Monday, April 3, 2017

Long Range Planning 101

Teaching is a beast. People don't realize how many moving parts there are within a day...month..year! A grading period goes by in a flash and there are so many things to teach. Planning is crucial. I'll be honest I have flown by the seat of my pants some days, but when it comes down to it 99% of the time you need to be prepared, and my kind of preparation is down to the color coded sticky notes, but I digress ;) No matter your OCD'ness prep is key to making sure you can tailor your lessons and teaching for what the kids need. This brings me to long range planning for an entire grading period. Our grading periods are "9 weeks" long. That being in quotations because some have been up to 10-12 weeks long. Over the years I have learned that there is a balance of being behind, being on track, being ahead, and being too far ahead. I prefer the being ahead approach. You are not scrambling like eggs but you are not so far ahead you can't adjust as needed to fit your classes needs.
I have been blessed to be able to work for some amazing admin who allow us time to do all of the above; plan.
I have approached long range planning as a teacher and now as an Instructional Coach. I have seen great success with both sides. The process is basically the same except now I am not actually going back to the classroom with my kids and putting it into practice, but guiding other teachers to do so.

About 2-3 weeks before the end of the current grading period we get half day subs to cover for our grade level teachers. We pair them up with another team to share the day: 2/5 grades, K/3 grades, 1,4 grades. 2nd grade would plan the first half of the day with the substitutes covering their classes and then 5th grade would plan in the afternoon.
Long range planning 2-3 weeks before the new grading period helps us make sure we know where we are headed as well as leaving plenty of time to get resources, copies, assessments made etc.

-District planning guides- we are provided by our district a scope and sequence to guide us with a suggested timing for each unit, vocabulary, essential questions, suggested resources, and TEKS outline. Our teachers love having this to guide them but also still gives some freedom with their teaching. 

-TEKS- these are integrated within our unit plans to look at when planing and creating assessments.
-Resources- anything that might align with our future teaching for the nine weeks (activities, books, etc)
-A good attitude & sense of humor- all work and no play make me a dull girl (The Shining anyone?) ha! We have a lot to get done in a short amount of time but I like to throw in some laughter and jokes as well! It's too easy to get weighed down with the amount of teaching and preparation that goes into just one nine weeks that can stress teachers out.

-Food- um this goes without saying right? I haven't always been good at providing this consistently but teachers love food. Just saying ;) 

Over the years I have tweaked how we document our planning to keep track and make things easier for everyone. 
When I was first grade team leader I created this little document: (sorry if it appears a little blurry)
Since we were self contained we had each subject area listed. Of course if you were blocked you would just put the subjects you teach.

Now that I am an IC and plan with all grade levels I tweaked the planning document. 
This is an example of 1st grades. Again, self contained so we put every content on it. I make sure to include any important days within the nine weeks. Under each week I wanted them to be able to track grades they need to give to make sure they are prepared for them and have a vision of what they are assessing. 2-5 does not look this intense of course because they are blocked. As you can tell it is also color coded. I am in no way OCD. HA!  At the beginning of the year I would type this as the teams planned and then sent it to them. However, it took me until the 3rd nine weeks to make it a google doc (duh haha) so they can follow along in real time and type in themselves if I ever had to step out, leave, etc. I am all about teaching a man to fish. I try hard not to be an enabler. After we plan I do also print them for each teammate on large cardstock in color so they can have it physically with them throughout the nine weeks. 

For the most part we get through the mapping out stage within that half day planning. There normally are some odd and ends we have to finish up separately or at the next "normal" day planning on their planning times throughout the week.  

Weekly planning?
Our sacred planning day typically across the district is Tuesday. However, anyone that has been teaching knows it takes more than one 45 minute block to plan effectively for the next week. We also try to stay a week and half ahead so we aren't planning the very next week during that Tuesday session. Plans have to be typed, resources gathered, copies made if needed,etc and 4 days is not enough time typically to do all of that for the very next week. So if we are about 2 weeks ahead we have plenty of time to make adjustments for our kids if needed and tweak our teaching schedule as well.

How do your teams plan? Is it effective? Teaching can not be living the island life. We need each other for support. If something is not working it is not too late to change it. What's the worst that can happen? You try things and see what works for you and your colleagues. Not everyone will always 100% agree perfectly, but you can compromise and do what is best for the KIDS. Effective planning makes for better communication and ultimately affects the kids, so do right by them by planning FOR them.
I hope this quick overview helped you in some way! Please feel free to leave any questions! Keep up to date through my FB (The Blessed OCDiva) and Instagram (@theblessedocdiva)

Have a BLESSED week! 
"When you go through deep waters I will be with you."
Isaiah 43:2
This is His promise, and one I can rest in. 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

New Song & Editable To Do Lists!

Happy Sunday!
Quick check in today to share two new uploads that you might find helpful.

