Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Made it Monday* and a Linky Party

Greetings Bloggers!

I've been busy at a training for the past two days that a neighboring district invited me to.  Can you believe I have SEVEN days until I start school???  SEVEN!  EEKK!  Good thing I went to the pool today after my training.  I will just say that I came away with two great resources today (not from the pool, the training)!

Have you heard of Dr. Ruby Payne?  If you haven't, you should check out her books, Research Based Strategies or Understanding Poverty.  Very good information for teachers who work with middle class, wealthy, or poor students. More on that later.

I am linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for Made It Monday.

It seems like I am always the last to do everything in blog land!  Better late than never :)

Look at what I made*

*(repainted counts as making something in my book!)

$10 easel from a thrift store I bought last summer!

I decided it was time to pull it out of the closet and actually use it!

I know most teachers get to have one of those nice easels from Lakeshore Learning that costs $$$,
but this will be gold at my school!

I decided to keep the cute little frog because it's green!

My listening center headphone rack.
My husband talked me into painting it orange- even though it's my least favorite color, I think it turned out pretty cute!

Forgot to snag a photo of the before.  It was originally 50 shades of blue (see 2 photos below).

Finished product!

Here is the fabric to hide the *organized* clutter- I still need to hem it up.
Hand-me-down shelf.
Orignal color.  50 shades?

Hip Hip Hurray!

In other news….

 Teaching with Moxie is hosting her first ever Linky Party!  I am so excited to join!  I have been desperately (and unsuccessfully) trying to find *FREE* information about Daily Five Math.  My team teacher and I decided to just go for it this year based on what we knew about ELA D5. 

I am excited to share what we will be doing the first few weeks with you in a future post, but I am much more excited to learn from YOU!  

Be sure to link up (HERE)!

Thanks for stopping by!
-The Frizz

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Awards Ceremony

After successfully linking up with the Newbies Blog Hop I have had so much fun getting to know some fellow newbies.  When I receive a comment, I always go check out their cute blogs for inspiration.

I have some exciting news for you:

1. I have 10 followers!  I am excited to get to know each and every one of them!
(You ladies are too kind.)
2. I have been nominated for 2 different awards!

Drumroll please.

I am so honored to receive these two awards.  Thank you to Mrs. Livers from Starring in First Grade, Laura from Oh, How Pinteresting! (Cute title!), and Kim from Lessons, Learning, & Laughter!  This post would not be possible without you :)  Go check out their up and coming blogs!

Guidelines for the combined awards:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you
(and follow their blog)
2. Link back to the person who nominated you
3. Include the award image in your post
4. Give 7 random facts about yourself
5. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award
6. When nominating, include a link to their blog
7. Let other bloggers know they've been nominated

And the Versatile/One Lovely Blog Award Goes to ….
(in no particular order)

7 Random Fact about The Frizz
1. All within the year 2010 I received my bachelor's degree, got married, signed my first official apartment lease, and got my first real job teaching FIRST graders! (lots of firsts!)

2. I think wearing orange, red, or pink clashes with my red hair.  These colors tend to be my least favorite.
3. I have been known to have the temper that comes along with red hair. 
(The first step is admitting right?)
4. I am the youngest of three sisters.  
We all graduated college the exact same semester.  
I got married, and they both followed within a year and 1/2.

5. I love giraffes!  I think they are the most creative and interesting creatures on earth! 
6. I want to wear my bridesmaids dress to a fancy party because it is green and cute.  (See #4)
7.  My favorite number is eight, so I am a little tempted to create another random fact just so I can use the number 8!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Teacher Toolbox

(Sorry about the lighting in the top picture!)
Hip Hip Hurray!  I've finally made something to prove I am an organized teacher!

I'm sure you've seen this floating around Pinterest and have already made it!

I had my eye on this since before the school year was up, but finally got around to this project today.   I read Debbie Diller's Book Places and Spaces last summer and loved the idea of getting rid of my teacher desk.  


Some teachers may be freaking out about getting rid of their desk, but for me, I rarely use it.  I use my kidney table instead.  Diller's idea is to create a shared space that both the teacher and student can co-exist.   I wasn't able to get rid of my desk, though, because it came BRAND NEW to our school my first year of teaching (who's complaining?  not me. I promise! This desk was any first year teachers dream.  HUGE with massive drawers for storage!).

Anyways, this year, since I am moving to a new school without any furniture (you see, I've been selected to help start a new school for my district), I have requested to not have a teacher desk.  This toolbox will exist as my desk- yet everything is labeled so my students can grab supplies as well!

Can I just say I am LOVING all of the bloggers out in blogville who make FREEBIES for moochers like me?  You mean they just give this stuff away?

If you are like me and have not jumped on the bandwagon, it's not too late.

Here's what you need to do:

1. Go to your local hardware store and purchase a plastic toolbox.
 Mine cost less than 20 buckaroos!

2. (Optional!)  Take the plastic drawers out and spray paint the toolbox.
I spray painted mine black, but  I think white looks exceptional!

