Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Obsessions? Me?

You know I had to do this linky party.
Oh, I'm good at obsessions. I get on a kick, and it's the only thing to do. It's funny, but at first, I was like, "Ok, I know I'm obsessive, but what exactly am I obsessed about? Aside from worrying?

So I took my camera around my house to look for stuff I have a lot of. And I found it. Lots.
These are my [current] obsessions.

KPM Doodles

I have a boatload of KPM Doodles stuff. I try not to think about it in terms of numbers, because the numbers would be the prices, so I think of it in terms of my favorite collections, which are the snowy day, rainy day, and the pirates! The pirates are so so cute.


Now, I know I should be more specific because Netflix is really just a bunch of shows. So my actual obsession is TV shows. These are a few I'm obsessed with, periodically.
*Mad Men
*The IT Crowd
*Downton Abbey
*Law & Order SVU
*30 Rock

I love love love scarves. Not sure why, but I have about thirty - which is saying something, because I am a cheap-o. Now people give them to me as gifts.
Like my crummy scarf storage? I pushpinned up these coat hangers on the inside of my closet door. LOL It works. 


I'm not sure why I love barrettes so much, but I think it's because they're so cute. And maybe I wish I was a little girl again, wearing my "Monday" underwear and tights with little pink hearts on them.
Like my crummy barrette storage? I tied a bunch of ribbons to this hook on my bathroom wall and attached the barrettes to it. It also works. Now I just need more hooks so they're not all bunched up.

Goodwill Dishes
Yes, Goodwill, as in the Goodwill Store, as in people's awesome old stuff that I can get for cheap. I <3 old stuff. My house is full of it. I can't get in (or out) of a Goodwill without something old and cheap.

Cheap Jewelry
I love jewelry. Mostly I love bracelets, but my bracelets were not in a state to be photographed. So these are my necklaces. Mind you, I'm a clearance shopper. Nothing here was more than 20.00 and most was much much much less. 

I bought little cup hooks from Wal Mart and used them as necklace hooks.

So now it's your turn! Go link up with Living a Wonderful Life!

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Summer Bucket List!

I think I've developed an immunity to White Zinfandel. And Muscat. So I'm trying something new: Cabernet Sauvignon. It's got a bit more of a kick.
And I've had several. So I'm probably operating at 125% right now. Wine makes you think you're smarter.

It's not my fault.
My hunny and I had plans to go to the Wine Fest in Las Cruces today, but he took too long at his photo shoot. (He's behind the camera; not in front of it.) So instead of watching other people get hammered and almost pop out of their tube tops while dancing to the retro cover band (an event from last year's wine fest that I will treasure forever) I am at his house, drinking Cabernet Sauvignon, watching reruns of Mad Men (oh, my, Don Draper. I know you have been a bad man, and yet... I don't care) and waiting for my hunny to return home with - of all things - a chocolate cake donut from Dunkin. That's pathetic.

Which means it's the perfect time to link up.

Ok, so I've been trying to post this for over a week, but I have problems planning for new things when I have things left on my list to complete (such as school). But next week is my last full week and I have three days left after that. I'm trying to psych myself up for summer but all I can think of is all the crapola I still have to pack up in my classroom. And my end-of-the-year portfolios that I have to complete. And the data wall cards I have to fill out for my kids. And how I still have to teach about food chains, life cycles, and measurement units. And I'm not super excited about it.

But I'm also the Queen of Avoidance. I'm going to use this special adaptation I developed to survive in my harsh environment to link up with Hadar, April, and Teri for my Summer Bucket List!

Between you and me, it's possible that it may include more SVU. It's a sickness. But I'm not going to include that on my list. Because that's just pathetic.

This is what the summer includes this year:

Think of new ways to use my math notebook, including writing prompts. These are a few I already blogged about, but I want to plan some exciting new stuff!

Money & Fractions

Put together a behavior plan for my naughties. Something with :) consequences and :( consequences.
Maybe plan to fill some buckets!

Set up Calendar Math for fourth grade. I taught fourth grade for 8 years, and never used Calendar Math. But this year, my colleague and I designed a Calendar Math program for third grade and it kind of saved my math life. So next year, it's all about calendar math for fourth grade.

Clearly, an old picture. 
Design classroom themed products about bees. I know, it's predictable. But bees = happiness.

Publish my article.
Several years ago (It makes me sick to say several, but I think it's accurate)  I wrote an article on a writing retreat for the National Writing Project. I have since revised it and improved it, and written the necessary stuff to submit it, but I have yet to submit it. This June (and nag me about it if I don't blog about it, cause if I don't blog about it, it hasn't happened yet) I plan to send it off to a publication. Probably The Reading Teacher, because I've been a member and a past president for a local council of the IRA. We'll see what happens. The article is about word walls, but the kind that build language for writing. 

