Wednesday, April 29, 2015

To be, or not to be sick, that is the question!

So I'm sitting here from my bed wanting to be out running or doing something marvelous in this gorgeous weather, but I am confined to the space that is my bedroom. I have felt queasy for days, and no I'm not pregnant, so don't even ask. My husband tells me this is my body's way of telling me I need to slow down. He says, "Go lay down and just watch your show (meaning Pretty Little Liars)." He sure knows me well!

Usually when we have this conversation I tell him that I don't have time to be sick and we go back and forth with similar comments. I usually listen after a while, but currently I'm only half listening. I am technically in bed and "resting." AND of course I'm watching "my show." BUT I just can't bring myself to slow down! There's too much to do and never enough time!

I love to always be going and doing, but my body always has those times when it forces me to stop and take care of myself. I just don't wanna slow down and only watch shows. I want to be watching a show while cooking dinner and working on a new product and grading papers. This is my normal and I like it that way, but yes I am mortal and have to learn to SLOW DOWN! So, contrary to my normal, I am taking my husband's advice and taking it easy.

As you know, it is SO much easier to go to school than write sub plans and prepare for a sub. Knowing that, you can guess that I went to school today. So, because my of my tummy ache I put some mint sprigs in my water this morning, hoping to settle the uneasiness. One of my firsties walks up and says, "Um, Mrs. Westwood did you know there's leaves in your water??!!" The look of worry on his cute little face was hilarious. I told him that I indeed knew there were leaves in my water and he proceeded to ask why I would put leaves in my water. I informed him that it was mint and it gave my water a nice flavor. He still was baffled by the fact that there were LEAVES in my water! Sometimes the no filter thing is pretty much a riot!

Speaking of kiddos saying hilarious things, while we took a brain break today using a Go Noodle video, one of my kiddos shouted, as he's dancing, "These hips are like spaceships, they're about to take somebody out." I about lost it! The things they come up with are out of this world!

It being a gorgeous day outside, we tried out one of my new products outdoors this afternoon. I love when I hear my kids says, "I love it when she makes us games." They are too cute with how much they go goo, goo for my creations.

We have been working on double-digit addition without regrouping and it has been a challenge to say the least. So, I created a SUPER tic-tac-toe game to help my kiddos get some extra practice. Check it out in my TPT store. It's called "Seeing Double." The name's inspired by the way my kids look at the double-digit equations. They seemed to get it more with the game, so hopefully that was an inspired idea! Anything we can take outside I am all for! Being outdoors helped get my mind off the fact that my stomach was doing flips.

I'm hoping my "taking it easy" will pay off tomorrow! I just have to remember, today is hump day and one more day closer to SUMMER!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sight Word Freeze Tag

Looking out the window today at the gorgeous weather, I just couldn't take it anymore! Sometimes I think I'm worse than the kids with how much I want to be outside instead of in my musty, old classroom! After gazing out the window for a split second I thought, "Hey, I AM the boss, so why not take this outside!"

It didn't take much convincing to get my kiddos to go outside and break out of our normal end of the day routine. So, I broke out my handy, dandy, laminated sight word cards and explained to my students how Sight Word Freeze Tag works. They could hardly contain their excitement as we ventured down the hall to the playground. 

If you've never had the joyous experience of playing "Sight Word Freeze Tag," here's how it works: Gather cards with the words you want your students to practice. I use use the Zeno Sight Word cards from The Teacher Wife's "POW!" game. Choose two to three students who will be it. (Depending on the size of your class, of course.) I have twenty-five rambunctious firsties, so I usually choose three taggers. Once we are outside, I give the students who aren't it a chance to run. This usually lasts about ten seconds or so. Then, my taggers are free to tag to their hearts content. 

When a student is tagged, they raise their hand and stay frozen until I get around to them. I run around to the students and have them read a sight word or two. If they read the words correctly, they are unfrozen and can continue playing. I usually take this time to do a super quick reteach for those students who aren't reading the words correctly. 

During the game I change up who the taggers are about every five minutes. This eliminates the drama of everyone wanting to be it. My kiddos love this game, and I get in quite the workout in the meantime. 

So, take advantage of the gorgeous weather and take your class outside! I have also played this game with math facts or just about anything I want my students to have more practice with. Tomorrow is FRIDAY, so break the norm and try some Sight Word Freeze Tag!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I wish my teacher knew....

I was inspired this week by a teacher in Denver who gave her students the writing assignment entitled, "I wish my teacher knew..." She encouraged other teachers to do the same after posting some of the notes she got back.

So, this morning I set out 3x5 cards and wrote a message on the board explaining to my students what I wanted them to do. I orally gave them some examples including things that take place at home or things that go on at school. Many of them wanted to write on more than one notecard, and I am pretty sure a few of them did five or six. They were so eager to tell me things I did not know about them and their lives. I told the students that this could be anonymous and that got them even more excited.

The students put the notes in a pile near my desk and were adamant that I read them A.S.A.P. I told them I would be reading through them later. (That answers seemed to suffice for the time being, thankfully!) Many students told me about sports or activities they are involved in outside of school. Some of them told me that I am a great teacher and I make school enjoyable. Other students told me they don't do their homework because they have so many chores to do.

I cried and laughed as I thumbed through their sweet notes. I think sometimes I forget that they are six and seven years old. I forget they have rough, crazy, busy lives outside of my classroom.

I sure do love my cute kiddos and they are a huge part of my world. I haven't had the opportunity to have kids myself and having these sweet beings in my life is priceless. As much as they drive me crazy sometimes, I sure do love how much they care about me. I breaks my heart thinking of the kids who have such hard lives. I have to remember that I need to make school a safe haven for them and influence their lives for good.

I took pictures of some of the notes that touched or tore out my heart. I hope they touch and inspire you! (For some reason my e-mail isn't getting the pictures I sent, so I will update them A.S.A.P.)