3. Meanwhile, as the paint is drying, hop on the world wide web and search for toolbox labels.
I found mine on Teacher's Pay Teachers for FREE!  I repeat: FREE!  (all credit to cuteness goes to: Kristen Doyle)

4. (Optional)  I downloaded the file into Powerpoint and changed some of the labels to fit my own needs.

5. Print

6. Cut

7. Tape

8. Fill it with your *now* organized supplies!

(Can you tell I am a first grade teacher by the way I give out directions?)

I cannot wait to get into my classroom and organize!
They are projectingthat we will be able to move into the building 2 days before Staff Development begins!  My fingers arms, toes, legs, and eyes are crossed.

Say a little prayer for me!

-Mrs. Thiering

*Original credit given to Mrs. Rojas (Thank you!)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Good Book, or two

Don't you love a good book?

One that you can't put down for days until your successfully finish it?

Or one that, if you do put down, you find your mind thinking back to the plot as if you are there inside the pages of the book?

One with a thrilling ending- that leaves you questioning if what you just read is the real story?

A book that compels you to read more after you finish, in order to find the true meaning, you research plot analysis and the author's purpose on the world wide web immediately after?

Have you ever experienced the excitement of waiting for the public library to notify you saying that the interlibrary loan has successfully shipped the book you have been trying to track down all summer?

Two books.
One finished.
One to begin.

Life of Pi
Conscious Discipline  

I am all kinds of giddy and excited!  I LOVE READING!  It's a simple thing to pass on to my first graders when my passion catches up with me.

I'd love to know your thoughts on either!

Leave me a comment below!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Newbie Blog Hop

My first official Blog Hop!! (I sure hope I'm doing this right!)

Janice started this Blog Hop for newbie bloggers like me to link up!  What a great idea-better late than never!  It can be very overwhelming starting out blogging without any experience!  This is a friendly place to start hopping!

This is what you need to do:

   1.  what state you are in
    2.  your current teaching position
    3.  your teaching experience
    4.  when you started blogging
    5.  share a blogging tip / blogging resource

The Frizz:
1. I live in the lone-star state (Texas).
2. I will be teaching 1st grade this fall!  Yippee!
3. This will be my third year of teaching.    
4. I started blogging unofficially about a year ago to keep up with the funny things my firsties were saying, but created this teacher blog this summer!
5. I have three: 
 -youtube is your friend :)  
 -when in doubt google it!
 -This is a great place to start if you need a cute blog design for free!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Math Exchanges, A Book Report

How do you teach math?  What kind of system do you have set in place for your students?  Do you teach the whole class, small groups, one on one (let's be real.), centers, a workshop approach?  Please do tell! 

I have tried it all (almost).  This next year I am leaning towards a workshop approach.  

This book is a quick read, and one I would recommend to fellow teachers!  I wanted to post about the key learning points to remember.  All credit is due to Wedekind.  All throughout the book, she is connecting her Math Workshop to the structure of Reading/Writing Workshop.  This really helped me to get a picture of what it will look like in my room.  I'm still not sure how it will look, sound, and feel, but I am open to ideas.  Here are a few that I want to implement next year!

1. We are all mathematicians:  Identity-Building Statements 
-Mathematicians are curious.  
-Mathematicians ask themselves questions.
-Mathematicians need lots of time to think, think, think.
-Mathematicians look for challenging problems in their world to figure out.
-Mathematicians persevere.
-Mathematicians make lots of mistakes, but they keep on thinking.
-Mathematicians change their ideas and strategies and come up with new ones.  Then they change their ideas again.  This is part of being a mathematician.
-Mathematicians talk to and question other mathematicians in order to help themselves understand.
-Mathematicians do not always agree!  Disagreeing respectfully is part of being a mathematician.
-Mathematicians work together. They explain their ideas and thinking. They listen to the thinking of other mathematicians.

I found this very similar to What Do Writer's Do anchor chart and Reader's unit of study.  This provides a good outline of broad themes I want my students to take away from during math time.

2. "Math Exchanges emphasize change.  This may sound simple, but the purpose of meeting with small groups of mathematicians is to produce change and growth in their thinking.  Too often, teachers meet with groups for the sake of meeting ('It's time to pull these five kids together!  What should we talk about?')  and without a specific focus.  They may have the vague notion that meeting with small groups of mathematicians (or perhaps only meeting with struggling mathematicians) is a good practice.  Math exchanges put the focus on planned, purposeful exchanges between mathematicians of different abilities." 

I don't even want to admit how many times I have met with a group of students for the sake of meeting.  This paragraph knocked the wind out of me.  Guilty.

