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)

Let's Get Acquainted!

I know this isn't Sunday but its the first chance I have had to blog this week. So let's get to know each other!

TOPIC - Skittles Game
Here is the code:
Red- Favorite Ice Cream Flavor
Orange- Favorite Memory from College
Yellow- Favorite Sports Team
Green- Favorite Fast Food Place
Purple- Wild Card(Tell anything about yourself)
Red: Baskin Robins Peanut Butter Chocolate Ice Cream.
I really don't think there is a better match made in heaven than chocolate and peanut butter. Baskin Robins perfected the marriage by putting large ribbons of peanut butter in their creamy ice cream.
Orange: Nothing beats Kansas State University. PERIOD. So I am not sure I can pick one memory. If I am forced to.....KSU football games. Tailgating, friends, football, and fun. These things are what made Saturdays FUN!
Yellow: Well if you read above you also know that nothing beats Kansas State University. I love my Wildcats. Football, baseball, basketball, etc. I bleed purple.
Green: I love food so this one is hard for me too. Right now I am on a Subway kick. I guess that counts as fast food.
Purple: I am an aunt who has the BEST niece and nephew in the entire world. I love being an aunt to these little guys. They really brighten my day. LOVE them. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Field Trip Reflection

Today has been a normal day of Sunday Plan/Prep Day. My BF is on duty today at the fire station so I am at home getting organized for the week to come. As we all know this includes: grocery store trip, ironing and washing the clothes for the week, thinking about meals/lunches (and I am sure every teacher is as sick of packing lunch as I am at this point in the year), and looking at lesson plans for the week.

Tomorrow we have our annual EEE day (Environmental Education Enhancement Day). This isn't my favorite field trip we take of the year but the kids always seem to love it. In the past it has usually rained or been humid on the day that my class goes but looking at the weather it is supposed to be sixty degrees....perfect!!

The longer I teach the more I realize the need for accountability for my students on field trip to show them that these trips are an extension of our classroom. Plus I feel that reflection is so powerful for students (and teachers!). I created this reflection form for my students to fill out when they return from the trip and put in their science notebooks. Gives them accountability, feedback for me, and proof of learning.

I have put it on TPT for FREE. Hope that it can be of good use to you. (Click the image below to get your copy)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Five for Friday

I am so excited to link up for my first Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching. (Even though it is Saturday morning....)

1. I finally finished a rubric I think I have been trying to complete all year long. I teach the Daily 5 routine as the reading/language arts component of the day. I love how it motivates the kids and really engages them in their learning. I adore hearing them say they love reading because of this. However, I just feel like the acountability piece is missing. I finally finished a rubric that will help them evaluate themselves on how they did.

2. My student teacher has been gone all week due to a death in the family. It was sad for her to be away as we love her dearly but it gave me a chance to reconnect with my students. They are such a neat group of kids and its good to know while my intern has been teaching everything lately, I haven't lost my MOJO.
3. My class did an awesome consumer/science activity with dying Easter eggs. (Yes I realize Easter was a week ago, but seriously I am a frugal teacher and buy the dye kits while they are $.25) The kids were so engaged and it reminded me why I need to do fun/meaningful activities and not be so assessment focused.
4. Math assessments begin next week. Please bring on the Starbucks, Tylenol PM, and bubble baths. I am nervous as I have been teaching to the CCSS all year long and not our actual state assessment. I know that will hurt my scores, but it is what is best for my students.
5. In keeping with the 5 theme....only 5 more Fridays of school. (one friday we have inservice) This makes me happy. I have had such a great year. However, time to rejuvenate, reconnect, and revive myself makes me one happy girl! 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Starting a new blog.....

April showers bring.....a new blog.

Let me introduce myself. I am Jennifer a 5th grade teacher in Kansas. I have been blogging for a while but have decided to be more dedicated to it and start up a new blog.

I am hoping to share my ideas, things I create, and learn from the other bloggers out there in the blog world.

I love teaching 5th grade! It's such a fun age to teach as they come into their own and become young adults. I recently moved back to the school I student taught in and feel like I have landed in my "home." Thus....Living the Dream in 5th Grade!!