Well it's two weeks into the 3rd marking period, which is my first marking period teaching math. I have been loving every second of it! I had my final observation of the year on Thursday. It went amazing!! I decided to take this time to teach my kiddos the concept of start unknown with missing addends (common core 1.OA.8). If you have ever taught start unknown in a word problem you know how difficult of a concept it is, especially for 1st graders.
The students started at the carpet. We read the "I can" statement together, which is basically like the goal or the objective of the lesson. The I can statement was "I can determine the unknown of an addition or subtraction equation." After reading that I said "WHEWWWWW" that was tough. What are some of those big words we read. The students raised their hands. One by one I underlined and we defined each of those big words (determine-figure out, unknown-we don't know yet, addition- putting together, subtraction-taking away, and equation- number sentence). Those were the kid friendly words I used that the kids seemed to understand. I try to always start my lesson out with reviewing the goal or objective so they have in mind my expectations of what I want them to learn.

Next, I moved to my rocking chair. I told a story of my weekend. "This weekend I went to the circus. I saw the saddest little snowman. I asked him, 'Sad little snowman, what is wrong?' He said to me, 'well I had some balloons, then five flew away, now I only have 4 left.' I said to him, ' well that's simple. I can help! I just need to know how many balloons you started with.' Well that little snowman just looked at me so confused. So our job today is to figure out how many balloons that sad little snowman started with.

This is the anchor chart I had. I had not filled out the storyboard yet obviously. So after telling the story, I told the kids that today we were going to work with story boards to help us solve our word problems. I told them that writers, readers, scientists, and mathematicians all use story boards to organize and solve problems. I then had them turn to their partner, and retell the story of the sad little snowman. Then I had them share what happened first, next, last. With each student that shared, I was looking for something specific like, "The clown started with some but we don't know how many" or "I know 5 flew away". While they were telling me each step I drew the picture on the storyboard to match. Then we made the number sentence. I then sent them back to their desk with a storyboard with a similar start unknown clown word problem. We did it together. I had some students show their work on the document camera. I then gave them differentiated word problems, while i pulled 5 students that needed a little extra assistance. I then pulled the kids back together to review our I can statement and briefly talk about it as my closure.

With the Charlotte Danielson teacher rating, I knocked it outta the ball park. I was and am SUPER ecstatic with how well I scored.  I have to say though, I got the idea for this lesson from betterlessons.com (great website!) I couldn't of just 'winged it'.

I take every day and every lesson seriously, and it's great that my administration sees my enthusiasm and love for the kids and curriculum. If you have an observation coming up, I recommend definitely taking the time to prep and hit all those areas that Charlotte Danielson says makes an effective or distinguished teacher (whatever you are aiming for). I would also recommend consistenly doing the things you plan to do on your observation day. Kids are used to routine, BUT if you up and change it the day before your observation they are going to take notice (and they aren't going to do what you want them to do or act like you want them to act).

Wishing you all the best in your upcoming observation :) Remember breathe, smile, relax YOU GOT HIRED FOR A REASON!!

Ok, so some people have heard of the game/activity SCOOT, while others are perplexed by it! So I thought I'd take today to write a blog post on it!

So traditionally, SCOOT is played by playing a task card with WHATEVER topic, on each students desk. Each student is given a minute or two to solve or answer the question on their recording sheet. Then when the teacher says, "SCOOT" they move to the next seat.

So I had in my plans for today that each of my rotations ( I work in a departmentalized 1st grade classroom--and I am teaching math this marking period), that we were going to do the activity SCOOT with 1.OA.2 which is adding 3 addends in word problems.

