Thursday, December 15, 2011

EDLD 5363 Group Project

My group put together a great PSA on texting while driving. I think it is important information for any driver to have and we found some interesting information. I know that I will not be picking my phone up to text while driving after reviewing this data and the images that come with it.
I think we worked very well as a group. We all got together to provide different data that was put together by Joey who was amazing. We did end up running a little bit long but we did have a lot of information to put in this video. It is hard to keep this information to a time constraint because there was so much information that we wanted to viewers to see. We did have copyrighted information from several sources and all of the information was added to a work cited slide at the end of our video.


My group did a PSA on texting and driving. Great job everyone!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Week 5 and Course Reflection

I followed the chat document from December 12, 2011. I have had a hard time with this class simply due to the busyness of the season. It has been hard with getting sick and trying to keep up with the work. It was even worse when I realized after doing the discussion board posting for both week 4 and week 5 that we didn’t have to do these. There was more discussion over the assignments due and the collaboration needed for this project. I feel that our group has done great with collaboration. We are emailing and sharing information in Google Docs. I have felt really in contact and feel that we have a great project. I really enjoyed this class and all of the information that I have learned. I think this course was great for my own professional development and my own technology skills. I learned about many multimedia programs that I had never even heard of! 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Chat Review for Weeks 1 & 2

While I have not been able to attend several chats due to some scheduling errors, I have loved being able to catch up with my peers as well as get assignment clarification from the chat logs and recordings. I am very glad that these sessions are recorded so that I am able to go back and reference them as far as questions that I had. This came in very handy this week when I had some questions about the podcast and our actual assignment.  I do have a little gripe and that is about being able to get into chats. I have tried to get in to several but have been unable to obtain permissions to attend. I am not sure but I do plan to start arriving earlier to make sure that I can get into the chat rooms. 

Also posted on my wiki:

Microsoft Movie Maker Tutorial

I am back at it again for grad school so for those of you who don't read for this hopefully I can get back on board after Christmas Break! Otherwise I have a quick review/tutorial for using Microsoft Movie Maker.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Digital Story Telling

For EDLD 5363, we had to create a personal digital story that expressed something is our lives. I chose to focus on what brought me into technology and why I am where I am now. It was a very interesting project and really made me do some serious thinking. I love technology because it gives us the abilities to learn, to create and to share everything. I teach because I love the fulfillment of a job well done and there is nothing better than a room of students hanging on your every word. When I put these things together along with budgets, no training and a general bad mood about technology on my campus, I get me! I love creating this video because of how it made me reflect on myself as not only a reading teacher but as a teacher of technology driving students into the future.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Gates Foundation, Stephen Colbert and Donor's Choose

Not sure if you had a chance to see this from The Colbert Report the other day but they are offering $5 to Donor's Choose for every face upload to the Stephen and Melinda Gates Foundation website. I can't seem to get the site working but hopefully you will have some luck and can get some money for Donor's Choose.

Also, only a few days left to vote at Limeades for Learning for our projects!! Search for Amber Dumond and vote for my project!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Global Read Aloud

My PM class is participating in the Global Read Aloud project this year. We built a prediction list on wallwisher that shares our predictions for the story we are reading, Tuck Everlasting. I think I am still looking for some Skype friends to discuss the book as well as some guest readers who can Skype with us. Let me know if you can help. We would LOVE it!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Looking Forward (and some freebies!)

I haven't posted in a while! I have been busy corralling my class and trying to make a little time for myself. I went to the Cultivating Hispanic and African American in Reading, Math and Science (CHARMS) workshop in College Station this last weekend. It was a good workshop about leading girls into STEM careers and analyzing those testing scores of those sub populations. I really like hearing from and talking with Dr. Trina Davis, former ISTE president. (I did geek out a little bit!)
I have had some improvement on the behavior front in my classroom and I feel a little better about myself because I started WATER AEROBICS! I know, a little lame, but I am enjoying it so far.
I do have a couple of Daily 5 freebies. I have some student created charts for the D5 that we are using in the classroom. I hope everyone is loving the first few weeks. We have progress reports going home today already!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What teachers want to tell parents

I am not sure if you have read this yet but I think it is a great article. I plan on adding it to my classroom website for parents to read.

