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Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Made It and a Freebie!

Happy Monday ya'll!  I've linked up with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics for my first Monday Made It!  I've been so busy creating, throwing away, re-creating, and finessing my latest Pinterest project for the Monday Made It Linky Party.  I pinned a book suggestion tree idea on Pinterest at the beginning of the summer and couldn't figure out how I wanted to put my spin on it for the classroom UNTIL the middle of last week.  You can view the original idea here.  I simply loved the idea, but it wasn't going to fit my Dr. Suess/Technology themed classroom.  I also couldn't find a fake stick to spray paint.  The sticks I found in my yard were just too brittle to use.  I did try and even bought yellow spray paint to spray on the stick.  Mid spray painting, I imagined some of my future kiddos making poor choices and snapping the limbs off the tree!  If this happened I would have to start all over..."Aint NOBODY got time for that!!" (shout out to Sweet Brown...from Oklahoma like I am).  

Extremely frustrated and wanting to use the idea, I stumbled across yet another fabulous pin you can read about here.  I LOVE the QR code twist.  I was also inspired  by this pin you can check out here for the Truffula Tress. So, after several weeks of brainstorming as well as trial and error I bring to the table my latest classroom project!
Book Suggestion Truffula Tree
Close up of what is written on chalk trim

The chalk says, "Take a Look!  We suggest these books!"

QR code Book Trailer Example
I'm loving my book suggestion tree that incorporates both themes so seamlessly!  Thanks so much to the listed bloggers for the inspiration to create something new and fun for my classroom.  If you would like to see how to quickly make voice QR codes for anything, check out this awesome resource here.  I made tons of these signs and taped them to craft sticks.  There will be a basket set up at the table with the extra signs, tape, and wet erase markers for student use.  Students will write with wet erase markers the book title, author, and reviewer.  They will then create a book suggestion voice QR code with our iPads and classroom computers.  If you would like a copy of the sign template you can get yours here

If you're interested in creating something similar for you classroom you will need the following materials:

1.  Large ceramic pot
2.  8 sheets of tissue paper
3.  Floral wire
4.  Easter grass or some other filler
5.  Floral foam block to put trunk of tree in
6.  Acrylic Paint
7.  Chalk Board paint
8.  Paint brush
9.  Scissors
10.  Yellow duct tape
11.  Pipe insulator (98 cents each at Lowes-this is just a small piece of it)
12.  Chalk
13.  Hot glue
14.  Printer if choosing to use the printable and colored cardstock
15.  Lamination (if wanting to laminate)
16.  Craft sticks
17.  Packing Tape (clear)

That's enough for now!  Thanks so much for checking out my newest completed project.    Have a fantastic week!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Daily Dozen Week 1 Common Core Freebie

Freebie Fridays

Happy Friday!

I've linked up with TBA and the Friday Freebie Back to School Themes today for my first edition of Daily Dozen Common Core.  Basically, this is morning work that will spiral review concepts throughout the school year.  I didn't fully get my head around 5th grade until after Christmas; therefore, putting me behind in spiral review for my kiddos.  I was able to catch up some, but now that I know what to expect in 5th grade I want to start the school year out with review from Day 1.  

I plan to use these Monday-Thursday as morning work.  On Fridays, my students write a friendly letter home for the week to their parents talking about what they did during the week.  

Click on the picture above to download your free copy of this first edition of Common Core Morning Work.  Please don't forget to rate my product and leave feedback if you download. :)

I'm not going to make copies (unless I have an IEP specification or notice some students needing the scaffold).  The daily dozen will be projected on my SMART board for students to copy in a morning work journal.  The expectation will be that they copy the problem (unless it's a word problem) and then solve showing ALL work in the process.  After our morning meeting each day we will go over the problems and have students self check their answers.  I don't use morning work as a grade, just another opportunity to practice skills.  

I think that's all for now.  I'm super tired from my first ever Stroller Strides class this morning.  Now it's time to work on my project for the Monday Made It linky party.

Have a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Blog Reflections and a New Blog Signature (for real this time)

Happy Almost Friday!

Ok....so I've been thinking about my blog a bunch lately.  Basically, I've decided my blog needed a face lift which sparked the previous post about a new blog signature.  My original blog design is a reflection of me as a K-2 teacher.  I'm now a 5th grade teacher and although I LOVE Dr. Seuss, maybe my blog should reflect me as a person and the upper grades.  My classroom is still very much Dr. Seuss (and will remain) with a twist of technology to appeal to my bigger kids of 5th grade.

