Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leaping for a Sale!!!!!

I too, joined up with all the other bloggers out there that are having a sale on their TpT sites!  My store is now 20% off, PLUS don't forget the code to get an extra 10% off!!  I already have several items in my cart ready to purchase!!  I am working on my National Boards and hope that once that is over, I can get back to making more cute things.  I am so drained by that right now, that any extra time is used for sleep!!!!!

2nd, 3rd - English Language Arts, General Science, Math -

Check out my Soil Unit 

Long Vowel Racetrack games good for any primary grade


Reading Comprehension Poster Pack

Math Key Words Poster Pack

Make sure you check out the other sites that are also having a sale today!  You don't want to miss out on these good deals!!


Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday=Taco Love and TITANIC

It's my favorite day of the week....Monday which means TACO NIGHT!!!  Amber at Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher is now a regular in my taco cult taco night attender.  We text all the time, but this allows us some face time to talk about all the awesomeness we have found reading all your awesome blogs and stalking your Pinterest checking out your pins.  I find that I am much more productive when others are excited as well.  So the tacos were delish, as always, and the company couldn't get much better.

 My kids are in the middle of this awesome Titanic unit I created for our social studies unit about people changing over time.  They can't get enough resource books on this subject!  I couldn't be more thrilled at their excitement, as history is one of my favorite things to learn about.  To start off this unit I gave each of my kids an actual passenger from one of the three classes.  They have totally taken on these characters' persona!  Everyday when it gets close to Titanic time, they begin to get into character.  Here are the character cards I made for the first class passengers.
I created a lapbook for my kiddos to use during this unit.  They glued their passenger card down and there is a place for them to check if they survived or perished at the end of the unit.  How exciting!!!!!  

One of my kids has the first-class passenger Isador Straus.  He was certain that because he was a first-class passenger and co-owner of Macy's, he would survive.  Another student was reading a fact book about the Titanic and saw Mr. Straus' picture and a caption reading something along the lines, 'Mr. Straus died with his wife aboard the Titanic.' When my student read this, his face was priceless!!!  He kept saying over and over again, "I died! I died! I can't believe I died!" What makes it better is that my principal is his wife Ida and she is TOTALLY playing up the part coming in everyday during our Titanic lesson sitting by her "hubby".  I will put my lapbook on TpT once its complete. Here's a preview of what I've got so far!

 We hit the BIG one tomorrow and I have a feeling I'm going to have lots of kids who are distraught at the idea of their passenger not making it onto the Carpathia.  Thursday is our Titanic day complete with lots of activities for the kiddos to complete in the different classes.  Check back to see pics from that!!!!  Watch out for the Iceburgs this week!


Friday, February 24, 2012

Who Knew?!?!??!?!

So as I was catching up on my blog reading and came across an interesting post about pinning on Pinterest.  Laura Candler had a post up about needed permission to pin things from other's blogs and websites.  I am so guilty of doing this and didn't even realize I was doing something wrong!  The gist of the terms are basically that when you create a new pin from a site, you are telling Pinterest that you own the rights to that picture and give them permission to use the pic in any way they want!!!  I was totally shocked and immediately added the permission granted button to my blog.   Add this to your blog giving permission to pin from your blog.
We began our soil unit last week and today was compost day which means worms!!!  My students always love making the compost bin and seeing how it changes over the weeks.  After adding our garden soil and plant matter it was time to break out the worms!  At first my girls were a bit standoffish about touching the worms, but after they got out on the table, they got into them as much if not more than the boys!  I loved watching the worms wiggle in my kids' hands.  One student kept saying over and over again, "Its dancing in my hand!"
My kids getting into their worms! 
If you haven't picked up your copy of my soil plan, pick it up at my TpT store.  

We also set sail on the illustrious Titanic this week!!!!  I will post about it later :) 

I was so excited about the weekend, that I picked my girls up and we went to the park.  Here is a pic of the two of them on the slide.

 Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Reading Can Move Mountains

Boy have I been a slack-o blogger!  I have missed keeping up with all you guys and your awesome ideas, but I have been so stinkin' exhausted everyday that I come home and veg on the couch or read my book and travel off to nappy noo-noo land.  I am hoping that the endless piles of papers to grade, mountains of useless documentation that no one even looks at paperwork I need to do, and the general busyness will settle down soon! If it doesn't, I think I may just have to be committed soon!!!!!

