Hi, friends!  I'm so excited for the TpT sale tomorrow. I've been stocking up my wish list and I'd love to share with you a few things I NEED to have.
I HAVE to have these. As you know, we use Engage NY math modules for our curriculum and Shanon Juneau has made Powerpoints for each lesson. I was making my own but um, holy time consuming! Why reinvent the wheel?! These are done, cute, and reasonably priced. Add the HEROS discount and I can't pass them up!
Whimsy Clips!! Don't you love this clip art?! I have such an obsession. I love how cute the kids are and I love the bright, engaging, illustrations! I have to have this KN Words set for my new Easy Peasy Centers. Can't wait. I may or may not have my eye on a couple more sets. Check her out!
This unit was just posted tonight and caught my eye. So cute. We teach shapes in our next module and let me just say, the fun is seriously lacking. I think this unit could help me spice it up a bit. Well done, Jessica Travis (from Wild About Firsties)

Be sure to check back tomorrow and see what else I purchased. I tend to be quite the impulsive buyer! 

I've been quite the busy bee lately and I am super excited about a few new products. My printer is a real piece of junk and has been giving me such trouble. It runs out of ink all.the.time. The printing quality is never consistent. It loses its connection to my computer daily. I know it's time for another but it just got me thinking. Printing out centers, cutting out pieces, organizing them for future use... It can all just get to be too much. So, I came up with Easy Peasy Centers. They come in two versions- color and black and white.  The pieces have bold, straight lines that are easy to cut. I hope that they will save teachers lots of ink and lots of time while still providing students with quick, relevant, and engaging phonics and spelling practice. Check them out and follow my store, there will be many more Easy Peasy Centers to come. 
Easy print, cut, and do phonics centers. Make great word work centers, word wall/focus wall displays, and small group instruction activities. Easy Peasy!

Easy Peasy Phonics Centers now cover 6 different phonics topics

I've also been working hard to catch-up on all of my Core Knowledge Companion Units. Some of my students just finished up Unit 3 and I thought I'd share some photos of my Mini-Wheats working hard during GRAIR/Centers time.
 My students love the extra practice the GRAIR packets and Skills Centers provide. If you use Core Knowledge Skills Units you know that sounds and spellings are introduced one day and then the curriculum moves on to the next sound or spelling. There are very few opportunities for students to practice or master these skills. Again, it's almost as if the 'people' who wrote this curriculum have never met a six year-old, let alone taught one. I'm pleased to say, that after using activities from my units, I've seen big improvements in my students.
Pictured above are Fluency strips for all of the 'phrases and sentences' taught in Unit 3. My Mini-Wheats love to set a sand timer and challenge themselves or a partner to read all three weeks of words. Instant engagement, instant fluency practice, makes for one happy teacher.
Unit 5 is my latest addition. 
Last in my new product line up are Data Wall Clip Charts. These deserve a post of their own because I know there will be many questions. How are they used? What are they for? I promise I will get to that. But for now, those of you who are familiar with data walls, and are required or encouraged to display them, know how time consuming they can be. My colleagues and I came up with these very simple, yet effective Data Wall Clip Charts. Simply print, cut, laminate and go! I hope they will save you time and energy while also providing with useful data, student motivation, and positive notes from your administrators.

I will work on a post describing the use of these charts and the research they are based on. I promise! For now it is late and I have lots of shopping to do in the morning before work! Happy shopping every one. 
Thank you for stopping by and sharing your time with me. For those of you who have read my previous posts- clean eating is going well. I'm on Day 2 and I WANT A COOKIE! Instead, I blog. Sigh. :)

This is my first time linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching!

February Break has been AWESOME! Despite the fact that I apparently live in the frozen tundra, (Seriously, winter can be over now! Buh bye!) I have gotten so much accomplished this week. Most importantly, I've had a lot of quality time with these two cuddle bugs. 
I made a list of things that are really important for me in 2015. Goals. And Ive slowly, but surly, been chipping away at it. This week I checked a big one off, more on that, I hope, at some point. :) Until then, this is in my phone because I find myself needing to look at it often.

It's almost done, I swear. I've had so many inquiries about this unit but man, oh man, it's kind of a bear. There's no rhyme or reason to it. This reminds me that I really need to blog about how I use these to supplement the EngageNY Skills curriculum in my classroom. It's my hope the activities in these units help to make it a tad more fun and engaging and a tad easier to plan for teachers. It WILL be up tomorrow. Scouts honor!

