Sunday, August 24, 2014

Number Talking UPDATES!

Hey Kinder Friends,
I can't believe that school starts tomorrow. I am just a little nervous I guess. I have had a little bit of a rough start with a few things not working properly and I am sure that adds to my feeling. But no matter what, we start tomorrow and I am ready to get going. Is everything perfect? Probably not but it is close and that is close enough for me. Let's it!
I have been thinking about the beginning of the year Number Talks in my classroom and deciding how I will start or kick this off this year. In my district we have had a mandated "master schedule" approach to our daily schedule. I have spent some time trying to figure out what that would look like in my classroom. I was thinking about all the different components of mathematics instruction I already have in place and I wondered where Number Talks would fit in for me this year. I used to have a perfect "stand alone" time for Number Talks but now I have a big math block all in one. I was really struggling to find the place in the schedule that would work for me and my students. I really wanted the entire math block to have flow and movement that felt natural and left enough time for us to process what we were doing and why we were doing it.
Knowing that I had to incorporate Number Corner, a focus lesson, independent practice, paired practice, small groups, intervention, progress monitoring, goal setting, mini conferences, evaluation, reflection and Number Talks into my block, I decided that Number Talks was going to have to do double duty for me this year! So my Number Talks will be at the end of my math block. I sure didn't want to have back to back whole group sessions of math because of the obvious... This way I can use it as a way to provide time to reflect on what and how we did when we were working independently, in pairs or small groups and end the time with Number Talking. This will help hold me accountable for allowing time for reflection because I know that it is right before my favorite part...Number Talking. And I like how we end the entire math block with something that has been a class favorite of mine and my students!
I have updated the Number Talking file in my store that now includes an editable set of slides for hand signals that provide the structure of the Number Talking in the classroom.
You can now create slides and make it what you want to fit your needs or you can use the ones provided. I am looking forward to having this option as I start my own Number Talking sessions in my class the first week of school! The first week our goals are just getting to the area and sitting in a good spot. On day one, I read Christopher Counting and talk about how I have loved to count since I was five. The rest of the week we focus on the first signal and how to sit in our good spots. I am taking it slow and simple.
If you already have this resource please download again to get the new editable signal slides and if you need more information just click on the images above!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I Scream SALE!

Hey Kinder Friends,
Well the first day of school is getting really close! And now is not the time for last minute changes you your plan. But life gets in the way and you remember you have to be...flexible. Don't you just love when the situation calls for good old flexibility? As teachers we are so good at being flexible. We do it all day long in our classrooms so why would anyone expect anything different? But part of being flexible is actually being prepared.
So when I was told that Meet the Teacher had been changed to an Ice Cream Social, I was almost ready to go! In just a little bit of time I was back in the game. All I had to do was add a little bit of text to my printer friendly newsletter template and in a flash, I was prepared and flexible! So now I am off to prepare for the first few weeks of instruction in my class.
Making a few things for the classroom has actually helped me have things out and ready for the first week of school when I will be preoccupied with getting the year started off in the right direction. I am so relieved to have things on hand to be able to print and...go!
And in the spirit of being flexible, I am putting my Teachers pay Teachers store on sale just in case you might want to grab a few items to help make your beginning a little less stressful as you dash around being...flexible!
And I just couldn't forget a few more things!
So, with this little BOOST you just might be back in the game too, no matter what comes your way in the next few days! To get your additional discount just type the code BOOST to get additional savings. Just remember this is a one day sale starting at midnight tonight on August 20th. If you need more information just click on the images above. So how is that for being flexible?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Meet The Teacher!

Hey Kinder Friends,
What a good day it was today to be able to spend it with new teachers! Just remembering my own first year and being able to share those feelings with other teachers really made me think about just how grateful I still am to be...a teacher. I am thankful to be able to still say I love my job and still can find the joy in it. But the nerves of the first day of school never seem to go away no matter if it is the first, first day of your teaching career or you are having the first day for the 15th time. I just can't believe it will be the 15th first day of school for me.
The other night I was thinking about Meet the Teacher night, that is fast approaching for me. I have been so preoccupied with trainings and presentations that I had given it little thought. I decided that I wanted to have something simple just in case parents and students drop by. I decided to give one of  my newsletters a try and see if I could make it work for Meet the Teacher. Before I even opened the newsletter to start typing, I was really struggling about what to write. When I opened the newsletter template, it just didn't seem so intimidating anymore. It looked manageable. I knew I wanted to say something about my teaching experience and I knew I wanted to share something personal. When I looked at the spaces provided, it seemed to help me focus because it needed to be short, to the point and sweet. Within about 15 minutes, I was ready to print. I was now feeling a little bit ready for Meet the Teacher, even if my room looks like it did the last day of school! My panic and twitch was starting to ease.  
I couldn't stop thinking that it was just too simple. It was just too easy to make me feel better about this upcoming day. I wondered if I should do something else because this came together way too easy for me. I decided that I wanted to set out a welcoming basket of apples. If the parents and kids sat down and ate the apples...great. And if not? I had some apples on hand for big deal. And as my mind wandered a little bit more, I came up with the rest of my plan. I am grabbing some framed pictures of me and my family and I am going to skip myself all the way to Kindergarten looking like I had this planned for days.
I even might have time to craft a wreath, write a first day of school letter and get my room ready for the first day of school.
If you need more information about creating your own newsletters, just click on the images above.
Wishing you nothing but the best this year!


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