Friday, January 23, 2015

Five for Friday

This week was chaos. Between early release happening unexpectedly on Thursday (we saw snowflakes. We live in the desert. We apparently don't know what to do about that) and late start on Friday (it was cold), it was hard to get much accomplished! 

 I did try, though. So here is some evidence that things did happen this week at school...or wherever.

I am so excited about this room! We've been working on making a reading lounge; a room full of cozy spots to read! We have the rugs, we have the furniture, and we're working on the lighting. It's almost ready for students!

This picture is so cool because our second graders did such a great job this week on their interesting people museum projects! They researched an interesting person, created a presentation board and presentation and presented them to each others' classes. 

 I worked with my fifth grade group this week on making meaning out of informational text. We worked on pulling out important ideas and using the text features to gather information.

In my Potter Fans Book Club, we started some fun character maps. Each student chose a character they were interested in and started to use the book to record details that help us understand the character. 
I modeled expository writing in a fourth grade class this week.We each had to choose a career we would love, so of course, I chose being a writer! Then we had to brainstrom reasons we would love that career. Not surprisingly, the first reason I thought of was... notebooks! I love office supplies.

That's my Five for Friday! Head over to Doodle Bugs to check out other pictures from this week!

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Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Real Teacher of Blog County

So, I'm a real teacher of blog county. How can you tell?
I drink coffee in the morning and wine all night.
I wear comfy shoes that allow me to walk (and run when necessary) all day.
I take my lunch because school lunch is yucky.
My guided reading table is clean 90% of the time.
And I haunt the Target Dollar Spot.

All of these things make me a real teacher. 
But there's one more thing. 
A dark secret.
Something no one should ever see or know.
my closet.
This, seriously, might be the worst closet you've ever seen. It's so bad there could be a child living in there and I would never know. There could actually be a whole Lord of the Flies situation in here and I'd never know. 

I'm really just a secret slob. Honestly, I like a neat desk and a neat guided reading table. I like my pens and pencils in separate cups and I have one notebook and calendar I use ALL THE TIME. But when it comes to out of sight, out of mind, I am the worst offender. There should be most wanted posters with my name on it that say, WANTED: HORRIBLE SLOB. Because my closet, where I stuff and shove all things someday useful but not today, is horrendous.

This is why it got so bad. I run a lot of school events. So I house the materials for those events along with my other personal junk. So I bought these handy storage drawers.

I filled them up with the supplies for the school programs I ran last year. And then I ran out of space. Syrup, goldfish, crayons, and scissors were stuffed in here.

So then I filled up this tub with other stuff from the schoolwide programs. Bags, yarn, pencils, glue, and more found their way to this tub. And when this tub was full, I made stacks and stacks and stacks. I can't seem to make the time to clean it! Something else is always more important.

This might be the best part. I had a bag of plastic spider rings for Halloween and one fell out and landed right inside the door. Every time I open the closet, my heart leaps and I think, "EEK!" and then I remember it's only plastic. But do I pick it up? No. I'm too busy for that. 

So now you know my dark secret. You should share yours! Or, if you don't have one, just check out everyone else's and be smug about how tidy and perfect you are. Visit Second Grade is Out of this World to check out the link-up!

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Saturday, January 10, 2015

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

Several years ago, I wrote about some activities my students and I did on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. You can read about that series of lessons here.

This year here are some new activities to try!
This is my favorite project: Martin Luther King mobile! On each little piece, students write about what King thought, said, saw, did to change the world, and more. It's a cute craftivity and a good way to have kids write in little bits about his life.
 I think this "I Have a Dream" bunting would make such a lovely decoration - string your room up with the kids' dreams for the future!
A few years ago, we made Martin Luther King fact cubes. These are fun and an easy way for students to think about what information is important about King's life.
To round out your unit, here are some great book titles to read aloud! 

(I like Adler's books - they always have a lot of information)

You can grab the above activities at TPT! Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!
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Friday, December 12, 2014

Five for Friday Link-Up, holiday style!

This week has been insane. I think I've overestimated how much I can fit into a day. Apparently, it's only about 16 hours worth of stuff, not the 28 hours I'm trying to squeeze in. It turns out, I am an ordinary human, like you. I'm not Wonder Woman. I'm kind of depressed to find this out.

Anyway, these pictures represent some of the things I've actually managed to accomplish this week. As you can see, Christmas is kind of a big priority.

This is our little library book tree! My librarian buddy and I made it out of boring reference books :)

And these are our Poet-Trees! We typed up poems on ornaments and copies them onto construction paper. Then we decorated each ornament with glitter paint and hung it out the tree. We made three trees: Grades 3 - 5, English for grades K - 2, and Spanish for grades K - 2. When the kids come to the library, they can choose a poem from the tree and keep it!

