Friday, September 20, 2013

Five for Friday Linky!


My five random things from this week...

1.  My newest obsession:  Sabra Roasted Pine Nut Hummus and Doritos!  The mixture is perfect! I've seriously been munching on it allllll day!  Nom Nom!

2.  I tried the game called 'Scoot' to review mental math today!  One of my co-workers found it on TpT and showed it to me so I created my own.  My kids loved it!  I personally thought it took a long time (because I have so many students) but they didn't seem to mind at all!  They really loved checking their answers and seeing how many they got right!  Great review game!

3.  I have the cutest daughter in the entire world!  The other morning my husband asked me to fix her 'bed hair' so I threw it up into a little ponytail and put a big bow in it!  Come adorable is this picture????!!!

4.  Today I taught a lesson on creating vivid imagery using synonyms.  My students loved taking words from passages and transforming the "voice" using what we call 'fifth grade words'!  It was a huge success!  I even had them write their own short passage with words that second graders could read and understand.  Then I asked them to give their passage to another group and have them re-write it using synonyms so that it sounded like a fifth grader would want to read it.  LOVED IT!

5.  This week we began using our Science Weekly!  My students really enjoyed it.  There is almost zero time in our curriculum for Science so they jumped for joy (literally) when I passed out these newspapers!  I had some really good pictures of my students working with them but for some reason they won't upload!  Check out the newspaper HERE!  Have you used it?  If so, let me know what you think!

Post your Five for Friday and link back up to Doodle Bugs here!

Thanks for reading!
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Pick up the shovel and fill them.

Never in my schooling do I remember being a part of a 'small group'.  I don't remember 'intervention' or 'remediation' time during the day.

I don't remember being one-on-one with any teacher, ever in my entire schooling.  I am SO glad that things have changed.

Let's be honest.  Teaching (effectively) with 27 students in my room is difficult.  About 68 times during each lesson I have to remind my students to stay on task, to stop getting distracted, to put something away, to stop throwing paper at each other, to stop talking to their neighbor, etc.  My small group time is a life saver.

If it weren't for small groups I really wouldn't have a clue what most of my students actually know.  Being consistent about meeting with each of my students on a regular basis to just go over the basics of what they've been learning has been so great to me and my success as a teacher.  I don't form actual 'remediation' groups.  I figure out which students don't "get it" as I am teaching the lesson and they end up at my table that afternoon.

I love the quote in the picture.  It reminds me why small groups and meeting one-on-one is so important.  Sometimes my students just need that extra "umph" to get over the hump and have that 'ah-ha' moment we as teachers strive to see.  Some understand a concept immediately and some take weeks to finally master it.  Some even longer than that.

As teachers, we must remember that every student is different.  Therefore, how we teach must reflect that.  We must figure out multiple ways to explain one concept.  We must cater to all the different learning styles in our classroom.  We must sometimes allow students to fail so that we truly know where to find the 'holes' in their learning and figure out how to help them.

As I completed my Response to Intervention testing and papers this week I realized I have so many students with many unique needs.  I still have students who are on the phonics continuum.  I have students who can't do simple division.  I have students who have no number sense.  As a fifth grade teacher, this is just slightly frustrating.

It is my job to find these holes in their educational file cabinet and fill them.  Not every student learns at the same time, or in the same way.  As much as we wish they did, they simply don't.

It is time to take responsibility for these student's 'holes', pick up the shovel and fill them.

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Positive Points Monday!

Happy Monday!  
Tonight I am linking up with Sarah at Permanently Primary for her 
Positive Points Monday Linky!

My positive points from today...

1.  My students have been working on writing a personal narrative from the point of view of either a mother, father, child, or single adult in one of the early colonies that settled in North America.  They have loved learning the stories of these people and how they lived their day to day lives!  When it was time to begin writing they did awesome.  They planned out their essay on one of my favorite apps called 'Popplet'!  It is an app that you can create a brainstorm map/idea web!  Love it!  Here is a pic of one of my students working on it today.

2.  Today I started off our morning by doing "Good Things".  I gave each student a post-it note that they could write one good thing that happened to them over the weekend.  They shared their good things and we put the post-its on my door.  It is one of the relationship building tools I want to continue to use through out the year.  Totally forgot to snap a picture, though! Blarg!

3.  I created my first (not super awesome, but it's a start) product for TpT!  It is a free download of a decimal BINGO I created.  I created it with 6 different color game boards and number squares with tenths, hundredths and thousandths.  If you want to check it out, click HERE!  I got the graphics from as one of her freebies!  Please remember that it is my very first product ever!  Like my page so I will be encouraged to create more products! I really enjoyed doing it.