So....I've been blog stalking lots of fun blogs I follow and researching different blog templates.  What I found is that I am not willing to pay for a blog background.  I think it's fabulous everyone out there who has spent money on their blogs, but that's not me.  It would also be a tough sell to my hubby justifying money spent on something that I don't profit from.  It's all I can do to justify to him the time spent on it after the baby goes to bed once or twice a week. ;)

I blog because I like getting ideas from other bloggers and want to share what's going on in my world...not to become a famous blogger or big time seller at TPT.  In fact, in good conscious I will never sell anything I make.  I can't imagine giving it to my team and selling it on the internet.  I also can't imagine selling it to my team and selling it on the internet.  It's not my style and feel as a teaching community we should share what we do and all become stronger/more creative teachers in the process.

After creating freebies this past year, I totally understand why teachers charge; it takes time to create the beautiful products available on TPT.  I do purchase items from TPT, but I have to REALLY like it to spend the money. :) 

Ok, so now I can go to bed.  I'm much happier with my blog design and signature now.  It's a reflection of me and my personality.  Check back tomorrow as I link up with Friday Freebies to share what I'm doing for morning work this year to keep spiraling math, vocabulary, and analogies this school year.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Yay! My New Blog Button

Ok, the baby is still sleeping so I had a few extra minutes to play with a blog signature. I'm so excited to add this newest piece to my blog.  Thanks so much to Jessica over at mrsstanfordsclass for her AMAZING blog tutorials!  Her videos are so simple to make your blog stand out.  Go check her out if you get a chance!  Ok, now back to getting ready for the day! 

Happy Tuesday and a Blogiversary!

The Teacher Wife

Happy Tuesday Morning!  I've already been to the gym and am now doing a few things around the house before the baby wakes up.  We are so blessed to have such an awesome sleeping girl!

While doing my daily blog stalking I stumbled across a way to share an awesome give away happening over at The Sweetest Thing.  There's only a day and some hours before she gives away some pretty fantastic things to celebrate her blogiversary.  Stop by and check out her blog.  She also has some great products for sale in her TPT store.

I think that's all I really wanted to say this morning.  I guess I will go and get things ready for the pool today with one of my team members.  Have a fantastic Tuesday!!


Monday, July 22, 2013

Back to School Math Freebie

Happy Monday ya'll!  We are back from our much needed family beach vacation in Isle of Palms.  I've finally created a Teachers Pay Teachers Store where I will now host all of my freebies.  I will also go back through my blog and upload any freebies referenced in older posts in the store as well.

My other accomplishment today is another freebie just in case you're thinking about back to school.  Basically it's a daily math routine to get students to practice fractions and decimal equivalents.  We did this last year after one of my team members shared the idea with us.  My contribution to the idea is the recording sheet and sharing it with all of my wonderful followers. :)  Each day to jump start our math lesson we get out our hundreds board and write the number of days we've been at school.  I know you think this is really basic, but just hang in there with me for a few more sentences.

After students write the whole number we talk about what the fraction would be.  Once we've landed on what the fraction would be we write it in the box.  We then talk about what the decimal would be.  After a few days of class discussion after each entry most students get the hang of the number pattern.  On days the fraction can be reduced we talk about how to reduce fractions and how to do it.  A week or so into the routine I turn the discussions over to the children and they share their entries and thinking.
Recording Sheet

Example of a sheet being filled at the beginning of the year so you can better visualize what I 'm talking about

The fruits of my labor became evident when we dove into our fractions and decimals unit.  We do place value at the beginning of the year so this routine was a good jumping off point for decimal place values.  The idea and recording sheet are simple; however, the impact it made on student understanding was total worth the 2-3 minute routine each day.  Last year I just did it until the 100th day, but this year I'm making the copy double sided to use the entire school year.

I hope you enjoy and are able to use it with your kids this year.  What math routines do you use to help students practice more challenging concepts?

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Liebster Blog Nominations and Another Fun Day on Vacation

We had a wonderful time this morning in downtown historic Charleston.  We went on a private Civil War carriage ride through town and enjoyed learning more about the history of the war from Charleston.  We also enjoyed shopping in the market and a delicious lunch before heading back to the beach.  Below is a picture of my hubby and little girl before the carriage ride today.

