Monday, July 6, 2015

Confirmation...steps in the right direction

Summer break is the time for reflection and renewal. I have been reflecting on what things were challenging this past year and classroom management and my organization were two major issues. 

In my last post, I detailed where I lacked in my morning arrival routines and how I could fix that next year. Having the paper/pencil tasks will help keep the students focused and accountable for their time while I have hall duty. 

I have been scouring the interwebs--blogs, Pinterest-- for ideas on how to tighten up my management and get better organized.  I ran across an article on Facebook about classroom management and I will say that it hit the spot for me.  The article Effective Classroom Managers Do These 5 Things on Minds in Bloom blog was written by Leah Cleary at What's New With Leah. Over the next few blog posts, I will explore this article and what I take from it to improve my classroom. 

Number 1- Mindset

Leah says that effective classroom managers expect to be in charge and listened to. I totally agree with that. I think that I have always been good at that. When I am reading or teaching, my students know that I am the one to be paying attention to. Ms. Sassy's got it like that! 

Number 2- Planning

Now, THIS is where I see much room for improvement. I can be flexible when things go wrong or time becomes a factor.Not a problem, but, I struggle with keeping the pace moving in these long blocks--specifically my literacy block. Our literacy block is 90 minutes and I have several mini-lessons planned for the week, Daily 5 stations planned and assessments and district things to give. My issue comes when I cannot find whatever handout or assessment paper I need. I frantically look for it as my angels get out of hand. I need a place to put things so I can find them. I am a "piler". I have systems for the students to be organized--a place to file finished/graded work, a place to put completed assignments, a place to turn in homework. 

To begin my quest for organization, I went to the guru herself, my Momma. She's the most organized person I know. I was organized as a kid, a parent and wife because of her. I don't know why I cannot translate this over to school!!  I sat down with Momma and she helped me get to the crux of my issue. I need a place to put papers so that they can be easily accessible. This system will be just for me. A place where I can put administrative papers as well as papers for each subject. So I bought one of these pocket organizers. I got a 5 pocket one with folders that match my tropical brights theme at Target for $2.99. 

Hopefully this will help me begin to organize papers and feel more in control during class. 

Thank you for joining me on this journey to becoming a better me!

~Ms. Sassy

One thing I know for sure...

This past year was really challenging for me as a teacher. Yeah, the economy is getting tougher, curriculum is becoming more challenging, administration is more and more demanding and the legislature seems to want us pushed out to pasture... but, my struggles came mainly from what I thought..well, KNEW as my strength...classroom management.

My kids were a rambunctious bunch of kiddos. They were loud, talkative and ignored any kind of direction. This paired with all the other professional frustrations (READ: admin), I was worn slap out all of the time. The class that I had the year before were not angels, but they really understood that school was for learning. There wasn't much need for reteaching routines.

I won't lie... there were many jumped 5 reading levels, the "problem child" became my absolute favorite and we all made strides toward becoming 21 Century Learners. I am tremendously proud of that.


Truthfully, I slacked in the classroom management last year...but this year it will be different... 
I'm going to do what I know for sure....

Arrival Time 
When the kids come in the classroom, they unpack their bags and read the morning message PPT slide projected on the board. Here, there the morning announcements, directions for the day and sometimes a writing or conversational prompt related to something we did the day before. I didn't give them many pencil and paper tasks at all. 

Teachers are expected to stand in the hall to monitor students and we also have a stairwell duty once per week...but I had it twice! We also had our PLT meetings in the morning during arrival, so that was 3 mornings per week I was out of the room. It was really hard to make any routines really stick. 

This year I am going to give pencil and paper tasks everyday. I will still have the kids do some of the other tasks, such as book shop in the classroom library and check out from the school library, but they also are held accountable for their time by completing a pencil paper activity. 

Arrival time is the time to set the tone for the day and this fall I will do my best to make our days start as smooth as butter! 

Continue on this journey with I delve into the issues that plagued me last year and make plans to rectify them. Because, one thing I now for sure... I was born to be a teacher. 

~ The Sassy Teacher

Sunday, April 19, 2015

I'm Baaaaaaaackk.... (Again) has thrown me lots of loops these past two years...but I'm still standing. I've decided that teaching is the career for me because it is my passion, but that I've got to do more to supplement my income. So I'm using this blog to put my philosophies out there and help other teachers with what I know and help myself in the process.
I am on Twitter @teachingmssassy. Check out my 3rd graders as we become 21st Century Learners! You'll be glad you did...
Now I am going to get my beauty rest and get ready to help my kiddos change the world!!!
~Keep it SASSY

Thursday, September 26, 2013

An New Year, A New Adventure

*peeking in* Hi y'all! It's been a really long time since I have posted to this blog. I thought that I would do better in second semester of last year, but nope... not me.

