Saturday, August 29, 2015

Eureka Math.... A Journey and a Start

Yesterday marked day 10 with my new group of student.  All 32 of them.  Yes. 32 of them!  It took a few days to get over the claustrophobic feeling of having that many desks and bodies in a room all day.  However, they are a fantastic group that I have the pleasure of calling mine this school year.

Eureka Math... I jumped right in on Day 2.  Let me say that the very first lesson in fourth grade is quite a doozy!  Wow!  I prepped and read the lesson but miserably failed at teaching it.  I will full on admit that yes, my lesson was bad. (I'll explain why in just a bit).  I could see the looks on their faces, like I was speaking a different language.

So I thought,  "Ok.  Let's do this again."  I'm going to retry the lesson the next day.  No go.

Oh man.  Things are not looking good.  So I sit and reflect, what is happening here.  **Lightbulb**
I need to ditch the script.  The script was killing me and my teaching style.

Third day... I have this in the bag!  I ditched the script.  Made it my own, presented the concept in my own words, and there we have it.  I was back on track.  The kids responded well too!

Note, if you follow the WHOLE lesson from beginning to end, especially for Module 1, Lesson 1 for fourth grade, it WILL take over two hours.  Realistically, that is not going to happen any day or anytime in my classroom.  If you follow the script and rely on your manual for all the wording, you are going to sound like a drone and who wants to listen to that?  Lesson learned for me!

By the end of the first week, even though I figured out I needed to ditch the script, still use the examples and vocabulary, I was drowning with trying to reach 32 kids.  I never.  I repeat. NEVER start stations without proper training.  I had already introduced the math card station the first week and wrote the expectations.  The kids had two days of practice.  By the beginning of the second week, I knew I had to make a decision to do something rather than whole group.

I decided on a slight modification to start.  I broke the kids up into three groups.  They were going to rotate between the three stations, around 20-25 minutes each stations.  The three stations I had were... meet with teacher, independent (practice pages) and then computer station.   It was a glorious first day of stations.  It was so much easier to teach a small group of 10.  The kids loved the computers and it was quite quiet the whole math block!

So that is where I am at right now.  I have three temporary groups rotating between the three stations.  I'm eventually going to move to my traditional four stations.  That is my goal for September.  I'll keep in the loop as I go along on this Eureka Math journey!

I hope you are all off to a good start or about to have a great start of the school year!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Eureka Math - EEEKKKK!

Our district is making the switch to Eureka (aka Engage NY) math, all grades to implement starting this fall.  I'll admit, it's a bit overwhelming but then again, it's bound to be anytime you take on a new program.

For the past 12 years I've been using Everyday Math.  It was a good program but even with the newer fourth grade edition, it was full of common core holes.  So this past year I went off program and used all my own resources to teach.  It was actually a very successful year.  We worked more on mastery of concepts rather than the EDM spiral.  My teammate and I focused on one standard a week, which made it more doable and were able to cover all fourth grade CC math standards.

But now onto Eurkea...

At the end of the school year I received seven bound books, one for each of the units I am going to teach my fourth graders next year.  Those suckers are thick and wordy!  *Gulp*

I did attend my first district/Eureka training and thankfully, after hearing from the Eureka trainer, the parts seem a little bit more understandable.

My big dilemma will not be teaching Eureka math itself but navigating a new program and fitting it into my Guided-Math format!  It is going to be a journey of trial and error to fit it all in.

My plan is to still have four math groups, there might be a slight chance it could go down to three groups but that is yet to be determined.  I'm going to put my head back into the hole for now and enjoy my summer, while it lasts.  Come August, I'll hit the planning hard to figure out what I am doing!

Anyone else out there use Eureka and Guided Math?  Please share your experiences in the comments! I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading... a book study!

Hello Everyone!  I hope you are having a fabulous summer so far! I am excited to be participating in the Notice and Note book study that is being hosted by Melissa at Dilly-Dabbles.  To catch up on all the chapter reviews/posts you can click on the above link to see all the hosted chapters.

Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading
By: Kylene Beers & Robert E. Probst

With that being said... onto my chosen chapters: 

Lesson 3: Tough Questions and Lesson 4: Words of the Wiser (pgs. 140-162)


There is probably little to say in terms of how great this book is that hasn't been already shared in the previous book chapter reviews.  At the beginning of summer I took a district literacy workshop.  Part of the morning they focused on close reading.  I had heard of close reading but hadn't learned or practiced it in my own classroom, so being in this book study and my district workshop has been fantastic.  I am taking away so many ideas and practices that I actually think I can successfully utilize in my own classroom this upcoming school year.

What I loved about my two chapters is that they are step by step directions of how you can introduce both the tough questions and words of the wiser signposts to your students.  They give a script of how this signpost was taught in a classroom, what the teacher said and also student reactions.

Let's start with Tough Questions...  Here are the highlights or jist of what you need to know about Tough Questions.

1.  This signpost helps students identify and recognize the importance of the major problem the character is facing.  Think deeper questions here, not just "What is the characters sister's name?"

2.  Share with your students examples of tough questions and non-tough questions so they understand what the difference is.

3.  For this modeled lesson in the book they use the chapter book, A Long Walk to Water... which by the way I haven't read but heard at my last workshop that this is an EXCELLENT book.  Now that I see it in this book and heard from other teachers I have to read it!!

4. As you read the chapter they will give you excerpts of the book, so you get an idea of what they are talking about with the class and how they can identify the tough questions.

5.  Troubleshooting... what do you do if you have a student that just can come up with an answer to the tough questions.  Some students might just respond by saying, "I wonder what the answer is."  Thankfully the book gives examples of different types of wondering such as "How would I feel if I were in these circumstances?" or "What would happen if the character made this choice, instead of that one?"

6.  As a fourth grade teacher, I am thinking what chapter book would I use to introduce this signpost?  I'm thinking it can't be too hard of a book, something just right or a little below.  I think I'm going to give it a shot with Fourth Grade Rats.  I think there is a lot of character dilemma where Suds is questioning who he is and what he should do.  I also think fourth graders can identify with him and come up with the answers to the tough questions for Suds.

And now onto Words of the Wiser... if you are still with me!  :)  I hope!  I know there is a lot of information within these two chapters that I don't want to leave out!

1.  I was originally excited about this chapter because they use the book Ride to Freedom by Pam Munoz Ryan.  I KNOW THAT BOOK!  I use it for a guided-reading or lit circle book time to time.  So when I read this chapter I can see how Words of the Wiser works and how to model it to my students!

2.  Words of the Wiser... students are taught to identify the scene in which a wiser, and generally older, character offers the main character some critical advice.

3.  Usually this lesson is taught fourth, after Contrasts and Contradictions, Aha Moments, and Tough Questions.  Also note that these lessons are not mini-lessons.  You need a good chunk of time, say 30-40 mins to fully teach and model the concept.

4.  As with Tough Questions you are going to begin by explaining what wise words are... how your parents or older siblings give you advice.

5. Using scenes from the book, you show how someone was giving Charlotte advice.  Example, when Vern was telling Charlotte "You gotta do what your heart tells you."  You ask questions to the students such as, "How could this advice affect the character?"

6.  The authors do state that most of the chapter books they have read do have Words of the Wiser moments, not all but as long as the main character is a child or young adult, then a wiser and older character often gives advice.

7.  Other recommended books for additional practice:  Walk Two Moons, Tuck Everlasting, Thank You, Ma'am.  These are geared towards older grades though.

Phew!!  I really am excited to dive into Close Reading next school year.  If you have any doubts or questions on how to do close reading, especially using fiction text, this is the book to get! 

I hope you enjoyed this whole book study!  Make sure to check out the other posts.  A lot of bloggers have included some amazing template that are free for you to use!  I know I will be!

Enjoy and Good Luck!


    An InLinkz Link-up


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Shamrocks and Rainbows

I'm trying to will spring on right now.  I'm thinking if I put shamrocks and rainbows up, that spring is sure to come around the corner... right?

We made these this week and I love them!  So festive, bright, and cheerful!

The first was shamrocks.  They were pretty simple to make.  I originally found the instruction on how to make them here.  I had to draw out a template for each color, one white, one light green, one dark green.  I didn't have specific measurements to go off of so I had to wing it size wise.  I made each one about an inch and half shorter than the next.

