Friday, October 31, 2014

Five for Halloween Friday!

Hip, hip, hooray, it is Friday! 
It will be a day full of excitement, so I am thankful that Halloween falls on a Friday. 
Hope your day is full of treats! 
I know that my sons are so excited, as will be my students. The day is finally here and they will definitely be full of cheer! 
We will not parade in costumes today or party out, but we will have some fun brain breaks, enjoy an extended recess, and enjoy some candy corn during math. I am looking forward to working on "Halloween Math" with my students today, it will be a sweet lesson on collaboration, comparing, graphing, measurement, and estimating.  
Need a last minute lesson or something sweet for November? Check out the Halloween Math dollar deal from Fifth in the Middle
Love candy corn and want to extend the learning a little more? Check out Candy Corn Sentences task cards. It is a freebie! 
Do you Kahoot?  We LOVE it! 

If you are trying to integrate technology or encourage device use, it is perfect. In addition, you can collect data after playing the game (aka quiz) and it is scored/calculated for you. Easy, free, and fun - that is a recipe for a perfect technology addition to my classroom!

During the game, the teacher logs in and projects the quiz. Students join at by entering the game pin number and then a name. As you play, the questions are projected and students select the answers by pressing the color/shape on their screen. The answers are automatically scored and game points are awarded. They earn points for accuracy and speed.
You can adjust the length of the wait time and once everyone answers it moves on to the results. The answer and question page are revealed; you can review to clear up misunderstandings.
At the end you can download the results, the players and their answers are provided so you can look further at who missed what. If you are at a 1:1 school, you could probably use it as a grade!
There are tons of quizzes already created in the public section. You can use it as is, duplicate it then edit it to your class/needs, or create one from scratch. You can also share the quizzes you like with other users.
Here is a quiz I made on interjections to go along with the lesson I use from the Walking Classroom.
Do you have a fun, easy to use, free website or app that you love to use in your classroom? Please leave me a comment, I am always looking for more ways to integrate technology in my classroom.

Speaking of technology, I am trying to build up my devices in my classroom since we are not a 1:1 school. I have a donors choose project that is slowly getting funded. If you are looking for a project to donate to, check mine out. If you donate, you can have double your donation in products from my store, just leave me a message in the comments. 
If you know of any inexpensive devices that work well, let me know. 
Last night, my boys, carved their pumpkins. I think they turned out great! 
I especially like the way my husband and my middle son worked with the funky shape on the pumpkins on the left. That crooked smile makes me smile! 
I am thrilled to report that the carving event was pretty calm. My youngest cried a little about the yucky guts. He was really tired, but eventually he came around with some help from his brothers. 
We only had to remind them once that we wanted a drama free evening and no arguing, surprisingly that worked! Let's hope the rest of our Halloween events can remain that way.
Tonight will be the true test. It is our first Halloween with our highly anxious dog. He barks like a maniac when people approach our house, so he will be escorting the boys on their quest for candy. We'll see how that goes! I know the boys cannot wait to put his costume on, fingers crossed that he doesn't eat the outfit!

How about a free treat?
We have been working on decimals and number lines in my classroom for many days. We are working mostly on helping them zoom in on the number line and their numeracy concepts. Needless to say, it has been an eye-opening experience.
In an effort to break up the monotony, I made a little scoot activity to check their understanding of naming the decimal fraction on a number line that has 2 points already labeled. Click here to access the cards.

If you use them, please let me know your thoughts, feedback is definitely welcome!

Hope you have a wonderful Friday!

Monday, October 27, 2014

It has been way too long! The Sunday Scoop!

Yes, it has been way too long since I last blogged. What can I say? Life has been happening. 
I have made some choices lately that have kept me from blogging. 
I am working way too hard at school and I am trying to balance my home life by not always sitting behind the computer. 
My boys spend a lot more time at school watching me work than they should. The last thing they need is to see me doing the same thing at home. So, blogging and keeping up on-line has been placed on the back-burner, even though I miss it.
So what have I been doing?

