Friday, November 29, 2013

Get Ready!

I'm excited... you should be too!
Get those wish lists ready!

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I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving 2013!  I know I have a lot to be thankful for!!  Enjoy this time off with your friends and family!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Giveaway Winner AND a great reminder for us hard-working teachers...

Congratulations to Sandra!

Competition was pretty stiff with only 2 entries….woooooo hoooo people must really LOVE Gilly…hahah!  Oh well.. at least Sandra gets a great Literature Guide!

I wanted to share with you this article I found online called, "How to be a Teacher for More Than 5 Years Without Killing Yourself."

It sounds a little drab, but the advice is sound.  It really emphasizes taking care of yourself, and reminding yourself that you are a wife, a daughter, a sister, a husband, a mom, as well as a teacher.  We get so wrapped up in our careers that we need to remember to take time for ourselves! 

It's a great read for a lazy Sunday afternoon!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Five for Friday! {and a giveaway}

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs for her 5 for Friday!

Honestly I didn't think I'd make it till today--this week just seemed to drag!  But on the bright side, we have Monday off, so I'm celebrating that little victory!  

So here it goes:

We are doggy sitting for my parents as they are vacationing somewhere exotic, lying on a beach drinking a fancy umbrella drink (jealous  much?).  This means that we have not 1, not 2, but 3 happy Golden Retrievers in the house.  And one's in heat.  bonus.   Here's a picture of their adorable faces:
Mind you, they are also the reason I am short on sleep this week, from their antics in the middle of the night to constant horse play in the house.  I love them dearly, but I am ready for the two to go back to their own house.

I was fortunate to see Sara Evans live recently in a small private was an amazing show and she's still got a great voice!  It was a VERY nice date night with the hubs.

I did a FABULOUS lesson today with my 5th graders in math.  We're practicing 5.NBT.7, which involves adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing decimals.  We did a real-life problem where they had to earn enough money to buy an X Box 1 while they were in charge of their family's finances.  They had to use a checkbook register to keep track of a family's spending for 2 weeks.  It was an excellent, real life activity and you can grab that here.  It's from the state of Georgia, and if you haven't checked them out, they have an amazing website of resources to use for math and language arts that align to the CCSS.

In reading, we started reading The Great Gilly Hopkins.  It's one of my favorites to read as a class because there is SO much good material to talk about.  It's cultural and the students never forget the character of Gilly.  I have a literature guide here that you can get from TpT if you're interested!  There's a giveaway for this at the bottom of my post for one lucky winner!  (Starts at midnight tonight!)

I made this in my crockpot this week.
It's tomato-basil parmesan soup and oooooooo I am telling you GO MAKE IT NOW! It's delish! It was easy to make it lasted me all week for lunches.  I followed the recipe perfectly, but you could substitute low calorie milk or cheese to make it slightly healthier.  So yummy with a grilled cheese!

And because I want to I'm adding a 6th thing to my 5 For Friday.... 

So this morning, I am greeting my students as they sign in and I am sitting in my directors chair.  You know, the classic director's chair that you can fold up and stow away.... here's a picture for all you visual learners:

All of the sudden, the wooden piece that holds the fabric below the arm piece SNAPS and I end up in a heap in the middle of the chair.  With 19 pairs of eyes on me.  And suddenly the room becomes eerily quiet...with whispers starting.....Well, I am usually one that laughs at things like this, so what do I do?  Despite the immediate bruising on my thighs happening, I smile and say (to all my students who don't know whether to laugh or ask me if I'm alright)  

"Well, I guess you can all go home tonight and tell your parents that your teacher fell out of her chair today!! You'll always remember this moment!!"

I mean, yes, it was funny, and it was also one of those moments when the students realize you're human, and you mess up sometimes!   My co-workers thought it was HILARIOUS, of course.  They're so supportive (not like the chair).     It's nice for the students to know that I'm not perfect, which I think I do EVERY day because I'm really clumsy... but this one takes the cake.  And I do have bruises on my thighs, but it was pretty funny!   

Have a great loooooong weekend!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

November Currently

Hello November!!!  

For me October was a rrreeeaaallllyyy long month so I am SO excited for November and my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving!

I'm linking up with Farley for her November currently....

The first two are I'll skip those.  Who doesn't love fall weather!?  Crisp mornings, beautiful leaves, warm beverages..mmmm.

Thinking:  So I've got a lot on my mind.  I'm border-line overwhelmed with school and life events.  I mean, the hubs and I are taking on a huge adventure in our personal lives, and that is on the fore-front of our minds 24/7.  We just want everything to work out the way it's intended to.  We know He has a plan, we just have to trust.  Combine that 24/7 thinking about our "stuff" with school "stuff" like SLO's, PLC's, observations, figuring out what to teach and HOW to effectively teach the CCSS each day (the list goes on), it's overwhelming!  It takes a toll on the body, and we as teachers need to remember to take care of ourselves and carve out some much needed "us-time", even if it's just shutting the door during our planning time, or taking 5 minutes to visit the bathroom uninterrupted, or going on an impromptu shopping excursion...we just NEED to put ourselves first sometimes.  

ok I'm off my soap box.

Wanting: same idea, with a new purse thrown in.  Who doesn't love a new purse?

Needing:  With buying a new house comes needing some furniture.  The folding table in our dining room is sufficing just fine for now, but I've got my eye on a beautiful one from Gardener, MA.  If you're in the area, it's this huge warehouse of furniture that is amazing! We got our bedroom set there and it's amazing.  So, I will wait...patiently.  I could use a few rugs though... 

