Sunday, April 14, 2013

Five for Friday (Tardy... Again!)

I love many things in life... but weekends are in my top ten! Ahhhhhh. The chance to collect my thoughts and reflect... Not to mention the chance to lose the alarm clock for  day or two.

It was a busy week... even though I actually missed two days of school--but more on that as I recap on another week that has flown by...

So here's what's been happening in sixth grade...

Task cards! When I close my eyes I see task cards. I'm surprised that I haven't had nightmares about being chased by my 1978-issue paper cutter. My kids really enjoy working with task cards--and I have seen an improvement in their reasoning skills--as well as their social skills. Besides, if you know anything about me, cutting things into equally sized squares... bliss!

So often kids are interested only in "right" or "wrong." I have been trying to encourage the students to reason through the answers together.  If they arrive at different answers, I want them to figure out where the mistake might be--and how to get on the right track. I also tell them that some of the answers might be wrong--so they should be able to show their evidence for an answer if they want to challenge what is recorded.

We rotated among stations during math this week. Thanks to my friends (known and unknown) at Tpt), I only had to create half of the task cards I needed. Task cards above come from the stores of Esther G, Kathleen Bing, Felicia Watkins, and BMore Teacher.

clip art by Phillip Martin

This week my students read a text about Howard Carter and King Tut. Don't you love when they look at you with anticipation and the "And then...?" look crosses their faces? They actually participated in small group and whole group discussions! As often as I ask them not to talk, I have been begging them TO talk during literary conversations. To my delight, their discussions were spectacular!

It was one of the few times I saw them really excited to turn the page. (They were equally enchanted with Amelia Earhart, by the way). Studying Egypt can do that to a kid--or to an adult who would pick being an archaeologist as a second choice after teaching. I guess it would depend upon how close my archaeological dig site was located to the nearest Starbucks...

On Wednesday I spent the day at an iPad training. It is fair to say that my teaching partner and I were among the oldest in the group. It would also be fair to say that we needed a little more help than some of the others... Comments like "Just tap it" were not uncommon throughout the day. It is hard not to be overwhelmed and discouraged in a training like this.. I know that my students have far more facility than I do when it comes to using technology. I am reminding myself there is still a place in the classroom for me... They cannot use all of this wonderful technology if they cannot read...

I was a Mac devote (I am trying to type "dee-vo-tay" but my keyboard won't let me) I think I have had every Mac computer since the earliest Mac classic. I had several of the first all-in-one iMacs, including a flowered version that I adored. I love all things Mac. Imagine my dismay when my district switched to non-Mac computers five years ago. It was difficult for me to catch on to a new "language" (and nothing was ever as "cute" as all of the Macs that I have owned).

So I am excited to have a Mac again (aside from my phone). And I DO like the iPad. It's small and well-organized and reasonably easy to use. And if you are really careful, you can play Angry Birds or Candy Crush when the trainer is not looking... ummm, I mean, when you are on a break...

SICK! I can't believe I am sick again. This is the second cold I have had in three weeks. I don't have time to be sick. I lost the little "cup" that came with the cold medicine and tried to figure out how big of a gulp equals a dose. For the record, I was careful. Also for the record, at least one person gave me that "Do you need an intervention?" look.

I am happy to report that I am now well on the road to recovery!

I finally finished my taxes! And it's not even April 15th! It takes hours and hours for me to get everything organized the way I like it. I have confessed before to being tax-crazy. Every receipt has its own page with a date and a total. And then everything is cross referenced to items on a spread sheet. This year I had a new category: TpT! Here's the good news: While organizing my TpT receipts, I found some items I had forgotten that I had purchased. I'm using two of them on Monday!

I'm sure you have finished your taxes. But for next year, it is really easy to get an itemized list from TpT by clicking the words, "printable receipt" next to the products. This made it very easy easy to keep track.

Looking over all of the receipts for school purchases in 2012 did make me catch my breath. I have a feeling I could have gone to Tahiti with what I spent on my classroom and my students. Oh well. That is something to consider for the remainder of 2013...

Wishing you a good week ahead...


  1. 1. LOVE the task cards.
    2. Our 2nd graders are studying ancient Egypt and they are obsessed with learning about the mummification process! 2nd grade boys are completing their own research about how mummies are made since they love everything gross the idea of brains coming out a nose is fabulous to them.
    3. The more you play with it the more comfortable you will become! I love my iPad and don't know what I would do without it! Did you get any good apps!?
    4. FEEL BETTER! Allergy season is in full swing here so I am desperately trying to avoid a cold.
    5. It is amazing how much we spend on our classrooms! I am starting to think a Tahiti vacation would be better!
    Happy Sunday! Weekends are great but it's always hard seeing them go!
    Sent From My iPad

  2. I'm so sorry to hear that you are under the weather! Glad to see that you are at least on the mend! Stay we'll :)
    Fun in Room 4B

  3. Sorry you don't feel well-hope you get better soon!

    Taxes? HA! I just filed an extension.....

    How did you make those CUTE sticky note numbers?? I am SO trying to get "techie". At least a little bit. I actually have a blog button now. Well, I didn't make it, but I paid someone to make it! Honey Bunch Blog Designs did it for me. GREAT customer service!

    I keep reading and hearing and seeing these task card thingies everywhere. Maybe I'll buy some one day and use them. I'm always on the late train! :)

    I Run Read Teach

  4. I completely did a double take when I saw my task cards pictured on your blog :) It still blows me away that I'm not the only one using my things haha! I'm glad you like them! My kids are obsessed with task cards! Funny about your taxes-- I also found a few awesome products I forgot I bought!

    ☼ Kate
    To The Square Inch

  5. oooh I was just about to ask where those cards were from!

    Haha did you actually swig that medicine out of the bottle? Brilliant!

    Just remember- you can't "break" an ipad... and even if you accidentally delete an app you can re-download it for free :) So play away!

    I'm glad I found your blog. I'm your latest follower :) I teach year six in New Zealand so I love finding blogs that are about the older kids

    x Serena x
    Magic Mistakes & Mayhem

  6. Angry Birds! Ha! You gave me a giggle this morning. ;) Thanks!
    Creating Lifelong Learners

  7. Kim, Totally enjoyed your post! I just started my TPT store and loved the tax tip. I also first started teaching with Macs. Then I moved from Nashville to East Tennessee/PC land... It was such a learning curve.


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