So mother nature hit, we had a 2 hour delay, but yet we were still going to do our rotations, so I would be seeing all 98 of them today. I had to think fast. My rotation time would be cut down from 50 mins to 30 (well actually 28 after entering the room and putting away binders, getting whiteboards out and sitting on the carpet). So I started thinking, well this could really work if they worked as table teams and worked together!! After all, who doesn't love a little friendly competition!!
So as you can see, my kiddos worked with the other 3-4 students at their table. There was at least 1 strong reader at each table to read the word problems. I gave them links as their math tools, but also offered them to exchange them for something else. As they finished a word problem (everyone at their table had to be done), they would raise their hand to 'trade in' for another word problem. I walked around the room, holding the additional word problem cards, swapping them out as needed. I also helped them with any words they didn't know, which surprisingly wasn't a lot!!

 They were all SO excited!! I did this activity in writing for Past, Present, and Future Tense Verbs. You can find that activity here :)

Now for my set of lower readers, because of the 2 hour delay, I only had 9 kiddos in that group (normally 12 are there). So I thought, how can I make this meaningful to them?! So I pulled them together on the carpet. I read the word problem, let them pick their math tool, and had them solve. We made it a little bit competetive on the carpet as well. The person who raised their hand first and could SHOW me the correct answer with their math tools got to put a star by their name on the "Wall of Fame" (On my front Whiteboard, I write their name if they are doing something amazing, then they add stars to it for doing other fantastic things, once they get 5 stars, they get to move to a 4--our behavior system AND they get to pick a prize out of my prize box.)

My kiddos loved this activity, and asked if we could play tomorrow!! I told them I would put the recording sheets in plastic sleeves and put them with the task cards into the math center tub, and they can work on that as a fast finisher activity.

Tomorrow we are moving on to introduction of missing addends (common core 1.oa.8) AND I am getting observed!! We will be working on that for the rest of this week into next. But I do have a SCOOT for 1.OA.8, so I'm sure as a review before we take our quiz we can spend a day reviewing with that!

This SCOOT game mentioned in my post above is found  here SCOOT 1.OA.2 Word Problems . I also did this activity in writing for Past, Present, and Future Tense Verbs. You can find that activity here :)

Or you can hop on over to my store to find little gems that may interest you!! Momma with a Teaching Mission on TpT
Today I piggy-back off of yesterday's lesson with adding 3 addends. Yesterday the kiddos spun the spinner 3 times, adding the numbers with whatever math tool they chose. So today, I took that one step further. I introduced a word problem that had 3 addends that required them to add. On an anchor chart, I had written a word problem. The first thing I modeled was circling the important facts from the word problem. With the students help, we decided the number were important, as well as the words 'how many'. Then I drew a picture to represent the numbers from the word problem. I then modeled using a number line for adding 3 addends. I then showed how to write a number sentence or equation for the addends. I then sent the students back to their seats with a paper that had a word problem, a space for drawing a picture, a space for an equation, and a number line. I showed the same paper on the overhead projector.
 We did the problem together, drawing the picture, using a number line, and writing the equation. I then had the students solve one on their own--that was set up the same way to draw a picture, write an equation and show their thinking on a number line. Some of the students said, "Why do I have to show it three ways?" My explanation to them was, that I knew they were becoming experts at math, especially addition, but now they have to be able to show that they can add or subtract in many different ways. This seemed to be sufficient for them :)

You can find the link here to the printables. Wishing everyone a well rested weekend!!

Take care!
Today was the 1st day of the 3rd marking period. So that means it was my 1st day of teaching math!! WOOT WOOT! I teach in a departmentalized 1st grade, which in my opinion, is fantastic! I've taught a different subject each marking period. First it was small group reading--like a daily 5 rotation, second marking period was opinion writing, just started math today, then fourth marking period I'll be teaching our phonics program- FUNdations by Wilson and 2 small guided readings groups a day per group.  I absolutely love everything about this year. But that is for another blog post :)

During our 2 PD days we had on Friday and yesterday (Tuesday), I sat down with my team, and we re-arranged our groups. We grouped the kids homogeneously, which of course, there is good and bad things about that. But no matter how we group the kids, every teacher asks, and every teachers' concern is HOW DO I REACH ALL LEARNERS?

From the high flyers that are working above grade level, to those low babies that struggle to get close to grade level work (but aren't quite making it). We need to be able to reach all learners! So here is just a couple hints/tips that I can suggest that may help with your math instruction.