This bad boy is posted!! It's part of, what I hope will be, a growing series of EASY PEASY centers. Are you tired of using up all your ink? Cutting out complicated center pieces? Center activities with too many parts? These are for you! I'll be working on my next set soon...
Last, but NOT least: My husband is better than your husband. :) He said to me last month, "Why don't you take a few days off and take the baby to go see your parents? You deserve it!"
So, this time next week I hope to be in sunny Florida, putting some chubby baby feet in the sand, and running outside, and shell hunting, and not freezing my ever loving tuckus off!!! It can't come quick enough!

Cheers, friends! It's bed time! Thanks for taking the time to read. I hope you'll join me on Facebook or Instagram, that's where I post most often!

Ya, you heard that right. I... ME... I'm going to attempt a clean eating challenge. Yikes. If you know me personally then you know I have the eating habits of your average 6 year-old. 
My favorite foods are cheese and bread, not necessarily in that order. My husband gets so mad at me because when we go out to dinner I order from the kids menu- grilled cheese, chicken fingers, pizza, YUMMO!  

It's never been much of a big deal to me. I have the blessing of "good genes" and I've always been relatively slim. I also love to work out so whatever bad eating habits I've had, I've always been able to excuse it to myself because "I exercise". Well, now I have two kids. Working-out, while still something I try to squeeze in, is not at the top of my priorities. 

I knew something had to change when I ran 3 miles at the gym the other day and then stopped for Wendy's on the way home. I'm 35, soon to be 36, it's time to get with the program and shape up. My son is proving to be quite the picky eater now that he's four. I'm sure that has a lot to do with the fact that HE'S FOUR but I also should be a role model for him. 

It's only a 5 day challenge. I'm doing it with some of my girlfriends and I think it will be a nice confidence booster if I can complete it. I start Monday. Wish me luck! 

If I do well I'd love to try a round of Whole 30. I've got the book all packed and ready to go for my trip to Florida (8 DAYS AWAY!!!) 

I leave you tonight with a FREEBIE. In my excitement for my Clean Eating Challenge, I made a new Grocery List. It has 8 different versions and is EDITABLE!! Click the picture below to download.

You also may enjoy another EDITABLE product. I recently updated my Guided Reading Lesson Planning Pages so that they are completely editable.
Click the picture to download for FREE!

As always, thanks for taking the time to stop by and read. :)
One of my favorite quotes of all time. I need it hanging on the wall in my house.
Where to begin? At the beginning? Sure! Two years ago my district adopted the EngageNY curriculum and we were told to follow it TO THE LETTER. To say it's been challenging would be an understatement. I find the math modules to be especially challenging to work with if you are not given a lot of leeway. The lessons are very difficult to complete in the time allotted and the pacing of the skills is just...insane. At times I find myself wondering if the people who wrote this have ever even MET a first grader, let alone taught one. Luckily, as time has gone on, the powers that be have allowed us a little bit of wiggle room as far as following this curriculum with complete fidelity.

While it's refreshing to have back some input into how and what we teach the task was still daunting.
When I returned from maternity leave this winter my kids were just about to take the second round of district tests. Their scores showed that many of them were still struggling with basic number concepts. The first grade modules for EngageNY assume that all students have a strong foundation in numeracy, that they understand that 5 is 5, and it is also 2+3, and it is 1 less than 6, etc. Clearly, this was not true for a majority of my students.

I work very closely with the classroom next to mine, which happens to be a new make-up of classroom for my district. The classroom has a General Education Teacher and a full-time Speech Language Pathologist. We put our heads together and decided that we would break into small groups for math and try to remediate some of the areas of need. I took the neediest groups and the SLP. :)

Now on to the hard part. What would math groups look like? How would we fit it all in? A what would the kids be doing when they're not in a teacher directed group?  I decided to fall back on my math groups of the past and use the same acronym and group labels, just with an update.
Click the picture to download for free! 
Our Math block falls right after lunch so we have the kids come back to their respective classrooms and do a quick bathroom break and fluency activity while the kids move in and out of the bathroom. I believe the fluency piece is very important and it's actually something the kids look forward to so, we didn't want to cut it out. When we've finished, the children transition into their math groups for the classroom switch. I meet my math groups at the gathering area and we begin. 

