2015 to 2016: Reflection and GOALS

Thursday, December 31, 2015
I cannot believe 2015 is already coming to a close! It has been a fantastic year!!!

My Year in Review

I got married to an incredible man that supports me in all that I do! We also took an AMAZING honeymoon to Alaska - drove the ENTIRE way from Wisconsin!

I also started my Teachers Pay Teachers store and this little baby blog. I have a lot to learn as I go, but I'm so thrilled about this journey.

Finally, I transitioned from 2nd to 5th grade this year - probably one of the most amazing career changes I've made. I love, love, love these fifth graders and find myself being better because of them. I think I may have found my niche...for now :)

GOALS for 2016!

I want to build my Teachers Pay Teacher store! Since beginning my store, I changed my focus because I switched grades! I'm creating products that are more relevant to fifth grade content. With changing grades, I literally have about 25-30 started and UNFINISHED products. I'm still trying to figure out the content and make these products great! Time to finish those resources.

I would also like to build my presence on social media! I looooooove hearing from so many others on social media - Amy Lemons, Ashley Schroeder, Sheila Jane, just to name a few! I have created a little guide for me to track my followers on the various forms of social media. Check out the freebie HERE! I'm hoping this helps me focus on what is needed to build my business AND connect with other amazing teachers out there!

Last, on a more personal note - I need to get my health in check. It's been getting worse and worse throughout the years, and it's time to manage it. I started a new gym close to school, so no excuses of missing out. It's a boot camp gym with an incredible community of supporters - just what I need! I have also created a new diet plan with them! They are incredible and I'm confident this will work!

Hope everyone has time to reflect on their 2015 and get ready to rock 2016!

Happy New Years!!!

New World Explorers: Reader's Theater

Friday, December 11, 2015
This week has been SO exciting, yet so exhausting all at the same time! We are wrapping up our unit about New World Explorers and the impact they had. I wrote up a reader's theater for my students to perform. Check it out HERE. They had such an amazing time doing this!

First, we read the reader's theater as a whole group. We discussed it and talked about the characters. Then we split up into 3 small groups (there are only 5 characters in the story and I have a smaller class, so this worked out well).

Once we assigned roles, we decided to come up with props to use!

We created the props and then practiced, practiced, practiced! The students highlighted their lines and would practice during reading, in small groups, and we practiced in front of our classmates as well.

Then it was time to perform! They did so well!!!

We had a full house in our classroom! Everyone had compliments for the actors and they were super proud of their hard work!

The students were having fun while solidifying their knowledge about the New World Explorers and their affect on North and South America! Love, love, love integrating units! :)

New World Explorer Research

Thursday, December 10, 2015
My students are diving into history and learning about how the explorers after Christopher Columbus impacted the New World. We have been working on informative writing, so research is needed first before writing! HERE I have created a research packet for students to write brief notes about the explorers.

My students used various resources to do their research - books, videos and websites. Some resources that were used online include: World Book, Pebble Go, and Brain Pop. Check with your administrator or tech integrator to see if these sites are available for your students. They're very user friendly and differentiated so students at all levels can use them with ease.

Once students had their research notes, they wrote a paragraph about each explorer. They used the information they learned and created slides in Google Slides. You can also use PowerPoint, have students create a poster or word document as well.

Finally, my students chose one explorer they researched that they wanted to display in the classroom. Students were able to discuss their work with partners in the classroom and share out their work.

What kind of teacher are YOU?

Monday, December 7, 2015
Making the switch from second to fifth grade has been one of the best professional moves I've made. I love the age group, the content is really interesting, and I just feel like I've found my niche. HOWEVER, I can't lie. It's been a bit draining. Learning all new content as well as instructional strategies has bogged me down. My brain is fried.

I've been having a tough time the past couple weeks. I want to do what is best for my students, so I have a million unfinished projects flying around. In the meantime, I see all these amazing teachers doing such amazing work in their rooms and it got intimidating, even frustrating to think I wasn't doing my part.

Then it hit me. We are NOT all the same. We are all at different stages in our journey. We all have successes and we all have struggles. I've been selling on TpT for almost a year now, blogging for about 6 months (not consistently at all), and in the meantime trying to make this the best classroom for my kiddos.

I decided to really sit down and think:

What kind of teacher am I? What do I believe in? What makes the most sense for me as an educator and the building that I work in? We are all on our own paths. I've been trying to channel my inner Ashley Schroeder and Sheila Jane. I need to own my journey - no one else's. This is not about comparing myself to others. It's about using this amazing community of educators to be the best I can be with inspiration through them and through myself.

Now...which unfinished project should I work on that reflects ME and MY teaching???

Super Fun Math Center: Structuring Numbers!

Friday, December 4, 2015
Math Workshop is my absolute FAVORITE! I always try to incorporate fun math games to engage these kiddos and this one was a hit!

We are all about structuring numbers to 5, 10, and 20 to build numeracy skills! In this game, kids take a card off the top of the deck without looking at it. Then they place it on their forehead seen below.

Their partner needs to explain their number to them. So the partner would say, "Your number goes with 1 to make 10." Or, "Your number goes with 11 to make 20." The student with the card needs to say what their card is from the clues. If they get it correct, they get to keep it.

You can also challenge some of your higher kids with something like, "Your number goes with 48 to make 50." Or, "Your number goes with 68 to make 70."

Of course I had to play too!

Happy Friday!

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