*All ideas presented are my own, I have not been paid by anyone to make this post about Thinking Maps, I truly just think they rock!
Are you Thinking Maps trained? Because if you're not, I highly suggest you bring it to the attention of your leadership team because it is AMAZING! I have been loosely using Thinking Maps for the past year and half in my Shared Reading block. I had gotten a hold of a popular Thinking Maps graphic off of Pinterest, and tried implementing the maps on my own. Back then I thought, hey no big deal what's to know?
Well, how wrong I was! This past Wednesday during Professional Development I got my coveted Thinking Maps binder and I was SO excited! The training itself was very intense, going over each map in detail, including how to troubleshoot certain roadblocks with students.
The following Wednesday we finished up our training with concrete ideas on how to roll out the maps for the first eight weeks of school for 2018-2019. This was helpful to see exactly how each map could be utilized, so that by the end of September every student in our school will be very familiar with the Maps.
So, you might be asking yourself, what is so great about Thinking Maps? Why should I bring this idea to my leadership team? The entire idea behind Thinking Maps is to give students predictable tools that create patterns in their brains. The most brilliant aspect of Thinking Maps for me as an elementary instructor is that I can use them for any topic or subject. That's right, ANY! They can be used for Art, Music, P.E., Social Studies, Science, Math, English Language Arts, Spanish, and the list truly goes on. They can be used for any grade level, any age level. From itty bitty Kinders, to big high schoolers, and even adults.
Be sure to check out my Instagram for Thinking Maps ideas, because since I have gotten trained I have been using them for everything! My latest project was using them for Earth Day, which accumulated into our Earth Day Collage on Friday. Check out the Home Page for pictures from that day, as well as Mae's Faves for the book I read aloud to them!
Do you want to be Thinking Maps trained? Are you already trained? What are your thoughts?
Until next time...
Knowing that I had had meetings all week, and had been routinely getting home by 7 pm, that I was exhausted, the march loomed closer. I finally made the decision that morning, pulling on my red shirt, that I would go. As soon as school ended, and after my meetings, the art teacher and I made two signs and drove over to the meeting spot.
If you joined me on Instagram March 28 you would have seen thousands of Arizona teachers descending on the State Capital to protest low teacher pay, large class sizes, and low student spending. I felt exhiliarated by the movement and solidarity with other teachers I met at the march.
Then, Thursday came around, and I started reading the comments on KTAR, NBC News, and AZCental. We made national news and I was reading comments like "They knew what they were getting into when they took the job" and "If you can't make it on 35K a year in Arizona there's something wrong with you!" and my favorite, "Summer off and you want more?!"
I was irate, shocked, angry, and saddened by these comments. These were Arizona citizens, most of them, and they just didn't understand. This blog and brand are mostly geared towards teachers, but if you happen to stumble across my humble site, here are some facts about the #redfored movement:
Please share and comment below and stay in Solidarity with the states that are fighting for better teacher salaries.
I am so excited to be back at work in the groove of things. The week went by really fast, but it was great to be back in the classroom with my kiddos. They fell right into the routines.
In this week's vlog I talk you through my Shared Reading block, my math block, and my science block; which is why it's so long (sorry!). So, please watch, subscribe, check out the links for this episode, and I'll see you next week!
Math Tech Connections | Math Sorts
25 Quick Formative Assessments by Judith Dodge
Teaching is not just a "job." You can't step away, you can't give 50%, you can't coast. It's all or nothing. These past few weeks have been testing me in all those areas. However, grief is also all-consuming. And yet, your classroom won't wait.
This past Tuesday my grandfather, my Tata, passed away. My dad ended up calling me at work to tell me, and I think at that point I would have loved to just drop everything and leave. But, I couldn't. Many people who are not teachers will not understand this. That's okay. Part of the purpose of my vlog is to show that teachers have lives outside of their job, but that our job is intertwined with our lives. A normal job would have told me to go home and perhaps given me some bereavement days, if I was lucky. My own husband was given days on my behalf for bereavement. Teaching does not afford such luxury.
On top of everything I had conferences for the rest of the week every night til six o'clock. I pushed through because that's what I do. The alternative would have been more stress on my part, to reschedule every conference and to find times that would work for all my parents? Nightmare.
So, in the end, the purpose of today's post it to outline some guidelines for bereaved colleagues.
These past few weeks have been a roller coaster. I have been prepping and preparing for my best friends wedding as her matron of honor, I've been battling being sick, and I've been trying to get through my classes for my provisional certificate.
-The Teaching Lifestyle
This week was a whirlwind of meetings, leadership obligations, and managing student behavior, but I stuck with my mantra "I'm going to ROCK this week!"
This week my mom celebrated her 60th birthday. She really wanted to go see the Mexican Brown Bats in Central Phoenix leave their cave for the night. It was an amazing experience!
It seems like every week I say it was crazy and busy, and that is true. I am still working on my work-life balance. The beginning of the week will be kinder to me than the end, so I took Saturday off completely and rested. I know some teachers will go go go, but there are times that no matter how long the To-Do list a break must be had.
This weekend I did work on making Google Sites units for reading that are project based. Second grade will be working toward mastery in R.I.6, R.I.1, R.I.2, and R.I.9, using the topic of health and the human body. Third grade will be working toward the same standards but using the topic of the ocean and conservation. The Sites aren't done yet, but I hope to roll them out Thursday.
How was your week? Has Fall arrived in your state yet?
This week has gone by so fast, and I'm kind of glad that it is over. Not because of the kids, my students are FANTASTIC and we are having a BLAST together. But because of everything else that makes teaching a lifestyle, not a career.