4.  Last night as I was Pinteresting before bed I ran across this incredible article written by Dr. Fred Jones on EducationWorld called Rules, Routines and Standards in Elementary and Secondary Grades.  I was inspired to try out one of his ideas with my class.  My class still hasn't gotten down how to line up quietly and walk down the hall in silence.  The first time this morning that I had my students line up they were talking as usual and I nicely asked them to sit back down.  When they were all seated I asked them to line up another time.  Again, they were talking so I asked them to sit back down.  We did this 4 times and eventually they realized they HAD to be quiet before we could go anywhere.  I continued to do this the rest of the day anytime we had to line up and by the end of the day it was really working.  Not completely, but we had made huge strides from this morning.  I love this idea and plan on using it every day.  Check it out!

5.  DINNER!  I promised that I would start posting more recipes in the future so tonight I decided
to make a new dish and post about it!  It is called Easy Weeknight Creamy Chicken Alfredo and I found the recipe on a can of Progresso Recipe Starters! LOL!  It was very easy to make, but definitely seemed like it took more than the estimated amount of time (30 mins).  My husband, daughter and I loved it!  Click on the link and try it out for yourself!  Rich, creamy and simply delicious!

I hope that you guys had a great Monday!  

Leave me a comment! :-)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Liebster Award!!!!!!!!!

Liebster Award?  Me?!  Why Yes, Thank You!!!!!!!


I want to say a huge thank you to Zorkyoto Mykola at Elephants with Clothes for nominating me for the Liebster Award!  The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  It is  a way to show new bloggers that they are appreciated and help spread the word about their blog!

The Rules:  In your post you must link back to me and...
1. Post 11 random things about yourself.
2. Answer the questions that the nominator set for you.
3. Create 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate.
4. Choose 11 blogs you love (with less than 200 followers) and a link them in your post.
5.  Let them know you nominated them by commenting on their blog! 

Random Facts About Me:
1.  I am obsessed with Mexican food. I could seriously eat it every single day!
2.  I married my high school sweetheart.  We have been together for 9 years, married for 3!
3.  Even though I absolutely hate listening to the news because it is always soooo negative I always have to have it on in the background.  There's just something comforting about it.  (I know, it's weird.)
4.  If I could live anywhere in the world I would live in Seattle, Washington.  I love the weather and there's just a cute eclectic culture there.
5.  I am covered in freckles.  In fact there have been many times that small children have asked me why I'm covered in "dots". :-)
6.  I love rain and snow.  It is super relaxing to me.
7.  I will not vacuum or dry my hair when I am home alone.  There is just something creepy about how loud it is.
8.  If I could wear a maxi skirt every day I absolutely would.
9.  I love to cook.  I rarely ever completely follow a recipe and it almost always turns out delicious!
10.  I am an OU alumni!  Sooner born, Sooner bred, when I die I'll be Sooner dead!
11.  I literally can have no light or noise when I sleep.  Every night I sleep with a shirt over my eyes so I can see zero light and I often sleep with ear plugs in.  Again, weird, I know!

Questions from Zorkyoto for me:
1. What is your favorite color?
My favorite color is pink!  Always has been, always will be!

2. Why did you choose to blog?
I chose to start blogging to share ideas and stories from teaching, cooking and overall life!

3. What is your favorite animal?
I love dogs.  I grew up with lots of dogs and I have two myself.  Whenever I see a stray dog I have to pull over and help him find his home!

4. Do you have any siblings?
Yes! I have one sister and she is my best friend!

5. Have you ever traveled outside of your country?
When I was 11 I went to Canada on a vacation with my family.  I went on a mission trip my senior year of high school to Jamaica which was amazing and sad at the same time.  And for my honeymoon my husband and I went on a cruise to the Bahamas!  Loved it!

6. What is your favorite type of music?
I am obsessed with country music!  Luke Bryan, will you marry me?!

7. What is your favorite artist or group?
Since I was a child Hanson has been my favorite band!  I even got my husband into their newer music!  They have been and always will be my #1! (Zac, if Luke won't marry me, will you?!?!)

8. What are you most passionate about?
I am most passionate about learning.  I love to learn and I hope that I instill that in my students as well as my own daughter one day!

9. What are some of your favorite hobbies?
Some of my favorite hobbies are scrapbooking, cooking and reading.

10. What sports do you play or did?
I was a cheerleader from 6th-12th grade!  Man I sure wish I had my cheerleader body back!

11. What is your favorite city?
My favorite city is the city that I live in, Oklahoma City.  We have really turned this city into an up-and-coming venue for entertainment and fun!  There is so much to do here (finally)!

Questions to my Nominees:
1.  What does your typical Friday night look like?
2.  What is your dream vacation?
3.  Who is your celebrity crush?
4.  What is your favorite type of music?
5.  Who do you look up to the most?
6.  What is your favorite accessory?
7.  What's your favorite holiday?
8.  If you could have any other profession other than teaching, what would you do?
9.  What's your favorite subject to teach?
10.  What's your favorite food?
11.  Why did you start blogging?

