Friday, November 8, 2013

Five for Friday...I am BACK!!

So I have been neglecting this little blog and I am back and READY!!! So much has happened since I last blogged: summer, new school year, and planning a wedding. EEEK So exciting!! :)

Here is my 5 for Friday to kick off the return back into the blogging world.

I honestly have one of the best classes EVER. I have such a neat group of kids and am so blessed by them each day. I am even luckier to call some of their parents my friends. However I have had one student really struggling these past two weeks. I am excited to say that he has made some gains and I can see some light at the end of this tunnel. Keep praying that this will continue to get better!
2. New TPT products
I have been working really hard this week to get my Teachers Pay Teachers site up and loaded with some new resources. I love looking at and buying what other teachers create and I hope I can help some people out.
One product I put up was a Red Ribbon Week packet. This packet allows the teacher and students to have a discussion about what healthy choices are and who can support you with those. Also to say NO to drugs. Our school had spirit week this week to promote a drug free life. We had crazy hair day, neon day, favorite team day, costume day, and red day.

The other project I put up is a packet to go with The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin. This is a short packet about celebrating our differences and have some fun with Spookley. If you haven't ever read this book it is so great and really helps kids with preventing bullying.

The last one is a cool Thanksgiving packet for you to do with the kids. I have a lot of fun doing some supplemental things but yet educational. I think we need to remind kids that learning is FUN!

3. Moving
This is not school related but this week I have a new address. The main motives for moving: cheaper rent and no lease. My fiancĂ© and I are looking to buy a house and this allows us the freedom to do so. Here is a preview of what the house is like.  

4. Loopy Turkeys
When I first started teaching a 3rd grade teacher did this fun craft activity with her kids. She told me that was her special activity and if I ever moved I could take it with me. Well 6 years later I moved to a new town I quickly called and asked for the craft. I am so glad she shared! I love you Mrs. Smith! It provides kids with a good brain break and gives your room a cute Thanksgiving look. They are called loopy turkeys and each year I look forward to making them. This year didn't disappoint!! A great Friday send off.

5. KSU home game
I have had such a busy fall and my fiancé is a fireman so our Saturdays together have been very limited. We were both so excited to go to our first home game of the year. I love my wildcats and can't wait for tailgates and fun.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Monday-What are you reading? 5/6/13

This is why I LOVE my job!! Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!! I am so inspired by the amazing teachers I get to see daily, I have worked with in the past, and the ones I read about on their blogs. Enjoy your week. Hats off to you!!
One of the things I really look forward to about summer is getting back on track with my reading. I get so busy with school stuff that I neglect my own reading for fun.
Part of my homework for my students each night is to read 20 minutes and then write about what they read in their read and respond notebooks. I figure since I have my own students read 20 minutes I should do the same. I have been ok about my goal, but not the best. I really need to work on this!
I adore this link up  (What are you reading?)as it helps me to get my list created for my own reading this summer.
The last book I read and just finished is Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos This is the 2012 Newberry Award winner. I love the Newberry books as sometimes they are books I normally wouldn't want to read or select on my own.
Jack finds himself with a sudden change in his summer plans. After accidentally shooting off his father's Japanese WW2 gun, he finds himself being forced to stay at home or go to an elderly lady's house to help her out. He must help her type out obituaries while learning the history of his town. Jack and the neighbor find themselves on a wild ride learning about Eleanor Roosevelt, Girl Scout cookies, a homemade airplane, and many other shenanigans.
I really found this book to be laugh out loud and a surprising read. I didn't love it as much as last year's Newberry, Moon Over Manifest, but nonetheless it was a good read. I think kids will love to read about the kid with endless bloody noses and his many adventures.
Here is the link to purchase it on Amazon. Dead End in Norvelt
I am going to be getting my summer reading list put together for my own reading. Do you have any suggestions for adult books as well as literature that my 5th graders would love??
So, what are you reading this week?
Link up below and don't forget to check out other blogs to see what they are reading!
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Friday, May 3, 2013

Five for Friday!!!

I heart Fridays!! I still feel like a little kid when I get this excited. For some reason Friday means the start of fun. This Friday found me in inservice preparing to end the year and tossing around ideas for next year. Don't forget with each linky to comment or follow the two bloggers before you!