On Wednesday I met with my Harry Potter book club. We meet once a week to read Harry Potter and do some fun stuff. This week, we finished our bookmarks with glitter paint!

This is our little book tree in the library! 
 Each year, my school has a family night for the faculty. My dad has played Santa for the last two years - he greets the kids, does some ho-ho-ho-ing, and hands out the gifts the parents have brought for their kids. I always get my little brother a gift from Santa. He's 18 years old, and he's about 9 inches taller than our dad. So this, to me, is hilarious.

My hunnybun is a photographer, and he needed some holiday photos for backgrounds. So he took pictures of our Christmas tree! I love our tree. It's blue and silver and old-fashioned-y.

 Head over to DoodleBugs to check out the other Five for Friday posts or to link up yourself!
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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Fa La La La Link Up: Holiday Freebies

It's the most wonderful time of the year! I'm not being sarcastic. I know you are tearing your hair out with kids who are hopped up on sugarplums and candycanes. They're chanting, "Presents, presents, presents!" They're declaring in a shrieky voice, "IT'S CHRISTMAS!" and demanding elves that wreak havoc in the classroom. 
But I LOVE it! It's also the time of hot chocolate with marshmallows, baking up a storm and family (like little baby nieces coming to visit me). 

To help you with your crazy holiday-ness, I'm linking up with Primary Powers to offer a fun Christmas freebie! 
Deck the Halls: long vowel/short vowel sort.
 I hope it makes the last days of school a little merrier, a little brighter, and a little more manageable! Check back at Primary Powers to grab all the other fun holiday freebies!
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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Cyber Monday Blog Hop Stop # 8


I'm so excited to be part of Primary Powers Cyber Monday Blog Hop! This hop will illustrate some great ways you can use GoNoodle in your own school! You've started at stop # 8, but if you'd rather go back to the beginning, you can click here!
At my school, I am responsible for giving professional development on a regular basis. Our teachers are a fun, engaged faculty who approach learning with a positive attitude (as teachers should!) But sometimes, we've got a lot of content to learn and it can be a little less than exciting.

To spice it up, we try to include engaging strategies and fun team-builders. We've done several different things to build team; scavenger hunts and puzzles, games and challenges. But the easiest way to get our teachers to have a little fun, get moving, and get their brains working during several hours of hardcore learning has been GoNoodle

And that's why Primary Powers is hosting their GoNoodle event! We want to share the benefits of using GoNoodle with other teachers so they can see the impact it can have on their classrooms.

I had heard about GoNoodle for a couple of years, but I finally got to experience it in Vegas at the GoNoodle booth at the TPT conference. GoNoodle, in case you haven't seen it, is available for free. It is a set of brain breaks to help kids wake up, maintain focus, and get engaged in what's going on in the classroom! 
Cheryl and I GoNoodled and it was actually pretty fun!

So when I got back to school, I wanted to share it with my teachers! I signed up for my free account and chose a fun GoNoodle that I thought teachers might enjoy. During our back to school inservice - a full day of heavy duty learning - we projected the video on the big screen and danced with our teachers. 

We did one of the Zumba kids videos - it was pretty hilarious. We thought we looked like this:

But we really looked like this:
It provided a nice break and some laughs for our teachers, to help them focus on the next round of training! The next week, one of the teachers asked if I could help her set up a GoNoodle brain break for her kids as a reward for working so hard during the day! What a great way to turn the learning into a tool for the classroom!
Starting on Cyber Monday, GoNoodle is also offering all Primary Powers readers 30% purchases from the GoNoodle Shop through December 8! Use the code POWERS30 at checkout to receive the discount PLUS a special gift from GoNoodle and Primary Powers. In addition to new t-shirts, tumblers, and other goodies for GoNoodling teachers, you can purchase affordable, pre-wrapped gift packs for students to bring a little GoNoodle love to your classroom this holiday.

But wait! There's more! (Don't you love it when infomercials say that? You know there's not really that much more. But in this case, there is.)
To celebrate our Primary Powers & GoNoodle partnership, we're giving away some cool GoNoodle swag! My giveaway item is a classroom set of GoNoodle tattoos! How fun is that?!
  Enter the giveaway! Be sure to leave your email address so we can notify you if you win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway  

And now...let's keep hoping! Each blog will have some more swag you can win, and at the end you can enter to win a year's subscription to GoNoodle Plus!! :) Head over to Stop 9 at First Grade Smiles to see how she uses GoNoodle and enter to win some fun swag!
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