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Monday, February 18, 2013

When Teachers Become Students

Elementary Conference

Today, President's Day, our district held an "Elementary Conference."  I'm not sure if they did this at the middle and high school levels, as well.  A couple months ago, we (our 5th grade team) were asked if we would be willing to put together a presentation for the conference day.  We decided to go with what we called, "Freaky Fractions."  Basically, teaching teachers how to question their students about fraction problems.  We decided to do this because so much was added to the 5th grade curriculum this year with the adoption of Common Core.  We felt like we were barely keeping our heads above water.  One of our teachers, Greta, made an entire SMART that guided us through fractions, because we had nothing else to go off of (other than Investigations).  Today, there were 6 sessions, each being 45 minutes, and we had to present in sessions 5 and 6 (which is good because we never return from lunch on time).  We displayed and had the teachers work out Smarter Balance problems from 3rd-5th grades, had the teachers play Four Corners, covered a few more problems, introduced a new fractions game, and gave out door prizes.  At first, we felt like we were boring the teachers, but we received great feedback from our first group and from our fellow 4th grade teachers in the second group.  Some teachers said that it was the best session they'd had all day.  That is a definite confidence boost!  It probably helped that we gave away a set of color-printed, laminated questioning cards, game boards, and jumbo dice in each session.  (Thank you to Katie from for taking pictures!)

Four Corners - We wanted to get every up and moving!
*Note: This is not our classroom/school.
Door Prize: Multiplication/Division game board and dice!
I just thought this was a funny picture.

Reading Block Observation

Last week, teachers from another school in the district came and observed the way we do reading blocks at our school.  While they were in my room, I noticed a teacher taking pictures of every corner of my room.  That made me feel good.  Why would she take pictures if she hated it, right?  Later that afternoon, our principal came to give us feedback.  She said that the teachers loved how our classrooms were set up and the feel they got when they walked in the rooms.  She also said that the 5th grade team wants to come back and spend more time with us.  Wow!  That made us feel great!  We still feel like we're learning, and people want to come learn from us?!  Wow! :)

After these two events, it really makes us feel good about what we're doing.  Maybe we are on the right path, even when we feel like we're drowning blindly!  :)

Update on the Spare Change Challenge: Since my class won, they get to pie me.  I've decided to set the date for Thursday.  My students have asked about it every day.  I would prefer to do it on Friday, but it's supposed to rain.  Pictures to follow! :)


  1. It was awesome! SO glad you shared and happy I was able to come to it! :) Teachers SHOULD be learning from you guys, so I know it won't be the first time!


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