Five for a Freezing February Friday

Happy Valentines Day! Here are my two favorite valentines that I got today.

 I figured out a really obvious way to use the Apple TV, iPad, and the timer on the iPad.
For last Friday's lesson I was doing some reteaching and I wanted a timer for some of the activities. I meant to pick one up on the way into work but completely forgot. Oh well. No biggie. I'll just time it myself. 

Inspiration struck when I was teaching my first graders. They had been working in partners and I wanted them to transition back to the carpet to share their results. Well in the past this type of transition (in almost ALL my classes) was something I really struggled with. I was always repeating myself and I felt like the students weren't responding well. 
So I decided to set the timer on the iPad for one minute. Unlike on an iPhone where it just counts down the seconds, an iPad timer has a really nice circle type graphic that I think helps my more visual first graders. 

I simply rang my bell and said "Friends, we're going to finish up now and come back to the carpet. You have one minute to be seated on the carpet with your partner." Then I started the timer. The students immediately noticed the timer and oh my gosh! They were on the carpet ready to listen in one minute! And the best part? I said NO REMINDERS! The clock was there holding them (and me) accountable. 
Another area that I struggled with was setting a limit for book checkout. Depending on the lesson, they sometimes checkout books as a whole class after the lesson. This can be problematic for those kiddos who just can't choose which book to get! The teacher shows up to pick up her students, I'm helping Hedging Holly and the rest of the class is milling around the library in various forms of disarray. Well after this first experience Friday, I set a timer when it was time to check out books. We had 8 minutes before the teacher would arrive so I told them they had 8 minutes, set the timer, then went around helping kiddos. I noticed as I was helping one of the students that the students were sitting on the carpet reading their books and quietly talking after checking them out. Without me telling them too! What? Yes!
Then as I was finishing help a student find a specific book I heard something from the carpet...were they counting down? Yes! Soon enough everyone on the carpet was counting down from 10 to zero along with timer. 
Let me explain something: usually I'm the one who counts down to ten after I give a two minute warning. Well usually it works for some kiddos but as I mentioned it's usually a bit of a zoo when the teacher comes. Aka it doesn't really work. 
This time I walked over once they reached zero and said "okay let's line up in front of me in line order." And they did. I saw the last couple kiddos were checking out their books and voila the teacher walked in and the students were ready to go.
It was a Friday Tech Miracle. 
Praise the heavens. 
I'm currently working on feedback for Module 3 and I am struggling!! I realize that SO much about my feedback is topical, about behavior, negative (i.e. correcting behavior), and doesn't challenge students to delve deeper into their learning. Which is my real goal. 
I have been reading on it but gah! I’m struggling! I feel like what I'm looking for is almost a formula that I can start with then as I get more comfortable with I can make feedback truly my own.
Connected to this I recently discovered the Teachers College Writing Project Vimeo page. This website is filled with great videos to watch especially as a first year teacher whether you are using TC's Writing Project or not. I actually am using this website as one of my TEAM resources for researching feedback. The videos are a great way to get a peek into expert teaching and see how the all the reading I am doing about feedback (which as interesting as it is can sometimes is harder to translate to real life teaching) looks like in the classroom. It's the perfect complement to my readings.  

But! In  brighter news, I came home from work today to fund I had gotten my 2,015 miles in 2015 t-shirt along with a picture of Kara Goucher SIGNED by Kara Goucher herself (!!!). THEN I opened up my back door and sitting in the snow bank were: my new running sneakers! Yes! My past three pairs have been Nike Flex's and these are a little more minimalist so I'm slightly nervous but also excited. And the bottoms look very grippy. Which is awesome for the icy, snowy roads of New England.

So excited to have my Justand Go iPad document camera arrive! I got it Wednesday (after a mishap with the shipping address) and have yet to try it but I promise I will next week!  One thing I have been loving lately is using the Apple TV along with iPads in the general library area instead of using the computer lab because of the open space, the tables that are perfect for partner work, and my ability to demonstrate apps on the TV. One thing I didn't have yet was the ability to model and give examples of the work they would be doing that day. I generally like to model my thinking to help them gain a better understanding and now with the iPad document camera I can show the work and write directly on it. I can also share other students work. SO EXCITED!!