The beginnings of a word wall from several years ago.
Get a sprinkler system.
My backyard looks like this:

Okay, maybe not exactly, but pretty close. Actually, this is what it looks like down the street. So needless to say, if I want grass, I need a sprinkler system. And I want grass. I think I deserve grass. And my animals deserve grass. I miss grass after living my childhood in Dallas and my adult life in a desert. So this summer, I will demand grass.

Take an awesome vacation.
My hunny and I are going on a cruise! The last time I went on a cruise was with my BFF Rachel:
We swam with dolphins.

This was us after we swam with dolphins. Wet.

So I'm super excited about going with my hunny. However, I know my man. And swimming with dolphins will not happen on this cruise.  Because he can't swim. 
He can't swim!

How is that possible? 
I don't know. But it means he will not swim. But I can swim. Cause too bad for him, but I love water.
He can sit on the beach and watch me have fun.

Well, that's my list for the summer. Those are the big ones, but there are many many more things on it. Such as going to all of the doctors that I hate going to but have to. I schedule them in the summer so I don't have to miss schook. But it's depressing and definitely on the list.

Now you go and link up! What will you do this summer?

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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Fraction Fanatic

So I know I've posted about fractions before, and the stations I used to work with the kids and develop the concept. 
But I feel the need to spend more time here.
Why? This conversation:
Student: "Oooo, I know one third is less than two twos because two twos are one whole!"
Me: "Two twos?" hoping the kid would see his error and say two halves
Student: "Oh, sorry. Two twoths."
However, I am celebrating that he knew two twoths make one whole. That's a pretty good start.
That's not the only reason I'm still writing about fractions. This time, we had to go a step (or several) further. We had to find equivalent fractions and compare them using pictures or models. I'm not sure why, but I kind of love finding equivalent fractions. Comparing them, though, is not fun. I'm not sure why this is such a difficult concept, when the kids are using models! But it always is, and I kind of hate it. 
First, we made an equivalent fractions foldable to identify the fractions equivalent to 1/2. 

*Found in my More Furry Friends Fractions Pack!
Could also be done with any other fraction to record equivalent fractions.

To force help myself to like comparing a little better, I came up with these stations and put together a Equivalent and Comparing Fractions Pack, with a theme that has been pretty popular: furry things. This is a long one, but it has pictures, which helps. And, as you are so very nice, there is a freebie waiting for you as well.
Cuisenaire Rods

At my Guided Reading table, I worked with students to identify fractional parts of different-sized wholes using Cuisenaire Rods. They're an interesting way to have conversations about half being half, and representing a relationship between the part and whole of something, regardless of the size of the object. However, some halves are larger than others, if they object is larger. 
In case you're interested in reading about cuisenaire rods, this page has some general information and some activities as well.

Comparing Fractions with Pictures
Students used this mat to compare fractions that were circles and rectangles. They moved the cardstock symbols on the brads to make =, >, and <. Then they recorded it on their recording sheets. *Found in my More Furry Friends Fractions Pack!

Comparing Written Fractions

At another station, students compared the written fractions using manipulatives. They had to build each fraction pair and compare. Then they recorded the fractions. *Found in my More Furry Friends Fractions Pack!

Comparing Fractions Task Cards

Students drew a card from the stack and built the two fractions described using their manipulatives. They recorded them and compared them. *Found in my More Furry Friends Fractions Pack!

Equivalent Fractions Memory Game
Students played memory with the cards (found on SuperTeacher Worksheets) and made matches of equivalent fractions. This is the only station they didn't have a recording sheet for.

Equivalent Fractions & Comparing Fractions in Textbook

And last but not least (except for possibly least exciting) was a page from the textbook. Students compared fractions and found equivalent fractions using their fraction manipulatives. 

Overall, students gained an understanding of comparing and equivalent fractions, but they're still developing in their mastery. Different-sized wholes are still confusing, so we're attacking that again tomorrow!

And if you liked some of these activities and want to do them with your own kids, grab the pack at TPT:

Freebie for you! Grab it at TPT!
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Friday, May 25, 2012

Juicy End of the Year Activity

Today my kids worked with their buddies to make their Watermelon Memory Book Craftivity. 
They had a blast. The third graders (my little people) helped the second graders and they wrote about things they did together this year, but you could write about any memories from the year. 

Remember when we made those little snowmen? You can read about it here. They turned out a little funky lol.

