Monday, March 25, 2013

Taking the 'Common' out of Common Core

The common core is everywhere! And in some States, it's not....anymore. For those of us that are still driven by the Common Core, posting those "I can" statements daily/weekly/permanently throughout our do you find ways to keep your classroom creative, fun, & hands-on, all while meeting those Common Core objectives?

Here's a few things that we've recently done in my classroom to keep our learning fun, fresh, and engaging! I thought I had a picture of this....but I can't seem to find it amongst the bazillion photos in my camera roll. So, imagine this.....a first grade classroom with a sand table? Yep--that's us! We often use it for math. Actually, it's not a sand table....but sand totes (the plastic rubbermaid ones). Since we live in Michigan where it still feels like the Arctic....we have laminated missing addend snowflakes buried in the sand. We call it Blizzard Beach. It's funny that none of my students found the mix of beach, summer, winter, & snow items all mixed together a bit odd----that's Michigan for ya! But it keeps sensory play in my classroom at the same time my students find missing addends. Using different totes for various levels of missing addend work keeps that station FUN & differentiated. I really need to grab a picture of that, but in the mean time, use your mental images, and look HERE.

Recently, it was the 120th day of school for my students. 1.NBT.1 says that students should count to 120 starting at any number less than 120. In this range, read and write numerals and represent a number of objects with a written numeral. So that we did! Not that we haven't been working on it all year----but because we HAVE been working so hard, we chose the 120th day to celebrate it!

We decorated our entrance to our classroom....and just in case anyone questioned the hustle & bustle, the giggles galore, and the multiple times the firsties broke out in tune ("Red Solo Cup....I fill you up..")

 Go ahead, I'll wait while you sing along...

....but just in case anyone questioned our day, I went ahead and posted my 1.NBT.1 objective right on our sign! 

Students decorated their own T-shirts----some were tallied, BeJewled, covered in buttons, painted, and more! Not one shirt was the same!

 And'll understand why Toby Keith is considering letting us cover his Kids Bop version of Red Solo Cup (wink, wink). There were multiple structures built throughout the day with 120 Red Solo cups. Cooperative learning, planning, and creating....I loved listening to their conversations, compromises, ideas, and minds at work!

Here's one child enjoying 120's day to the, 120 apple jack necklace, 120 pom-pom shirt....what's not to love about 1.NBT.1?! 

1.NBT.1 also helped my students satisfy their tastebuds by counting out 12 groups of 10 snack items to contribute to a trail mix. See? The Common Core is Y-U-M-M-Y! 

(Click the photo of the smarties above to get your own 1st Grade 120 Day fun!)

At this point in the year, if you are like me, you are finding the Common Core just another 'chore'. And when something becomes a little too means we need to spice it up! What fun ways do you put the paper/pencils down in order to take the 'Common' out of Common Core? 


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Blog Sabbatical Over! #INSPIRED!

It seems as if this year has thrown me for a bit of a loop----but in a great way! I haven't been so great about blogging since, well, November....because I have been so busy diving in and trying to be the the best I can be at my new grade level. Something had to give for awhile, and it happened to be blogging. So, to say the least, it's been a long while since I've been in the blogging world, but I just returned from the MACUL conference for 2 full days and am feeling more inspired and motivated than ever!

I was able to attend this conference by invitation with 11 of my K-12 colleagues from my district! I was so honored to attend and we had a blast! I attended several amazing sessions and was a little star struck by some of my favorite people on Twitter/blogs. Insert name dropping: Kevin HoneyCutt, Adam Bellow, Erin Klein, Kim Powell - to name a few! How about any of you? Did I pass you in the halls? Were we in the same sessions together?! I'd love to hear from you if you were there! 

Not only did I hear some very inspiring words, I learned SO much from my sessions. As I dive into some projects, explore some of the fabulous apps, and implement all of the innovative ideas and techniques, I will roll those out into my blog to share with you! The overall theme that I noticed is that classrooms have already, or are working toward, putting a device in each child's hand in the classroom. Some of the buzzwords I heard repeatedly? iPads, interactive whiteboards, apps, technology bond, and 1:1 classrooms. I can't tell you how many times I heard 1:1, 1:1, 1:1. JEALOUS!.... and motivated to see if I can work toward that goal. Donor Choose project submitted less than 24 hours post conference? CHECK! Pre-Grant Writing thinking and searching....CHECK! I can so vividly see how I would integrate iPads into all areas of my instruction, especially - and not limited to - Daily 5! If my students had their own iPad on a daily basis----oh, the possibilities!! 

Clearly, technology and devices in classrooms is quickly becoming ever popular, and necessary. It's the new paper/pencil, it's innovative, IT'S. THEIR. WORLD!!!! Currently, my students have better technology at home than they do in our school/my classroom. And some don't have technology at all---and I don't have much to offer them. That's so backwards! It is my job, my mission, and my responsibility to provide them with cutting edge projects, time to explore, learn, create, and publish. As Adam Bellow so wisely noted, we are currently preparing our students for the 22 century and occupations that don't yet exist! The longer I don't have technology & the longer my school district doesn't have this technology, the less prepared our students will be for the real world, for their world, for the technology driven world. 

I cannot wait to dive in to all the knowledge and put all this excitement to good use! In the meantime...

I'm curious, how many of you have 1:1 classrooms, use kindles, use hand-held interactive whiteboard tablets, have 7+ iPads? Tell me, I'd love to hear from you about what technology you have available in your classroom!