Tuesday, March 13, 2018

My Visit to the Ron Clark Academy

I had the great privilege of being able to attend the Ron Clark Academy in October, and I must say it was hands down the BEST professional development training I have ever been to!

This post contains affiliate links. I earn a small commission each time someone makes a purchase using one of my links, which helps to support the blog.  All opinions are my own and I only promote brands and products that I have used myself and truly love.  

I have been a fan of Ron Clark since I read his book The Essential 55: An Award-Winning Educator's Rules For Discovering the Successful Student in Every Child. 

It has been on my bucket list to go to the RCA Academy for their teacher training experience for almost just as long.  You can imagine my excitement when my principal started making plans for herself and several teachers to make the trip. Even more exciting was the day that she sent the email with this:

While I was there I posted several pictures to my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and since then I have received many questions about the experience. 

 I plan on posting a series of blog posts sharing not only some of my experiences from the training, but also, some ways that I have used what I have learned in my own classroom.  I will post a link to all of the posts as I write them here for easy reference.

Questions I have been asked:

1. Which type of session did you attend, the one day or two day session?

The Ron Clark Academy offers a one day session and a two day session.  You can find the dates of both types of upcoming sessions here.

I was lucky enough to be able to attend a 2 day session.  We experienced so much during these two days, I can't imagine how they would squeeze it into 1 day!  

I would highly recommend going to a 2 day session if you attend, but I know that it depends on your time and travel budgets. 

2. Do they actually provide training sessions or do you just observe classrooms?

The experience provides a mix of both, which is amazing!  You attend some sessions with the instructors where they provide professional development, and then you get to see them in action as you observe actual classes with students.

3. Did Ron Clark provide any of the training and is he as amazing in person?

Yes and yes! Not only does Ron Clark provide several sessions, you get to peek into his classroom and even experience what his students do which is quite a treat!  You can get just a little taste of it in this video below: 

4. If I attend the training, what should I wear?

People wore a variety of different types of clothing from business casual to jeans and school t-shirts.  No matter what you wear, you will most likely be comfortable.  I would suggest wearing pants on the day that you get slide certified!

5. What if my school won't pay for me to attend? 

This experience is so worth it!  If you can't get your school to pay for it, I would figure out how to set aside some extra money each month to get there. You might ask friends or relatives to donate in lieu of gifts for your birthday or Christmas.  You can also apply to Donor's Choose for professional development  including this opportunity.

6. The Ron Clark Academy is a private school, can I really use their methods in my own classroom?

Yes!  Although you may not have slide in your classroom, you absolutely can do things a little differently and bring the RCA strategies into your classroom!

I have been using some of these strategies in my classroom since October and both my students and myself have benefited from them!  I can't wait to share them with you!

More Questions?

If you have additional questions I haven't answered yet, feel free to leave them in the comments below and I will answer them as soon as I can!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Adventures in Problem Solving - Make 37

I recently had dental surgery and woke up in the middle of the night in a bit of pain.  So, I did what every other crazy rational teacher does in the wee hours of the night, and jumped on Twitter for a little PLC time.

I bumped into this Tweet from  @inspiringmaths which featured this math problem:

I shared the problem with a team member and he was so excited to share it with his class, that he gave it to them the first thing in the morning even though that is usually our reading block.  

He came into my classroom with a white board with one of his student's solutions.  I glanced at it quickly and noticed that the student used 10 numbers and that the sum was 37.  

I totally glazed over the fact that they had a 4 in it. (Also, just a note on my teammate's shorthand to write the solution - those dashes apparently represent multiplication - don't ask... LOL!). 

 I was impressed and asked how long it took the student to solve.  He said they had been working at it for a full 25 minutes.  "They were so into it!" He said.

The gauntlet was down, I challenged my class to see if they could solve the problem as well!  

Just like my teammate had experienced, my class was super engaged with the challenge as well.

