It's Time

The time is here, now.

It's time to wrap my brain around the new school year.  Sure, there are still 3 weeks before the children walk through the door, but there is much to be done before then.

And so, the first thing I thought I'd need for the new school year is . . .

Of course, a new lunch bag!  Got this one at Sam's Club and it comes with three containers and an ice pack.  Just think of those sliced carrots and dill dip.  Yummy!

And with that lovely little purchase behind me, I'm ready to sink my heart and mind into back to school preparations.  July, the month of healing and relaxation, is past.

Off to school to begin this morning!

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Questions About Math Centers

One of my goals for next year is to begin using math centers. I'd like to make this type of learning a choice for my students in order to gain proficiency in our district's math targets (standards).  I'll call it Target Practice.  Incorporating math centers would be supplemental to using the Everyday Math Program.

My biggest question to anybody who reads this and who does use math centers is:

How do you organize and manage it all?

Here are other questions I have:

  • What does the research say?  
  • What professional books are out there to assist me?  Do you have a favorite?
I'd love any you can send my way.  Thank you so much!

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New Look!

It's here!  Barbara at Ruby Slippers has been diligently working on my new blog look, and here it is!  I wanted a Scottie theme because I've had Scotties in my life for over 35 years.  I love the breed and, well, I guess I'm just a dog lover in general.  I often use my little Tam when I'm writing stories at school (see this post), or when telling stories, or reading books about pets.

Barbara was patient, diligent, dedicated to great a design, and above all incredibly easy to work with.  I would highly recommend her if you are thinking of a new blog look.

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Perfect Timing

Talk about perfect timing.  Today I was reading about everyone's summer purchases at Kristen's Summer Shopping Linky Party.  I thought of my recent online order from MPM School Supplies and I hoped it would arrive soon so that I could join the party.  And then, right then, I heard the UPS truck coming up my driveway!

It was my order!

Here in my neck of the woods in Maine, the one and only teacher store is now closed. I wanted to be able to browse around for something fresh and new for the coming year. After reading Teri's post at A Cupcake for the Teacher, I decided to check out MPM School Supplies, an online store.  What a huge selection! Shopping there was almost as much fun as being in a real store. So here is what came today:

Happy Days!  It doesn't take much to get excited about a new school year. I'll take these items out in August with a big smile!

What are your shopping finds?  Link up at Kristen's Summer Shopping Linky Party!

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School's Out!

It's time to enjoy a welcome summer break.  I hope most of you have finished the year, or are very close to finishing.

At this point, thoughts of the coming school year are floating around in my gray matter, but serious planning will be a goal after I've recovered my equilibrium.  That should be sometime after the 4th.

This summer I'm looking forward to a new blog look by Barbara at Grade ONEderful.  Oh boy!  Stay tuned!

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Word Wall Activities

I love playing around with the Word Wall at this time of the year. Making Your Word Wall More Interactive by Creative Teaching Press is filled with some great games and activities.  I know this sounds like a commercial, but honestly, this book has been one of my best purchases.

Last week we played Flip It Down! and the children just loved it. Great spelling practice!  And next week we'll try the Word Wall Memory activity.  You can always hear a pin drop in the room when they are working with a partner to try to remember as many words from the wall as possible.

There are independent, small group and whole group activities in the book. If you have a minute, check it out.  It's just perfect for this time of the year.

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Retelling Slides

Last year I made these retelling slides.  My students love using them for retelling a story and I can see that the practice has made a difference now that I'm assessing with the DRA2.

I started with a large graphic that I found in Scholastic's Biggie Patterns book.

Next I copied the pattern onto card stock, cut it out and colored it.  A wonderful parent volunteer helped with this.  I made the slides in two formats.  One slide has setting, characters, problem, solution, and the other slide has Beginning, Middle, End.

I have 11 of each type so that in my class of 20 (sometimes up to 22), they can be used during partner reading.  These are easy to make, provide a fun way to practice retelling and the children love using them!

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