Saturday, August 31, 2013

Where did August go?

It's official. Labor Day is almost here...which means we've finished our first month of school with success! So many great things have happened that I'm not quite sure where to begin. Hum....let's talk math first.

We finished the Whole Numbers Place Value unit in only 7 days (including a Review day and a Test day). My Place Value QR codes were a huge hit with my kiddos; many thanks to my TPT followers who have also provided some great feedback on these. If you haven't checked them out, go ahead & put them on your wish list for next year (or even state test review).

Another great FREEBIE resource that I used was the Ordering Numbers Through Millions set from Allison Harig. Comparing & ordering whole numbers (along with decimals) is still in my TN state standards, but I sometimes have trouble finding activities for this skill because most are on a lower level. The larger numbers are perfect for 5th grade, plus students must carefully read each number (lots of similar numbers) & notice the difference between place values before just placing them in order according to the first digit (many of my kiddos tried to order 899,876 before 7,908,994 because they didn't notice that it was only in the hundred thousands place). I even let my students work together so they could share the cards (I try to limit myself to printing/laminating only 5 sets of cards per game). If you haven't already downloaded this set, check it out by clicking the icon below!
My second unit was entitled "Introduction to Algebra" and focused on understanding & applying the Order of Operations. This one served as a double whammy for both my CCSS and TN state standards, however for the TN standards, students will have to apply PEMDAS for expressions with decimals & fractions....go figure! The introduction of brackets & braces wasn't a huge deal as I expected but those darn exponents just got some of my lovelies really hung up. I started only with squared & cubed exponents (think SMALL products) because we haven't "officially" worked on multi-digit multiplication. I'll definitely need to hit this again before throwing in higher powers.

Next Up, Multiplication

After the Labor Day break, I'll start our Multiplying Whole Numbers unit that will include using the Powers of 10 to multiply whole numbers (decimals will come later). It seems like I've used the phrase "Powers of 10" constantly - when referring to those place value patterns and our exponents mini-lesson. However I'll only have two days to with my kiddos in regular classes before we take our traditional overnight trip to 4H camp. I seriously LOVE this field trip. I can't wait to share stories & pictures of our adventures!

- Mrs. Wiggin -


Friday, August 16, 2013

Room Reveal in Pictures

WOW! I hope your first week of school has been fabulous like mine! I can honestly say that this week has been the BEST first week ever. My team & I are totally in love with our kiddos! This is the sweetest bunch of kids I have ever had the privilege of meeting....let's knock on wood that this trend lasts all year.

I'm terribly behind in my blogging, so I'll begin with a photo tour of my classroom. Enjoy!

This is the main entrance to my classroom. The locker space was the perfect size for my motivational display & you can easily spot it when you're walking down the hallway. I like to keep a cute display above my student mailboxes & a large laundry basket below for "Lost & Found" items (just 5th grade items, not the entire school).

This is the view from the back of my classroom. I do a lot with interactive journals so I use a "teaching station" near my Promethean Board. Here I have the dock for my laptop and a document camera (trust me, you NEED one of these).
This is taken from the center of the room, facing the door/hallway. My actual desk is near the door, with a trapezoid table in the front. I've found this table to be extremely handy for papers & random items that I seem to collect throughout the day.
Here is one of my computer tables that I've raised up so that students can sit on medium bar stools. The stools take up much less room than chairs & the tables are the perfect height for students to stand at also.

Now for the Close Ups

If teaching doesn't kill me first, Pinterest will take care of it. Sometimes I feel like Pinterest has exploded in my room. Speaking of Pinterest, there are several ideas below that are not of my own & I am in no way claiming them as originals.
 My team has agreed to try the "Homework Club" challenge. We've decided that any students who have turned in all of their assignments on time will get to join us for lunch at the end of the month (no biggie here - they simply get to bring their lunches to our rooms & eat with us....they LOVE this).
Got to have those Mathematical Practices handy!

  My "I'm Done - Now What?" display is another favorite Pinterest idea. I'm hoping my kiddos will enjoy sudoku & picture graphing as I've added them as fun activities for early finishers.
 This is where I post my "I Can" statements that we are currently working on. We also use an "I Can" assessment sheet, but having the skills posted helps me quickly point out our objectives.
- Mrs. Wiggin -

Saturday, August 3, 2013

My First Award

Oh boy! Debbie over at Flip Flop Hop nominated me for my first award.
Thanks Debbie!
What is a Liebster Award?