Blogs I am nominating:
1.  Lisa at Grade 4 Buzz
3.  Rissa at Keep Calm and Hoot On
4.  Monica at Roland with iPads
5.  Stephanie at Forever in Fifth
6.  Kelly at Apple Slices
10.  Jo Anne at Teaching in Cardigans

I am so excited to nominate these awesome bloggers!  Remember the rules!  On your post link back to me, write 11 random things about yourself, answer the 11 questions I gave you, come up with 11 questions for the blogs you nominate, then finally nominate 11 up and coming blogs with no more than 200 followers for this award!  Seems like a lot of work but it's super fun and you find awesome new blogs to follow along the way! :-)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Budding Blog Linky!

Jess over at {I Heart Recess} is hosting a Budding Blog Linky Party!  It is for bloggers with less than 200 followers to showcase themselves...and with far less than 200 followers I figured I'd try it out!  

To participate in the linky party just answer the questions below and link back to her blog page!  

Here I go...

1. Why did you start blogging?
        I began blogging to share my ideas, good things, frustrations and to connect with other teachers about daily classroom life.  I also like to share recipes, which I need to do more of soon!

2. What is your favorite subject to teach and why?
        I absolutely love to teach Social Studies.  I enjoy connecting students to our past and having them put themselves "in the shoes" of people who lived hundreds of years ago.  Social Studies can easily be made into stories that students can connect to their own lives.

3. Describe your teaching style.        
        Hands-on with lots of technology!  My goal for every lesson that I teach is to make it fun!  I do whatever I can to keep my student's attention and keep them engaged.  I use lots of hands-on activities where students are out of their seats in small groups.  I like to introduce a concept quickly in whole group and then allow my students to work in small groups to discover information, learn from each other and practice the skill.  Also, I utilize the use of technology constantly as I have a classroom set of iPads!

4. Give three interesting facts about you.
           I love arts and crafts, especially scrapbooking.  
           I am a natural redhead.
           My dream is to have a giant ball-pit in my backyard, like the ones they have in McDonald's.  How fun would that be?!?!      

5. Do you have a TpT store? If yes, post the link :)
        Currently I don't have a TpT store, but I really want to have one in the future!  I think I have the potential to create useful products but just have to find the time to actually make them!

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Time- A Teacher's Worst Enemy

Tick-Tock-Tick-Tock...Time- A teacher's worst enemy.

20 minutes for morning work
60 minutes for centers
75 minutes for reading
20 minutes silent reading
60 minutes for math
20 minutes for read aloud
30 minutes for remediation

As a teacher I feel like there are just never enough hours in the day.  There are never quite enough hours to feel accomplished.  Since I made a promise to myself last week that I would stop bringing so much home, I seem to leave school each day with a sense of anxiety.  That last stack of papers that needs filing.  Those emails you didn't get to this morning and really need to respond to.  The small groups I need to begin working with but I just have too many other things to do to even plan them out!

I have always been a very regimented person.  I make a schedule and I like to stick to it.  I have never been incredibly flexible with scheduling...

This year that has changed.

The second week of school I found myself really struggling with my kiddos.  I was so worried about starting the curriculum on time, staying on schedule, doing super fun activities that I skipped some very important relationship and team building activities.  I posted a status on Facebook about it and a guy I used to work with said that I MUST make time for team building.  Time for relationship building.  If I do, then everything else would be easier and just kind of 'melt' into place...

The very next day I started over with my class.  We got to know each other.  We laughed and figured out how to work together.  And the days since then have been much better.  Although I am behind schedule I know it was the right decision to make.  They still drive me absolutely crazy a few times a day but at least I feel content that what I don't get done today, I will get done tomorrow.  And if it for some reason gets skipped tomorrow, I can write it in for the next day.

That is hard for me, but I am learning.  I've found that, just as my students do, I must evolve.  I can't rush them through a project just because "we need to move on".  I can't take fun preview or review activities out out of my lesson plans because "we just don't have enough time".

I must take teaching one day at a time.  My bucket is still full, and I am having a pretty good week.  I am letting things flow as they will, while still staying on track with curriculum as much as I can.

I've learned that teaching is a mixture of consistency and 'shooting from the hip'!

One of my students' favorite parts of the day is the time right after our morning work when we recite our classroom rules and expectations, then do our class song.  This is something that we do every morning, no matter how late we get started.  It kills me when we start off the day already behind schedule, but this is something that I will not compromise on.  Making time for this is a must!

Our class song is "What I Am" by Will.I.Am and Sesame Street!  I wanted to share this song because of the effect it has had on the overall environment of my classroom.  The lyrics are incredible, the song is catchy and the kids love it.  They sing along and even get up and dance when I play it.  Find it here.  It is truly a great way to start our day off right.

