Saturday, March 30, 2013

Spring Cleaning Sale

Happy Easter Everyone!  I decided to participate in the Spring Cleaning Sale at TpT.  Several sellers are throwing a sale this weekend, so I'm joining in by putting everything at a 20% discount.  Hop on over to my store and others and pick out a few items for your own Easter basket.  I borrowed this cute sign from 4th Grade Frolics.  Thanks!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Liebster Award

Well I have been nominated for the Liebster award by Katie from Mind Sparks. She is so darn sweet. She tells me that the Liebster Award is awarded to new bloggers with less than 200 followers.  Well, evidently there are different versions of the rules.  This is what Katie posted.
In order to receive the award the recipient must:
  • Post 11 things about themselves.
  • answer the questions that the tagger set for you, plus create 11 questions for the people you’ve nominated for the award
  • Choose 11 people and link them in your post, and go to their blog and tell them.
  • You can't choose people that have already been chosen! In other words---no tag backs!
So I found "other" rules that say you only need to nominate 3-5 other blogs.  I will get busy looking for 11, but no promises.  Here are my 11 things about me.  (Yawn...)
1.  I've been happily married to my fun husband for 28 years!  That is a long time!!  We were seriously teenagers when we got married.  Thank goodness my own kids are not following us in those footsteps.
2.  Speaking of kids... I have two boys, 22 and 18.  The 18 year old is graduating in a few weeks.  The 22 year old is serving in the Air Force.  He is home right now for a few days, and then he's off to Oman for 6 months.  Boo.
3.  My newest obsession is creating/perfecting activities from my classroom to sell on Teachers Pay Teachers.  I am addicted.  I love all the collaboration between teachers in the forums.  I now have "forum friends". 
4.  My favorite vacation spot is Shell Knob, MO.  We rent the same cabin/house every years, sometimes several times a year, on Tablerock Lake.  Can't wait for the next visit in June.
5.  I love water skiing.  Actually, now I love inland surfing.  That's where you are on a surfboard behind a boat... with no handles!  It is so fun.
6.  I'm like the oldest teacher at my school.  I don't like that and don't feel like it could be true, but it is.
7.  I love yoga.  Hot yoga especially.  Currently working on a new type of headstand.
8.  I use yoga in my classroom when kids look lazy.  
9.  I am a big KU Jayhawk fan during basketball season.  Isn't everyone?  They rock.
10.  I do a cartwheel in my classroom occasionally.  My theory...if you do a cartwheel everyday, you will be able to do one when you are 90.  

My Answers to Katie's questions.
1. What is your favorite book? Why?   The Bible.  It is one book you can read everyday for your whole life and you can still find new applications.

2. Who is your hero and why? (Doesn’t have to be famous).  My friend Linda.  A great teacher and mentor who passed away last year.  Such an inspiration.

3. What is your dream job?  Creating lesson activities and ideas from home.

4. Where would you travel if you could go anywhere? I would love to go to Hawaii.  Anywhere tropical with a luxury resort.

5. If you won the lottery, how would you spend it?  I really think I would give a lot of money to family and friends.  Then I would buy my luxury resort on the tropical island and move in.

6. How would your friends describe you?  Old, haha.  No, probably just strange.

7. What are some of your hobbies?  Reading, cooking, creating lessons
8. Cat or dog? Coke or Pepsi?  Cat (but starting a strange pull towards small dogs) and I could go either way on Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi.  I really don't think I can tell the difference.  Usually I buy Diet Pepsi.

9. What is your most embarrassing moment? When my leg fell asleep during a math class in college.  I got up to sharpen my pencil and splatted!  My friend had an asthma attack from laughing.  Quite a disruption!

10. What is one of your goals in life?  To retire to Tablerock Lake and still be able to surf and ski.  Also, would love to write a book.

11. What is your favorite color?  I just like the "Brights".  All of them together.

My Questions for other bloggers:

1.  What is your favorite "fast food"?
2.  Favorite time of the year and why.
3.  What is your favorite thing to do in your free time?  (what free time?)
4.  E readers or old fashioned books?
5.  What is your favorite comfort food?
6.  Do you work in the summer?
7.  Funniest classroom moment.
8.  Favorite reality show.
9.  What is your classroom pet peeve?
10.  What is the most interesting thing about you?

Blogs I'm nominating:

Adventures in Third Grade

Exploring Third Grade

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted!

Yes, #2 is the lie.  I wasn't tricky at all I guess.  I was just so impressed with myself that I looked up where the Olympics were that year and everything, but I didn't fool you smarties.  I really did win a trip to Rio which was awesome.  I also worked in a tractor store when I quit college (I did return obviously) and met Goober.  I even had to wear HeeHaw overalls.  If you are much younger than me, you probably don't even know what HeeHaw is.  I'm off to other blogs that linked up to see the lies.  Have a good week!

During Spring Break, I've had a fun time finding and reading new blogs.  I came across a fun linky party while visiting Mandy at Caffeine and Lesson Plans.  She had linked up with Latoya at Flying Into First Grade with a Get Acquainted Linky.  Since I want to make some friends in the blogging world, I thought I would join in the fun!  So this week is:

2 Truths and a Lie
How it Works:
Think of 3 things about yourself or your life. You should make 2 of them truths and 1 of them a lie. You can list them on your post in any order. Do NOT give the answer yet in your post. People will try guess your lie in your in the comments of your post. So remember to be very creative so that it is hard for people to get it right. At the end of the week you can share the answer in your comments from the post or include it in a post you make at the end of the week.

Here are mine:

1. I once won an all expenses paid trip to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

2. I was the silver medalist in downhill skiing in the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

3. I once met George Lindsay (Goober from Mayberry!) while working in a Tractor Supply Store.

I have to say, I think I did a pretty good job disguising the lie.  Take your guesses!

Get off the Escalator!

Have you seen this video?  Have you shown it to your class?  I've shown this to my classes for the past few years.  I just get so frustrated with students not thinking on their own to solve problems.  I've seriously had kids come up to ask me what to do with a piece of trash they found under their desk!  Of course after showing the video you should have a discussion about what types of things are "worthy" of asking the teacher and what types of things they could figure out on their own.  I try to be careful not to make students scared to come ask me a question.  I don't want to send the wrong message that they shouldn't need to ask me any questions.  How do you get students to take initiative and problem solve?  I'd love to hear some suggestions!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Website Wednesday

OK, I'm stealing borrowing the Website Wednesday idea from my friend Katie from Mind Sparks. If you haven't tried the Learnzillion website, do that today.  There are three reasons why I heart this site. 

1.  It is free and probably always will be.  (I hate it when they hook you in for free and then start charging.  Not to name names, but....Glogster!)

2. You can search lessons by Common Core standard. 

3.  The lessons are ready to use slideshow/videos and are streamlined and simple.

4.  You can assign students certain lessons as homework (or as a center) by simply giving them a code to use.

I guess there are MORE than 3 reasons I love this site. 

I have applied to be part of their "dream team" of teachers who will be creating the next 4,000 lessons for the site.  When do I find out if I was chosen?  Today!  Sadly, I haven't found out yet.  I'm breaking out in a rash while I sit and wait for that email.  Regardless if I make it, you should go check it out.  Be sure to click on the "Common Core Navigator".  That is the best way I have found to understand how the site is set up.  Have a great Wednesday!


Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring Break

Get your coupons here!
Hello everyone!  I made it to Spring Break!  Why is it that the days leading up to a break are so mega stressful?  It seems like I finally make it through those tough days, only to get sick during my break.  This time, it is a rash...on my face!  Ugh!  At least I have a few days off to recuperate my face without having to put on makeup.  We are now in the countdown until the last day of school.  In my district, we have only 8 weeks to go after we return. I want to enjoy the rest of this year and not just "wish it away".  I love my homeroom class and know that I will miss them next year.  So, in order to do that, I'm challenging myself to focus on the positive behaviors instead of getting sucked in to the negative.  As a reminder (and I need all of those that I can get!), I'm going to print one of these Pinterest inspired "Caught Being Good" coupon sheets every day.  My goal is to give all the coupons out by the end of the day by looking for the students who do those positive little things that too often go unnoticed.   Feel free to download one for yourself...FREE!  I'm still not blog savvy enough to know how to make it so that you can just download it from this page, so you will have to go through my TpT store.  I WILL learn that this summer. :)  How do you stay positive right to the end?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Pick Me Up Freebie

Well it's the end of the weekend. Sadness.  But on the bright side, spring break is only four long days away.  I'm posting because I'm procrastinating about going to bed. Going to bed means the weekend is officially over, and the next thing I know it will be Monday!  This Monday I am particularly not looking forward to for three reasons. 

 1.  Time change- I cannot get used to the spring time change -EVER.
 2.  Conferences tomorrow night - I'm already going to be exhausted before   I start. 
3.  It is the last day to prepare my kids for state assessments.

I'm sure it will be a much better day than I'm imagining right now.  I know, it sounds like I'm writing a downer blog post.  Who wants to read those?  So to adjust my negative attitude towards the upcoming week, I'm giving away a fun freebie.  These are binder covers you can print and insert into your own binders.  I've made one for a LESSON PLAN binder in three different colors.  Another one is for Aimsweb Data (if you use Aimsweb, there are two colors to choose from), and one for Dibels Data (not pictured, but trust me, it's there.)  These are in separate files, so you get all of them for free, but you can choose which ones you want to print.  I know it's silly, but just having a colorful, cheery cover on my lesson plans sitting on my desk each morning makes me smile.  It's the small things.  Enjoy!  
P.S. - Click on the "free" to go to my TpT store to get these.  I'll try to figure out how to make them available from my blog eventually!

Hop over to my store to get these freebies!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Task Card Mania

Is anyone else getting nervous about state assessments?  I hate this time of year.  Even though I tell myself I've done all I can to prepare my kids, I still get myself all worked up!  We take our assessments next week.  This week I'm spending each day reviewing one standard.  I spent most of my weekend creating task cards to use for our review week.  Today, we played "Scoot" with author's purpose cards.  This turned out to be a lot of fun!  My students, as I've mentioned before, are struggling readers in 6th grade.  I've discovered that the more movement I can allow, the better they focus.  Sometimes it takes me awhile to figure these things out! :)  Anyway, today was a good day and I feel just that much closer to having the kids ready for their state assessments. 

If you haven't played "Scoot", the procedure is simple.  Place a task card at each desk, and form a traffic pattern.  Make sure the students KNOW this traffic pattern.  (Yes, I'm speaking from experience.  It's not near as much fun when people start whining "I've already been to this desk...")  Give each student a recording sheet.  They read the card and write the answer on their recording sheet before you say "Scoot".  I usually give them 30 seconds, depending on the amount of text on the cards.  Each time you say "Scoot", they pick up their pencil and recording sheet and move to the next desk.  This continues until they get back to their original desk. 

These task cards can also be used in a literacy center, as I have included a sorting mat and answer key for self checking with each set.  So far I have created a set for author's purpose, similie/metaphor, fact and opinion, and text structure.  As much as my kids loved the activity, I'm definitely going to be making more sets.  - Follow this link or the my store button on the side if you are interested in purchasing any of these card sets.  I also created interactive notebook pages for the kids to glue into their composition books.  The kids took their notebooks around the room with them as a reference to use while completing the cards.  I don't have one for each set yet, but the text structure and author's purpose really came in handy during this game.

The top right shows the interactive notebook pages that go with the author's purpose cards.  I printed the cards in color this time, and I felt like the students were more "into it" than yesterday, when I printed the text structure cards in black and white. 
I forgot to give my morning class the interactive notebook pages before we did the game.  They needed a reference, so I just projected the page up on the screen.  I had actually done that to teach the concept too.  For the afternoon, I had students glue the page into their notebooks.  That worked much easier.