Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tried It Tuesday...Chocolate Covered Bacon and Cheese Burgers...

Today I'm linkin' up with my buddy Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper for Tried It Tuesday.  I'm just goin' to warn you now...this post might make you hungry!

Tried It #1:
My buddy, Miss Nelson, went on a day trip to Tallahassee on Sunday to go shoppin'.  I asked her to bring me back a surprise and she did.  Guess what though...she had already TRIED MY surprise before she gave it to me.  Yep, it happened, but I really don't blame her because I would have done the same thing. Technically, I only have half a "Tried It" for this.
Notice that opened package?

This is how much she left me with.  It was interestin' to say the least.  The bacon inside tasted more like bacon bits than actual strips of bacon.  I appreciate Miss Nelson thinkin' of me though...she's sweet like chocolate covered bacon!

Tried It #2:
This is where we always start out our Math lessons each day.  My kids are sprawled out in front of the SMARTboard.  This is where I do my whole group instruction before breakin' into small groups.  I have found that allowin' the kids to sit, lay, etc. provides a level of comfort for them when we are workin' on somethin' difficult.  As long as they are engaged, I learned long ago to give up that control of "eyes forward, sit up straight, etc." because they all learn differently.  Just because a child is not lookin' at me doesn't mean they aren't listenin' to what I have to say.   I can quickly look down and glance to see if they are with me.  I can also ask them to quickly turn to a partner to check their work or to help explain to someone in a different view if they are not graspin' what I am sayin' right away.  This might not work for everyone, but it works for myself and my lil' rockstars.

The kids then move into five small(flexible) groups.  Here the students are workin' on extra practice with long division.  One student at the group is an expert and will answer any questions the students might have if I'm busy with another student.  The students volunteer for this position, so as to not interfere with their own group or individual work.  These roles change often.

Knee to knee partners checkin' over each other's completed work usin' my tried it...CHEESE BURGERS!

This summer, I ran across Kaylynn's posts from A Teacher Without a Class about "Does McDonald's Serve Cheese Burgers?" cards.  Kaylynn designed these cards to help with long division.  You can check out the pin on Pinterest.  By the time I got to Target's Dollar bins, all the cute little cheeseburger containers were gone, so Kaylynn designed one for you to make out of paper.  I must say the cheese burger cards really help my kids to go through the steps of long division.  I'll take anything that will make division a little easier on them.  

I hope y'all are havin' a happy Tuesday.  Be sure to head over to Holly's blog to check out the other Tried Its.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

We're NERDY and we know it...

Today I'm linkin' up with Miss Nelson from Run! Miss Nelson's Got the Camera for Saturday Snapshots and Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching for Spark Student Motivation Saturdays.

This week I decided to try somethin' that I saw on Jeanette's Third Grade Galore blog where she featured Fun Science Lab Coats.  In Florida, 5th Grade is a HUGE testin' year for Science.  In April, we will take the Science FCAT(Florida's Comprehensive Assessment Test).  I thought, what better way to spark some student motivation than makin' my kids feel like real scientists.  I put in my newsletter that I would like students to bring in an old white or light t-shirt that we would basically be destroyin' in class.  I didn't give the secret away and it was drivin' them nuts wantin' to know what in the world we would be doin' with the shirts.  After everyone's shirts came in, I put Sharpies in a center with the students' Science books.  All I told them was, design your lab coat how ever you choose, but it must be Science related.  Some drew pockets and others buttons.  Some wrote Science vocabulary words and others drew pictures.  I loved that some of my kids chose to write "I'm Nerdy and I Know It" and "Watch Out for the Nerd Herd".  It warms my heart that they completely grasp that bein' nerdy is cool.  They proudly wore their lab coats to lunch and wanted to show off their creations to the rest of the school without any promptin' from me.
I'd say this activity was a success and definitely sparked some Science motivation in my students.

Last night I had dinner with some great friends, includin' Miss Nelson.  I love eatin' at Bonefish Grill.  I had a yummy steak and some crab cakes.  Two things I love: food and laughter!

Everyone was pickin' on me because every time the waitress would take away some plates, I would get upset if there were food crumbs in my eatin' space.  The "Type A" in me goes a lil' crazy on the inside just thinkin' about it.  Now Miss Nelson on the other hand, is not bothered by such things as you can tell by her eatin' space.  It just goes to show that two very different personalities can be such great friends.  We definitely even each other out.