Last night I mentioned my nomination for the Liebster Blog Award which I am so proud to be nominated!  I always wondered how people got nominated for blog awards.  I also hoped at one point in my blogging experience to be nominated.  I never thought the day would come so soon.

The Liebster Award is given to up and coming blogs with less than 200 followers.  The Liebster Award nomination works like this: 

1. In a post about your nomination, link back to the blog that nominated you.

2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers

3. Answer the questions posted for you by your nominator

4. Share 11 random facts about yourself

5. Create 11 questions for your nominees

6. Contact your nominees and let them know you nominated them.

That's all there is to it.  So, lets get this party started!!

My nominations for the Liebster Award are:

There are sooooo many fabulous bloggers out there and after several hours between things last night and today I'm unable to nominate anyone.  The reason I'm unable to nominate any blogs/bloggers is because I simply can't find any!  Every blog I follow either has too many followers or has been nominated at least one time!  Some blogs have been nominated three times!  If you know of a blog/blogger please let me know where I can find them and nominate them.  I'm looking forward to more upper grade bloggers to nominate ASAP!

Questions from Kris at thepoolepages.blogspot.com

1.  What is your favorite teaching memory?  

My favorite teaching memory is when my 5th graders this past year were having a polite impromptu discussion about presidents and the national debt at their seats on the last day of school.  I just listened quietly without being noticed.  It was such a proud moment for me that my students cared about government issues long after we had a formal unit on it.  

2.  How long have you been teaching, and what grades have you taught?

This will be my 5th year teaching. I've taught kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and now 5th.  This school year will be my 2nd year in 5th grade and I'm loving every minute of it!!

3.  Where are your favorite places to shop?

I love The Loft, The Limited, Old Navy, and Target for clothes!  I enjoy Pottery Barn, Pier 1, and Hobby Lobby for the home.  My favorite teaching store is Lakeshore Learning!

4.  What is your favorite movie?

My favorite movies are Down to You and Serendipity.  Both movies are romantic/love stories that remind me of different parts of my life.

5.  What's your favorite kind of cookie?

I love all cookies!  If I have to pick just one cookie I would choose a classic snickerdoodle.  My mom used to make these for my lunch every week as a kid.

6.  What's the best gift you ever received?

The best gift I've ever received is my little girl Lillian.  God was right on point with blessing us with such an awesome, kind, loving, and hilarious kiddo!  She is the best thing to ever happen to me!  I'm loving every minute of being her mom!

7.  What is hanging on your living room walls?

Family is very important to me.  On our living room walls are three large pictures.  Two of the pictures are on canvas from our newborn photo shoot.  The third picture is from our engagement photo shoot that has our wedding guest signatures on the matting.

8.  What's your favorite area in your classroom?

This is a hard question or me.  I love every part of my classroom because its where magic happens each and every day. Currently, I've been giving my classroom a little makeover.  My themes are Dr. Seuss and technology.  After I put my room back together I should have a more specific answer. :)

9.  Your classroom runs on love, laughter, and lots of _________?

Chocolate!  Every day I take a Dove moment for myself to reflect on how the day is going and how to make it better. 

10.  What would your 'perfect' Saturday look like?

My perfect Saturday looks like going to my Aquasize class (water exercise class) in the morning; family breakfast when I get home; family time doing something fun (pool, park, or Discovery Place Kids); and relaxing with a good book or craft while baby naps; ending with grilling out in the backyard enjoying the  evening as a family.

11.  What's the one thing in your classroom you can't live without?

Honestly, I don't think I could live without technology in my classroom.  I love creating tasks/centers for my students to complete/participate in using iPads, SMART board, and computers.  We are very blessed with technology at my school! :)))

11 Random Facts About Me:

1.  I used to be a Sr. Regional Training Coordinator for a major restaurant chain in several states.

2.  My undergraduate degree is in Political Science with a minor in English from the University of North Florida.

3.  I was born in Wyoming, but grew up in Oklahoma.

4.  Before becoming a teacher I was an IT recruiter for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Washington DC.

