Sunday, January 29, 2012

My Running Must-Haves

My dog, Scout, started going crazy this morning when I was changing clothes for my morning run.  That crazy guy knows the minute I pick up my tennis shoes.  Other than Scout, there are a few other things I don't leave the house without.

1. A good pair of shoes!  
I usually wear a size 7 1/2, but my running shoes are a size 8.  If you aren't sure what size you should buy, go to a local running store and have them fit you.  They really want to help, and they won't force you into anything, but you will be so glad if you have a pair of shoes that fit, are comfortable, and allow you to put your best foot forward.  It is definitely worth it.

2. Gloves! 
I got these for Christmas this year for my winter runs and really like them.  My mother-in-law got them for me and I was glad she got a pair that had sizes.  They fit snug, but not tight, and my fingers are very grateful for an extra layer.  

3. MY favorite gadget!
As a teacher, I love data just as much as the next person.  I enjoy seeing the progress, the trends, and the actual numbers.  This watch does all of that and more, but for RUNNING!  

My husband bought it for me early last spring, and it was one of his best gifting ideas.  This watch is by Garmin, and it tracks your speed and distance as you run.  It then has a wireless component to sync with your computer so that you can compare runs, keep an ongoing calendar, set goals, etc.  Below are the charts, maps, and calendars that the website component offers.  

This screen lets you see the map, elevation, timing, splits, and if you wanted the heart rate monitor it would show this here, as well.  Can you tell that I ran with the wind on the way out, and then against the 20 mph winds on the way home? Haha!  

Here is the calendar portion.  It logs your runs, adds up your weekly totals to the side, and gives a GREAT visual.  This was during my marathon training, so you can tell I had a strict regiment of running.  I can then click on each run to get the details, see the route, my paces, etc.  
Can you tell why I love my watch so much!?!  

4. My Road ID.  
With my watch in the above picture is my Road ID.  It is a bracelet that I wear with my name and emergency information.  The company originally started out for cyclers in case they get into accidents on their bikes.  The information on the bracelet gives them contact information as well as any previous health conditions or allergies.  You get to choose what you want on the bracelet.  On my long runs during my marathon training, I always felt better wearing it in case something happened.  Since then, I wear it on all of my runs.  The company is great, and they have a dog named Scout, too!  I think we were meant to be connected somehow.  Check out their different styles and products here!

Do you guys have any gadgets or must-haves for your workouts or running?  I'd love to hear what you all swear by!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Followin' Up and Linkin' Up!

Last night, I promised to take some pictures of my kids' 100th Day Newsletter.  I love the picture this one did of her gravestone in 100 years!  This student said, "I made it night time so it would be scary, because if I'm alive then, I'll probably be scary!" these kids!

Love that this girl decided she would definitely need a walker in 100 years.  

I chose this last one because I would love for this kid to be a rocker with this electric guitar someday!  Selfishly, I would hope for some free concert tickets!

Finally, I'm linkin' up with HappyDally for her picture book giveaway!  She wants to know what our favorite picture books are! I had to pick two, but for very different reasons.  

My students' pick: They absolutely love this book, and would be okay with me sharing pictures from it on a daily basis.  I couldn't leave it out! 

My personal pick: This book reminds me of my grandma and my brother.  My grandma passed away when I was little, but the only gift I remember getting from her was this book.  The best part was sitting on a big, brown, leather chair and her reading it to me.  I can still picture that spot in my head.  Secondly, my big brother (and by big, I mean 20 years older than me) would always read Dr. Seuss books to my sister and me.  Instead of reading it and enjoying pictures, he would read it flawlessly as fast as he could.  Have you ever tried it?  Impossible!  I still don't know how he read Dr. Seuss so fast!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

100th Day Excitement!

Well today was a blast!  You know when you have those days when the kids walk out at the end, and you are totally exhausted?!  Okay, well it doesn't happen every day, but today was one of them!  I had so much fun watching my kids enjoy each other, get along, and celebrate 100 days.

I've never done much with the 100th day coming from 3rd grade, but they were asking me all week what we were going to do. I decided to do some last minute things, and was very glad that I listened to my kids on this one.

We start our day with math.  I gave my kids post-it notes and they had 5 minutes to come up with as many ways to make 100 as possible.  Our goal: 100 different ways to make 100!  We were successful!  The kids loved this, and it also helped review concepts of money, place value, three addends, etc.  We went around the room, and if someone called out one of their ways, they had to crumble it up and throw it away.  This definitely encouraged them to get creative so that they wouldn't have to throw them away.