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for their Five for Friday.  I feel like it gives me a little insight to the rest of the teaching world.

1. Starbucks has FINALLY come to my town. I used to live in a big city where I had 7 Starbucks just on my commute to work. (A 15 minute drive) Then I moved here where the nearest Starbucks is 20 minutes away. So Hallelujah I can get my Peppermint Mocha, Raspberry Latte, Mocha Chip Frap and go home on a Saturday morning. I can even go and get some work done there. This girl is happy and will soon be on a caffeine high!


2. I baked chocolate chip cookies (I promise not everything will be food related) today when I got home from inservice. This is not your break and bake store bought cookies. This is a recipe from your mom baked from scratch cookies!! I love my mom's cooking and these are super yummy. I love making my mom's recipes there is just something special about it. Not to mention my house smells delightful. I am quite sure I am gaining weight as I smell them.
3. 3 weeks of school remain. While I am sad to see this group of kids go and am looking forward to summer, I really am excited about the upcoming activities I have planned: Summer Send Off Day (which you can get at TPT- the link is below), Camp End of the Year, and working on our specialists notebooks. It should be a fun 3 weeks. Plus we have a field trip coming up!!

Link to TPT: Summer Send Off Day


4. My students finished their Autobiography project (its a 6 week project) this week and turned them in. I am quite proud to say they ALL turned them in on time. YIPPEE!! This project is amazing and I learn so much about the students with these projects they turn out incredible. I will post more about this and post the actual project later. I now have to grade them all (5 chapters plus artifacts)
5. Next week is Teacher Appreciation Week. I don't mention this because I want or crave the appreciation. I mention this because I want you to take the time to reach out to a teacher you had that made an impact upon you, a teacher you work with that deserves to know you appreciate them, or a teacher that changed the life of your own child. You don't have to give them a gift just a note to tell them you recognize their hardwork and want them to know what a great job they are doing. Next to parenting this is one of the most important jobs in the world. Every child is impacted by great teaching.

I am also linking up with Oh Boy Fourth Grade and their Currently linky party. Yes I know I am late with this but I didn't stumble upon it until last night. I can't wait to do this the first of every month. Happy May!!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What A Week!!

I don't like going a week without posting on my blog, but when your modem at home crashes and then you are frantically finishing things for the school year I found that the week slipped away.

Its been a full week that found me prepping school stuff and having fun personally. I created several new TPT items (one is listed below), tied up loose ends at school, planned end of the year activities, and did some fun things in my personal life. (I went turkey hunting with my BF and am providing pics to prove it! I actually loved listening to the birds and watching the sunrise.  

We were busy in Room 117. We have been to the middle school 2x already in a week to prepare the kids for the transition and introduce them to band. Preparing to say good-bye to our student teacher as well as our para. We also made our Mother's Day gifts. The students had 4 glass stones that they traced and then put Modge Podge over the drawings to make magnets for their moms. They actually turned out VERY great!

This week I have been working on creating our Summer Send Off Day materials.

 This day is a lot of fun and involves a lot of stations. I will put up some pictures after our actual day. Students will recieve a canvas bag and a beach ball when they enter the room. They are free to explore the stations. I originally thought i would have it structured but I think they need time to explore. After the stations students will have an opportunity to sign each other's beach balls to take home and keep for the summer. Below I have listed the stations with a short summary of what I envision will occur.

Summer Fun Ideas
*This is a station where students can gather ideas of where they can visit or things to do over the summer to beat boredom. I tried to find a lot of cheap/free ideas

Book Swap
*Students will trade books that they bring at this station. I have included a letter to send home to parents in the packet.

Math center
*At this center students will use QR codes and a QR reader to show them different math games and a site they can explore. This one is a ton of fun as students can create math art as well. Students take home the QR codes to help them find the site at home. Along with some printables.

Just Right Books
*There are two websites that are displayed on computers along with a sheet that students fill out to locate books that interest them based upon books they have already read, authors they love, or genres.

Supply Stock Up
*I lay out extra papers, pencils, etc that students may take home to keep them occupied through the summer.

Make a Book
*Students staple together colored paper to make a book that they can use as a journal or create a book over the summer.

Photo Booth
* I created lots of photo booth props (found online) and laminated them to use to create memories.