5.  I'm the first person on both sides of my family to go to college as well as earn a Master's degree 

6.  Before finding out the gender of our baby we called her "baby Dale".

7.  I've taught at a Charter School before landing my dream teaching gig in a rural county.

8.  My graduate degree is a Master's of Arts in Teaching with a focus in Elementary Education from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

9.  My husband and I dated for only 4 months before moving in together.

10.  I'm going to do my national boards next school year.

11.  I ran my first 10k in April at the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston and will run my first half marathon this January in Charleston.

My Questions For Nominees: (I borrowed some of Kris' questions because they were so good)

1.  How long have you been teaching, and what grades have you taught?

2.  Are you a beach or mountain person?

3.  Where are your favorite places to shop?

4.  What is your favorite teaching memory?  

5.  What's the best gift you ever received?

6.  Are you an Apple or PC kind of person?

7.  What is your favorite morning drink and why?

8.  What's the one thing in your classroom you can't live without?

9.  What is your favorite day of the week and why?

10.  What book are you currently reading?

11.  If you weren't a teacher what would your dream job be?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My Latest Creation with Pinterest Inspiration

Hello from the beach and Happy Tuesday!  I'm at the beach with the family this week.  We are having a fantastic time here at Isle of Palms, SC.  We are here for the week and enjoying every minute of our family time.  Below is a picture of us from yesterday.  :))
I woke up this morning to some really sweet comments on my blog.  I love starting the day with positive news and feedback. I am blessed with a few new followers as well as a nomination for the Liebster Blog Award!  Thanks so much to Kris at http://thepoolepages.blogspot.com for the nomination.  Go check out her cute and super creative blog featuring a back to school freebie!  :))

This is such an awesome compliment and unexpected surprise!!   I will talk more about this nomination tomorrow while the baby naps as well as share my answers to questions and my nominees for the award.

Ok, sooooo my newest creation...  
Background Info~Every night I like to relax on the iPad searching Pinterest.  I really enjoy getting ideas for my classroom, family, and home.  During one of my nightly searches I stumbled across a cute idea for a decoration and treat for students using Dum Dum suckers.  I wasn't completely sold on the idea because I wasn't sure a small sucker would ignite interest in a 5th grader.  I pinned the idea and then marinated for a little while on how I could use it in a 5th grade classroom.  At last I was able to take the idea and kick it up a notch for 5th grade.  Below are pictures of my creation.

Below:  the additional prize color coded at the bottom of the sucker sticks

Below:  the suckers with colored sticks that are referenced above (used 160 suckers)

Below:  Hobby Lobby purchase of styrofoam sphere and metal pail

Below:  sucker bouquet started (I just set the sphere in the pail...no glue needed)

Below:  my final creation :)

Basically, if a child gets to pick a sucker from the bouquet as a reward they get an additional prize that is colored on the bottom of the sucker stick.  All I have of to do is put a chalk board label on the pail put the color code prize chart somewhere on the pail, and title the bouquet.  I would love any suggestions for titling this bouquet...haven't figured this part out yet.  

I need to go to bed now because we have a busy morning in Charleston with shopping, a Civil War carriage tour, and a yummy lunch all BEFORE the baby takes her nap!!  Thanks for tuning in.  Have a great week and check back tomorrow for my nominations of the Liebster award.  :)))



Saturday, July 6, 2013

Hello and Happy Summer!!

Ok....I've been a super blog slacker these days.  It definitely wasn't the plan, but being a mom has kept me busier than I initially thought.  For the past week I've been in a potty training nightmare experience.  Our daughter is definitely ready for the potty training, but nobody told me how challenging, exhausting, frustrating, or time consuming tricky it would be.  I guess they forgot that part. :)  We are doing good with it, but it's a constant work in progress.  The "naked weekend" everybody raves about didn't work.  After several conversations with the pediatrician, mom blog stalking, and my own experiences we've developed a system that's working for us.  The long and short of it is that she will be fully potty trained sooner than later; how many 20 year olds can you think of that aren't potty trained??! Below is a picture of us going on a wagon ride with the practice potty!  That's my life currently, but I'm loving every minute!
Can you see her enthusiasm with me and my expectation the practice potty will be with us everywhere

Anyway, now that I've explained myself and my slacking ways... on to teaching "stuff".  