I am so glad that my friend posted on my status with his words of wisdom.  I am sure that it changed my entire year.

Time- A teacher's worst enemy, only if you let it be...

Sunday, September 8, 2013

My Bucket is (finally) Full Again.

I desperately needed this weekend.  I needed downtime, family time, a day without school and a long nap!  I needed a day with laughs, and even a couple cries.  I needed to remember that I am not only a teacher; First and foremost I am a wife and a mother.  I tend to forget those sometimes.  How can I forget to put the most important things in my life first?

Well, to understand that, you have to be a teacher.

For 8 hours a day, I am a mother, nurse, counselor, mentor, and teacher to 26 kids who I did not carry for nine months, nor did I raise them to be the people they are at this point in their lives.  They are not my own, but I claim them as mine.  They are mine for only 9 short months, but within these first 3 weeks, (even with all of the voice-raising and frustration on my part), I am growing to love them as my own.  I have 9 months to shape them.  To teach them.  To model love and citizenship for them.  To set an example of what a good person is.  To teach them that even when no one in the world encourages them or tells them they can succeed, that I truly believe they can.

Is this easy?  No.  It is by far the hardest job I've ever had.  Being a mommy to my own baby girl is hard, but being a mother hen to 26 students for the entire school year is harder.  Why?  Because loving my daughter comes easily.  It is a God-given, unfailing love.  Growing to love new students every year is hard.  It grows through steady relationship building, good times, and lots of hard times.  It is sacrifice, planning, organizing, encouraging, motivating, and teaching.  I grow to love my kiddos every year.  It will happen this year, it is just taking a little more time.

I was empty.  I was completely drained in almost all aspects of my life.  I needed this weekend to fill my fill me up when I had completely drained myself.  Implementing Common Core, a new teacher evaluation system, and trying to do 1000 things at once had me worn down to my core.

But I am better.  I needed to be reminded that no matter what, I am a wife and a mother FIRST.  School can wait.  Grading papers, making necessary changes to curriculum and my classroom can wait.  Mastering every procedure and making parent phone calls can wait.

My daughter and husband can't.

I am grateful for the reminder that 'we make time for what we love'.
Don't forget to put what you love first.

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Classroom Accomplishments!

I have been working way too hard on things for my classroom lately and I thought I'd share them with you!

First off, I have fallen in love with iBooks!  The mother of a girl in my class gave me $60 worth of iTunes gift cards to use on our class set of iPads and I chose to buy books with it!  The only downfall is that the books can only be shared with ten devices, so the books are only on ten of my thirty iPads.  Oh well, it's still super cool.  Here are 3 of the books I bought...

The Sign of the Beaver (our classroom read aloud)

 The Homework Machine

 Diary of a Wimpy Kid #1

My kids are really enjoying reading on the iPads and I am glad that I've finally found a great way to buy books for them! :-)

I have been trying to implement math centers in my classroom lately.  Not during a specific 'center time' but during our remediation time.  I am able to let the students do the center activity so I can work with individual kiddos that need help.  Today we played a fun game where they had to compare decimal numbers, kind of like 'war'.  I am still working on my students working quietly with each other.  They tend to yell.  A lot!!

That's all for now!  It's time for this momma to Pinterest and get to bed! :-)

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Currently September!!!!!

Wow! It's been way too long since I've blogged!  School and every day life has taken over and it's been crazy!  I'm so glad I logged on for Farley's Currently September Linky Party!

Here it is...

Listening:  My husband is obsessed with PC Gaming and plays almost every night!  Yes, it is super annoying sometimes, but I'm glad he has a hobby!  And reruns of Modern Family never get old!

Loving:  We finally got a tornado shelter!  Living in Oklahoma, and only 20 minutes from the path of the recent deadly Moore tornado, we decided we had to get one.  When 'nader season rolls around again I will have peace of mind, especially with my baby girl!

Thinking:  I want to start math centers in my classroom, but I really don't have the time to do it.  I don't have enough time in the day, and I don't have time to create them.  I've found some great ones on TpT but I have vowed not to spend any  more money on my classroom this year!  I would love any ideas you have about implementing them!

Wanting:  I desperately want my shows to come back on!  They all start this month and I cannot wait!  I am a tv addict.

Needing:  I am in great need of a massage!  I carry all my stress right between my shoulder blades and it is quite painful!  I also need just a whole day to get some things in my classroom organized that I haven't found the time to do yet!

<3 This month I want to plan an awesome date night for my husband's birthday.  So often we let the bothers of every day life take over and we forget to show each other how much we truly love one another.  I want to get to a point in school that I stop brining home things to do!  And I want to BLOG MORE!  I have been slacking lately and I really need to get fired up again!

Hope you enjoyed!
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