Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Biography Poster Freebie...and enter Giveaway

{Shameless plug for my GIVEAWAY} Sorry!

But, here's a freebie for enduring it.

My team and I had to teach "Sequence in Research" last week.  Really? How do you do that?

Remember funny co-worker {the Gone With the Wind one}, she suggested that we complete research on famous African Americans for Black History month.  Then, we could use this to help them sequence their report.  Brilliant!

We began our research by going to several websites including Biography.com and Factmonster.com.  Both were very valuable resources.  Especially Factmonster.

This week, we are using the information we gathered to create a three paragraph biography.  The information has been great.

I wanted a culminating activity that we can hang in the room {and take down the Conversation Heart stories...those pieces of candy are starting to look gross...}.

So, this afternoon I created this poster so that my students can complete it while I'm gone {AGAIN} at another in-service tomorrow.



The document on TpT and TN does not have a gray background.  I only did that to be able to show you on here.  I took a screen capture of it. Is that the best way to do this? 

If you are loading documents, how do you load a picture?  Do you have another method?  I'd love advice, so comment below everyone!


Monday, February 27, 2012

Solids and Nets Freebie...and enter GIVEAWAY

What brought you in?  The solids and nets part of the title or the GIVEAWAY {imagine that in flashing neon lights}.

Either way, I'm glad you are here.

But, first, I'd like to back up a few days {and if you are interested, keep reading...otherwise...it's OK to scroll all the way to the bottom for the freebie...}

Wait!
No it's not.

You're gonna wanna hear this. {maybe}

So, remember last week when I told you we were going to go on a fabulous, highly educational field trip to see the reenacting of the Battle of Aiken?  I know. You were dying to know how it all went, right?
Well.

It's a pretty big deal {this wittle ol' battle}, at least for us that live here.  It's a battle from the Civil War, people.  We are deep here in the south.
Scratch that.  It's a big deal for the fourth grade teachers in this area 'cause it means:

FIELD TRIP!

And, one of the best, really.
Here's why...it's kinda like the releasing on the hounds.  Literally.
We divvy up our kiddos and have parent chaperones drive out there. The teachers wander around all day checking in on groups completely ignoring the fact that we are teachers throughout the day.  It's AWESOME.

Well, not this year. {sigh}

We got the kiddos all loaded up in about thirty or so cars...and off they went.  That is, we were on our way after my speech to the parents about how these extra students are like their own kids today and to keep them in line, not lose them, and have fun.  {By the way...I volunteered to be the speech giver again this year...I hate talking in front of a bunch of adults...what was I thinking?  I seem to always be the one that is stuck doing the talking....more on that later.}

Anyway-
Loaded up.
Check.
Drive out to the battle field.
Check.
Weather not looking good.
Dang.

The drive is about 45 minutes.
Oh, and the best part...the teachers all ride together in two different cars.  {I told you it was an AWESOME field trip}

We get there and what do we notice?  Cars going in the opposite direction.
OPPOSITE DIRECTION, people.
Dang.

Canceled!  Due to a tornado watch in the area.

Crap.
What are we going to do ALL day back at school?  We don't have anything planned.  Time to pull it out of thin air {or out of somewhere else...}.

Co-worker says from the back seat:
"Hey, I know...can't we just put in "Gone with the Wind"? It's from the Civil War, right?"

We must have laughed for 3 minutes straight.

If only, oh, if only :)

Instead, we find some streamline videos, have a picnic in the pod, and spend the rest of the day goofing off and cleaning the room.  The cat was away...not that she'd care, I think.

I cleaned out a whole cabinet/shelf area.  I'll be posting pictures later this week.  It looks pretty good.

OK- NOW FOR THE SOLIDS AND NETS part of my blog post.

We started geometrical solids and nets this week.  The solids, for the most part, are mastered by fourth grade.  It's the nets of these solids that's the kicker.

So, last night, after a wonderful weekend in Atlanta with family, I whipped up a foldable for my students to make to give them a reference guide.



It's free in my TpT AND my TN store...finally, something there, too :)



OH- and the second part of that title? GIVEAWAY {click and link to that post}

Friday, February 24, 2012

Dreamlike Magic Rocks! Come Take a Look :)

My plan tonight was to blog about my terrific horrible insane kinda productive day. 