  • Taking the boys to their Tuesday night golf camp. Golf is not for me, but I am glad they had fun and learned some skills on the green. 
  • Studying with my 4th grader for his social studies and science exams. Georgia Social Studies curriculum is intense and it has been just as intense helping him study! He is doing great though, so it is working! In true teacher fashion, I created some cards to help him study! I know, poor kid, but he did think they were fun. His teacher loved them and shared with the other parents. 
  • Helping my 2nd grader study for his Social Studies tests, not as intense as 4th grade, but I am having to relearn the content while I help him. I also learned that his teacher really takes spelling seriously, so we will be studying the spelling of the terms too. 
  • Reading some books. I am trying to model great reading behavior for my boys. I am also trying to keep up with them on their Accelerated Reader points and be a good role model for my own students too. In the last few weeks I read Gone Girl and The Best of Me, both were good, loved Gone Girl
  • Sleeping. My sleeping patterns are so messed up right now. I am exhausted by the time dinner and baths are over, so some nights I am asleep before my boys. Except tonight and yes, I will pay for this tomorrow. 
  • Trying to stay afloat!
I do not want to totally neglect the blog, so I decide on the hour long ride home from my in-laws that I would write a little tonight. I need to reconnect and get my thoughts together before jumping in to what will be a crazy week. Yes, even though Halloween is Friday, it will be batty all week! Plus, we are just coming off of week of standardized testing, so it means getting them back in to good work habits. 
Oh, and I can't forget, I have a new student starting tomorrow and a new student is joining me for my language arts class. {I told you that I was busy!}
I figure the best way to jump back in to the blogging routine is to link up with the Sunday Scoop hosted by the Teaching Trio. Thanks to Kristen for the chance to jump back in! 
Here's the Scoop on my week:
In case I don't get to blog this week, I have a little treat for you early. I made a "Looking Closely at Number Lines" anchor chart for my student's math notebooks and I am going to have it printed poster size for my bulletin board, but just for always being so supportive, I am sharing it with you too. Click here to download your copy. 

Hope you have a fantastic week full of wonderful treats! 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Five for Friday

Hello Friends!
Happy Fall to all of you! 
I have been on a blogging hiatus and figured Friday was a great day to jump back in with my favorite link-up party.
 Thanks to Doodle Bugs for the fun party and inspiring me to get back in to the groove. 
After a very long week, I can finally say that conferences are over! I only have 2 left with the Spanish translator and a few parents to fill in because they did not make it, but I made it through without any major drama! 
This year I teach language arts to 2 classes, so it meant writing reading and writing progress reports for 48 kids, in addition to all of the typical responsibilities. I was so thankful for my co-teacher who helped with some and for my husband's iPad so I could write the report while looking through their on-line portfolios. 
Last week, my son had a run in with a teammate at baseball practice. Unfortunately he ended up with a minor concussion because the older teammate shoved him to the ground and he hit hit his head on the ground. 
This is the bruise left on his face after the same teammate threw his glove at his face.
Luckily my son is ok. He nervously returned to practice last night but was welcomed back with excitement by his teammates, lifting his spirits. 
As for the bully who knocked him down, he is off the team. 
This week was full of life lessons about bullying, teamwork, treatment of teammates, and calls with the league director and the new coach (the bully's dad was the  coach prior to the incident - he is gone too). 
Hoping the final two weeks of the season are full of victories and great team time!
Most inventive homework excuse I have heard this year, so far,... 

When a student tells me that their dog has eaten their homework, I will be more inclined to believe them. I have learned a lot about dogs since we adopted ours in May. They eat everything.
This week, he seems to have an appetite for my things. On Sunday it was my nice purse that I adored! Boo! Yesterday it was my Wordly Wise workbook. At least he started from the back, so I could salvage the units we are currently working on. 
By the way, I plan to do some purse shopping this weekend. 
It has been a crazy busy school year so far with a LOT of testing and we are about to start district assessments next week. Not happy about that, but I am happy that we are able to de-stress with our Walking Classroom lessons. The kids love walking and now that we have some lovely fall temps, I am enjoying getting out of the classroom for a walk with them. 
Have a great Friday and I hope you are having a wonderful school year!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Trying something new!