About 15 minutes in, one of my students came up with a similar solution to the student above, (but again, I did not spot her use of the 4) and I sent her over to the other classroom to show my teammate. He somehow spotted her use of the 4 and called Foul.  My students continued to mull over the problem all day.

When I got home, I continued mulling over the problem as well.  I even put together an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of my attempts. The pains joys of being a "life-long learner", and a testament to the power of an engaging question.

I struggled, and struggled, and couldn't find an answer.  So, I Googled it.  I found the original problem from NRICH maths (an amazing resource filled with so many rich math problems to solve)!

(*Spoiler Alert*)

It said the problem couldn't be solved.  It is impossible to make 37 with the numbers if you add them ten times.  The reason for this is that when you add odd numbers an even amount of times, your resulting sum will be an even number.

I texted my co-worker and asked him what his student's answer was.  He texted me the picture back and that is when I finally saw the 4 the student had used.

I shared the link to the solution with him and mentioned that we should try another activity with the students next week.  We would ask them - "Can you add an even number of odd digits and have an even sum?" Sometimes, Always, or Never?

I will share those results in another post!

If you try this math problem with your students, I would love to hear how it goes! 

Weekly $25 Teachers pay Teachers Gift Card Giveaway - March 12, 2018

Another Monday means another chance to make a great impact in the classroom!  A new week also means another chance for you to win a $25 Teachers pay Teachers gift card!  


Prize: $25 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card 

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter to enter.  Giveaway ends 3/19/18 and is open worldwide.

Are you a Teacher Blogger or Teachers pay Teachers seller who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your store and social media?  Click here to find out how you can join our totally awesome group of bloggers! 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

March Madness! $50 Teachers pay Teachers Giveaway!

I know that most people associate March Madness with basketball, but for teachers we can also relate to our own sense of madness during March.  All the craziness that comes with Spring Break, St. Patrick's Day, crazy weather that can't make up its mind (hot or cold), parent teacher conferences, state testing, oh and that darn Daylight Savings Time!!

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Just so you don't go completely crazy, some of my blogging friends and I are sharing some great resources to help make your lesson planning a bit easier.  AND..... if you stick around until the end of this blog post, you will have a chance to win ALL of them AND a $50 Teachers pay Teachers gift card to buy anything else that might be on your wish list!

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The first item in our line-up is from Jewel's School Gems.

Easter STEM Activities BUNDLE (Easter STEM Challenges)

Are you constantly on the lookout for resources that promote learning and engagement even during the holidays and near school breaks? Why not try STEM projects for a change! This Easter STEM Challenge Bundle provides hours of engineering fun while making sure your students do their research, follow the engineering design process, and reflect as to what worked and did not work. Your kiddos can design and build an Easter egg basket, an egg launcher, and an egg conveyor belt using simple and affordable materials. You and your students will surely enjoy these Easter STEM activities. Check it out today!

Easter STEM Activities BUNDLE (Easter STEM Challenges)

The second item is from Angie S. who has a ton of great resources for special education. 

Easter Activities BUNDLE for Autism and Special Education

Thisis a set of activities, worksheets and flashcards with real life photos perfect for celebrating Easter in your classroom! They are great for Kindergarten and preschool students as well as for early age and children with autism. Your student will learn the vocabulary, improve alphabet skills, answer questions and build sentences using words on the topic.

You can see the resource in action in this video: 

Mrs. J's Resource Creations has the next set of resources. 

St Patrick's Day Reading Comprehension, Spelling, & more - Reading Mystery

This print and go St Patrick's Day Reading Mystery incorporates a range of ELA skills in one. The main focus is for students to read the text carefully, and reread to complete the activities.
Students must complete the tasks after reading each passage to discover clues. Each clue requires students to critically think to decide which suspects they can eliminate from their suspect list. The last suspect remaining is who needs to be arrested for the 'Fool's gold.'
There is a Video Hook included for optional use. It has been designed to ask questions about what is going on? That’s when they must read to find out.  It can be viewed here.

