February 25, 2017

Happy Birthday Teaching Autism! And a Contest too!

I'd like to wish a HUGE Happy Birthday to Nikki over at Teaching Autism!  And to do it I've joined her in celebrating with a chance to win a $100 gift card!  Jump on over to the Raffle Copters (there are 4) and follow along to win!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway Have fun everyone!

February 11, 2017

For the Love of Teachers Giveaway!

Talk about teacher envy!  I've joined a number of Teacher Authors to give you an exciting prize-a pair of Tieks!  I would TOTALLY want to win this contest!  I am dying to try out Tieks, especially now that I've seen them in person on two teacher friends at my school. Both teachers confirmed that they are the absolute BEST shoe they have ever worn and that, yes, they could wear them to Disney World and have happy feet all day long! (That's the true Florida test for shoes!) Anyway, you have a chance to win a $200 GIFT CARD to Tieks to purchase the shoes of your dream!  Just enter the Rafflecopter below and cross your fingers and toes that you win!  The contest will run from February 11th to February 16th-so don't delay-enter NOW!  The winner finds out on February 17th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Co-Hosts: A special thank you to Primary-On-The-Prowl, TeachMagically,  XClass to the Rescue, Exceptional Thinkers, Big Ideas for Little Hands, Zippadeezazz, Real Life in First Grade, Socrates Lantern, Spivey Sparks, Sweet for Kindergarten, Mickey's Place, A Spot of Curriculum, Draz's Class, The Watermelon Teacher, Teaching in the Heart of Florida, Mrs. Byrd's Learning Tree, Linda's Learning Loot, 2 Scoops of Kindergarten, Smith's Safari Adventures, Hookster's Ideas, The Best Days, Creative Nerd, M&M Bilingual, A Library and Garden, and Conversations from the Classroom for participating in this fabulous teacher giveaway! Be sure to check out their TPT stores!

February 10, 2017

Yo, Yo DeVos, There Are FIVE Things You Better Know!

Yep, she was voted in!  What a shame!  Teachers everywhere are mourning that fact too!  Not because she's Republican.  There are plenty of Republican teachers out there-me being one!  Why do we mourn-because she DOESN'T GET IT!  Nope, not a clue.  I'm joining Five for Friday to share the Five Things You Better Know!  And, trust me, I've got some good background on this one.  I come from Florid-DUH where Jeb Bush and Bill Gates have already tried it all.  So, Let's go!

Yo, Yo DeVos, BIG money won't fix it!  Yep, that's right.  Take a good look at Hillsborough County, Florida.  They got BIG money.  They got the Gates Foundation grant!  They threw curriculum, higher pay, teacher coaches, new "innovative" ideas and everything else at them.  IT DIDN'T WORK!!  Teachers still left.  School grades still didn't change.  IT DOESN'T WORK!  There are deeper things going on, but I'll get to that!  Big money in a school system won't fix problems because you are approaching it WRONG!  You can see that all across America!  Yo DeVos-are you hearing that with your $200,000,000 that got you this position.  We aren't scared by your big money, because we know it doesn't work.  It won't work for you either DeVos!

Yo, Yo DeVos, "NEW" curriculum won't fix it!  Yep, that's right!  Common Core is just another in a long string of terrible ideas developed by BIG BUSINESS-oh, that means you!  Now, at it's foundation Common Core is a good idea.   However, it is how you packaged it.  It is how it was brought to us.  In some states straight out.  In others, "hidden" as "OUR" state standards.  Flori-DUH tried this.  What, do you think we are stupid people.  That is one of the problems with this whole "educational reform".  You think we are stupid people.  Most of us are highly educated people, with multiple degrees, that read the news and seek truth past even their news stories.  We will investigate and learn-and we READ PROFESSIONAL GROWTH BOOKS-OHHHH!!  Shocking isn't it.  We actually continue to LEARN!!  So, we saw what was coming in this new curriculum.  We couldn't be tricked.  Come on government people.  You better wake up to the fact that we may appear to be meek and mild, but we are much, much more.  We see "curriculum change" coming from a mile away and we know what that means. BIG BUCKS FOR YOU!  Little support for us!  "Do it or else" from many levels of administration, starting at the Governor.  And more testing!  Big Business ruined Common Core-period! 

