Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Linky Parties

I've harvested my first strawberry...and boy does it taste delicious!

We purchased not just one Topsy Turvy, but two - one for tomatoes (my husband's pick) and one for strawberries.  I have to admit, at first I was a little skeptical that any plant would grow upside down.  Surprisingly, so far so good!


Today I'm linking up twice!  First, I'm linking up with Sprinkle Teaching Magic to discuss blogging:

1. Why did you start blogging?

One day I woke up and realized I needed a change.  I needed inspiration, motivation, and collaboration.  Joining the blogging community gives me an outlet for all that and more!  I love to learn about new ideas for my classroom.  Now I can share my ideas and collaborate with teachers all over the world!

2. What blogs do you stalk? What blogs inspire you?

The first education blog that I became infatuated with was The Inspired Apple, by Babbling Abby.  Although I don't teach 1st grade, I was drawn to Abby's blog because she is artistic, an amazing photographer, a creative writer, and a wonderful teacher.

Through Abby's blog I stumbled upon other great blogs, which then led me to more .... and more...such as 4th Grade Frolics, The Teacher Wife, and Step into Second Grade with Mrs. Lemons.  I've had their blogs added to my Favorites bar for the longest time.  I started my blog a few weeks ago and now I can follow them for real!

3. Blogging tips, tools, and great ideas you have learned along the way
I'm not sure if I should be giving any tips yet.  I'm still learning the ropes as I go.  The one thing I like about other blogs is how visually appealing they are.  I'm hoping to eventually have my blog professionally designed.  Any suggestions as to who I should contact when the time is right?

4. Blogging and balance
My husband works the night shift, so I try to squeeze in some blog time in the evenings before bed, or in the mornings before I run to work.  I'm looking forward to the summer when I can do some serious blog hopping and posting!

5. What are your blogging goals for the summer?

My first goal is to find more 4th grade blogs.  If you are a 4th grade teacher (3rd or 5th grade too) send me a link to your blog.  I'd love to collaborate more with others, maybe hold a giveaway or two, and link up more often.  I'd also love to post at least 2-3 times a week.  We'll see how it goes!

Alright, one more.  I'm also linking up with Mommy and Me Creations for All About Who round 3.

 Mommy and Me Creations

1) What are your favorite hobbies?

Camping, hiking, gardening, crafting, cooking (although I'm not good at it yet) and creating teaching related items.

2) What is one of your best talents?

I love to dance! 

3) Are you right or left handed?


4) Are you a spontaneous person, or do you like having things more planned out?

I like to have everything planned out.  This becomes annoying quickly for others! 

My last day with students is 4 weeks from today!  Those of you who are already out for summer....have a drink for me!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Endangered Animal Research

Wahoo...I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  4 more weeks of school left.  (I'm sure those of you who are already out for the school year are snickering at my excitement.)

With the Common Core Standards, creeping up on us, I decided to stray away from personal narratives for a little while and dabble in nonfiction writing.  More specifically, animal research.

I allowed time for students to select an endangered animal and research it online.  Students filled out a graphic organizer, created a rough draft, edited, revised, and then.....drum roll please.....created a nonfiction picture book about their animal.

Citing resources and creating a bibliography page can be difficult for students.  So, I created a fill-in-the-blank template.

Interested in researching and writing an endangered animal picture book with your class?  Download all the resources and printables at my TpT store.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Cute Clipart

I purchased clipart for the first time to jazz up some of my printables and units that I will be uploading to Teachers Pay Teachers in a few weeks.  I have been using free clipart for the last few weeks, but am starting to get bored with it.  I searched through many sites and finally stumbled across KPM Doodles:

I needed some cute monkey clipart, however I was having trouble finding a combination of both color doodles and black line/digital stamps.  KPM Doodles has the perfect combination pack.

COMBO Monkey business digital clipart and black line stamps

Then I noticed that if you buy 2 you can get 1 free.

COMBO Monkey business digital clipart and black line stamps

Loving a free deal, I checked out the whole shop and also purchased some adorable number and gingerbread house clipart.  (I know, a little early for gingerbread!  But, I just had to have them.)  Both came in a combo pack with colorful doodles and the digital stamps.

COMBO PACK Math Monsters Digital Clip art and black line stamps      COMBO Gingerbread Kids Digital Clip art and black line stamps

I am in love with KPM Doodles and can't wait to use all my new digital clips.  I highly suggest you check out the KPM Doodle blog and etsy shop.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cardboard Camera Dump

So, I received a lot of questions about my students' Cardboard Math Arcade so I decided to upload a few more photos!

Here are some photos of the construction phase of our project:

Here is a quick video clip of our arcade just before Mrs. Q's class entered the room.

Our class inspired other students in Mrs. Q's class to also create Cardboard Math Arcades.  Here is an example: Sami's Arcade Crane!

If your looking for a fun way to review previously learned content over the last few weeks of school I highly suggest creating your own cardboard arcade!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

All About Hoo (week 2)

I'm linking up with Mommy & Me Creations again to learn all about Hoo!  Here are this week's questions and answers:
1) What are your plans for the Summer?

 This summer I plan to create and upload materials for TpT, visit friends and family, garden, camp, and go hiking with my husband and 2 dogs.  I'm sure I'll also get roped into helping my husband finish restoring his 66' F100 in time for a few car shows!
2) What are your favorite Summer activities?
Camping, gardening, hiking, going to barbeques, and fireworks.
3) Do you enjoy going outdoors, or are you more of an inside person?
I am definitely an outdoors person.  I look for any excuse imaginable to be outside.
4) Which of the following is your favorite and why. Fishing, Hiking, or Camping.
I like all 3, but my favorite is hiking.  I love walking through the woods.  I also love tiring out my 2 dogs.  Maci is 2 and Apollo just turned 1 a few weeks ago.  A tired puppy is a happy puppy.  If our dogs aren't tired, then something is getting chewed up.  (Examples include kitchen cabinets, moldings, and most recently - our carpet.  I'll have to post pictures of that one later!)
Link up - I can't wait to learn more about you!
Mommy and Me Creations

Friday, May 18, 2012

Memorial Day Craftivity Freebie!

The month of May is finally winding down and Memorial Day is right around the corner.  With 5 more weeks of school, my kiddos are in much need of something cute and fun!

 I created a mini-book for students to make for Memorial Day.  You can have it too!  I'm linking up with TBA's Freebie Friday.  Download my Memorial Day Craftivity from TpT for Free!  Enjoy!

Freebie Fridays

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

All About Hoo? You! That's Who!

Today I'm linking up with Mommy and Me Creations so that we can all get to know each other a little better.

Here are this week's questions:

1) What is your favorite color?

Blue is my favorite color.  Purple comes in at a close 2nd!

2) What is your favorite food?

My favorite food is pizza.  Actually, it's more like an addiction.  I found this recipe for a Pizza Hut style personal pan pizza and am dying to try it!
Pinned Image

3)What is your favorite T.V. show?
My favorite T.V. show is Once Upon a Time.  What did you all think of the season finale?  I am completely captivated by the show!

4) Do you have a lucky number? And if so, what is it?
My lucky number is 3!  A fortune cookie told me that it was lucky when I was younger.  My birthday is on the 30th and I graduated from highschool in 03 so the number kind of stuck!

Link up with us!  I'd love to hear more about you! 

Mommy and Me Creations

Monday, May 14, 2012

One Lovely Blog

Thanks to Vanessa at Kinder Love for passing on the One Lovely Blog Award to me! Check out her blog, it is super cute!

There are a few simple rules to receiving this award:

1) Follow the person who gave you the award

2) Link back to the person who gave you the award

3) Pass the award on to 15 new bloggers

So here are the 15 new blogs that I am passing it to:

1. 3rd Grade Gridiron

2. Mrs. Stanford's Class

3. Caffeinated Conclusions

4. Cog Works

5. Confessions of a Teaching Junkie

6. Dirty Hands and Lesson Plans

7. Heather's Heart

8. Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies

9. Mrs. Plant's Press

10. Working 4 the Classroom

11. Obsessively Teaching Fourth Grade

12. I Want to Be Super Teacher

13. Teaching with Blond Ambition

14. Two Tangled Teachers

15. 2nd Grade Pig Pen

Check them all out!  I guarantee you will love each and every one!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Pinterest Boards to Demonstrate Reading Comprehension

Students had a blast creating personal laptops with Pinterest pages on their screens.  Their Pinterest pages had a reading comprehension flair. 