Hard at work, and trying to beat the
 5 minute timer!
Final product!

After we got to 100, we then used a 100s chart to make a smiley face using number clues to figure out the design.  The second 100s chart was Pinterest inspired (sorry, I don't remember who!).  Each student  rolled a die, and colored in that many spaces.  Then they chose a different color, and rolled again.  They colored in that many more squares.  The goal: Figure out how many rolls it takes to get to 100.  

Here is a copy of the sheet I made (remember, I decided to do 100th day activities last minute)!!  Freebie

In the afternoon, we had to figure out how many things we could complete in 100 seconds.  They did things like clap, blink, count to 10, and sit down and stand up in 100 seconds.   I found this online, but couldn't find a paper copy.  I recreated it very quickly!  Don't judge the last minute, "non-blog quality" Freebie!  It gets the point across. :) Freebie

One student trying to write his name as many
 times as possible in 100 seconds!  Their hands were tired!

We finished the day with a 100th day newsletter, but I forgot to take pictures at the end of the day.  Some of them are HILARIOUS!  I'll update with some tomorrow.  Until's Friday jeans day and the Hoosiers are playin' ball!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Super Bowl Hysteria!

Well the Super Bowl 46 is making its way here!  As far as winter in Indy goes, this is an EXTREMELY exciting event for us!  With all of the hoopla, excitement, volunteering, banners, commercials, etc. my kids are talking about the game big time.  Despite the fact our poor Colts had a fairly dismal year, we are still football fans!

In order to get some learning done next week, and enjoy the Super Bowl festivities, I created this unit for my kids!  It has items that could be used for centers, morning work, or whole group lessons.  It ranges from identifying odd and even numbers to multiplying 2-digit numbers, and you can decide what challenges you want your kids to try!

I hope you enjoy it as much as my kids do!  Find the unit HERE at TpT!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A little more on Inferencing

I posted earlier about my introduction for inferencing with my friendly dog, Scout.  This is what we've been up to since then!

Inferring the meaning of a word:
Thanks to one of my 2nd grade teammates, I used the book The Wretched Stone written by Chris Van Allsburg to discuss how to infer the meaning of a word.  We discussed what we thought the word "wretched" meant, and used orange to write down our predictions about the word before we read.  Luckily, this was a new word to the whole class! Then, as I read we used green to write down our inferences as we read more clues during the book.  About half way through, we stopped making inferences until we had all of our clues at the end.  The pink words were our inferences about the meaning of the word after we had used all of the clues.  We outlined the word "terrible" as the word we felt was our best inference, before confirming in the dictionary.  It was a great visual for the kids to see how our inferences get better with more clues from the author.

Animal Riddles: I used a website that showed animal riddles to get the kids using their schema in a fun way.  They loved guessing the animals, and then I would ask questions about what they already knew to help them make their inferences.  The next day, I wrote my own animal riddle and they had to write down their "schema" for what helped them.  I had them cover up the poem with a folder so they couldn't look at all the clues at once.  It was fun to see how their inferences changed with more clues.

The kids got to write their own "What am I?" poems the next day to put up on our bulletin board.  As you can tell, I have a ranch theme in my room, hence the cowboy hats.  On the board, I stapled a baggie that had post-it notes and sharpened pencils so that the board could be interactive.  When kids switch for math, RtI, or Guided Reading, they can make a quick inference. If their work is done early, they are able to go to the hallway to make some inferences about their friends' poems as well.  Who knew inferencing could be so fun?!

Click here for the sheet they used!

 Here is the title page I used (and updated at home with a graphic) to put on my bulletin board. 

I'm sad that our inferencing unit is almost over, because it is one of my favorites, but glad that these skills will keep coming up in the future!  

Friday, January 20, 2012

What a great surprise!

Wow!  I received a little notice via email a few days ago about being nominated for being a "Most Fascinating Blog".  I have no idea how I got this, and don't feel like I have done much to deserve it, but I'll take it!  If you have a chance, I'd love a vote or two!  Thanks so much for all of you who follow, comment, or just swing by to visit.  I have really enjoyed doing this, and I'm thrilled that others enjoy reading it just as much!  THANK YOU!

