Making Over Third Grade!: Falling Behind but Trying Hard to Keep Up!
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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Falling Behind but Trying Hard to Keep Up!

I had big plans for when I came back to school in January. I was going to keep on with my grading. I was going to keep up with my blog reading. I was going to keep up with my blogging. I was going to keep up with cleaning. And with the laundry. And with...well, with everything!
I haven't been so great at keeping up with anything but it seems it is because something else is always coming up.

Things kept popping up and diverting my attention to other time sensitive things. First, to my surprise, I was elected Teacher of the Year at my site. Then I had an issue with Yahoo email [yeah, I know, who uses Yahoo any more? Well, I have learned my lesson and have forwarded the accounts (yes, two of them) to my Gmail account] and didn't receive any mail to the accounts for a week then suddenly had 259 emails to read. 259!! I can't even handle when it gets to double digits. I thought I was going to have a panic attack when I saw those three digits in that ominous little red badge. (Yeah, I have also removed the mail badge to make my life easier.) I discovered the district Teacher of the Year packet had to be in my Monday, January 26th by 4. I wasn't going to complete it, but some friends convinced me I should. So, I spent last Saturday helping to facilitate a district planning day and Sunday writing my 11 page (yeah, that's right - 11 pages) packet.
So there was no time for a blog post last week. Therefore, I was bound and determined to get a post in sometime this week. A day late from the goal isn't that bad. Is it?
At the planning day last weekend I was approached about becoming a Navigator teacher for NextLesson. I jumped at the chance and got the confirmation email from them on Thursday. If you haven't checked out any of the awesome real-life CCSS aligned (and mostly free) lessons at NextLesson you should check them out now! Go on, I will wait. See? What did I tell you? Awesome right? I know! I love that they are all planned out and that you can choose to have the tech piece or not. There are a variety of options even within the lessons which help the kids be more engaged and they LOVE them. Last year, I did the Geometry in Art lesson and the kids were obsessed. This year, I did the Comic Con/Fan Club lessons and had the same results with kids being completely engaged. (As a disclaimer I am NOT being paid or given an incentive for writing this. I just love them!)

This weekend I spent Saturday in a PD learning how to teach kids to code. I will be implementing that this week as well. I did the Hour of Code in December and my kids have been using a variety of coding apps (Tynker, Kodable, Run, Marco!, and Hour of Code puzzles from so I know they will eager to take this on.
We are preparing for a virtual field trip to Africa this week. I have never done a virtual field trip before so this is rather exciting! We did extensive reading and learning about biomes this year so I am hoping that the kids will be very interested in what they learn on Thursday. This African adventure, which is what I am calling it, will be a learning curve for all of us! (This one is for grades 3-8 but the lesson plans for it go all the way up to grade 12.)

Monica Evon over at iPaddling Through Fourth Grade has been Skyping in the classroom for some time and as we have become blogging buddies she has wanted to Mystery Skype with my class for a while. I will be honest, I had to learn about how to Skype in the classroom and then to get the clearance to do so, and finally, make sure it worked. This week a friend who teaches kinder will be helping me test it out so that I can finally start Mystery Skyping and get my kids out of just our town and their neighborhood.

I am working on getting other classes who Kidblog to follow and comment on my students' blogs and even made the (accepted) suggestion that the district should create a list of teachers in our district who use Kidblog so that we can blog across the district. I have seen the power blogging has on making me be a reflective teacher and I can see some of my students are starting to get there too. I want them to experience having an audience, at least for the last few months of the school year. Do you use Kidblog with your class? If so, email me if you would like to start blogging with other classes. (You have to make sure your settings under 'post' allow all to read.)

I was approached by an ed tech teacher in my district and encouraged to submit an application for presenting at the GAFE summit that will happen at the end of February in my city. I was very hesitant but then he convinced me that I would be able to teach those who are just learning how to incorporate Google Apps in their classrooms, particularly in iPad classes. So I went ahead and leaped out of my comfort zone and applied. I mean the worst thing that could happen is that they accept me say no right? If I do get to present my presentation would be, "Google Apps in an Apple World'. What do you think? Would you attend if you were just starting out with 1:1?

Finally, this week has ended with the Super Bowl which for Robert means a game and for me means commercials. We ordered Chinese food (that is our Super Bowl thing) and settled in. I tried to work during the game. Honest. I did. I didn't get much done though. So here I am (again) on a Sunday night sitting at the computer and though I should be lesson planning I am avoiding it. Really, I just need to write it down, I know what we are going to do, just need the record of it. You never know when they will ask to see your plans.

Oh! And the best thing yet today! I got my February SLANT box partner! I have never participated in Lessons with Coffee's SLANT box before but I am excited about it. Have you participated? What was your experience like? If you haven't and you want to learn more head on over to Jameson's SLANT box page.

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