After reading the book The Memory String, by Eve Bunting, I modeled for students how to fill out the Pinterest themed graphic organizer to summarize the book.  On the top left side, I created an illustration for the book, the title, author, and a summary.  On the top right side,  I included 3 of the main character's names and pictures.  At the bottom of the page, I "pinned" an illustration of the setting, beginning, middle, and end.  Each illustration opens up and underneath is a description.  (Just like when you click on a photo that has been pinned, you see a description that will send you to a link to learn more.)

Interested in making personal laptops with reading comprehension Pinterest screens?  Download the craftivity here.  It comes with 5 different versions of the Pinterest page graphic organizer covering summarizing, main idea and details, making connections, and questioning along with a blank version.

Download the Back to School - All About Me version here!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Free Apple Field Trip

I took my little techies to the Apple Store at Eastview Mall.  They offer a free field trip for students.  We learned how to use Garage Band on the iPads to compose music.  You can also select to have your class create photo albums in iPhoto, edit videos in iMovie, or make Keynote presentations.

Students each received a free t-shirt, a CD with their music composition, and a certificate!

Afterwards, we swung by the food court for Subway and Friendly's.  What a treat!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Respect for our Environment

Today I'm linking up with Maria at Be the Difference to share a way that I teach respect in my classroom.

On Earth Day we talked about not only respect for each other, but also respect for our environment.

I used the book, Just a Dream, by Chris Van Allsburg.  It is about a little boy, Walter, who litters and thinks recycling is a waste of time.  When his friend gets a tree for her birthday he thinks it is a ridiculous gift.  Walter thinks the future will be full of wonderful technology and exciting inventions.  He wishes to visit the future and one night his wish comes true - in his dreams.  Unfortunately, Walter doesn't see the world exactly like he'd imagined it.  When he wakes up, and returns to the present, he is changed.

This is a great book to talk about how a character evolves throughout the story.  Walter develops respect for his environment and his friend who planted the tree.

I typed up a few  short response questions that I used with my students after discussing the book during our Socratic Circle.   Enjoy!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Teachers Pay Teachers Appreciation

Wow!  I am overwhelmed with anticipation to see how my first sale pans out at my Teachers Pay Teachers store!  I just started uploading resources and materials this past weekend.  I've got about 10 items, including 3 freebies. 

I landed a spot in the weekly newsletter.  My Cardboard Math Arcade freebie is one of the 10 free downloads for this week.  I'm ecstatic!

When I turned in my National Board portfolio, the first thing on my mind was, "What now?"  Sign up for your own Teachers pay Teachers store now!  It may have only been a week, but it is well worth it.  Before you upload your items it forces you to really think about their value in the classroom and then tweak them so that they can be even better!

....and with all the morning's excitement, where are the dogs?  Sleeping!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Math Fact Family Lunch

My students hosted a Math Fact Lunch for their families!  We served drinks, pizza, and cookies.

Students shared Power Point presentations with their families.  They discussed the importance of practicing math facts both at home and school and shared fun ways to practice.

Everyone who attended got a folder full of math fact games, activities, and hand-outs.  Along with a goody bag filled with playing cards and dice.

On a final note, stop by my Teachers pay Teachers store for the Teacher Appreciation Week 3-Day Sale!

Stop by and see some of my new products, like Leap Frog Multiplication Memory!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Donors Choose

Wahoo!  3 of my projects were funded on Donors Choose and the packages from Lakeshore Learning arrived today!

If you haven't joined Donors Choose I highly suggest you do.  I've had 34 projects funded over the last 4 years and have received thousands of dollars in free materials and resources for my classroom!

You just post a few paragraphs stating what materials you would like and how you will use them.  If your project is funded you take 6 photographs of your students using the materials, have 5 students create thank you letters for each donor, and post a thank you letter yourself.  Trust me, it is well worth it!

View some of my projects: