Tuesday, February 24, 2015

{My Teacher Heroes}

To all the teachers out there, I want to start off this post by saying THANK YOU. Thank you for all that you do for those students of yours. Thank you for all that you do for your coworkers. Thank you for all that you do for your families and friends. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

You may not know it, but you may actually, truly be one of your kiddos' heroes. Pretty cool title, huh?

I know that I personally had quite a few teacher heroes (5 of them, to be exact). So, I'm going to list them below in a link up that's titled, "My Teacher Hero," hosted by the AMAZING Jenny from Luckeyfrog's Lilypad! Love that lady.
Be prepared… *SAPPY ROADS AHEAD.**

Let's start with my 7th Grade Math Teacher. Mrs. Calborn. My love for math started when I walked into her classroom. To be able to love math that much?? I was unsure it was even possible. But, she made it happen for me. She got me involved, got me thinking, and kept me going. Throughout the years, we lost touch a little because of me going to a different school, but the funny thing is, we reconnected when I decided to be a teacher. When I began to sub at her school. To be honest, she's one of the main reasons I began to think I could even BE a teacher when I was in college. She was one of the reasons that made me go, "Well, I remembered her and all the impacts she had on my life, even from 7 years ago, and it would be awesome to have that same lasting impact on students' lives, too." So, Mrs. Calborn, thank you.

I had Mr. Anderson for a science class in high school. He instilled a love for science in me like no other. He challenged us to think as hard as we could, but yet, still have fun doing it. We did experiments, we did worksheets, we did tests. But what we did every single day? We had a blast. The connections Mr. Anderson made with his students are to die for. He made sure to connect with them on a deeper level and really understand them. He was a school favorite, not gonna lie! Mr. Anderson, thank you.

I had Mrs. Pack for a reading class in high school, as well. GOSH I hated reading and I still am not too fond of it even though I'm a teacher - love to read, not fond of teaching it. But her class unlike any other reading class that I had ever taken. The projects she would assign were outrageously amazing and I remember having to read a looooooong book and then present on it. But that book? It will forever stay in my mind. I will remember the exact group of people I had to work with, simply because the book she chose for us was so powerful. She was another teacher that made connections with her kids and they were to die for. She made sure, just like Mr. Anderson, to connect with her students on a deeper level and really understand them, even if she only had them for a semester. She was another school favorite. To this day, I am still friends with Mrs. Pack on social media and I LOVE seeing her updates because she made that lasting impact on me that I will never forget. Mrs. Pack, thank you.

Mr. Ciolino was one of my education course professors in college during my undergraduate. Classroom management. BOY did he run his class with perfect classroom management. Not only that, but he reminded me of why I signed on to be a teacher. He connected with us, he joked with us, he was serious with us, he laughed with us, he worked with us… he HELPED us. Mr. Ciolino taught me things that I never thought I would learn about teaching. Ever see those pictures where teaching looks like the PERFECT job, with the smiling kids who are constantly on task and NEVER goofing off? Yeah, he made sure to let us know that those pictures were a cruel joke. No classroom would ever be perfect, but it could be ran as long as classroom management techniques were in place. He taught us on the level we understood, he put things into perspective. He was real. No sugar coating. And sometimes, that's just what you need. Mr. Ciolino, thank you.

The very last teacher I want to tell you about is one that I will cherish forever.
Mrs. Beckelhimer.
Mrs. Beckelhimer is a professor of an english class in my beginning years at the University of Cincinnati. Mrs. Beckelhimer is one of those teachers that you instantly make a connection with. Her sweet nature, yet high expectations, made me want to stay in touch with her. The same is with english as it is reading - not fond of it. But, Mrs. Beckelhimer took the time out of her days to make specific comments about assignments, was sure to check in with us if we missed class, worked hard to make lessons that were meaningful to us as students in the beginning years of college. She made connections with the students by talking about things on their level, things that they made real-world connections with, things that we liked and were interested in. She had us do assignments that would be relevant to us, not just some topic that we were given and then told, "Write on! Good luck!" Mrs. Beckelhimer was there for us. She was always there for her students if they needed someone to confide in, to talk to, someone to just listen to us. But let's be honest - Mrs. Beckelhimer is still like that to this day. I'm almost 3 years out of college now and we STILL have a relationship that I will forever cherish. She's been a BIG helping hand in my life and I feel like she's one that will always be there to be that helping hand if needed. Mrs. Beckelhimer, thank you.

So, who is your teacher hero OR who are your teacher heroes? What kind of teacher do YOU want to be remembered as?  I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments or read them on a blog post.

While you're at it, check out the following teachers and what THEY say about THEIR teacher heroes. We all have them :) happy blog reading!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Do You IXL? {A Series of Posts - Post 2}

OH. MY. GOSH. I cannot tell you all the great things about IXL in just a few short posts… it's THAT good.

We are getting ready to take our standardized tests here shortly and I just have to say that THIS site is going to help my kiddos ROCK the SOCKS off that test.


If I looked at the reports right now, the amount that these kiddos have grown is astounding.

Speaking of reports, IXL does this AWESOME thing where you get a "weekly report." In this short weekly report, the following items are portrayed to you as the teacher.
It includes the amount of problems attempted within that last week, and then overall for the school year so far.
It also tells you how many skills are practiced - same as above - including how many were practiced for the last week + the entire school year.
Finally, it shows the time spent for the last week + time spent for the school year.

The really cool thing is if I click that "view report" button next to it, it'll take me to the reports and I can see who practiced what and how much they practiced. I chose to look at the problems attempted report for Language Arts. Here's a glimpse…
It tells me what skills were practiced, how long was spent on each skill, how many problems were attempted, and the number of students that practiced those skills. 

THEN I can go even further and click on a specific skill. For example, I clicked on "AA.2 Use coordinating conjunctions (Third grade)" to get the following report…

The best thing about this individualized report is that the students names are listed over to the left. Then, it tells you their "SmartScore" {which means how much they've mastered of the skill}. After that, you've got time spent, how many problems correct, missed, and then in all, then a few other columns.

The BEST thing about this is that you can honestly see who is struggling with what skill. For example, you can see that my student who had 51 correct and then 9 incorrect, all in 16 minutes - this student might have been rushing or struggling a little bit. Granted, the grade is an 85% overall, BUT that means this student has got room for improvement!


Where do you see in your curriculum that IXL could be used?? Let's talk about it!

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