Saturday, August 19, 2017

VIP Student Status

VIP Status students! I am choosing two students a week per class to showcase VIP behavior and hard work. The kids were so excited to be chosen! They get a special table in the front of my room for the whole week, cool teacher type school supplies to use, Mardi Gras beads, and sunglasses to show just how cool they are! I wrote a note to mail each of their parents to brag about their child's VIP status in my room. Every child deserves to be in the spotlight! Looking forward to recognizing each of them for different reasons this year! #eachstudentinyourclassissomebodyswholeworld #spreadlove

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A new year around the corner

Ready or not here it comes! I'm about to start year 15 of my teaching career. It really doesn't seem like FIFTEEN years... that would make me old! πŸ˜‰ But it also doesn't seem like I should have a 12 year old either...
I've done a lot of reflecting this summer on what kind of teacher I am and where I can improve. Education is constantly changing and we have to be willing to change with it to keep the students excited and engaged. 

Here are a few personal positives from last year: 
  1. Honored as being a state-level finalist for the PAEMST (Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching). This was a game-changer for me. I went through the application process the previous year and learned so much about myself as a teacher and my students.  It's a very reflective process! 
  2. Classroom climate- I feel like I truly. Objected more with my students and their parents last year by sending hand written notes. Throughout the year I gave each student a personal letter from me. I sat and thought about positive characteristics I wanted to praise them for and give them encouragement for the future. (100 students). Also, each week as I observed their behavior, I chose one or two students from each of my four classes to get a "Happy Note Home." I mailed a cute handwritten card (complete with stickers 😊) to their parents bragging on their behavior or accomplishments. This created a good rapport with the parents. I was even asked to write a publication for on positive relationships.
  3. Creating exciting lessons- we all know how much time and effort anything extra is! Last year I did several stand out lessons and the reward of the students' excitement was well worth the preparation! I created an Escape Game complete with locks, keys, puzzles, test prep, and of course racing the time clock. I set up a restaurant in my classroom with the customers in a dining area, management in another area, and a drive-thru window! The students placed their orders, counted change, wrote payroll checks, and calculated catering events. Some of my fabulous coworkers collaborated on an end of year field day type of lesson to review all subjects before state testing began. This included playground equipment, hula hoops, basketball, building blocks, hopscotch, puzzles, and test prep questions. Sooooo much fun!!
  4. Data- I was a serious data collector this year! But not only a collector, I REALLY USED THE DATA! I had a data wall in my room with several different areas of data on it: weekly Tenmarks class averages, Accelerated Math objectives, Math Facts Fluency, and iReady graphs. The students were very competitive, but it was collective. They always wanted to beat the other classes. I even found an old trophy that I awarded winning classes based on data. I took a picture of the class with the trophy and they had bragging rights for the week. They LOVE bragging rights!! 
Goals for this upcoming year:
  • Go digital! I want to incorporate Google Classroom and other websites as much as possible. This will help with grading as well! 
  • Help build a "Sunshine Committee" to boost school and teacher morale. 
  • Dive deeper into data! Have the students keep an ORGANIZED data folder. Also keep my data wall in my classroom and a folder on my desk. 
My super cute room decor!!! Our theme is "We do not hide success, we parade it down the street!" 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

PAEMST State Level Finalist

State Level Recognition at MDE
My handsome fellas were able to celebrate with me. ❤️ my family!

This week has been amazing! After 7 months of working on a video and paper, I finished and uploaded my application for The Presidential Award for Excellent in Mathematics and Science in April. I really never expected to hear anymore about it. The end of July, I got a call from the state department of education to tell me I was one of four finalists for our state. I could barely catch my breath... I learned so much after reflecting on my teaching and that's the most important part of the process to me... I never expected to be a finalist for my state. I have learned from so many fabulous teachers and coworkers over the years that have helped form me into the teacher I am. Just being nominated was the biggest honor, but being a state level finalist is the icing on the cake. Now to wait until next year to find out which two of the four finalists will represent Mississippi at the White House. Best of luck to whoever is the winning teacher for the state of Mississippi! 

State level finalists: Sanders, McKinnon, August, and Williams

My wonderful coworkers and students surprised me as well. 

"She makes math cool. She makes math fun. Mrs. Sanders is our #1!"

Saturday, July 23, 2016

A bit star struck...

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a conference where Ron Clark was the keynote speaker! 
 I read his book: 
The Essential 55: An Award-Winning Educator's Rules For Discovering the Successful Student in Every Child,
when I was still a new teacher. This book inspired me to create a set of classroom rules with my students. The students got to have some input with creating some of the classroom rules, while I made some of the others. We discussed how to make these rules work in our class and how to hold each other accountable. The students helped set the consequences for those who chose not to follow the rules. The kids had a great time trying to help me watch for rule-breakers. The students would write the rule they broke a set number of times. One of the funniest memories I had was a student I will just call J. My rule number 3 was "Always use your manners by saying 'Yes, ma'am', 'No, ma'am', 'Yes, sir', or 'No, sir'."  This was one of the longest rules that was written. I got tired of the students answering with yeah and naw! J broke this rule several times before he realized I meant business. After writing this rule several times, he never missed an opportunity to answer a question with ma'am or sir. As a matter of fact, I saw him several years later and he was so respectful! Sometimes it's the little things that help mold a student into a different person... I'm not sure where this student is today, but I'm sure he remembers Rule #3!

