Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tried It Tuesday - iMovie on Biographies

Hi All -

First I'd like to say a big thank you to Diane at Fifth in the Middle for organizing the March Madness Giveaway.  About 25 teachers/bloggers filled out brackets for the NCAA tournament, and Diane recruited people to donate prizes for each round. 
Well guess what - I am in first place (for now)!  I picked Oregon, and lo and behold they won (along with some other great teams)!  I can't wait to see what happens in the next round of games.

I am also joining Fourth Grade Flippers for her inaugural linky called Tried It Tuesday.  Check out her blog for links to unique ideas that teachers have been experimenting with in their classrooms.
I've been playing with iMovie on my iPad to create recaps of lessons I've done in class.  You can view one on biography lessons we've done recently here.  I share these short movie clips with parents, and colleagues in my district. 
It is so easy to put the videos together once you get the hang of it.  Truly - it's simple!  And the app is priced at less than $6.00.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Five for Friday - More Biography Work

Happy Friday!  It's time for the popular Five For Friday linky brought to you by Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching.
1. We started the week with another SNOWSTORM!  Enough already!  That groundhog is not to be trusted! It will take until June for all of this to melt.  Ugh...
2. We continued our study of biographies, and one of the mentor texts I used was about Matthew Henson.  He was an African American explorer who was one of the first to reach the North Pole.  His story is quite exciting, and I chose to share it with my students when my principal came in to do a formal observation this week.  Afterwards, we discussed cause and effect, and my third graders came up with the idea that Matthew failed many times but kept trying.  And the effect of his effort was that he was finally able to make it to the North Pole. It all went like clockwork.  Yay!
3. Today we talked about the life lessons that we have learned through the amazing people we have read about.  The students came up with great ideas, like Helen Keller taught us that you can do anything if you put your mind to it, and Rosa Parks taught us to stand up for yourself.  We plan to make posters of these life lessons and hang them around the school, giving credit to the people that have inspired us through their biographies.

4. We still have 3 and half days of school before we begin Spring Break.  I am going to Florida with a friend and we got tickets to see Jerry Seinfeld in Tampa.  We got the tickets on StubHub and lucked out on a great deal on some Orchestra Level seats - right in the center.  Can't wait!
5. We finished a persuasive writing project.  The students did a nice job - especially on their closing statements.  I used this funny commercial as an intro to the writing project. 
(Click on the link to view the commercial on YouTube.)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

SomeBUNNY Loves Your Blog Linky

I am joining in on a great linky hosted by Christina at Bainbridge's Class.  This linky provides a way for bloggers to recognize other sites that they love.
I am happy to share a link to one of the first blogs I discovered.  Ms. Winston, who has now become Mrs. Saunders, is the whiz behind the blog known as The Teaching Oasis.  I have used many of her FREE resources, and have been inspired by the many ideas she shares.  You MUST check out her site!  You many want to check it out when load of time to spare - trust me on this.
My little lovebug got his teeth cleaned today.  The vet had said he might have to have a couple of teeth pulled, too, but when all the tartar was scraped away his now pearlie whites were healthier than expected.  He is zonked out on the couch right now, sleeping off the stressful day.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Five For Friday

Yahoo!  I made it through Hell Week Conference Week!  I had conferences on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings this week, and full days of school each day.  We were all spent by Friday.  As the true teaching professionals we are, though, we did get some learning in!  Here's this week's version of Kacey's Five For Friday linky.
1. We began a unit on biographies.  My students have been intrigued by each new real-life person they have read about.  We were immersed in reading biographies by doing Readers Theater, Poetry, and Book Club studies.
They were doing a Readers Theater play on Helen Keller.
2.  We used the website called PebbleGo to research more famous (or infamous) people.
I think PebbleGo is a site your district can purchase, like BrainPop.
3. During our small group RTI time, my students reviewed skills through a Reading Tic-Tac-Toe board I created.  This board can be used to with any story or passage. I plan to put it on TPT soon.

A letter to the main character
4. I was invited to attend a focus group meeting hosted by a marketing firm representing a local teacher supply store.  They are hoping to increase their business, and were looking for ideas from teachers.  The rep from the marketing firm was not aware of TPT, and was wide-eyed when I explained the site.  Those of us who attended the focus group meeting received a $20 gift card from the store.  Even though I purchase items on TPT, I can always find something I want at a educational supplies store. Do you agree?
5. The PTA in our school organized a Scholastic Book Fair in our library during conference week.  Teachers can fill out a wish list for books, and parents are encouraged to check out the wish lists after conferences.  We visit the book fair as a class, too, and the students also fill out their wish lists. It turns into a lots of $$$$$ in books for our classrooms.
Teachers fill out wish lists of books, and the book choices are placed in library pockets on this board at the entrance to the Book Fair.
Hope you had a great week.  We have 2 more weeks until Spring Break!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Math Games Linky

Happy Wednesday-
I am joining Ideas by Jivey for her Workshop Wednesday linky on math games.  The ideas I am sharing may not technically be "games" but I have included them in my small group math workshop stations for review and practice of skills.
1. The first is a simple review of counting coins, that can actually become a game.  I used the punch out coins that were in the back of our math workbook.  The students glued some onto an index card, and then on the reverse side wrote the amount that matched. I save the cards each year, and the students now use them as flash cards independently.
I think this card is missing a nickel!
2.  For this activity the students were using (cheap) stickers to create patterns. Different patterns were listed on accompanying cards and the students wrote the pattern on the strip, then added the (cheap) stickers in that pattern.
3. If you are reviewing symmetry and patterns, have the students create quilt designs on graph paper.  It is harder than it seems.  To add a holiday spin, ask the students to use only the colors that associated with a certain holiday.  Perhaps use different shades of green for St. Patrick's Day?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Five for Friday