I am so happy that we started a new week today, because I'm SO OVER last week!  My kiddos were great today and we go through all our work for the day (that rarely happens!)  If you read my blog at all, you will know how I LOVE using the reading workshop in my classroom.  Well, my rockin' principal spent the last bit of school money on books for each grade levels classroom libraries!  She went through the common core and picked books out for us.  How many principals do you know that do that???  I didn't know any until now.  She is a jewel I'm telling you.  She gave us probably 40+ new books each for our libraries.  And she also bought several 6-packs of books to use with our book clubs that we are using with our reading workshop units.

As if that wasn't enough, she also bought us each our own copy of  The Book Whisper, by Donalyn Miller.  
I love this book and it validated the changes I had made back in the fall.  If you are looking for a professional read that will challenge you as a teacher, I highly recommend this one.  

So whats going on with Reading Workshop in my classroom???  Well, we are in our 3rd unit of study, which is the series book clubs, and my kids are LOVING THEM!  I have 5 clubs (each a different level) and all of them have moved through 3 books in each of their series and one club has even moved onto a second book series.  I have never had kids love reading so much.  One of my clubs are reading the Fudge series by Judy Blume and they started the 3rd book, Fudge-A-Mania Friday and had finished it by the end of the day today!  When Donalyn Miller talked about her kids 'stealing moments to read' I got chillbumps.  That is now happening in my own classroom, and I couldn't be more thrilled!  

Our school has always used AR and the kids participate halfway for the most part.  I decided that I would be a bigger promoter (even though I disagree with the program) for it.  Before moving to Reading Workshop it wasn't out of the ordinary for several of my kids to take 5-6 tests a week.  One student was taking 10+.  The problem with the books they were testing on was, they were mostly picture books and they were simply reading to take a test.  I haven't outlawed AR in my classroom, my students simply aren't interested in taking quizes.  They prefer to read for the enjoyment of reading.  What a Shock, reading for FUN!!!  

The level of engagement I see with all my students gives me all the validation I need to know that this program is successful.  It makes sense.  If you want kids to read better, give them time to practice reading.  Not just a few minutes but large blocks of time to just read and reflect on what they are reading.  

If you are interested in starting this in your own classroom and want ideas about how to schedule your day, or need ideas about how to teach the reading skills, let me know!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Life's Interruptions

Today was one of those days when I felt as though I wasn't adequate as a teacher.  I know it sounds crazy, but we all feel like that at some point, right?????  I proceeded to have a big ol' pitty party for myself and drive myself crazy about how I felt that my kids weren't learning enough and that I wasn't doing enough to ensure they were successful.  I have super high expectations for my students, and hold myself to unrealistic expectations am really hard on myself when they don't meet them.

 My awesome teammate, Erica, spent her afternoon making me feel better by telling me all kinds of nice things about my teaching and how she knew I was the reading guru.  It would have been so easy for her to jump on the bashing train with me.  (I wasn't exactly being very nice with my rant!)  I am so blessed to have her in my life, she definitely keeps me focused on what's important, my kids and God.  

I got home and was able to see my beautiful roses that my hubby and girls got me for Valentine's day, which made me begin to forget the day and then played with my adorable girls in their play room.

We went out to dinner last night and someone gave each of the girls a balloon.  It was their first one and they LOVED it!

Kenley and her balloon 
Raegan and her balloon

I also had small group at church tonight and boy did I need it!  I couldn't wait to hear what God had to say to me about what had happened to me today at school.  Boy did He show up in a BIG way!  I am doing the study called Life Interruption by Priscilla Shirer and being a teacher, mother, and wife is an interruption in itself.  I was reminded that interruptions are more like divine interventions rather than interruptions.  I loved the idea of that!  The idea that resonated with me the most was 'The interrupted life is the cure for the search for significance'.  This really put my pity party into perspective!!! 

On top of all that, my hubby went out to Walmart when I got home from group to get our girls some milk and ended up picking up the new Twilight!!!!!  I am so loved!!!  


Hope you guys are having a great week!!!!!  

Monday, February 13, 2012

Showing The Love

Last week was a pretty bad week.  I have iPods that I use in my classroom for instruction.  I got them because I applied to be a technology leader in my district and was given several tech items to use.  Well on Wednesday, 3 of them went missing!!!!!  I know it wasn't my kids because they were devastated, and I almost cried right in front of them.  My buddy Amber, at Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher, made me this sweet Hey, Girl poster to make me feel better.

