Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Monday Made Its- A Little Late

Sorry I've been MIA this past week.  It's been hectic but productive.  I have a few new crafty, cute projects I have been hard at work on plus a major classroom overall. (The hottest week of July, guess who decided she should paint all the bookcases in her classroom...a room without windows or air conditioning I might add) Yep that was me.  I will say the shelving looks marvelous-no pictures today but I promise to add some as I get things put back together.

Ok for my Monday Made It (yes, I know it's Tuesday but I was crazy swamped yesterday and didn't really feel like getting on the computer at 11:30 before I went to bed) I have a couple projects I have finished up.

MMI #1: READ Letters.

I've seen these on several blogs and different Pinterest pins and just had to make a set for my room. I just happened to be in Hobby Lobby for their 50% off sale on scrapbook papers and cardboard letters so the time was right.  Today I attached the letters to ribbon and am going to hang them on the wall in my room library.  I'll be putting up pictures of my new library once I have it all put back together so you can see how it came together.

MMI #2: Teacher Binder

This year I decided to try something a little different. I typically keep my schedules, calendar, notes and other important teacher information in a large binder. Its bulky and I don't like to haul it plus my laptop to meetings. So I've been working on my teacher binder off and on for the last few weeks.    I recently found out I can have a spiral bound notebook made for $3.50.  I can customize it to what I need (think I need) and organized how I want it. I do my lesson plans on the computer so I don't need a section for lesson plans.  (I am going to use planbook.com this year-but that's for another post.)  I have a spot of a week at a glance-I laminated it so I can use it over again rather than have 36 different pages, a calendar (which I have already plugged the important school dates), a note section for meetings, and my roster. I am also putting in a section for my substitute information with procedures but that section is still in the process as I team teach I want to hold off to be able to talk with my teaching partner before I finalize it all.  I am super pleased with the sections I have done and can't wait to get it all finished up and bound.

MMI #3: ELA I Can Statements

My third MMI for this week is my set of I Can statements for English Language Arts.  I am super tickled with how these turned out.  For each standard I used a different colored edge to help make them easy to organize. Next I need to get them laminated and they will be ready for my new bulletin board.

Well, that's it for right now.  I have a few other projects I want to wrap up for next time.  Two more Mondays before we officially start back.

                                                    Until next time...

Sunday, July 21, 2013

School Outfitters Give Away

Wow! What would you do if someone handed you $100 to spend in your classroom?  Well, Farley over at Oh Boy 4th Grade has that dilemma.  School Outfitters is having a back to school deal and you too could be part of it.  To find out more and to read Farely's post, visit her blog here.

As you are thinking Back to School, what are some things you have on your "wish list" of classroom goodies?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tunes Tuesdsay Link Up

Music and grammar -what an awesome combination.  I love to use music in my lessons. Unfortunately I can't make it work as often as I'd like, so I am super excited to link up with Nick over at Sweet Rhyme & Pure Reason for his Tunes Tuesday, a fun way to use music to teach grammar skills.  I've been looking through the other link ups and I know my students are going to love this idea!

Hall of Fame lyrics
I chose the song "Hall of Fame" by The Script to go over nouns.  I also like this song because of the positive message that you can be anything if you try.  (Always trying to do double duty with lessons where ever possible, here I have grammar and self-esteem/Character Counts).

The official video for this song is very powerful depicting both a young man and young woman struggling to reach their dreams as a boxer and a ballerina. Here is the link to the video via Safeshare.  A HUGE shout out to Ideas for Jivey who shared this cool tool in her link up for Tunes Tuesday.  Hope you enjoy the link up and be sure to check out the other great links that are part of this linky.

                                                                       Until next time....

Monday, July 15, 2013

Monday Made It -7/15

My goodness...is it really the middle of July already? Yikes that means I in exactly one month I have to report in for meetings!  I either need to get busy and get more school things wrapped up, or I need to truly put away for a bit and be lazy for a week or two!

Well, it is Monday, so that means it's time to link up with Tara over at Fourth Grade Frolics for another Monday Made It!  I so love this linky.  I am constantly amazed at the wonderful, crafty things everyone is making!  It has honestly been an inspiration each week to get things accomplished.  Plus I keep finding new blogs to follow which equals new friends and more great ideas!

MMI #1- Home Communication Center

So for my MMIs this week I have one for home that I have been putzing with for a while now and think I may have it to a finishing point.  This is my home communication center.  I have a narrow hallway that everyone must pass through to get to the kitchen and the upstairs (where their bedrooms are) so I decided to use the wall space as my home communication center.  
I have 2 white boards- the large board is for messages and notes to let others (AKA -Mom) know where you are or when you expect to be back along with the post for emergency numbers and a small white board for the weekly shopping list.  Above the shopping list I have my menu board.  In the middle of it all is a cork board with the calendar and a slots for the kids' schedules and other goodies. (My older kids pointed out that they don't have slots but I assured them that although they don't have bulletin board space they are still loved.  I should clarify, my older children are 21, 20 and 19 and don't live at home any more...I'm not really that mean of a mother LOL)  I am pretty please with how it all looks now.  Hopefully we can keep it up and the boys will remember to use it.