Remember that field trip I spoke of yesterday- well, it didn't happen.  Nope, drove ALL THE WAY OUT THERE and it was canceled due to a tornado watch.

Well, I guess that's a safe thing to do with over 150 students in tow. Pleh.

Best part of it? The teachers drive separately from the students.  We have parents drive.  AWESOME.

But- too tired for that post.  That story is to long for tonight. Exhausted.

Instead- Do you like my new look?

I LOVE IT!

Alicia over at Dreamlike Magic rocks.  Seriously.  {Check her Esty store out here, too.}

She was so incredibly easy to work with; so if you are considering a new design, or want to add more to what you already have.  Consider her designs.  I love how cheerful they all are.


Don't forget to enter my GIVEAWAY!

It ends next Friday night.  And-oh lookie- 111 :)


Thursday, February 23, 2012

100+ GIVEAWAY! Oh Yeah!

Sounds a little like the Kool-Aid man.

Is he really a man?

Anyway-
You are hear for the giveaway-so I won't delay {oh, oh...how's that for being Suessi-esk}

I thought and thought and thought some more and just couldn't come up with anything over the top creative.

Bummer.

So- how's this?
 


 That's a big, FAT Target gift card for $25!

It's yours for the taking if you win this super-duper giveaway!

Here's all you need to do: 
1. Follow my blog OR tell me that you are already a follower-one entry

 

2. Follow my TpT Store -one entry

3. Follow my TN Store -one entry- yes, there's still nothing in it yet, but there will be :)

4. Pin something from my blog onto Pinterest {leave comment telling me what you pinned}-2 chances so leave 2 comments 


5. Add my button to your blog-2 chances...so leave 2 comments
 
6. Blog about this  GIVEAWAY {include link in your comment}- 2 comments


Dang-that's 9 chances to win!

I will close this giveaway and use the handy-dandy random generator do-hickey next Friday night at 10:00 pm Eastern time right before I go to bed crash.


I'm off to a field trip tomorrow...the reenacting of the Battle of Aiken {I'm SURE you've heard of it}.

Tell me so in your comment...it will make me feel so special.

Good luck!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Daily 5 Station Boards Freebie

I've been pulling my hair out all year plugging away at trying to implement the Daily 5 all year.  I've worked at creating a Reading Block that is kinda working for me now.

Here's the breakdown:
We start with Daily Oral Language. Do any of you use this book?

My grade level uses it to teach the basics of grammar and editing.  It's a great drill type of work.  I believe in it.  It works.  It's totally boring, but it works.

On Mondays {of a typical 5 day week}, I then teach a 20 minute lesson on the skill for the week.  {text structure, using graphic sources, plot, etc.}  On Mondays, we aren't doing "stations", but rather working independently on the previous week's rotations and getting all assignments completed in the reading notebooks.  I use this time to work with students individually or with maybe one small group. 

On Tuesday-Thursday, I give a small 5 minute mini-lesson and we spend the rest of the time going through 4 different stations.  More like a Reader Workshop method, I guess.  It's like I do am attempting with my math rotations.  I'm still working on a cute board with the acronym READ.  Hopefully, I can get to that this week and share it with you.  Fingers crossed!


The four different rotations are the following:
Read to Self- work on letter to me
Work with the Teacher- Small Group/Guided Reading
Station 1
Station 2

During this time, I am working with a small group and of course shouldn't be interrupted.  But, ahhhhhhhh, I usually am at least once.  The number one question {even though I've shown them where the materials are a gazillion times} is "Where can I find the cards for Read to Self?" {or some other station}

Basically, I have pockets glued to cabinet doors that "houses" all of the materials for each station. It's pretty organized to me.  Unfortunately, these pockets aren't labeled.  You'd think they can remember that red=read to self, blue= writing, etc.  Why am I the only one that can remember it?  Geesh.

One of my students told me on Friday, "Hey, you really need to label those."

Dang.
He's right.  So, today, after 2 days with NO COMPUTER, I finally sat down to make the signs.

Here's a preview:


Maybe you can use them, too.

Click on the picture above to download your copy!

