Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Little Free Library

This summer, I think I'll build a library!  "What?" you ask.  Seriously, I want to build a Little Free Library.  Have you heard about these little gems?  I recently came across this idea, and I LOVE it!  It is an awesome summer project that promotes and encourages reading.  This short little video tells you all about it.  

I have always loved libraries, but there wasn't one near where I lived as a child.  At my elementary school, the library was also the teacher's lounge.  In those days, the teachers smoked there and I really disliked how smokey the books smelled.  When I was 11, my friend and I would take the bus to a neighboring town where they had a library. I could only check out three books and that was never enough. In the summer, the Bookmobile would come around.  Oh, how I love that Bookmobile.  But the children's section was so small.  To have a Little Free Library in my neighborhood would have a slice of heaven!

The first Little Free Library was built by Todd Bol of Hudson Wisconsin in 2009 as a tribute to his mother, a former school teacher who loved reading.  He partnered with a friend and created a goal to build 2,510 Little Free Libraries, one more than the number of free libraries supported by Andrew Carnegie around 1900.  They have since surpassed this goal.  As of January 2014, the total number of Little Free Libraries in the world is estimated to be 15,000.  

The Little Free Library website sells pre-constructed libraries.  Here is my favorite:

Cedar Sunset Library

Their designs are beautiful.  But, the prices are steep and I like the idea of creating my own design.  If you visit the Little Free Library  Facebook page, you will see lots of creative designs. 

If you are interested, there is TONS of information on the Little Free Library website.  If you decide to build one in your front yard,   let me know!  

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Teaching With Moxie - Sale Today Only!

Stop by Teaching With Moxie's TPT store all day on April 13th for my one day sale!  It's not to late to grab one or all of my Third Grade Math STAAR Quizzes!  They are great practice for my Common Core Friends, too!  

Monday, April 7, 2014

Only 9 days 'til STAAR!

There are only 9 teaching days left until the Math STAAR test.   Our district has a three day weekend prior to the test and I am terrified that all that we have gained reviewing over the past few weeks will be lost to three days off and a visit from the Easter Bunny. 

The kiddos are doing great.  We have practiced most of the problems on the 2013 Released STAAR Test.  But, I can't help thinking there will be some rigorous curveballs coming in this year's test.  

The STAAR Quizzes in my TPT store have been great for practicing the TEKS in new and different ways.  So, to kick off the last few days of preparation, I have bundled all of my Third Grade Math STAAR Quizzes and put them on sale for $2.00 off the full price.  The bundle includes 50+ word problems in multiple choice and griddable answers.   

Good luck to you and your students as testing season comes to an end.  When it's over, be sure to give yourself a BIG pat on your back for support in your kiddos and surviving another year of test pressure.  Will it ever end?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

It's STAAR Prep Time!

I am SO excited to unveil a series of Third Grade Math STAAR Quizzes for Texas Teachers!  Because Texas is not a Common Core State, it can be difficult to find resources tailored to Texas TEKS.  

These STAAR Quizzes cover a variety of TEKS and will give your kiddos a rigorous review!  Look for more to come in the next few weeks!  

Thank you for stopping by!  As always, I would love your feedback if you decide to use them!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

There's a PLC in my Closet!

Teachers are experts in dealing with change.  After all, it is rare that two days are the same.  Lessons change. Seasons change. Partners change. Challenges change.  It's all part of the job.

Now the winds of change are blowing forth a new movement in education that is bringing what is being called a change in culture.   It is called Professional Learning Communities or PLC's.  

So what is PLC's all about?  Here is a short passage from the website All Thing PLC.
"An important step in converting the PLC concept from a "secondary whisper" to "a major rallying cry" was the publication of Professional Learning Communities at Work: Best Practices for Enhancing Student Achievement by Richard DuFour and Robert Eaker (Solution Tree, 1998). According to Professional Learning Communities at Work, when schools function as a PLC their members:
  • Collectively pursue shared mission, vision, values and goals
  • Work interdependently in collaborative teams focused on learning
  • Engage in ongoing collective inquiry into best practice and the "current reality" of student achievement and the prevailing practices of the school
  • Demonstrate an action orientation and experimentation
  • Participate in systematic processes to promote continuous improvement
  • Maintain an unrelenting focus on results"

I recently spent a day hearing all about how wonderful this will be. 
There was even a segment on "addressing resistance".  There's just one problem….these are all the things that a good teacher does.  Things like:
  •  focus on learning, not on teaching.  
  •  review data to determine where to focus.
  • collaborate with team members that teach the same content and grade level.  
  • create assessments together. 
  • share ideas and learn from one another.
Don't we do this already?  But PLC's take it a step further.  It adds structure and expects teachers to march to the same tune.  In fact, if one teacher plays the tune better than you, perhaps she'll teach your students for that objective and vice versa. Can you hear that noise?  That is more of your valuable time being sucked away from you. 

Meet the brain-trust that wrote, and now markets, Professional Learning Communities at Work:

I have a newsflash for them and for all their kool-aid drinkers…


So, I have a dream (forgive me, MLK). 

I have a dream that teachers would be valued as educational experts, just like we value lawyers as law experts or doctors as medical experts.  

I have a dream that education academics and researchers would get in the trenches and walk a marathon in a teacher's shoes before they put pen to paper to write their books. 

I have a dream that we can teach with freedom from the interference of bureaucracy and the nonsense of mandates like PLC's and any other cookie-cutter program that won't mean a hill-of-beans five years from now. 

I have a dream that the money spent on these snake-oil, sales people peddling "I'll fix your schools" promises that are as empty as the U. S. Treasury would be spent on ways to support our children's learning.  

I have a dream that the powers-to-be realize that education is a people-business, that every child is unique, and there is so much about a child's life that is out of a teacher's control. 

I have a dream that we can cut through mountains of red tape when a child needs help now….not nine months from now. 

I have a dream that common sense would rule in the halls of education and that no administrator was stuck toeing the line for rules and laws that do not serve the children. 

I have a dream that I can greet my little students, close my classroom door, and do my job because I am a capable, professional educator that cares more about my kids than anyone who stands high and mighty on a stage with a powerpoint telling me how to do my job.  

Yes, I have a dream.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Texas Snow Day $1 Sale

Who doesn't love a $1 sale?  Literacy Spark is hosting a $1 Linky Sale from Texas Bloggers.  Here are the items I am putting on sale for $1 just for today:

Want to join the Linky Party?  Here are the rules:

Here are the rules:

  • Choose TWO of your TpT items to put on sale for $1 for today only
  • Create a blog post showing the two items
  • Add the button above  as well as these rules to your post so others know how to participate
  • Choose "get the InLinkz code" down below above the place where you link up.  Copy and paste this code into the HTML section of your blog post.  The link up will now appear on your blog as well.
  • Link up and advertise!


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Meet Rita!

You are probably wondering…..who is Rita?  Well, I humbly post Rita as my first attempt at clip art.  This is a little frightening to me, considering some the amount of talent that exists in this realm.  But after practicing for quite a while, I've finally got up enough nerve to share.  She's not the prettiest, but she's a start.  

I have a lot more to learn, but I am excited.  I am ready to create my first clipart set and need some inspiration.  What type of clipart are do you need?  What would you like to see?  If I use your idea, I will send you a free copy of my finished set.  I can't wait to read your ideas!

Many thanks to Just So Scrappy for Rita's hair bows!  They are from the School Rules set. 

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