MMI #2 A Behavior Clip chart.

My next project was a behavior clip chart.  I have never used on in my room before, but know I have a group coming up that might need the visual reminder on how we need to work in the classroom.  I decided I wanted my chart to be magnetic, so I used a flat cookie sheet, then I made little number tiles to go with it. (I'm debating on making them a little smaller and using these for posting late/missing work on my whiteboard).  I am really pleased with how this came out. I am working on making data binder sheets and created one to go with the chart that the kids will fill in for each day.

MMI #3: Citing Sources

My final MMI for this week is a document I created to share with my teammates/students for citing sources.  As part of the Common Core, one of the things that students must be able to do is cite the resources they use in research.  For the past couple of years I have been pretty loose about how the students did this (basically just the title and the author) and none of our time did it the same way, so here enters my new resource.  I still tried to keep it basic but have more information included along with a prescribed format for both print materials and online materials.

Well, that's it for me for this week's MMI.  Off to see what some of my favorite bloggers were crafting for this week.

                                                            Until next time...

Friday, July 12, 2013

Fiction Friday-Week 5

Happy Friday everyone!  I am going to apologize in advance, this is a longer Friday Fiction post than usual.  (I am trying to make up for not posting last week) Plus I've been working hard at my goal to get 12 more Children's Choice books read before I have to go back to work.  So here goes with my link up for...
The Teaching Theif

Like I mentioned, I am trying to get as many of this year's Iowa Children' Choice books read before I head back to school.  Here are the latest titles I've read.

Book #1: 
Here Lies Linc by Delia Ray
Reading Level: 3-6
Iowa Children's Choice
308 pages

Graveyards can be scary, sinister places, but to 12 year-old Linc Crenshaw they are practically home.  For much of his life, Linc has traveled with his mother Lottie, a professor of history and burial customs, around the country studying various cemeteries.  Linc is trying to be a "normal" kid.  This year, his absent-minded mother Lottie is allowing him to go to public school and he has made a promise to himself that things are going to be different.  Unfortunately, the first field trip of the year is to a local cemetery and his mother is the tour guide!  
As part of the field trip the students must choose a grave to research.  Linc chooses a grave that everyone believes is cursed.  As he gets further into the project everything changes as old secrets are unraveled.

This is a fast paced story with several twists in its telling.  Linc has to learn to deal with his family dynamics and make new friendships.  An interesting fact is that this story actually takes place in Iowa. The Black Angel that Linc chooses to research is one of Iowa's top haunted places and is located in Iowa City.  After reading this story I am anxious to take a visit the next time I go to visit my daughter at the University of Iowa.  I think this will be a fun story for my students to connect with.

Book #2:
Wild Girl by Patrica Reilly Giff
Reading Level 3-6
Iowa Children's Choice
145 pages

Lidie's dreams are about to come true.  She is finally going to America to be reunited with her father and brother Rapheal.  As she leaves Brazil she stops at the lemon orchard to pick a lemon for Pai (her father).  Before he left her 7 years ago they picked a lemon together and he told her when she came to America she was to bring one with her to show they were home together.  However, when Lidie reaches New York nothing is as she imagined it.  Pai and Raphel still see her as a baby, Pai doesn't seem to remember the significance of the lemon and English is harder than she thought.  She longs to ride the Thoroughbreds at the stable her father is the trainer for, but instead they purchase an old swayback mare to "teach" her to ride.  When her father brings a young filly named Wild Girl home to the stables, Lidie knows she must do something to show her family who she really is and make their home a true home.

I really enjoyed this the story as it was told both from Lidie and Wild Girl's perspectives.  Both the young filly and Lidie possess wild headstrong personalities. They help each other deal with the major changes in their lives.

Book # 3:
The Trouble with Chickens: A JJ Tully Mystery By Doreen Cronin
Reading Level: 3-5
Iowa Children's Choice
119 pages

JJ is a retired search and rescue dog trying to enjoy a little relaxation in the country. Then enters Millicent (Moosh for short) a mother chicken and her two chicks whom JJ renames Sugar and Dirt.  This little chicken family has a problem- two of the baby chicks are missing.  After eying the "popcorn with legs" (that's how JJ describes the little chicks) he finally agrees to help them find their missing family members.  When a ransom note appears JJ notices the "big" words which tell him its an inside job, meaning someone from inside the house must be responsible because they are the only ones who would have access to the books and the big vocabulary.  Together JJ and the chickens come up against Vince the Funnel, an ornery inside dog with a bone to pick with JJ.