And.............

Hello

Looks like a giveaway soon.  I've been toying with lots of ideas.  I'll see you soon to let you know.

Have a great week everyone!



Sunday, February 19, 2012

My Teacher Bag Revealed..and a tip on a SALE!



Scary.

Truly Scary.

You are lucky the picture didn't include any spilled coffee droplets.  Yes, really.

I'm linking up with The Clutter Free Classroom's "Let's See Your Teacher Bag" Linky Party

Great bag, terribly organized. 

Here's something special:
My class had a half hour of clean up time on Friday because I just couldn't take it anymore...and lo and behold...I found one of my CDs.  This album's pretty special.  I met Josh for the first time during his tour of this album. So, glad I found it {even though, of course, it's in my iTunes account}.



Those pencils?  Well, when cleaning out my pencil drawer, I realized I had enough Easter pencils for my whole class.  I just need to come up with some way to "gift" it to them.  I'll work on that tomorrow at least before Easter.

My favorite item in my bag:


I've spent a large part of the weekend finding great apps for it.  Any suggestions?



Maybe I should use them. 

Does this look better?


Let's see how long it lasts.  I give it until Wednesday.

OK~ If you made it this far, here's your tip. 

Are you dying to try the Erin Condren life planners?  After seeing so many bloggers rave about them and how they help with organization, I thought, "I'll look into it."  Well, I did...and guess what?  They are having a major sale on the 2012 life planners.  I guess it finally pays to be a procrastinator!  If you bundle the planner and a pack of gift labels...you save 40%!  Done.

Head on over and order yours now.  Do you have tomorrow off like me?  If so, what are your plans?  I {technically} have Tuesday off, too. I'm heading to a math in-service about incorporating the Common Core standards.  I am really excited about it, too.  Maybe I'll use my free time tomorrow to make some freebies!  Maybe.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Argh, Really? I'm Done.Pooped.Growl.

Did that catch your attention?  Probably just to see what I'm complaining about {again}.

This is the only thing I will say: Valentine's Day at school can be CRAZY!  I had all of these lofty ideas about what I wanted to do.  I did some, but fussed all day long.  I'm sure my kiddos were like, "Chill, lady."

I did get a chance to do this fabulous math activity with them from Amber at Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher.

It used the Conversation Hearts that we all love to use on Valentine's Day, but what I loved most was how it reviewed math skills we have covered this year.  There are 4 student pages in all. It should have been self-directed with very little teacher involvement since it was made for 3rd graders and I teach 4th.  But...put candy in front of my lovelies and they forget EVERYTHING. Phew.

I saw this from her this morning and threw that in, too.   We both saw it on Hope's blog, 2nd Grade Shenanigans. {Love that name, BTW} I figured out how to download Amber's word document to my Google Doc at the last minute that I could retrieve at school...as I can't get to any blogs at school because they are blocked {ARGH}.   I downloaded it from my iPhone to Google.  I can open Google...so Voila!

This picture is from Hope's blog: 2nd Grade Shenanigans


This is the document I could get from Google Docs from school-Yippee!!!


I actually enjoyed this quite a bit.  Make sure you head over to both blogs and check them out if you haven't already.  They rock!

The stories my kids came up with are pretty funny.  Sadly, I was too exhausted to snap any pictures before leaving school. I'll post that later. 


I was feeling rather sorry for myself...and then I came home to the best Valentine's Day present
in
the
whole
wide
world:

A CLEAN HOUSE!!  My husband SO rocks.

He's still cleaning as I write this blog.  How lucky am I?

OK, enough.  Tomorrow {or at least later this week}, I promise to blog about something where I don't complain and also give you a freebie of my own.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Valentine Exchange and a FREEBIE!

Oh boy!  I was so excited when I got home on Friday and found that my Valentine Exchange package was in my mailbox:
Even the package was cute.

My gifts came from a sweet first year teacher, Kelly Pate.  She's not a blogger {yet}.

This is what I found inside:
She found just the right things for me!  I love, love, love everything.  I'm going to have to hide the Minnie Mouse water bottle from my daughter!

Now on to my freebie for you:

I made these a few weeks ago for my kiddos.


