Monday, December 31, 2012

Year In {P}review Linky Party!

I'm sure you've all seen the many linky parties going on around here lately! 'Tis the season to party!

I'm not so good with resolutions, so luckily I found Michelle's linky party on her blog, Making It As A Middle School Teacher!

I'm all about looking ahead...sometimes I have to remind myself to slow down and live in the moment! This was the perfect linky party for me....

Let me explain a few of these!

Personal Read: I am rereading Little Women. It even sounds weird when I type it, but it's been fun revisiting such a great book. :-)

Life Event: We actually celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary last summer. But we decided to save up and take a trip that would be adventurous and super-fun! So, it's combined with...

Vacation: We are going to Iceland! I know that sounds weird too...but I highly recommend googling some images of Iceland, and then you will probably see why we are heading there! Plus? They have some AH.MAZ.ING. hot springs. 'Nuff said.

Professional Goal: I am tired of the distractions that bombard me that have nothing to actually do with my class of 4th graders. I am going to work really hard to prioritize them and their needs above other extraneous nonsense.

Personal Goal: "Expand my horizons" sounds SO cheesy! But, I mean it. This goal started in 2012 when my husband bought a Groupon for a paint-and-sip class on a whim. Since then, we have been looking for new and interesting ways to step outside our comfort zone and learn more about our world. Next up? Swing dance lessons! And scuba classes! Woohoo!

Favorite Upcoming Lesson: Geometry tends to be one of my favorite subjects to teach in math...I love that kids who might struggle in other areas of mathematics can really shine here. We always start by sorting, comparing and contrasting shapes to determine the attributes that each one has or must have. On that note...I finally put something for sale in my TpT store.

I am super excited...and way nervous at the same time! I put together some shape cards with ideas for activities and a couple of graphic organizers. It's for sale in my store right now. If you are getting ready to teach 2D Geometry, go check it out and see if you might be able to use it. :-) Just click the picture below...

PS This will be on sale, in honor of the New Year, starting today!
Ok...I think that about covers looking ahead...bring on 2013!

Don't forget to go link up with Michelle and share what you are looking forward to as well!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Holiday Fun

Before I tell you about our day-before-winter-break fun, I need to know.

Have you checked out this awesome giveaway at The Peanut Gallery?
Click the button to take you straight there!
What a great way to start the New Year! Amazing!
Ok, now on to some holiday fun! Every year our PTA gives us each $1 per student to make or buy a small ornament. Usually, my parents just buy an ornament that holds the child's picture. 
But this year, a fabulous mom in my room asked if she could come in and make an ornament with the class! Of course, I jumped for joy said yes. :-) 
She came the day before break, and brought these adorable kits from Oriental Trading.
Puzzle Piece Wreath Photo Frame Ornament Craft Kit
Click the picture if you want some for next year!
When they have their pictures taken each year, the company gives the teacher a little page with several sticky-back photos of each kid. We used those and they spent a little time making their adorable wreath ornament!

They were all excited to take them home and hang them on the tree. :-)

She also made these adorable reindeer cookies:
They were super cute AND delicious!

Overall, we had a pretty good day-before-loooong-break. I hope yours was successful too!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Looking Back at December

We did a lot of fun stuff during the month of December  in 4th grade! I thought I'd share a quick peek with you all.

In 4th grade, our students finally get to study their home state, Colorado! We start by looking at geography in Colorado. We especially focus on the three main regions we have here: plains, mountains and plateaus.

**Hilarious Side Note** Many of the students had never heard the word "plateaus" before or seen it written. I constantly hear "pla-toos" from all over my classroom during this unit. It cracks me up and I can't count the number of times I stop the whole class and say, "Repeat after me...'pla-TOES'!" It makes me giggle every year!

Anyway! We look at pictures:

And then we describe what we notice. They talk about what's the same and what is different.

At the very end, we make a Salt Dough Map to show all three regions. The flat plains, the "pointy" (as many 4th graders described them) mountains and the flat, but more "desert-y" plateaus.

Each kid gets a ball of salt dough, a piece of cardboard covered in foil and a map of Colorado, and an extra map to use for putting everything in the right place.

They started by squishing their dough onto their map board to make it the right size and shape. Luckily, Colorado is pretty much a rectangle. Pretty easy.

Then, they flattened it out with their fingers and started to add the features of each region.

Once they were happy with their flat plains, pointy mountains and "pla-toos," we let them dry overnight.

Their favorite part came next. Painting!

**Another Side Note** Painting was NOT my favorite part. Can you guess why? I'm sure you can.

We decided on colors to represent each region. They came up with green for the mountains, yellow for the plains and orange for the plateaus, based on the pictures they had already looked at. They also added a few of Colorado's rivers on their maps...they painted those blue.

Then we got to work!

When they were done, they put their finished products on display in the library!


Where are the pictures of their adorable finished maps, you ask? Well. About that. As each little person trotted down the hall to the library, I thought to myself, take pictures! Make sure you take pictures!

But I didn't. I kept letting them go without taking ANY pictures. So. After break, I think this post will need to be updated. To include pictures of the cuteness on display in the library!

Well, that about covers one fun thing in December! And this post has gotten little long! Maybe tomorrow I can share the fun ornaments we made and the adorable cookies my room mom baked!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Knock, knock!!! Is anyone hoooome???