MODEL!! I think our young friends learn so much from seeing us model what we want them to do. I also think modeling it with one of them is helpful as well. Today, before I sent them off to play spin-a-roo, I had a student come up and we played spin-a-roo in front of the class. The class was so engaged watching one of their own playing with the teacher!

MATH TOOLS!! Ok, so this is probably obvious, however, sometimes I think we forget (or I forget) to give students math tools to work with. Now yes, at times, they play with them when you are wanting them to use them to help them solve the problems. But for me, I had a talk with each group of kiddos, and told them they were math tools, not math toys. As long as you give the students your expectations up front, they will know what to do with the tools or what not to do! Today I offered the student 4 different tools.

CHOICE!! How simple that sounds, but giving your students some sort of choice, helps them to 'buy into' what you are selling! I gave them the option of picking their math tool. I offered links, rik-a-raks, counting hippos, and number lines. How many kiddos do you think picked number lines? Yep, if you guessed 0 you are right!! Do they need to know how to use a number line?? Of course!! However, today's lesson was focusing on using whatever tool they choose to add 3 addends. With this option of being able to choose, many student picked the links. Some picked the counting hippos, and some picked the rik-a-rak.

MAKE IT PERSONAL!!! If the students know that name of the person in the word problem, they are so much more engaged than if it's a random name!! I know that sounds ridiculous, HOWEVER, it works!! Take my warm-up problem this morning.
It states, Dillon picked 3 ears of corn. He picked 6 tomatoes. How many crops did Dillon pick? Dillon is a student in first grade. When I read them the word problem, I head, "Dillon, I know Dillon!!" Because they know him they were that much more engaged. Also, were I teach, it is a very rural community. There are farms, and many families have their own gardens. They related to picking crops, like Dillon is this word problem. Yes, I think it's important to expose kids to different cultures. BUT, I also think when it comes to getting them engaged and hooked, you need to get them interested and invested by linking to something they know or are familiar with.

USE YOUR GUT!! Do what you think feels right! You went to school to become a teacher, you have teaching experience, whether you have been teaching 20+ years, or you are finishing up your student teaching internship. You went into teaching for a reason! Trust your instincts.

Luckily with how we grouped our students this marking period, I have one group of 12 students (YEP you read that right 12!). Now there is a trade-off the other groups have 21, 19, 21, and 25, BUT it is going to be extremely helpful to have 12 students in that group. Today with teaching this group to add 3 addends, and using all the advice I listed above, it went beautifully! I used my Spin-A-Roo game, allowed the students to write with crayon (if they wanted), allowed them to choose their math tool. I had 6 students at one table working, 5 students at the other (one was absent). I was able to monitor their addition skills. With this group, I had each student working on their own paper, so they were less likely to be distracted. BUT, with my other 4 groups, I gave them the option of working independently or a partner that I choose for them. I felt like this lesson worked well for all students. The important thing is to remember to be flexible because at any moment there may be a fire drill or vomit, or LORD KNOWS WHAT ELSE that would interrupt your flow! :D

You can also find my Bundle for Common Core No Prep Printables for 1.OA and my Warm-Up 1.OA.1 Problems .