(CNN) -- This summer, I met a principal who was recently named as the administrator of the year in her state. She was loved and adored by all, but she told me she was leaving the profession.
I screamed, "You can't leave us," and she quite bluntly replied, "Look, if I get an offer to lead a school system of orphans, I will be all over it, but I just can't deal with parents anymore; they are killing us."
Unfortunately, this sentiment seems to be becoming more and more prevalent. Today, new teachers remain in our profession an average of just 4.5 years, and many of them list "issues with parents" as one of their reasons for throwing in the towel. Word is spreading, and the more negativity teachers receive from parents, the harder it becomes to recruit the best and the brightest out of colleges.
So, what can we do to stem the tide? What do teachers really need parents to understand?
For starters, we are educators, not nannies. We are educated professionals who work with kids every day and often see your child in a different light than you do. If we give you advice, don't fight it. Take it, and digest it in the same way you would consider advice from a doctor or lawyer. I have become used to some parents who just don't want to hear anything negative about their child, but sometimes if you're willing to take early warning advice to heart, it can help you head off an issue that could become much greater in the future.
Trust us. At times when I tell parents that their child has been a behavior problem, I can almost see the hairs rise on their backs. They are ready to fight and defend their child, and it is exhausting. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I tell a mom something her son did and she turns, looks at him and asks, "Is that true?" Well, of course it's true. I just told you. And please don't ask whether a classmate can confirm what happened or whether another teacher might have been present. It only demeans teachers and weakens the partnership between teacher and parent.
Please quit with all the excuses
The truth is, a lot of times it's the bad teachers who give the easiest grades, because they know by giving good grades everyone will leave them alone.
Ron Clark
And if you really want to help your children be successful, stop making excuses for them. I was talking with a parent and her son about his summer reading assignments. He told me he hadn't started, and I let him know I was extremely disappointed because school starts in two weeks.
His mother chimed in and told me that it had been a horrible summer for them because of family issues they'd been through in July. I said I was so sorry, but I couldn't help but point out that the assignments were given in May. She quickly added that she was allowing her child some "fun time" during the summer before getting back to work in July and that it wasn't his fault the work wasn't complete.
Can you feel my pain?
Some parents will make excuses regardless of the situation, and they are raising children who will grow into adults who turn toward excuses and do not create a strong work ethic. If you don't want your child to end up 25 and jobless, sitting on your couch eating potato chips, then stop making excuses for why they aren't succeeding. Instead, focus on finding solutions.
Parents, be a partner instead of a prosecutor
And parents, you know, it's OK for your child to get in trouble sometimes. It builds character and teaches life lessons. As teachers, we are vexed by those parents who stand in the way of those lessons; we call them helicopter parents because they want to swoop in and save their child every time something goes wrong. If we give a child a 79 on a project, then that is what the child deserves. Don't set up a time to meet with me to negotiate extra credit for an 80. It's a 79, regardless of whether you think it should be a B+.
This one may be hard to accept, but you shouldn't assume that because your child makes straight A's that he/she is getting a good education. The truth is, a lot of times it's the bad teachers who give the easiest grades, because they know by giving good grades everyone will leave them alone. Parents will say, "My child has a great teacher! He made all A's this year!"
Wow. Come on now. In all honesty, it's usually the best teachers who are giving the lowest grades, because they are raising expectations. Yet, when your children receive low scores you want to complain and head to the principal's office.
Please, take a step back and get a good look at the landscape. Before you challenge those low grades you feel the teacher has "given" your child, you might need to realize your child "earned" those grades and that the teacher you are complaining about is actually the one that is providing the best education.
And please, be a partner instead of a prosecutor. I had a child cheat on a test, and his parents threatened to call a lawyer because I was labeling him a criminal. I know that sounds crazy, but principals all across the country are telling me that more and more lawyers are accompanying parents for school meetings dealing with their children.
Teachers walking on eggshells
I feel so sorry for administrators and teachers these days whose hands are completely tied. In many ways, we live in fear of what will happen next. We walk on eggshells in a watered-down education system where teachers lack the courage to be honest and speak their minds. If they make a slight mistake, it can become a major disaster.
My mom just told me a child at a local school wrote on his face with a permanent marker. The teacher tried to get it off with a wash cloth, and it left a red mark on the side of his face. The parent called the media, and the teacher lost her job. My mom, my very own mother, said, "Can you believe that woman did that?"
I felt hit in the gut. I honestly would have probably tried to get the mark off as well. To think that we might lose our jobs over something so minor is scary. Why would anyone want to enter our profession? If our teachers continue to feel threatened and scared, you will rob our schools of our best and handcuff our efforts to recruit tomorrow's outstanding educators.
Finally, deal with negative situations in a professional manner.
If your child said something happened in the classroom that concerns you, ask to meet with the teacher and approach the situation by saying, "I wanted to let you know something my child said took place in your class, because I know that children can exaggerate and that there are always two sides to every story. I was hoping you could shed some light for me." If you aren't happy with the result, then take your concerns to the principal, but above all else, never talk negatively about a teacher in front of your child. If he knows you don't respect her, he won't either, and that will lead to a whole host of new problems.
We know you love your children. We love them, too. We just ask -- and beg of you -- to trust us, support us and work with the system, not against it. We need you to have our backs, and we need you to give us the respect we deserve. Lift us up and make us feel appreciated, and we will work even harder to give your child the best education possible.
That's a teacher's promise, from me to you.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Where has the honeymoon gone?

You know it has reached a sad state when you are sooo ready for the Labor Day holiday so you can catch up on the sleep you have missed going back to school. This year has been some big whammies for me. New grade, grad school and both going back on the same day. I am exhausted. So I am going to pack up this weekend, get ahead in my grad classes so that I can just take a breather and relax.

In other great news, my donated i<clickers arrived today. I had them set up and the kids were using them within just a few hours (I had to teach a little class in the middle). They are amazing! Everyone was so engaged! I am looking forward to seeing what all we can do with them since classroom response system and test scores are the topic of my action research paper. I hope everyone who has started has enjoyed the little bit of the honeymoon period at the beginning of the year because coming back on Tuesday, the real game is on!

P.S. Don't forget about voting for my Limeades for Learning project!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Story Map Freebie

On my campus we are using story maps to better align with the STARR testing so I created a map introduced to me. There is also a really great video on Brain Pop Jr. under plot that elaborates more on the idea of the story map. Hope you enjoy!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Limeades for Learning

It's that time of year again. If you could please go to Limeades for Learning and vote for my Donor's Choose project. Search by keyword and enter my name "Amber Dumond". I would appreciate any votes that I can get!

Thank you!!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Help! Calling all Student Behavior Experts!

Ladies (and the occasional gentleman), I need some help. I have spent the last week in hell. There is really no better words for what this week has been.

I feel that a critical problem in my school district is the follow through of discipline. I have just transferred from 1st grade to 3rd grade this year after 3 years on the primary campus. I have grown used to a principal who does not believe in corporal punishment and we have gone through 4 different mash-ups of school wide discipline/management programs. I have watched as year after year the students become rougher and more violent. They are prone to outbursts and are physically harmful to themselves, teachers and other students.

There is one student in particular who I am "blessed" enough to have in my 3rd grade class this year. I have watched him year after year get away with being coddled. The school implemented a behavior improvement plan in the hopes to aspire him to be a better student and to give the teachers some guidelines to follow. So far within the first week of school, I have been screamed at, my personal belongings have been thrown across the classroom and I fear for myself as well as the other students around us. I have gone to the principal and assistant principal every day, sometimes more than once. I have already had one parent conference with another scheduled for Monday and I have already discussed classroom evacuation plans with my other students. The student was sent home from school on the third day of school due to being sent to the office 3 different times throughout the day.

My question is, When is it enough? Is there a point that you just give up on educating a child? How can you teach the other 20 students in my classroom when we are terrified and drowned out by the voice of one student? Is there a classroom management system that works? How enabled is this child by the parent and as a public school district what can we do to protect the other students and teachers from being harmed?

I wonder as educators, what would you recommend in the situation and at what point would you say that enough is enough. I have already asked to have this student removed from my room but none of my requests or suggested changes have been implemented.

What do you suggest? Do you have experience with defiant and belligerent children? What can we do to work on some problems?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Day 1

So Day 1 is now down in the books. You know I have to say it DAY 1 is in all caps. :)

Out of 22 students, only 13 of my student showed up for the first day. That means, they all show up tomorrow or I get all of the new registers tomorrow. Either way tomorrow get to be DAY 1 again for me. :(

I have a decent group this year and not sure what is going to come out of some of them.

We did a student interest survey so I decided to share some answers with you for a first day laugh.

                  In the future, I would like to be....
                                "a Babby"
                                "a Suprehole"       -----no clue what that is?
                                "a mushean that looks like a person"
                                "a roebat"
                                "a fire fire"
                                "a superhero"          ----my favorite  :)

                Things I dislike....
                            "playing"      ----not sure what's up with that kid
                            "june bugs"
                            "the Devll"            ----hahahahaha   what kid really puts this
                            "carets"          --------I happen to love these carets. :)

One kid even put that her favorite sport was golf.   What kid really likes golf?

O well maybe I can have some more jewels tomorrow. Hope everyone else had a great day!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Pets in the Classroom Grant (cont.)

So I know I posted about this grant before but I wanted to let everyone know that I did qualify and receive the grant. I received an email last week letting me know that I was approved and I would be getting my coupons in the mail. Very exciting!! So I have to get it cleared with my principal on what kind of pet we are going to get and really talk it up with the kids about responsibility, pet care and all the excitement that comes with it!
I am thinking that a guinea pig would be really cool or maybe some hamsters like that crazy chick from the Target commercial. If nothing else, we will be getting fish, Nemo fish probably since they are my favorite. I did see this really cool one that glowed in the dark though.......this is going to require some serious thought. :)

Any way...check them out if you have not applied yet.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Quiet Before the Storm

Ahhhhh.....I am ready to take tomorrow as a breath of fresh air before all of the kids come back on Monday. We had open house yesterday and sadly only 7 out of 21 of my new students showed up so we are going to have lots of new faces.......and tons of school supplies to put up Monday morning.

Headed out to stimulate the economy a little bit tomorrow to help celebrate tax free weekend in Texas and to get me some new school clothes. It is too hot to pull out the slacks so I am going to have to find some dressy capris tomorrow. It was still 102 degrees when I was headed home at 7:00 tonight. It is TOO HOT!!

Hope the beginning of the year goes great for everyone. If I find some great deals tomorrow I will give everyone a post but if not.....see you on the first day of school!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

And the Winner is.............

Vintage Teacher!!

Vintage Teacher said...

I follow your blog.

❤Vintage Teacher
Vintage Teacher

Giveaway ends tonight!!

Tonight at 9PM central time, my giveaway for a back to school $10 Amazon gift card will end. To enter you can:
1) Follow my blog
2) Post about my giveaway.
3) Check out my wiki.

Leave a comment for each that you do and good luck!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Last Day for my Giveaway!! as well as some more Giveaway info....

The last day for my giveaway of a $10 back to school gift card is tomorrow. I will pick the winner @ 9PM tomorrow night! Please make sure you enter. You have 3 chances. Follow my blog, blog about my giveaway or check out my wiki. Leave a separate comment for everything you do. Hope to get lots of entries tonight and tomorrow.

Also check out Third Grade Meanderings who is giving away a copy of Miss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind     AND a $20 gift card to Barnes and Noble. Who doesn't need that?

Make sure you check it all out!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sound Sleeping

Sound Sleeping is a great website that I just discovered. It is supposedly to help you relax and sleep but I am loving it for classroom background noise. You can pick several different sounds with background music or just the relaxing sounds themselves. I can just imagine now setting the scene at the ocean, when camping or during a thunder storm. This has me really excited!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Don't forget about my giveaway ending Wednesday!

I have a $10 Amazon gift card burning away for one lucky person. Now don't take this lightly. It could be one WHOLE non-teacher book. :)
You can enter by following my blog, posting about my giveaway or checking out my wiki and comment back here at Taking on Third.

Hope everyone is enjoying the "rush" of the season!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Me and My Gang...and don't forget about the Giveaway


Head on over to check out the grade level greatness happening at Me and My Gang. I am really excited to see everything that is happening!

Also, Don't forget about  my giveaway that ends this Wednesday!! Follow me, post about the giveaway or check out my wiki to enter. Make sure you come back and comment so I know who has entered! Who doesn't love some free money to spend over at

Friday, August 12, 2011 Let's Lay Down Some Rules

So I found out today that I have to do things a little differently. At my campus we have campus wide rules so I had to change my thinking and my set up. So I created a Prezi to share on the first day of school that we can discuss. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Don't forget about my Giveaway!!

$10 Amazon gift card!

Enter by:
1. Following my blog and leaving a comment.
2. Blogging about my giveaway and leaving a comment.
3. Checking out my wiki and leaving a comment.

3 chances to enter. You have until 9 PM on Wednesday the 17th!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

EDLD 5306 Course Reflection

When entering this course, I really had no expectations of the outcome. I was unsure what the concepts of educations technology would be. After looking at the syllabus and getting a better understanding of what we would be doing, I was really excited. The ideas of making a blog and a wiki were challenging ones that I never expected but I have found that I love using them. This course also introduced some new technology such as Wordle as well as Animoto which I was already familiar with. So granted, coming in I had no idea what to expect, I am very pleased with how this course has gone. I feel that I have achieved all goals set forth in the course and am excited to continue on working with by blog which has several followers as well as working on my wiki which is also my class website and seeing what new information is out there to continue my education in become a tech teacher.

I believe that this information that I gained in the class is very relevant to the work I do at school because I am using it every day. I try to update my blog on a daily basis. I have amazing followers who leave great comments and feel that I have built a great online community to help continue that education. I also use my wiki on a daily basis. It is the base of my classroom website and allows me to store lots of information for my parents. I have added spelling words, homework assignment, videos of last year’s students, information about myself and my classroom as well as any forms or documents that they can access and print at home to work on. I think this will benefit parents immensely since they are also very active in the digital world. I am excited about what is to come so that I can apply more to make myself a better teacher.

I feel that my principal competencies and internship plan are a little lacking. I know it is because of the rush to get back to school as well as the time constraints on the last week of the course. I have been working non-stop on my classroom and preparing my lessons and feel that I have not spent as much time working on the course as I did at the beginning. There is also the time constraint with meeting my mentor teacher as she also has much to do to prepare for the new school year. I have some issues with remembering to include documentation with my replies on the discussion board as well. I tend to treat it as discussion where I would not be constantly citing someone as opposed to going out to find someone who agrees with me and them adding my comments. I am used to the discussion board since I used it every week in my undergraduate courses but I was not required to cite someone with every posting.