Yo, Yo DeVos-TESTING kids to death doesn't work either! Which now gets to the whole point of this post!  You are dealing with apples and oranges when it comes to educating students.  The haves and the have nots!  Yes, that's what all of you people up in your ivory towers have not figured out yet.  You think if you can fill kids with new curriculum and new tests, you've got the answer!  Higher standards, more new things-we can change the world!  NO, YOU CANNOT!  Until you start to recognize that this is a social class issue, you won't get anywhere.  Until you realize that providing opportunities for those in need is key, you won't get anywhere.  Until you recognize that students with a disadvantage financially, that live in poverty, have different issues and learning needs not met by your crazy curriculum and death by testing, you won't get anywhere!  You know what those students need-THEIR TEACHER WHO GETS THEM AND LOVES THEM FOR WHO THEY ARE!  That's right-that teacher, right there, in the trenches, who loves that kid, that will supply their needs for feeling safe and loved, who knows their reading level and helps them grow at their pace-THAT'S WHAT THEY NEED!  You know what else, they need alternative to "regular" classrooms-trade schools and job training.  Because I don't know where you "people" got the idea that every kid goes to college.  We, the teachers in the trenches, know they don't!  Heck, there are plumbers and mechanics making more than a lot of teachers right now!  And they didn't go to college.  Let's start doing all the things that research says we should do instead of testing our kids to death!  It won't work!  Never has, never will!

And, while we are on testing, let's talk about the "business" of education!  Do you not think that we haven't figured this out!  Come on!  We know exactly what you people are doing when you change curriculum.  We know about your ties to the testing industry and how they benefit your pocket.  And then you claim that teaching is a business. Take a  look at any five year old to see that they are not a business!  How can you dictate that any child is a business!  Pediatricians may make money by charging a fee, but they know those children sitting in their office are flesh and blood.  They know that their lives are in their hands.  If they went around thinking, "Well, this is another $1,000 in my pocket." no one would go to them.  It would be obvious!  That's what you are doing in for profit charter schools!  Parents are getting this!  Teachers are getting this!  Why do you think there is so much turn over at charter schools.  No one wants to work for less than the public school system.  Not to mention the ridiculous expectations.  I know of one teacher that had duty hours till 3:30 but her principal made her stay every day till 5:00-TO WORK FOR FREE!  It's bad enough we don't get paid, but to get disrespected like that-come on!  We know what you are "trying" to do,  but to hire the cheapest teachers at the cheapest rate and, then, in many cases, not even supply the curriculum or the higher expectations is ridiculous.  And, to say this is my opinion is one thing, but look at this data about graduation rates:

Not to mention that it has been reported in numerous places that your very own charter is failing-FAILING!  You better know, DeVos, that this is unacceptable!

Yo, Yo DeVos- Charter and Private Schools are not what is going to cure this problem!  In fact, Charters create a whole different problem!  Public school teachers can tell you that Charters are in no way the answer.  There is only ONE Charter in my entire district that does one thing different than a "regular" school.  And, by the way, they were a magnet that went Chart, not the other way around.  They were first built on a public school platform-the rest of Charts-totally a pick and choose system. Sure they do 'lotteries" but we know what that looks like. Who do these Charters think they are kidding!  Public teachers have learned two things about Charters-they get to pick and choose who they want and kick out the rest and they don't get the job done!  There it is. THERE ARE ALWAYS EXCEPTIONS but that is far and few between.  Why, you ask?  They are too worried about making money!  They don't purchase curriculum.  They hire newer teachers at less wages-so their turn over rate is constant.  Constant!  So many teachers bail and end up back in public schools because they can't afford to live!  Meanwhile, the "company" of the Charter is posting financial growth!   There's something wrong with that right there!!!  But, we already covered that!  Plus, I think there is this illusion that if the Charters don't get it done, then PRIVATE will come!  No they don't!  Look, DeVos, there is not this magical group of people out there that are sitting around going, "Today is a good day to open a Private school!"  There aren't even magical groups of people sitting around saying, "Let's open a Charter school!"  Teachers don't dream about this stuff and admin try it but usually fail because teachers won't back it-and you have to have the teachers!  It just isn't happening!  And this is Flori-duh!  Come on-if it was going to be the land of the fairy tale Charter and Private schools land, it would have happened here! And it didn't!  They have come, and they have gone-failed!  Parents didn't drink the Kool-Aide!  Who is left in the dust?  Students!  Time and time again students arrive from Charter schools that are "great" and are so far behind that they have to enter remediation to close their gaps-smart kid!  Kids that should have known what to do and how to do it.  Yet were supposed to be getting a "better" education!  Why do you think all those Senators kept asking you about accountability!  Charters need to be just as accountable or they are discredited!  You should be embracing accountability!  You should be opening your arms to it and totally saying YES if Charters are so much better!  Put YOUR money where the mouth is and make Charters accountable!  PROVE THEY ARE BETTER!  We are waiting!  

