Saturday, November 19, 2011

I Am a Walking Tornado!

I remember my first year of teaching so vividly.  I was teaching in an inner-city behavior school part-time, and I spent my evenings working at a daycare center.  I drove an hour to work every morning, worked with elementary and middle school kids with more real-world knowledge (street cred) than I had, and I was in charge of creating a new Title program from scratch in a pretty barren library-less environment.  It was a crazy time, and it forced me to grow so much as an educator in one short year.  I worked from 9-12, then drove a half an hour, ate a quick lunch, and started my 1-8 PM job at the daycare.  Every single day I walked in to job number two, my co-workers teased me and called me a walking tornado.  I was also called "Alex" (think Madagascar), because of my lovely wind-swept locks.

Well, as I was sitting here trying to think of something super amazing and interesting to post, it occurred to me that some things never change.  I am still a walking tornado.  :)  My life has been such a whirlwind this year, and my year six has totally been a year one for me all over again.  I have been the world's worst blogger this year, and I have barely had time to think about making supplemental resources let alone create anything note-worthy. It's driving me completely and utterly bonkers! So, I am sorry to anyone who has emailed me or made any product requests in the past month or so.  I've been busy with report cards, two weeks of student-led conferences, special projects for our Building Leader Team & OIP process, assemblies, lesson plans, meetings, and a field trip.  I'm pretty sure that's not an all-inclusive list, but wow.  Beyond that, there is a TON going on in my personal life. Hectic! I still need to make it through observations with my principal and several more days of school before a much needed break.  :) {On a happy note though, we just got our fall OAA test scores back for Reading, and our building kicked some serious tush!  About 80% of my 48 kiddos passed the first round of testing.  Many of the kiddos had great scores, and now it's time to analyze their results, imbed more test prep into Reading Street, and pump up the volume.  I am aiming for a 100% passing rate this spring!  Lofty goal?  Perhaps...but definitely possible.  Growth is really what it's all about though... so now it's time to G.R.O.W.}

I feel like I've said this umpteen times this year, but I am not a very stellar photographer this year. So this is really just the tip of the iceberg...and it really only shows what I remembered to snap pictures of!  :)  Hope you find something useful!  We are in the middle of creating a mural for Social Studies, but I can't bring myself to take photos of a half-finished project.  :)

Disclaimer:  The pastel pumpkin art project was done in Art, but they are so cute I had to share!

Author's Purpose Anchor Charts
My partner and I made multiplication/division fact family turkeys during our intervention period on an "off-day".  {We only have intervention/enrichment periods three days out of our six-day cycle.}  I adapted this idea from the FABULOUS Cara Carroll last year, and I created a little rough drafting sheet to go along with it.  Of course, my teamie took it one step further this year, by suggesting that our kiddos draw arrays on the turkey's bodies.  LOVE it!  You'll notice something on the printable about pulling a card out of a bucket.  I found free place cards online last year, and I wrote one multiplication problem on each card.  The kids drew them out of one of my colorful beach pails and completed the fact family for that fact.  Easy peasy. :)  I love Cara's craftivities... and I totally want to teach first grade someday.  :)
The 2010-2011 model of the fact family turkey! 
The 2011-2012 version with arrays.
Fact Family Turkey


  1. Hey Amanda - - SO proud of those test scores and I'm pulling for 100%!! You go, girl.

    I had one of our 2nd grade teachers guest post for me today, so hop on over to the Corner and see what her class did - I'm going to share your PIE plates with her!!

    Happy Thanksgiving, Barbara
    The Corner On Character

  2. Hi Amanda,
    I feel so relieved to hear you say these things because you are a teacher I respect and admire. I have felt terrible about how bad I have been about my blog and creating resources. This year has completely taken on its own life and I simply cannot catch up!! I know I will ultimately, but it's not a great feeling right now.

    I think your goal of 100% makes total sense and I love what you said about growth. I believe you will achieve your goals. Best of luck with everything, happy {almost} holidays, and know that you are not alone!! :)

  3. I TOTALLY get you! Oh my word! There is just something about this year!!! :) Glad to hear I am not the only little one out in blog land feeling the crunch!


  4. Love the Fact Turkey. Can't wait to use it.

  5. I love your blog, I am awarding you the Sunshine award come on over to my blog to check it out!