I love looking at pictures of classrooms.  It's so fun addicting  for me to see other people's creativity and to imagine how fun school must be for the children who are in these amazing classrooms!  Before I left for summer break I took a few pictures of things in my classroom.  Obviously it's not the complete picture because I had to get my room ready for summer cleaning; however, I hope you can get a few ideas to bring back to your classrooms in August.  When I go back a few days early and set up my classroom in it's entirety, I will post the most current pictures for anyone interested.  

This is my word wall.  Yes, I have a word wall in 5th grade!  I think it's important for children to have a common area for vocabulary resources.  During the school year, it has yellow popcorn shaped papers on rings hanging below each letter.  Here we put vocabulary words from our weekly stories with the definitions on the back side.  It's a portable word wall.  This year I will be adding our weekly vocabulary words from the Wordly Wise Program as well.  I'm thinking I may laminate these since it will be used year to year.  If you are interested in the template, just leave a comment and I can send them your way.  The table in front of the word wall is my writing table center.  This entire area of my classroom is a writing nook.  I will post pics of the anchor charts and resources when I hang them back up in August. :)

This is a picture of my classroom library minus the carpet on the floor and the pillow rests.  The cinder block bench is additional seating for my kiddos!  They LOVE sitting on the bench!!  I actually have two benches in my classroom. It was super inexpensive to make and it's my answer to the crate seats trending in K-2!  Crate seats don''t work well with the bigger kids.  All you need is large piece of wood, two cinder blocks for each bench, and your choice of spray paint color.  In this pic the bench is purple; however, I repainted them for this school year in teal blue to better match my theme.  I think I have a total of $12 in both benches.   The other bench is next to my large carpeted area in front of my SMART board.  Pics to follow when I take all of the pictures after summer cleaning is finished.  

Here is where my student work will hang in the classroom.  Last year I only had 18 students, but I'm prepared for 24 next year just in case.  I simply laminated construction paper and hot glued clothes pins with the Cat in the Hat cut outs from LakeShore to the clothes pin.  It's a super easy display that my students can quickly change out every few weeks.  I like it because it adds color to my classroom.  My theme is Dr. Seuss with a technology integration.  

The Twitter bulletin board is an interactive exit slip board for students.  I use it weekly when going over story theme or point of view.  It's an easy and fun way for me to assess student understanding.  Theme and point of view was very challenging for me to assess student understanding until I found this idea on Pinterest.  I create exit slips each week and students "tweet" them on the board.  The pinterest post had students write responses on laminated card stock.  I played with that idea at first and then felt making exit slips with what I'm asking of students would provide good feedback to parents.  There are 4 exit slips on a page so it's not very many copies each week.  They enjoy it and it's an easy way for me to assess and reflect on my teaching as well.

This is where my yarn hangs.  I don't use yarn as much in 5th grade, but it's an easy way to keep it organized and untangled.  This is behind my classroom door when the door is opened.  I had parents several years ago send in washed 2 liter soda bottles.  I used an exacto knife to cut the bottom off.  I pulled the center string of the yarn down the pour spout.  I hole punched the sides of the bottle and tied some string to it to hang from the wall.  I get a ton of compliments on my yarn display.

I also utilize the daily 5 (aka Weekly 5) and will be implementing a version of CAFE this fall.  Here is the display freebie I found on Pinterest.  I think it came from Kristen at I Teach 1:1.  I reference our Weekly 5 stations daily as a reminder of student choice.  See, I LOVE Dr. Seuss AND Technology, so I have dual theme in my room.

Finally, this is my newest completed project!  This is the same trapezoid table seen in the word wall picture above.  I was inspired by a paint guy at Lowes and purchased chalk board paint.  I painted the table top with 4 coats of the chalk board paint using a roller.  I plan to use my newly created chalk board table as a math station for students to work out practice problems.  I will still have the table set up as a writing station in the writing nook during our reading workshop as well.  I just thought having a chalk board table station would be a fun way for students to practice math problems (which isn't very fun).  I can't wait to unveil it to my new group of kiddos!

That's all I have right now!  Have a fantastic Sunday and I hope you all are enjoying your summer as well!  Oh, and don't forget to sign up for Bloglovin'.  This site will allow you to link all of the blogs your follow from Google Reader for free so you can keep up to date with your favorite blogs.  I've enjoyed my experiences with it so far! :)))


~Amanda :))))