Friday, August 22, 2014

Three Day Wrap Up

The first three days of school are over...and they were FANTASTIC. I want to take a quick moment (yes, and a quick blog) to brag about my wonderful kiddos for a minute. I can honestly say that Team 8<3 has the absolute, most sweetest kids. I haven't heard so many "yes ma'am," "no, ma'am," "please and thank yous" in a really long time. I have many helpers within every class. I think I've had a total of two-to-three students ask if they can help me with anything within every class. I am so impressed with their polite-ness and well-mannered behavior. I am looking forward to a great year with the amazing students.

Ok, now to share some of the fun things we got to do this week, in three days, around all the rules and procedures that my kiddos were bombarded with. I stole this super cute idea for Identity Grids to use within my Academy class. You can find a picture of my boy-heavy Academy class here...and not to mention my only girl left me for our EBN (Eagle Broadcating Network). So, I am in a room with 9 boys everyday for an hour. I have to say, they keep me on my toes and definitely keep the laughing going. They absolutely loved this Identity Grid and really put their best into their grids. They came out wonderfully and I can't wait to hang them throughout the room and hallways.

I even joined in on the fun and made myself an Identity Grid.

I also forgot to make a special post about the great group of girls that I got to hang out with the couple of days before school workdays started. My old students (from 6th grade at Cramerton Middle School) and my old athletes (from basketball and softball) let me know that they were playing volleyball near me. So, of course, since school hadn't started yet, I had to go see them. They made me so proud and I felt like a proud, little, momma bear watching them. They are a wonderful group of girls who I could not be more proud of. I look forward to watching them work their way through high school, both in the classroom and on the athletic fields.

With the first three days down, I am recharging my batteries this weekend and getting to spend some time with my parents (who are in town from Stafford, VA). We have a Charlotte Knights game planned and it should be a great time. But I can honestly say that I am super excited about getting back to my kiddos on Monday and getting this year rolling. Until next time... :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

End of Summer...Beginning of Greatness!

It's that time of the year again. It's time to get back into the swing of things in terms of the school year. My school year got back into the swing this past Wednesday; a week ago. We've been back at Clover Middle for a whole week now! We got a start with some "pump-up" meetings to get teachers excited to be back in school with the students we love. I walked into the building super excited about being back at the job that I absolutely love and enjoy going to everyday, and the videos helped all the teachers get on that same level :)

We were able to introduce and recognize our 20...yes, that's right...20 newbies within the school. We have new teachers everywhere! Every position from sixth grade to eighth, special education to athletic director, cafeteria manager to technology assistant! We spent the beginning of our meetings welcoming our newbies and giving them goody bags of Clover awesomeness. I am excited to get to know everyone and learn their fabulous skills and talents. I know they all will have so much to offer our staff, and most importantly, students.

After meeting our newbies, we headed over as a school to our district convocation. This was a fabulous performance! Convocation began by giving teachers, as they entered, a program and a three-in-one tool. This was a glow-stick/flashlight/pen. In a teacher mind...can you say fabulous? Everyone loved it! As teachers got settled into their seats for the convocation, the Clover High School Band and dance team did an amazing performance. They sounded great! They played about four songs, one of which was of course the Clover High School fight song. It was a wonderful experience to get up as a district and sing along.  
**Go Eagles!**

Following the band and dance performance, the Clover School District Teacher of the Year was recognized. It was wonderful to recognize a fabulous teacher within the district and award her talents. After hearing all the wonderful things that were accomplished as a district during the 2013-2014 school year, we were reintroduced to two Clover School District alumni who came to join us as we start our year. We met Ashley Bridges, who is doing wonderful work and making the district proud through her career at ABC. Her speech was wonderful and really hit home with a lot of the staff members I work with who also grew up through the district. She really seemed to relate with many of my colleagues. It was definitely a nice family atmosphere that was created.

To end convocation we were able to hear the chorus groups from Clover Middle and Oakridge Middle come together. They sang "We are the World" and even encouraged us to use our glow-sticks that we received walking into the auditorium. It was a great experience and the students did a wonderful job. 

