Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Year of Awesome - Week 2

Happy Weekend! Week #2 is now over, and finally things are beginning to settle. Routines have been established, expectations reviewed, and units of learning begun. I'm reflecting on some of the best moments of my week, and hope that you'll link up at the end of this post with some of your own AWESOME moments.

Today was the day our Read to Self time started to feel like it would progress. We had a little dip last week, but I think all my boys (Did I mention I have 15 and only 5 girls?!) were still taking in all of the wonderful things around them and weren't quite ready to get down to work. ;) Today we hit 4 minutes of stamina building, and I'm optimistic that the number will climb quickly. AWESOME!
 
Today we finally worked our way through the entire calendar math package in my Interactive Calendar Math for the SMART Board package. This is something I used last year as well, and just loved it. With daily practice working with place value, patterning, calendar and representing numbers I saw such growth and mastery in my students. I have two boys in my class this year who were with me last year and even after the summer break they STILL remember the skills!! AWESOME!

After another dip in our Read to Self stamina yesterday, we hit 5 whole minutes!! Maybe it was the great new posters on the wall that we could refer to... ;)
It was so AWESOME that we did a happy dance. Really, we did! Click the image below to grab a free copy of these posters for your own classroom! AWESOME!

Today I was surprised by a visit from one of last-year's students and her parents at the end of the day. They stopped in to say hello and share some photos from a very special family event from this summer. Knowing that I was still thought of and important to this family really touched me. That's what teaching is about for me. That's AWESOME!

Sometimes it's the little things. The end of our first 5-day week has arrived and I'm still on my feet. We had a fire drill today and my little ones did beautifully! Book orders were due and enough came in to earn me a nice little bunch of Bonus Bucks for some new books for the classroom! AWESOME!

Do you have an AWESOME story to share from your week in the classroom? Grab the button below, add it to your blog post, link it back here, and then add your link below!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Managing Paperwork with iDoceo

You just may change your tune if you own the iDoceo app! :) I spent part of my Saturday marking my students' Words Their Way assessments. In my school we refer to this data fairly frequently throughout the year, so I keep these handy at the front of my filing cabinet. (You may have read my posts about our Words Their Way groupings last year.) As I was finishing them up I had a little revelation... I could use my iDoceo app to save these results in the "Resources" section! I did have to play around with this a little to set it up exactly how I wanted it, so thought I'd share so others can manage it more easily.

In my first attempt I found that all the photos of the marking sheets ended up in my photo stream/camera roll. I was hoping there was a way to have them contained within the app, and after a tiny bit of digging I found the solution:

With this changed, the images no longer appear in my iPad camera roll.

Now for adding the documents. I wanted the feature guides available so I could quickly see where the strengths and needs are for each child.
To add this page to each student's profile I simply had to tap and hold the student's name, then tap "Edit".
The box that opens up will show the files already stored for this student in this subject area. To add a new file, click the paper clip icon in the top-left corner.

Then select "Take picture", aim and shoot!

To view the files for your students, you can visit the "Resources" tab. (This will show you all of the resources you've added to iDoceo - you can filter by students vs. classes by clicking "Students".)
You can also access student files by visiting a particular student's profile:
I'm thrilled to know that I can store images of student work samples in my iDoceo app and no longer have to maintain large paper files throughout the year. This obviously doesn't take the place of portfolios in the classroom, but can make the data more accessible to the teacher, when and where it is needed!

Leave me a comment below if you've found this useful! I'd love to know about any iDoceo tips and tricks you've discovered!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

A Year of Awesome - Week 1

Wow! Week #1 of the 2014-15 school year is done! It was such a busy week. Busy, but full of awesome moments. I've pledged to pay closer attention to these little diamonds in my day, so this is the first of my weekly Year of Awesome posts.
I hope you see some of your own awesome moments reflected here, and will link up with your own weekly reflections! You'll find more information (and a freebie!) at the end of the post!

Well, come on... Labor Day... Holiday... Day off... AWESOME!

Tuesday was my first day of teaching. It was a super-busy day, but full of great moments. One of these was when I awarded the first Heart Garden recognition for our classroom display. The kids were so pleased and actually clapped for the boy who was recognized for his great listening while I was teaching. AWESOME!

In my class of 20 students I have 5 girls and 15 boys. There are some busy little bodies in there. At the end of each day I have my planning time. Four out of five days my students will be learning French and will be dismissed to the buses by the French teacher. Today at the end of the day, one of my more challenging little personalities returned to my classroom, walked right up to my desk, and said to me, "See you tomorrow, Mrs. Beattie!". This was so unexpected from this particular student. This was AWESOME!
A non-teaching-day-AWESOME event was the arrival of my Brag Tags! You can read more about that HERE.