I gave the kids the template to trace and then cut out.  I could have pre-made all the strips but I thought I'd make the kids work their fine motor skills!  Something I realized they do not get enough practice with.

The rainbow sort of followed the same way.  I made my own measurements, again each strip about 1 inch shorter than the next.  For that one I had the strips pre-cut and the kids just had to glue the ends together.

So now that these are up, the weather is going to turn warmer, the snow is going to melt, flip-flops are going to come back out, the winter coat is going in the closet!  (Of which I am totally ignoring the weather report that says we might get more snow next weekend.  sigh.)


Sunday, March 2, 2014

If You Give a Teacher a Jamberry

If You Give a Teacher a Jamberry

Have you ever heard of Jamberry nails??  If not, you will now! :)  
As a self-proclaimed hater of nail polish, I have finally found my nail go to!

Here is my most recent Valentine's Day Jam-icure!


Jamberry nail wraps are non-toxic, you apply them over your nails, acrylics or even gel nails.  They fit all sizes from "I bite my nails length" to long nails.  In fact, people with short nails find that these help them grown out their nails and help prevent biting!  Nail wraps are made with a special vinyl that is heat activated. Here is a little about the wraps...

Each set of wraps is only $15 and as always are Buy 3, Get 1 Free!  Each sheet of wraps comes with enough wraps to do your nails a few times.  You can easily get 2 manicures and 1-2 pedicures out of each set.  Do the math... that means you get a professional looking manicure for only $3-$5 each application.  Salon manicures can't beat that!

Think about it...

Why I Want to Introduce You to Jamberry....

1.  I get a look that lasts two weeks on my fingers and six weeks on my toes!!  I don't have to worry about chips, these will never chip!!  and no dry time!  Once on your nails you don't have to wait to dry.  The only thing you do need to do is not stick them in water for about two hours (time for the adhesive to set).

2.  Relatively easy to put on at home.  I get quicker and quicker with each application.  There is a tiny learning curve but once you figure out the tricks to putting it on your own nails, your application time is reduced. It usually takes about 15-20 minutes from start to finish.

3.  They come in a variety of over 300 different colors, patterns, and finishes!  My biggest problem in decided which pattern I want to use next.

New Spring/Summer Wraps!

4.  The Junior Line... they come in kid sizes!  and boy oh boy, the junior wraps are beyond cute!  I did my two year old niece, besides a little toddler squirm here and there... they were easy to put on.

5.  Teacher friendly---- top reason why I hate nail polish... it never lasts more than a day on my teacher fingers.  These don't require a lot of maintenance and are budget friendly! 

Here are some of my own Jamberry Jam-icures!

Candy Scallop

Red Sparkle (on two weeks at this point)

Pink Ombre and Chalkboard Hearts


Hooked Like I Am??

Ready to try some out, you can purchase right from my personal Jamberry page.  

Want to try it out before you buy?  
You can request a free sample from me and I'll send it in the mail!  
Click on the picture below to request your sample.

When ordering, wraps arrive within 7-10 days.  Don't miss out on the Buy 3, Get 1 free deal.  
Once you order one set, believe me, you are going to want more!  Once you get used to the wraps, you will find it fun to mix and match your wraps, different combinations of colors and patterns.

Want to Earn Free Jamberry??

If you are like me, the first thing when I asked when I started was, "How can I get free product?"  To get some free product you can be the hostess for an online FB Jamberry party.  You will earn hostess rewards such as free and or discounted Jamberry sheets/products.

The party is easy!  I'll set up an FB party, you invite your friends to join in.  I do the work by posting and interacting with your friends.  Your job is to sit back, interact with the party, and earn rewards while your friends get to try out Jamberry too!  It always is best to try out the Jamberry first, so your friends can see it in person.  We will schedule your party in advance, so you will have an ample amount of time to show off your wraps.  If you want to sign up for a party, I'll mail you catalogs and samples that you can pass around to your friends.  Hosting an online party is a great way to get free wraps!

I initially held a Jamberry party and was able to get all these rewards!

