Thursday, January 24, 2013

Check It Out!

Hi all! Just popping in for a quick minute...

I am happy to be a part of Jane's 100 Follower Giveaway at Learning in the Little Apple! If you haven't already, hop over and check it out. :-)

You can win a $25 Lakeshore giftcard, a $10 Starbucks card, my 2D Quadrilaterals Shape Sort, and a Show Your Multiplication Facts unit from Kickin' It With Class. Head over there to get your entries in!

Happy almost-the-weekend! :-) Hooray!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Red- Letter Day...

Has anyone else read/loved "Night of the Twisters" by Ivy Ruckman? One of my favorite parts is when the main character, Dan, is describing a red-letter day - the very first page!

"When I was a little kid, I thought a red-letter day was when you got a red letter in the mailbox. Pretty dumb, huh? It finally dawned on me that a red-letter day is when something terrific and wonderful happens to you. Usually something unexpected."

Later on, Dan thinks that a red-letter day is the kind of day that ought to "have a tag on it. It could read:
This Is A Red-Letter Day
1. Dress appropriately
2. Practice looking humble
3. Comb your hair, in case of photographers"

 Now this book is not about a red-letter day for most of the book. But, it's still really good. 
And now on to the point....

I'm having a red-letter day!

First, I was featured on Amanda's blog, Teaching Maddeness! She has her Budding Bloggers Showcase Series every Wednesday, and today was my lucky day. :-)

I feel really lucky to be able to connect with such great bloggers...thanks, Amanda!

Secondly, I won a giveaway! Molly at Lessons With Laughter had a 1,000 Follower giveaway and I won a $25 Amazon giftcard! Hooray!
Lessons with Laughter
Thanks, Molly!
I can't wait to get some 12 sided dice. :-) Also, I totally want to make these cute snow globes she made with her kiddos. So adorable!

Well, I'm off for the evening. But...stay tuned for tales from the National Western Stock Show, a Colorado Avalanche game and a recap of our MLK day activities!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Giveaway and a Freebie!

I am super excited to be a part of another fun giveaway! Rae at Mindful Rambles has reached 100+ followers and she is celebrating...woooohoooo! I am giving a $10 Target card, and there are lots of other awesome prizes. Go check it out!

Click the picture to take you to her giveaway post!
Last, but not least....

This week during shared reading, we revisited asking questions before, during and after reading.

SIDE NOTE: We have been using a National Geographic magazine, and they have an awesome online component that allows you to project the magazine onto your SmartBoard or other interactive whiteboard! I've never used it before this week, but we are having a blast! You can add your own sticky notes and highlight right on the pages on the screen.

So, as we read together, I added "sticky notes" with my questions to the screen and the students added questions to their graphic organizer...

We shared our questions as we went and the next step will be for them to use their graphic organizers during Read to Self. For some that need more support, we will be using the graphic organizer in small groups as well!

If you think this graphic organizer would be useful to you in your classroom, click the picture to take you to my TPT store, where you can grab it for FREE! Thanks to all my followers for your support! Enjoy!

I'm also linking up over at Teaching Blog Addict for Freebie Friday! Check mine out and then go check out a bunch of other freebies. :-)
Freebie Fridays

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Friday Flashback...

Yes, I know it's Sunday! But, I wanted to show everyone how the week went. So I'm linking up with Amanda at Teaching Maddeness for her Friday Flashback linky. :-)

First up, we had meetings. So. Many. Meetings. Monday and Tuesday were teacher work days. However, Tuesday wasn't so bad because I got to facilitate a PD around the Common Core Standards of Mathematical Practice! Two of my colleagues and I planned for an hour long PD (not enough of course) and we used Dan Meyer's "Popcorn Picker" problem to get our teachers thinking and working mathematically. We've also done the "Coke vs. Sprite" problem in the fun!
We used the video as a jumping off point to talk about the Standards of Mathematical Practice. Teachers read through them and took notes about each one. We talked about which standards they saw themselves engaging in while tackling the problem. I wasn't thinking about it at the time, but I wish I had taken some pictures because the teachers in my building were great learners too! :-)

On Wednesday, the kids were back! Hooray! I was so glad to see their faces and I think they (secretly) were glad to be back too. We started off the day with the Highlights of Your Break activity from Diane at Fifth in the Middle. I blogged about it {here}. They turned out so cute!

She won a race at swim practice! Crazy!

Something special: a new gold necklace!

A weird lunch??? Tell me more.... :-)

Crazy skateboard tricks!

Also on Wednesday, we used the Find Somebody Who activity from Lisa at Fourth and Ten. I blogged about that too {here}.

What a great activity to get them up and moving after a boring second semester writing prompt! :-)

They had a blast! It was fun seeing what everyone did over break too!

One last thing...not classroom related, but SO cool that I have to share it. Since we are looking back on the week two days late, I'm including yesterday! My husband and I were driving home from our usual Saturday breakfast when we saw this guy hanging out near a gravel pit by our house.
He's hard to see, but it's a juvenile bald eagle.
Little known fact about me? I'm a huge nerd when it comes to eagles. And hawks. And pretty much any other bird of prey. It's a very long story. I'll tell it another time.

