Tuesday, April 30, 2013

InstaMania and Mother's Day Freebie

Wow!  There are almost 900 pictures posted on #teachertalktuesday on Instagram - I would say people have really jumped on that bandwagon!  I am loving being a part of it! 
Early this morning I posted a picture of a Mother's Day questionnaire that I am offering as a Flash Freebie until Friday.  It is a part of my Mother's Day Gifts/Crafts, and Writing Activities pack that is availabe on TPT for a mere $1.50.
I have used this questionnaire as a part of the Mother's Day cards my students have created.  When I taught Kindergarten, I interviewed students individually and recored their (humorous) responses. Now that I teach older students, they are able to fill out the sheet on their own, but their responses are just as entertaining and heartwarming. 
You can download this sheet for free here.
I hope you'll become a follower here on my blog, and on Instagram!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

I'm on Instagram!

Happy Beautiful Sunday!

It is a warm sunny day in WI, so nice that while working outside on my iPad I suddenly got a Temperature alert on the device.  So I came inside for a bit to cool it down, and to put together a post about my entry into Instagram!  The fifth and sixth graders at my school would be so proud.
I was motivated to join through the girls at What the Teacher Wants. They are hosting a weekly Instagram party called #teachertalktuesday.  Check out their site for more info!
And, hope you'll follow me on Instagram!  You can hook up by clicking on that little camera in the upper right corner of my blog.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Five For Friday - Biography Life Lessons, etc.

Happy Friday!
I always have good intentions to blog during the school week, but time just gets away from me!  Five For Friday and Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching motivates me to wrap up the week, and check out what the other awesome teacher bloggers have been up to.
1. The week started with a school board meeting held at our school on Monday evening.  There are 20+ schools in my district, and the board makes the rounds when holding their meetings every other week.  MANY people attended the meeting because they voted on and approved a huge change to our insurance (we will now have a $3000 yearly deductible for family policies).  Anyway - our third graders put on a musical performance before the heated meeting, and we had decorated the room with student created posters on Life Lessons Learned through reading Biographies.

2. We took a field trip to one of our high schools to see the play Peter Pan. The performance was great, but what the students remembered was when the lead said not once, but twice, "You silly a--!" I heard they took it out in the next day's performances - smart move.

3. On Wednesday and Thursday we had a scientist-in-residence program.  Professor Gizmo was so fun and entertaining.  Honestly  - the guy should be on Letterman.  The kids (and teachers) absolutely loved his hilarious way of sharing science.

4. We did our MAPS tests for math.  I was so proud of the growth my students showed in the algebra and number operations sections.  Unfortunately there were numerous questions on fractions, which we've done very little with, and is the topic of the next chapter in our Math Expressions book.  Note to self - change order of chapters next year.

5. Finally Spring has arrived in the Cheesehead State.  We got to out and pick up trash today!  There is a small stream just outside the fence of our playground area, and it always seems to be a magnet for litter.  Jackpot!  And.......not one kid fell in the stream - hurray.

Have a nice weekend!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Five For Friday - Earth Day, Etc.

So glad it's Friday - it was one of those days.  We couldn't get in the computer lab because of testing, the weather is cold, blustery and snowy (!), and a student got sick in the midst of all the goings on in my classroom this afternoon.
I'm happy to once again join Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five For Friday.
1. My heart goes out to those in Boston who were affected by the tragic events on Monday.  It's been heartwarming to watch what has happened to lead to the capture today.  Boston - we all support you, and you make us proud to be Americans.
2. Last weekend I went to Madison to spend the weekend with two of my good friends.  We shopped, ate, drank, talked about school and life, and saw the movie "42" which was excellent. While shopping we stopped at a yummy cupcake shop.
3. All week my students read and discussed books about the Titanic since the 101st anniversary of it's sinking was a few days ago.  We watched this great video from history.com to whet our appetites about this historical event:
We also did activities from a great unit that I purchased on TPT from Joy in the Journey.  You can find this creative and engaging unit here.  Unfortunately I did not get any pictures.
4. We had our Spring concert on Thursday night.  It made for a long day but it was fun to see the students dressed up in their best duds.
5. Today we started our celebration of Earth Day by making Earth bracelets.  Each bead represents one aspect of our Earth.
Blue - water, clear - air, green - plants, brown - land, black - night, white - day, yellow - sun, blue string - Earth

Monday, April 15, 2013

Getting Acquainted with Skittles

While watching Dancing With the Stars I decided to link up with Latoya at  Flying Into First for her Getting Acquainted Linky.

She has a Skittles theme this week:
TOPIC - Skittles Game
Here is the code:
Red- Favorite Ice Cream Flavor
Orange- Favorite Memory from College
Yellow- Favorite Sports Team
Green- Favorite Fast Food Place
Purple- Wild Card(Tell anything about yourself)
Red - I am all about the Cookie Dough - yum!
Orange - I loved college!  I have so many wonderful memories, and met friends that I consider sisters.  I even loved hanging out at the library, which was right across the street from our apartment.  Once my roommates paged me at the library - I was freaked thinking something bad had happened, but they just wanted to know when I would be ready to go out that night.  Ha- priorities, people!
Yellow - Well that would be my Green Bay Packers, as in the 4-time Super Bowl Champions.
My boys Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews.
Green - I'm not sure if others know about this place, but I am a big fan of Culvers.  They serve burgers, fries, and have a daily flavor of frozen custard.
Purple - Here's a Wild Card tidbit about me - I have sung on Good Morning America.  That's right - I've used up my 15 seconds of fame.  I was in NYC with my brother and some other family members and we went to a taping of GMA.  It was Elvis week, and Diane (Sawyer) wanted someone to sing an Elvis song.  I started mouthing the words to "Don't Be Cruel"to see if I could remember it, and the stage manager spotted me, and said "You can do it!".  Fifteen minutes later I was working the camera with my bro at my side snapping his fingers to the beat. 
I think Diane said something about me being the next entrant on American Idol. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Five For Friday - New Apps!