And, if you want to do this with your kids, you can get my craftivity at TPT! It's only $1.00 :)
Thanks for being a buddy :)

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Summer Reading Log Freebie

All right, people. We're in it to win it. I still have 8 days. E.I.G.H.T. days left to make these kids smarter.

I don't know if I'll make it.
But the terrifying good thing is I'll have them again next year, when I loop up to fourth.

Ah, fourth. Comfort zone.

To encourage kids to read this summer (and not drop back to atrociously horrible reading levels that we have only just managed to escape with hours and hours of guided reading), we're going to have a fun summer reading program. I'm super excited. We haven't done this before! 

We're going to have a parent meeting next week and kids (five struggling readers from each class) are going to get a canvas bag to decorate for their summer reading books. We are loaning about 3 - 4 books for each student and providing them with a summer reading log (freebie below) and some fun activities to do with their parents. Then, in July, we're going to have a three-day half-day camp with fun activities for reading! I'm super super super excited. 

Here's the calendar reading log. Grab it for free at TPT.

And, if you like the reading log calendars, grab my Monthly Printable Calendar Pack for only 1.50 at TPT or 1.25 Teacher's Notebook! Great for calendar math, reading logs, behavior or homework records! I left the number dates off so you can use them year after year!

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bad Idea

Law and Order SVU should come with a disclaimer. It should read, "Do not watch more than two episodes at a time. Watching entire seasons at once can prove harmful to your sanity."

I know this from personal experience. I have misguidedly watched more than three complete seasons of Law and Order SVU in the last three weeks. How is this possible? I watch them constantly. I play them while I clean, while I grade, while I plan, while I blog, while I stalk. (ew - stalk - bad choice of words) 

And this was a bad idea. 

I have had sleeping issues. I am thinking of filing a suit against the Law and Order people for disturbing my sanity. Every step of the cat is a masked man; every swish of the dishwasher is someone climbing in through a window. Every noise in my fifty year old house (which makes a lot of noises) is enough to cause me a mini heart attack. I've cried, I've been terrified, and overall, I've gone nuts. 

I should've known this would happen when a blog buddy commented, "Yes, one summer I watched all the Law and Order SVU seasons and I started carrying pepper spray."

Pepper Spray!

And I still kept watching. So now I'm a nutjob. 
I'm going to rewatch Sherlock instead. He solves crimes, too, but his deep, resonating voice and piercing stare distract me from my terror.
As does Martin Freeman. Cause he's just so huggable.

I haven't forgotten my promise. I am planning my 300+ giveaway, but I want it to be great, and that takes time, people, so stay tuned.
In the meantime, enter my Teacher's Notebook giveaway for my 
and follow me on facebook!

I also plan on Linking up with my Bucket List. The list has begun, but it is not completed.
The game is afoot!

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cute Stuff in the Mail

What can be better?
Cute stuff in the mail is one of my favorites. It can be anything, as long as it's cute.
Today it was this cute thing:

Where did it come from? you ask.
Well, it came from Canine Closet, as the tag reads. They have tons of cute tags for your puppers.
I didn't buy it myself - even better - I won it in a linky party giveaway from Sandy at Soaring Through Second! 

Check out her party here
and check out the post about my little animals here.

I tried to take a picture of Lucy with her tag on, but all pictures of Lucy are action shots. This is as good as I could do.

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Sunday, May 20, 2012


No, not that 300.
There will be no muscular men and muy sexy women wearing little to no clothes.
I will neither ask you to stand nor kneel.

Instead, let's dance!
*funky dance funky dance*

Buzzing with Ms. B has 300 followers! And there are 300+ on my Teachers Pay Teachers Store!

I'm planning a supercool 300 giveaway
with supercool stuff
but it may take me a few days.

Want to get a jump on the entries?
Follow me on Facebook and check back soon for my giveaway! 
Thanks for being the best followers ever :)

In the meantime, check out the giveaway at The 3am Teacher!
Get you some free stuff:)

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Ms. B is on Facebook

Okay, I finally bit the bullet.
I mean, I have a personal facebook, but everybody seems to be setting up a facebook to talk about their blog and promote it.
But I think I felt like I would have one fan. Me. 

You notice I didn't say 'my mom.' That's because my mom doesn't really follow my blog. The first time I posted, I made her read it. She said, "I like it. You sound smart. If I had a kid in your class, I'd think you were smart. I'm impressed you can do that. I'm never going to read it again." 
I'm not exaggerating.

So I'm really putting myself out there. 
This translates to Please follow me on Facebook so I'm not my only Fan!

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