Getting it together....

2 kids + Full time job + house + life = INSANE! 
I seriously don't know how others do what they do. 

So with that being said... I survived my way to Winter break and then took that time getting myself put back together again just in time to return. 

We enjoyed a relaxing Christmas that convinced me of two things: 
1. That 6 is the most incredible age for Christmas. E was a little elf filled with the Christmas spirit/magic. The kid would come home from school, bathe, and put on some sort of Christmas head gear (antlers, Santa hat, etc). That said head gear did not come off until he went to bed, which he would then hang the hat on his bed post. I felt like I was putting Santa to bed every night. And then the poor child was so excited about it all that he couldn't sleep (which means I 'couldn't' sleep).

Pure Joy!

2. 1 year olds could care less. This is obviously something I should have already known, but apparently mommy brain has helped me forget several things. P was very content with just watching his brother open presents, and then clapping for him. Needless to say we could have saved some money. ;)
Presents?! Who cares!
This phone was the ONLY present he cared about.
And notice the typical man with the remote in hand.

And, as I mentioned, I utilized the time to work on some school things that sat on the back burner while I survived. One of which was my reading centers. If you follow me on FB (you really should...I'm slightly better about posting regularly there ;) I reached out to my handful of 'fans' for ideas. 
Over the past 11 years I have tried many different versions of centers. Some years have worked better than others, but I still haven't found that one true fit yet. The first thing I wanted to tackle was having some sort of tracking paper that held the kids accountable. I am a huge fan of Marzano and his 4 point rubric for student self assessment (use it all the time with my 'I cans') and wanted to somehow incorporate it. After researching pinning for longer than I would care to admit, I created the following. 

Under each center is the 0-4 scale. After each center rotation students go back to their seats and score themselves. I then come around and check their score and either initial that I agree with them or circle something else. This whole process takes less than 5 min and has gotten better with each day. It may seem like a big waste of time, but the kids have actually been working better and are producing higher quality work knowing that they are going to have to self evaluate. AND the best part, they are truthful. In fact, they are harder on themselves than I would be. It is a beautiful thing! 
The square you see in each center is where we can write codes if they leave for computer rotation, small group with me, or intervention. The top box for teacher's notes I have used in two different ways: 1. to write behavior notes during the rotations 2. make notes when I am checking their work.

Reading centers are still a work in progress, but I am really excited about where this small checklist has been able to take us in such a short amount of time! If you like it, I have uploaded it to Google Docs.... just click the picture and it *should* take you to it. PLEASE leave a comment if you do download...and feel free to become a Follower (on the right of the blog ;)

So, apparently this HUGE rambling mess if what you get from me when I take a break from the blogging world. And as a gift for surviving it, I have uploaded my Fry 3rd 100 list to my TPT shop for FREE! 

I'll come back this weekend to do a short (I promise) preview of what is included in the file and how I utilize it in my classroom. 


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