It is an award given to "up and coming" bloggers who have less than 200 followers.

What does Liebster stand for?

Liebster is a German word that means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. Wow---I feel special!

My Turn...

Random Facts:

1.  During college I was an assistant manager at my local Zaxby's restaurant. I ate chicken almost every day....AND still love a good salad from there!

2. I did the pageant thing. Yep, I competed at the state-level for the Miss America Organization for three year. Scholarships baby!

3.  I did not see myself as an "intermediate teacher" until I was moved to 5th grade math. In fact, I dreamed about teaching kindergarten for years. What was I thinking?!?!?

4. I'm a musician. I studied piano for 12 years, and continue to play as the worship leader at my church. I love singing too!

5.  My husband & I are both extreme couponers. No joke! We have a special binder that we take out shopping & an entire garage stocked with stuff that we've bought for pennies or, even better, FREE. Maybe I'll publish a post on this hobby soon...

6.  I could live on chicken nuggets from Wendy's.

7.  After nearly 5 years of owning (well kind of, she's my husband's dog) a Husky, I'm just now training her to walk on a leash. Let's just say she's a bit hyper - not aggressive, just excited!

8.  I can't cook. My husband is the chef in the house & I can't complain because he's a good one too!

9.  I stopped drinking sodas (cold turkey) about 5 years ago and now ice water is my drink of choice.

10.  I didn't know all of my multiplication facts until I started teaching 5th grade math. I was a straight A student, but just never fluently memorized those darn 7s, 8s, & 12s.

11.  My husband & I tailgate at almost every TN football home game. GO VOLS!

Questions for me:

1. Are you teaching in the state that you grew up in?
Yes, I've always lived in the same city.

2. If you were to change occupations, what would your next choice be?
Wow, I can't even imagine myself doing anything other than teaching. If I had to choose, I'd probably choose to be a neonatal nurse - one that gets to hold the *itty bitty* babies.

3. How many states have you visited?
Not many - GA, FL, VT, NC, SC, KY...I think that's all?

4. Are you a healthy eater or do you lean toward the junk food side?
Ugh...I really strive to eat healthy, especially after I lost the pageant size that I used to maintain. However I have a REALLY bad weakness for sweets.

5. How long have you been teaching?
This will be my fourth year. I've taught 1 year in 2nd grade and the last two in 5th grade math.

6. What will you miss most about summer ending?
Lounging in the pool!

7. What piece of technology is your favorite?
My classroom Ipad - I wasn't into the Apple products until my tech guru gave me one to use with the kiddos.

8. How long have you been blogging?
Less than a month...newbie here!

 9. How many hours a week do you commit to school work? (Above the normal 40)
Waaaayyyyy too many! I spend 4-5 hours each weeknight...can't even begin to count up the weekend time!

10. Do you have a favorite quote?
"Do not worry about your problems with mathematics. I assure you mine are far greater." - Albert Einstein

11. What is your favorite read-aloud book?
Oh, the Place's You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss

Questions for my nominees:

1. What's the scariest thing that you've ever done?
2. What's your "go-to" lunch for school (you know, the one that will help you make it through the rest of the day)?
3. If you had to teach a grade/subject other than your own, what/where would you move to?
4. Do you have any fur-babies (pets)?
5. Where would you go for a dream vacation?
6. What do you like to do at home (when you're not working on school stuff)?
7. What are you currently reading?
8. Any hidden talents that your students wouldn't know about?
9. If you had to coach a school sport, which would you choose?
10. How did you get started in the blogging world?
11. What's your favorite song?

*Now for the Nominees*

The Sally Classroom by Rachel
Making It As a Middle School Teacher by Michelle
To the Square Inch by Kate
 Flip Flops, Polka Dots, & Pre K by Jeannie
To accept this nomination, all you have to do is:
1. Link back to the blog that nominated you.
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers.
3. Answer the questions posed by the nominator.
4. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
5. Create 11 questions for your nominees.
6. Contact your nominees to let them know that you've nominated them.

- Mrs. Wiggin -