Friday, August 5, 2016

A favor...Try out my new digital Resource

Hello friends,

I ask of you a favor:

Can you try out my updated African American Research Project "Google Slides Version" and give it a go?

I want to work the kinks out before I post it on TpT and I figured you would be the perfect audience!

I'm new at trying this digital resource out, so there may be some snags that I need to fix.

With everything becoming sooooo digital, it's only fitting that I adapt my classroom to meet those needs.  What I did was take one of my projects and transform it into Google Slides, but I'm not positive all of the sharing settings are good to go.

Would you be SO KIND and download it for FREE in my TpT store and provide me feedback?  I'll leave it up for a week or so, fix it if need be, and then switch to $$.  The good news?  You get to keep it for free. (insert happy dance).

So thank you.

I'll love you forever.  

No seriously.  

It's a promise.  

African American Research Project

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

March Currently

Thanks to Farley for the link up!

I've watched the Bachelor's my guilty pleasure.  So, if you're a fan too, you and I know that Ben broke the rules of telling 2 girls that he loved them!  Jeesh--supposed to be a secret, buddy!  I do give him credit though... he's wearing his heart on his sleeve and is being completely honest.  Wonder what he's going to do next week. I'm a Lauren fan, so we will have to wait and see who he picks!  

So excited it's March... LOVE THAT!

But it leads to my next worry...about how fast testing is approaching because I'm not sure my kiddos are ready! We have to jam pack everything in before March, and if you teach 5th grade, it's sure a lot of curriculum!  We're battling multiplying fractions this afternoon, and then it's off to my least favorite, which is dividing decimals.  Any tips and tricks?

I need a vacation like yesterday.  Stressed out to the max between work and home.  I need to get away with just my hubby for a bit to unwind and recharge.  I'm sure you can relate... Add a mani/pedi to that and I'm good to go.

And yes, we are a polling site.  We have PD that day while people come in and vote.  The kids get to stay home and have an extra day off.  Works for us, but I am with Farley and I'm not a fan of all those people scoping out the building and acting like they own the place.  I guess we have to remember that schools are designed to serve the community, and if they are a polling facility, then they are in fact providing a service to the community.  Still doesn't make it my favorite day of the year though...

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Ready to go exploring...starting with the Vikings!

I kick off my explorer unit with a mini study of the Vikings.  The ruthless warriors.

My SS text doesn't cover these people in depth ( paragraph) so I'm always looking for things to supplement.  


I found a GREAT site that I wanted to share.  

First, the Vikings are known for their sagas, or stories, and the kids really get into them.  I used to have this ancient record player I'd drag into class and they'd think it was so cool to play a record....well...I think it's finally died.  Enter this site.  The BBC does such a great job with these sagas, and I've treated my students to one a day (they're about 5 minutes each).  

They are funny and do a great job of modernizing these sagas so the kids can relate and remember them. 

My second site is also a BBC site.  

There's different tabs for the kids to browse.

Each tab has sections that break up the main topic, with pictures and videos.

There's games to play...the kids loved this!

The quiz was also great for the kids who are fast finishers.
I made a 10 question web quest for this site and you can get that for free here.  I also made an answer key so you don't have to go searching for answers.

**public service announcement - the content is no longer updated by BBC, so some of the videos may not work.  I still encourage you to use this site, as there is tons of information on it!***

The kids were engaged..they were learning new content...there was technology involved...WIN WIN!!!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

September Currently

Thanks to Farley for this fun link up!  
Bring on September!!!

Totally vegging out on the couch watching some good ol' Goonies right now...what a classic!

So I haven't gotten a paycheck since early June.  Let's just say that my bank account is VERY happy to see my paycheck again tomorrow!  

This week has been unseasonably hot and humid in CT - several districts have gone home half days this week because it is just sooo hot.  But not us.  We sweat.  It's supposed to be 90 all weekend and I'm so tempted to squeeze in another beach day - why not?!

This summer TV is for the birds.. I need my Scandal and Blacklist back ASAP!  

I need a massage...standing all day does a job on your back.  My niece says I'm  "totes cray cray" for not scheduling one these days.

My three goals are pretty simple, IF I stay on top of it and not let my desk get out of it is already and it's only the 6th day of school.  My plan is to stay late 1 day a week and get most of my grading/organizing/copying/planning done so I can stay current and leave on time to pick up my little one on the other 4 days.  We'll see if this happens.. Also, I'm SO CLOSE to fitting back into all of my pre-pregnancy pants.  I'm technically the same weight as I was before my daughter, but the weight must have shifted because I can't quite fit in everything.  

One thing I did do for myself was schedule a Stitch Fix.  I'm hooked, you guys.  I was on the fence for SO LONG and finally I just did it.  My first box - kept 1 shirt. My second box - kept the whole kit and kaboodle!!  My 3rd is on it's merry way to my house and I can't wait!!  Don't wait around like I did forever--schedule one.  It's so worth it for the sheer joy of seeing the box when you get home!  It's the little things....If you want to, you can use this link to schedule your fix!

Happy September!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Building Classroom Environment

The beginning of school is tough.

For teachers.  For kids. For families.  For me.

