Tuesday, April 29, 2014

No More Common Core?


This morning, I watched the morning news like I always do, and I saw a news story where local teachers were protesting Louisiana’s decision to implement Common Core. As a Louisiana teacher, I’ll put in my two cents about this issue.

When Common Core was introduced in my state and parish during the 2012-2013, I only knew about because there were so many TpT Common Core products. Other than that, I had no clue what it was. During my first year doing CC, it was rather difficult. I honestly do not feel like we had adequate training before we were asked to implement it in our instruction. Like many of the protestors in the news story I mentioned above, I felt like CC was just thrown at us. Fast forward to this current school year, and I felt much more confident in implementing CC. We had many professional development days before and during the school year where we unpacked the standards to get a better understanding of what our students were supposed learn. So, I felt more comfortable about CC, but unfortunately my kids were not really grasping the concepts. Parents were not too happy either. I found myself telling parents, “Well, as you know, the Common Core standards are very rigorous…” and I received some blank stares and some head nods. Needless to say, many parents were not happy, many kids were confused, and this teacher was/has been/is scratching her head.

I will say that I believe that CC is great way to make sure students in one state are learning the same things students in another state are. And let’s just put it out there, Louisiana does not rate too highly when it comes to education. I think our governor had good intentions, but the methods were all wrong. I do believe that CC was pushed too quickly. Teachers were not given enough time to understand the new standards before they were asked to begin using them. When teachers and parents began getting angry, “people” started back peddling and tried to give us training. It was just very backwards. Again, I am just stating my opinions about it.

I am not sure what the future holds for Louisiana and CC, but I do know that a lot of teachers and parents are very unhappy. It will be interesting to see. I’d like to know your views on Common Core. How is it working in your state/county/parish? Were you adequately prepared to teach Common Core standards? How did your students grasp the Common Core standards? Share your thoughts below.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Pin Up Thursdays Linky Party (April 24)

pinupthursdayswithmrsmcclain_button_Pin Up Thursdays is a weekly linky party where you share four interesting educational finds from Pinterest. If you need help getting your party on, click HERE! Now, party animals…find your pins, blog about it, grab my buttons, and link back up here on my blog. Here are my pins from the week…
Adorable Mothers Day Craft http://www.pinterest.com/pin/287597126179617611/
I’ve been trying to think of a creative Mother’s Day craft for my first graders to do, and I’ve found it. I think that I can easily get all of these materials ready for my students to complete this craft. Am I the only one who analyzes a student craft to see how much work the TEACHER actually has to do? haha!
Stretch A Sentence!   http://www.pinterest.com/pin/153122456055002259/
I love this Strech A Sentence poster because I am finding that my first graders don’t naturally add details. This poster can not only serve as a reminder when they are writing, but I can totally see myself teaching a lesson from just this poster. Hmm…TpT product in the making…
Cute ideas for state testing. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/302163456221495930/
I wish that I would have found this before my students did their state testing. I am definitely going to prepare these testing goodies for my students next year. I’ve seen on IG that some teachers are just now starting their state testing, so maybe they can use these this year!

The end of the school year is quickly approaching (oh yes, I have a countdown app on my phone) and this idea would be a lot of fun. You buy a beachball for each student, and your students can sign their names and write messages to their classmates. This is a great keepsake.
Share your thoughts about my Pin Up Thursdays pins in the comments and make sure to link up your blog post below! I’m off to enjoy the rest of my Spring Break.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pin Up Thursdays Linky Party (April 17)


Pin Up Thursdays is a weekly linky party where you share four interesting educational finds from Pinterest. If you need help getting your party on, click HERE! Now, party animals…find your pins, blog about it, grab my buttons, and link back up here on my blog. Here are my pins from the week…


This is an ingenious idea for displaying anchor charts…towel rods! Now, I’m not sure how the rod is secured to the board, but it is a great idea.


teachingtoday: This is such a simple idea I found online, but it is helping me SO MUCH with keeping organized this school year!  http://www.pinterest.com/pin/262616221993338018/

I must admit that I am very unorganized! Right now, my teacher desk is a MESS. The above picture is part of the problem. When I get ideas throughout the day, I tend to write them on a sticky note and put them on my cluttered desk. Well, needless to say, I forget where I put my notes and it all goes down hill after that! This idea could at least give me a designated spot to store my post-it notes ideas.

The homework club is reserved for students who do their homework each day. Every day that they complete their homework, they get to keep their number on the board. If they forget to do their homework, they must take their name off of the homework club. At the end of the month, the students who are still left will get a party. In my classroom, I use a different system, but I would like to integrate this idea with my current one.

countdown to the last day of school.  each balloon has an activity to do when it is popped  http://www.pinterest.com/pin/209628557630003479/

I have been looking around Pinterest for a few end of the year activities lately, and I found this one. Basically, the teacher fills up a certain number of balloons based on the number of days left of school. Each day, a student pops a balloon. Inside of the balloon is something the students have to do. You and your class keep popping a balloon per day until the last balloon is gone.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Today, In My Classroom: Egg-Cellent Graphing


Each day this week, I plan to do an Easter-themed activity with my first graders since we are approaching our Easter and Spring Break. (Sidenote: I am SOOO excited for Spring break…even more than my students!) Today, we did an activity that I just added to my TpT store called Egg-Cellent Graphing.


We practice graphing all year long so even though we haven’t reached the Go Math! unit on graphing, I knew my first graders could still complete this activity. First they colored their eggs.


Then, they cut their eggs out and sorted them by color.