I believe that I was successful in carrying out the assignments. I really enjoyed reading the book for our technology review. I was afraid that it would take too much time but found that I enjoyed the book and the new ideas so much that I finished it in only two days. I also enjoyed the reading assignment but had some issues working the school library system so I ended up finding the articles online myself. That ended up being hard work on occasion since there is just so much information available out there. I did have some issues working on the internship plan simply because there was not a lot of information out there. I did try to go online to access other templates that I could use for examples. I feel that overall I was successful and hope to continue to get more great information from the other courses.

I feel that I learned a great deal from this course. As I said before I am very glad I had the opportunity to make a blog and a wiki since I am continuing to use them every day. I enjoyed reading Will Richardson’s book Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms. I think it really got into why these tools are important and why they appeal to so many students and educators. Along with the information, I learned that when I am really interested in a topic, I will work until it is done. I spent many hours working on my wiki to get everything to look just as I want. I enjoy how everything is laid out and organized under tabs. I really like how my students and their families will have easy access to all that is happening in the classroom any time of day. I am hopeful that I get as much great information from every class as I did from this one.

Giveaway here at Taking on Third!!

I am going to have a $10 Amazon gift card giveaway simply because summer is at an end. I am excited about my first year in third but sad that I can't sleep until 9:30 every morning. :(

Here's what you need to do....

1. Become a follower
2. Post about the giveaway on your blog and comment with the link.
3. Check out my classroom wiki @ Taking On Third

Leave a separate post for each entry and I will choose a winner Wednesday, August 17th by 9 PM central time using  Looking forward to hearing from everyone!!

Before and After Classroom Pics Linky Party

I have already been posting pics but I wanted to go ahead and link up. As you can see my classroom was pretty bad when I moved in. I know it is still pretty plain but soon the kids will have this all covered up with anchor charts and student work!

Before I covered the walls.

After I covered the walls.

Cabinets before door were removed.

Cabinets after doors were removed.
I am still kinda junky but since teachers come back to work TOMORROW!! I am going to have to get it together soon! :) Enjoy the rest of summer while you still can.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Almost finished....

I have been slaving away in my hot classroom for days.....

I am almost finished. Still waiting on things to get laminated but I did get started on my pensieve (that will be a whole 'nother post) and got my library mostly finished (as done as it's gonna get).

small library section with all chapter books...mostly series like JBJ or Horrible Harry

main library area-all books are labeled w/DRA, AR reading level and AR points and categorized in genres. I am pretty proud of myself.

Each genre is marked with a colored star and all books in that category have the same colored star on the corner so they know the genre and where to return the book.

My small group is still messy. :(

My library nook with book checkout, cozy pillows and my rocking chair for shared reading.

My desk/meh area. I am not sure what to do about my teacher computer (students will be using it but I will be using it for my Mimeo/gradebook, etc). It is a mess of tangled wires (same with my student computers) and I can't be on it b/c my back will be to the students. I need to think of an alternate solution.

So there you have it! About 2 1/2 weeks worth of hard work. Any suggestion/comments out there in bloggy land to help me out? I feel like it is a HUGE improvement if you looked at some of my before pic. Let me know whats up. Also is there a before/after classroom linky party? If there isn't one yet (if there is please direct me there) maybe I should start one!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Classroom Management

Everyone has been talking about how they manage their classroom behaviors and I want to share a little about what I have done and what I plan to do.

Last year I used my "Sad Pad" for all documentation. I took a few seconds every time there was a problem and just jotted a quick note about what was happening, sometimes it was one a word or two, like talking, out of seat, etc. as well as the students name. Then I would add up every rule broken at the end of the six weeks and that would be their conduct grade. I think I really one had about 2 kids who every went below a 90 in conduct.