Wishing everyone a fabulous day!!
If there was some sort of time machine I could rewind to 10 years ago, I would have told myself to hang on. I would have told myself it was going to be a crazy, wild, but yet beautifully magnificent ride, and so worth it. I was at a dark place. Within a year, I got dropped out of college, moved back home, gotten pregnant, and was alone. But out of that dark place, I became a stronger, hard-working, determined person. While pregnant, I worked 3 jobs, and struggled to stay afloat. On January 20th 2005, my gorgeous baby boy was born.
It's hard to believe 10 years have flown by. I became the person I am today because of the decision I made after having my sweet boy. I no longer was going to feel sorry for myself. I was no longer going to be ok with just getting by. I was going to make that change. I was going to break the cycle and show and prove to myself and my son that it could be done. After Karter was born, I could no longer afford to maintain my apartment. I could no longer work 3 jobs, I had to care for my son. I still worked 2 jobs, with the help of my family taking care of my baby. I had to move back in with my mother. I had to get rid of my amazing dog, Barley. I still think about him, wonder if he's still alive, he was a boxer and would have been about 13ish years old. He was there for me the many nights I cried and found myself questioning why is the point? It was hard to get rid of him, but I couldn't bring him to live with me at my mothers house, she had a dog that didn't get along with other dogs. Moving back in with my mother, meant I also moved back in with my 17 year old brother and sister. It was very tough. At one point in my life, I thought I was the best, very arrogant. Having my son at age 21 and being a single mom changed me in every single way possible. When my son, Karter was about 18 months old, I met my husband. 
Chris was the father my son never had. He was and still is amazing. I just knew that he was the one. 
If you are reading this, please remember, if you aren't happy with your life--you are the only one that can change that! Believe me, if I can go back to school, while planning a wedding, and having 3 children under the age of 5----ANY ONE can chase and catch that dream!!!

So in honor of my blessing Karter James, I am having a sale in my store, everything 20% off. Go check it out, and don't ever forget, you can make that change!!
Momma with a Teaching Mission TpT Store

Take care!!

So another benefit with being departmentalized and switching what I teach every marking period is the fact that I get excited about the subject that I have created next! First marking period I taught daily 5 with the small group reading. This marking period I've been teaching writing--following the Lucy Caulkins opinion writing for 1st grade. Third marking period I am teaching math (silent cheer YAY). Then 4th marking period I will be teaching the Phonics program (FUNdations from Wilson) along with part of the small group reading(my team mate will be teaching the other half of small group reading).

So how did I spend the last day with opinion writing? We did our on-demand assessments, which will be their final writing grade on Tuesday. But Wednesday, I was like, hmmmm.....

So this is the idea I came up with!! We also needed something of the students work to hang in the hallway. I read Groundhog Day by Gail Gibbons. We then made a t-chart of reasons some people would want a longer winter, and reasons some people would want spring to come sooner.
I then sent them on their way. Some of my groups I posted sentence starters to help them out.
After they got done writing, they made little groundhog heads to put in the corner, and they I displayed them in the hallway!!

I was very impressed with how much they have gained this marking period with their writing!! Just loved it :)

Wishing all a fantastic friday!!

I am linking up with The Teaching Trio to blog about my favorite things!! Being the beginning of the year, and maybe you don't know me (more than likely since I am new to the world of blogs, TpT, and all things social media), I thought I would post my 3 favorite things (besides my children :)

1. My favorite thing is a good cup of coffee. But it doesn't have to just be coffee, it could be a latte, or any kind of coffee beverage!! Of course, I absolutely love flavored creamer and sugar. It has to have sugar!! :) I have loved Dunkin Donuts peppermint mocha, but I am sad because I fear it is only a seasonal beverage and they will surely be getting rid of it now that it's January! But they probably will replace it with another fabulous flavor :) There is a Dunkin Donuts right beside my school, so it is very easy to swing by on my way to work--AND they offer a 10% teacher discount! WOOT WOOT!

2. My number 2 is snow days! Now yes, I love snow days now (not so much as they start accumulating). Our county builds in snow days to the calendar, I think maybe 5, so as long as we don't go over that, we still will get out at the tentative June 4th-ish date. We had a snow day on Tuesday (which if you follow me on instagram you saw I didn't find out until I was at school -- @ebersmel). But that's ok because I got some school work done, and am ready for my observation on January 27th :) AND we have already been notified we will have a delay tomorrow (Thursday) due to low temperatures. So I love snow days, every now and then :) It allows me to catch up on my work, and hang out with my babies!

3. My 3rd favorite thing I had to mention was the talented Kimberly Geswein . I am absolutely in love with her fonts. I have slowly been adding her fonts to my computer, and my goodness, her fonts are a-ma-zing!! Eventually I will buy the Commerical Font License, but for now, I purchase a new font license every couple days. I can not get enough of her work!! IN LOVE!!