After an Italian lunch provided by the district, we ended our first workday (already a week ago!) with a faculty meeting to make sure everyone was on the same page beginning our school year. Our next two workdays (last Thursday and Friday) were covered in meetings revolving TEAM procedures, Math curriculum, team planning, and technology implementation. These workdays flew by to say the least! 

Monday and Tuesday, of this week, were both regular workdays that teachers were able to work in their classroom and prepare for the kiddos that arrived today (Wednesday). Monday night we had our open house and got to welcome students, and parents, into our rooms for the first time. I made some small changes to my room this year in preparation for only teaching one subject (Math: Pre-Algebra and Algebra). I began by enhancing my reading corner. Needless to say....all I'm missing is the sand for my beach space ;) My newly updated bulletin board will continue to look at data of test scores as we make our way throughout the school year. I plan on graphing class averages as we take tests in hopes of understanding how classes are doing, not only in the material, but also against other classes in hopes that they are all reaching the same level. 

Open house and the workdays were great. However, I was super excited when I actually got to see my kiddos today! Our first day of FABULOUS! I could not be more excited about the wonderful group of students we have on Team 8<3 this year. We are definitely a team with heart! Our kids were super sweet today, very helpful, eager to learn, and looking forward to a great year. Of course today was simply "Hi, my name is..." and "This year we will..." But it was a great one! We even got a little Jenga action in today during Academy class. We used this PDF as a way to get to know each other and play a fun relaxing game. It was the tallest tower I've seen in awhile. It was 27 levels high! The kids did awesome with it and really enjoyed it. It was a great day (have I said this enough?) and I can not wait to see what these wonderful kiddos are capable of this year. Until next time.... :)


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Full-Time Math-Time

I can not believe the summer is quickly...maybe a little too quickly...coming to an end. It's the end of July (beginning of August) and I am currently getting back into the swing of things. Starting to get new ideas flowing, plans in the work for this upcoming year, and of course a full week of Math collaboration! #WhoopWhoop The middle school Math teachers got together this week at the District Office to collaborate, plan, and overall just do some work.

We started the week thinking about what our students did wonderfully-awesome on this school year, what we felt we, as teachers, had to revisit multiple times throughout the year, or even what the students would need revisited in their next course, and finally what was in our text that we did not cover...or new pieces of our curriculum that we have to implement this upcoming year. This sparked great conversation between the grade levels. We saw multiple ideas and topics that were needing to be "revisited" across the board. We also discovered that what students may not have understood or struggled with in sixth grade...the students eventually got it by the end of eighth grade. That was super exciting for all grade levels :)

To end day one, we got some time to think about our own curriculum and pacing in each grade level. As an eighth grade team we focused on Algebra first. We actually got to use the time and tackle our entire pacing guide for the 2014-2015 school year. We basically rocked it! Not to mention we were able to work through the curriculum faster this upcoming year then we did this previous year. Yay for being able to review more at the end of the year before those dreaded state tests. ;)


To work through day two and three we worked on understanding more of our Mathia component that correlates to our textbook in the classroom. We, as an eighth grade Clover math team, got to use Mathia this past year during our Academy time. We were able to take our students once a week to the computer lab and give them approximately forty minutes to work through the program. For our explore time during day two we were able to further look into Mathia, create our own custom module (with the help of our fabulous Carnegie supporter Megan Friedlander...she's basically the best thing ever), and even get our classrooms set up and ready to go. We also got to talk to Mr. Courtwright (our principal) about getting to take our kids this year to the lab twice a week; yay double time :)

To finish our fourth day at our Math planning we were able to focus on our Pre-Algebra pacing guide, using our Carnegie textbooks, and looking into where our Mathia personalized curriculum and method would fit in. It was fabulous to get the opportunity to work for four straight days of total "math-driven" discussions! I loved it to say the least :) I am so looking forward to using the information, pacing, and unique-ness that we discovered and talked about within the upcoming school year. It's early August and I have to say I am looking forward to this school year. Zack, my hubby, and I are off to Washington, D.C. to visit my parents this week.  Then it's back to school for this girl! It has been a great summer just enjoying our time together and not having anything to worry about. I have to say that I am excited to see my parents this week, but I am also excited to see my kiddos for the next school year.We are going to go enjoy our last week of summer vacation and then it's time to beast this upcoming school year! Let's do this 2014-2015 :)

Until next time.... :)