Friday | Week 1 is in the Books!

Hey, hi and hello everyone!

Happy FRIDAY! Week 1 is already in the books and I am happy it ended on such a positive note! Today students completed their first vocabulary quiz, reviewed & signed our science class expectations and set up our composition notebooks.

1) We began by playing a “family feud” (bell/buzzer and all)  style vocabulary review game with this week’s vocabulary words. Next, students took their vocabulary test .They were read the definition and had to record the appropriate word.

2) After the quiz we reviewed our science class expectations and students signed the poster acknowledging their willingness to work towards meeting these expectations each they they attended class as they aim for scoring 4s and 5s on their science EOG in May 2015. Check out the awesomeness that is my students of the Class of 2019 | UF Gators team.

Aviary Photo_130538226139786534

3) Finally, we set up our composition notebooks so they’re ready for use. Almost all of my students had their composition notebooks present to set up (YAY!). Students who did not have their notebooks used a sheet of loose leaf paper as a template and finished by taking notes on how to set up their notebooks. Please use the reference guide below to set up your notebook.

Notebook setup page 1

Write the SAME heading on the second blue line on the BACK SIDE of the 1st sheet. Then, you will number the TOP RIGHT CORNER of the second sheet with a 1. Turn the page, and write a 2 in the TOP LEFT CORNER. On the other side write a 3 in the TOP RIGHT CORNER. Continue this through page 61. *As a rule of thumb, the ODD numbers will be on the RIGHT, the EVEN numbers will be on the LEFT.*

Notebook Spread page 2 and 3My students can feel free to reference the guide posted in our classroom, ask a classmate, or reach out to me if they have any questions. Please, please, please make sure your notebook set setup ready to go by Tuesday, September 9th (ALL next week will be dedicated to benchmark testing – so get some rest and be ready)!

I hope everyone has a wonderful, relaxing 3-day weekend!

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Thursday | Day 4

Greetings!

Today was a back to our normal schedule for the beginning of the year. All classes had the opportunity to wrap up their “Text Tuesday” and “Writing Wednesday” assignments. So far I have been really, REALLY impressed by the attendance, (lack of) tardies, and agenda usage of my students in these 4 days. I’m pretty sure my classes could get the ATA award – they’ve been on point! Each day, Principal Perry has been on our school WARMS News and sending home the ConnectEd e-mails and phone messages conveying the importance of and plans for helping our students meet the very high (yet VERY attainable) expectations for academics and behavior this year. So far, my students are making it happen!!!! YES!

Tomorrow we will have a mini vocabulary quiz on this week’s words, we will review Mrs. Barton’s science expectations for the class of 2019, and wrap up with setting up our science interactive notebooks (Whoooo!) PLEASE make sure your students is prepared with this item off the supply list (mentioned at open house, and in the weekly homework assignment given on Monday).

Missed something from this week? Catch up with this week’s assignments below:

1) Weekly HW – Aug 25 – Back to School (assigned & handed out on Monday 8.25)

2) Text Tuesday #1 – Reasoning in Science (completed by Thursday 8.28)

3) Writing Wednesday – BoY – Lab Adventures (completed by Thursday 8.28)

See you tomorrow,

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Wednesday | Day 3

Hey everyone,

Happy mid-week to you all! Today was another great day and it’s awesome to see my students begin to open up and show their personalities! Let’s recap what happened in class:

1) At the beginning of class, students in blocks 1,4 and 5 handed in their vocabulary flashcards homework. Y’all… I was floored by some of the awesome flashcards I saw today (and we know how excited I get about my students flashcards). Check out these stunning flashcards from Melisa:

Melisa's Flashcards

2) Almost all classes were able to begin on the “Text Tuesday Task” (yes, we did this assignment today, on a Wednesday). Third block attended an assembly on the Student Standards of Excellence, so they will work on this assignment tomorrow.

3) A few early finishers from block 1 were able to begin on the Writing Wednesday assignment. Blocks 4 and 5 will work on this assignment tomorrow.

Block 3 will work to catch up both assignments tomorrow.

See you then!

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Tuesday | Day 2

Greetings everyone!

We successfully made it through day 2 of school! Today we were able to setup our student portfolios, complete a scavenger hunt, and work on our flashcards that are due on Wednesday (reference your homework sheet.)

Remember, your flashcards should look like this:

Vocab Card Instructions New

As a reminder, students should return their “Student Standards of Excellence” form to their homeroom teacher with a both a parent and student signature as indication that the standards have been reviewed.

Good luck and I’ll see you back here tomorrow!

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Happy New School Year!

Minion Celebration

Well, everyone, the 2014-2015 school year is officially underway!

Today we had an alternative schedule and it felt like trying to cram an elephant through a keyhole. Nonetheless, we were still able to accomplish a lot, like introduce ourselves to class expectations and rules and familiarize ourselves with agenda usage, homework format, and supplies for the year.

Please note, the supplies listed below should be ready for use by Friday, August 29th.

Science Supplies

I recommend having at least 1 pack of index cards and 1-2 glue sticks and rolls of tape ready for use at school, and storing the rest at home. That way, you can replenish them as needed. 🙂

Students all received their homework for this week. Please 1) note the due dates at the bottom of each day for school forms and 2) note that ALL SCIENCE assignments must be completed by Friday, August 29th.

Weekly HW 1.1 Page

You can find a copy of our homework below:

Weekly HW – Aug 25 – Back to School

Tomorrow we will be back for day #2 and I’m looking forward to it!

Happy new school year 🙂

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Open House | August 2014

Hi everyone,

I hope you’ve had a productive week so far. For me, there’s only one more “workday” until our students come! Today our 7th and 8th grade teams held our open house.  I had the chance to meet a large number of my students for this year (and of course visit with some students from last year AND the year before – WOWzers!). I was really encouraged by their presence today and I’m even more excited to start out the 14-15 school year!

At the open house I shared my welcome page (below) and gave a brief overview of the fun and great learning environment my students will get to experience.

14-15 SWMB Parent Welcome Letter

Missed open house and want a copy of the welcome letter? Click the link below!

2014-2015 Open House Letter

I hope everyone has a chance to rest up this weekend so we are ready to hit the ground running on Monday, August 25, 2014 – the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL! WHOOOOOOO!

See you Monday!

Teacher Tips & Tools for Transitioning Back to School!

Hey, hey, HEY everyone!

I hope you all have been having a fantastic summer! Did anyone else’s summer seem to fly by this year? Mine certainly did. Next week teachers are returning to school to prepare for what hopes to be another great school year!I know I raved about my students from last year practically all the time and they set the bar so high for themselves AND me, but I have to give them one last (maybe) shout out for their top-notch performances on their EOGs. SO MANY 3s, 4s and 5s! Oh they made me proud! So, that said, I’m definitely looking forward to this year’s class meeting and exceeding that high bar of excellence!

So, as I was working with a few of my awesome science department members in July I was inundated with more ideas and tips to make planning and collaboration, easier. Our school district adopted a few Google products last year and after using them for year I’m so into them (mind you, all you need is your Google email to use them). Plus, if you’re a tech savvy person, they even have apps – but hey, this is Google we’re talking about.

1. Google Drive

Our district emails have very limited space and constantly sending/receiving documents or PowerPoints with my PLC quickly made me reach that threshold. My pattern became: save docs to computer, delete emails, try to find docs again when needed.  Enter in Google Drive.  In my opinion, this is the BEST way to share documents, store, organize, and collaborate on live documents with my PLC team members. I organized my material based on standard to make it easier for me to reference down the road. You can color code your folders, make folders within folders, create forms for surveys/polls or assignments, make a virtual “turn in” folder for your students who make up excuses like its their job, and more… the list is endless.

Google Drive Snapshot

For more information on Google Drive – click here.

2. Google Calendar 

LOVE this tool! Last year we used a template in Word with a plethora of text boxes to make our year curriculum pacing calendar. Not the easiest to use, but manageable to some degree. Not this year. Google Calendar makes it so easy to “add events” aka what standards (i.e. 8.P.1.1, 8.P.1.2, etc.) we will be covering and shorten or lengthen the amount of time necessary without any issues. You can color code different objectives, add in “events” for specific topics you’ll cover. It is legit.

Google Calendar

For more information on Google Calendar, click here.

3. Designing in PowerPoint 

This one is more for those who like to create their own resources. If you’ve been a habitual Word user, like myself, you know the mini frustrations when trying to place a picture, object, or text box at an exact location. You can always “place in front of text” or whatever, but that can become old, too. PowerPoint makes putting things exactly where you want them, how you want them way easier. There’s even a grid function for you to ensure things are properly aligned! You can play around with it and see which one you like better. Check out this banner I made for our back to school “Happy School Year”  party:

Happy School Year - Hornet Nation 4.Make Reference Guides

In the classroom, I try to develop my students as independent learners. I am always there to help and answer questions if needed, but I (like any other teacher, I’m sure) want my students to be able to think, reason, and solve by their own means. I post examples of what is expected for certain products or instructions for completing tasks so the students always have that information available to reference and are not stuck saying “I didn’t know”. I’ve taken a similar approach with my PLC (professional learning community) team members. We have protocols to complete for before and after assessments which can look overwhelming or daunting to complete. That said, making a reference guide for your teammates on how to do certain things – be they protocols, forms, lesson plans, etc. – can really help throughout the year.

My student’s flashcard reference guide:

Vocab Card Instructions New

My PLC reference guide:8th Science Reference Guide Snapshot

5. OrganizationCohesive & Consistent

I know, I know, I know – some are more organized than others. All that matters is finding an organizational system that works for YOU and your STUDENTS that you can consistently implement throughout the year. A few things in my room that I love are:

a. Daily Board/Objective Labels – for keeping all my information organized.

b. “Extras” bins for students who were absent for a given day or days of the week. These small things help maintain organization for both myself and my students. For the extras section, I have plain manila folders with the date on the tab. At the end of the day, any extra copies I have left over are put into the folder and into that day of the week. If a student was absent, s/he can go to whatever day they were absent and pull out the material from that day. At the end of the quarter, I take all the folders out and store them in my curriculum bin.

Consistent Organization

c.  “Turn It In” bins on the board with each class/block labeled.

d. Lesson Plans bin – for any of us that are observed, it’s nice having that one “go to” spot for lessons.

Consistent Organization 2

When developing your system, try to keep a cohesive theme throughout. It’s a small thing that can contribute to the “togetherness” of your teaching, your room, and your students:)

What tips or tools do you all have to ensure a smooth start to the school year? I’d love to hear them!