Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tuesday Tried It - Assignment Book Labels

Happy Tuesday!

I am again joining up with Holly at Fourth Grade Flipper for her Tried It Tuesday Linky. I have two quick items that I've tried that I wanted to share with you.
First, like many of you I have taken advantage of the specials that you can get at VistaPrint.  I have purchased two of those Groupon specials where you get $70 worth of products for like $17.  One of the items I created was sticker labels that my students could put right in their assignment notebooks to let the parents know what books they are reading. 
Sometimes my third graders are reading longer books that they transport back and forth to school.  The parents didn't always know which books were library books, and which were assigned books for literature circles/book clubs.
Sorry - bad photo
Using these labels helps keep parents in the loop and talking with their children about the books they've been reading.  I hope to tweak these labels with a different picture and adjust the lines this summer.
Also, I have created and used an Insect Inquiry Unit that includes the following items:
*Guidelines for implementing the unit
*Suggested Books and iPad Apps
*Family Letter
*Independent Study Project
*Scoring Rubric for Project
*Insect Observation Booklet
*Three Different Life Cycle Assessment Sheets
*Insect Partner Building Buddy Sheet
*Insect Poetry Template
*Insect Bingo Game w/10 Different Game Boards
*Suggested Unit Activities
It can be yours for a very reasonable $3.00!  Click here to find it on TpT!  Your kids will be bitten by the science bug!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Five For Friday - Lots to Share!

It's time for this week's Five For Friday.  It was a busy week so let's get started!
1. I finally received my Dewey stand for my iPad, and was so excited to use it.  With the free Board Cam app you can use the iPad as a portable projector (if you have Apple TV on your projector).  The cool thing is I can take the stand around to student desks to show what they are working on, and it projects on my Interactive WhiteBoard. I can also use it with small groups at a kidney table. 
2. Another cool technology related thing I tried this week was the free Readers Workshop app.  This app is for recording student reading for running records/benchmarks.  You can add notes, and give them a score for predicting, inferring, etc.  It's really easy to use.
3.  To encourage the use of descriptive adjectives while writing, I let my students choose a cuter than cute dog picture I had cut from a calendar.  I usually look for calendars at the dollar store, or at end of season sales to use for this yearly activity. It is always a huge hit!
4. We are studying Japan in Social Studies as our town has a sister city in Kanonji, Japan.  We were lucky enough to have lunch at a Japanese restaurant on Tuesday.  We had the entire place to ourselves, and many parents were able to come along.  I love the looks on the students' faces.
5. Along with the visit to the Japanese restaurant, my third graders spent an afternoon drawing characters and words in Japanese.  I played Japanese music on the iPad while they worked - it was so quiet in the room, and a welcome relief from all the craziness lately.
BTW - we still have three weeks of school.
Hope you had a great week!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Monday Made-It and Let's Get Acquainted Linkies

Hi All,

Just putting together a quick post to link up with Tara at Fourth Grade Frolics for a Monday Made-It project, and Latoya at Flying into First Grade for her Let's Get Acquainted Party.
I created some thank you cards for the students in my class that had honored me with Teacher Appreciation Week gifts.  I cut some stiff scrapbook paper into quarters, added a sticker strip to the sides, and then stuck on flowers that were left over from our Mother's Day projects.  Easy peasy!

Next up - I really enjoy getting to know other bloggers through Latoya's weekly linky.  This week she posed three questions to answer:
Linky Questions
1. What made you decide to become a teacher?
I was lucky enough to grow up living next door to my grandparents.  My grandma, who is and was my idol, was a teacher.  She took me to school with her before I started Kindergarten, and I was hooked.  I wanted to be just like her, and wanted to spend as much time as I could in this colorful, fun place.  When I started teaching, I was overjoyed when my grandma came to visit my school as an honored guest at our Grandparent's Day program.  She loved teaching third grade, and as of last year, I am now teaching third grade.  It was meant to be!
2. What has been your most rewarding experience as a teacher?
Today I met with my principal to go over my three-year review.  I was filled with pride when he explained that year after year he sees students that may have been less than enthusiastic learners come into my classroom and make progress.  He truthfully said that they dont' become "perfect" but they consistently become engaged and active students. It's why I became a teacher.  Another rewarding experience was being selected as one of two teachers from my state to attend the Mickelson/ExxonMobil Teachers Academy last summer.  It was the greatest staff development experience of my career.
3. If you were not a teacher, what would you be?
My dream is to be a singer/dancer on Broadway!  Or - do voiceovers for commercials or animated movies! 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Five For Fr-unday - Japan

Well - it's Sunday and I'm just getting around to my Five For Friday rundown.  It's been a busy and fun weekend so far!  Here's how the school week went:
1.We've been having quite a few line squabbles so we created a Line Dos and Don'ts Chart during our weekly PBIS time.  It made me laugh when they used the word "backbutts" - I had to ask what it meant.  They were very serious about their suggetstions.
2.It was wondeful to feel so appreciated all week.  Our PTA had goodies for us each day, and I was lucky to receive little gifts daily, too.
3. We've been studying Japan, and I found this bulletin board set online through Education Station.  I used it as a small group activity - the students had to match the words to the pictures, and had lots of non-fiction Japan books to help if needed.
4. Also, as a part of our Japan study, we held Kite Day on Friday.  The students could bring already assembled kites to fly during our last hour of the day.  Many parents came to help with tangled knots, etc.  The rain held off, and it was a windy day so most the kids were successful.
5. Thanks to sales on TpT and TN I was able to sell some of my Mother's Day Packet!  Check it out to be ready for next year!
Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

I'm Having A Sale, and Tried It Tuesday

Yes, my tiny store of items on TpT on are on sale today and tomorrow!  Hope you'll check it out!
Clip Art from Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah Designs
I am also joining Holly at Fourth Grade Flippers for her Tried It Tuesday linky.
Since February I have been using a responsibility board to encourage proper behavior.  In the winter I had a snowflake with each students' name on the board, and the students had to earn the right to keep their snowflake on the board.  They earned  this through remembering to put supplies away, taking home their lunch box, marking their lunch choice in the morning, having assignment notebooks signed,etc.If they were responsible enough to keep their snowflake on the board until Friday, they earned a Berry Buck (our reward dollars) and some other small reward, like a homework pass.
Since Spring Break the students have had a flower or butterfly with their name on it posted on the responsiblity board.  I've been looking for new things to use as rewards, and found one last week on Diane's blog at Fifth in the Middle.  She was giving away sheets of tickets for trading desks.  I gave these out on Friday and the tickets have been a big hit!  Those who didn't earn one are now sorry they didn't. You can check out Diane's post and download the tickets here.
And make sure you enter Holly's Fourth Grade Flippers giveaway.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Mother's Day Goodies and Holly's Giveaway

I'm savoring the last few hours of the weekend before the work-week rush sets in, but had to send out a brief post on the wonderful Holly's 500 Followers Giveaway.
You will definitely want to check this one out because there is a plethora of prizes to win, including my Insect Inquiry Unit.
I also wanted to share a couple Mother's Day projects that are included in my Mother's Day packet that is available on TpT.
First up is the Treasures and Trinkets Box-
Included in the packet are directions for creating the box, as well as coupons for Mom to be placed inside.
Next, is the Mother's Day Flower Pin craft-
These two projects, along with three different writing projects, a list of Mother's Day literature and iPad apps, and a banner are included in this product.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Currently and Class Mystery Skype

I got that from Farley, and it's time for her May Currently linky party.
I just finished Michael Oher's book, and it's interesting to see the movie again after reading the events from his point of view.
I love every scent of that VS Body Scrub. 
We have Book Club on Tuesday night, and we're discussing the book Wild.  I haven't started yet.  I may be faking it come Tuesday.
My daffodils are just about ready to pop.  Come on Sun.
Pale skin - nuf said!
I can't wait to have mornings free for golf.  My friends and I have a trip in the works to visit Chicago - love the city in the summer.  And, I am getting the itch to move - plus it's fun to just look at new houses.
Mystery Skype
On Friday my third graders did a mystery skype with a class in Alabama.  I set up the skype through a teacher I met last summer while attending the Mickelson/ExxonMobil Teachers Academy.
Anyway - my students had to figure out what state we were skyping with, as well as what grade the fellow skypers were in.
My kids wrote questions early last week, and I selected one from each student so they would all have a chance to speak.  I loved their questions.  They included:
Does your state touch Mexico?
Does your state border the Pacific Ocean?
Does your state get snow?
Does your state's shape have right angles?
Does your state's name begin with a vowel?
Does your state have a professional football team?
They had all been given maps of the U.S. to look over while the other class answered the questions.
They were so excited when they narrowed the clues down to Alabama!
We then asked each other questions about school in general, and we were so surprised to find out they don't go out for recess if the temp is below 40 degrees.  OMG - the cutoff temp for us is 0, as in zero!   
We hope to do a mystery skype with another class before the end of the school year.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

May Goals

One more day until the weekend!  I have been busy every night this week, and am looking forward to some down time.  I'm sure you can all relate. I am joining Jess at I{Heart}Recess for her May Goals linky.  (I'll be checking in with my May Currently on the weekend.) 
Also, I hope you'll check out Diane's blog at Fifth in the Middle - she's having a fantastic giveaway today that I am a part of.  Every person who adds a comment on her blog today will receive a packet of items for use in your classroom. 
I have been trying to find out where my list of followers has gone when viewing the blog from a PC, but have been having very little luck.  I e-mailed Blogger, but so far no response.  Can anyone help with how to get the Followers link and pictures back?