Friday, July 29, 2016


For the first time this summer, I'm able to join Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday!

First up, are you looking for the BEST MARKERS EVER?
Well, these beauties could earn that description.
I used them this summer at a workshop I led for teachers, and I loved the bold, vivid colors.

 They are a bit pricey - I found this pack at Office Max for just under $10.
But, Office Max/Office Depot is running a 25% off sale this weekend (July 30 - August 2), 
so hurry on over and pick up a pack.

Does your district use Words Their Way?
We do, and I've found these pouches to be perfect for storing weekly word sorts.
These are also from Office Max, and these happen to be our school colors - blue and gray!
In the light, the polka dots reflect rainbow colors.
I am looking forward to attending this technology workshop next Tuesday.
More on that in next week's Five for Friday.

Last week our Book Club took a 2-day trip to beautiful Door County, WI.
One of our book club members has a condo in Egg Harbor.
This is what summer mornings are made for - having a cup of coffee or tea while enjoying that view.

This was our view of the sunset later that day outside a favorite restaurant called The Waterfront.
Are you getting pumped for the Olympics??
I created a product for the Winter Olympics 2 years ago and it become one of my best sellers.
So, I revised it and created a similar project for the Summer Olympics in Rio.
Students do independent research on current athletes.
This product includes links to projected medal winners from the U.S.A.
You can check out this product at this link.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Five for Friday - Fables for Third Grade and More

Hi Friends!
What do fables, Lakeshore Learning, subtraction, hand-washing, and Donors Choose all have in common?
Well, they're all a part of my Five for Friday week!
Hurray!  My Donors Choose project was fully funded on Tuesday morning, by the parents of students in my class!  And, this was before the big announcement from Donors Choose about the #bestschoolday.
So I posted another project on Wednesday night to obtain iPads for our room.
I was lucky enough to have that project posted on the Caring Classrooms site.
It has actually been the #bestschoolweek ever !

We completed our traditional literature unit this week.
Fortunately we have quite a few books in this genre for our students to read.
I created a reflection book for the unit that can be found in my TpT store for only $2.50.

Here are some sample pages from the reflection booklet:

There are more "I Can..." posters and reflection sheets that directly relate to the Common Core standards in reading.  You can find this product here.
Our school nurse did a lesson on hand-washing this week.
She used a black light to show them how dirty their hands really were.
Yuck - I think she made her point about using soap!

We used these clips from Lakeshore Learning while reading some Tall Tale books.
The kids loved using these while they read in small groups.
After they finished the book at our Book Club table, we went back and discussed where they had put the clips and why.
Since we were using these for the first time, I only took out the "New Word" and "Question" clips.

Do you use the box method for subtraction?
My students are really loving it.
To subtract from 100 or 1000, box all the digits to the left of the ones place, and think of how many 10s there are.  For example 100 is 10 tens, and 1000 is 100 tens.
Then cross that out to ungroup the tens, and you can subtract much more easily.
See the sample problems in the picture.

Hope you had a great week!
Check out all the Five for Friday posts on Doodle Bugs Teaching!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Five for Friday - Accuracy Anchor Chart & More!

An anchor chart, an iPad buddy, a school fundraiser, pendulum fun, and a kindness tree! This is what you'll find when you get a peek at my week in this week's Five for Friday!
My third graders needed a tune-up in the accuracy department. 
One day I did a mini-lesson on accuracy in reading, and another day we discussed accuracy in writing.
Hopefully these reminders will make some kind of impact.

 Another staff member and I lead a STEM Club for third and fourth graders once a month.
This month we had some fun with pendulums.
Students worked with a partner to count the frequency of the swings in a thirty-second time period.
Then their challenge was to change one variable to increase the frequency.
They could shorten or length the string, increase or decrease the weight of the bob, or change the arc of the swing. It was a fun investigation with little prep!
I have seven iPads in my room which my students take turns using.
I found this cute and cuddly iPad buddy at Office Max for $5.00!
Students earn a chance to use the iPad buddy if their homework is in, they have their assignment notebooks signed, and they have all of their supplies for the day.
The students love this incentive!  They've named this guy Rascal.

Our guidance counselor created this tree for our lobby to recognize students that do kind things for one another.  It's called the Kindness Tree and it supports Random Acts of Kindness Day. 

Our PTA organized a Mardi Gras bingo night last night complete with a silent auction and loads of prizes.
The silent auction items included Disney passes, and two signed Green Bay Packer footballs.
The event was so well organized!