What you can earn for hosting a Jamberry party...

Joining the Jamberry Party!

Once you are Jamberry addicted, you're going to want to be involved, kind of like, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie...  only more like "If You Give a Teacher a Jamberry!"

You can join my team and become a consultant yourself.  It is a fantastic way to earn extra cash while getting discounts on Jamberry for yourself!  Once you start wearing them, people are going to notice and ask you about them.  Once you get people noticing, you know that you'll have interest in people buying from you.  I was at my local Chinese restaurant when I had the waitress go crazy over my nails!

I've been part of Jamberry for a little less than two months now!  
I make my own hours and have fun working.  
**Yes, I'm going to reveal how much I made my first month because it 
shows how much Jamberry really does pay**
My first monthly commission, bonus, and product credit was between $500 and $600 dollars!  Um, who doesn't want a little extra spending cash like that in their hands?  ...and I'm only a small fry, other consultants, who are also teachers, make way more than that!

As a Jamberry consultant you receive TONS of support.  You don't start blindly and never will you go without knowing what to do!  You will join my team and also the team I am on.  The amount of support is beyond incredible.  We share pictures, files, and ideas.  Whenever I have a question, I post it, and within seconds (yes seconds sometimes) you'll have an answer.

I never, never, never thought I'd become a sales consultant of any type.  NEVER!  However, once I found Jamberry, I was in love!  I knew I had to be part of it.  You can do it as a hobby, just making the minimum required each year and getting free product for yourself.  Or you can put a full force effort and watch the extra cash roll in!

To join my team, you'll purchase a $99 starter kit.  The kit comes with WAY MORE than what you pay for it.  Just 4 sets of wraps, heater and application kit would cost $85 alone. Check out the picture to see what you actually get.  Once you get your kit, you start hosting your own online, catalog, or home parties.   If you have any questions or want to join my team, you can leave a comment here or email me at

For more information you can check me out at my Facebook Page or email me anytime!

Enjoy and Thank You!!  
I can't wait to see all of your Jamberry manicure pics!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Giveaway - Jamberry Nails - Last Call!!!

Don't forget to enter for a chance to win one sheet of your choice of Jamberry Nails!  There is only less than 24 hours left to enter.

Here is a little preview to get you excited about Jamberry Nails (my new favorite teacher friendly product!)

These are my own actual nails with the Candy Scallop pattern on them.

Can't wait to try out Jamberry Nails? 
To see the catalog and to order, follow this link.

Enjoy and Good Luck!  I will email the winner on Thursday, so be on the lookout!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Year and Giveaway!

Dear Guided Math Readers,

It has been a long time since I've been on here!  I took basically a six month break.  My break started when I had to go in for a second knee surgery in June.  It ended up being a pretty big surgery, I am still in physical therapy but the good news is that I am on the right track now!  YAY!  I needed the last six months to focus on healing and getting back on track.  Which would have been easier said than done if someone (with no insurance or license) didn't completely rear-end me last month causing whiplash and muscle spasms from neck to back!  When it rains it pours!  Amongst all this I am trying to keep a very positive attitude and looking forward to a wonderful and healthy 2014!!! :)

In order to celebrate a new beginning and a new year I am having a giveaway for one of my new favorite things!!  I cannot wait to share these with you.....

Last month I was introduced to the world of Jamberry nail wraps.  From the moment I put them on I was in love!  I quickly signed up to become a Jamberry consultant.  I hate nail polish, let's face it, nail polish on teacher doesn't last long.  It takes only a day before they chip.  Jamberry nail wraps don't chip and they last two weeks on your finger nails and six weeks on your toes!!  For more details on Jamberry head on over to my Jamberry FB page.

Here is a pic of the current wraps I have on.  These babies have been on for two weeks already!

There are over 300 different Jamberry styles! 
You can check them out and even make a purchase here.

Be sure to check out all the new Valentine Wraps!

To celebrate the New Year and my new favorite find, I'm going to be giving away...
one sheet of Jamberry wraps,
winner gets to choose which wrap they want!
The giveaway starts now and goes until January 15th.  Good luck and enjoy browsing all the Jamberry styles!" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway