Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Linkin' Up to New Bloggers

Have have blogged for years about the crafts I create but only recently decided to start blogging about my job, being a teacher. So, today I am linking up with Grade Three is the Place for Me in the Newbie Bloggers Blog Hop. My neighbor, Andrea at Reading Toward the Stars! hooked me up with this Blog Hop.

Here are the questions she asked:

    1.  what state you are in

    2.  your current teaching position
    3.  your teaching experience
    4.  when you started blogging
    5.  share a blogging tip / blogging resource
 Here are my answers:

     1. I live in Virginia
     2. I just got moved to Challenge Resource Teacher with an emphasis on writing
     3. I have been teaching for 5 1/2 years
     4. I started this blog about 2 weeks ago 
     5. The best thing I have learned is to ask. If you like something on someone's blog, ask them about it. Bloggers are the friendly and helpful. Just ask.

Until tomorrow!



Thursday, July 26, 2012

Shopping to make items found on Pinterest

I recently got hooked on Pinterest when I was in Pennsylvania visiting a friend, who in her past life was a teacher. Since then I have found many great resources, especially since I am switching from social studies to writing and going  back into the classroom after a year and a half as a social studies coach. This week I am out of town in northern Virginia so that my children can attend an amazing ice hockey camp. So while they are at camp I went looking for some of the items needed to make some of the cool things I had pinned.

First stop was a teacher store. The closest one to me was in Burke called Teacher Mart. The wonderful sales clerk there worked with me for about an hour showing me different series of books since I teach 6th, 7th, and 8th grade writing. Here are the items I ended up getting:

 The main item I went looking for was a plan book. And I found the perfect one.

 The reason I wanted a plan book was because of this picture I pinned several weeks again.

I visited The Wise & Witty Teacher blog to see how and why she set it up this way. She is an elementary teacher who teachers several different subjects, but only one grade level. I on the other had teach one subject, but over several grade levels. I saw how she color coded by subject area and I thought I can do the same thing by grade level. Next I had to find one that would work with the centers I had created, which means I needed 18 spaces per day (6 per grade level). And I found it.Next stop was getting post-it notes. This is what my plan book now looks like on the inside.

I used the post-it page markers to color code the stations/centers at the top and then used small rectangular post-its to differentiate by grade level. I can't wait to start filling it in.

The next store to hit up was IKEA so I could get the hardware found at Create-Teach-Share's blog on her Boggle post.

 They didn't have the blue buckets, so I went with the frosted clear buckets. She plans to use this as an option for word work where the students just need to find as many words as they can. I teach middle school and want to take this one stop further. The students will need to write down the definition and part of speech for each word they find. I'm going to have this be an activity they can work on if they finish early and as an opportunity to earn extra credit. And if they can relate it back to one of their SOLs (Standards of Learning) in their other classes (social studies, science, or math), they will get more points. An example from the picture above would be EAST. In USI they have to be able to understand a compass rose. Another example would be SAP for 7th grade science. I hope the kids really get into it. I go back to work in less than 2 weeks and am looking forward to setting up this bulletin board.

Until next time.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Stations/Centers for the Year

This year, I have been moved from Social Studies back to English, specifically Writing and Grammar. Happy, happy, joy, joy! I wasn't real happy at first, but the idea has been growing on me lately. Besides working on writing and grammar, my class is a resource class for all the other subject areas within the team: Science, Math, Social Studies, and Reading. And the team I'm on teaches all three grade levels (6th, 7th, and 8th). My class has no set curriculum to follow as I am a resource class, so I had lets of fun figuring out what I wanted to do. The first thing I did was to think back to what my children got excited about in their classrooms over the last several years and that would be centers or stations. So I decided that that would be how I set up my classroom. Here are the 6 centers/stations I have come up with. All 3 grade levels will have the same centers, but geared to what they are learning.

1.    Language Review (Focus for the day) - This will be how we start class every day. I found a wonderful workbook for each of the grade levels that has worksheets set up for every day taking about 5 minutes. Here is a picture of the Grade 7 one.

2.    Journal - Students will journal for 5-10 minutes on a given prompt every day. Students will then pick one journal entry from the week before to work into a paper in the writing station. I found a Point of View Write About Flip book at the Teacher's Touch & Parents Too store in Myrtle Beach this summer that I thought would be perfect. It allows the students to create 1000s of different prompts.

3.     Grammar - This station is going to follow what the grade level writing teachers are teaching in their classes. I figure 2 days of notes or anchor charts followed by 2-3 days of practice.

4.     Vocabulary - the students will get 16 new words a week: 4 from science, 4 from social studies, and 4 from reading with a quiz every Friday. I am going to have them create their own dictionary for the 3 different subjects.

5.     Reading Comprehension - Teachers always have those one page readers with a 1/2 page of questions that they always want to include in their lessons, but don't have the time. Well now I'm going to make the time for them. I want to do this station as a when you get down with your work activity or as homework. The students would have 3 readings a week: one each for social studies, science, and reading.

6.     Writing Station - This is the station where the students will work on turning their journal prompts into 5 paragraph essays in preparation for their state writing test in 8th grade.

Not all stations will be completed every day, but they will all be completed over the course of the week. By doing stations this way, I will have time to sit down and have writing conferences with students on a weekly basis.

I will keep you all up-to-date on how these work out once school starts.


Friday, July 13, 2012

First Post!

 I decided to re-enter the blogging world after my neighbor started blogging this past Spring. First off I want to thank The 3am Teacher for the wonderful frames I used to create my title banner. I also want to thank Andrea at Reading Toward the Stars! for helping me figure out how to get the frames and how to use the computer to create the title banner.

I have followed several teacher blogs over the last two years, but never thought of creating my own. For the past two years I was the Social Studies Coach at my middle school, which means I helped out the 5 Social Studies teachers in the building, but I didn't have my own classes. This summer I found out that in August I will be going back into the classroom teaching writing with an emphasis on social studies. I will be teaching 6th graders, 7th graders, and 8th graders and thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to start blogging again.

My neighbor and I were throwing around names for this blog and stumbled upon the name Being Elementary in Middle School. We liked the title because I take strategies, like stations, that are traditionally used in elementary classrooms and use them in my middle school classrooms. I am looking forward to this venture and hope that you all enjoy the adventure as much as me!