Thursday, June 21, 2012

How Are You Spending Your Summer?

First of all, thank you so much for all the requests for copies of my "Bloom's Taxonomy for Math" labels!  I hope everyone that has a copy will find them useful this school year.  Our math committee presented a workshop last week and I introduced the labels to the teachers that attended and they were able to make a set before they left.  It went well!  You can email us at and request a copy for yourself.
My summers have changed over the years.  My kids are 17 (will be 18 next month) and 15 years old so no longer are my summer days filled with swimming lessons, VBS, zoo trips, sports camps, trips to the library, etc.  We are finished with all things that involved Erin's high school graduation and party.  Will's summer school baseball is over.  And, we aren't going on vacation until next month.  So, I've had some time on my hands.  I am not good with idle time!  I like having a schedule!  Call me crazy but, I don't think I know how to relax and not at least think about school and my classroom...
I have been stalking blogs more lately and I have spent WAY too much time on Pinterest.  But, that is not a waste of time in my opinion if I find things that I think will make my life easier when school starts or will be beneficial to my students.  Here are a few things I have found:
Melissa over at F is For First Grade teaches first grade at the same school where we teach.  She told me about the "Skinny Pencil Club" that she read about from Sarah (who is my fabulous sister in-law) over at First Grader...At Last!.  Sarah starts each one of her first graders with a beginner pencil (those fat pencils that we used to use a long time ago) at the start of the school year.  Once they have shown that they can consistently form their letters correctly, put spaces between their words, etc. they graduate to the "Skinny Pencil Club" and are presented with a skinny pencil with a ribbon and little tag attached.  See her blog archives to find her post about this if you are interested.  We did not put beginner pencils on our supply lists last year so I ordered enough from Office Depot for our class to have one at school and one for us to send  home with each student so they can practice for homework.   I am going to make a chart or poster to hang in our classroom to showcase the student's names once the have made it into the "Skinny Pencil Club".  I know it will take our kindergarteners longer to graduate to the skinny pencil than it will for Melissa and Sarah's first graders.  We probably won't have any until after we have instructed the students on each letter in handwriting but it is a goal and incentive for neat handwriting.  
Did y'all know about Kimberlee Fulbright over at Teacher Time Savers?  If not, you need to go browse her awesome blog and thank her for all the wonderful FREE classroom items she offers.  I am not even kidding here, y'all!  So many incredible common core freebies and LOTS of other things, too.
I have ordered a few things for the new school year.  Luckily, we are allowed into our school whenever we want during the summer (except when they are waxing the floors) and our bookkeeper works all summer and we are allowed to use some of our school funds to order classroom supplies.  I found these binder dividers that have 31 pre-printed tabs.  I love this because I use binders for the students files for assessments and their personal information.  I always use a number system so that I don't have to make new dividers each year.  But, in the past I have only found 8 tab dividers.
I've also been trying to find some things I can go ahead and make now so when I need them during the school year and things are crazy, I won't have to spend time making them.  We saved all the old and broken pencils from the last part of the school year and I have been peeling them in order to melt them into hearts for the student's for Valentine's Day.  What kind of things do you all make during the summer to use later?  
Okay, I am going to go wake up my teenagers now and see what we can do today!  Please leave a comment and share what kinds to things you've been doing to prepare for next year!  I really want to know!  

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Bloom's Taxonomy for Math

I was chosen during the school year to attend a training session that was given by our county to learn about the CCSS for math.  Our state will be putting all of these in place next school year (2012-2013).  Two teachers from each grade level were sent from our school to this training.  Those teachers are now the "Math Committee" for the school for next year and we have to share our training with the rest of the teachers.  We started doing this in a one hour meeting after school a few weeks ago and we will finish in a session this summer at the school.  The committee has decided to make part of the training a "make and take" so the teachers will have something to take back to their classroom and help them with the changes.  

     One thing I have made for the teacher's training are these index cards that will be handy to help teachers remember the revised questioning of Bloom.  On the back of each card are a few example questions to use that go along with the part of Bloom's Taxonomy that is on the front of the card.  Put them on a ring and keep these close to your math lesson plans and viola, you will have help at your finger tips when you are wrapping up your math lesson or questioning your students during your math lesson.

  Print on Avery Labels 5163 and attach to regular size index cards. 
Email me at and I will be happy to send you a copy of the labels!  Have a great Sunday!