Happy Friday!


It's Monday: What Are You Reading? (IMWAYR)

On this lovely snow day, I decided to link up for the second time to the IMWAYR Link-Up!

Currently I am reading a book called A Tale of Two Centuries by Rachel Harris. It is the sequel to My Sweet Sixteenth Century which I didn't actually read.But! I started to read this book and realized it was set in 16th century Italy. Hmm. Okay. I think in my snow bound state I was looking for something a little fluffier (as much as I love history). So I did the unimaginable and flipped through the book and glanced at the ending(gasp) and it was set in modern times! Wait what? 

So unlike what a normal person would do (which is go back to the beginning and start reading it again), I simply flipped through until I found the part where she was suddenly in a taxi in modern LA about to arrive at her cousins house (whom the first book was about). And voila! I started reading. And it's a really good book. 

Essentially Alessandra D'Angell is transported to live with her centuries removed cousin (Cat Crawford) so she can explore who she is and figure out how to handle some problems she is facing back home (in 16th century Italy). I am only on page 196 so I'm not quite sure how it ends yet but I am looking forward to finishing it. Also, word to the wise: Reading the first 30 pages of a book helps you understand what exactly those problems are that she was facing. I know, I sound like the worst, laziest reader EVER. But (sigh) in my defense it's a snow day read and my brain wants to relax and not decipher what exactly happened in Italy. Okay I'm stopping now because I'm digging myself in a hole.

SO! I recently stumbled upon PopSugar's 2015 Reading Challenge that Kristin shared in her blog My Carolina Classroom. And I decided that I am going to try this challenge.  Here are the guidelines:

I'm actually kind of nerding out about this challenge. And I promise I will actually read these books all the way through and not skip the first 30 pages - I swear!
Find more information about the challenge here.


February Currently

So excited to be linking up to Farley's Currently. There is something about starting off the month with a blog post that feels so good.

Listening to the heat blow through my house! It is cold in Connecticut and it feels nice to sit in my cozy house with a bowl of hot corn chowder soup. 

Loving that I have my lessons for my second graders more or less planned until the beginning of March! It's a nice feeling to look at my planner and not feel that panicked feeling (which I may or may not feel when looking at my plans for my first grade students! But that's another story!)

Thinking I should really get busy writing the actual lessons to go along with these plans! Although I have the ideas and the objectives for the lessons, I don't have the actual lessons completely nailed down yet! 

Wanting to eat healthier! I had a salad yesterday and I felt so virtuous! The feeling lasted until I went and ate some ice cream but it's an improvement! I read somewhere recently that on average Americans eat only one vegetable and one fruit a day. And I thought Yep. That's me. A banana with breakfast and some sliced red peppers with my lunch. So my goal is to buy more veggies and fruits and to eat more of them each week. Yesterday I bought some baby spinach so its a start! My cafeteria at my school is also great about serving little cups of fruits and veggies each day for about 75 cents a cup. I need to get down there more to buy some!

Needing to put compression socks on my legs. I know some runners wear them while running but I like to wear them after running so I can walk around my house looking like a weirdo and no one judges me! Nothing feels better after a long run then compression socks, Gatorade and turmeric (it helps relieve inflammation). I might also like some ice cream too;)

Pageant Title. Hmm. My first thought was Queen of Sunshine because I feel like I am generally a happy, bubbly person. Then I realized I haven't been really feeling or acting that way recently. Soooo I'll have to change that to Queen of Critiques. I feel like I've fallen into a rut where I critique myself and others wayyyy too much. 

Need to get my sunshine back! Maybe eating some veggies will help! ;)

Want to join un on the fun? Head on over to Farley's Link Up for rules and details! 


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