It's my job to make my classroom a refuge for those tough days.  I spend the first 20 days of my school year teaching routines and classroom management to build that foundation that lasts for the remainder of the year.  It's not easy!  This year my district is also implementing a guided math AND reading workshop all together.  I'm a little stressed...but that's for another post!

One of my favorite activities is such a great one to do on the first or second (or whatever day!) of school.  I have the students trace their arm and hand on white construction paper.  In their hand, they think about what makes them unique.  I give them brainstorm ideas, such as...

What do you do on the weekend?
What are your hobbies?
What makes you happy?
What's your favorite book?
How do you spend time with your friends?
What is special about your family?
Do you have a special talent or gift?
What are you good at?

They draw and illustrate, using words and pictures, their answers to these questions in their hands.  I stress that they can use words and pictures because not all students are great artists.  They also cannot have any white space, so they use lots of color to fill in those spaces.

When they are done with their hand, they cut it out.  We spend some time sharing our hands, and I let the kids know that they can choose to share their entire hand, or just a few items from them.  It's important to let them share what they are comfortable with to build trust, and I don't want it to be a forced activity! Some students who are reluctant to share at all will want to open up by the end of the discussion and want to add details about their hand.  When everyone has had a chance to share, I bring them to our bulletin board and we arrange their hands into the shape of a flower.  There are millions of pins on Pinterest that have different spins on this idea, and I shaped my lesson from many of these pins (so thank you!)  Here's a picture of how my bulletin board turned out this year.

I leave this up all year.  This board happens to be outside of my classroom, so I am greeted by this happy board each and every day.  Such a nice reminder that we are all different, and even on our toughest days, we can all lean on each other to make it the best day possible.  That's what it's really all about, isn't it?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Back to School! (already?!) A freebie letter to students on the first day!

When my kids come in the door on that first day, I want to make sure they have something to do at their desk.  It's always a little crazy with parents, new staff, and the general chaos of the first day so I have to leave good instructions to keep the early arrivers busy.

I like to write a letter to the students to read when they find their desk.  I do this for a couple of reasons:
1) I can see how they follow directions
2) It gives them something quiet to do while other classmates arrive.
3) I don't have to repeat the same directions a million times!

This year, my letter outlined the supplies they have on their desk and where to put them.  I made sure to use simple transition words and directions so all of the students could understand.  I like to linger in the back of the room that first morning, observing the student's behavior, seeing how they interact with their peers, and their behavior.  Some get to work right away and are very quiet.  Others are nervous and run and whisper to their friends who they're sitting next to.  And there's always the couple that make their presence known--we know how those students look, right?!

Here is a copy of my letter that I leave, and there is a blank template for you to use if you so desire!  The fonts I used were Too Much Paper!, Carton Six, and KG Miss Kindergarten.  

I leave a blank name tag on their desk for them to color as morning work (it's interesting to see what designs they come up with!!)  I use PowerPoint and type all of their names in appleberry font, which is my favorite.  Then I make the font huge and make it outlined, so they can color the inside.  These get laminated and then taped on their desks.  Easy, colorful, and cheap!  They are super proud of them when they finish too (some kiddos take a couple days to get it juuuust right.) 

This is an example of how they look before the kids color.  Of course, you can use whatever font you want!

If you'd like your own editable copy of the first day letter, visit my TpT store to download it for FREE!  Make sure you have the fonts listed above if you like the look of what I use.  I have embedded the same letter (different, more simple fonts) below if you'd prefer that too.  Click on Google Slides in the bottom right corner to edit.  

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Currently July

Yay it's July!! To me, this is officially the summer month... and I enjoy each and every second! Thanks to Farley for the Currently!

My little girl is starting to walk.. I'd say 60% crawl 40% walk.  Once she decides it's officially the faster way to travel, I'm done for! She is quite the busy baby and never stops.  She's keeping me busy this summer! 

I'm also in the midst of planning for her first birthday party (everyone says how time goes so fast, but really, really, I was in the hospital like yesterday...)  I'm thinking of mint, pink, and gold theme. I'm headed to Hobby Lobby today to start perusing and planning.  Pinterest is dangerous.. but it's ohhhh soooo goood for ideas.

I'm enjoying a hot coffee, and it's the little things that make it that much more enjoyable.  Not gulping down a sip in the midst of morning math, or secretly re-filling while the kids are at special.  Ahhhh.. this is one of my most favorite things.

I've got a few unfinished TpT literature guides- The Watsons go to Birmingham and Roll of Thunder Hear my Cry.  I love these books and I've got to push myself to finish the guides.

Maui-T minus 2 weeks.  It's my mom, my dad, my daughter, and me on the plane together.  The rest of the fam is coming in shifts, so I am most nervous about surviving the plane ride.  I just might be the most hated person on a plane traveling with a little person.  I can just see myself taking the 1329 walk down the aisle politely apologizing for my screamer.  OR it can go well.  I'm preparing for the worst.

And lastly, I am really good at being organized, being level headed, and having common sense.  I balance out my team because they can get a little wound up and I bring them back to reality, although I am guilty of doing the same thing at times too!

Enjoy the currently linky!!