Hello my bloggy friends! I am ashamed of myself for the days and days and days and days that have passed since I last blogged. The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas just got the best of me, and I'm sure many of you know the feeling. I'm thinking my New Year's resolution better be to get off my booty and blog!

I have so much to catch up on! Stick with me and be rewarded with awesome new blogs to check out!

First and foremost, I have to thank SO MANY incredible bloggers who honored me by giving me the Liebster Award. :-)

Brianna at
The Price of Teaching

Caitlyn at
Fourth Grade Lemonade

Mrs. Young at
My Photo

Ms. M. at

The lovely ladies at
Teacherific Fun

Thank you all so very much!

Here's the scoop:

The Liebster Blog Award is given to up and coming bloggers by established bloggers (less than 200 followers), in order to recognize them, let them know that they are appreciated, and to spread the word about new blogs. The rules are:

1. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
2. Answer the questions the nominator(s) set for you.
3. Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
4. Choose 11 blogs you love (with less than 200 followers) and link them in your post.
5.  No tag back, but please leave me a comment on this post with the URL to your Liebster post so I can learn more about you!

Here goes!
11 Random Facts About Me

1. I sang the Sesame Street theme song on TV when I was 4.
2. I was a Music Ed major for two years in college.
3. My Starbucks drink is a Grande-Nonfat-One-Pump-Mocha-With-Whip.
4. I have two Golden Retrievers and one surly tabby.
5. I love football and hockey just about equally.
6. My husband and I go to the same coffee shop every Saturday morning - NOT Starbucks.
7. I have seen the John Butler Trio in concert so many times that I've actually lost count.
8. I have the mouth of a sailor in person. (But NOT in the classroom!)
9. I am torn between my inner tom-boy and my outer girly-girl. In public. At home, tom-boy wins every time.
10. If I love a song, I will listen to it over and over and over in the car at a ridiculous volume. I may also sing along at a ridiculous volume.
11. My husband and I LOVE to travel and see new places - especially ones that you wouldn't expect.

Questions Asked
I'm not going to lie. I picked and chose here....a few from each nominator!

A few from Brianna:
7. When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to work at McDonald’s and have a Pontiac Firebird!
8. Do you have pets?
I sure do. Two spoiled Golden Retrievers and the aforementioned surly cat.
9. When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
At my parent’s house while decorating their Christmas tree.
10. What is your favorite children's book?
Right now? I Want My Hat Back – I just read it to my class and we all laughed hysterically.
11. If you could compete in any Olympic sport, what would it be?
Is there an Olympic sport for couch-potatoing?

A few from Caitlyn:
2. If you could travel anywhere, where would would you go?
I have Iceland in my sights right now.
3. What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?
The silly things kids do every day.
10. If you could time travel to one year for the whole year, what year would you go to?
Ooh. I think maybe during the time the west was being settled…I LOVE Laura Ingalls Wilder.
11. Why did you start blogging?
Linky parties? LOL I love sharing ideas and getting ideas…it’s fun!

A few from Mrs. Young:
3. Favorite holiday tradition?
I’m pretty sure if I name it here, my family will have me excommunicated. Let’s just say it involves singing and LOTS of laughing.
7. Has it snowed yet where you live?
8. Favorite quote? Inspirational, from song, or movie.
I really like this one from Dr. Seuss – “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
9. Can't live without teacher item?
My new pencil sharpener!

A few from Ms. M:
2. What are you currently reading for enjoyment?
Little Women
3. When did you decide to become a teacher, and why did you choose this field?
After two years of college, I realized being a music teacher wasn’t what I wanted to do. Something about Elementary Education called my name, and here I am!
8. What do you think is the funniest word in our vocabulary?
9. What is the greatest success you have had in teaching?
Being the kind of teacher that reaches “difficult” students

A few from Teacherific:

1. What's your biggest fear?
Heights – but not like in an airplane or building. Only the kind where I might actually fall and die.
2.Who do you admire the most?
My mom.
3. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?
6. What do you plan to do if you win the lottery?
Whatever I want, of course! LOL

Whew! Ok. Now for my 11 questions for my nominees!
1. What are your hobbies?
2. How did you decide on names for your pets (or children)?
3. When did you start teaching?
4. What's your favorite grade to teach?
5. What's the funniest joke you know?
6. Coke or Pepsi? HAH
7. If you could live anywhere, where would you live?
8. What's your favorite thing about winter?
9. What is your favorite holiday?
10. What is the cutest/funniest thing a student has ever said to you?
11. How do you spend your days on break?

Annnnd, the nominees are....     
1. Ms. O Reads Books
2. Bayside Teacher
3. Polka Dots and Teaching Tots
4. Teaching In The Valley

Ahem. I am EXTREMELY late to the Liebster Award party here folks. I have looked all over this lovely Internet and I am having mucho trouble finding bloggers with less than 200 followers who haven't received it yet.

So. I am breaking the rules {again} and stopping with these four fabulous blogs. Visit them and ENJOY!

I am also apologizing for the heinous formatting of this post. Blogger is NOT my friend tonight.

Stay tuned for more posts. Hurray for Winter Break!