Jerm and I went to meet up with another dear friend after dinner.  I got elected to drive the pimped out golf cart down the road.  This thing goes 25 mph and has lights that move to the beat of the sound system they have installed.  I'm not too sure everyone was thrilled with my drivin'.  I almost knocked poor Jerm off the back of the cart when I took off from a stop sign.  He kinda deserved it though...he was tryin' to take a picture to document the hilariousness of my golf cart drivin' skills.

    I'm so blessed to be able to spend each day next door to my bestie, teachin' and collaboratin'.  This week we had picture day. We were wearin' orange in support of our principal's son who had to have a plasma exchange this week.  This will help give his bone marrow donor's blood a chance to take effect.  My principal, her son and entire family have been through so much in the past nine months and amaze me with their strength and positive outlooks at every twist and turn.   

This guy certainly explains so much this week.  Not only does this make ME crazy, I am certain it makes the natives restless also. The full moon brings out the behavior banshees.  Does this disrupt anyone else's sleep? 

In this set of Halloween labels you will find one sheet of each of the following clip art on labels(bat, potion, Bride of Frankenstein, cauldron, candy, Frankenstein, mummy, ghost, witch, vampire, werewolf...and more!)  
Made some Halloween Labels.  Must've been the influence of the full moon.

I hope everyone has had a wonderful week.  Happy weekend to you!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

ARGH...we got our Pirate on today...

I'm so glad that Bethany from Hunter's Tales from Teaching decided to do a linky for International Talk Like a Pirate Day since my class participated in this.  

Earlier in the week, one of my sweet parents(the best party planner) texted me and asked if we would be doin' anything for this and if I'd like her to send in a treat.  Um...YES!  Honestly, I didn't even know anything about it, so I was pretty stoked about this.  Whenever asked "Ninja or Pirate?", I will always choose PIRATE!  

I quickly started the hunt for something to do with my kids because let's face it...the interwebs and you guys are a wealth of information.  It just so happened that I was goin' through my Bloglovin' feed and ran across Emily's post from I Love My Classroom featurin' her Talk Like a Pirate Day activties.  Woohoo!  I quickly hopped over to her FB page to scoop these up in her Fan Freebies

Today's treats: 
Look how cute...treasure, "X" marks the spot, and every Pirate's accessory, a sword!

There were even candy fish hidin' in our YUMMY treats!

Pirate oranges to keep away the scurvy!  

My student was so very proud of all the hard work that he and his mom put in for the special pirate treats for his classmates.  I was so very proud of him for bein' responsible and helpin' out.  I love to hear these things!

Today's activities:
Unfortunately, we had a Chapter Test in Math this mornin' and only had about an hour to participate in Talk Like a Pirate Day, but we did get to do some things. 

I had previously printed, cut, out and laminated Emily's activities and I let the kids choose two activities each that they would like to do.  In addition, they were able to do some research on a famous pirate and write me some facts that they learned in their research.  I was rushed for time and didn't get to take pictures of their finished products.  You will just have to trust me that they ARGreat!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Are We Failing Gifted Students?...read and find out!

Today one of my pod besties posted this on my Facebook wall.  Since we are both teachers of Talented and Gifted students, we are constantly sharin' articles, newsletters, etc. about Gifted.  Obviously, the title grabbed me immediately and I just had to read to find out....are we failin' gifted students?  
At my school, we have seven Gifted endorsed teachers that provide Gifted services from Kindergarten through Fifth Grade.  The pod I live in(no, I don't really live there, but it's my second home) houses full time TAG classes in 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th.  Every year our program changes a little dependin' on the students, but after teachin' inclusion classes, regular classes, and TAG classes, I can say, "Hands down, Gifted is my favorite!"  This article really spoke volumes to me and I wanted to share for any of you teachers out there that also specialize in Gifted students or have a Gifted student in your classroom.  The article is linked below.  Go on...read it!

I loved the five "C's" in this article. I have already written them down as a constant reminder to myself to practice these with my lil' rockstars...more than I already do.

I have been so blessed to be chosen to be a Gifted teacher for the past several years.  I can honestly say that there isn't a day that goes by that I'm not personally challenged or learnin' something new from my students.  They definitely keep me on my toes and help me strive to be innovative, creative, and thoughtful in my plannin'.  I know this isn't just something that happens because I'm a Gifted teacher.  I feel strongly that all teachers feel this way...no matter their specialty.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tried it Tuesday...oops...I almost forgot a post title...almost!