Yo, Yo DeVos-IDEA Money "better never" be touched!!  We are actually waiting for this.  Not because we want it to happen, but because of "them".  Yep, you only have to experience  "them" once to know, you don't mess with "them".  But, come on DeVos-do it!  We DARE you too!  Not because of kids, but because maybe then, just then, in your "private school" life, you will understand that money doesn't buy everything, but IDEA money keeps families going on hope, on a "normal", on a path of education for their child.  IDEA money is not a tool for you to be flexible with!  It is a lifeline for so many families in so many ways.  So, go ahead, we dare you!  Awake "them",  those Momma Bears!  Awaken "them" and there will be a storm so big that The Women's March looked like some bees swarming around some rotten honey swatted by those Momma Bears!  And they won't go away! Any teacher will tell you!  So, you better get ready!  There's nothing like those Momma Bears!  (And, just for the record, I will be joining them.  I get my Momma Bear on when necessary!)  

So, there's my 5 Yo Yo DeVos points.  Here's the deal.  You better also understand who teachers are.  We are silent many times, but not on this.  There is another storm brewing.  An election storm.  And, we know the numbers now.  We know who is taking your bribe money because that's how we see it.  That storm, the election storm equals teachers voting.  We have to!  We have to wear the sticker to school as an example. But, more importantly, because we believe in it!  We teach it to the next generation the way we do because we believe!  And, we are like elephants.  We NEVER forget.  So, even if we support that party, we remember.  At this point, we don't need these particular people in office.  We vote. We remember!  And we are a LARGE group-in many places the largest group of employees in a town.  We band together when you attack. We form a unit!  Just remember, we are coming...

P.S.  These are my opinions and in no way reflect my school or my administration or district in any way.  Feel free to comment, but know I will not directly respond to you.  I can't get my reply to work on my blog! Plus, it is my opinion based on my personal experiences in my state.  I am fully aware that there are always exceptions.  I am in no way attacking Charter teachers.  I know you are needed right where you are at!  

February 4, 2017

It's All About The LOVE!

I'm SUPER excited to be teaming up with a number of Teacher Authors to celebrate Setting the Standard's 1,000 Follower Giveaway!  We all just LOVE followers, and, even more, sharing great things with you!  So, let's take a look at how my class will be celebrating Valentine's Day this year!  

My class LOVES Scoot!  We've played it often.  As we have moved past division, I want to keep reinforcing this concept with them to keep the skill fresh.  

This Valentines Day Division Scoot is the perfect product to play with them!  I made sure that I put all types of division problems in the Scoot to cover all the different ways that students are responsible to understand this standard. It is a black and white design, so all you have to do is print and go!  I know they are just going to love playing Scoot and this will keep their excitement in the morning to a minimum.  