  Online PhD Programs

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Winter Workout Blues

A friend of mine had texted me to get together on our long outdoor trail that runs through our town yesterday.  I committed last week, but the weather was FREEZING!  Hello!  It's mid-January in Indiana...what was I thinking!  It made me think of how to get motivated despite the winter weather.

My advice for the winter workout blues:

1. Plan to meet a friend.  Even if you don't do the same things, set a time, and meet up! Thanks to Lindsey, I made a commitment yesterday.  I may have bailed on myself after my 30 minute recess duty, but I knew I couldn't let her down!

2. Treat yourself to some winter apparel that you LOVE.  This could be something that you can wear to the gym to look good, or an awesome outerwear piece to workout outside.  Here is my winter motivation!  A black and pink (do you see a trend here?) puffy vest.  For all of my friends who read this, they know I like am obsessed with puffy vests, so one for running is even better!

3. Find a dog!  Luckily, I have one, so he's a great companion, but he has been known to be on lone to some friends who enjoy running with a dog.  Believe me.  If you don't have a dog, others would love you forever if you took their dog for a walk or run.  The dog's energy will be sure to get you going.  Unfortunately, my dog knows what my running shoes look like, and expects to be taken every time!  Here is my chocolate lab after our workout with his HUGE bone.  The Mr. just could not resist buying it for Scout.  Oh, and he was hoping to bring IU some luck last night, but that didn't work!

4. Find a quote, image, memorabilia from a past race, etc. to put up at work or at home.  Think about where you lose motivation.  Is it at school? In the car?  When you get home?  I found this poster on Pinterest, and thought it was perfect to put in my car's cup holder.  Once you get out the door, you are good to go, but something little might just help get you there.  So post something that strikes a chord with you in a place where you are least motivated to stay on track.

5. Put a good cd in your car for the ride home so that it gets your body going and energized.  Only use the cd when you're getting ready to workout so that it doesn't lose its luster.

What else do you all do to get through the winter time blues?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Student-Led Conferences

Student Led Conferences are something I have done since my first year of teaching, but I have tweaked, altered, overhauled, etc. over the past five years into an ongoing thing that I really CHERISH.  This year, I finally decided that I wanted to make a Data Binder with my kids that we would first use for our conferences in October.  From then on, we would continue to update all of our information, spelling and math tests, reading levels, writing rubrics and pieces, behavior self-reflections, etc.

First, our conferences in October are 30 minutes long for each student with 15 minutes overlapping with another student/family.  The first 15 minutes of their conference they share their Data Binders with their parents (after A LOT of preparation and practice), and then the second half I join them to discuss any questions they had while going through the Data Binder, and also give them their report card.  My time with them is focused more on actual academic abilities based on their data thus far.  It is GREAT, and it starts the year off on the right foot.

For the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarters they arrange a time to take their Data Binder home and share it with their family.  I have LOVED the way it has evolved this year, and my kids really enjoy taking their sacred Data Binders home.  **Shining Moment!** One of my students reflected on her conference and said, "My favorite part about my conference at home was that I got to be with just my parents and talk about me. My brother and sister were already in bed, and we talked all about me!" Her excitement for this special time made all of the work at school worth it!

Check out the Packet at my TpT Store!
I finally put all of the resources I've used, plus some other sheets that others might find helpful to create a 66 slide product on TpT.  I mention several times in the unit that we can arrange a plan for me to create charts/graphs that go with the others, but focus on data that your school collects.  

Do any of you do student-led conferences?  I know that this is a bit past due, but for those of you who want to get started, I thought it would get your wheels turning for next year! I'd love to hear what all you guys do for them!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Day in My Shoes Linky Party

What a fun Linky Party!  I love hearing about how other people's day are scheduled!  Katie, at Adventures of a 6th Grade Teacher started this Linky Party

6:17 - My first alarm goes off (I don't like even numbers, so it's always set for odd!).  I then snooze one more time, wake up, and check the news, email, facebook, weather, etc. on my phone while still cozy in my bed and snuggling with the Mr.

6:35 - My dog has had enough of me snooping on my phone and wants to go outside.  Then I head up to shower, get ready, and head off for my 30 minute commute.  Lately, I've been alternating between the radio and books on CD.

7:40 - Arrive at school, put my lunch in the fridge, turn on my computer, and then start grading paper.  My computer takes FOREVER to load, so I make sure I get other things done during this time.

