Friday, June 29, 2012

 And I didn't even have a speech prepared....

Thanks to Tammy @
First Grade at Storybook Cafe I have received my first award. I know I still have so far to go, but thanks so much for the encouragement and help. That is one thing I have noticed about bolggers, well at least teacher bloggers. If you put in your post that you don't know how to get something to work, change something on your blog, etc... Someone will usually give a comment or an email to answer the question and offer extra help if needed. It's too bad everyone isn't as helpful. ; p

Anyway here are the rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you - Thanks Tammy!!!     
  2. Include a link to their site - Look above.
  3. Include the award image in your post - Hey, I learned how to do that yesterday!
  4. Give 7 random facts about yourself - You didn't say interesting, right???
  5. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award   Maybe, I'll try.
  6. When nominating, include a link to their site - Check!
  7. Let other bloggers know they've been nominated OK

OK, so here go the 7 random facts about me.
1. I was the first person in my immediate family to graduate from college (at the age of 33).
2. I am left-handed and when I was in 5th grade, I broke my left wrist. I learned to write right-handed and have been doing so ever since. I always got C's in penmanship. I write much neater right-handed.
3. I can read, sing, and act as silly as I want in front of my class, but I still sometimes get embarrassed talking at staff meetings and we only have about 14 teachers.
4. I have one delightful nine year old daughter named Delaney.
5. When she was born, I started listening to classical music in the car and then moved on to kid music. It has only been in the last year that we have not listened to Veggie Tales, a Leap Frog cd, or other kids songs. It drives me crazy when daycare vans pull up at school with rap music (not kids rap music) blaring. It ought to be against the law! 
6. When I was about 5, I found some matches at my aunt's house and of course I didn't give them to an adult. I had them in my room playing with them when one of them lit. I dropped it on my bed and started screaming. fortunately my mom was nearby and put the fire out quickly. Did I mention that my youngest sister was in her crib right next to her bed? She still tells everyone I was trying to kill her.
7. I do my best creative thinking when I am talking or typing.

Now for the blogs I'm giving the award to, I don't think it will be 15, we'll see.

Sara @ (Miss V's Busy Bees)
Maggie @
Laurie @
Jessica @   (From Blood to Blog)
Louanne @ (My Kindergarten Kids)
Lisa @

That's all I'm going to do, I still need to get my house in order after painting. Thanks again Tammy, you're the best!

Pin It!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

 It Really Is Magic!

This week I have been in the process of painting my house. A teacher friend has came over in the morning for a couple of hours to help out. I am beginning to see an end in sight. I've been in the house for 3 years and it's amazing,  disgusting, ridiculous how stained  the walls especially in the dining room were thanks to my daughter and flat paint that will not wash off.

One day she had made some mini pizzas using crescent polls and for some reason unknown to me, she decided to place two perfect greasy handprints on the wall. She has a very tall loft bed in her room and I went in there one day and noticed another big, old greasy looking stain way high on the wall and to top it off, a stain on the ceiling ( I told you the bed was high) too. I do make her take a bath, but apparently she didn't wash her feet. I really wasn't wanting to paint ceilings, but since I ran out of paint for her room, I guess I'll be tackling that today. Makes my neck hurt just thinking about it.

Anyway, about the Magic, my house is was built in 1956 and the kitchen was remodeled around 1980. So I have these countertops that are white formica with green flecks. I'm sure you can picture just how beautiful they aren't. They aren't pretty, but they weren't stained, until I moved in. I had a cake pan sitting on the counter and some water got under it and left rust stains. I tried every thing I could think of to get them off, nothing worked so I gave up and just up. I don't have much counter space, so it seemed like it was always covered up anyway.

This past week I purchased one of those small microwaves to give me some more counter space. I had forgotten the microwave was covering part of the rust stain. I was shocked when I saw how big it was. As I was painting, something made me think of  A Teeny Tiny Teacher's
  table trouble and how the Magic Eraser worked magic. I was hopeful, but my stain was several years old, and it was rust. IT WORKED!!! ther is no sign of the rust at all. Hmmm, I wonder if it would worked on a ceiling stain...

