Five for Friday.. err Saturday

This first few weeks of March have been a crazy whirlwind of teaching and training.  I have felt so busy both at home and school.  I decided to get up early this morning to get a few things done before my daughter's basketball game, and while I'm sitting in my pjs enjoying my 'Cuppa Joe,' I decided to link up with Doodle Bugs and Amanda at Teaching Maddeness for their linky parties.

#1:  I have spent the last week or so in two different professional development conferences.  The first was actually LAST Friday.  I had the opportunity to hear Lucy Calkins speak.  She is wonderful... I can't express that enough to people.  She energizes, she puts things in perspective, she speaks "teacher."  I have missed Lucy a lot as a sixth grade teacher.  We are the balance year between her writing perspective and Nancy Atwell.  Hearing Lucy speak last week helped me focus more on writing task planning.  It gave me guidance with writing in the Common Core, and just made me feel better as a teacher.. I love THAT type of conference!  I can't wait for her Writing Units to come out for 6th grade.. projected for January 2014!

 #2:  The second professional development I went to was about training people to score our NYS Math Assessment in April.  This training was put on by BOCES.  Very interesting changes coming on the rubrics.  Hopefully in our student's favors!  This is going to be a very difficult year with the shifts in the Common Core.  Across the state they are projecting a 40% drop in test scores!  UT OH!

#3 My Smarites finished up their Middle Ages Literature Circles books.  One of my groups read Max and Me and the Time Machine.  Have you ever read this novel?  It is an "Oldie" but really good.  It is about 2 boys who put together a time machine and travel back to the Middle Ages.  The interesting part is that they are placed into the bodies of people in the Middle Ages and have to assume their roles within the kingdom.  One of the boys actually becomes a horse, which add a lot of humor to the story.  This book is great for your slower readers in middle school.  It lays out a lot of protagonist/antagonist, good vs evil theme, setting etc.. When my group was finished, I had them complete a
DIDN'T DO poem from the perspective of the antagonist.
A DIDN'T Do poem basically is just formatted where the person decribes things he or she didn't get to do, and wished they had done, instead of what they actually accomplished.  I use it at the beginning of the school year as well, to learn about my students and hear what they did over the summer.  If you are interested in using it in your classroom, you can download it for FREE [HERE]
#4  My Smarties are finishing up our unit on RATES.  Our Interactive Math Notebooks have really be a godsend for this unit.  We have to remember how to divide decimals and reduce fractions, and all I have to do is refer to page numbers in the notebook, and the smarties can find the resources they need for work.  I love that notebook.

#5:  Big changes are going on at my school.  We work on 3 man teams, teaching a two block ELA period and then 3 core classess, so I teach math and ELA.  Our principal announced at our staff meeting that he will be mixing our teams up next year.  Our building is in an uproar.  I have worked with my team for  years.  It will be hard to leave them and work with someone else.  He has not announced WHEN he will be telling us our new teams.  I hope it is soon so that we can all adjust and move on!  This is a great example of how March really can be a LION!

Stop by and visit Amy at Teaching in Blue Jeans.  She is celebrating her 40th birthday with a few giveaways.  I donated my Wacky Wordies Algebra Editon.  There are giveaways for several grade levels. Great stuff to be had!


  1. I have never seen an "I Didn't" poem before - thanks for sharing. I hate changes like that - if your team works well together - why change. I am sure your new team will be great too!

    Looking From Third to Fourth

  2. I've begun to see more and more about schools drastically cflipping teams, teachers, and grade levels. We haven't gone through that (yet), but I'm always curious about the ramifications of it. Especially when you've got strong team that do great teaching and have great chemistry.

  3. So sorry to hear about the mix-up....those types of things always STRESS me out!! :( I'm glad you've had some great professional development opportunities though! Makes me excited about our Whole Brain Conference this summer!!

    Teaching Maddeness

  4. I am so jealous that you got to hear Lucy Calkins speak! That is one of my teacher dreams.

    Ms. Cranfill's Class


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