End of the Year Gift Freebie

Hi all,
I've been a little bummed this week and haven't felt much like blogging.  Do you have weeks like that?

My BTB (Best Teaching Bud) AKA BTF (Best Teaching Friend) is leaving me.

It's all about me, right?

Seriously, I'm so very happy for her.  She's taken a position as an ESOL teacher for our district.  She's been wanting this for years.





That's me crying.



My son is a fifth grader and is "graduating" and will be leaving me, too.................................





Cue the sad music people, because I'm wanting to just curl up and cry my eyes out.

The other day, while getting dressed, I did just that.  Cried and Cried.

Had to look at myself and say, "Snap out of it!"

You know, like this:

I've got to pull myself together, people.

With that said, I've been a little bit in a funk, so I haven't felt very inspired, or creative, or witty, or intelligent, or willing to get online to do much of anything.

But, Cher slapped me this morning.

And I'm better now.

So, I'm here to share what I created for my end of the year gift for my kiddos.

This is not my original idea.  I saw it somewhere...so if it's from you, comment and let me know, so that I can give you credit.

I'm attaching these to beach balls.

Graphics: Print Candee and Mel Stampz

How cute, right?

I'm giving it to them early so that we can blow them up and get autographs from their classmates (using permanent marker).

'Cause this girl just is NOT going to blow up 25 beach balls.

I'm not sure if I am going to have them deflate them to take them home.  Probably will need to...can you imagine the drama they would cause on a bus.  Or at car line?

You can grab a free copy {here}.


Whole Brain Teaching Anyone?

Happy Sunday.

I'm furiously working on one of my Summer Bucket List items:

I'm recovering these pool lounge chairs.  I'm using Sumbrella fabric to "recover" them from oblivion.  We've had these chairs for about five years.  They eventually wore through...meaning, we fell right through them.  Since they are pricy, I got crafty last year and sewed new inserts for them.  They turned out nice.  Unfortunately, they only lasted a year.  So, I'm going through this whole process one more time.

Next year, hubby has agreed to build the nice "Pottery Barn-like" lounge chairs.  No more sewing for me!

Until then, I'm sweating the day away.  {Not literally, just sewing furiously so that I can have these ready before SUMMER officially begins}.

T-minus 8, people!

I've completed one full chair...which means I can stop for now.  I'm really only worried about having a spot for my rear end come June 1st. Plus, I'm out of thread. 

But, I guess if I want family or friends to join me, I should get head out and get more thread.

I'm taking a break to share this with you before heading to the store.

Whole Brain Teaching

Is this a new concept to you?  If so, let me give you a little background.
This year, I've learned so much from so many teacher-bloggers that it is mind boggling at times.  On the other hand, it's so refreshing and my teaching has improved {I think}.   

I think I first read about this concept on Angie's blog: Time Out and Tootsie Rolls. Cute blog, by the way, you should check it out.  After watching a video over on her blog, I was intrigued and wanted to learn more.

So, I started researching.  I asked my boyfriend, Google, all about it.  He was so informative (right Kristen?).

 I found the the idea behind Whole Brain Teaching (also referred to quite a bit as Power Teaching) is this website:
The concept is simple, really.  Basically, we want to teach to the whole brain (remember learning-styles...tactile, kinesthetic, etc.?).  It's simple, really.  There are a few easy little things we can do as teachers to make this a success. I started watching some of the videos on the WBT website.  Chris Biffle has many videos that help you visualize how it works.  Here's lesson 1:

If you are interested in what you see, you should head over the WBT and become a member (it's FREE) and watch the other videos.  There's a series and they are so informative.  

During the last several weeks of school, I've used my students as guinea pigs, folks.  At first, I was afraid they would find it hokey.  They are fourth graders {ie biggies}, after all.  But, they love it :)

Let me tell you, it's working.

I started with the "Class-Yes" and "Mirror".  Both are very effective ways of making sure you have your students' attention.  

Next year, I'm going "full-on" WBT. 

Stephanie over at 3rd Grade Thoughts has a great post of how to introduce the rules.  Head on over to her blog for the scoop of how to introduce rules with motions (essential to WBT).

Intrigued yet?

If this is new to you, leave me a comment letting me know.  If it is not new to you, please leave me a comment telling me how you use WBT in your classroom.  I really want this to be one of my goals this summer to research and then implement next year.  