Anyway, lots of things have happened since last year. I was displaced at my school because of enrollment and my years of service as a teaching assistant didn't count and I was low man on the totem pole.  Don't cry for me Argentina... I had a job at a school down the street within 2 weeks. But then I found out that we earned another position and my principal offered me the job... in THIRD grade! I was really scared to go from Kindergarten to Third, but I LOVE my school. There are a lot of good schools and I have lots of really good friends at great schools, but there is NO place like The Creek!!! So, I took the job.... only on glitch... I had to be released from my new school down the street.

Long story short, the principal released me at the end of June and then I was free to move into my classroom. YAY! But no yay. I had to go through all of the kindergarten stuff and figure out what to keep and how to arrange that room... it was tough going for a while...

Anyway, I love my new team! And love my kiddos. Other than a few panic attacks over testing and the time crunch with the new Dibles/Running Record ipad software thingy, I am doing well in third. I have about 6 of my old kinders (yay!) and more of the sweetie pie kinders I knew from so long ago. My old principal really did me a solid and gave me a great class!!!

So, my room is coming together, my kids are little sweeties and my teammates are life savers... what could even be the problem? Well, how do you teach third graders to read and think deeply. I've got LOTS of strugglers and with NC's new law that mandates 3rd graders that don't pass the End of Grade reading tests automatically fail, I've got to get these babies reading, comprehending and building stamina. How do I do that!?!?

I decided to blog stalk and one of my friends Mrs. Sykes from Hello Mrs. Sykes had a great post on Word Work- my absolutely favorite Daily 5 station. As I read through it, she referenced another blog series of hers, Supporting Struggling Readers grades 3-5. It was as if God Himself had spoken! I almost teared up! I commented on the post that I really needed that series and guess what!!?! That sweet Jen, sent me oodles of resources to use including this groovy Phonics Bundle Pack.

Grades 3-5 Phonics Interventions - Bundle Pack 1
I cannot wait to use this. Jen has many years of experience as a classroom teacher and as as a reading specialist. She has lots of great ideas and practical ways to implement reading strategies into daily teaching. Please check her out! 

I'll be trying out all of the great things she sent me in the coming weeks and blogging about them... I promise!!! 

~Keep it SASSY!!! 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Swift Kick...

So, I've been wanting to write a blog for the longest time. I have a super secret personal blog with code names and everything, but I have always wanted to write a school "teachery" blog. I started this blog back during the ummer as I was moving into my new classroom, back at my old school. Well, life and exhaustion got in the way and I really slacked off!!!

Today I got the swift kick I needed. A friend of mine started her own blog and it is great. Her name is Casey... Check her out at Casey teaches kindergarten too. She and I were neighbors at my old school. She is in my old room now!!! She's always been on the ball--making all sorts of games, coming up with great craftivities ... Casey is awesome! When I saw her blog link on Facebook I knew I had to get back on the ball here.

Today was the 100th day of school and I have lots of pictures to share! My batteries in the camera died (of course) , so after I charge 'em back up, we'll be ready to rock!!

I can't wait to post about all of the great things going on in Room 308!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

It's Been Too Long...

Oh My Goodness!!! It has been so long since I have blogged. I have been bogged down in learning this Common Core and in the process I have become disgusted with my county. They have not helped us at all... Writing rubrics? No, make them as you go along and please share with the literacy department... Assessments to grade these million of standards? No, make your own. ...

Well, I've survived and I'm feeling better about 3rd quarter. My team has worked really hard to implement Daily 5/ Cafe and from what we've seen and heard at county literacy meetings, we are ahead of the curve!!!

Anyway, I just wanted to get something out here in the blogosphere. Maybe it will encourage me to post more often.

Until next time... keep it sassy!

The Sassy Teacher

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Common Core Blues... not so fast, I've found the answer...

Well, setting routines and procedures has been really good so far this year. My babies are really learning what to do. So, this week I want to start literacy stations. After 2 days of pulling my hair out, planning with my team mate and printing like a fiend, I have stations for the next 5 days. Great, but are they Common Core aligned? Hmmmm. Well, let's just say that since these are "practice" stations, it's okay. Is that alright with you?

So, as I was looking on Pinterest for math and literacy assessments aligned with CC, I came across this Kindergarten Common Core book. It is a great resource for K teachers. Since we are implementing The Daily Five, I need more resources to put into Word Work and I need to be certain that I am hitting all of the strands and standards. Our math program doesn't really align with CC either, so I probably need to supplement with other things and this download will really help with that. I suggest that all K teachers check this out!!!

This Kindergarten Common Core Workbook is a must have!
Bloggers, you have just a few hours to take advantage of the free download!!!

I cannot wait to use it...
Keep it Sassy Peeps!