I had recess duty last week and this week. I am now realizing that my actual lunch, my actual eating and sitting down to take a breather is really more like 15 minutes instead of the required 30. I am the kind of teacher that does not work through lunch. I know many teachers are not that way, heck even my own cooperating teacher wasn't that way when I was student teaching. She was always go, go, go! But I am. I plan my day so that I get my "me" time. If it truly was the whole 30 minutes I wouldn't complain, but it is not. After dropping the kids off at the cafeteria, make sure they get through the line safely, go to the restroom myself, check my mailbox, grab my lunch-bag and finally sit down: oh no, only 15 minutes left!
I have this week coming up off and I plan to enjoy every single minute! I hope next year we can come up with a better plan to allow for our playgrounds to be safely supervised, reducing behaviors, while also giving teachers their true 30 minutes. Since I'm on Leadership I have a voice! This year I will just get through it as best I can.
I am feeling more and more that this year is like my very first year of teaching in that I am constantly planning and remaking the wheel. I have no lessons I can reuse and tweak to make better like previous years. Everything must be made from scratch to fit both 2nd and 3rd, and sometimes I have to make 4 lessons for one subject block per day to incorporate the different abilities of my students. My planning time has been taken up with meetings and extra things so that I rarely have time to just sit and plan.
My goal this coming week is to only use my planning time for PLANNING. Any extra stuff will need to wait because my kiddos come first and I am ready to stop bringing stuff home almost every single day. I got a HUGE chunk of planning done on Saturday, but no more!
If you saw my Instagram over the weekend you saw what my Saturday was like from 11-5!
I was still able to get a date night in, I told my husband 5pm was my deadline no matter what and miraculously I worked smarter and not harder and got it done. I am still using the same template I have always used in years past for reading, guided, and math. The time consuming part comes in when I am deciphering 2nd grade's curriculum requirements since it is new to me (first year flashbacks!).
Let me know what your highs and lows from the week were!
This week flew by, and I knew it would! I am so glad I spent the three day weekend resting up and planning. I knew teaching a 2/3 split class would be a challenge, and I am enjoying the challenge. So far most things have been staying the same like Guided Reading, Science, and Writing. But some things will need to change soon.
I am figuring out how to teach two different curriculum topics to two different grade levels while still respecting the different learning paces of my students. I have higher achieving 2nd graders, and lower achieving 3rd graders. This upcoming week I think I am going to play around with Pear Deck, which allows you to project your lessons onto the devices of your students and engage them with interactive real time questions, scenarios, writing, drawing, and voting. This is a subscription based tool, but they have a limited free version available.
For writing I will probably be diving deeper into Michael Friermood's Keep It Fresh! Writing Bundles. If you haven't checked out Michael's stuff or his blog you definitely should. His products are amazing. In my video I mention an end of year activity we did called an Inspirational Quote Quilt. Not only did my kiddos have a blast making it last year, but it served as a great community builder for this year!
I also mention that I have been using Mystery Science. I absolutely LOVE this program! It gives you the option when you first sign up to do your state's science standard or to follow the NGSS. I chose the NGSS and it has been working out really well for me, especially because they were really confusing to me when I first looked at them over summer!
Lastly, I did end up going to Old Navy on Sunday, but I didn't end up buying anything. I tried on some Pixie Pants (my favorite work pant) to check out some different colors. Their sale right now is an extra 20% off online and in store with their website coupon. Site wide select styles of pants are already marked down 40%. If you are not a subscriber I would highly recommend signing up, they will give you 30% off right away. If you don't like a slim pant I would go with the Harper style (it needs an ironed crease to look super chic though, and they can stretch out, so be careful of the size you choose.) I will be waiting for Old Navy to release their Fall Pixie colors before purchasing more pants or tops for now.
How was your short week? Anything interesting or fun happen over the weekend?
This past weekend has gone by so fast. I was looking back through pictures on Google Photos, and sure enough on September 9 of last year my voice was gone!
I started feeling sick this past Wednesday with a severe sore throat. Had the nurse check me out because people kept telling me I was getting Strep Throat! He said I had the beginnings of a fever and definitely a raw throat. By the time I got home my sinus' were all plugged. Yay!
Thursday I dragged myself in because I had two meetings. One, a behavior meeting with a parent at 7:30 (thank goodness I didn't forget!) and a meeting with my principal during my specials. Thankfully my best friend came in to help me that day, and since she's an ex-teacher she was able to bang out sub-plans for me in no time!
My sub-plans were pretty simple. I usually use the re-usable ones I've purchased from TPT, but I wanted them to be more targeted to our learning this week. So I ended up printing a simple activity to use with Brain Pop Jr., a free write activity, a reading quiz (since they were going to take it anyway), and Math Tri Folds from Math Tech Connections. If you haven't check out her stuff it is AMAZING, and super simple for stations, or in my case, sub-plans! She also has Math Sorts that I ZERO prep as well!
I basically stayed in bed miserable all day Friday. I couldn't go outside because I did figure out I was sick with allergies once I sneezed 20 times in one day! My Flonase completely failed me! I find the best things to speed up recovery is peppermint essential oil for the shower to decongest, Mucinex DM 12 hr, hot peppermint tea from Trader Joe's with a touch of honey, and Puff Plus!
On the positive side I did get to spend time with my dad for his birthday on Saturday for a few hours, and I did get to rest a lot. Today I spend some time planning for Shared Reading, Guided Reading, and Science.
I hope you all had an amazing 3 day weekend!
"Teaching is a lifestyle.. Let's manage it!"
Make planning for partners, small groups, and extensions a breeze using my Bell Curve Group Planner. Data informed and easily customizable for any subject and grade!
I'm Mae and I am an Educational Technology Coach who supports Kinder through 8th grade teachers; I am Thinking Maps trained, with a Master's Degree in Elementary Education!