OK- off to buy that thread.

It's Fun Friday...Wanna See Something Funny?

First off....I'm home alone:

My husband took my son camping and my daughter is at Relay for Life ALL NIGHT. Which kinda scares me a little, but I must. be. strong.  Surely she's safe, right?

I probably won't sleep at all tonight.

For more than that reason alone.

'Cause guess why?

THE ONLY NIGHT I'M ALONE....I'm sick. (sorry for the yelling, but I'm kinda ticked at myself)

What the what?



Anyway, while watching a movie/blog stalking/goofing off on Pinterest/drinking tea/eating mashed potatoes (because that always seems to help my tummy...I'm weird.  You've figured that out already)/I found this.....

I thought it would give you a chuckle, too.  I saw it from another blogger (Holly) who posted it as a comment on another blog (Jennifer) in relation to parents.  You know, school parents.  The best ones, too.

What do teachers know anyway?

Enjoy!  I'll be back tomorrow with something more of substance when I'm feeling better.

Donors Choose Funding...and a Freebie!

Hi everyone...just woke up from a nap.

Yes, a nap.  Because........

I couldn't sleep last night.  I was too stinkin' excited.

Right before I turned out the lights (at 11:00 p.m. which is LATE for me), I just checked my email one last time.

Look what I saw....this comment was posted by none other than LAURA CANDLER:

Sorry it's fuzzy........click on it and it will pop up and you can read it better!
My first rush of panic was that she was offended....Gosh, I hope not.

I'm was so excited...my project (you know the LAME one) was FULLY funded.  Not only did she fund it, but she also found a matching code from MORNINGJOE to fund the entire project.

Needless to say, I couldn't fall asleep.  All I kept thinking is.............

I guess I'm not too lame.

Most of the time.

Thank you so very much, Laura!

Now, on to that freebie.

The week before last, when were were desperately trying to prepare for THE TEST, we worked very hard in math to perfect the CUBES method.  I created this poster to help us remember to "Cubes" all word problems.  My students ROCKED this on the test (even after I had to take the poster down)!

You may download it for FREE at my TPT or TN stores.

Please also consider voting for me for the Fascinating Blog Award.  Click {here} for the post about how to do this.  It looks as if you have to have a Google +1 account to vote.  If you do have an account, I'd love your vote :)  Thanks to my friends who have already voted!  I appreciate you more than you know!

Fascinating Blog Award Voting Begins


Is it just me or is it WAY harder this time around to vote for these blogs?  I was going on to check it out and vote for some friends and I couldn't for the life of me figure it out at first.  But, I think that I did.  OK- a tutorial........

Step 1: Click on the "Vote for Me" badge.  It takes you to the Accelerated Degree Page. 
Step 2: Click on the "click here" in the middle of the page.
Step 3: Click on the left side of the page where it says 159 Comments.  The "comments" drop down.
Step 4: Scroll through until you find my URL: http://funin4b.blogspot.com
***I was "posted" at 1:11 pm if that helps you locate it quicker.  It was about at comment #54, I think.
Step 5: Scroll on top of it (or near) and a +1 button pops up.  Click on that and it turns red. 

Once it does that, I think you've voted.  If you do all of that and I win....I'm treating us all to dinner :)

********************End of Update********************

And I would be so humbly grateful if you would vote for little ol' me:

Accelerated Degree Programs

I know it sounds like I need a special pat on the back {some would say I need it ALL the time}, but it's a great little honor.  So, if you could take a second to vote, I'd be so happy.  

I'd probably cry a little and sound like this when I accept my award:

I'm joking, of course.

Have a great week!

Another Year Down...

Happy Mother's Day....as teachers we are all mothers even if we don't have any "personal" children of our own.

So, Happy Mother's Day to all of you!

Now, on to Amber's Linky party.  First off, I knew I had to join in on this one because Amber and I are like besties- Right Amber?  Seriously, she and her "real life" friend Elisabeth were like two of my first bloggy friends.  I {heart} them both!

Want to join in the fun?  Of course you do!!

1. Head on over to Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher to find the original post.

2. Share three things that were great about this school year, and three things that were not so great.
3. Be sure to link up your post with the linky party on Amber's blog. 

I have only 13 days left this school year...well technically 11.5 because the last 3 days are 1/2 days.  Does your school do that?  Those days are a waste of time...but we clean everything and have fun goofing off together.