In the TPT product I have included directions for the day, signs to put up at each station, and printables that you will need for your students. I can't wait to see what this day will bring.

Here is the link: Summer Send Off Day

What do you guys do that is fun, meaningful, and keeps kids engaged the last few weeks of school?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Teachers for Boston

Like many of you I was horrified and disturbed by the events in Boston. Even though I am in Kansas one of our teachers had a daughter who was at the Boston Marathon. She was very lucky that she was not injured during this horrific event. 

 It saddens me that someone would purposely harm people, especially those of our own country. I think it really struck me that so many who loved running are now prevented from doing that by losing their legs or having serious injuries. I also have a sad heart that a child's life was cut so short. I have zero tolerance for any form of terrorism and feel they should be punished to the very extent of the law.

Last night I was looking through Pinterest and found a link to this blog.
This blogger is a resident of Massachusetts and has a great idea. She has enlisted several teachers to help the residents of Boston and contribute to the fund that was created to help those who were injured. While we are only one person, when each contribute a small amount it creates a large amount. Teachers are such generous people!!
She contacted other TPT sellers and they have generously donated products to put in a bundle and sell. There is a K-2 bundle and a 3-6 bundle. Either bundle is priced at $20. If you were to buy these separately they would be a value of over $200.00. That's over 85% off. The entire donation will be going to One Fund to help the victims.
Here is the K-2 bundle (35 products valued at $150):
Here is the 3-6 bundle (37 products valued at $170):

Here is the link where you can purchase the bundles:
Please share this with all the teachers in your building so we can help all those victims.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Administrative Assistants Day

Welcome to Kansas weather! It is April 23 and currently we are getting approximately 2 inches of snow. While Saturday it is supposed to be almost 75 degrees. We often say in Kansas if you don't like the weather, wait a few minutes and it will change.
(This is a view out my classroom window)

Tomorrow is Administrative Assistants' Day. Happy Day to you special people!! You are certainly under-appreciated and over-worked. I know at our school we won't be celebrating until Friday. We plan on treating our library aide, student support monitor, and our two secretaries to a "Tyme Out" because of their behavior. Tyme Out is a restaurant in town that has great burgers and our ladies will enjoy their time away. We will all be showering them with cards and covering their duties while they are away.

My class is supposed to make cards for all 4 of our lovely ladies. I decided that I would rather do something a little more creative for them. I am planning on buying a fudge brownie mix (CHEAP!) and attaching the following label with them.

You can pick up your copy for FREE at TPT. Click below for the link to take you there.

Happy Tuesday!!! 


Monday, April 22, 2013

It's Monday!! What are you reading??

Happy Monday! It is dreary and a chance of rain today in Kansas. After a full weekend in our world Moday came way too fast and finds me drinking lots of coffee to get my mind ready for the day.

The sort of day you should be home, under a blanket, watching daytime television and reading a good book!

I stumbled upon a linky party for what are you reading?! (Click on this to be redirected to the linky party for other awesome teachers and their recommendations: Teach Mentor Texts) This is an awesome one that I plan on participating in each week. I don't know about you but it is always this time of year that I find myself longing to read for pleasure not just professional books/articles.

Some of my favorite books include young adult fiction, realistic fiction, and some good romance novels. This summer I would like to read some more nonfiction and biographies. My list is already starting!

So.....what am I reading? And what are my students reading?? Here is just a snippet below:

My pick: Wonder by: R.J.Palacio (Here is the link to grab it at Amazon):

*This is an AMAZING and INSPIRING book. Here is the summary that is also found on Amazon: "August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance."

My personal response: It has been a long time since I have found such an inspiring book that has struck me emotionally and as a teacher. I can't wait to read this outloud to my students. August is brave, bold, and so endearing. I want him to be my friend. This is a book about acceptance, friendship, and bullying. I think kids will fall in love with this!

My friend Alyssa in my class suggests this book:

This is what she said: "This is a dog book. Who doesn't love a dog story? And it is funny, not sure if it is sad, and is just a really good book."