Isn't that awesome of her to make this poster of hotness to make me feel better!  I am going to hang it up on my wall near my guided reading table.  Ohhhh and it was Taco Night tonight!  Great as always.

The next love was from Teri over at A Cupcake for a Teacher.  She has the BEST craftivities!  I love the Bee Mine craft idea and totally had to make it for my Vday door.

I added the cute clipart from Scrappin' Doodles.  I just love the big eyed bees.

My last Bit O' Love is from Crystal at Kreative in Kinder.  She was my awesome bloggy Valentine Exchange partner.  I missed out on this over Christmas and knew I wasn't going to miss this one!  I was so excited to get my package and then when I opened it and was even happier!

What teacher doesn't like poster markers, colored gel pens, post-its and a sweet journal!  Add in a pack of gum, some chapstick (my fav brand!), a king size Twix (Yum-O) and a mag with delicious Johnny Depp on it!!!!  I'm in Vday Heaven.  Much thanks to Crystal for setting me up with the sweet stuff.  

I hope everyone has a love filled Valentine's!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Super Busy Saturday

I always look forward to the weekends.  Spending time with my girls, catching up on cleaning  taking a nap, and catching up on my mountains of school work.  For the past month I have seen the weekend come and go in a blur due to the busyness that is my life!  This one is proving to be more of the same!!!!

Last night the twins and I went to my daddy's basketball game.  He is a HS coach and they love to watch him at the games.  This morning I woke up at the butt crack of dawn  7:30 to go to a Moms of Multiples sale in Charlotte.  I love this sale and always hit it big.  This year was no exception!  Check out my haul:

I even was able to score some awesome additions to my classroom library!
Almost 20 books for $10!!!!

Hope you all have a great rest of the weekend!!!  Tomorrow is church day all morning and then Im hanging with my girls because I was gone all day getting awesome things for my girls.  

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Book Clubs Are My Friend

Many of you know that I changed my reading instruction back in November to focus on building up my students reading stamina.  I have seen so much growth from my students using this model.  I have always taught in the same low socioeconomic area, and yet this year my students are performing super high in reading!  What has changed?  Not my demographic, must be the teaching and delivery!  We have completed 2 reading units so far this year, and with each one, I find that more and more of my students are reading more difficult books and are able to do the reading talk.

We just started a new unit and it is all about book clubs using book series.  I have 4 book clubs based on their levels.  They will read at least 3 books in the series, and then begin a different series and read at least 3 books in it.  All this in 1 month!

When I first saw that the expectation was my students would read so many different books in a short time I didn't think they would ever reach that goal.  What I didn't expect, was that 2 of my groups finished their first book in only 2 days of reading!  I had my lower readers finish their Julian book and my high kids finish Sarah Plain and Tall.  (I wasn't suprised with them, its short and their high!)  

I can't wait to see how their understanding of characters builds as they move into the second book tomorrow.  

Monday, February 6, 2012

Currently, Taco Night and Little House on the Prairie

So Farley has her February Currently up and of course I had to participate!  I LOVE these and can't wait to see them each month.  Make sure you head over and link up :)

I dislike Mondays very much, but I at least have Taco Night to look forward too!  Amber from Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher has been joining me for the past few weeks, and we have a ball.  I vote that the next bloggy get together be at Taco Night!  Let me tell you what happened to my tonight at taco night.  I was carrying the diaper bag and my purse while helping Raegan walk.  I bumped a pitcher of tea and it fell off into the lap of another customer sitting in a booth!  I was mortified!!!!  I apologized about 100 times, but still felt awful.  But the tacos were delicious!

Today we began learning about how people and places have changed over time.  We are studying the 19th Century first.  Check out these pics of my kiddos making butter, writing with a quill pen and ink, and pretending to be civil war soldiers.

Churning away to make butter.

What the butter looked like after 45 min.
My quill pen and ink writing, pretty good, don't ya think? 

Dressed as a Confederate Soldier
Militia Drill

This paired with Taco Night, made this Monday awesome!  My kiddos loved seeing all the different things that the 19th century had to offer.  Can't wait to play with the toy trunk tomorrow!!  I will post pics later :)



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