My students did such an amazing job of taking ownership of the supply baskets on their tables that they earned their first letter in our Tidy Table Challenge!! When the table baskets are tidy and organized at the end of the day, one student chooses a Scrabble tile and matches it to a corresponding letter on our Tidy Table Challenge board.
This idea comes from Mr. Hughes at An Educator's Life. I love it, and the kids are so excited and motivated!! AWESOME!

Today, our Heart Garden truly began to blossom. It was the first day that my students began to recognize the kind things other students had done for them and share their own appreciation. Today, two of my students sought me out to request a heart for our Heart Garden display. They purposely walked away from the art activity they were engaged in to ask me if they could write a note to someone who had done something kind for them. I think I'm going to love the Heart Garden! AWESOME!

At the end of the day today one of my busy little boys came over to give me a hug and say, "See you tomorrow, Mrs. Beattie!". When I told him that I'd see him on Monday the disappointed look on his face showed me just how much he loves being at school. AWESOME!

We finally got our CAFE program kicked off today with the introduction of the Check for Understanding strategy! I made these Check for Understanding check marks for each of my students and laminated them so they'll last the year. If you'd like to grab these for your own classroom, you can download them by clicking the image below. AWESOME! :)

Do you have an AWESOME story to share from your week in the classroom? Grab the button below, add it to your blog post, link it back here, and then add your link below!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

GoNoodle & Brag Tags - Two of My Favorite Things TOGETHER!!

Happy Thursday! Today was only my third day in the classroom and I'm beat. A Grade 2/3 class with 20 students made up of 15 boys and 5 girls. Thank goodness for two of my favorite things... GoNoodle and Brag Tags.

Let's just back up a minute. I discovered Brag Tags on Pinterest back in 2012. I had them pinned to one of my boards and wanted them so badly. That spring, I started playing around with the custom designs at ImageStuff.com and there was no going back. There was just no way I could leave those amazing little creations to be nothing but data in cyberspace. ;)

That was my first order. They absolutely helped to make the 2012-2013 school year one of the best in my career. These little tokens brought out the best in my students - the students were motivated to earn them for themselves, and more importantly, were truly thrilled for each other when a classmate was awarded one.

This is my third year ordering Brag Tags, and the staff at School Life definitely DID NOT disappoint!!

Back to the Brag Tags in a minute...

Last year, I switched grades from fifth to a 2/3. It was eye opening for me and I quickly learned that children at this age are simply unable to sustain their attention for the length of time my fifth graders could. My absolute lifesaver was GoNoodle!!
Without a doubt my favorite discovery of the year, GoNoodle was loved by my students. They were SO motivated to work hard for those brain breaks, and actually begged and pleaded to be able to do any of the activities. Indoor recesses were a snap with GoNoodle on the SMART Board!!

Are you making the same connections here that I made?? Brag Tags = motivation. GoNoodle = motivation. Last spring I connected the dots... why not combine the two?

I contacted Holly at GoNoodle to obtain the images and permission to go ahead and have the Brag Tags produced, and she was incredibly helpful and receptive to the idea. (AWESOME!) Next, I contacted Kim at School Life, told her a little about the GoNoodle site, and asked about having the proofs made. The designs I received exceeded my expectations!! Of course I ordered immediately and just received my tags two days ago! Take a look at these!!
They couldn't be more perfect! I am SO excited to be able to award these to my students for their effort during our GoNoodle brain breaks!!

My Brag Tag display is all set up, and of course I have lots of other awesome tags to work with this year...
Some of this year's tags - new designs and old.
Last year's order - many tags I'm continuing to use!
If you haven't checked out the Brag Tags at SchoolLife.com or the amazing brain breaks a GoNoodle.com you really need to go now! They are two of the most AWESOME motivators I've used in the classroom in my 16 years of teaching!! My most sincere thanks to both teams for helping me make these tags a reality!!

Check out more classroom motivators at Head Over Heels For Teaching!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

We Have Winners!!

Thanks so much to everyone who entered my 1000 TpT Followers Giveaway! The Rafflecopter forms closed last night and I have chosen the winners! Congratulations, Everyone! Check your email!

Monday, September 1, 2014

A Year Of Awesome

**Update: You'll find the most recent Year of Awesome Posts by clicking HERE.**

Today is my last official day of holidays. Labor Day. The summer is over, and tomorrow a new set of smiling faces will be sitting in front of me. I hate to see the summer end, but every new year holds such promise - new opportunities to grow, and learn, and guide these little people to new understandings.

This year, I am committing myself to focus on the most positive events in my day. Not that I'm a negative person by nature... that's not true, but I want this year to be different. This year, I'm planning on challenging myself to find at least one AWESOME thing about every day. This is going to be my Year of Awesome!
You'll see me write about some of these things on Facebook, but each Saturday I'll post something on my blog about the week at school. I'm going to find the AWESOME in every single day of this school year.

Would you like to join me?

Look for my Saturday posts with this button to link up your own awesome stories!

To everyone heading back to school tomorrow... I hope you have a truly awesome day! :)