Today I'm linkin' up with my buddy Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper for Tried It Tuesday.  I am just goin' to say I've been a very bad, bad blogger this past week.  I waited a whole FIVE days before readin' all the blogs that I follow on Bloglovin'.  You want to know why?  Because I read SIX books...that's right...SIX.  Want to know the best part?  They weren't for kids.  I needed a little break and it was well worth it, but I did miss you all.

Tried It #1:
Today I tried...ZUMBA!  I'm probably the most uncoordinated person on the face of the planet, but I tried it.  FIFTEEN SONGS worth.  No lie.  I guarantee I'm goin' to be hurtin' tomorrow.  I forgot my socks at home, so I'm one of those weird people that would rather suffer and do it without shoes than put my feet in my tennis shoes without socks.  This experience was definitely full of giggles from myself and my 
co-workers as I got lost on most of the moves.  I got to freestyle "officially" durin' some parts.  Ever seen a fish out of water, floppin' around?  Yeah...you don't even need pictures for that.  I'm sure your mental images are workin' just fine!

Tried It #2
Last year, my district officially asked us to take a course before doin' B.Y.O.D.(Bring Your Own Device) in our classrooms.  Oops...I had already been doin' it.  No problem-o.  I did the online course and found this in my teacher mailbox the other day. My students and I hung this up outside our door, so others could see it when they walked in. They are proud to be a B.Y.O.D. class.

This week my class started our exploration of the Solar System.  In keepin' with the B.Y.O.D. theme, I decided to have some S.T.E.M.(Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) integration in my lesson plans.  I found this cute quick activity online for FREE:  Planet Research Worksheet 
Students were allowed to use their devices(Technology) to research the distance from each planet, Length of time for one revolution around the Sun, Diameter of the planet, Temperature, and Number of Moons(Mathematics),  learnin' different facts about planets in our solar system(Science).  It was interestin' to see that some students chose to record the distance in kilometers and others used miles.  Some of them decided to estimate the distance. Some chose to work together to find the answers and others chose to do this solo.  Either way...lots of conversations were happenin' regardin' the planets and that makes me smile.  I actually had the students do this durin' math stations at the table with four laptops.

Some of my sweet precious darlin' babies are extremely wonderful about writin' their names and numbers and then highlightin' them. Others I'm still givin' reminders...even after one whole year and five weeks of school together. 

And that is where the "Have You" comes into play in our class.  
I have posted about this before here, but thought I'd bring it back.
There are 17 choices to choose from.  I chose 5 that will work specifically for my kiddos.
1. Have you checked to make sure you have written your name and number?
2. Have you highlighted your name and number? 

3. Have you used your best handwriting?
4. Have you checked all of your responses to make sure they are completed?
5. Have you asked a friend to check over your work?

These are my Finished & Unfinished hangin' files.  This is where I have my students turn in work and I walk by and grab it.  The students try to keep it organized for me.

I hope you go and check out everyone else's Tried It Tuesdays on Holly's blog.
Happy Tuesday!
P.S.  I've almost reached 200 followers on Bloglovin'...definitely cool!  Thank you sweet readers! 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tried it Tuesday...Math Journals, Bio-Poems, and Color Coded Cards

Today I'm linkin' up with my buddy Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper for Tried It Tuesday.  I was so excited to link up my post for Monday Made It yesterday, but haven't had a chance to check out everyone's posts.  I've decided that I'm going to take a nap before I go check out everyone else's Monday Made Its and Tuesday Tried Its.  Please forgive me...you know how much I need my afternoon naps!

#1 Tried It:
This year I have decided to start using Math Journals in one of my Math stations a few days a week.  I got the Math Journals from K-5 Math Teaching Resources.  They have journals for each grade level for purchase.  They are Common Core aligned and so far I am really enjoying them.
I have the journal entry written in my lesson plans on my Planbook.  I project this on my SMARTboard which is located in front of my teacher table.  The kids copy the question and write an answer.  After they are finished, they share the response with their group.

Some samples: This is still a "Work in Progress".  We are learning to be very specific and detailed.

Math journals in action:
Writing  Math journal entries at my table.
Sharing with the group after they are finished to see if they agree or disagree with the responses of the group partners.