Hope you had a great week!
Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

How to do a Mystery Skype

For the past three school years my class has done a Mystery Skype with a friend's class in Alabama.
Because I teach in Wisconsin we often do this during the winter months, 
when there is a drastic difference in the weather in our two states.
My students are so surprised to learn that in Alabama the cut off for indoor recess in 40 degrees.
For us, the cut off is 0 degrees!

A Mystery Skype is a way for students to go beyond the classroom without taking a bus trip!
During a Mystery Skype students are learning about geography, weather, life in other places, and so much more!
Classes of students ask each other yes/no questions to discover what state they live in.
We have also done questions to find out the grade of the other group.

How can you set up a Mystery Skype?
First, you need a camera.
The first two years we did the Skypes I used a Web Cam.
I asked my principal about this, and he loved the idea of the Skype so much he purchased a Web Cam for my classroom.
(It is available for anyone in our school to use, too.)

Since that time, our district has updated our document cameras, and the new ones have video and audio capabilities.  If you have a document camera, you probably are able to use it for a Skype.
In the picture below you can see the students sitting in front of the document camera, which is directly in front of my desktop computer. These students are asking questions of our friends in Alabama.
 If you have a projection system, you can project the Skype on the screen for all in your class to see.
They love seeing themselves down in the bottom right corner.
 A few days before the Skype session, my students come up with questions they want to ask our Skype partners to find out what state they are in.
I project a map of the United States, and students create questions about  whether the state is landlocked, in the north, south, east, or west, if it borders Canada or Mexico, if its east or west of the Mississippi, and what time zone they are in.

Students have also asked questions like:
Does your state's name begin with a vowel?
Is your state in Tornado Alley?
Does your state have a professional football team?
Once students have generated an individual list of 5-6 questions, I go through the questions and select the ones I think might work best during the Skype.

I usually group students in pairs to ask the questions, looking for students who had similar questions of the ones they submitted.
Then I strategically order the questions, so that each person will have a turn to ask a question (with a partner or alone) before we take a guess as to what state our Skype friends are in.

During the Skype each student has a map, and they cross out states that don't fit the clues we've received in the answers to our questions.

After we discover the state, we usually leave time to ask questions about each other's school situations.
My students have asked questions like:
What is your school's mascot?
What are your school colors?
What grades are in your school?
Do you ever have indoor recess? 

At the end we always wave a thankful and friendly good-bye!

Now, you  may be thinking - how do I find a classroom to Skype with?
You can go to a website called Skype in the Classroom to find many teachers that looking to Skype.
My Alabama teacher friend has used this site, and has had her students Skype with a forest ranger and a scientist.
My class has also been able to Skype with scientists at ExxonMobil because of connections I have with the company through MEMTA.

I have also found teacher friends to Skype with through my Instagram account.
I put a post out about our Mystery Skype earlier this week, and now have dates set up with teachers in Missouri and Pennsylvania.

Have you ever done a Mystery Skype?
Do you have other suggestions?
Hope you are able to experience a Mystery Skype sometime!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Five for Friday - Non-fiction Writing Project

After a busy week, it's great to be looking at a three-day weekend!
And I'm spending my Saturday watching my favorite golfer, Phil Mickelson, in the Pebble Beach Golf Tournament.  The weather looks awesome there....
 Last week Newsies came to our local Performing Arts Center.
Such a great show!
 Since we've had such a busy week I took the easy route with our valentine bags.
I found these at Hobby Lobby, and I had chalkboard labels that we used for the names.
The students cut some hearts and we called it a day.
We use FOSS for our science curriculum, and one of the third grade units is on Earth Materials.
We dissected mock rocks and worked at analyzing the make-up of the rocks.
The students LOVE wearing goggles for this.
We finished a long writing project at the end of January.
Each student chose a topic, researched it, put the info into paragraphs, added an introduction and conclusion, and then typed it all into a Google Doc.
Then we added images, and put it all into a class book.
The books were finally bound, and the students were proud to receive their copies on Friday.
As the students were reading their classmates' articles, I asked them to write compliments on sticky notes about the passages they were reading.
I loved how they turned out.

If you're looking for a cute, easy book for young students to write about what they love, this is available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store for $1.50.
This short video shows a few of the pages from the booklet.

Head on over to Kacey's site - Doodle Bugs Teaching for more Five for Friday posts.
Thanks for stopping by my blog!