Friday, April 11, 2014

Five for Friday!

What's up everyone? Did you have an amazing week? I did....and the weather was beautiful today here in Chicago!

Today I'm linking up again with Doodle Bugs for their weekly Five for Friday. Here are the top five things that made my week!

Active Engagement Cards

When I had my own classroom, I had the colored post-its with the numbers taped to the kiddo's desks. That way I could instruct them in what order to take turns (orange first, then yellow, blue...etc) and also call on students randomly by drawing numbered sticks. I could also group them by color - all pinks meet together at table 1, oranges at table 2...etc. Now that I don't have my own classroom, I finally figured out that I could just make cards to pass out to the classes I coteach in for the same purpose.

On the back of the card are stickers - this is just another random grouping configuration. The colored numbers work at tables, but the stickers are used when kids need to get up, walk around a little, and form groups of three. So I'll say, "look at the sticker on the back of your card and find your partners to discuss ___."

Just a way to force equalized participation and I'm so glad I have my engagement cards back in my life!

Hands up - Stand up - Pair up & Heads Together

I taught close reading in fifth grade all week - here are two pairs of kiddos meeting together to share their summaries of our article. To find their pair, students stand up, walk around the room with their hands up, (do a high-five when they find their partners) and pair up. Then, the boys shared their summaries, and decided if they included all important information.

We also talked about where our eyes should be - on the card, and it would probably be good to have heads together - that would show we're all thinking about what is being read.

We have to have students engaged for student achievement to increase - two ways here to get that done and get kids up and moving around!

Why is phonics

During our RtI group this week, we did some word study around syllables and whether or make the vowels long or short. I find this so interesting, and even better when the kids are like, "Ms. Brezek, I just don't get it!" But then, after we do a few more, it clicks and then they do get it. And...then they can explain it to one another. Kinda nerdy, but I heart phonics rules!


This boy is a third grader in the class across the hall from me. He's such a great kiddo, and at the end of last week, as a joke after school when he was running laps in fitness club, he wiped his hand on me saying he was all sweaty (in reality, he put his hand in the water fountain!) He laughed and laughed, and I told him, "Don't you worry, K, I'm going to get you back!"

Maybe two days after that, he jumped out from behind a corner and scared me. So that was that. I had to get him back!

This morning, I asked his teachers if I could empty his locker into a box and keep it in my room. They laughed and said, "Yeah, maybe then he can clean it out!" So I did, but when he came to school, it was so anti-climactic! He didn't even notice - just put his coat, and backpack, and gym shoes away and went to class. I stopped by and asked his teacher if he said anything, and they said no. So she asked him to go get his science book. He came back in and said, "Ms. B - It's not in there. I don't have a science book!" Still...he had no idea.

A few hours later, I stopped by his locker and moved his stuff around - hung one of his shoes from the hook, put his He-Man in the other shoe, moved his backpack. Then...the next time he went to his locker, he (finally) noticed. "Ms. B! Something's wrong with my locker! My stuff is all moved around!"

She replied, and I can hear this conversation unfolding as I am sitting in my office working on an anchor chart, "K, do you think someone is messing with you?"

And I can just see it: he face lights up with recognition, as if a lightbulb is lighting up above his head. "Ms. Brezek," and a smile washes over his face.

He comes over to my office and asks me and I act like I know nothing at first, but then, in a sing-song voice say, "Yep, I got'chu K! I win! I told you I'd prank you back!"

Only problem now is that his teacher told me he has his heart set on getting me back I'll get back to you about what happens next! fun with this kid!

Taking a shot at University teaching!

My former principal teaches at Dominican University. Last spring, she had me, along with a few other teachers come present their content areas to her TFA cohort. When she asked again for this spring, I said, "L, do you think I'm qualified to teach my own section? I'd really like to try and teach at the University!"

Within two weeks of that conversation, I had met with the Dean and a lead teacher and next fall I'm going to teach an elementary Language Arts methods class, all of my own, to a new cohort of TFA teachers and I'm so, so excited! It's a job that I'm so excited to do, and I get paid a little bit to do it. All that money? Vacation fund!

Well, that's all for me here. How was your week? You should write a top five and link up!

Have a good weekend!


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