Friday, July 17, 2015

5 For Friday

Today I'm linking up with Doodlebugs Teaching to share a little randomness from my week.


Summer Reading!  My two littles and I earned free shirts from the library's summer reading program. I've read quite a bit this summer and it's been so nice!  Some of my reading has been for my classroom: Wonder, Riding Freedom, Dexter the Tough, and next up is The One and Only Ivan.  I'm planning to have my boys read Dexter the Tough while my girls read The Hundred Dresses. Both books are about bullying/friendship and I think we will have some great discussions!


My littles and I have theme days this summer.  Thursdays are Thinking Thursdays so we can prevent summer slide and also learn new things!  Yesterday they worked on sewing projects (a new skill).  Lots of fun but very time consuming for mom.  


I went to work in my classroom earlier this week. It's a work in progress for sure!  I'm trying a new room layout this year so putting things away is taking forever.  


My new Ipsy bag arrived this week!  It's so cool getting a cute bag full of goodies each month.  I find makeup shopping very stressful, so getting to try new things that just "appear" in my mailbox is perfect for me. 


Pound of Dice.  I already had a small collection of dice--6-sided, dice in dice, and 30-sided.  But when I saw The Brown Bag Teacher's post, I knew I had to add to my collection.  Our first math unit is place value and I have BIG plans for the 10- and 12-sided dice!!!

That's my week in a nutshell. Thanks for reading! 

Renee' J

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Ditch That Textbook

I downloaded Ditch that Teacher last night and I'm already about halfway through.  It's a super fast read with lots of great reminders about changing the teaching mindset.  We have to make sure we are meeting the needs of today's students and preparing them for the future.  Think about the skills your students are going to need to survive in tomorrow's work force.  Are your lessons and strategies going teaching them to problem solve, communicate with others, and take on leadership roles?  A true A-HA moment was this quote from the book, "65% of today's schoolchildren eventually will be employed in jobs that have yet to be created."  Wow!  What a task we have in front of us!!

I also like that Miller stresses the importance of technology in today's classroom, but he also stresses that we have to be choosy with the technology we implement.  Is it purposeful?  Does it enrich the learning?  Or does it simply replace pencil and paper.  It's easy for me to become overwhelmed with all that is out there and try to take on too much at once.  When this happens I usually end up giving up on that technology.  Trends come and go.  I don't have to jump on every trend that someone else on FB or the blogosphere is trying out.  Instead, pick one and learn how to use it well.  I tried Twitter for the second time this last year and now I love it!  It's a great tool for sharing the great things we are doing in class and getting my message out to parents and others.  Feel free to follow me @mrsjohnson4th.  I also created a closed FB group for the parents in my class.  A fellow teacher did this and shared lots and lots of pics that she takes each day.  What a treat for parents to "see" their child learning and exploring and just having fun!  I sometimes take for granted being able to catch a glimpse of my daughter in the hallway at school.  :-)

A third point I want to make about this book is that Miller talks about finding balance and not "cheating" our families by being too involved in our work.  Balance is good!  I have found myself feeling guilty for spending Sunday afternoons at school while my two children are at home.  This year my younger child will be in Kindergarten, so both kids will be with me in my room before and after school.  I won't be able to get much done with a busy 5 year old boy!  I have to make the most of my time during the spare moments of the day.  I'm also trying to do some big time curriculum mapping this summer to make my planning faster during the school year.

Finally, Ditch That Textbook tells teachers that we are better together and not to "be a silo."  Get connected with fellow teachers both in your building and "out there" in the great beyond.  And SHARE your ideas with others.  I don't blog often because I convince myself that I don't have anything new or exciting to share.  I'm not creating things for TpT, although I am a VIP customer.  But I'm going to have to break that mentality.  I do have things to share, and while they may only help one person out there, isn't that worth it?

My goals this year:
1. Be more "present" in my life 
2. Become better connected with other teachers
3. Better utilize my free moments at school to free up more moments at home!

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Sunday, November 2, 2014

November Currently

I'm linking up with Farley for her November Currently.  I haven't done this in AGES.  I always see everyone's posts and plan what I'll write, but then I don't seem to make it to my computer.  :-(

But this month I did it!!!  Hooray!

Listening: My daughter has am impressive imagination and she is always making up stories and adventures for her and her little brother.  I just love that!

Loving: This year I'm teaching 3 classes of 4th grade reading and it's definitely my happy place!

Thinking: My family is going to Daytona for the Turkey Run (car show) this Thanksgiving.  The guys will be at the track all day and my sister and I will be chillin' with the kids at the beach.  I can't wait.

Wanting: We eat way too much junk around here and I'm the worst offender.  I really need to plan some simple but healthy meals to get us back on track.

Needing: I love everyone's riding boots, but I can't seem to find a pair to fit over my very large calves.  Boo!

Reading: Yesterday I ran in Target and People magazine was calling to me.  It was strange, because I never buy magazines at stores.  I do have a digital subscription to Better Homes and Gardens, but I'm a sporadic magazine reader at best.  I read it cover to cover and felt so indulgent!  Next on my reading list is Sophie Kinsella's newest shopaholic books.  I can't wait to dig in to that one!!

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Friday, July 25, 2014


I've spent the last week debating my future.  Boy, that sounds dramatic, doesn't it? My school's Curriculum Coordinator is leaving and I've always thought I would be great at that job.  I have been teaching for 15 years and have gathered many experiences and knowledge that would make this transition a logical next step.  BUT, (there's always a but) am I READY to leave the classroom?  I love what I do and I've already spent bank at TpT this summer on new resources I want to try out.  I think the biggest drawback is that the Curriculum Coordinator position won't be filled until after the school year starts.  I hate the thought of starting the year with a group of students and then turning them over to someone new.  Any thoughts?