Happy Saturday!

Pin It!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

 Wow, I just took the plunge!

I am now an Official TPT seller. Wait, I don't think I'm an official seller yet.
2 Reasons:
1. I haven't sold anything.
2. My first item is free.

Oh well, I am on the road to being an Official TPT Seller. I'm a little nervous and I can tell you this I still have sooo much I still need to learn. I have read tutorials on different things about blogging, some of them I have gotten to work, others, not so much.

You will have to tell me, I followed the instructions (I think), did I get rid of the crazy words and numbers to prove you aren't a robot?

I've been trying to put a Permission to Pin on my blog, I found the instructions, but it hasn't worked....yet I haven't given up. I tell my kids all the time when we go to the computer lab if their login isn't working that it is operator error. Sure enough when I check it out, they have changed the spelling of their name (again ;p). Anyway, I'll try again or I may ask some unsuspecting blogger for help.

Well, I've got a busy day of painting ahead. I post before and after pictures when I'm done.

BTW you can find my first product here.

So sorry it is a repeat from my blog, but I had to start simple.

Hope you have a productive day like I am hoping to have.

Pin It!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

 Handwriting Freebie

A couple of years ago while I was still teaching kindergarten, I was looking for something to help the kids with handwriting. I had attended a Handwriting Without Tears conference. I really liked it, but no one else at my school was using it, so I wasn't sure how that would work. I didn't want to confuse the kids. I found other paper that had different colored lines for the sky and grass.

I really liked that one, but I thought I might be able to make own.  decided to go with dirt, grass, and sky. I made individual alphabet charts for the kids and then I printed one poster size to hang in the room. When I first started using it. I would sit at home in the evening with colored pencils shading handwriting paper to match. That, as you can imagine was very time consuming.

I had one of those "DUH" moments ( I have those a lot more frequently than I would like to admit). Why don't I just print some of the charts w/o the letters. I really feel like my kids handwriting improved.

Now that I moved up to first grade, I still use the alphabet charts, but I don't really have to print out the handwriting paper. When we are writing, I'll remind them that the short letters are afraid of flying so keep them down in the grass. When they are writing j, g, y, p, q, or y, I remind them that the tail goes down in the dirt. It's pretty simple, but the kids can really understand the comparison.

After I made my own, I found one very similar at Really Good Stuff  last year. Too bad I didn't sell them my idea, I could have made me some money. : D  I want to share them with you for free. I hope you can use them.

Pin It!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

 Teacher Evaluations

I have just finished a workshop on the new teacher evaluations my district will be starting to use next year. Wow! It was a lot of info to digest. My district adopted the Marzano Model, which is based on his book The Art and Science of Teaching. We did a book study on this during professional development, but I'm definitely going to have to go back and reread. There's a LOT to it.
At first everyone is panicking with thoughts like they are going to use this type of evaluation to get rid of teachers. I guess that could happen, if you are not doing what you are supposed to be doing and you are unwilling to change.  The main focus of the evaluation is to recognize strengths and weaknesses of a teacher.  The big thing that is different from our old evaluations is that you are given help to improve your weaknesses. They don't just mark that you need to improve in say classroom climate, they provide things to read and videos to watch that can help you.
The principal may make as many as 10 walkthroughs a year lasting from 5-10 minutes and then for tenured teachers there is one formal evaluation with a pre and post conference. If I understood correctly all of the evaulations, even the walkthroughs will be done on a laptop and you will get immediate feedback.
The man that was leading the class made the statement that in the past 95% of teachers would get the highest marks with the old system. It's like he said what other field do you know that 95% of the workers are truly working at the l=highest level. I think when we are held to higher standards more people will look at teachers in a more professional light.
This system has 4 domains that correlate to Bloom's Taxonomy. In our training we focused on Domain 1 which is Classroom Strategies and Behaviors. Under Domain 1 there 41 instructional categories that are organized into 9 Design Quetions and then the design questions are grouped into  3 Lesson Segments 1.Involving Routine Events 2.Addressing Content 3. Enacted on the Spot. It sounds daunting, but the presenter stated over and over that principals will not expect to see all 41 classroom strategies in a walkthrough or the formal evaluation, maybe not even in the year.
As the principal watches, he/she is rating you in the different instructional categories as
  • Not Using - Strategy is called for, but not seen
  • Beginning - Uses Strategy incorrectly or with parts missing
  • Developing 
  • Applying 
  • Innovating - Adapts and creates new strategies for unique student needs and situations.   
 The big difference between Developing and Applying is whether the teacher is monitoing the class for understanding, behavior, etc... Many teachers were getting hung up with new strategies to move to Innovating. They were taking it literally like the teacher would come up with a strategy newer seen or used before. Now I know teachers are a creative group, but I think that is pushing it a little. We never got a good answer to the question when it was asked, but I'm pretty sure, it just means if things aren't working you change strategies to get the lesson on track.
So this may not be anything that anyone wants to read, but I did it partly for my own benefit. I was the only one form my school that attended and I'm sure I will be expected to give a report  when we get back to school. I thought this would help me remember for later on.
Have a great day and THUNDER UP!!!!!