For Language Arts time, we will be using some articles that I created for a writing project I've made.  We honestly are in the middle of a big writing project on snow globes, so we just can't jump over and add a Valentine one.  So I had to think a little differently!  The articles are great in themselves, so I thought, "Why not!"  I can use them to address all kinds of standards!  The newspaper article is descriptive in nature.  I will be starting with that and we will be pulling it apart to discover the elements that make it descriptive.  This is Standard 8 and it really kicks up the understanding of text structure in 3rd grade.  We've taken lots of time to talk about how these structures work and identified them by name, but it is time to take it to print!  I'm super excited about this!  I can't wait to see how their hard work will pay off!  Here is a freebie you can grab over at my Google account for Compare and Contrasting Text Structure!  Read more about text structure on my blog too!  

As our party gets closer, their excitement will grow.  I've found a fabulous freebie to use with my kids!  It's called The Heart Building Challenge and I found it on Pinterest!  This will take a little bit of work on my part since I don't have Leggos in my class.  A simple email to parents will solve that problem!  Once I get the baggies of Leggos, I will work to set up teams that I find to be equal in abilities.  This will be key!  I am thinking of having them in 2 person teams since this will be a whole class event instead of 
Here's a video from Mrs. Beers to show you the low-down!  I think they will LOVE this!  

After recess we will celebrate our Valentine's Day with a brief party that includes the exchanging of Valentine cards!  This will be perfect because our reading from earlier in the day will share some of the history of Valentine's Day cards.  I plan on giving this cutie as a card/homework pass/brag tag!  You can grab it as a FREEBIE in my store!  



Now for the GIVEAWAY!  How cool would it be to win that cute shirt and a $30 TARGET card!  Now that's sharing the LOVE!  Fill out the Rafflecopter below and then move on to the next great Teacher Author who is sharing the LOVE- Big Ideas for Little Hands!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

February 1, 2017

Welcome to the HOP!

Hello everyone and welcome to the HOP!  I'm so happy to be the first stop on Conversations From The Classroom's very first HOP celebrations!  So, since you are here, I'd like to share a little bit about myself!  

I'm a wife, a mom, and a full time teacher!  I've been teaching for 24 years in the same county.  I have been at two different schools within this system.  I currently teach 3rd grade, but have taught 1st-5th in self-contained classrooms and I spent two years in my schools Science Lab, teaching all grades for one period a day!  That was a great time to really practice those science inquiry skills on a daily basis. 

I also enjoy photography!  One of the greatest times I've had taking pictures had to be when my oldest son and I went on a mission trip to Denver.  We visited The Garden of the Gods and the Olympic Center before heading home.  Here's a few cool pics!  

Without a doubt, that mission trip was one of the most amazing times I've ever had learning about the world around me.  I learned what homelessness really is, how people are still people and loving them is key!  Here's a lovely lady I met.  She is Sioux and she opened my eyes to the truth about Reservation life.  I now long to go to a Reservation to work with people there!  

Teaching is so important to me, and it has opened up my life to so many ideas, thoughts, and emotions as a person.  It also makes my creative juices flow!  So, before I get to me giveaway, here's one more thing about me!  I LOVE to sew!  I learned when I was 14 years old and still love to create my own clothing!  Here's an outfit I made.  I made the shirt last year and the skirt this past summer.  I fell in love with that butterfly fabric!  It encompasses so much about me-color, nature, and fun!  

Now to the GIVEAWAY!!  WHOOT!  I have picked three products to giveaway.  I feel they show off my creative side!  The first two are writing based-one primary and one intermediate!  I have also picked one of my literature based products-Reading Response Pages: Any Book Literacy Pages Exploring Character Development!  Here's how this will work. Simply reply below with YOUR EMAIL and primary OR intermediate in the comment.  You can comment in any additional way you like!  

I will pick three winners from the comments below.  Please note, due to Blogger issue, I can't reply to any comments, so, email is the only way I can contact you!  :)  While your here, be sure to follow me by clicking the Follower button in the bar below or on Blog Lovin' or any of the other Social Media sources!  Winner announced on February 3rd!  (And you can all win because I'm having a sale too!)

Now, HOP on over to our next stop, ZIPPADEE ZAZZ!  Don't stop until you make your way all the way back to my blog!  That way you will know you have completed the HOP!