Now, on to the business of the post:
The Great 
1.  Math Rotations 
I have loved, loved, loved teaching this way!  Click on this link or this link to take you to what I think about math rotations.  I love the fact that I've made it work.  I know that my students learned more and I feel like I got to know them more (and their needs) because I met with each student in small groups EVERY DAY.  I haven't done that in years.  It's been so refreshing!

2. Teacher Blogging
I'm going to let you in on a little secret.  Originally, I thought I wanted to create a blog of my life.  I do have that blog.  I've posted to it maybe 5 times.  One aspect of that blog was teaching.  I branched off of that blog and created my teaching blog.  My life (and my teaching) has changed tremendously (for the better) since then.  I've learned so much and know that I've grown as a teacher more this year than probably the last 5 years combined.  For Real!
 3. Working with Others
I've had the opportunity to have two teachers in my classroom (at different times) this year to help me with my resource students.  (They are also great and work with other students, too.).  I've enjoyed this collaboration so much this year.  I've learned from them and I hope, in return, they have learned from me.  It has definitely provided some entertainment.  One of them is moving away this summer {sigh} and I will MISS her. (She's my "STOP IT" girl). I'm looking forward to continuing to grow in this type of "shared" teaching situation next year. 

The Not So Great
1. Guided Reading
I don't feel like I've conquered guided reading yet.  I've tried.  I really, really have tried.  I've been teaching "traditionally" for over a decade.  It was just the way things were done at my school.  Now that we have a new principal who is wanting us to embrace the Balanced Literacy Model, I'm slowly sinking my teeth back into it, so to speak.  I'm just not getting the flow of making this work like I have made my math rotations work.  I need to read more, maybe get a few good books to learn more, or just simply observe some teachers in action. 

2. Parent Communication
I stole this one from Amber.  Yes, this is one of my weakest links.  I did a great job at the beginning of the year sending a newsletter by email each week.  I then reverted to a simple email (without a cute newsletter attached) when several parents couldn't open the newsletter on their smart phones.  This died down around February and I can't remember the last time I've sent a group email.  I do communicate through the students' agendas, but not anything formal.  My issue with this is that I'm not sure it's missed.  NO ONE has asked me what happened.  Do they even read them?  Do I start again next year?  I've got a BAD ATTITUDE about it that I need to get rid of quick!

3.  Organization

That's probably why organization is at the top of my bucket list for the summer.  The best part about this is that we can get into the building during the summer {I think}.  We used to not be allowed.  So, I'm going to re-organize pretty much EVERYTHING.  Yes, right down to putting labels on my son.  {Well, at least his drawers...in his dresser, people...not his underwear.  I'm not that weird.  Well, maybe I am a little.}

Head on over to Amber's blog and link up too!

Summer Bucket List

I'm joining in the fun to share what my plans will be in a few weeks!  I've got 13 days left.  Not that I'm counting.  I'm joining Hadar, April and Teri :

Here are a few things on my bucket list:

1.  Figure out who makes that border (the loopy one with the sewing stitches)...if you know, please comment below because I want it to make labels for my classroom library. {Possibly before summer break, so does that count?} 

2.  While I'm organizing...I'm going to organize EVERYTHING in my house:

Source: http://blog.worldlabel.com/ via Elizabeth via Pinterest
I may even slap a label on my son.

3.  I'm painting two rooms:  Our 1/2 bath and our kitchen. 

The kitchen will be this lovely shade:
Source: Swimming by Sherwin Williams
Not sure of the bathroom yet.  I'm also going to be making curtains for both rooms. 

4.  Recovering the pool lounge chairs.  I did this last year with Sunbrella fabric and it worked!  However, the fabric didn't last the winter season.  This winter, I'm going to either put the chairs indoors or finally convince my husband to make me these:

Source: http://www.cozydays.com/

5.  Spend time with my family and friends lounging by our pool!  Probably Definitely with a few of these:

Source: http://www.nuggetmarket.com via Elizabeth via Pinterest

6.  Travel-Our French Exchange student from last year is visiting us in July.  We will be going to the mountains to go camping or glamping  and then driving to Oklahoma to visit my husband's family. 

7.  Possibly plan some bloggy meet-ups...like hopefully this one:

8.  Plan and make more things for my classroom.  I'm going to be studying the Common Core, too.  Advice?

9.  Read!!!!!!!!!!!  {all sorts of trash....what will I do when I'm finished with Mr. Grey?}

So, what's on your bucket list this summer?  Go link up!

