Sunday, May 27, 2012

Econ Foldable and The Great To-Do List Challenge Week 4

First up to bat- the much anticipated Store foldable samples.  I made one- a school, and my daughter made one- a grocery store.  I had assigned a grocery store to a student that was absent on Friday- but then I felt bad about it and think I should let him make a choice just like everyone else got to, so having an eight year old free around the house to pick up my slack was pretty convenient.  Having her make one was also swell in that it gave me an idea for expectations out of my class.  You know when you make your own sample you get all proud of yourself for how pretty it is, and then you turn the project over to your lovely sweet little cabbages and they make exactly what they are capable of doing and you have to realize that you forgot you had thirty some years head start on them.  Like when I'm writing down a note and one of them says "wow, you write soooooo fast." Then I feel a little bad how I'm always wanting them to hurry up. It's easy to lose perspective sometimes.

The Meek Moose Fine Arts and Crafts School
Food Power

Things I like about this foldable: 1) the hangar.  In the long run, it's optional- but if I keep the hangar, it gives me some flexibility in displaying them, we can hang them from strings and move them around in a line for sorting and presenting, and all sorts.  Or I can leave the hanger off, maybe add a fancy duct table strip to one of the side and bind them together into a big book.  That sort of appeals to me too.

2)The versatility of drawing right on the paper or pasting on the details.

3) Putting the info on index cards taped inside ground the kids into a location for their writing, and also can help alleviate any stress about the AMOUNT to write.  When they see the small space they can realize, Hey, I don't have to write War and Peace here. (I was an English major, can you tell?)
My daughter has started to put everything on one card, and then to cover up that she drew a line, she just wrote the definition of the types of resources.

4) The floor plan.  So much fun.  I made mine traditional, and my daughter made hers more of a labeled picture.  I think both work, and allow the kids some leeway with what they want to do.
After I made my floor plan I realized I got so excited adding in the art studios I forgot about classrooms.  I wonder if the kids will notice?

5) I like having the catalog/menu/items available charted on the side. I felt like I was most creative on that part of the sample, my daughter found that part tedious.  She preferred the drawing. Insight, insight, insight.

Since mine was a school, mine says "Course Offerings"

6) Last minute change to add a peek-a-boo roof, I originally had all of that folded to the back, and put the description card on the same side as the catalog, but when I tried it on the actual paper, I preferred the largest size card for the catalog, and it was too busy with the two cards on that one side.  So now the store description is under the eaves of the roof.

It says: Food Power is a store where people buy food. The food is low priced, great quality, and the workers are very nice! Food Power is Food-er-ific!

Before my daughter and I got down to make our samples, I asked her a series of questions which actually helped me think through a planning worksheet I'm going to create for my students on Tuesday.  I had her come up with a name for her store, and think through the natural, human, and capital resources needed.  For the description plan I had her make a statement telling what her store was and it's purpose, three reasons why someone should shop there, and come up with a tag-line or motto.  When I asked her to do that she said "What?!" So I said, you know, like Frosted Flakes, They'rrrrrrrrre Grrrrrrrreat! To which she replied "Oh." and then came up with one.  Then I had her think of ten things her store would sell and come up with a price for each.  Sorta amusing what an eight year old considers a low price for food.  And if she thinks things are that expensive, you'd think she'd try to help me out a little more at the grocery store and not pick everything she sees and put it in the cart, but oh well.

Also in the process, I realized that next year when I do this, I'll have the kids sort the business cards one more time before they choose, and make a selection of businesses that are the MOST NECESSARY to fulfill the needs of the citizens.  That way, I can have everyone's first creation be a real basic town, and then if they finish early they can make a second store that fulfills wants.  Additionally, if I do this all year next year, we can have other opportunities to add in funsie things for legitimate reasons.  Like a TV station because we are learning to write news scripts or whatnot.  I'm excited to see how these foldables turn out though, that's for sure!

And secondly, the to-do list.  In retrospect, I don't feel as productive as I felt last Sunday.  But then I also know I did a lot of hard work this week with assessments, and I have done a lot of good planning.  So I won't beat myself up over the list.  I probably should have gone a little lighter on myself since I know I had all of those running records- live and learn. Live and learn...

Time to tally up my score:

1) Darn it, I need to do the thing with the microphone recorder. No.  I should be ashamed of myself I suppose.  I'm going to leave it off this week to gain some insight as to WHY I keep putting it off.
2)Take care of the teacher's desk, if I did indeed leave it a god awful mess on Friday.  I think I probably did. Halvsies again.  I did clean it up once, but then it went nuclear on Friday and I left it a mess again. I have a real problem with this.
3)The Daily 5 books- even if I did manage to make the books later today, I will not have the kid illustrations in them, so it's still a this week thing. HA! I finished something! The writing anyway.  I was shut down at the laminator though TWICE!  So I've got to wait probably until SOL testing is done to be able to tear it up. In the mean time, I have been reading them with the class at every transition, and it is really helping with getting up under control these last weeks.
4) The catch-all drawers beckon Nope. In fact I am guilty of tossing stuff in there without even caring because I was trying to clear off a counter.  Which ended up totally messed up again later in the week anyway.
5) Have to do 20 DRA's.  Due on Friday- so this is priority one. Hoo-Hah! Yes I DID! And I am happy to report that all of my kids that I started with in October (except 3) have made a year and a half's growth since I got ahold of them. My new English Speaker who I just got two months ago was able to read and comprehend a level two. He is so bright! Next year he'll be above grade level I'm sure. The kid is toooo smart.  The whole process of acquiring a second language just amazes me.
6) I've got to get that town map made. And preview over the lessons for this week so I'm ready. Yes in the sense that I made it a kid project.  And I'm glad that I did, even with the hiccup there in the initial creation.  And I've got loads done with my econ unit, and we're headed into the final drive.  I expect that we will spend the majority of the week making these shop foldables, and finsih the week with the look into barter vs money and create a town currency.  That leaves me two whole weeks to work on town market.  Admittedly, that part of the project truly frightens me.  I am afraid that I am not clever enough to make it work...and I'm not entirely sure why.  More self reflection necessary.
7) Implement the hunt for the positive mission YES I DID! And I am happy with it.  It has given me insight into how they view themselves, and also what they are lacking in skill of how to compliment another person. I am excited about our brick wall we'll be making, and I had an excellent conversation with my mother about how to make this spying and complimenting task a year long endeavor and between the two of us, I think we thought up a very nifty art activity that changes month by month.  When I make the samples this summer I will write a post to share.  I'm going to look inot seeing if my sister the costume designer can do some drawings for me first, or if I'm going to have to attempt the endeavor myself.
8) I'm truly considering revamping how I write my lesson plans And I am a bit proud of myself for the phrasing here, because it didn't require me to actually do anything but THINK- but I also must confess that I did not think about it much, so I cannot give myself full points to be fair.
9) Also truly considering trying my hand at guided math groups this week Proud of myself AGAIN- and there was much much much consideration, and I have written down some plans and hope to try to actually put it into practice this week. 
10) finish reading the CAFE book YES! Full points! What a great book.  What a great set of books reading it right after the Daily 5.  What a great set of sisters, yeah?  Completely thought provoking.  It has my mind buzzing.  I;ve spent over an hour looking at my schedule and writing out possible time frames to try to do something like what they are suggesting.  One hiccup though, my school is very into the Jan Richardson model of guided reading, so I don't know if I can fly with this, or if it's even adaptable to what I'm already doing, or what.  But I am going to investigate further because both books really struck a chord in me.

So, looking it over, 6 out of ten. 7 if I give myself half points for kinda thinking about lesson plans and cleaning my desk at the beginning of the week, even though I left it a mess again on Friday. Let's split the difference.  65%.  Which, I guess is a failing grade, but you know, I don't feel like a failure.  Because HEY, I did some extra credit this week. 1)I cleaned up a side table, put a pretty vinyl table cloth over it that matches the Boston Fern I've got on top, and the kids have been using it all week as an extra work space. 2) Math has gone seamlessly this week because of our new end of the table group hill-billy bookshelf organization and the fact that I cleaned up and organized the math manipulatives. 3) After reading the Daily 5 book, and letting go of some control issues of having to pick who goes where at what time and does what station during language arts time, plus making the expectations charts and We Can books, I had the best working environment all year these past two weeks, and I must contribute that the success of getting through with all of my required assessments even with doing NOTHING for the first week of them. I promise not to procrastinate on it next year. So I think I deserve at least an 80% this week.  All said and done.

This week though- let's be purposeful.  I have tomorrow off, so I can't do anything in the classroom. And I'm glad that I can't.  Where I used to work, I lived only ten minutes away and had a key to get in whenever I wanted so I worked every holiday, every weekend, every moment.  Now, aside from having over an hour's commute- they just don't DO THAT at the new place.  You DO NOT come in on days that are not scheduled workdays.  So there is something I appreciate.  Which reminds me, I almost forgot to get appreciative, didn't I? For shame!

This week I've got to appreciate my daughter- she has no idea how much I learned watching her make this sample shop- and how much she helped me get my brain ready for what my second graders are most likely going to produce for me this week. And she has a tough time of it, with attention being snagged away by an older brother with pretty severe autism, and a relatively new baby.  She is a real star. Love my girl!

I also have appreciated my Mom this week- she's really listened intently to me yammer on about my school plans, and even helped me create an idea or two.  And when I'm at home, I don't have anybody else really interested in such things- so it's good to have a sounding board.

And I've got to give a quick shout-out of appreciation to Marilu, one of the fabulous ESOL teachers I work with, for coming in even though she was bogged down with testing this week, to talk over our little newbie's progress and even do some of his running records for me.  She is a gem! I love collaborating with her, and Anna who co-teaches with me three times a week.  She's been out with the testing too- miss her! And I need to appreciate Anna as well, because she has really been there to give me the 411 on a lot of things that people forgot to tell me about, like the distinction between and N, NS, and S- on report cards..  Thanks to both of these ladies, I'll be ever closer to being SUPER TEACHER next year!

This week's to-do list challenge without further adieu:
1) On my day off- I will bring into creation a plan for our measurement unit that is PYP-ee, and also in the style of small group guided math.
2) Revamp lesson plans, and take a stab at this new possible Daily 5/ CAFE-ish schedule I doodled about this afternoon
3) Update my emergency sub binder to reflect some of our new procedures.
4)Clean off desk in such a way that will LAST
5)Catch-All Drawers in the back must be organized
6) Investigate a plan for repurposing some Basal readers
7) Inventory my guided reading sets
8) Write up my PGP plan due next Monday
9) Sift through and organize my school e-mail
10) Inventory math manipulatives

And honestly- between 5 and 7 and 10 I will commit to getting one done, and be surprised if I manage all three.  But it's a must eventually as it's part of the close-out process and the fact that I'm moving rooms next year.

I'm feeling good about it though- very positive.  I'm going to have a good week.

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