Showing posts from March, 2012

What Mrs Sykes Can't Do...

OK.  We did our first day of county-mandated standardized testing today with my 2nd graders.  My poor little 7 and barely 8 year olds who did not know they were taking this test until Monday, when we tracked back in after our 3 week vacation.  (It was just told to us in the past month that we were doing this test!)  Who had very little experience bubbling test items on a Scantron sheet with a number 2 pencil, being sure to erase any stray marks and not redraw a circle if they accidentally erase a circle because the redrawn circle may be scored as your answer.  We practiced bubbling for 3 days. Ick.  Double ick.  Super double-dog ick.  Years ago, I used to teach 3rd grade.  I loved teaching 3rd grade.  The curriculum was interesting, the kids had a wonderful sense of humor, and I worked with fabulous teachers. The issue was the testing.  I gave 8 standardized tests during a year, testing everything from their writing skills to  their likelihood for entering the Gifted program.  It s

NC Bloggers Meet Up! - A Recap

Wow!  What a fun time I had at our first NC Bloggers Meet Up.  I met some a-maz-ing people, and we had a great time!  Randi from Teach it With Class organized it, and she is just all sorts of awesome.  We talked for more than 2 hours about blogs, our schools, blogs, our districts, blogs, our students, blogs, well... you get the idea.  :) One of the best things about blogging is that the blogging community is so friendly.  Teacher bloggers ARE teachers, so they are probably helpful and positive (unless you tell us we can vent for a sec with the door closed!!  just sayin'), and the vibe from the blogger group was supportive.  We had a super time at the Mexican  Restaurant; a few of us even enjoyed a beverage, good food, good company, fun. Before I left, my hubby asked me if I was really about to go meet some people I had only chatted with online for dinner.  I realized that sounded pretty bad, but I assured him they weren't all strangers - my buddy Casey from 2nd Grade Mania

Beginning Teacher Story - Fire and Broken Bones

I was thinking about some of my first year stories last night at the NC Bloggers Meet-Up, and I just had to share... In January, 1998, I started mid year in a small school in rural Eastern NC teaching a 2nd/3rd grade combo.  We had 99% free/reduced lunch, and the school had been taken over by the state... I did my best, and I loved each of the students as amazing, unique, and creative individuals. My first year was filled with challenges; I had a runner (Where did he go?  He ran away from school?  Really?), a biter, several kids whose parents I saw selling stuff on the street corner by school daily, state representatives evaluating my teaching, an inexperienced principal, and a group of students who had home situations that made us cry most days.  I still love those kids!!  <3 One day I walked into my room from a meeting and my students were complaining that someone must have burned popcorn.  I thought nothing of it until I saw the flames.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  Y'all - it

Common Core Standards Shortcut & Dropbox

After 3 ag-ra-va-ting days without internet service at home, I'm back online!  Yay!  :)  I really missed y'all. Here's a super cool Common Core shortcut...  right over here ------------->> Click it.  Isn't it cool?  Want to get your own?  Check it out here . Also, have you checked out Dropbox?  I live in fear of losing my precious files, so I back up everything important on my laptop, desktop, and flash drive.  An easy solution is to use Dropbox .  You get 2 G of storage for free, but if you click this link ,  you'll get another 250 MB for free.  Enjoy!!

A Fabulous Resource for National Board Certification

Hello! I'm proud to say that I am a National Board Certified Teacher.  It's the time of year when many people are frantically finishing up "The Box," where they send their hard work, videos, and artifacts off to be scored as they strive for National Board Certification.  If you are in the midst of this process, just know that I understand how crazy difficult this process is for you!  I still have my pictures from when I packed my Box in March 2010.  Here's a glimpse for those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about... If you are considering pursuing National Board Certification, you need to do a lot of research and soul-searching beforehand.  For me, this involved a lot of serious conversations with my husband and my parents about how to provide support for our family while I worked on NBs.  Since we have 2 kids (ages 2 & 6 at the time), this was no small task; my amazing husband loaded the kids in the car practically every Saturda

Guided Reading Guide and a Freebie

     When I went back into the classroom to teach 2nd grade in 2010, I found that I *really* missed working closely with teachers, holding workshops, and meeting regularly to discuss the best practices they are using in their classroom so I can see how best to support their professional growth.  Stemming from that desire to assist other teachers, I created this blog to share resources.       I created this Guided Reading Guide based on the needs of my teacher friends.  We were always chatting at the grocery store or while waiting to pick up our kiddos from Scouts, and we always ended up chatting about Guided Reading. It's become a quick resource for anyone beginning guided reading for the first time. I hope you like it, and give me some feedback. " I am very happy using this product as a first time teacher of guided reading. This is a well focused document and fun to use!" " This really helped me in getting myself ready to start Guide