I want these head bands!!!

My husband told me a while back that he wants Charlotte to wear more bows. I was in shock because he is not all about frilly things.  Well, our little miss doesn’t have much hair, even after 4.5 months!  We tried to let her wear headbands since we got several at her baby shower and I bought a few. Well, apparently they are not “one size fits all”.  Her little head was WAY to big for the newborn headbands, who am I kidding, she didn’t even fit the 0-3 months headbands.  For being just shy of 7lbs as a newborn, she had a gigantic head. Anyway….my husband mentioned again that he wants her to wear bows.  We will have to opt for cute headbands instead of bows until her hair grows more!

I was scrolling through pinterest and found some DIY headband tutorials.  Umm…yes please! I am thinking some matching mommy and me headbands are in our near future!  This post is more of a bookmark and accountability so I actually create these.  I’ll let you know what I come up with. My crafty wheels are turning up in my noggin’!

Cute, cute, cute!

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Mini Banners are darling!!!

After experimenting with banners, I decided that it would be super cute to do the same thing but mini sized! They turned out so so cute. I love them!

Using my Cricut, I was able to write and cut the banners!

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They are adorable!! I designed them as a cake topper, but really they can be used to decorate anything small in size.

I have another version “small sized“, but the letters are cut out and are white instead. The letter cut outs would be too small if this was done in the mini version. It’s still perfect size to decorate small objects and maybe even used as a cake topper if the cake is a sheet cake size.

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Adventure Awaits!

Yesterday was my very first Mother’s Day. It was wonderful!  I am so excited about this adventure. It hasn’t been easy. Parenting is hard. It is so SO hard. But I wouldn’t give her up for anything in the world. It changes you. People have said that to me before I got pregnant and while I was pregnant. I thought I knew and understand what they meant. I’m not dismissing what I knew while pregnant and before because I did know that I would love my baby more than I could imagine.  It’s just now that I have her in my arms I can imagine how much I love her. It’s like a hidden compartment of my heart has been blasted open and now I know (at least somewhat!) what I couldn’t imagine before.  Ahh, my heart is full!

Since I am home full-time and can devote more time to it, I have decided to open back up my Etsy shop! I am SO SO SO excited!  I’m going to continue keeping up with education and creating supporting materials for TPT, but my love and ‘therapy’ at the moment is monogramming. I love what I can create!  Plus, I have created some really awesome things for Charlotte that I would love to share with others too! Here is an example:
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It’s quilted alphabet letters! These are great for learning the alphabet, spelling names, or can just be used as colorful toys now as she is learning hand-eye coordination.  When she starts teething, these are going to be great to dampen and chill them to help sooth her sore gums!

These turned out really neat and I love them!

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Calendar

It’s been a while. Well, a long while if I’m honest! And I’m okay with going on a blogging break for a bit even though I didn’t mean to. This blog is mainly for myself and the progress I make as a teacher. If I make blogging buddies or help someone else along the way, that’s great too and an added bonus!

I haven’t been in the classroom since October 2015. That’s a long time to not be at school. To make a long story short, I was put on bed rest and then decided to not go back after my baby was born (after talking with my principal and getting her okay!).   But now I miss it.  I really miss my students and my teacher friends big time. I wasn’t able to focus on school for a long time, but now I feel like I’m becoming more like myself and have a desire to grow myself in the teaching world again.

I decided to update my school calendars for next school year even though I decided to take next year off. I had a little helper! She’s great and a keeper! 🙂

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Here is a peak of the calendars I made:

 

2016-2017 Monthly-Weekly Calendar2016-2017 Monthly-Weekly Calendar 22016-2017 Monthly-Weekly Calendar 32016-2017 Monthly-Weekly Calendar 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a link to my calendars if you would like to download a free one or purchase one!

 

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But are they learning?

I had a conversation with a co-worker the other day that has really stuck with me. We were talking about the variety of students that we have at our school. From the outside looking in, it would appear that a majority of our kids would be very ‘thug’ and not interested in school due to their background.  That use to be the culture of my school, but that changed several years ago with our current administration.  They are kids and kids make mistakes but they are great kids.  I wouldn’t trade them for anything else in the world.

Back to the conversation I was having….I was talking about how that I feel my kids are awesome and well behaved in class this year so far. Her response….not that it was a dig toward me was this…”but are they learning?” I do think our kids are learning at our school but we need to continue pushing them. Now that our school culture has changed to a happier and better place, that also needs to translate to improved learning. It definitely has, test scores have risen, but we have a ways to go still. She didn’t mean anything bad towards me but meant as a school in general our focus needs to improve student mentality on acdemics.  But it made me think about those super good kids in my class that don’t interrupt and do what they are suppose to do day in and out that I don’t have to check on as much because they do what they are suppose to do.  “But are they learning?” popped in my head. I don’t need to assume that they are learning just because they are shaking their head up and down and saying they get it.  How do I know they get it and are learning?  That right there proved the importance of formative assessments through out my teaching to make sure they get it.

It doesn’t matter how good your kids are if they aren’t learning.

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My Classes are Committed to Success!

The first day of school. It’s always my favorite day of the school year. I tell the students that everyone is on the same playing field, nobody is failing, nobody has late work to worry about, etc…  I challenge my students to commit to themselves and their teachers to make every day like the first day of school.

And they did!

We did this really cute activity and it was great getting the students to work together so well ON THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!!!!

I had the students ‘COMMIT’ to several things that they need to do to remain successful all school year.  They wrote the word commit down the center of a poster. Using the letters of commit, they came up with other words that they needed to commit to and placed it on the poster. The first letter of their words didn’t have to be the letters of commit, just fit in somewhere.  Here are some examples….
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I love my students already! 🙂  I started the activity by showing them my poster of things that I committed to doing this school year. I wish I thought to take a picture of it before I left school.  It was great to get students to sign their poster too.  I heard multiple times “So it’s like a contract”. Yep!

