A Peek at My Week *1.26.14*

I am linking up with Jennifer from Mrs. Laffin's Laughings this evening for a Peek at My Week. I love this linky and didn't want to miss it, but is not going to be very long or school-centered. 

Tomorrow night I will teach my very first college course {insert deep breaths here}. It will basically just be going over the syllabus, introductions, discussion of assignments, etc., but my excitement has changed to nervousness today. I'll be fine when I get there and hopefully my kiddos will keep my mind off of it during the day, but I'm sure I won't be getting much sleep tonight!! 

As for school...

We will begin our poetry unit this week. 

I introduced Kidblog to my kiddos on Friday and they are SO EXCITED about it! So we will be blogging this week. I have heard really great things about this site and I'll be sure to post more as I use it. If you haven't seen it/heard of it yet, you can check it out {here}. 

Kiddos will be working on 2-digit by 1-digit division this week *YIKES*! 

And finally, I have mixed feelings about Thursday. It is the 4th grade team's turn for BAS testing which means we have substitutes in our classrooms while we sit in the hallway to test. For those of you that have been reading, you know how much I dislike being out of school - sitting outside of my door has both pro's and con's. I don't have to worry about behavior so much because the kids know that I will be poking my head in to call students out from time-to-time so they are on their toes. But by poking my head in and out, I am able to observe things not being done my way. I will stop complaining and be thankful that my district gives us subs for this testing and that I don't have to fit it into my day somewhere. 

Have a great week, friends! Thanks for reading!


Trending Topics Linky

Not a snow day, but a sick day. This is my 7th year teaching and my 2nd sick day. Don't get me wrong, I love a day off as much as anyone, I just don't like my days off when the kiddos are in school. And to make matters worse, my horrible stomach pains this morning were nothing more than a UTI (TMI? I'm sorry!). The positive is that I will be ready to go tomorrow and I had our amazing "building sub" teaching my kiddos, so I know they were in GREAT hands! 

Obviously I have spent the last few hours doing school work, because I am a teacher and that is what we do when we are out sick. And part of doing school work means catching up on my blog reading! :o) So I am posting now because I discovered Jessica's new-ish linky Trending Topics. Check out her blog Literacy Spark to find out more about it. 

This week's Trending Topic is recess. We have our recess scheduled for us. Our 4th graders have morning recess from 10:30 to 10:45. Each of us (teamies) is assigned one day per week for recess duty (I have Tuesday) and the paraprofessional in each grade level has this duty daily, so there are 2 adults assigned each day. We then have afternoon recess/lunch from 12:15 to 1:00. The kiddos have recess for about 20 minutes and then lunch for the rest of the time. This recess/lunch is supervised by lunch monitors, so teachers have this whole 45 minute block free for lunch, etc. This is one of the things I love about my new job. I think the morning recess is good for the kiddos and I love my 45 minute time in the afternoon - I actually have time to eat AND work instead of just inhaling my lunch in 7 minutes and then running to the copy machine like I used to! 

I have also been researching Kidblog in my "sick time" today. I have found examples and testimonials, etc, but I would love to hear from any of your that are using/have used Kidblog in the past before I totally commit. I think it sounds like a great idea and we have access to Chromebooks to my kiddos would have the opportunity to blog at school pretty regularly. So please, share your thoughts! :o)

Thanks for reading!


Linky Catch-Up

Happy Monday, Friends! I know you all agree, but I just have to mention how much I L-O-V-E 3 day weekends! :o) Not that I did anything out of the ordinary, it's just so nice to have one extra day! 

For my first linky today, I will be linking up with Trina from The Ordinary To Extraordinary Classroom for her 2nd edition of Meet the Teacher Monday. This weeks theme is Three Things. 

1. Three Words to Describe Me: LOUD, stubborn, and determined

2. Three Things on My Bucket List: Visit Disney (I am 28 and have NEVER been), attend Country Fest in Nashville, and write a children's book

3. My favorite music genre and 3 favorite songs: I will listen to just about anything and I love music that I can dance to, but I especially love COUNTRY music - favorite songs are tough, I have so many how am I supposed to narrow it down to 3? Right now 3 of my faves are: Compass (Lady Antebellum), We Were Us (Miranda Lambert and Keith Urban), and Austin (Blake Shelton - this is an oldie but goodie). 

4. The first 3 things I would buy first if I won the lottery: New cars for Momma, Little Bro, and I

5. My favorite movie genre and 3 favorite movies: Musicals...is that a movie genre? I love them all. My #1 fave is CATS. I also love The Sound of Music. Dirty Dancing is another one of my favorites. (Can I stick in Newsies and RENT, too?!)

6. Three Character Flaws: I am terrible procrastinator, rather judgemental, and a bit too much of a perfectionist

7. Three Friendship Personality Dealbreakers: The User, The Whiner/Complainer, The One-Upper

8. Three Things I Want More of: Hours in the day, Fish in the sea (I guess I just need to meet more of them), and Money (of course)

Fun, right? Head over to Trina's blog and link up...

Okay, linky round 2. This one is a link up with Where the Wild Things Learn for A Day Our Way. Here is my typical daily schedule:

Morning Work: We used the Envisions Math program, so for morning work each day my kiddos complete the Daily Common Core Review and if they have time left after that, the complete a daily journal write which is usually from the Lakeshore calendar. During this time I check notes, kiddos take the lunch count and check-in homework, and I take attendance. 

Guided Reading/Literacy Centers/Reader's Workshop: Sadly I am usually unable to get started at 9:05 because we have kiddos that go to breakfast in the morning, so I don't usually get started until 9:15. I typically begin with a read aloud and lesson from 9:15-9:45. Then I meet with one reading group from 9:45 - 10:15/10:30. The kiddos who are not in the reading group are doing silent reading/skill work, word work, research (I have to try to fit Science and Social Studies into my Reading time). 

Morning Recess: I have duty on Tuesday, my teamies and I are all assigned one day per week for morning recess. The other 4 days I barely make it to the bathroom and back in my 15 minutes! :o)

Math: As I stated, we use the Envision Math program. I try to follow the book (it's my 1st year in this district, I try to be a rule-follower), but sometimes we skip the book work and I teach the lesson my way. We typically start with a problem of the day and the kiddos discuss with their neighbors. We do the interactive learning lesson with the video (kiddos are not huge fans of the videos) and then I project the book pages on the whiteboard and the kiddos practice on their individual whiteboards. We end with the kiddos completing their workbook page and playing math games while I work with 1 or 2 small groups. 

Afternoon Recess and Lunch: Kiddos have recess and lunch, teachers have lunch!

Specials: The kiddos have Phys. Ed. twice a week, Technology (Science) once, Art once, and Music once. 

Writer's Workshop: Instruction varies but this is where I typically try to fit my spelling, grammar, vocabulary lessons and get the kiddos writing. We use mentor texts, writer's notebooks, and do lots of informational writing. 

Intervention/Enrichment Block: The whole grade level gets separated into needs-based groups. There is an enrichment group, a couple of Lindamood Bell groups, and the 3 groups that my teamies and I have: one Reading group and two writing groups. 

That's my day - although right now I am hoping for an early release tomorrow and a delay on Wednesday - depending which channel you watch they are predicting anywhere from 1-3 inches to 5-8 inches. One can *WISH* right?!


Meet the Teacher Monday Linky

Happy Tuesday Friends! Today I am linking up with Trina: The Ordinary to Extraordinary Classroom for her brand-spankin' new Meet the Teacher Monday linky party. I know I'm not linking up on Monday, but if you check out the introductory post, Trina says it's ok if you don't link up on Monday (see, I do know how to follow directions! :o)

So I am supposed to share my vision board: 

I don't make any New Year's resolutions this year, as I never ever follow them...but I suppose I can handle having a vision for 2014 (I know, same-difference, but we'll see). 

1. Where did I win in 2013? Hands-down, my new job! Everyday I am more grateful for this opportunity and so glad that I took the "plunge." I truly could not be happier :o)

2. Where did I lose in 2013? Finances for sure. Loans, loans, loans. I do love my job and I went to a great college, got a wonderful education, and had some amazing experiences...but I am so DONE with paying back my loans. It seems I just never get ahead. 

3. What did I learn? To take chances. Changing jobs was one of the most stressful, nerve-wracking experiences, but I am so glad I did it. 

4. Where do I want to be this time next year? I want to be looking back at some incredible memories from 2014 - hopefully one of those memories will be of running a 5K (I have got to start somewhere). Still loving my job, having a bigger TpT store, and hopefully a little extra "play" money. 

Click on Trina's button to find out more about Meet the Teacher Monday and link up! 

Thanks for reading! 


A Peek at My Week * 1.12.14

It's time to give you A Peek at My Week - I am once again linking up with Jennifer from Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

So for starters, I received a FAB email today from Bloglovin informing me that I had reached 150 followers! After my several-month-long blog hiatus, I was in no way expecting this. I was so excited about 100 followers several months back, and I hadn't even thought to see how many I was at just this past week. So thank you to all of you and I will have to get a little giveaway going later this week! 

Speaking of milestones and giveaways - Mary over at Fit to be Fourth is celebrating her 100 follower milestone with a great giveaway! If you don't follow her already head on over and check out her adorable blog! :o) Congratulations Mary! 

Before I get to my week, I just have to mention how much I love Jennifer Lawrence...and her acceptance speech on the Golden Globes tonight just made me love her even more. She is just so "normal" still. 

Non-school related: Hart of Dixie fans, raise your hands! It's back on Monday night! I have missed this show - one of my guilty pleasures. 

I hate to even use this word, but I have to start thinking about MCAS...we take our ELA test in March. Last week we began talking about some test-taking strategies. This week we will be working on writing answers to open response questions in reading. A couple of years ago I attended a Keys To Literacy training on writing open response answers using the acronym ANSWER. It is my favorite! If you aren't familiar with it, you can check it out {here}
And in my intervention block (writing) we will be working on answering different types of writing prompts. I try to hard not to "teach to the test," but we do need to work on test-taking strategies. 
We also have a planetarium assembly on Tuesday that should be fun! :o)

Again, non-educational - even more exciting than Hart of Dixie on Monday is NASHVILLE tonight! This one is my favorite, for sure!

Last week, with my intervention group, we worked on dialogue and punctuation using comics (thank you, Pinterest!). Today I will teach this lesson to my own kiddos during our writing block. Obviously I loved the lesson, I am using it again. The kiddos take a short comic and use the speech bubbles to write their own paragraph transforming them into dialogue within the paragraph. 

Progress Reports go home with kiddos on Friday. **Progress Reports are due on Wednesday, and guess what...mine are ALL DONE! Woohoo! Yup, I'm ahead of schedule, no procrastinating for me!** 
And this is not Friday, but Sunday...GO PATRIOTS! I was really hoping they would be playing the Chargers so that they Pats would get to play at home, but it is what it is. Look out Peyton, the Tom Brady is coming to Denver! 

Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Classroom Tested/Teacher & Student Approved

Today I am *FINALLY* posting about an awesome Smart(homo)Phone Craftivity that I received from the very creative Deb over at Crafting Connections.

When Deb first contacted me about trying out one of her craftivities over the summer, I was just digging into my new 4th grade curriculum, so I chose homophones, knowing that it was a 4th grade standard AND tough for kiddos to master.

In my district we use Evan-Moore for spelling; so I began the year with the two homophone lessons that are included in the book, knowing that I would need to review and work on homophones for the majority of the year. After spending two weeks on our homophone lists, we worked on the Smart(homo)Phone craftivity.

Most importantly, the kiddos got a big kick out of it! They were hooked as soon as they realized that they were making "iPhones." My favorite part is that Deb included 2 separate sets of sentences to make differentiation very easy. I was able to give the majority of my 4th graders the more difficult set - some sentences were a bit more challenging than others, but they worked through it. I would prefer that they be challenged that whip right through something that is too easy for them.

The idea is that "your friend" needs help studying for a test and "texts" you a sent with an underlined homophone. You have to write a response sentence using the other homophone. One sentence that still stands out to me that the majority of the kiddos struggled with had two homophones (scent and flower) in it. Many of them had Grandma's who sent them flour to make cupcakes! Haha.

When the kiddos had finished writing their sentences, we stapled the smartphones together and they glued them on construction paper. I used these to make a bulletin board for a few weeks and then the kiddos were able to take their creations home to share with their families. They loved sharing and reading each others, as well!

In conclusion, this was a great craftivity. I fully intend to use it again next year and for years to come with my 4th graders. I believe that it was very self-explanatory for teachers, as well as for the kiddos. I would highly recommend this as a great homophone review! Thanks so much Deb!

P.S. Note to self - take more photos next time.

Click on the button to head over to Deb's blog where she has a rafflecopter set-up to give this awesome craftivity away one of her lucky followers! :o) Good luck!

Thanks for reading! 


A *Peek* at My Week - January 6, 2014

Time for another one of my favorite linkies - Mrs. Laffin's Laughings: A Peek at My Week

Head on over to Jennifer's great blog to share a peak at your week. 

So, we were supposed to go back to school last Thursday, but school was cancelled on Wednesday night for Thursday and Friday thanks to Hercules. I have never been much of a fan of snow days, but it was really nice to have 2 weeks off. I know I teach 4th grade, but I have a feeling that we are going to need to begin the week with some routine review...I feel like I have been out of school for a month, I can imagine how those kiddos feel.

I mentioned back in September that this year, as a district, we are using Comprehension Connections by Tanny McGregor to teach our comprehension skills. Well this week I will finally finish the lessons from this book. I will be introducing and working on synthesizing all week in Reader's Workshop. 
Click on the book for the link to Amazon. I fully intend to do a blog post or two in the coming weeks about my lessons from this book. It is a quick, easy read and very beneficial...check it out!

Before vacation I introduced 2-digit by 2-digit multiplication to the kiddos using arrays and tables. They L-O-V-E-D it and actually did quite well with it. This week we will be reviewing and working on expanded and standard algorithms. 

This week in writing we will begin our biography unit. As I'm sure most of you know, it is often a struggle to fit Social Studies and Science into the day, so in order to incorporate our Social Studies U.S. Regions standards, we will be doing our biographies on famous people from the south. 
I also hope to fit some fun New Year's writing in before we get too far into our biographies. These are the two activities I have planned. Both are great TPT freebies!  

The first is New Year's Resolutions/Goals found on TPT. Click on the name to find the item. Addie Williams did a great job creating this little guy! (Click on Addie's name to link to her TPT store).  I think my kiddos will love it! Or check out her blog below

The second is New Year's Resolution Freebie, again click on the name for the link. This one is created by Judy Wright. (Click on Judy's name to link to her TPT store). This one will be a bulletin board! 

For the last three months, we have been working on the fundamentals of writing in our intervention block. Now, I hate to even utter this word, MCAS *eeek* is creeping into view. So this week, we are going to work on writing some good leads/hooks, because that seems to be what the kiddos struggle with the most. I love Melissa Forney writing printables - she has some great examples of "grabbers" to get the kiddos started. If you don't know her, check her out {HERE}. I especially love her Young Writers Survival Kit. 
Hopefully, by week's end, we will get to how to respond to different types of writing prompts. 
These are all skills that the kiddos learn/have learned in writing, but we have the time to do a bit more small*ish* group instruction in these areas for the kiddos in need. 

Finally, I have a meeting with the Human Resources department on Tuesday after school at my college because...I am going to teach my very first undergraduate class this semester! I hope both very nervous and very excited about this new experience. Luckily class doesn't begin until January 27th...so I still have time to prepare myself! 

Thanks for reading! 


Currently: January

2 posts in one day after not posting for nearly 4 months, I think so!

Let's be honest here, it's not a true blog-comeback without linking up with Farley's Currently.

Here it is:

I am currently obsessed with Britney Spears again. A friend from high school is one of Britney's dancers in Vegas - so cool! I have watched the new documentary a couple of times and have been finding videos on Youtube to watch...it is so exciting to find Sarah dancing away on stage with Britney. My theory is: If I danced with Sarah (high school dance team) and now Sarah is dancing with Britney Spears, in theory I have danced with Britney Spears! Hey, a girl can dream! 

I got the cutest Alex and Ani Buddha ring for Christmas, it makes me happy to see it dangling away on my finger while I type. 

After a full two weeks off (snow days on Thursday and Friday), I have pretty much lived in yoga pants. Work clothes, what are those? 

One of my friends posted this on Facebook this week 

Along with not blogging, I have always dropped the ball on my TPT endeavor. I must get back into creating (or attempting to create anyway). 

And finally, my favorite Christmas tradition in my stocking. I love the goodies that my mom Santa always finds to put in my stocking...it is my favorite part! :o)

As always, thanks for reading! 

Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Blogger

Yup, that's me! I have been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad blogger. *Hangs head in shame*

For those of you that were following me over the summer, you know that I began working at a new school this year. Although this has been an overwhelming, whirlwind of an experience, I could not be happier! Looking back over the past few months, there so many things that I wish I had blogged about and shared with all of you.

I dislike New Year's Resolutions because I never keep them...I try for a few weeks and then it just doesn't happen.

But, I miss blogging, I miss all of my bloggy friends, I miss reading blogs (I haven't been reading them because I feel so guilty about not posting that I have been avoiding it altogether), and mostly I miss everyone's AMAZING, MOTIVATING, INSPIRING ideas.

For the next few weeks I am going to attempt to do my own little version of Throwback Thursday and post about the excitement of the first 4 months of the school year.

Also, please check back on Friday, as I will finally be posting my Craftivity Collaboration post to share with you Deb Hanson's Homophone Craftivity. In the meantime, check out Deb's incredible crafty blog, Crafting Connections.

Thanks for reading, and thanks to those of your who are still loyal followers! I hope you all had wonderful holidays and Happy 2014!