8:50 - The kids start coming, get unpacked, and start on their morning work.  We have a really late start, but it allows for good work time before school.

9:10 - Math groups!  I love math, and this is one of my favorite parts of the day!

10:10 - Word Work and Phonics - after coming from 3rd grade, I have a new-found excitement for phonics.  I am very Type A, and our Intensive Phonics program allows me to bring that out every day!

10:45 - Guided Reading - My kids really like changing classrooms and moving around a bit during this time.

11:30 - Lunch/Recess (WOOHOO..first break of the day if I don't have recess duty!)

12:35 - RTI - I have the enrichment group and really enjoy the projects we get to do during this time.  We are currently designing sails to put on a small raft (think McD's pancake foam tray) that will go across a fishing line track.  Very fun!

1:05 - Writer's Workshop - I learn so much conferencing with these kids!  They help me plan my future mini lessons and don't even realize it.

1:55 - Reader's Workshop - By far my kids' favorite part of the day!  This year they just love to read.  I think they would be okay without any mini-lessons and just straight up reading time every day.

2:40 - Pack Up, fill in assignment notebooks, and I start thinking about my prep time...finally!

2:50 - Specials

3:30 - Pick up kids, grab backpacks, and head to the buses!

3:40 - Whew!  Now to reenergize for tomorrow, or think about what's for dinner.  Wah wah..

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Curriculum Mapping...and Workout Mapping!

I have always known that I am better about running and working out when I have an end goal in mind.  I thought of it as my little curriculum map for running!  It is so much easier when you start with your end result, and work backwards to figure out how to get there.  A wonderful website that I'm sure many of you know about is Hal Higdon's Training site.  He has TONS of training plans.  I used his marathon novice schedule to train for my marathon in October, and I felt extremely prepared.  Check out his workout plans here!

If any of you are like me, I love to cross things off on my to-do list (see, I told you!)  When I have a workout schedule, it is SO satisfying to cross it off.  I even like to color code my weeks to make them look pretty for my own satisfaction.  It also makes those days I miss more obvious, and I HATE not being able to cross one off.  Find a race around you, and sign up!  Even if you just want to walk it, make a commitment, and do it!  You will NOT regret it, and with resources like Hal Higdon and yours truly, you will be on your way to success!

Try making a work out schedule that you post on your refrigerator or desk.   Make your time or distances specific so you know what to prepare and look forward to.  However, just like we get prep time at school to refocus and catch up with grading papers, planning, etc. your body needs the same.  Schedule rest days!  I like to treat myself on Fridays so that I can look forward to it!  I always try to have my longer runs/workouts on the weekend when I have more time to do them, and I can really focus and treat my body right.

Here is an example of a template you could use, but it's nothing fancy!  I am obviously not training for a marathon here, but it keeps me active, and my body healthy.   And if you are DO get to cross of those rest days too!! Your body NEEDS some rest to recuperate.  You are doing something purposeful when you have a rest day, so cross it off, and be proud!!

Get a copy of a weekly or monthly schedule to fill in for your own tracking.  Freebie!

Leave me comments about other things you do to commit yourself to your workouts, or any questions you may have.  I'm no expert, but I've done a lot of it!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Games Galore and a Freebie for Nonfiction!

My kids really love the game of I Have...Who Has?  so I created 6 games for addition and subtraction to review these skills with my kids.  As a previous 3rd grade teacher, I know the things that they really NEED to come to 3rd grade with, and addition and subtraction is one of them!  These are also GREAT for subs, especially after your kids know how to play the game.  Once they get the cards, the kids can pretty much take over.

 I don't know about you all, but I have some control issues when it comes to subs teaching my actual lessons.  This game allows my kids to keep up their skills, and not "lose" a day!

Check out the unit at my TpT store!

Also, here is a FREEBIE of an example of the game with nonfiction conventions.  Click here!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

My First Linky Party!

Oh Boy, 4th Grade is starting a Linky Party for January.  I love her OLW part, for only one word.  This is the word I want to work on this year.  Consistency!  Consistency in running.  Consistency in rewarding my kids.  Consistency in sending thank you notes and birthday cards to family and friends.
In my own mind being a part of linky party (I don't even know if I did it right) makes me an official "blogger"!  I'm pretty pumped about that, and am hoping that my blogging high will help me get up in the morning!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Making Inferences...with my dog?!

My mom was right!  I am cute!

Yes!  And my kids loved it!  When I went in over break to organize my files I brought my dog, Scout, because he just loves to play in the big field behind our school.  It's great for me in the winter because he just runs and runs and I don't have to do much.

I snapped a photo of Scout when he was outside, and then I decided to take a tour of the school with him since nobody was there to take more pics of him. I put the pictures into PowerPoint, and then made a lesson where the kids had to use the clues in the pictures with what they knew in their schema about our school, and then make an inference about where Scout was.  Each one was pretty easy, but I wanted them to understand the concept with something easy, before heading into a book.

Scout visited the bathroom, cafeteria, gym, computer lab, office, library, said the Pledge of Allegiance to our school flag, and the playground.  The kids thought it was so much fun to see my dog at school!

Of course, I also played it up like he opened my class door and escaped, and we had to use clues to figure out where he went in the building before I finally found him.  Can you believe NONE of them asked who took the pictures! them!

Here is the sheet I used for the kids to write down the clues they saw in the picture, and the inference they made based on those clues.  I also added a blank one so if you wanted to take pictures of a stuffed animal, funny toy, or another object in your room, you could do that too!
Making Inferences Intro.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Motivation for the blog...Running!

I thought I'd share the motivation behind the psychological and physical design of the blog!  Since my blog is called Run Teacher, Run! I figured I needed to write something about running at some point.  Here it is!  I trained for and ran my first marathon in October.  It was always something in the back of my mind after playing soccer in college, and knowing that at one point in my life I had some sort of running stamina!

As I began teaching and getting out of playing soccer, I ran some of our schools 10Ks that the PTO organizes, and did several half marathons, but I always wanted to do the real deal.  Knowing that consistency with running isn't my forte, I called on the people I knew would support me the most.  We met for dinner, and I conned all 5 of them into running the marathon with me!!  We started a blog and wrote about our long runs, how we worked in the hours of running with our full-time jobs, and what type of gear was working for us.  I realized that writing the blog helped keep me honest and stay consistent!  Therefore, when thinking about what I wanted to do post-marathon, I wanted to be more consistent with running, and not just do it when I'm training for something.  Loving the feel after I finish a run, and knowing that my classroom is a haven for me, I thought I should combine them into one blog!  Therefore, psychologically, I know that my followers (as many or few of you as there are!) are counting on me to write something about running, just like my girlfriends did when we were training.

The second part of the blog was the physical design of it.  There are TONS, and I mean TONS, of really cute blogs out there.  Some have spent money to create custom designs, but that's just not in the cards for me right now, so I needed something personal, that I knew I would look forward to updating!  Then it dawned on RUNNING SHOES!  When training, I needed a new pair of running shoes halfway through, and when the salesman came out with my shoe in a bright pink design I was sold immediately!  They are my typical running shoe, but with an awesome color combo!  

So there you have it!  I know I have people counting on me, and I have colors that are personal, but I love them!  

Monday, January 2, 2012

One resolution this year...Organization!

In order to be organized, I needed to get some things in line to start the organization, so I headed into school on one of my days off.  I hate going in over break, but I always feel so much better when I do!

Over the last five years, I've accumulated lots and lots and lots of files.  When I started as a first year teacher, I was just excited to put something into a file, label it, and put it in my desk.  However, over time, I realized there was no method to my madness and I couldn't find anything I was looking for.  Therefore, the files were worthless!  Here were my steps in organizing the madness:

1.  I started by taking all of the files out of my two drawers and organized them into like groups.  For instance, I had created a file for each reading strategy so I put all of those into a Reading pile.

2. As I did this, I tossed a lot of things that I haven't used in the last couple of years.  This was so liberating!!  There were a few things like the Olympics that I knew I would want to go back to at some point.  Although most of my files are digital, there are just some things that you need to keep on paper.   I probably narrowed down to less than half of what I had originally.

3. Once they were organized into like piles, I then color coded them so that each pile was one color.  Math was red, social studies was green, writing was blue, etc.   There were some files that I repurposed since the colors were intermixed to begin with, so I just flipped the folder the other way and relabeled it.  (Hint: Don't write on them with Sharpie in case you need to flip them over later, the Sharpie ink will not have bled through)

4. After they were all organized, I added a couple of blank files of each color to the back of each group so that if I need another file later, it is convenient, easy, and fast to create.
After: Pure bliss!

Before: Ahh!  The madness!