I have been so busy with teaching and trying to adjust to the structured life of teacher/mom, so yes, my poor little blog has been neglected. 
Things will settle down and I will adjust, and return for some more frequent blogging, soon. 

I do have something I wanted to share with you and link up for Wordless Wednesday with Miss DeCarbo
I am so excited about this!
I was so honored, priveleged, thrilled, delighted, pleased to be given a grant from our school foundation and The Walking Classroom for a class set of podcast players to use this year. 
The box arrived yesterday and I could hardly wait to open it. I CANNOT wait to get started! 
If you don't know what The Walking Classroom is, don't worry, I will be blogging all about it this year as my class pounds the pavement while learning. Learning through movement and listening!
What are you excited about trying this year? 
Have a great day friends-

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: First Day of School Edition

Our first day of school was yesterday. I figure that it provides the perfect subject for my link up for Wordless Wednesday with Miss DeCarbo.

I am not sure how things go in your house on the first day, but in my house it is hectic and full of emotional reactions from at least 1 if not all of my kids. Hence, I rarely get those first day of school pictures.
Forgot those adorable chalk boards or printed signs. I envy the families that get that accomplished! Instead, I call it a successful morning when I don't get a door slammed in my face.
No, I am not exaggerating, it has happened, and yes more than once.
Let's just say, my boys don't always embrace changes!
I was determined to capture a picture this year! I succeeded, and they capture some of the emotions I deal with during week 1 and especially on day 1.
Sadly, my husband did not get a picture of my youngest, who started at a new school for private kindergarten. {He is not ready for public kindergarten, so we went the private route and he can enroll in public next year.}
It was Sean's first new school (that he remembers) and it was an emotional morning. My husband needed to use bribery, thank goodness for the ice cream place right next door! So no picture of him, but that is ok, I don't have any of his brothers at that age either, they were in their door slamming stage.
So, enough of my words, here are the pics I managed to snag.
Glitter Frame by Glitter Meets Glue, Font: KG Fonts, Paper: JCSweetpea
Since I know what it is like to not capture first day of school pictures of my kids, I also took pictures of my students. I quickly made a backdrop and they all happily smiled for the camera. It helped that I took the picture toward the end of the day. I may save these for them and do an end of the year shot so they can see how much they change during 5th grade.
I love this girl's pose, she is so stinking sweet, and made me smile as she "worked the camera!"
So what is your first day -before school- morning usually like? {Hopefully I have a few friends who can empathize with me, if not I can at least be the source of crazy stories and laughter!}

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Currently August 2014

I am linking up with the great Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade
August arrived quickly and I needed this little opportunity to think and read everyone's delightful posts. 
This will be short(er) since I need to get moving on my TO-DO list. 
Today, we are heading out to celebrate my father-in-law's 70th birthday. It will be nice to get together with family and celebrate him. You know though, that teacher/mother in me, is thinking about all of the things I still need to do in order to be ready for the first day of school. {Breathe}
I think my list is pretty self-explanatory, except my dog comment. So let me elaborate a little. 

Bandit, our sweet, almost 2-years old Labrador Retriever has been slowly acclimating to life in a house with a family full of active boys. He is doing great with us yet struggles with strangers. He desperately wants to protect his territory and BARKS a lot. 
In order to break him of this we have enlisted a trainer and are taking steps to get him use to being social. Making progress, and that is great. 
So the other day my darling husband (who is spending the week before school starts home with the boys) took the boys and the dog to the park to play and relax. On the way home, almost in our driveway, the dog next door bolted out of his house and approached our dog and boys. He sniffed then suddenly attacked Bandit.
My kids were frightened and my husband was freaked out. 
He bit him once, then let go and bit him again. This time he would not let go. Kids were screaming and crying and my husband was yelling. The dog wouldn't let go and his owner is still inside their house. 
My husband forced their dog off and takes off running after the kids and our dog. They quickly try to get in the house and now the neighbor is out saying, "Are you ok?" You can fill in what my husband said. 
They were scared and the neighbor's reaction was less than expected. They did not seem to think it was a big deal. I disagree as does my husband who had to force their dog to retreat then had to help the kids and Bandit recover. 
Thank goodness my husband was there and it wasn't just my oldest, whose chore is to take the dog on walks.
I called animal control and they were supposed to come out to talk with my husband and the neighbor but they did not show up. 
My husband talked to the neighbor and they are just in denial that it was a serious situation. It was and he has shown the tendency to bite strangers before, so we are really concerned. 
Our dog is ok, no injury, except to his ego. We are still working with him on behaviors and have talked with our boys about safety. Sadly, we are not allowing them to play with the boy next door at their house ever, unless they get rid of Kujo! 
Just another bump to learn from, right?
Well friends, I really need to get moving, that to-do list needs to be tackled a bit. Hope you are having a wonderful August!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Saturday Snapshots 8/2/14