About the middle of the year, I felt they weren't seeing what was happening so I made a conduct clip chart like several people have posted about. Everyone had a clip with their name and could see where they were for the day. I did have more outbursts simply because the student had to move their own clip and many tears were shed. :)

This year I plan on doing a behavior log where the student is responsible for writing the offense and signing their name. I am moving to a much stricter campus this year and feel that this would work with older children. I have attached my document and plan to put these in a binder, I will still count each offense as 1 lost conduct point but feel that maybe it will have more impact if the student has to write it out themselves. I know this won't work for all of my students (I am getting "the teacher abuser".) but for many of my lesser behavior problems, I hope this will do the trick.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Book Whisperer & a Freebie!

I know that a lot of us in bloggy land have read The Book Whisperer this summer. I know that I did and it really changed the way I though about teaching reading. I am adding a 40 Book Challenge choice sheet that I made for my 3rd graders for this year. I am going to allow some picture books to meet this challenge BUT I am going to greatly encourage chapter books. I am also going to let students check out my books which is new for me. Enjoy the freebie!


You can also access it here!


Kleinspiration is giving away a $25 giftcard to Target! Everyone needs that! Head on over there.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Students Blogging

My students are going to be blogging this year so I put together this Prezi for us to watch and discuss on our first day of school. We are going to jump right in to blog land! In combination with work on writing (D5), my students will add blogging to their publishing part of the writing workshop. I am hoping for awesome results. Please look us up once school starts.
Mrs. Dumond's AM Class
Mrs. Dumond's PM Class

Pets in the Classroom Grant

Have you heard about the Pets in the Classroom grant? Well basically, if you teach K-6 and apply, you are given 2 coupons. One is for a habitat for your chosen animal and the other is for 50% of the classroom pet. It is a pretty sweet grant so I hope I qualify. Here is the info for everyone else.

Matt Damon's speech to teachers, Oddly great

 Interesting and empowering speech from Matt Damon (yeah, I know) directed towards teachers. Enjoy!

 (Tracy A Woodward - THE WASHINGTON POST)
Matt Damon’s clear-headed speech to teachers rally          
By Valerie Strauss

Here is the speech that actor Matt Damon gave today to thousands of teachers, parents and others who attended the Save Our Schools march on the Ellipse near the White House to protest the Obama administration’s education policies that are centered on standardized tests.

Damon was the last of many speakers, including Diane Ravitch, Linda Darling-Hammond, Deb Meier and Jonathan Kozol. I’ve published posts of theirs before, so here is something different: Damon’s common-sense, straight-to-the-point speech.

" I flew overnight from Vancouver to be with you today. I landed in New York a few hours ago and caught a flight down here because I needed to tell you all in person that I think you’re awesome.

I was raised by a teacher. My mother is a professor of early childhood education. And from the time I went to kindergarten through my senior year in high school, I went to public schools. I wouldn’t trade that education and experience for anything.

I had incredible teachers. As I look at my life today, the things I value most about myself — my imagination, my love of acting, my passion for writing, my love of learning, my curiosity — all come from how I was parented and taught.

And none of these qualities that I’ve just mentioned — none of these qualities that I prize so deeply, that have brought me so much joy, that have brought me so much professional success — none of these qualities that make me who I am ... can be tested.

I said before that I had incredible teachers. And that’s true. But it’s more than that. My teachers were EMPOWERED to teach me. Their time wasn’t taken up with a bunch of test prep — this silly drill and kill nonsense that any serious person knows doesn’t promote real learning. No, my teachers were free to approach me and every other kid in that classroom like an individual puzzle. They took so much care in figuring out who we were and how to best make the lessons resonate with each of us. They were empowered to unlock our potential. They were allowed to be teachers.

Now don’t get me wrong. I did have a brush with standardized tests at one point. I remember because my mom went to the principal’s office and said, ‘My kid ain’t taking that. It’s stupid, it won’t tell you anything and it’ll just make him nervous.’ That was in the ’70s when you could talk like that.

I shudder to think that these tests are being used today to control where funding goes.