First up, a new song!! So I was in planning the other day with my 2nd grade team and perusing the information of the new unit they will be doing, which included a piece about celebrating reading. It basically said that when you love a book you can't just keep it to yourself that you want and need to share it, to give it away......boom enter my amazing singing talents haha!! I immediately busted out with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Give It Away song. They are not exactly a staple in my music list, but that song is pretty well known for that catchy chorus. Needless to say I went home on a mission to create a song based around it. And a day later here we are! So if you want to promote loving books and shouting it from the rooftops then this song is for you! It is only 54 seconds so quick, easy, and to the point! It is in a PowerPoint format so you can use presentation mode and the instrumental audio file is included.

Click HERE to grab yours! 

Click below to hear an example! Please no judgement, I am not vocally trained lol or I'd be getting paid the big bucks right?


Next up: EDITABLE To Do Lists!! Who doesn't love a to do list right?! I had created these over time for various reasons and decided to finally load them all and make a little packet. The headings are editable so you can personalize that part to your liking.
Click HERE to check them out! 

Have a BLESSED week ahead! 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Prepositions, Homophones, Smartboard, & FREEBIES oh my!

Well hello there! It seems to have been awhile. I have been really good about posting over on my Instagram and FB blog pages and sometimes neglect this area, mainly because this takes a tad more time to get together. So if you have not followed me over yonder go for it! You will see more frequent posts and such! FB: The Blessed OCDiva Instagram: @theblessedocdiva

So today is really a dumping ground for most of what I have posted on FB and the Gram. 
Hopefully you can take something away by the end of it! 
Let's do this 5 for Friday Style!! 

Preposition Power!

So 1st grade started teaching all about prepositions!
You may have your own way of introducing and teaching prepositions, so I am just going to share a few things I have done in the past as well as the little project to wrap it up.
This book is ADORABLE! 
Image result for farm preposition book
I had a copy gifted to me last year from the book fair and I never got around to being able to read it to my kiddos since I moved out of the classroom, but the first grade teachers here borrowed it and said the kids LOVED it! yay!

My kids loved this little preposition song/video as well:

We would also act out prepositions using teddy bear manipulatives and plastic cups/bowls:
"Put your bear under..."
"Put your bear on top of..."

Kids can also use their bodies:
"Stand next to your chair."
"Stand between..."

 Here is the little project I whipped up for them to do as a little wrap up of their learning, as a quick check to see if they truly understood how to use a preposition besides just identifying it, and for them to use as an interactive word wall (the kids do all the work and can go back and reference it later. It holds more meaning since they are the ones applying it and creating it!) This also integrates writing as well! 

Supplies needed: 
Animal Crackers
Crayons,Pencil,Markers (if preferred)
Construction paper or plain cardstock (personal preference)

Students will get their blank piece of paper and an animal cracker. They will create a setting for their animal and then glue their cracker wherever they are choosing to use the preposition. They follow up with a sentence using the preposition and circling or highlighting the preposition they used! You could also elect for them not to highlight or circle and they can present theirs whole group or with a partner and the other kids have to find the preposition they used.
Look at these amazing products their kids created!! I loved being able to go into their classrooms and see it come to life! 

Here is a little video showing it as the full process!
Thank you Mrs. Tibbetts for letting me hover over your little friend ;)


I also created some fun packets to teach prepositions! There are 3 different themes! And one is a farm theme which goes perfectly with the above mentioned book and the animal cracker activity! 
Here is what is included in each pack:
It incorporates hands on activities as well as independent learning. Can be printed in B&W or Color! 

-interactive poster (background and character cut outs)
-anchor chart with list of prepositions
-student reference sheets for journals
-mini card anchor charts
-printables for practice or assessment
-mini booklets
-spin and cover game

Click HERE for Farm

Click HERE for Space

Click HERE for Ocean

I had posted over on FB about a little homophone craft my second graders did my first year of teaching. It works well with the month of Love, February! However, you could do it during other parts of the year if that is when you are teaching homophones. 
Here are a few of my ideas:
Christmas- snowflakes, ornaments
Fall- acorn, leaf, pumpkin
Spring- Egg, raindrop

One teacher in Cali had her kids complete it and here are her results! Super cute!

On my TPT I have a questioning response sheet posted, but also just recently added the Smartboard version of it too for anyone that would prefer it in that format! It is FREE (both versions are) so go grab them!! 

Third grade teachers were studying all about characters and the changes they undergo throughout the story. So I threw a little chart together for them to use to document that in their mentor text! 
This also went along with the song I made! If you missed that post you can check it out below:

Also grab the FREE audio file and document with lyrics to it HERE to do with your kids!

I was walking down the hallway yesterday and one of their kids walked out of their room singing the song and looked at me and said, "You wrote that!" "We just sang it once and it got stuck in our head!" Ha! so cute! That is the point my friend! 

I also just recently uploaded for FREE some reading bookmarks! 
Go grab them HERE

I have also really been enjoying making time for my Cameo projects and heat press. You can check out some of the work over at the FB page in my OCDiy album! I have been known to host giveaways and one was for one of the shirts I made! 

Well there is the melting pot of sorts for the past few weeks! 
Have a BLESSED weekend! 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Did someone say Smoothie?!

Wait no one said smoothie?! Well I did! Another easy, peasy, healthy recipe coming at you!

