Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What a Surprise!

This summer our district was notified it won a technology grant. The grant was written in cooperation with two other rural districts. With the grant and other technology funds, our district was able to purchase three sets of thirty iPads and charging carts. Our PTO purchased another fourteen, and our special education department at the elementary purchased another six. Our entire district was rewired and wi-fi capabilities were added. This is a big deal to our rural school district.

In order to use the iPads, teachers have to be trained. We usually have mandatory K-12 curriculum meetings we attend several times during the year. Our administration agreed in exchange for the training, we can skip the curriculum meetings, since we are in an implementation phase for all core areas. We had to attend a two hour meeting last Thursday with all participants. The other sessions will include more relevant training in grade level specific groupings.

In addition to this training, I have agreed to serve on the advisory board for evaluating apps to be installed on the iPads. We have brainstormed a list of great apps that we want to start with, and will meet quarterly to add additional apps. We are looking for some great applications to use in our K-5 building. I would love to hear what you are doing with iPads and technology in your classroom. Come back here to follow our journey.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Loving It

Sorry I haven't posted anything for awhile. I have been battling some respiratory crud, and haven't been sleeping restfully, so I am exhausted. I am having a great time during the day, however. I love my class! It is a wonderful mix of twenty-one students. It is one of the smallest I have ever had. I have a few special ed students in this inclusion classroom, but also have many of my students working at or above grade level. I have two or three that read and do math above the eighth grade level. The review materials we must cover is so far beneath them. I am going to pretest the next twenty math lessons with a benchmark test, and see if we can jump them ahead.

Both reading classes are reading The Best School Year Ever, one of my favorite reads. (In spite of my health, this has started off as one of my best school years ever.) This story ties in with Bucket Fillers as it talks about "Compliments for Classmates" and finding good in everyone, including the notorious Herdmans. I am a bit overwhelmed because of all the changes I am trying to implement with the Daily 5 and CAFE being just a small piece of the change. I am loving teaching math again. I forgot how much I enjoyed it. I think I will have a huge learning curve with adding common core, as we have some gaps to fill in our current curriculum. I am using some Teachers pay Teachers purchases and Pinterest finds to help, and will be adding in more technology.

Hope your year is off to a great start, and you are loving it as much as I am.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Off and Running...

Yesterday was the first day for students. It was a crazy day with a two hour fog delay. We had mandatory school policies to review and some fun warm up activities squeezed in before recess and lunch. We barely got started for the afternoon, when it was time to go to back-to-back specials class. We had time for a quick getting to know you activity. I never got their picture taken, or books given out.

Today, we did pretests in math and reading. It about put several over the edge. I had students use their Senteo response clicker to enter answers, and we even taught a co-worker to use it. They loved getting the immediate feedback. We still have the second set of pretests to do tomorrow, and STAR testing for setting reading and math levels. Can't wait to finish testing and get teaching!

We worked on some cute Target dollar section posters for our display wall, took pictures, and brainstormed for their wordles we will type tomorrow.

Here are some of their posters.

Hope your year is going well!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Currently and Reveal

Where does the time go?? I can't believe it is September already. I am linking up with Farley's Currently and I have some classroom pictures. I know I promised them last week, but I couldn't get it done. So here goes...

With last week's crazy b2s schedule, I didn't get time to post my pictures. I planned on doing it yesterday, but when I got to school, the toner was gone from the copy machine, my reason for going there, and it just set me off track. Luckily the toner fairy (Thank you, Sandy!) arrived a little later, and saved the day. I now have my letter to my kiddos, and opening day materials run. I took advantage of the free machine to get the pretest materials run for math and reading. I need those later this week. After five hours, and a hungry husband, I ran out of time to post the pictures. I think I need to tweak a couple of areas, but here are some of the current pictures.
from front of room
library by genre, favorite author and series
still needs basket labels
word wall, world map, comfy chairs
my new curtains (drop to cover window)
offer view of my courtyard. Kids sit on bottom branches,
benches, and lawn chairs to read - extension of my room.
My CRAFT board (Ladybug Teacher  Files)

Bucket Fillers and some of our Daily 5 book bins
My Display area for student work.
 Students come back tomorrow. I wonder how long I can keep it looking this good! Have a great week.

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