Each lesson begins with a quick review of our Rituals and Routines posters, that I project onto the Smartboard, and a look at our schedule for the days group rotations. I do all of my EngageNY module lessons on the Smartboard. Some of the lessons were made by colleagues, some by me, but I find this to be the best way to get through them. 

Next, I do the application problem, whole group.  I know that the lessons call for the kids to be working independently on these and then sharing their answers but a. the time frame for this is 5 minutes! (again, I must ask if the authors of this curriculum have ever met a six year-old) and b. many of the kiddos, in my groups, are not independent with these skills. So, whole group it is. The students work in their 'Math Journals' while I lead, think aloud, and ask for suggestions for how to solve the problem. Currently, my students are using the My Jumbo Journals from reallygoodstuff.com to record their work.

 The EngageNY curriculum calls for "personal white boards" but I found these to be challenging. I bought a case of shop ticket holders last year and used those for both the 'application problems' and 'concept development' but I was going through dry erase markers so quickly and the shop ticket holders were not very durable and were constantly ripping and cracking. I also didn't like that the kids couldn't look back at their work. I like their solutions to these problems to be a reference tool the we can use again and again if necessary.

Finally, I do the concept development portion of the lesson. Again, I always struggle to do this portion within the time suggested. I have been known to stretch a lesson for two days and/or scrap the entire thing and teach the 'concept' and 'standards' in a way that I know my Mini-Wheats NEED it. I'm glad to have a little more flexibility to do this. 
 Now that our time at the gathering area has come to a close we transition into our groups. I have 4 groups, organized by ability. 

This is still a work in progress. I wanted to be sure that each group got valuable teacher time. Ms. Booth is the SLP and she leads the students in a targeted skill lesson. Because she's an SLP she does a wonderful job with vocabulary development and helping students through some of the challenging concepts and language. I'm pretty lucky to have her, I know. :) She meets with each of our neediest groups for 25-30 minutes each.
At my table, I meet with 3 groups for 15-20 minutes each. I do the 'problem set' worksheet with my groups and/or lead them in a math game/center that I hope to introduce so it can be added to our 'Hands On' Centers. This past Thursday I introduced a center from my Making 10 With 8 and 9 as an Addend Unit 
Each EngageNY Inspired Center has a matching worksheet and fluency activity.

We are about to begin the second half of Module 2. Students will no longer be "making ten to add" they will now be "decomposing teen numbers" to "take from ten". I plan to use centers from my Teen Numbers Unit to reinforce the skill of decomposing those teen numbers into a ten and some ones. 
Each EngageNY Inspired Center has a matching worksheet and fluency activity.

While Ms. Booth and I are rotating through our groups the other students are working at Technology or at the gathering area with Hands-On Centers. 

Technology Groups are working on iPads and math apps. My iPads are district owned so I can only load them with free apps or with apps purchased by my district. I'm always looking for great, free apps. If you know of any please feel free to comment with some in the comments section!

So, there you have it. As I mentioned before, this is a work in progress, we've had good days and bad days, the kids are still learning the routines and Ms. Booth and I are still working on our timing. You'll notice that "At Your Seat" is one of our rotations. This was supposed to be the exit ticket but we STILL haven't found time to do it!! I am determined to figure it out and get to a place where we can squeeze it in. I think it's so valuable to have that quick assessment and to track the progress of newly taught skills.  I'll update in the coming weeks to tell you how we've grown.

For now, I'm going to get prepared for a week long break from school! February recess is here and I'm so in need of some time at home to play with my babies and get caught up on all this TpT stuff. Creating and blogging are so much fun for me but it's so time consuming! I'm hoping to carve out some time to update some units, finish some things I've been working on, and BLOG! I promise I will be better at this and not every post will be a long, rambling, bunch of drivel. (oops, see above!)
Stay warm, everyone!! For those in warmer temperatures: shut it! Just kidding. Not really. Us Northern folks will like you again come Spring. :)

In celebration of my week off and the fact that I have FINALLY blogged about my math groups you'll find my whole store 20% off for 48 hours! Thanks so much for visiting and taking the time to read. If you have any questions, success stories with EngageNY Modules, or advice I'd LOVE to hear from you!

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