Here is this week's edition of Kacey's Five for Friday.  I have to make it quick because I'm preparing for three (count em- three!) nights of conferences this week.  And yes - we have full days of school each day all week.
1.  We got our job assignments for next year on Friday.  In my district we have to reapply for our jobs each year.  Two weeks ago we had to complete an "Eduator Preference Form" stating our top three choices for jobs, along with an explanation of why we would be good in that position.  During the last two weeks the principal has been around our classrooms often, always tapping into his phone while we're teaching - we suspect he's been taking notes and then sending them to some file.  Can you say stressful?
Anyway - I was relieved to find out I'll be at the same grade level  - third - yay!!

2. We did another great FOSS inquiry experiment this week on evaporation. 
I used our Bobcat mascot's tail for securing the light.  Pretty clever don't you think?  :)
We put 100 mL of water in each cup, then measured the temp of the water in each.  We recorded the temp of the water about every 3 hours during the day, and then left the experiment overnight to check the next day, too. 
Afterwards we studied our data and interpreted the results.  We connected this to how the sun might speed up the evaporation of puddles on a rainy day. 
3. I saw the movie "Life of Pi" with some girlfriends on girls' night on Wednesday.  I couldn't stop thinking of all the symbolism in the movie afterwards.  Did any of you see the movie or read the book?
4. We had Bring Your Own Device Day on Friday.  We usually have a special event on Friday afternoons for our third and fourth graders, and this week we allowed the students to use their educational apps during (what we call) Bobcatfest.  I also let them use the devices during math, and we all loved it.  About half of my 28 students brought devices. 
5. Yesterday I led a college class on "Teaching in the Primary Classroom" at our Concordia College satellite campus.  I loved working and talking with this impressive group of future teachers!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Using iMovie

Happy Tuesday,

Time for a Techy Tip.  I highly recommend using iMovie to create impressive videos on your iPad.  I purchased this app for about $5.99 a couple months ago, and find it very easy to use.  You can upload still shots and videos, and the app blends them together to create a video.  You can also add captions and theme music to further enhance your work.
This is the home page for the app.  You can see the icons on the bottom for getting started.  To add a project, tap the + sign. 

When you start a project you can insert pictures and videos from your camera roll on your iPad.  When you click on the ? symbol in the uper left corner, the app will provide you with simple directions for using each of the noted icons. 

You can also add captions and theme music to your series of still photos and videos.  If there is talking in your video the music will get a bit softer so you can still hear the voices.

I created a video of a class event using iMovie that you can view here.

Remember to check out the blogs of my friends at Collaboration Cuties and Fifth in the Middle for the great giveaways they are having!


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Five for Friday - Student Skype

Once again I am late to the party, but still wanted to join in. It's always so fun to see what everyone has been up  to during the past week.  Thanks to Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching for hosting.
1. My class had the rare opportunity to Skype with a group of researchers at ExxonMobil on Wednesday.  I attended the Mickelson/ExxonMobil Teacher's Academy last summer, and was able to reconnect with people who work in the STEM field.  It was a great experience for my students!

I will blog more about this on Technology Tuesday!
2. My students used newspapers to review various skills through this small group station activity. They had to look for pronouns, compound words, numbers over 1,000 and lots more. 
3.  We worked on our realistic fiction stories in the computer lab.  I was so proud of how hard my third graders worked at typing their work, and inserting free clipart to enhance their stories.
4.  I made a yummy broccoli cheese soup.  It was so easy to make, and you can find the recipe here.
5. I volunteer at our local Performing Arts Center, and had to take tickets on Friday night for a traveling Broadway troupe's performance of The Addams Family.
I have to give a shout out to a couple of bloggers who are hosting special events.  First, you'll want to head over to Fifth in the Middle to check out all the work Diane's done on setting up bloggers by state. Also, she is organizing a March Madness give-away that looks really fun!
 Also, I've joined in on the 300 Followers celebration hosted by the girls at Collaboration Cuties -- lots of great prizes to be won over there, and they could be yours!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Currently - March

Yay- it's March! Maybe some of our snow will melt.  Oh, scratch that - we have another storm in the forecast for this Tuesday.  Ugh.......enough already.  In better news, it's time for Farley's Currently!
*Why is the show called Forty-Eight Hours?  These cases take much longer than 2 days to solve.  I don't get that. In this week's episode even the husband's friends knew he did it.

*Just this week I figured out how to use the iMovie app.  It is easier than it appears, and I was able to make a really cute video of a special event at school.  I will blog more on that another time.

*I teach a class at our local Concordia University satellite campus.  I love teaching the class, and am looking forward to working with the future teachers in the group.

*I have had a few too many bad hair days lately.  I'm trying to decide if I need a haircut or a change in shampoo.  It's days like this when I can understand why Brittney shaved her head a few years back.  Sometimes you just want to chuck it all and start from scratch.  (Ha,Ha)

*I had one window fixed on Monday, and today found another one that's not closing properly.  These windows are fairly new so it's frustrating.  I would not recommend Pella windows - I've had lots of trouble with them.

* Love me some jewelry - especially earrings and bracelets. 
   I think Jimmy Fallon is hilarious!  I've been to 2 tapings of his show, and they were such fun!
   My school and home junk drawers are jammed with stuff - somehow I can still find what I need!

Stop on over to Farley's blog and join in on the fun!