Donors Choose? -and a FREEBIE

Or is it chose?

Just kidding.

Do you have a project on Donors Choose?  Let me tell you a funny story about how I posted mine.

A few months ago, I won a $25 gift certificate from The Loco Teacher to Donors Choose to apply towards a project-either one of mine or another.  I very hastily put together a project to try to be able to apply the win towards a project of my own.  {Greedy}  However, little did I know, that you had to have it approved and that would take a few days.  The gift certificate was going to expire the next day, so I had a giveaway for it.  It went to a very worthy cause and I wasn't greedy after all.

However, here this project sits waiting for donations.

And it sits.

and sits.

and sits.

Why?  Because it's really lame.  There, I said it: lame with a capital L.

Then, to make matters worse, my principal caught wind of the fact that I had submitted one and sent the link to ALL the teachers in my school.  Who then, in turn, probably looked at it and said, "LAME".  I really don't blame them.

But, now that it's been out there for so long and I haven't even gotten one dime, I'm kinda wondering what I should do differently next time.  I know I would like to put one together that's
a) not lame
b) going to benefit more students
c) actually get funded.

I'm going to work on that this summer.  Do you have any suggestions?  I've been looking over Stephanie's (Teaching from Room 6) suggestions, but would welcome any ideas!

In the meantime, I found this opportunity over at Laura Candler's blog, Corkboard Connections:

It's a Donors Choose link up and Teacher Appreciation giveaway of sorts.  She is going to donate $100 to five different teachers.  How generous is that?

 I thought that this might be a chance to get that first project funded {finally} so that I can feel some sort of success...'cause let's face it...that's going to motivate me to try for more, right?

So, could you pretty please, with sugar on top, visit her blog here and vote for me?  Voting begins today and ends tomorrow night at midnight.  The top 5 projects will get some moo-lah :)

I'm project number 33

And, just as a thank you for voting for me...here's a freebie:

Use this for a quick reminder for readers to continue to check for understanding while reading.  I run this on cardstock, laminate and cut out for students to use and "track their print" with the top of the check mark.

You may download it from my TPT store.  Enjoy and thanks for helping a girl out :)

First Day of THE TEST...and a Freebie :)

I don't want to talk about it.


Well, maybe a little.  All I'm legally allowed to say is that I'm super proud of about 95% of my kiddos for looking like they knew what they were doing.

It warms my heart...at least until tomorrow.

Nah, I'm sure they will Rock IT!  Tomorrow is the MATH TEST.  We've been practicing CUBES to death.  I think they can do it.

No, I know that they can.

Cubes?  I'm sure you have seen this idea before.  It is in my testing strategies labbook bundle.  Here's a picture of the foldable in that bundle.  (The whole bundle is on sale right now for the rest of today in my TPT store for only $2.40)

When finished with THE TEST today, we had our hour-long PE.  Thank the Good Lord.  We needed it.

After PE, we had lunch and then spent the rest of the day goofing off working on our ABC Countdown books.

I'm sure you have heard of an "ABC Countdown" for the last 26 days of school, right?  Littles (K-2) love this.  Us Biggies (3-5) miss it a little.  OK, biggies is not a word.  You know how I tend to do that...ignore.

Anyway, we (my teaching buds) and I brainstormed how to do some sort of countdown without all the fluff and excitement that gets brought on in the younger grades.  I'm not knocking "Bring your Bear to School Day (Letter B)", but it's just not something we want to encourage deal with in 4th grade.  Plus:
We are still in TESTING mode and we can't even begin to show them that we (teachers) are human yet.


So, BTB (Best Teacher Bud) came up with the idea of them writing about things in their journal.  PERFECT! 

Except, my journals are almost full...so I had my students create an ABC journal. (This is the freebie...just click on the picture to download for free.)

 I ran these pages two to a sheet front and back to create their booklets. Each page is for a new letter.  I created 8 different pages so that they had a variety of frames for their illustrations.  We are currently on letter J for "Jump Rope for Heart".  So, my students wrote about the Jump Rope for Heart day we celebrated back in February.  

Made for a very peaceful afternoon.


Then, we went out for extra recess.


May Currently

I'm linking up once again to Farley's Monthly Currently!