Monday, February 3, 2014

February? Really?

HOW can it be February?  We celebrated our 100th Day last week.  It still scares me all that is left to teach before May.  My feelings might have something to do with the fact we missed 5 days in January and we were out again today.  I made the decision two weeks ago to cover my lesson plans with small post-it notes.  I'm tired of crossing out and drawing arrows all over my plans!  At least this way I just move the post-it's. :-)

We have some HUGE events coming up at school. Friday is Cupid's Cafe--our culminating activity for our Economics unit and one of my favorite days of the year!  My class gets to operate a restaurant out of our classroom and serve customers from other classes.  The kids love it!!

Next week is our Reading Around the World week and we have a visiting author, visiting illustrator, book character parade, and family reading night!  I'm hosting the Intermediate author's cafe.  Shew!

This week we are starting our Matter unit in science.  I picked up a couple of resources at the TpT sale yesterday that will really boost my unit.  I'm also teaching Economics and activities to reinforce point of view and theme.  

I'll leave you with a pic of my zebra finches. The one without orange cheeks is my new bird. This one is female-- my class named her Mango!  Ha!  

Friday, January 3, 2014

January Currently

I'm excited to link up for Farley's January Currently.  I've missed these!!!  Here is yet another reason I need to be more faithful in my blogging during school.  :-)

*Listening--I was thrilled when I opened Seasons 1-3 of Downton Abbey for Christmas.  My husband did well this year!  I've been watching episodes here and there when the kids go to bed.  It's been wonderful!  I can't wait for season 4 to begin.  I was late joining the craze, but since I have a crush on all things British I had to check it out.  Of course, I was hooked after the first episode!

*Loving--Even though my kids won't let me sleep "late" it has been oh-so-nice to keep my alarm turned off for two weeks.  Usually one or both will snuggle with me in the mornings before we head into the kitchen to make breakfast.  I have also enjoyed no makeup and comfy clothes.  Whatever will I do on Monday?!?  I'm afraid it will be quite a rude awakening.

*Thinking--My students keep Leadership Notebooks, but I'm afraid I'm not very good at helping them record their data and using it to set their own learning goals.
That's why I'm excited about one of my most recent TpT purchases, Miss Nannini's Student Data pack.   only purchased the 4th grade set.  I thought it might be better for me to ease in rather than diving in head first.  :-)  We are currently in the middle of our fractions units so we can start there.  I'm anxious to get started with it since there's still half a year left.

*Wanting--All we ever seem to get is a dusting of snow, and my children (as well as all of my students) are itching to throw snowballs and make snow angels.  It seems like we live in a protective bubble that keeps REAL snow away.  I bought sleds, snow pants, and snow boots a couple of years ago in hopes of snow, but all we managed was to outgrow the boots and pants! They are predicting an active winter, so maybe, just maybe…

 At home and at school.  I dearly need to purge but I find it awfully hard.  My thought is always that I'll need it as soon as I get rid of it!  LOL!  I've tried to tackle a cabinet or drawer each day over the break.  I know it's tot much, but it is at least a start.

*Tradition--My family always has cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning.  Growing up we ate after we opened gifts, but now that my sister and I have homes of our own, we meet for Christmas mid-morning and eat first.  It's a simple breakfast but I'm thankful for such a small but important tradition.  My mom passed away five years ago, but my dad kept it going.  He makes sure he has cinnamon rolls, milk, and juice for us.

I did visit my classroom yesterday.  Mostly I pulled materials to bring home for planning, but I did move my job board to a different bulletin board.  I am kicking off the new year with behavior beads, so I needed a place to display my students' accomplishments.
 I'm going go start off with the homework club beads and the reading goals beads.  Then I plan to add the 7 Habits and Bucket Filler beads.  I cannot wait to see my students' faces when I tell them about it!

I have much to do before Monday!

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Monday, December 30, 2013

Preparing for the New Year

December sort of flew by for me and I didn't even get to everything I'd planned. Can anyone else relate?  I have set a goal to be more organized and intentional in my planning for the second semester.  I'm going to sit down with my Common Core tracking tools and create *NEW* maps for myself to make sure I fill in all the gaps and fully prepare my students for the next level.  Yes, I thought I'd done that with my original maps, and according to those maps I had.  But, let's face it, things happen that are out of our control and we get behind.

I'm actually excited about starting fresh with the new year.  I purchased a few sets of behavior beads in August but I didn't feel they were a good fit for my class at the time. I think now would be perfect for introducing them and get my class re-energized in the new year!

I'd also fallen off the math centers wagon in the last month.  Both my 3rd and 4th graders were studying fractions and I found myself teaching to both groups at times.  It worked well for their initial chapters in fractions because my fourth graders needed a little review and I could introduce a couple of concepts earlier to my third graders.  However, it's time to get back to centers!  My kids need them and I love spiraling the math through the center activities. This means I need to print out a couple of new ones and pulling out a couple I made last year. 

For Reading, I have so many ideas my head is spinning!  This is where I will spend the bulk of my mapping time. There are just too many wonderful books, activities, and choices out there!  Not to mention all of the fab TpT purchases I've made and still have in my wish list.  :-) I definitely need to work on my fables/folk tales/myths/fairy tales unit and I can't wait to use Nicole Shelby's Greek Mythology products. I love all of her things.  I also pinned a few things on Pinterest last night for this unit.  I think this will be mid-January because I really, really want to start off with Mr. Popper's Penguins!  I purchased a few things last year from TpT to use with my last group and they loved it!
And, of course, I hope to find time for blogging this year. I think about it a lot, know...

What do all of you have up your sleeves for the New Year?