Bummed SOL

It's Tuesday and I'm linking up with Ruth and Stacey at The Two Writing Teachers for the weekly Slice of Life Challenge! You should too!
I wasn’t going to slice today. I just wasn’t feeling it. I’ve been reading all the wonderful slices about the All Write and I was sad, jealous, bummed. That was my great place. That was my amazing trip and PD a few years ago, and now everyone was there but me. It wasn’t fair. I could have met Elsie and Ruth- Christy and Linda, and so many others... but I didn’t get to-I had to stay here.
But then I started reading the slices. “Listening” to the stories of their trip and learning, and as usual these ladies are so warm and welcoming it felt as if I was there, felt as if I once again was experiencing the conference of a lifetime.
They are so open and share so well their learning that I felt as if it was my learning as well. The pictures, thoughts and stories they shared conjured up the amazing trip Hadley, hubby and I had taken three summers ago to Indiana, and so I smiled, and laughed and continued to read.
I am not an Indiana teacher, but the experience I took from this conference that summer has made me a better teacher, a better writer, and a better learner. And thanks to some special slicers I get to learn from it this year too.

Thank you ladies for bringing me along on your journey, maybe next year I can be there in person and come face to face and heart to heart with you lovely slicers, mentors, and friends. 
You can read all about my great summer at the All Write in 2011 here (my first blog)

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Do I Look Like Your Momma?

Ok I know I already sliced today but I figured that didn’t really count because I try to do it every week, and my friend Tammy over at Forever in First is having a fun Linky party and since I haven’t been to a party yet this summer I decided to link up!
It’s called My Teacher Always Says... I had to laugh at that because sometimes I feel like a broken record, and really want to say- “HELLO!! Anybody listening??!!” instead of what I do say.

My favorite and what I say the MOST to the most kids is “Do I look like your mother?” In other words I am not cleaning up after you and your momma is not coming here to do it so you’d better be responsible for yourself! Along with that one I sometimes look around and say don’t see your Momma in this classroom do you?”

The ones that probably drives the kiddos most crazy is when I just look and them blankly and say “why” “how do you know?” in the beginning I get many blank stares in return, and looks that seem to say “what do you mean why, or how do I know I just told you the answer!!” I’ve even had a few smarties even say that to me; which frustrates them even more when I repeat- “how do you know?”
Another favorite is “show me- don’t tell me.” If you say you can do it, or if you say you’re going to do something then show me, just saying it  doesn’t make it so.

I have to admit I am a bit sarcastic at times, and my sarcasm can be kinda ornery. But it makes for a fun year when there are those kiddos that actually get my sarcasm and know it’s all in fun. Because saying whatever, seriously, or do I look like your momma in first grade is sometimes just too much fun! 
This was a fun Linky you should hop on over to Tammy's and party with us!
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It's No Walk in The Park! SOL

I'm Linking up today with Ruth and Stacey for the weekly slice of life story challenge! You should too!

A walk in the park it is not, but it is peaceful and quiet and full of the sweet smell if honeysuckle.  I leave my house and walk the quarter mile down the quiet road we live on. At the end I turn west and head for “Old River Road.” It’s about ¾ a mile past our corner. It’s an easy walk this trip down the country road, not a lot of traffic in the early morning. If I turned east I would run into my school. I choose the other direction, too soon to think about the end of summer.

It’s downhill to my turn around. My legs go faster than the rest of me. Hadley refuses to come along- says I walk too fast. I find this funny since she is almost 6 foot tall and only 19. But she tells me my legs are longer than hers and I’m always in a hurry, must have been from trying to keep up with her and her brother all those years.

I make it to the end, I turn and breathe. The hill, or hills, one small one, one steeper mock me. The first time I had to stop. Often. Maybe I do walk too fast, but I wasn’t then. I could barely trudge up the incline. Today I made it with only a short pause almost to the top of the last one, the steep one.