#2 Tried It:
One of my students actually came up with this idea on her own and shared with me yesterday.  I thought it was brilliant.  Each week I have my students write their Vocabulary words on index cards.  This student chose to color code her words by Parts of Speech to help her study for her Vocabulary test.  I make the students identify the Parts of Speech.
Pink is for adjectives, yellow for nouns, and orange for verbs.

#3 Tried It:
  My fifth grade neighbors did Bio-Poems last year created by Laura Candler and they are FREE.  I decided to jump in on the action and had my kids fill out the graphic organizer.  Then they each typed their Bio-Poem and got to choose their font and size.  I hung these up next to the sunglasses that I blogged about last week. My hallway is officially full and complete for Thursday's Open House.  I just love how each one is so very different and the kids really got to express themselves.

Nap time...then I'm comin' to read what you all have been up to also!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Monday Made It...Oh, how I've missed you...

Yep, it's true.  I have definitely missed linkin' up with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics for her very popular Monday Made It linky.  It's hard to believe a month has passed since the last MMI.
I was cruisin' through some posts on Bloglovin' this afternoon while I was cruisin' down the interstate(no, I wasn't readin' and drivin'...) and got so excited to see Tara's post.  The only bad thing was, I was stuck in the car and couldn't start my post.  I was too hyped up because I made a quick trip to New Orleans this weekend for the New Orleans Saints football game.
Yep...we(I act like I was on the field or somethin'...)WON!  That's right...we beat dem Dirty Birds aka the Atlanta Falcons(sorry if you're a Falcons fan and lost...I will cheer for you sometimes...as long as you aren't playin' the Saints).  Jerm and I disagree on ALL teams, so today was no different. It was a short trip, but lots of fun packed into two days with some great hosts this weekend.  Lunch at the Cochon Butcher Sandwich Shop.  Ham sandwich + White BBQ sauce=YUM!  Drinks at Mojito's, a little gamblin' at Harrah's Casino, dinner at Dickie Brennan's Steak House and some music at Irvin Mayfield's Jazz Playhouse in the French Quarter was just what I needed after the first three weeks of school startin'.   I'm tellin' you...New Orleans is probably the HAPPIEST city I've ever visited.  I ALWAYS leave there so rejuvenated!
Bourbon Street was hoppin'.  
Loved the start of the game.  
Love the Superdome and the air conditionin'! 

Now onto school stuff...I finally made a decision that I needed to organize all of the Math and ELA games that I have been printin', cuttin', and laminatin' the past couple of years.  I was gettin' tired of havin' to sort through a large plastic tub to find the ones I wanted to use.  It was pure madness.  So, last week I asked for volunteers to help sort the games.  I love when 22 hands shoot up in the air to help me.
Here is the beginnin' of the sort.  I gave some of my boys my binder with the Math and ELA Common Core Standards for 5th grade and asked them to sort them.  They decided to use the Post-It notes to get themselves organized.  Be still my beatin' heart...I was swoonin'.  
Look at this!  Are they good or what?  They did this pretty much without any direction from me other than me handin' them the binder with all of the standards.  They made a pretty big dent, but we still have some work to do.

Now...this is where I need your help? Do I make a basket for each group of games or do I keep them in this large plastic tub with some kind of divider?  What do you use in your class to house these games?  All of the manila envelopes are laminated, so they are pretty sturdy.  Keep in mind...I switch grade levels every year, so I need a system that will help me be able to transition into the next grade easily without changin' everything, every year.  Ideas?   

I've also made a new discovery
Have you signed up for CoreStand's Core Weekly newsletter via email?  
Each week they have been sendin' an email with a download to a FREE literacy template tied to a current event.  The template also includes a link to a current event article on Time for Kids.   
Here is an example of an article: Time for Kids: History of Labor Day  
The graphic organizer has a question to answer in the areas of Reading, Writing, Language, and Speaking & Listening. Each newsletter includes a template for Elementary and Grades 6-12.  
We have already completed three articles in my class and the kids really seem to be enjoyin' them.  Some literacy, technology, and writin' all tied together.  What's not to love?

Be sure to check out everyone else's ideas on Monday Made It.  I can't wait to come home after school and catch up on the past 3 days on Bloglovin' and answer some emails from this weekend...preferably not on my phone!