Monday, November 4, 2013

With Great Risk Comes Great Rewards

What a great day I had! Today was my formal observation and boy have I been panicking!! We had a choice this year to pick 6 informal observations OR 1 formal observation with 3 informal observations. I opted for the 1formal/3 informal because I really had no idea what the administration was looking for. I figured by doing the 1 formal observation I'd be able to meet with one of my administrators and really get a good idea of what they are looking for. Well it worked!!!

First I met with one of my Assistant Principals and discussed his expectations for me for teaching math to my kinders. To my great surprise and delight I was given the go ahead to take my math teaching to a whole new level. I was allowed to do a center based approach to math using the teaching point from the book but not actually using all of the workbook pages! WAHOOO!!! Next I handed in an outline of my proposed plan. I handed that in on a Friday and got it back at the end of the day with 2 pages of suggestions and ideas. Now most people might have seen all of those notes and gone a little looney. Not me! I was excited to see all those notes because they were there to help me become a better teacher, NOT to put me down. Let me back up and explain that before my AP handed me my lesson plan back with all his notes he made it VERY clear that he added suggestions and things that he has seen in other classes that he liked.

Here are some of the things that he wrote down:

  • Safe environment
  • Clear directions
  • High expectations
  • Accountability in each center
Clearly some of these things are not things that can been seen in a written lesson plan. With my two pages of suggestions I was given an extra week to get my act together for my observation.... which I was truly grateful for since the day I was originally supposed to be observed I was feeling quite under the weather!

I made sure that 4 of the 6 centers had some form of accountability. The other two were self-checking centers. I made sure my routines were down pretty good and I made sure I had a clear directions.

Well, right after lunch my AP came in for my observation. I won't lie... my knees were shaking and I was a bit nervous. I had such a rough/bad/terrible/rotten difficult year last year with my administration that I wasn't sure how today was going to go. BUT in the end it went awesome!!

Here are some of they key components that I feel really helped make my lesson rock. We started with our normal calendar routine and the moved on to the game Mingle. I cannot take credit for this awesome game, one of my fellow bloggers (sorry I forget which one of you lovely ladies it was) posted this awesome video not too long ago and I KNEW I could use it to help children count and learn their basic numbers. So to whomever shared this video on Facebook THANK YOU!!! You totally rock because my AP LOVED this game. He loved it so much that while we were playing he called the other AP in our building to come down and check out what we were doing!! I was super excited about that!

I also had some awesome centers that were from some other awesome bloggers.

  • I used Mrs. Hoffer's Spot's Mega Sort Bundle {Numbers 1-10, 10-20, and Letters} for my cut and paste center. The students only had to complete the page that matched the number 9 since that was the number we were working on. This activity was great because I had a tangible product that I could see if the students understood the various ways to show 9!
  • I used The Moffatt Girls' Fall Math and Literacy Packet (Kindergarten) for another center. I used the fall leaves ten frame page. Which was perfect because the students needed practice writing the numbers using ten frames. 
  • I made a center with drawing and writing each number in various ways. I made this center based on Crystal over at Kreative in Kinder's Zero the Hero Classroom Counting Fun!
  • The last item I used from another great blogger, Abby at The Inspired Apple, is Babbling Abby's Kindergarten RTI: Number Sense #0-20 This packet I used in three different centers!! SCORE! 
    • I printed and made binders with the majority of the pages in this packet for the numbers 0 to 9 since that's all we are up to right now. I will add the other numbers are we get to them. I use these binders for my RTI groups.
    • I printed the number writing pages for the numbers 0-9, put them back to back in sheet protectors and used binder rings to hold them together. The children used dry erase markers to practice writing the numbers.
    • I printed and cut apart the number "puzzles" pages and the students sorted the pieces after they finished the ten frame fall leaf page from the Moffatt Girls!
All in all the centers and lesson went AMAZING!!! I saw my AP at the end of the day and we will formally sit down on Friday and discuss it BUT he said he had a few suggestions but was proud of me and thought it was awesome!

I want to give one last shout out and thank you to all the wonderful bloggers and TpT teachers whose products helped me do an amazing job today!!! I hope everyone else's day went as awesome as mine did!