Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A cool find, Daily 5-Ch. 2 and cake class

So I was at Wal-mart yesterday grabbing a few things for my cake decorating class and found these cool things that will help me to cross off a pinterest inspired classroom management item.  One of my class helper jobs is the clean up crew.  There is a pin that uses these raggedy type gloves to polish furniture, dust etc. I found finger ones!!!  I'm going to have my clean up crew use these to clean my dry erase boards which are always so hard to clean.  I think these will do the trick!!!  Fuzzy fingers, only $1.97...score!!!

Daily 5 Chapter 2
I have to laugh at myself.  As I begin this chapter of the study, I was noticing my “highlighting” of the important aspects of this chapter from my previous reads.  Haha!   More than half of the chapter appears to be highlighted (and there is an embarrassing amount of coffee/diet coke stains in this book…am I really that messy??!!!)!  I was touched, however, at the first comment in this chapter.  “What beliefs influence the decisions you make in your classroom?  Are there foundational principles you cling to that support your teaching strategies and learning for all students?” (pg. 18 of the Daily 5 book).  You know for me, self-reflection is so important in my journey as a teacher.  I feel it to be the tool that I use to guide myself to become a responsible and independent learner, therefore a better teacher.  Like my students, I have the need to grow and become better and self-reflection is one way I do that.  I am so glad to have reread that statement.  With some help from Mel D. at Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations and her study questions, this is how I decided to answer that question.  I know that the questions are out of numerical order but I wanted to answer question 3 first.  Yes…I know… but I’ve been known to color outside of the lines at times  ;)

Questions to Ponder
3. How do the foundational principles of the Daily 5 structure (trust, choice, community, sense of urgency, and stamina), align with your beliefs that support your teaching strategies and the decisions that you make about student learning?  I’ve always believed that in order to teach a child you must first have their heart and their trust (yep, we do CKHs).  How can I expect a child to believe in me and do what I ask of them if I don’t have a relationship with them or if they don’t trust me?  If those two things are in place then 3/4ths of the battle is done.  Most everything else comes naturally.  So when I read D5, I felt like this was invented just for me.  I believe that all children come to school wanting to be the best, do their best and to succeed.  My job is to make sure that happens. The strategies I use to assure that all 22 kiddos get what they need are very similar to those in D5 especially the community and sense of urgency aspects.  I’ve always tried to teach “the why”.  If they understand why what they are doing now is important down the road, they always seemed to try harder and to accomplish more.  I’ve also tried very hard to establish a strong class community.  Students learn more when they have relationships with their classmates.  I mean, how many times have you looked up to find a table of kids discussing their learning instead of coming to you?  That happens all the time, why not USE that, I say. 

1 .What goals do you have for your classroom as you work to implement the principles and foundations of the Daily 5 discussed in chapter 2? What support do you need to do this?  I know that I need to work/improve upon a few areas for next year. I also know that I tend to set too many goals and I don’t accomplish them fully.  So I am going to focus on 3 areas: Choice, Staying out of their way, and trust.  I think I did an ok job of this the last time I taught 2nd grade but there are things I need to address in each area. 
·         My students had no trouble with making choices at first but toward the end of the year I noticed that they were choosing what their friends were choosing or whatever was the easiest to do.  They didn’t make a choice based on their own needs.  I am going to focus on having the students refocus on their individual goals and make their choices accordingly.  The sisters talk about questions that students need to ask themselves to assure that they are working best for themselves.  I want to make sure to teach those questions and how to focus on goals.  Hopefully that will curb the lack of motivation I saw.
·         I need to learn to stay out of their way in the sense that I do sometimes comment on what their work habits look like in each round.  I also find myself over sensitive to if they have really done what they are supposed to be doing in each place.  I know that their classmates are supposed to help with this (the whole community thing) but sometimes they are the one that is their partner in crime.  Plus it’s hard to let go of that teacher control.  “What if they aren’t doing what they are supposed to”! “What if my principal comes in and sees them not engaged!!!”  What if, what if…..  you know what I mean?
·         That leads to my other focus area of trusting the students to DO WHAT THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING!!!!!! That is such a hard thing for me.  I think though that if I really clearly set forth the expectations, model what each area is supposed to look like and practice enough like the book suggests things will be better this year.  My kids will be able to manage themselves, build independent behaviors and will be trusted to do what they are supposed to be doing each round.  I will be there for guidance like I’m supposed to be!  SUPPORT?  I think that as long as my principal buys into what I'm doing I'll have the support I need.  Of course, parents are also going to have to jump on board.  I feel pretty secure in saying that I think I have all the materials and space I need for this.

2. What stands out as the most significant aspects of this chapter?  To me the most significant thing that I’ve taken away from this chapter is that I have the chance to help develop life-long learners that are independent, self-sufficient, and motivated.  All I have to do is follow the VERY SIMPLY PLANNED structure of the daily 5.  It is this structure built around trust, choice, community, sense of urgency and stamina that will also allow me to reach the ultimate goal of seeing all my students either is a small instructional group or a one on one situation.  So simple, yet so complex…

Finally,  I started taking a cake decorating class with my Momma and it is so much fun!  I only have one class left :(  I'm thinking I'm gonna take the next class because I'm having so much fun with it.  Tonight was cupcake night.  And making flowers night. I happen to have a thing for cupcakes and I want to learn how to make those really great cupcakes like on Cupcake Wars!!   It was the most challenging class so far and I am going to have to practice for sure to get those little flowers just right!  I'll post a few pics that show the final products.  Enjoy!!!

making chocolate buttercream for something new instead of white

getting ready to begin
my Momma trying to make drop flowers (they were hard!!)

our finished products
This is the one I chose to eat tonight as I worked on my blog ;0)  YUMMY!!!!

Keep Coming Back!

"Sweet like candy to my soul"


  1. Taking a cake decorating class has been on my to-do list for awhile now-I'd be afraid I'd eat too many of the "mistakes" :). It seems like a lot of fun! Your cupcakes came out really cute!


  2. Thanks for stopping by! I have to tell you this class has been the best thing I've done for myself in a while. BUT...I do eat way tooo much! I have now told my daughters that when I wake up on Thursday morning I want no clue that cakes were even in our house. They are happy to oblige me. So far all cakes are gone when I wake up ;0) Thanks for the compliment. You should sign up in your area. It's so much fun.