 

 

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Online Assessment Options

On of my BIGGEST time consumers is grading papers. Like REALLY grading papers.  Checking their work, giving feedback, partial credit, and analyzing common student misconceptions.  I’m sure you are shaking your head in agreement!

I’m fortunate enough to work at a school that has a 1:1 environment with technology.  I’ve realized the power of online grading tools to help make grading and feedback easier.  Last year I used thatquiz.org . If you haven’t checked it out, please do! Specially if you are a math teacher!  It’s basic and nothing specially to look at, but has a great assessments pre-built into the program.

ThatquizYou can create immediate assignments by selecting a category (see above picture) then selecting the options you want (see below) about the length, difficult, type, or make a url to send to your students via email or website. thatquiz2

The best part is that any time you take the assignment, it will regenerate questions! Bye bye cheating! But what if you wanted to create your own assignment (or browse other teacher’s assignments) and track students grades? Create a free account and add students to your class. Simply give students a quick code for the assignment you make so that way the program can track their grades. It’s simplistic, but works like a charm. The only downside is that it is hard to submit and grade longer free response answers.

In my long reading list, someone wrote about goformative.com . I haven’t used it in class, BUT I think it may be the answer to my longer short answer questions. Plus, I saw in a video you can tag your standards to use the assignment as a mastery tracker for your standards.

Not only did I really like goformative.com but I also got a good kick out of checking out their FREE program. Do you see what I see….

goformativeIf you don’t recognize those names, you must not binge watch tv on summer vacation!!! After I laughed, I got to check out the live results and how to grade assignments. It’s pretty neat and easy to give feedback! Another feature I really liked is that students can either draw on the screen or take pictures (see below). goformative2

I usually have students show their work on notebook paper any time I give them an online assignment, but how neat would it be for students to use notebook paper or dry erase boards for their work and then take pictures of it!

 

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A Fresh Start and a New Calendar {freebie!}

A fresh start always feels good. It’s always amazing how great I feel after a few months of rest.  The past year has been pretty hectic.  After my dad got diagnosed with a brain tumor last summer, I feel that my life has been on hold.  So this is it, a fresh start.  I’m not putting my life on hold any more!!! Life is too good and precious to waste!

That means getting back to this amazing blog and reading my favorite blogs again. I have a reading list a million miles long on bloglovin’.  The ones I have read, are amazing and have inspired me so much!

I’m getting ready for the fresh start of the school year by printing my documents that I need for the first few days of school:
2015-08-10_04-54-43I’ve also created a new calendar.  I’m not sure why, but a new calendar always makes me feel giddy inside. The font and ribbons on my to-do/note pages are a little bigger than I intended, but I like them.  I love the pattern, but I don’t have a color printer available at the moment. Take a look at my creation:

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Here is a link to some free monthly calendars that I’ve made!  I have been so encouraged to create these new calendars because several people have emailed and sent questions about a new version since they loved my last year’s version. So excited that I can help out!  Maybe these calendars can help you with a fresh start.  Start organized and stay organized!

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Differentiation and Solving Multi-Step Equations

One thing I have struggled with this year is leveling my content or “differentiating”.  With students working such vastly different paces in each class, it’s hard to know how much to plan. I’ve been doing a lot of ‘research’ on math workshop or guided math. These are typically used at the elementary levels but I have been wanting to implement this kind of program in my class since it could help me differentiate. I’ve come to the conclusion that it won’t be easy because students like their routine but it’ll be worth it!  I’ve done similar things in the past but I think I’m ready to give it a whorl on a regular basis. May be not daily since something’s can be better at the whole group level.

 

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I thought I’d share an example of something that I’ve done to create ‘levels’ of instruction (you can get it here for free!).  It’s great because all students can be doing the same activity, but at their level.  These are scavenger hunts (I’ve become a pro in creating scavenger hunts fast!) but students can go to choose which level they felt most comfortable. For some students, I purposely challenged them to do the harder one because I didn’t want them to take the easy way out.  I originally created the two different levels for my two different types of classes, pre-algebra and advanced pre-algebra.  But I figured why not use both in both classes? I have high flyers in the regular class and students that are struggling in the advanced class.  The students love the scavenger hunts and they really bought into the leveling and ‘leveling up’ if they did well on the easier one. It made them feel super confident.  I think if I include more activities like these in my math workshop, then they will totally be more agreeable to the ‘math workshop’ idea. I’m thinking that I could make my math workshop have a game theme for the levels. ..wheels are spinning! I do realize that not everything needs to be blatantly obvious that it is leveled, being top-secret about it is fun! 🙂  I don’t want them to feel like they are being tracked or stuck in a particular level.

Here are some pictures of the activities:

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Get my activity here for free! 🙂

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Where to go from here

I have received renewal information for my domain (dogdaysofmath.com) for this blog.  Since I haven’t been on the blog in a long time, it got me thinking, should I renew it or let it go? Keep writing or not?  The past few months have been a blur. A good blur, but a blur none the less!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE my new school, so that has taken up most of my time. The start of the school year is always busy, no matter what school you are at. But now that I have learned the school’s routine and have more free time, should I use that free time to continue my personal learning network through this blog?  Or do I use that free time to pick up a new hobby or focus on old hobbies that I have put on hold?

Decisions, decisions, decisions! Then I realized that I’m typing this all out on my blog….I guess that I unintentionally made decided to continue the blog by writing this entry!  My blog is my hobby. This is me picking up my hobby! This is me saying ‘yes’ to me time!

I’m not sure how often I’ll blog, but this is a start!

 

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