This Five For Friday linky has really taken off!  I got in on the ground floor and have tried to join in every week.  So - here is what has been goin' on in the Little Apple during the last few days.
 1. My word sort for the week involved compound words.  I did some searching on my iPad and found a great app, called Compound Words Montessori, for introducing and practicing this skill.  Apple TV was recently hooked up in my room, so I was able to demonstrate how to use the app to my entire class before they used during small group RTI time.  I like the fact that the students must build the words to create compound words.  It's a bit trickier than it looks.
This app costs $0.99
If all the words are "built" correctly the next screen pops up, and students must match the word to the picture.

2. I was lucky to enough to win a couple rounds in Fifth in the Middle's March Madness giveaway.  Thanks to Susan Morrow for the cool Rock Around the Clock games for telling time.  My students will love it.  You can check it out here.
3.  I woke up Wednesday to windows covered in ice.
I turned on the T.V. and discovered our school district had a 2-hour delay!  It has been years since we've had a 2-hour delay.  We simply don't do it.  Well, we still don't  - because school was called off for the entire day around 9 A.M.  Six of the 20 schools in our district were without power.  I had a great day - my friend and I went our for lunch, and I worked on TPT projects.  Unfortunately we have to make up the day.  :(
4. I now have Apple TV installed in my classroom (see #1), and am able to project apps on my Interactive Whiteboard.  A couple weeks ago I learned about the app called Board Cam, which is essentially an app that turns your iPad into a FREE document camera!  I have an ELMO but had never taken it out of the box!  Today I gave it back to my principal because this app is just as good!  We've been working on polygons in math, and this morning I was able to walk around to student desks and project the shapes they had made onto our Whiteboard.  Awesome!
This app is free!
5. I was able to put together a collage of one of my TPT projects.  This collection is of group of sheets for setting up classroom partnerships.  They are like "Round the Clock" buddies, but they are unique because students can learn about spelling, syllables, and place value through using them.  I am so thankful to be close to 150 followers, and to show my thanks I will give away 2 sets of these to the first 2 people to leave a comment on this post.  This pack is available on TPT here.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tried It Tuesday - Jelly Bean Math

Happy Tuesday,
I am joining Holly at Fourth Grade Flipper for her Tried It Tuesday linky!
Yesterday I tried the Jelly Bean Math activity I won from my great bloggy friend, Diane, at Fifth in the Middle.  Even though Easter has come and gone, I wanted to welcome my third graders back from break with a tasty and educational math activity.
In this activity the students get practice in estimating, measuring, comparing and contrasting data, writing fractions, and recording rations.  Although some of these concepts were new to my third graders, it was good to expose them to skills that they will encounter in the not so distant future.
Sorting jelly beans into groups of 10.
Estimating and measuring the width of the desks.
Estimating and measuring how many jelly beans equal a foot.
Our group data - I did not count the jelly beans when I put them in bags.  I was surprised at how alike the amounts were!

 Jelly beans are still available at Target or Walmart.  You can find more info about Diane's lesson here, and check out Holly's site for more Tried It Tuesday ideas!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Must Read Mentor Texts Linky - The Tale of Peter Rabbit

Those cutie patooties over at Collaboration Cuties are hosting a linky on must-read mentor texts for literacy lessons.  I am going to go old school here and suggest that you read The Tale of Peter Rabbit to your students.  It is a classic tale that readers will love. 
I have used this book to not only introduce the esteemed author Beatrix Potter, but also to teach point of view (and letter writing).  After reading the book aloud and in small groups, the students would write letters from one character to another.  For example, Mr. McGregor could write to Peter, or Peter's mother could write to Mr. McGregor, or Flopsy could write to Mopsy.  In each case my students showed unique perspective in writing creative letters from that character's point of view.
I also wanted to share an idea I used during RTI time the week before break, and will use this coming week.  I originally got this idea years ago from a Mailbox Magazine.  I call it "Scrambled Eggs", and the students have to unscramble words on strips of paper that have been placed inside plastic eggs.
Last week the words were from our Science units on Rocks and Minerals, and Simple Machines.

The students record the unscrambled words on a sheet that is turned in to the teacher.  They can work alone or with a partner in unscrambling the words.
This week I have scrambled math words in the eggs.  This activity is always a big hit!

Check out Collaboration Cuties for more Mentor Texts suggestions.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Five For Friday - Spring Break Rewind

Hi Friends,

My spring break is just about coming to a close, but it was awesome!  My Five For Friday post for this week will be a chance for me to relive a great vacation to Florida.

1. A friend and I enjoyed a relaxing stay in St. Petersburg.  For those of you who don't know, this is not the same place as St. Pete's Beach.  I didn't know until I got there.  There wasn't a beach next to our hotel, but there was great walking along the bay.  It was beautiful.
The view from the pool area.
2. In the evening, after dinner at one of the many outdoor restaurants within walking distance, we walked along the path near the water and were able to see dolphins diving in and out of the bay.
A dolphin has just dove under the surface in the middle of the picture.
3. We met really nice people, and often they would recommend spots for us to check out.  One woman told us to take a trip to Sarasota to check out the shops at St. Armands Circle and the Lido Beach.
The water was so blue!
4. We think the team members from the Baltimore Orioles were staying at our hotel. We had read that professional baseball teams often stayed at the hotel while playing the Tampa Bay Rays.  Let's just say there was some eye candy around the pool.
5.  It was great to feel the warmth of the sun for just a few days.  Unfortunately this is what I woke up to this morning.   Back to reality.....