4th Grade St. Patrick's Day Math Activity -  St. Patrick's Day Math Mystery

This St Patrick’s Day, send your children on a mystery mission to find out where Leroy accidentally left his pot of gold. Completing math questions is required to unlock clues, which will help narrow down a list of locations of where Leroy’s pot of gold is.
There is a video hook for optional use to introduce this math activity. A written story is also included in the PDF case file.
This fun NO PREP activity is available in versions for grades 1-6!
Find the individual grade links withinthe video hook product description here. 

Mrs. Hansen's Helpfuls has some great items to get you ready for testing this spring! 

Multi-Step Word Problems + -

She says, "For many classrooms we are starting to prepare for upcoming state testing. I always break this product out this time of year to help students with multi-step word problems. This product allows the teacher to break students into differentiatedgroups where students can also present how they solved the problem. This product also works with whole class instruction too."

Sir Gus - Unit 5 CKLA Grade 2

Many teachers teaching second grade CKLA this year, are already reading or about to start Sir Gus Unit 5. This product will help improve and assess student comprehension and grammar skills for this book. In addition, this unit now includes a spelling component.  

Last but not least, I am showcasing the following two resources from my store:

Countries of the World Research Writing Project

Countriesof the World Research Project (Common-Core Aligned)

Need to incorporate research writing into your curriculum? This is a perfect product for introducing report writing centered on your student's choice of country. Students will complete their own mini-book about the country of their choice along with an oral presentation. 

Included in this Countries of the World Research project are:
Teacher Directions
I Can Statement Cards
Research Graphic Organizers 
Final Draft forms
Parent Letter
Grading Rubric

   I have also included several editable pages so that you can customize the project to fit your needs.

Calculator Word Fun Math Game Task Cards

These calculator word fun task cards are a fun and engaging way for your students to practice math computation tasks (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division). 
Do you remember typing numbers into a calculator and then flipping it over to see a word? Maybe you typed in .07734 to see the word hello? Now your students will have the same great memories as they practice math skills, and then check their answers using a calculator. 
These task cards can be used as a math center, with small groups, for fast finishers, or even as a whole class scavenger hunt.
You can use the cards alone, or use the task card answer sheets included.
I have included 48 task cards including 24 whole number cards and 24 decimal cards to allow for differentiation. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Monthly $100 Teachers pay Teachers Gift Card Giveaway - March 2018

Are you feeling lucky this month?  Well, if you are, now is the time to enter to win a $100 Teachers pay Teachers gift card!

Every month we spoil one lucky teacher with a Teachers pay Teachers shopping spree!  Will it be you this month?


Prize: $100 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card

Giveaway Organized by: Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher)

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter to enter.  Giveaway ends 3/13/18 and is open worldwide.

Are you a Teacher Blogger or Teachers pay Teachers seller who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your store and social media?  Click here to find out how you can join our totally awesome group of bloggers! 

Monday, March 5, 2018

Weekly $25 Teachers pay Teachers Gift Card Giveaway - March 5, 2018

Can you believe it is already March?  As I get older, I swear time goes by so much faster than it used to!  But this new month and new week mean another chance for you to win a $25 Teachers pay Teachers gift card!  


Prize: $25 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card 

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter to enter.  Giveaway ends 3/12/18 and is open worldwide.

Are you a Teacher Blogger or Teachers pay Teachers seller who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your store and social media?  Click here to find out how you can join our totally awesome group of bloggers! 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Weekly $25 Teachers pay Teachers Gift Card Giveaway - February 26, 2018

Happy Monday!  The last one of the month.  This year is just flying by!  Don't let this opportunity  to win a $25 Teachers pay Teachers gift card fly by!  


Prize: $25 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card 

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter to enter.  Giveaway ends 3/5/18 and is open worldwide.

Are you a Teacher Blogger or Teachers pay Teachers seller who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your store and social media?  Click here to find out how you can join our totally awesome group of bloggers! 

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