I don’t know where I would be today if my teachers’ job security was based on how I performed on some standardized test. If their very survival as teachers was based on whether I actually fell in love with the process of learning but rather if I could fill in the right bubble on a test. If they had to spend most of their time desperately drilling us and less time encouraging creativity and original ideas; less time knowing who we were, seeing our strengths and helping us realize our talents.

I honestly don’t know where I’d be today if that was the type of education I had. I sure as hell wouldn’t be here. I do know that.

This has been a horrible decade for teachers. I can’t imagine how demoralized you must feel. But I came here today to deliver an important message to you: As I get older, I appreciate more and more the teachers that I had growing up. And I’m not alone. There are millions of people just like me.

So the next time you’re feeling down, or exhausted, or unappreciated, or at the end of your rope; the next time you turn on the TV and see yourself called “overpaid;” the next time you encounter some simple-minded, punitive policy that’s been driven into your life by some corporate reformer who has literally never taught anyone anything. ... Please know that there are millions of us behind you. You have an army of regular people standing right behind you, and our appreciation for what you do is so deeply felt. We love you, we thank you and we will always have your back."

Original Source

Monday, August 1, 2011

Classroom Updates

My book check out system. I am going to try and be a little looser about letting students take home books and let the parents know at the beginning of the year that the students are accountable for what they lose/damage.

Nicely labeled supply bins so students can have whatever they need available.

I am going to try and get two more computers to go where the yellow bins are now so that my students have more availability to blog this year.

The clock promptly fell off the board right after this picture. :)

Bulldog time is interventions, whole group is Journeys, Literacy centers is Daily 5 and Test Prep will be when I work with testing strategies and we do practice questions in my room using i<clickers.

I have two library area since I don't want overcrowding. I moved some chapter book series (Junie B., Horrible Harry, etc) to baskets in the long red shelves.

Thanks for checking me out. I am almost done! One day I should be able to get some laminating done and get the last of it up. :)

Happy Birthday to Me!!! is my birthday and where do I spend it? At school of course! I will have a classroom update later this evening. I have happily made some progress. :)  Keep cool!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Giveaway @ Primary Connections

Giveaway at Primary Connections for a $20 TPT gift certificate. You have about 10 minutes to get on over there!!!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Web Conference Review 7/20/11

I enjoyed the experience of getting to chat with the professor as well as some of my fellow classmates. From this experience, I gained information about our educational timeline as well as clarification on several assignments.  It was great to get to see her in person and it was also wonderful that I did not have to leave the house. I really enjoy online classes. I actually finished my bachelor’s degree in elementary education using online classes so I am used to the format.
I am looking forward to the semester a lot more now that I know where we are headed and I am looking forward to all of the upcoming courses. I am glad to hear that we will also be able to test for our administration competencies as well. Hopefully these courses can continue my education and career in the fields that I am the most interested in.

Friday, July 29, 2011


My mother-in-law got me a Kindle for my birthday this year and I am playing with it now. Does anyone else have a Kindle?

I am working on loaning books. Do you have some you could loan me?!?

I have The Book Whisperer, Daily 5 and the Cafe Book that I can loan out if anyone needs it. :)

Reform Symposium

Not sure if all of you in blogger land know about the Reform Symposium going on RIGHT NOW!! It is wonderfully techy info for educators K-12. I have listened to some great presentations so far this morning and want you to be included in the action. Click on over and join the PD! (PD credit is awarded for this conference as well!)

Also wanted to add some of the info from one of the presentation from this morning "Gaming in Education".

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lack of Updates

Please forgive the lack of updates. I have been in the hospital with my husband for the last two days. He has a gigantic kidney stone and has already had one surgery trying to remove it. He should get to come home tomorrow and they will try a different surgery on Tuesday. If you can, thoughts and prayers are appreciated. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Classroom Updates

Couple of new photos of my classroom in progress.

Fabric to cover to bad walls

My Book Check out System