bean (no joke, my current students LOOOVE to call me "seƱora frijole"), and I teach. So... there ya have it!

07 March 2015

What if Everybody Did That?!

In my classroom, we have 5 simple rules, inspired by whole brain teaching. 

1. Follow directions quickly.
2. Raise my hand if I have something to ask or share.
3. Treat my teachers and classmates with respect.
4.Make smart choices.
5. Always keep your dear teacher happy.

Though number 5 probably sounds a little narcissistic, any one of my 22 students could very clearly explain that keeping me happy only requires two things- that they stay safe and learn. No need to bring my gifts or tell me I'm pretty or perform any other brown nosing action... Just stay safe, and learn!

Earlier in the year (October-ish), my sweet students' behavior began backsliding a tad... I was becoming frustrated, and our Daily 5 and intervention time were becoming increasingly less effective because it seemed as though every 5 minutes I was having to redirect behavior of yet another student. Finally, in desperation, I pulled back out the book I used at the beginning of the year to introduce our five simple rules. It is a little beauty called What If Everybody Did That? We read it again and chatted a little and then I had a streak of inspiration. I scrapped my afternoon plans and we made our own class version of the book!

We began by brainstorming some of the issues we were having in the class. I was surprised to hear that almost all of the troubling things I was noticing, they were too! We made a bubble map and did a class example with "I just followed Mrs. B around to ask her a question instead of raising my hand one time. Mrs. B fell on me and smooshed me to bits, then turned around and said, 'What if everybody did that?!'"

Pairs of students got together and followed the pattern of the book to write their own set of two pages based on one of the bubbles off our map. They pre-wrote the text, then revised and edited it with another pair. After that, they copied it onto nice white paper, and used the illustration style of the book as well to draw some pretty hilarious pictures.

I bound all the pages with one of those old school punch-and-bind machines and put the book in our classroom library.

The little novel is super popular during Read-to-Self for Daily 5. We also pull that bad boy out whenever we are on the struggle bus and read it together. It is an awesome reminder because THEY wrote it. It's not me trying to lay down the law once again, it's THEIR words and ideas and illustration. My sweet students tend to remind each other and even remind me of the things that are truly important to keep our classroom functioning successfully.