Pin It!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

 I Need Followers

I guess I need to post more often and maybe I'll get some more followers. Any suggestions?

I wanted to share a little idea I got from a friend that is a definite time saver. We all know painting can leave a very messy cleanup. My friend, Stacy, introduced me to paint cup liners. Have you heard of them? They make cleanup so simple and they are cheap! : )

Now for people from my generation you will recognize them right away.

These are the original sandwich bag, long before ziplocks had been thought of.

As you can see, there is no zipper, so it works perfect to line a paint cup.

There you have it and it is a cinch to clean up! Sorry it's blurry.

Another idea I have been using since I first started teaching kindergarten 14 years ago is to use empty coffee cans as trash cans when groups are doing a cut and paste. My old metal cans were all covered. I haven't done anything to the new plastic ones, they would be a little harder to cover. They work great, I usually put 2 on a table if there is going to be a lot of trash and if there isn't much trash, I use one can.
These ideas may not be knew, they were new to me when I started to doing them and they have been very helpful.


Pin It!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

 New Lesson Plans

This is the format for our lesson plans for next year.

Lesson plans for next year will include:
Learning goal: (comparable to objective)
Setting up the lesson:
Activity: critical input (comparable to guided practice)
Assignment:  marzano activities (comparable to independent practice)
Reflection on the lesson:  How will I know students have met the learning goal
Reteaching:  who and how
Academic vocabulary
Pre-tests and post-tests for units

Does this seem excessive? I think I had better start right now writing them or I'll be behind all year long. UGH!

I'm hoping they won't be as bad as they look.
Pin It!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

 The Last Days of School.

School is out, but I'm still not finished. Our school is under going renovations and new construction. This summer the [lan is to go into the classrooms and pull out all of the tile. Since it is old and has asbestos under it, we have to pack EVERYTHING so it can be moved out of our rooms. Do you have any idea how much stuff I have? I have to get it all boxed up this week because they are starting in my hallway.

We had several teachers retire this year. I was trying to kill a few minutes one day and so I gave all the kids a piece of paper, I wrote on the board "Mrs. Davidson Retires". I told the kids to draw a picture and write about what they thought Mrs. Davidson should do when she retired. they were sooo cute we did one for each retiree. Here are some of them:

I loved the details this little boy added to his picture.

 It's kind of hard to see, but it says Mrs. Kohl joins archery.

 This one cracked me up. She said it says "He works at a nursing home."
 After we had our Skype visit with Mr. Marc from Adventure to Fitness, they sent a press release for our local newspaper. a photographer came out and shot photos and videos for over an hour. There was an article in the paper and this short clip was online.
Combining classroom learning with physical fitness | NewsOK Videos

The last day of school was very busy. We had our awards program in the morning. Then we came back to the room and I gave them the journals I made for them. I was going to put names on them, but I decided to let them pick the one they wanted.
They seemed to love them! They wanted to write immediately.

Pin It!