Finally I round the corner to our road, almost home. In our yard and a quick stop on the porch, the shoes can’t come off fast enough. My toes need to breathe, need to be free of the confines of closed toes. I hear my flip-flops calling and the final stop of my back yard. It’s going to be a beautiful day!

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Destination- Summer Math Reflecting

I have been reading the book Mastering Basic Math Facts in Addition and Subtraction by Susan O’Connell and John SanGiovanni. Have you heard of it? I have really enjoyed it so far, and have learned so much. Every summer I tend to pick a couple of books to read each summer that I think will help me in the coming year. Usually it’s books about writing or teaching reading, because I hate to admit it but math is not my favoriteand it probably comes across that way in my classroom. When I reflect back and think about our daily math it has never been something I’ve been excited about so as unintentionally as it may be that’s probably what comes across to my kiddos.
SO my vow this year was to work on that and math in generaleven though it’s not nearly as exciting as writingor readingor artor writingand writingor writingcan you tell what my Favorite subject is??
One of the first things I read that I connected with is the thought of “automaticity.” My school requires that we give timed math fact tests. Which as you’ve probably read from me before I HATE! I know it’s a strong wordbut true. I just don’t see the need of having children doing repeated math facts in a specified amount of time. Have you ever had anyone hand you your checkbook or a bunch of math facts in your adult life and say “here, you have two minutes to get this done!” NOPE! Not me.
But if it is what Mr. Principal says we must do thenwe must do. (grrrr).
Right away this book says “Automaticity with basic facts is a goal for our students, BUT alone it is not enough. Students must also understand the facts they are being asked to commit to memory.” Ding Ding Ding!! “they must understand the facts.” Can I get an AMEN!
Another thing I like about this book is the way it is set up. Chapter one starts with understanding addition and subtraction, and then the next chapters break down the how’s and whys. Because like the book tells us “it is important that students attach meaning to the operations before there is any focus on fact fluency.” Love that!
I am about half way through this book and I have already revamped my math fact practice for my kiddos and am working on SO much more. I started with the easiest- the math fact homework that I send home for my kiddos to practice at home. I’d much rather spend our time in the classroom on the how’s and whys and exploring the numbers and concepts than a daily, dull drill and kill. I feel that if I can reinforce the understanding of numbers and facts then their time practicing at home should be easy and fluent!
I like that the book says that kids should learn plus 1 and 2 facts first then plus 0 and plus 10’s. That makes a whole lot of sense to this math-senseless teacher J.

Here is the homework practice I made for my kiddos and have added to my TpT store. It is called “Destination Automatic Math Facts.” Because-"automatic” makes much more sense to me than “timed.”
Here is a peek at the first section. It has a homework helper, grouped fact practice tests, data collection, and a few ideas for rewards-cause who doesn’t like rewards. It's all Common Core aligned as well. 
I’d love to give a couple of these away. Like I said it is just the first part (the easiest part) I will soon be adding subtraction and facts through 20.
Leave a comment and I’ll pick a few “winners” (I guess you don’t know if you’re actually a “winner” until you see the product lol)   

I’ll be back with more thoughts and ahh haa’s from my book later!
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Petals in My Yard Summer Slicing!

I'm linking up today for Ruth and Stacey's weekly Slice of Life. You should too!

It’s been a busy first few weeks of summer break. I have many different irons in the fire…
a phonics project,
a new math book to read-
ideas popping in my head,
running the concession stand at our school’s basketball camp this week,
planting flowers (finally),
a wedding on the horizon to think about (my son in a year),
daughter home from school,
and time on my patio.
I love summer!
Here’s a poem I “found” in my backyard one morning watching the wind blow the petals of my roses across my yard!

It’s raining rose petals in my yard
the wind rushes through
and throws them into waves
I want to kick and splash
In their midst
Like puddles from an afternoon storm
Splashing, kicking
Puddles of fragrant joy!

I hope you’re having a fragrant joyful summer so far.

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