Wednesday, November 6, 2013

TOTALLY off topic... my son's Superhero Birthday Party!

This post is completely off topic but I will make no apologies because I HAVE to blog about my son's 2nd Birthday Party!!! OH MY GOODNESS I AM SO EXCITED!!! Ok- it was a superhero theme (maybe my kid's superhero papers got me in the superhero spirit.. not to mention my adorbs superhero skirt..) and I went full out crafty on this party. It was mainly family but Josh is invited 2 of his boy friends that will be in his grade whose mommas also happen to be my sweet work friends. So total there will be 3 boys and 1 sweet little girl who is Joshua's cousin. They are all close in age so I planned some fun little activities.

I decorated both the inside of the house and the outside. I had originally thought
we would play outside and come in to snack and open presents. I should of known better that once I got my son outside it would be impossible to lure him inside again... so outside went the presents and food!

With the help of pinterest, amazon and oriental trading I think it all came together quiet nicely! Everyone had a really good time and my birthday boy was happy happy happy (...well, most of the time...) !!
My sweetheart superhero -- Joshua James!

Of course I dressed Jason (my husband), Josh and I in matching Superman outfits!

 picture backdrop that I painted!



This superhero ball pit was the biggest hit of the day!!

Each child got a superhero cape that I had made by cutting the backs off of old t-shirts (that way they wear like real shirts with no itcy velcro for the wee ones) and cut the fist initial of their name out of felt and used tacky glue to glue it on their capes! They turned out super cute!! 

This quick bean bag toss station came from cutting up the box all the balls came in from the ball pit and turning it into another fun game for 1-2 year olds!!

Here was where they put on their capes and practiced their "superhero disguise poses" which for this age consisted of just running by it real quick!! But fun for the parents!!

This was just all the normal outside play equipment - a basketball hoop, a slide, and a T-Ball set.

This area was just a chalkboard and on the other side some superhero coloring sheets taped up with some crayons. My little superhero loves to draw!!

Opening presents for the first time! He really wasn't all that into it last year.

Each child got to take home their capes and a handful of superhero bath ducks! :) 

Happy Creating Friends!! 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A New Way to Look at Your Day

Partner teaching is wonderful in many ways- I love only teaching 2 content areas (ELA/Social Studies) but I run into some problems having two classes... especially one in the morning and one in afternoon. My morning class is focused and ready to go, engaged and eager. My afternoon class - after lunch and specials - are sluggish, tired and mentally tapped out (like me)! 

To solve this dilemma my partner teacher and I brainstormed several ways to fight the "afternoon slumps" we were facing. One idea we came up with, tried, and FELL IN LOVE WITH is having all our small group time in the afternoon. This works so beautifully for us because we teach BOTH of our whole classes in the morning - 1 and a half hours each and then go to lunch, specials and come back and do mega small groups. Here is a look at what my schedule looked like before and after we began our mega small groups. 

My Homeroom: BLUE CLASS  
   Second Class: GREEN CLASS

7:30-8:00~ Blue Class comes in, puts away their backpacks and gathers their materials and goes to math. Green class comes in, eats breakfast, does warm-up, restroom. Announcements.
8:00-9:15~ Whole Class teach Green Class. 
9:20-10:20~ Small Group time with Green Class. 
10:20-10:25~ Clean up/Restroom/Switch Classes 
10:35-10:55~ RECESS
11:05-11:35~ LUNCH
12:50-1:55~ Whole Class teach Blue Class. 
1:55-2:50~ Small Group time with Blue Class.
2:55-3:10~ Pick Up/Pack Up/Get ready to go home. 

7:30-8:00~ Blue Class comes in, puts away their backpacks and gathers their materials and goes to math. Green class comes in eats breakfast, does warm-up, restroom. Announcements.
8:00-9:30~ Whole Class teach Green Class. 
9:30-9:35~ Clean Up/Restroom/Switch Classes
9:30-11:00~ Whole Class teach Blue Class. 
11:05-11:35~ LUNCH
12:50-2:30~ SMALL GROUP/Workshop time 
2:30-2:35~ Clean up/Go back to homeroom
2:35-2:50~ RECESS
2:55-3:10~ Pick Up/Pack Up/Get ready to go home.

The way we work our small groups is with six 15 minute rotations each day. We had to schedule each student for each rotation, each day something different so they don't get bored (and we won't have to recreate them every other few weeks!) Each child has 3 rotations of math focus activities in the math class class and 3 rotations of reading focus in the reading class. When they are scheduled to meet with us their schedule says "Meet with Mrs. Teel" and that tells them to come to my small group table. We also scheduled in our specialists (math and reading). They meet with them for 30 minutes - so rotations 1 & 2 a students card may say "Meet with Mrs. Castleberry" so that tells them to go to her for those 2 rotations.

The kids have to be responsible. They HAVE to know where to go and what to do without needing the teachers help. I think is was best that we started this at the end of the 1st 9 weeks. That way we had to first 8 weeks to teach them what are stations are and the expectations while they are there. It helped make the transition into this new routine seamless and relatively painless. The kids knew what to do and when to do it. They knew where to go and how they were expected to behave. The students were already use to do any I/C (incomplete) work before going to their stations, so that worked out easy peasy! :) 

Here is a quick look at the necklace schedules that we created for each student to wear during small group time. We made them necklaces so they can wear them and not lose them!

If you have any questions about how this works or more details just leave me a comment!

I will post more pictures of this time in action soon. :)  

Happy Teaching Friends!!