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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Visual Plans

I have wanted to do these visual plans since I started seeing them on blogs and instagram. They are just so beautiful and a nice glance at the week ahead.

I was truly blown away by how much I rely on TeachersPayTeachers resources to do…well… everything. I knew I loved TeachersPayTeachers, but I never realized how much. What did teachers do before it?

Math
We are working on measurement during our morning math. Testing is just around the corner and we rarely have time to actually get into an in-depth measurement unit, so I learned to sneak it in all year long. I am using Teaching to Inspire in 5th's Volume of the Day and Teaching with a Mountain View's (Love that she's from Colorado! :) measurement conversion task cards.

We are going to use a bunch of different resources (I'm obsessed with Teaching to Inspire in 5th and Young Teacher Love for all things math) to review fractions before our test on Thursday.

Language
Lovin Lit and Chalk and Apples have changed my life during my language block. My kids actually understand and use correct grammar and vocabulary has become a favorite part of the week.

Reading
I use a Socratic Seminar model for reading. Changed.My.Life! We are almost done with Ungifted and I hope to post the unit this week :).

I also still do book clubs and guided reading during our Daily 5 rounds.

Writing
Um… if you don't have Appleslices writing units, you should probably just go buy them now so you can actually get your weekends back. Her units will change your life.

Science
We are doing our life systems unit now. Life science is my favorite thing ever! This thing is a beast of a project I have been working on for the last year. Maybe someday it will get posted…. one can dream…



Muah! 

Martina 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

It's my birthday!

It's my birthday weekend! To celebrate I'm having a sale and a little giveaway. Just follow me on either instagram or Facebook and like this picture on one of those sites to enter (yep that's it) or head to my store for 20% off! ‪#‎happybirthdaytome‬ #25 ‪#



Friday, January 2, 2015

The 4-Day School Week

Hi friends,

I was thinking back to the Teachers Pay Teachers conference in Vegas and I remembered how surprised people were about the fact that I taught at a school that has a 4-day school week…. after the fact that I told them I was from Colorado and they asked about legalized marijuana… haha… sorry I don't have much insight there.

But I realized that the 4-day school week isn't as common as I originally thought and I wanted to give some insight into this world.

What you might not be so surprised to hear…


  • I love it :)… but seriously, having a 4-day school week is pretty nice. Most of our teachers are pretty happy about it too. You could also say our students are pretty happy too. 
  • Our days are longer Monday-Thursday. We go from 8:00am to 3:40pm. I think this is how some Monday-Friday schools schedule their time as well, but in general, it's a pretty long school day, especially for the primary grades.
  • Sometimes it can be stressful to only have 4-days a week to teach what most pacing guides, lesson plans, and curriculums have designed to be taught in 5 days a week. Our kids are still tested at the same time and on the same material as kids who go to 5-day schools.
  • In general, we have better attendance.
  • In general, we have less behavior issues.


What you might be surprised to hear…

  • I'm still required to work on Fridays. This isn't typical at all 4-day school weeks. Many smaller schools (think small towns with only one school in their district) usually go to 4-day weeks to cut costs by eliminating one day of electricity, custodial services, buses, etc. This is not the case for my school. I am at a charter school and we work 8:30-12:30 on Fridays. 
    • We have RtI the first Friday of every month and PLC the second Friday of every month. This time is also designed for weekly staff meetings, which can sometimes take forever :), team planning, parent-teacher conferences, etc. 
  • On that same note of teaching 5 days of material in 4 days, we are rarely behind (in fact, we are usually ahead) in terms of pacing to our 5-day counterparts. I assume this is because our days are longer and we are therefore allowed to dig deeper into material.
  • We typically test higher than our 5-day school district counterparts (with the exception of one other school in our district, that is also a 4-day school). Again, I assume this is from having more plan time, higher moral of teachers and students, and from a variety of other factors. It can be hard to pinpoint the reasons for this. 
  • I don't always feel like I have a lot more time.
    • It's like most teachers out there. No one really understands what we do all day, but even with my Fridays, there is still always so much more that needs to be done. 
    • I still really try to use my plan times during the week (I get three-one hour plan times each week) because the Fridays just aren't enough. 
  • I was a first year teacher last year and I still spent most of my weekends doing work for school. Having an "extra" day each week didn't change that first year for me. I was still just trying to keep my head above water most days. 
  • Sometimes it makes it even harder to explain to people what teachers do when you have a 4-day school week. Most think I have an excess of time, but after the meetings and organizing and talking to people over the age of ten on Fridays, I figure I have about 2-3 hours more than the typical teacher to plan. On that same note, I don't know how teachers with a five day school week do all that they do. You all must be some kind of saints. 
  • Many of our teachers leave at 12:30 or 1:00 on Fridays. I'm not one of those lucky souls. It's probably the equivalent of all those teachers who leave when the bell rings at your school. I treat Fridays like another school day and try to leave between 3:00 and 4:00 and I always thought most of our teachers would do this, but I am only in my second year, so I might just be behind the curve here. 
Lastly, here is my typical daily schedule, just so you can see. 


I tried to answer all the typical questions I get, but please ask any others you may have. I would love to see what else you wonder about… 

Happy teaching...4 and 5 day teaching friends :).