Saturday, February 27, 2016

FRF Back to Life Back to Reality

Happy Saturday!

We are inching ever so closer to normal life here.  Maybe because we escaped another snow storm this week.  Maybe because we are getting used to a week of five full school days.  Maybe because we were able to have a couple of days of outdoor recess this week.  Maybe because my mom has finished her six rounds of nasty chemo and is one step closer to no more cancer treatments.  Or maybe it's all of the above.  Whatever the reason is we will take it!

Last weekend I played tutor for a friend of mine who recently started a master's program.  She has been out of school for a little over 10 years and is a little unfamiliar with online classes.  I spent the morning/afternoon helping her maneuver the website and understanding APA citation.  

We searched for research articles.  Looked at websites to help with in-text citation and I sipped on about 4 cups of vanilla and cinnamon infused coffee.  It was a major success.

I talked last week about the greater than, less than activities we were doing in class.  This week was round 2 of all about comparing numbers.  I said before that I love our comparing numbers unit because it allows my students to practice their number sense skills and get them ready for addition.  I really like to hit the number sense part of this lesson hard because if you haven't noticed already...I'm all the number sense.  With that said we use all kinds of manipulatives to create inequalities, solve them, and prove our answers.  

The favorite manipulative of all of my students?  


Let me tell you what.  Throw some goldfish in front of them and they are comparing number machines.  We had to review the rules of comparing goldfish because of my little darlings thought I was just providing snack while they were working.  

Once they were all reminded that the goldfish were in fact for comparing first THEN for eating it was smooth sailing.  

Not to mention the fact that they cheer every time I announce that we will be using food in math.  

I pretend they're cheering because they love comparing numbers.

Teacher of the year right here.

We had a little end of the week "celebration" on Friday and did math station rotations with no seat work.

I repeat NO SEAT work.  

That's right.

All games.

Did I mention teacher of the year?

My students celebrated an hour of game playing.  I celebrated the fact that they knew they were practicing the comparing numbers skills while working at each station.  And they were loving it.

We had a number sense matching game that I worked with, a comparing numbers with alligators game on the computer, a number sense game that included building towers of connecting cubes and reading and writing numbers 0-20, and a bug catching comparing numbers game.  IT. WAS. GREAT.
Do you use Classdojo?  I learned about this a couple of years ago from a friend of mine.  If you don't know about it basically it is a classroom management tool.  You create an account, add your class, and you're ready to go.  You can print usernames and passwords for parents so they can log in to the website via computer or by downloading the free app and they can see when their child is awarded points for staying on task, working with others, participating, etc. 

There are a lot of pros and cons to using this tool but what I like about it is that they are creating more options and features to help create a more positive learning environment.

We watched an episode on the brain this week and my students were introduced to concept of exercising your brain.  It was very informative and age appropriate.  We are going to watch it a couple more times before moving on to the next chapter.

Here's a picture of the episode we watched.  If you'd like to check it out or tried it before they added the new features and want to give it a shot again send me your e-mail and I will refer you.  It's free.  Plus they slapped a mentor sticker on my profile a few months ago so I want to continue to do my mentor duty.  You can e-mail me at

I had dinner with my cousin Kaitlyn and our friend Jordan last night at the Lakehouse.  I realized that the last time I was there was with the same group of girls back in October.  My mom was newly diagnosed with breast cancer and they were donating proceeds that night help raise awareness and fund reconstructive surgery as a result of breast cancer.  I love being with these girls.  We laughed through every conversation, even the serious ones.  It was nice being at the Lakehouse under different circumstances as well.  During our first visit there I was on information overload from everything we were learning about cancer and my mom's case.  Six months later we are almost half way through her treatments and are now looking at the recovery process as opposed to the options for killing the cancer.  It's a relief and one I was glad to celebrate with these girls.  

So there you have it.  Back to life, back to reality.  I've never been so happy hear that phrase.  I have no words to describe this school year.  All I know is that right now I'm thankful for the norm.  I'm thankful for a week devoted to comparing numbers and spending quality time with my friends.  I'm thankful for the awareness I am gaining through all of my experiences this year.  I'm thankful that even the darkest times God's light always shines through.  Whether it's in the outdoor lights of the Lakehouse, the eyes of 23 five year olds, or the little tiny hairs on my mom's head.  It's always there.