Since it was a Pinterest "Nailed It" {That's total sarcasm} I decided I needed to add a little extra somethin'.  My crew LOVES homework passes...it's not even like I give a ton of homework, either.

So, here you go!
Go to my TpT store to download for free!

Have a great Valentine's Week.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hey Girl....all is good in the world again :)

OK, seriously, this Hey Girl site totally makes my day a little brighter.

Seriously.  It rocks.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Who doesn't just swoon over Ryan Gosling?

Need more?
I thought so.


Love them.  That man gets better with age. 

So, remember my last post when I was somewhat complaining?  I'm so sorry.  It was probably one of the worst days. Really.  Had a major melt-down that night, but I'm better now.

What's even better is this news:  MATH STATIONS WORKED!  This is what I'm using from Clutter-Free Classroom:



Now, I know it's only been two days, and by next week I'll probably throw out the plan and start with something new again.  OK, maybe I'll stick with it for at least 2 weeks.  I'm so thrilled, you have no idea.  Thanks for all of the encouraging comments.  It helped.

I'm so happy with it, that I think I'm going to use the CFC's idea of the acronym MATH and use it for literacy with the acronym READ.  When I get that all figured out, I'll come back and show you how it's going and probably offer some freebies to go with it. 

Stick around and have a great Friday!  TGIF!!!



Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Math Stations...Oh My What Have I DONE???

I'm skerd...that's scared. FYI.  {I can't seem to say FYI anymore without sounding like the honey-badger dude, can you?}



I just purchased this from Clutter-Free Classroom.  I'm sure you know of CFC...it's responsible for thousands of teachers getting organized {finally}.  I'm kinda involved...I'm trying.  Really.

Anyway.

I had THE WORST day ever during literacy stations.  Just when I think I've got it, I don't.  The organization of it all is KILLING me.  Really.

I swear this has something to do with my MATH purchase...keep readin'

Here's my dilemma.  I really want to know that my students are getting 100% out of stations.  I'm a 4th grade teacher, after all.  They  need to be accountable.  I've used ideas from several teacher friends, from bloggers and dear old Google.  I have my students write a reflection about the station that they went to each day.  So, on Monday, we organize our notebooks like this:

Page 1: Skill
Page 2: Vocabulary
Page 3: Word Work
Page 4: Poetry or Writing
Page 5: Partner Read
Page 6: Read to Self- This is the most important because I have them make connections to what they are reading with thinking stems that I have provided.  They have to highlight at least 3 stems.  (text-to-text, text-to-self connections).

So, at the end of our "stations" time, the students return to their seats to write their reflections. Seems like a fool-proof plan, right?

WRONG!
I go today to grade {accountability, remember?} one group's notebooks and two of my highest leveled students {the ones I thought would have it completed perfectly} had hardly completed anything?  What?

I. lost. it.

Sad.

Please, someone out there...tell me how to make it work!!!

I still can't seem to find my balance. 

Any who...I digress.

I had bought this {see WAY above} to start stations in math.  I thought they would be so great.  I was so excited.  Then, today happened.

Do I tackle this yet or put it on the side-burner?  Do I re-group literacy stations and find my balance there first, or dive into math.  Maybe I can get math to work first {'cause, folks, it's really easier to teach}, then I can find what works organizationally and apply that to literacy stations.

Please give me suggestions.  Books to read, blogs to check out....anything. 






Monday, February 6, 2012

February Currently and a Giveaway of a Giveaway :)

It's February already? Man. Shoot.

The beginning of the month calls for a celebration, of sorts. 
It's called Farley's "Currently".  If you haven't ever joined in on this, you should.  Check it out on her blog below:



So, here's my Currently:



Now for my giveaway of my giveaway...

You see my RAK above?
Well, last night I won a $25 gift certificate to Donorschoose  from The Loco Teacher.  Check her out, she's new to blogging so I'm sure she'd love some visitors. 
Anyway, I don't currently have a project in mind.  So, here's my giveaway...if you have a project already on Donorschoose or know someone who does then email me {right now}.  There's a new "Email Me" gadget to the side...over there........no there........under my button.

The catch is I need to know by tomorrow at 4:00 because it expires tomorrow night!  I will give the $25 to the first person who emails me a link to a project needing funding.