Have you heard of Farley?  Of course you have!

Head on over there and check out how amazingly clever, funny and creative this chick is!  She looks great in false eyelashes, too.  Makes me want to try that out on Saturday.  (See loving below).

I will be posting pictures from the weekend soon!  I hope you have a great Friday...go link up with Farley!

A New Prize and A Giveaway :)

Hey all~ My principal shared the video I showed you yesterday before our testing meeting....kinda lightened the mood.  We were all laughing {well, maybe not the PE teachers who were in there because they have to proctor tests...one of whom has to be in my room during testing.  I hope he's not going to hold it against me...}

Wanted to very quickly tell you about a fabulous giveaway that you don't want to miss over at 3-6 Free Resources.  There is one MEGA prize...I wish I could enter.

Click on the cute button that Michelle (3AM Teacher) made for the giveaway to enter.

Now, before I leave you...because it was our 1/2 day {Which means in-services, meetings, etc.} and I'm so exhausted, I had to share one little bitty thing with you.

I've been noticing bloggers talk about personal laminators.  I thought to myself the following conversation.  I'm a crazy person and I have conversations with myself.  {Don't judge...you know you do it, too.}

Me:  Why would anyone want to buy a laminator and use it at home? 

Me #2: I know, right?  You can laminate for FREE at school, duh!

Me: I'm not spending money on a laminator or any other supply that I can get for free. 

Me #2: No kidding, I spend enough money as it is...and I don't make enough money to be doing this anyway!

Well, that was before Purple Cows entered my life.....

I saw her at Costco when I was buying my testing treats for my kiddos. 

She was only $19.99 and came with 100 sheets of lamination.  Here's the conversation I had with myself at Costco:

Me: What?  Only $19.99?  That's not too bad, is it?

Me #2: No, not really.  I can TOTALLY see why people buy these babies.  You can get that lamination done in your PJs. 

Me:  I know, right?  Plus, sometimes when making things, you need to have a thicker lamination so that the game pieces don't fall apart.  I bet this will be thicker.

Me #2: Sure it will!  You need to get this RIGHT NOW.

Me: Really?  I was so against it before.  I mean, why buy the milk if you can get the milk for free?

Me #2: Well, duh......not when it's PURPLE milk.

So, of course purple cow made it home safely where she belongs.

Later taters....or shall I say, "Laters"? Yes, I'm reading "THE BOOK", too.

It's Testing Time

That's to be sung to the tune of "Closing Time".

~with something like this sung after it:

Every new beginning comes from some other testing's end...Blogger doesn't like that word "testing's". Neither do I.

Are some of you saying, "You haven't taken the TEST yet?"

No- can you "be-lieb" that? {again Blogger no-likey}

We start next week on May 8th.  It's kind of nice because we have a little more time to prepare, but on the other hand it drags it out E.V.E.N L.O.N.G.E.R.....

I wanted to share the PRECIOUS testing treats that I found from the Polka-Dotted Teacher:

The Polka-dotted Teacher

Our test begins on Tuesday with Reading, so I am going to give a bag of Smarties to my kids on Monday afternoon with this reminder of how to do their very best on the test:

She has these treats to give out before the test each day, but seeing as that's a no-no in our district {we think...too afraid to find out for sure}, we are going to give these treats in the afternoon before the test.

So, on Tuesday afternoon, my students will receive the Rice Crispie Treat for encouragement on the Math test the next day.  On Wednesday afternoon, the Goldfish for encouragement on the Science test Thursday.  Finally, they will receive the Oreos on Thursday for the Social Studies test on Friday.

Head on over to Jessica's blog and check her out.  She's full of great ideas!

Phew...can't wait until it is O.V.E.R!

I first found this hilarious video over at Oh Boy 4th Grade.  I've seen it other places since, but in case you haven't seen it....watch!  It's hilarious! {If you have trouble viewing it...go to You Tube and search: "StAAR scores are in"}

I'm hoping my principal will show it tomorrow afternoon at our testing meeting.  It might loosen things up a bit.  What do you think?

 Now, go over to Farley's blog and tell her I sent ya!

One more thing:  One of my very first bloggy friends, is having a stupendous giveaway:

Head on over and check it out...although, I'd really like to win, so maybe don't. Just Kidding.

Or maybe not :)

Have a terrific rest of your Tuesday and a Wonderful Wednesday!