3. "As a teacher, it has taken me time to work to a place of comfort with math exchanges.  I started out having math exchanges with two students and working with only one group per day.  Even now at the beginning of the year I may spend so much time focusing on setting up the expectations of a math workshop that I only work with one group per day through October.  I've learned to be okay with this.  I have learned from experience and practiced to trust in teaching deeply within math exchanges.  Students are still learning throughout all the parts of the math workshop.  It is okay to start small.  Give yourself the time to explore how you will best facilitate these math exchanges."

I feel the need to print this up and post it in my lesson plans for the first few weeks of school.  Breathe. Slowly.  Do not rush.  Routines. Routines. Routines. Breathe.  Think baby steps.  My kids need clear expectations and practice before I can expect to pull small groups.  Any other firsties with me?

4. "Even though this is a relatively independent time for thinking (during small group practice), I do not usually discourage children from watching each other or even mimicking what other students do or write.  In the beginning of the year, children unfamiliar with math exchanges may complain, "She's copying my ideas!"  or try to shield their papers from others in the group.  I simply reply with one of the mathematician statements we have practiced: "Mathematicians learn from watching, listening and talking to, and working with other mathematicians."

Why haven't I ever approached it like this? I get so freaked out when they are looking at each others work, but it truly is a natural process mathematicians go through.  Obviously, if a student continues this behavior I would talk to them about it.  The author even suggests stating that you notice the student thinking about the other students ideas and inviting them to ask questions about their strategies.  Brilliant!

5. Say "strike a pose"to get students attention.

6.  No hand raising is allowing during sharing/reflecting whole group or small group teaching time.   Students sit in a circle.  I plan on teaching my students how to be attentive to pauses in the conversations that shows when someone is finished with an idea.  Teaching students how to restate what the previous person said will allow for better understanding and a more direct conversation flow.

7. The last chapter titled "Reflection and Self-Monitoring" had, by far, the most impact on me personally as a teacher.  The author talks about slowing down our thinking in order to go deeper, teaching self monitoring, and the difference between content reflection (how you grew in a specific concept or strategy) and process reflection (how you grew as a mathematician through behaviors and practices). She offers a cute end of year self reflective project and tips on how to be a better reflective teacher.  Journaling about my teaching life-what feel right, what I'm struggling with, what's really going well- I hope those things find a place in this blog.  I also want to find a reflection partner.  Meeting for breakfast (or happy hour!) once a week for intentional teacher talk sounds like a WONDERFUL idea! I will need to be careful not to turn this time into a gripe fest (as it so easily does!) or a gossip fest.  I love the idea of chatting about a book or lesson plans over coffee.  

The last few pages, titled "Living a Rich Mathematical life" really tugged at my heart.  

After trying to sum it up in my own words, I will have to refer back to the book.  She writes it beautifully.

"Regie Routman (2008) writes about the importance of living a life full of experiences that we can take back into the classroom to share with our students.  One particular story Routman tells in Teaching Essentials hit home with me one year in the late fall when I was feeling overwhelmed and not wholly satisfied with my teaching.  Routman writes, 'One of the things I love best in the summer is to make fruit pies and tarts.  When the berries in the Northwest are luscious an the stone fruits are beautifully ripe, I create all kinds of delicious and gorgeous desserts.  It's sheer fun" (2008, 129).  When I first read this I snapped the book shut.  'How does this woman have time for berry picking with all the teaching and writing she does?  Why can't I do that too?'  I demanded.  I opened the book again to reread and found this sentence: 'I am a more interesting person if I have stories to tell that are not just about school' (127).  I ordered this thought and asked myself, 'How can I teach my students to live a rich, full life inside and outside of the classroom if I am not doing this myself?"

My number one goal this year in teaching students is to encourage them to live a rich. full life inside and outside of the classroom.  In order to carry this goal out, I must practice what I preach.

Here's to long, warm, Texas bike rides, sewing it all wrong and taking the thread out stitch by stitch, making new friends, and not having to be perfect!


Monday, July 9, 2012

New Blog and a New Look

Welcome to the Frizz in First Grade.  

 New Blog!  New Look! New Adventures!

"Why do you have a new blog?" you ask.

Let's just say that my husband is to playing Fifa as I am to blog stalking.

After blogging about first grade adventures and stalking first grade bloggers for about a year, I realized there is more to life.

Plain and simple:
I was jealous of all of the cute teacher blogs I was reading and thought my blog was hideous
(no offense google templates)  

After doing some research, playing around on our new macbook pro for HOURS days, and giving up completely on my old blog due to the headache from my sidebars, I can get some sleep at night!

Hip Hip Hooray!

I have a LONG way to go with blogging!  I've got a while until my thirties, and I am way behind on the technology wagon.  Please, please, be patient as I experiment with my background, banner, buttons, photos, fonts, and more.

Any tips, comments, or feedback along the way is welcome!  They don't teach you this on the education track in college, and a girl has got to learn somehow!

I hope you hang around for a while, enjoy my blog, and come back to see me.


-The Frizz

P.S.  I know. I don't have a cute signature yet. Give it time :)