Well, my summer break has been over since Tuesday. Yes, sad, but it was nice to be back with my friends, I miss them during the summer!
Being back to school meant this was a very long week. Really long because I was at school before the sun rose and on a few days left as the sun was setting. 
Since I spent my summer days with my boys, I had to work hard to get my room ready in only 2 days. Open house (meet the teacher) was on the 3rd day of our pre-planning week. Yes, that was stressful! 
I managed to be ready, and it was a great open house day, one of the best ever, especially since I have a few siblings of former students and I heard a lot of, "I am so glad you will be his/her/my teacher this year." 
Because I was so busy that I did not snap any pictures of my classroom except for these three...
Yes, my shoes and feet were aqua blue!

Tuesday morning, during my 5:30 am Wal-Mart run, on the way to school, I decided I was going to paint my corkboard. Wow, I learned a lot about spray painting inside of my classroom. I will save that post for another day, but I was seriously concerned that I made a big mistake when I saw my feet and the hint of blue on my recently cleaned carpets! I promise everything turned out great, and it looks fabulous! I have received a lot of compliments and the color is so relaxing. Stressful, but worth it! 
Next week, I plan to snap some pictures in my room, and I will share them. 
Tonight, I helped my husband with some photos for his Dad's 70th birthday. It was fun flipping through the pictures from our summer, it helped me remember the great times I had with the boys. Photos really are a great way to reminisce, relax, and spark memories.
Here are some of the pictures from the end of our summer break together.
Thank you to the wonderful Run! Miss Nelson's Got the Camera for the opportunity to share some snapshots and always hosting this fun, motivational, and inspirational party! 
Disc Golf

Playing at the Park

Chalk Drawings
I have a friend, an art teacher, who did some amazing chalk drawings this summer. You have probably seen some floating around on Facebook and/or Pinterest. Well, I attempted it, and it did not go well! 
My boys were not too keen on laying on the hot driveway to snap the pictures. Here is my feeble attempt.
They did enjoy drawing on the driveway to welcome my sister, niece, and niece's boyfriend when they visited us. Since my niece and her boyfriend are in the Army, they both attend West Point, the boys drew guns, swords, and grenades, so yes, those are guns in the bottom right picture. 

The Perfect Family
There is one thing I know I am not, and that is perfect. I also do not have perfect children nor am I a perfect mother nor a perfect teacher. I try my best and love my wonderful children with all of my heart. What we are is perfectly normal!
Hence you can imagine, we probably do not have all perfect family photos. 
It is actually difficult to get all 3 boys to smile at one time, and to get all 5 of us in a picture. 
Well, I could pretend that everything is perfect, but I think you have learned, I don't hide the truth. I could only share perfect snapshots, but instead, I am going to share some snapshots that are full of life, therefore are perfect shots! 
That is my awesome sister - I love how much we look alike, aside from our hair color!
Our sweet Bandit - the rescued lab
Isn't that tongue surreal?
I think he might be part giraffe and he is a happy licker! 
Why does he have a tie on? Well the boys thought it would be fun to dress him up for a pcture for their Papa, who we are celebrating 70 years of life with tomorrow. I guess they felt Bandit needed to be a little more formal for such a wonderful occasion! Too bad he thought the tie was for chewing!
Thanks for taking the stroll through my memories with me. We had a great summer playing, spending tie with family, and growing closer - it probably was close to perfect!
Hope you have been creating perfect memories and snapshots yourself!
Cheers to all of my friends-