This actually came out to about 6 ingredients for me, but you may want to to use less than what I did if you prefer your smoothies a certain way! Some of these can be added or you can substitute something other words, some add in's are optional ;) 

Let's jump right in!
Gather all necessary items:
-Ninja blender (or your choice of blender)
-Cups (we prefer the Tervis cups because we make extra and freeze for the week and these work great)
-Vanilla Whet Protein
-Chia seeds (ground)
-1 bag Mixed Berry Frozen fruit (you can use fresh or even just one kind of fruit)
-Pom juice (I tried adding pom seeds last time and it was too hard to chew ha!) I use this sparingly when I do choose to use it.
-Greens (I use the ItWorks) This helps ensure I get my greens throughout the week too because, well, I am sometimes lazy motivationally challenged to take them daily. 
-Almond Milk


1. Throw in your fruit
2. Add scoops of Whey- I do about 3 full scoops mainly because I need the added protein during the week after hard workouts and I am dividing up this recipe to eat throughout the week.
3. Add in chia- I typically just pour haha, but you may want to measure out your preference.
4. Add in Pom juice- just a few tablespoons 
5. Add in Greens-5 scoops (the scooper on the It Works is tiny)
6. Add almond milk- I do not have exact measurements for this because we just add until it get about half way and blend then add more to make it more creamy)

Blend, Blend, Blend!!!

You may need to add more milk depending on how liquidy you like your smoothies. 

Disperse into cups for the week and freeze! I usually take it out in the am and let it defrost for about 2 hours and it can be a slushy consistency or if you leave it a bit longer it's "drinkable".

Check your grill after drinking though, Chia loves to stick and hide!! 

Hope you find this just as tasty as I do!

Have a BLESSED week! 

"But my God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:19

Monday, January 9, 2017

10 Tips to Build a Strong, Effective Team

Happy Monday! Quick post here with 10 tips for building an effective team. By no means am I the expert on any of this, just wanting to share some key points I have come to the conclusion on after a number of years as a team leader and as being part of a team in general. This is meant to be a quick overview with some narration on each one. However, I can ALWAYS talk teaching so feel free to ask questions, share your own thoughts, agree, disagree as needed! Hope these speak some truth to you as well! 
PS. They are in no particular order-just my top 10! 

Have a BLESSED night!! 

"If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you." John 15:7

Sunday, January 8, 2017

New Monthly Link Up-What's Your Jam? 5 favorites in 5 minutes or less

Hey friends!!
So I posted a video the other day on my FB & Instagram of my top 5 favorite things I have discovered for the month of January. This prompted me to think about continuing this each month! I have always enjoyed when people share awesome things they find that I may not have ever seen. I mean sharing is caring right? I chose 5 because it is a manageable number and there may be some months the discovering is dry. Now what is the 5 minutes about? Well let me lay the easy ground work for you! 
*On the 15th of each month I will post about my favorite 5 things and include the monthly image for you to add to your posts and join in.

*You can post through a video, blog post, or even just link up through the comments here, FB or Instagram if you don't have a blog. 

*The kicker is either mode of posting (video or typed) needs to be watched or read within 5 minutes or less. (People don't always have time to listen, watch, or read long drawn out spills, so I figured it would help keep people engaged.)

*You can share anything and everything! Apps, food, office supplies, makeup, clothes, websites, etc! 

*I will always try to link where I got things or at least say the store if I know.

*Some months may have themes too!

So what's your Jam lately? What do you love for the month? What have you found useful?

download this image above to use in your linkup or posts made via social media :)

Take a look at my first one HERE (it isn't within the 5 minute time limit this time haha that was an afterthought for future ones!)

Please feel free to share the image and link up with anyone and everyone that might enjoy it or at least finding new and fun stuff for the month!

Have a BLESSED week! 
See you again for the February Jam!! Start compiling your favorite things!

"For He called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light."
1 Peter 2:9

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Christmas Cheer! New craftivity!

Hey guys! I wanted to share a new product I just loaded. We got to use this in third grade right before Christmas break and the kids loved it! They turned out so cute!! You could use this in January too (especially if you live somewhere that winter actually lasts longer than a day haha).

Ms. Jumonville completed this in her holiday rotations. We read the book "Snowmen at Christmas" stopping every once in awhile to orally think aloud and ask questions. Afterward, the kids each got the templates for the body and the arms. They filled out the title, main idea, and 2 details to support the main idea from the story. They used the arm templates and also drew their own face details on themselves. They also added details around as time permitted. 

Here is an overview of the resource:
Winter is such a great time to have some fun and get creative! Use this with a snowman book or any winter/holiday book fiction or nonfiction!! 
It covers two different skills:
-main idea and supporting details
-Story elements (setting, character, problem, solution)

You get to choose which template works best for you! 

What's included:
-two templates (as described above)
-list of snowmen books (to get you started or use any book of your choice)
-picture examples of kids work
-templates for body parts or tracers (optional)

Click here to take a look for more! 

Oh and it will be HALF OFF for the first 48 hours! 

Also, head over to my FB page and checkout the give away I'll be having for it as well!!