Yummy pin:

This is super easy.. and it has quickly become a family favorite of ours.  We've made it about 3 times just in the month of October.  It comes from the food network, from the kitchen of the Neely's.  I made it as one big apple crisp and didn't include the nuts, and it was fantastic! I love the idea of serving it in individual sizes too. 

Happy November!


Thursday, October 31, 2013

5th Grade Math Project idea

Did someone say math project


Even better...  it's one that the students can do with no parent help.  

Still's easy to grade, and it's a fun project to share with the entire class!

It's called "___(student's name)________ by the Numbers"

Essentially, the students get to choose significant numbers in their life that mean something to them.  There is a specific rubric and direction sheet to follow, and they can be as creative as they want in the final project.  

Let me show you some examples of this year's projects:

I love this project for a lot of reasons:

1.  It's a great back to school activity to learn about your students.
2.  It is easily differentiated so every child is successful, no matter what their math ability.
3. It makes the children think about significant numbers in their world.
4.  It lets children be creative, and show some artistic license.
5.  It's a great sharing tool to build classroom community.

When we shared our projects, I had each student use the overhead doc camera and walk through the pages they wanted to share.  Some kids were shy and only wanted to share select pages, and it's OK!  I want them to all feel comfortable with their peers and be able to share their world with each other. 

I can't say enough how much I enjoyed this fun activity! You can grab your copy here for FREE!!

And this is exactly how I feel about Halloween:

Just change Wednesday to Thursday and you've got it!!  On Friday morning, we're going to have a lot of sugar-crashed zombies sitting in front of us! Can't wait... Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Total eclipse of Room 5

My kids are smack dab in the middle of their study of the moon and its phases.  In our district, we don't have a science book.  Well, that's a lie.  We do, but it's copyright date is somewhere in the early 80's.  In fact, I think it's the exact same one I used when I was in elementary school.   So, we don't really have a science book. 

I have compiled a bunch of materials from online, print, and created activities to  make a unit on the moon.  Today, we did one of my favorite interactive science lesson to teach eclipses.  

So, here's a refresher: 
Lunar eclipse:  The earth casts a shadow on the moon.

Solar eclipse: The moon casts a shadow on the earth.

Ok you're up to date.

So to do this experiment, my kids needed a pencil, a "moon" and a flashlight.  Their head was the earth.

Basically, their partner shined a light on the other partner's face.

The partner's face becomes the earth, and they have to manipulate the moon (a styrofoam ball on a pencil tip) to show a lunar and solar eclipse.  

So here, he was trying to show a lunar eclipse, using his head (the earth) to block part/the whole moon.  They have to keep their arm straight out and witness a complete eclipse to be successful in this activity.

The pictures of the boys above are great because you can see exactly half of the "moon" lit up right before he moves it in the shadow of his face.  

In this picture, she is lining up her moon to come across her face to show a solar eclipse.  

I love when I can get the students up and moving, and it's so neat to see those "lightbulb" moments when they really see something in action.

Today my students continued by playing a matching game with the phases of the moon (matching the name and the picture).  AND, coming soon, we're going to do an amazingly yummy and fun moon activity with Oreos (if I don't eat all them first).

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Making our way through theme

Right now our class is right in the middle of our study of theme.  It's one of my favorite units to teach because you can do so much with it!  Because I teach 5th grade, there's not a lot of opportunity to share picture books (which I love).  BUT, with theme, I can!  This week, I shared these books, and here's some of the themes my fifth graders came up with:

Theme: It is better to give than to receive.

Theme:  Good things come to those who wait, or don't judge a book by its cover.

Theme: Dream big!

Theme: Everyone is special in their own way.

Theme: Some things aren't as good as they seem.
Let me tell you, they LOVED hearing these stories, and some brought back memories of when they were younger!  I loved reading them and it was a great start to each mini-lesson of theme.

I also used the lovely Nicole Shelby's 5th Grade Reading Interactive Notebook  to introduce the idea of theme.  I really enjoyed using the notebook template and she has some creative ideas to teach these abstract strategies. 

As we read these picture books, we would add the theme to the "Common Themes" page.  By the time we finished, we had a list of about 8 themes that show up often in children's literature.  To tie in 5.RL.2, which talks about identifying the theme in literature and writing a summary, we wrote a response together in our guided reading groups.  We talked about the proper way to do this, and we came up with these guidelines:

The theme of this story is __________.  In the beginning, (the character) (feels/acts/does) ______________.  This results in ______________.  At the end (the character) (feels/acts/does)_____________.  The author's message was _______________.

We made a fancy schmancy anchor chart with this (which I forgot to take a picture of) so the students can reference it when they write their responses independently.

Also, in our guided reading group, we are LOVING the Wall Pops for simple responses that don't really require/need paper.  This is one of the best purchases I made this summer, because it's so easy to pull a student to work on a multiplication problem or open ended response when you don't really need any written work to keep.  We are using short stories each day and talking about the theme of each.  This particular day, we read an African folk tale called Head Tree (you can find a copy here) where a man had a tree growing out of his head.  He went to a woman to have it removed, which she did in return for payment of 2 cows.  He didn't pay her, and the tree grew back.  The lesson/theme was to keep your promises.

Here's the various themes the students came up with for Head Tree.

My plan is to use Kristine Nannini's assessment this week to see how they are doing with this concept, and then I am moving on to summarizing.  I'm really pleased with how well the students seemed to understand this concept, and we will constantly be reviewing and talking about them in the following books we read.

How do you teach theme in your classroom?  Have a great week!!