Here is the Amazon information for it along with a summary:

Eleven-year-old Dessa Dean lives with her father, a hunter and trapper, in a remote wilderness area. So traumatized by witnessing her mother’s death that she cannot bear to leave the cabin even to use the outhouse, she is plagued by nightmares and tormented by waking “daymares.” She lives a lonely life until a lame, half-starved dog comes to the door. In reaching out to befriend the skittish dog, she begins to think beyond her limitations and takes the first step toward healing. In a convincing first-person narrative, Dessa tells of her frustration with her troubles, her hopes when the dog appears, her determination to bring him into her life, and her slow progress toward that end. Though the plot’s outcome is predictable, readers who enjoy animal stories will no doubt find plenty to like here.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Five for Friday

It's Friday, sunny, and we finished state assessments. Could life be any BETTER?! Here is my 5 for Friday and I will be linking up with some other Friday blogs.

Hope you guys enjoy a fun Friday and weekend!!

1. I am SO looking forward to the weekend. We have fun things planned that include K-State All University Open House, some shopping, and a FUN wedding. Congratulations Andy and Ashley! We are looking forward to your big day!!

2. State assessments are in the books for the 2012-2013 school year. I am proud to say all my students met standards or better this year on our assessments. I was in awe of how hard they worked and persevered through their problems. They ROCKED the test! I made these awesome water bottle labels for my kids. They loved them.

You can pick up the labels below at TPT.

3. I went to my first jeans party last night. For those of you not in the loop, and that includes me, someone comes with brand name and knock off jeans. They are laid out in the table and then we tried on and bought different jeans. Although, I was dreading the party because I was so tired it was a blast. Anytime you can have drinks, girl time, and clothing you are guaranteed some fun. I bought yellow skinny jeans that I plan on wearing over the summer.

4. This one needs no explanation or long paragraph....only 4 more Fridays left this school year!! YAHOOOOO!!!!!

5. I am looking for any ideas you have for a student teacher gift. I think I know what I am going to give her but do you guys have any thoughts for what to have my students do for her?? 

Make sure to head back to Doodle Bugs Teaching
You will want to see all the other Five for Friday posts. I can't wait to see them!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Testing Motivation--And a Link Up

It's that time of year when teachers across the country are worried about state assessments. You say that word to any teacher and you will hear a HUGE groan! I find myself always looking for ideas to keep kids motivated, keep them focused, and remind them they are smart.

I deicded this year I would have parents bring in water bottles for the class so they could have something to drink while they tested and keep their attention going.

To liven up the water bottles I made testing labels to put on them just to give the students a little reminder that I think they can and will be successful on the test. (For some reason this group of kids love it when I give them little notes before the test. I find them reading their notes when they are working on the test or get stuck. This was an easy way to do this.)

 I have created a set of four water bottle labels and put them on TPT for you to download and print off yourself. These labels go right over the existing labels on the bottles and can simply be taped on. There are 2 colored labels and 2 black/white labels. Hope you can use them in your class as well!!
I am also going to link up with A Teacher Without A Class with her Dollar Days link party. My product is just a $1 at TPT!! What a quick and easy resource for your testing days. I can't wait to find some other dollar deals. 

A Teacher without a Class

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hands on Equations = Hands on Fun

This week we have been doing math state assessments in my class. It is always so hard for me to balance assessments with instruction for the week. To keep things light but still maintain a good focus I have been doing Hands on Equations with my students. 

A few years ago my mom was telling me about Hands on Equations they were doing in a 6th grade class she was working in. (She is a teacher as well) This really peaked my interest in what this was and maybe something I could use in my classroom. 

If you have never heard of Hands on Equations, let me give you a little background info: About Hands on Equations (follow this link to the company webiste) 

Demystifying the Learning of Algebra: 

Making Algebra Child's Play 

Hands-On Equations is a supplementary program that can be used with any math curriculum to provide students with a solid foundation for success with algebra. It uses the visual and kinesthetic approach developed by Dr. Henry Borenson to demystify abstract algebraic concepts. The program enhances student self-esteem and interest in mathematics.

The basics behind this is students can solve an equation like this, 2x+x+2= 12+2x using pawns, cubes, and a balance sheet. It is always so amazing to me that my students learn to solve these equations so easily. 

Here is a demo about it I found on YouTube: 

This is not a curriculum but a supplemental activity you can use with your students to make algebra more concrete before moving to the representational. It is so engaging!!

(P.S. I am not being paid or compensated for my recommendation. Just telling you what we are doing that is successful in my classroom)