Happy February everyone.

Oh~ One more quick thing...I just mailed off my Valentine's Exchange...boo ya! 



It was so exciting :)  Ah, the little things, people, the little things.......

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Valentine's Day Class List Freebie and More!

Valentine's Day is a great time of year for students and teachers alike.  We get to take a moment to pause and spend some time sharing our admiration for each other.  Parents like to receive class lists in plenty of time to help their children get those special little treats put together to share with friends.  I have a few freebies that may help you get your class ready for Valentine's Day.

First, here is an editable class page that you can use to send your class list home to parents.


One year, I created these special "You Make My World More Colorful" crayons for my students.  My students loved them.  They were pretty fun to make with some help from my son.  Check out the post {here} to see how easy it is to make these crayons.


Finally, check out the homework passes that you can give your students.  It's just another easy treat you can give to your students that doesn't cost you anything!  Students love them and you don't spend a dime.  I say that's a win-win!



Head on over to my TpT store to grab your freebies!

Looking for a quick Valentine's Day math game for your Math Rotations?  Check out my Valentine's Day Equivalent Poke Game.  Students will enjoy playing this self-checking game!


Hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday Freebie Honoring Pam from The Vintage Teacher

Pam was one of the people in this community that I first started to follow.  What I loved about her was her dedication to share.  Today we honor Pam Woods of The Vintage Teacher.



You have probably already seen her blog button everywhere our here in bloggy land. Everything in her TN store is free to all teachers to honor her memory.  You can visit her store here.  If you are interested, you may leave a message for the family on Pam's last blog post here.

In honor of Pam, here is the first item I uploaded to my TpT store because of simple encouragement from teachers just like her.  It was the gift I gave my student intern when she finished her internship in my classroom.

You can click on the picture below to head over to my TpT store.

Thanks for helping honor Pam.  She will truly be missed.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

And THIS is WHY I Teach

This happened today.
No lie.

I've got a beautiful little {well, big...he's bigger than me} boy in my class.  He's got some "issues" and is in resource and has lots of extra attention.  You get the background, right?

Well, today he had another little girl's pencil and said it was his "because he found it on the floor."
I explained to him that, "No, it's not yours just because you found it.  You see, {insert said child's name here}, if I found $5 on my desk, I'd try to figure our whose money it was...it wouldn't just be mine because I found it."

He then left the room to work with his resource teacher for math.  She brought me a note afterwards saying that {said child} told her that everyone was always out to get him.  I spent a little longer trying to help him understand that in fact, we are not out to get him.

The day progresses.  When coming back from PE, we see his resource teacher in the hall again.  She asks me if I had a chance to read the note.  I told her that I did and we proceeded to discuss his issue.  He was watching and getting upset.  I walked over and, AGAIN, tried to reassure him we are not OUT TO GET HIM.

We walk on.  I turn around and he's mumbling under his breath.  I walk over all ready to
LOSE IT.

I say, "{Said child}, what is wrong...we are OVER this".

He says, {and this is the ah-ha moment---I've been teaching plot and climax this week, can you tell}

"I was just praying."

Oh, sweet Jesus.  He was.  I begged for forgiveness at that moment.


But, wait...it gets EVEN BETTER.


Later in the day coming back from lunch, I've got something stuck in my teeth.  Gross! {Wait for it...I swear it's good}.

And, in the room I have tooth picks {double gross...but I just had braces 2 years ago...so it happens, people, OK?}.

Yes, I go to pick that piece of food out of the back two teeth. {sorry}


{Said child} says, "Teacher, are you OK?"


Me- "Yes, I'm fine, I just have to get something that is stuck in the back of my teeth out.  Give me a second."



{Said child}- "Well, I'll pray for you."


Oh again.  Make me want to cry, OK.


But no, another child turns his head to the ceiling to keep from laughing.  It's hilarious!  Tears are running down his face.  No lie.



I chuckle a bit at this point.


{Said child"} says, "What's so funny?"


What do you say to that???


So, I just say, "I guess I look kinda funny, huh?"


{Said child} says, "Yep, you sure do."

And THIS is WHY I teach.

The End.