Here is some information about the book that helped me survive a few tough classes early in my career. (Information from book review on Amazon)


From Publishers Weekly

The winner of the 2001 Disney Teacher of the Year Award presents some revolutionary ideas for the classroom: manners, industriousness and accountability. Many of the 55 rules Clark outlines read, at first, like excerpts from a 1950's primer: "If you are asked a question in conversation, you should ask a question in return," says Rule 6; stand to the right on escalators, insists Rule 43; and rule 29 includes 26 sub-rules about polite eating. Clark may seem like a bit of a fussbudget, but closer examination shows his rules go beyond simple politeness: they promote respect for self and others, and help foster a mature and responsible way of living in the world. As Clark explains each rule, he weaves in anecdotes of student projects, class trips (including one to Washington, D.C., where his students sang Christmas carols with the Clintons) and instances in which the particular rule proved invaluable. Clark, a North Carolina native, writes with a warm, Southern friendliness, and his cogent explanations about why he created his rules and his closing tips on dealing with parents and children offer plenty of ideas and much-needed support. Teachers will have to be determined to succeed before any set of guidelines will have an effect in the classroom, he warns-and indeed, Clark's tireless dedication might be daunting to some. And while the content of his lessons is presented only vaguely, for inspiration, this book is a definite winner; it also makes a strong case that students lack only good teachers to achieve great things. Clark's slim but valuable volume will make a welcome addition to any teacher's library. 
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Description

Now in paperback, Ron Clark's New York Times bestseller that's changing America one child at a time! 

The runaway bestseller that's a must-have for every parent and teacher. How many authors would travel coast to coast on a bus to get their book into as many hands as possible? Not many. But that's just what Ron Clark, author of The Essential 55, did to keep his book and message in the public eye. And it worked. After his Oprahappearance, sales skyrocketed: we've sold more than 850,000 copies in six months! The book sat tenaciously on the New York Times bestseller list for 11 weeks. Ron Clark was featured on the Today show, and in the Chicago TribuneGood Housekeeping, and the New York Daily News--not to mention the calls we've received from teachers and parents who want to get their hands on Ron's guidelines for teaching children. 

Now in paperback, The Essential 55 will be the perfect book for parents and teachers to slip into their own backpacks, to read on the train or at lunch, and to highlight the sections that resonate for them. And with an author who is truly a partner in getting his message to the masses, we just can't lose.

I am going to read his newest book ASAP! His speech was so inspiring to start the new year off "RUNNING" to move our schools into greater success for our students!

Product Description (from Amazon)

New York Times bestselling author and award-winning educator Ron Clark applies his successful leadership principles to the business world in this effective and accessible guidebook, perfect for any manager looking to inspire and motivate his or her team. Includes a foreword by bestselling author and FranklinCovey executive Sean Covey. 

Teamwork is crucial to the success of any business, and as acclaimed author and speaker Ron Clark illustrates, the members of any team are the key to unlocking success. Imagine a company as a bus filled with people who either help or hinder a team’s ability to move it forward: drivers (who steer the organization), runners (who consistently go above and beyond for the good of the organization), joggers (who do their jobs without pushing themselves), walkers (who are just getting pulled along), and riders (who hinder success and drag the team down). It’s the team leader’s job to recognize how members fall into these categories, encourage them to keep the “bus” moving by working together, and know when it’s time to kick the riders off. 

In the tradition of Who Moved My Cheese?and Fish!Move Your Bus is an accessible and uplifting business parable that illustrates Clark’s expert strategies to maximize the performance of each member of a team. These easy to implement techniques will inspire employees and team leaders alike to work harder and smarter and drive the organization to succeed.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Minecraft Volume Game

My students loved this online game. I let them play when we were studying volume and after that any free time (before lunch, class change, or ending bell) we had I would pull it up on the Promethean board. We played in practice mode-not timed. This helped the students apply the volume formula for a right rectangular prism quickly while sharpening their math facts. They also enjoyed playing on the laptops and trying to beat other students scores. This game is related to 5.MD.4 "Measure volume by counting cubes". Teacher and student approved fun!  The screen shot is from my phone and the game doesn't show up on a mobile device. We used this game before we studied composite figures. Great "building block" to another standard. 😊

Monday, July 11, 2016

Adding and subtracting decimals using menus

This past year I used several real-life activities in my lesson on adding and subtracting decimals. My favorite was the restaurant lesson. My coworker's mother owns a local BBQ restaurant. She brought menus and order pads for the students to use for the lesson. She taught them not only how to place your order in a restaurant correctly, but also how to get the most for your money.  The students were put into groups and each group had a different amount they could spend on their food. They had to correctly write their order, add to get the total, then subtract from the amount they were given to spend. Great lesson and the students were completely engaged! 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Famous iPad bulletin board

I have missed several emails from teachers wanting my icons for the iPad bulletin board door I made several years ago. Sorry! πŸ˜” I have seen it still circulating on Pinterest so I wanted to share the link for you. It's FREE on my Teachers Pay Teachers page. Over 6,000 downloads! Wow!!!
I hope all my teaching friends have a restful summer and a great start back to school.