Finally, the students colored in their graphs depending on how many eggs they had of each color. My kiddos really enjoyed this activity, and your students can too!


Egg-Cellent Graphing is only ONE BUCK in my store, so go grab your copy now! Also, don’t forget to join me this Thursday for Pin Up Thursdays!


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Do You GoNoodle? & Product Promotion

go noodle in my classroom_buzzingwithmrsmcclain

Before last Friday, apparently I had been living under a rock because I had never heard of GoNoodle (www.gonoodle.com). Do you GoNoodle? GoNoodle has a large collection of brain breaks that you can do in the classroom. It is free for teachers to sign up too which makes it even better!

In the picture above, my class was doing Zumba to the song “I Like to Move It” and they LOVED IT! They also love Boogie Down with the dancing chicken.

go noodle1_buzzingwithmrsmcclain

Once you sign in, you’ll get to choose an avatar for your classroom and you will be brought to this screen. I started GoNoodle on Friday so I’m still trying to figure out what the indicator on the right means. When my students completed one of the brain breaks, they received points so I assume that is what it’s for.


This is where you will go to find all of the great brain breaks. You’ll soon find out which ones your students love. I can’t wait to explore all of them! If you use GoNoodle in your classroom, share in the comments which brain breaks are your favorite. I’d like to show my class some of the ones that are tried and true in others’ classrooms.

iameggstraordinary by jasmine mcclain

Now for a little product promotion…I have two new Easter items in my TpT store. The first is a freebie named I Am Egg-straordinary It is a glyph activity that your students can use to tell about themselves—something they ALL love to do. I plan on using this item this week before our Easter/Spring Break. Go grab this freebie now!

easterbingo created by jasmine mcclain

I love a good Bingo game, don’t you? Easter Bingo is another game in my collection of Bingo games in my TpT store. The first TWO people who leave a comment and their email address will get this game for free.

Two more things…I am finally on Bloglovin’! I invite you to follow me HERE. I would also like to invite you to my weekly Pin Up Thursdays linky parties. Every Thursday, other bloggers and myself will share 4 interesting, educational pins from Pinterest. I would love for you to link up!

Enjoy your Sunday!


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Pin Up Thursdays Linky Party (April 10th)

pinupthursdayswithmrsmcclain_buttonPin Up Thursdays is a weekly linky party where you share four interesting educational finds from Pinterest. If you need help getting your party on, click HERE! Now, party animals…find your pins, blog about it, grab my buttons, and link back up here on my blog. Here are my pins from the week…



Okay so these are chalkboard classroom tables! How cool is that? I think that if good rules are established for when to write on the tables, this could be a great tool…especially in a math class!


Brag buttons... Love these! I wonder if there is a way to "pin" them on w/out the pin though??

I love these brag buttons! They would be such a motivational tool for the classroom. My first graders love to talk (usually about things that have nothing to do with what we are learning at that time…but, that’s ok lol). These can now be a way for them to work hard so that they can talk about something that has to do with school.


work boxes, have one for each student, when they finish their work they can go to their work box and pull out things to work on that the teacher has placed in there. (lets the teacher assign different things for the student/if they need extra practice in an area) - DIFFERENTIATION!

These work boxes are used by your students when they finish their work. You can put items in each student’s box based on what their needs are. I guess you could also use these in place of the expensive mailboxes. I have a wooden one that is very sturdy but it costs a pretty penny. Both uses would be great for the classroom.



Sorry for the blurry picture for this pin, but it is sooo what I’ve been looking for! I’ve been on a search for Easter activities for my kiddos, and I found this pin that I’d like to try. These are mystery eggs, and your students must make inferences about what is inside after they get three clues. Once all of your students make a guess, you get to open the eggs and reveal what is inside. Such fun!



Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Let Me Re-Introduce Myself…


Okay, so I’m not re-introducing myself, but I am re-introducing Pin Up Thursdays. I started doing Pin Up Thursdays back in 2012 to share my interesting educational finds on Pinterest. I still write posts about it, but not as often as I should. At one point it was also a link party, but it didn’t really catch on…*sniffles*. So, I am going to give it another try!

I’ll use this post as reference for future Pin Up Thursdays. You can see my older Pin Up Thursday posts by clicking on the yellow Pin Up Thursdays tab on the right-hand side of the site. You’d think I’d be doing it more seeing as there is a whole section dedicated to it!

So, here’s what you do: During the week, pin anything interesting that you find on Pinterest. It could be a craft, an activity, an app, ANYTHING! Pinterest is so cool for teachers because there are zillions (yes, zillions) of teachers sharing a plethora of ideas from their classrooms. My pinboards are full of things that I want to make for my classroom, try in my classroom, or buy for my classroom. If you’re having trouble finding things, I would suggest that you find a few collaborative boards to follow. You can also search Pinterest using keywords like “classroom ideas.”

Here’s a little bit more information for you:


I will host this linky party each Thursday, and I sure hope that you’ll join me.

Now go forth and find your pins and tell some of your friends that Mrs. McClain is hosting a new/old linky party on Thursdays!


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Linking Up: Currently & New Products

I’m linking up with Farley again for Currently, so here goes…
I have some cool new products in my TpT store as well. It’s called So Dolchy! and it is a collection of Dolch Word practice sheets. These would be perfect for your students who need extra practice with their sight words.
image  image
The Pre-Primer and Primer versions are in my store now. I will add the First, Second, and Third grade versions to my store later. Each pack contains all of the words in the Dolch word set and costs on $5 dollars. I will give the FIRST person to comment below with their email a set of both for free. If you miss being first, you can still download the preview packs at my store to get a free practice sheet.

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