I laughed out loud while reading this book.  The conversations between the animals are fun and entertaining. (In my head I could hear the old Sam Spade voice from the movies every time JJ talked).  The events behind the missing chicks turns out to more more than a simple kidnapping and JJ learns a little something about family.

Book #4:
My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjan
Reading Level 3-6
Iowa Children's Choice
211 pages

It's summer and Derek is looking forward to many fun-filled adventures. At least he is until his teacher tells the class she will be their teacher again next year and gives them a required reading list and an assignment to read 3 of the books from the list before the first day of the next school year.  Derek is not a fan of reading.  It's hard for him and he would much rather read Calvin and Hobbs or Garfield than a book any day.  One thing he has to do to help him with his reading is to keep track of the words in his reading that he doesn't know.  Instead of writing out the definitions, he draws what the words mean. (You see his words/drawings throughout the margins of the book). After one too many misadventures, Derek's parents sign him up for Learning Camp.  Summer is ruined!  At least that's what he thinks at first.  While at camp, his tutor notices his drawings and helps him learn to visualize the story as he reads.  He discovers a family secret that involves him and the truth about the whole thing impacts the family.  While reading is still not his favorite thing, Derek learns many new things over the course of the summer and one of them is that even when we do things that are hard or we fail at them it is important to keep trying.

If you liked The Diary of the Wimpy Kid, I think you will enjoy this story.  Derek's mischievous nature makes me think a little of Dennis the Menace or even Derek's  own favorite character Calvin. Although the story is simply told, the new vocabulary sprinkled throughout and illustrated in the margins make this a fun read.  It's overall message about perseverance and following your passions is a great lesson for kids.  Those students who find reading more of a challenge or a chore will enjoy Derek's tale.

Well, those are my books to share for this week.  I can't wait to see what everyone else has been reading.
                                                                Until next time...

Monday, July 8, 2013

Monday Made It...through the craziness :-)

It's Monday... the beginning of a new week and time to link up with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics.
This last week was crazy hectic here, hence the title for this post.  Just to give you an idea how nutty my week was, I'll give you a quick recap.  Monday/Tuesday- helped my sister get ready to open her new wine bar, The Sanity Room that opened Tuesday afternoon.  We did take time to sneak in matching tattoos. Didn't they turn out awesome?

Tuesday started with an early morning call from my oldest son letting my know my granddaughter was ready to enter the world...of course had to take time to go down to visit them in the hospital.
Wednesday was my youngest daughter's birthday- I can't believe she is 11 already!
Thursday of course was the Fourth of July and my parents' 43 anniversary-big day with family. Friday we had company from out of town visiting.  The weekend was for recouping and doing all those chores I neglected during the week but needed to be done.

Needless to say I did not have a lot of down time to work on my To do list of projects, but I did manage to finish up my Math Common Core Checklist for my students' data binders.  (I've recently decided to try student data binders, so that's another project I am working on.  If anyone has some great words of wisdom for how you use your data notebooks I welcome any thoughts you'd like to share.)  I have all the standards written out in kid friendly terms (They match the I Can statements I made a few weeks ago to post-I thought it would make it easier for my students to know exactly which ones they can mark in their notebook).  I have put this document in my TPT if anyone is interested.

The second thing I managed to finish up are my new schedule cards.  I decided I wanted something with a little more style to put in my pocket chart this year.  I'm pretty happy with how they turned out.  Now if only I had my schedule nailed down so I could put times on them.

Here's to a calmer more productive week.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Currently - July

How can that be! It's July already?  Well, although it isn't yet the fourth of July, my month has come in with a bang!  Here is my link up with Farley over at Oh Boy Fourth Grade to explain a little.

Listening- oh the blessed quiet! I've head extra girls in the house the past three days and I've been helping my sister set up her new business with all the sounds of power tools and craziness!

Loving- my new tattoo.  Yesterday my little sister and I went and got matching celtic sister tattoos. They turned out awesome!

Thinking-it's been a whirlwind couple of days and while I am getting things done, my to-do list is growing instead of shrinking!

Wanting- to go visit my brand new granddaughter who was born TODAY!

Needing a nap- worked late to help my sister last night and then got a text at 4:13 this morning from my son letting me know my granddaughter was ready to arrive.  Couldn't go back to sleep after that!

Tips, Tricks or hints- I am a new blogger and TPT contributor, so don't feel like I have much expertise to share, but I would say do what feels right or natural to you.  If write/create what you know you will have plenty to share.

So...I am heading out to the hospital to see my newest family member then to the grand opening of my sister's new wine bar- The Sanity Room for a little conversation and a cool well deserved beverage.

                                                                      Until next time....