So that's a little peek into my world, next month I will blog about something more teacher related.

Have a great January!!

Someone once told me that I needed to wipe that smile off my face. I can't help it, 97% of the time I am smiling. People who don't know me that will say, "Why are you smiling?', like there has to be a reason!! And of course when I have my hair highlighted a bit blonder, my husband jokes and says 'you smile because you don't know what's going on.' He's such a love! lol :)

I smile, or try to smile often, because what's the alternative? Having that mad look, no thank you :) Try it sometime, I promise you will have a better day, even if you just increase your smiling by a mere 25% :D

So today was my first day back after 12 glorious days of being off. Did I want to go back? Well sort of. My own children were wonderful for the majority of the break, however this past weekend, they were constantly tattling on each other, so for that fact I was ready to go back to a routine!

In case you weren't aware, in my school, I am a part of a departmentalized 1st grade team. Currently for this 2nd marking period I am teaching writing---opinion writing. We have about 8 days left in the marking period, so we are winding down with the last Bend of the Lucy Caulkins Opinion writing with the students writing reviews about books. At my school there is much debate about Lucy, however, I like her work! Now yes, she doesn't include all the little things the kiddos are missing, but that has given me the opportunity to incorporate mini-lessons for Fact Vs Opinion, adding conjunctions to our sentences, and using correct verb tense. With each mini-lesson, I only spend 2-3 days depending on how well the kids are doing. But I am excited to finish up with writing, because.............
I get to teach Math!! Can you tell how excited I am!! I have been creating Math Resources like crazy in preparation for the 3rd marking period!! You can check them out here

On a personal note....here's a picture of my pup, Rocs. He is a crazy dog!! He will go outside and sit in the chair, even when I call him to come in, he wants to stay in that chair! He's a true guard dog.
Wishing everyone a great week!

So today was the first day of the new year, how exciting is that! We can start fresh. Start clean. Start new. How refreshing.

But what happens if you don't want to start new? Can't we just freeze this moment and keep living it? Seriously wouldn't that be amazing if we could stay at our favorite moment in time?

I often wonder, how am I 31?! Not by any means do I consider 31 to be old, however, I still feel like I did when I was 20 (mentally, not physically lol). I can not complain about the year, or the past 7 years for that matter. However, I did lose my first grandparent. I know you are probably thinking, WOW She's 31 and just now lost her first grandparent. I know I have been extremely blessed.

However, with another new year, I can't help but wonder the things that may happen that will be out of my control. The disappointments, the sadness, the loss. But then I think about the flip side of that---what if something INCREDIBLE is in my future. Something I couldn't even imagine!!

And then, that's it, that's when I pray. I pray and thank God for every single breathe he has given me, and all the wonderful things he has blessed me with. I also thank God for the things that I didn't understand at the time, but have made me who I am today. I pray that God takes away this worry. I pray that he helps me to live one day at a time, and see the greatness in each moment. I pray that he helps me to be a better mother and wife. I pray that he guides me down his path to fulfill his word. I pray that he takes away the pain and evil from the things of this world. I pray that he heals the hearts and bodies of those broken and sick. I thank him for sacrificing his son so that one day I can be in heaven rejoicing with him.
I by no means am perfect. I wish I read the Bible more, and in fact I downloaded the app on my phone she reads truth, so I can be more encouraged to look up Bible versus while on my phone rather than the social media apps. I saw someone post this picture on facebook today, and I just had to share it with my FB and instagram friends. I think it says it all, we all should pray, and if you already pray, do it more often. I pray for all of you that may be reading this.

I didn't plan for this to be a prayer post, however it turned out that way, and I'm glad about it. It was what was real in my heart, and I just wanted to share it with you.

I know I am blessed, and my God is amazing. After 2 miscarriages back to back, he blessed me with this angel. This is a short clip of my gorgeous baby girl :)

 God Bless All of you in 2015 and always,

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