Back to yesterday. We saw our friend above, and decided to go get the bigger camera so we could take some better pictures. As we left, he flew across the street to a small lake. I hopped out of the car and walked up a small hill to get a better look at him on the ice on the lake...and I saw 7 - yes SEVEN - eagles on the ice! I was ecstatic and we hurried home to get the better camera. These are what we saw when we got back.

Left to right there were ELEVEN bald eagles on the ice! And after I snapped this picture, one more flew in! TWELVE!

It was so cool! We watched for awhile and took a TON of pictures. I was in nerdy bald eagle heaven. :-)

Well, there's my Flashback for the week! Even though it's Sunday, pop over and share your week too!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

All Good Things...

All good things....blah, blah, blah. It's back to work tomorrow. I know, I know, many of you went back already. But I'm still not looking forward to tomorrow.

I guess you can look at this as a pro OR a con, but we don't have kids tomorrow. Which means we have meetings. I think meetings are a con. At least I don't have to completely have my you-know-what together, but it's just not going to be fun.

Oh well. To make myself happy I'm thinking about Wednesday, when the kids are back! (Yes, you read that right, Wednesday. We have meetings on Tuesday too. BLAH!)

Over winter break, I've been stalking away and finding some awesome ideas to use when everyone is back and rolling on Wednesday. I thought I'd gather together a few to share with you, in case you are like me and need to think happy thoughts!

First up is this adorable activity from Diane at Fifth in the Middle.
PS This is FREE at her TPT store! Click the image above!

I think I will have this waiting on their desks when they come in. I will give them a few minutes to write or draw about the idea in each box and then we can share. Each student can share one thing from their page with the class! Thanks Diane for such a great idea! 

PPS Diane is having a giveaway! Go check that out too!

Next up is a great pack from Tracy at Creekside Teacher Tales.

This pack has some great winter themed activities for practicing main idea! They can work on these activities in small groups, individually or in a center. She actually has several packs like these, so go check out her store! I am thinking that I will start out doing some of these during reading groups together and then change them to a center.

Another fun activity (FREE by the way) is from Lisa at Fourth and Ten.

I thought this might be fun for after lunch on Wednesday. They can get a little of the wiggles out and find out what everyone did over break!

Once I blog stalked a little, I came up with my own idea too! So I made this little 3-2-1 Graphic Organizer for the new year!

I blogged about it {here} and you can grab it for free {here}!

Well, that should get me at least through some of the day! And I know we are going to have a fun that will make Monday and Tuesday go down a little easier.

What are you doing (or what did you do) on the first day back with students? Share your ideas and links in the comments!

Friday, January 4, 2013

I Wanna Give a SHOUT OUT!!!

Since I started my blog, way back in July, I have been amazed at all the talented people in the blogging world. And I'm not just amazed at their blogging talent.

I've been blown away by the quality of teachers in the world that choose to share their vast knowledge with everyone!

Today, I want to link up with Lisa from Growing Firsties and Katie from Teacher to the Core for their Shout Out linky party:
This linky is intended to give us the opportunity to "shout out" to two bloggers who have inspired us - one with more followers and one with fewer.

Without further ado...

The first person I want to give a shout out to is Megan from I Teach. What's Your Superpower?
I Teach. What's Your Super Power?
First off, Megan designed my blog! This is particularly amazing to me because I have NO IDEA how to do that. Secondly, Megan makes awesome tutorials on her "Blog, Baby Blog" section that help all new bloggers learn how to do little things that make blogging so much easier! Megan also helps me when I email her ridiculous questions about my blog in the middle of the night. :-)

Most importantly, however? Megan's blog is packed with great ideas AND she makes me laugh! I'm always excited to read what she has to say and know I'm going get a giggle out of it.

The second person to get a shout out today is Angie at Ms. O Reads Books.
Ms. O Reads Books

Ok, first of all, she was the first person I saw to post about these:
Dr. Seuss Converse people!
And I bought some. And then I continued following and reading Ms. O's fabulous blog. She is a teacher-librarian, which means that she knows about books. I mean, REALLY knows about books. She shares great reads for kids of all ages and she has witty banter with me in the comments. :-) She makes me laugh too!

I love that Angie shares great ideas for activities with kids, technology and how she implements those ideas in her library. She also has some pretty adorable crafts over there!

I can't thank these two ladies enough for sharing their amazing talents AND making me laugh on a regular basis! 

Now that you've read about these great gals, make sure you click above to go to their blogs, look around and follow them. You won't be disappointed!

A Place for Everything...

You know that old saying, right? "A place for everything, and everything in its place?"

I kept hearing that as I worked in my room yesterday. Boy, oh boy. It was a disaster! I knew something had to be done. It wasn't even a work day, but I went in with one goal in mind.


This is the counter behind my reading table.

A lot of times it ends up being the put-it-here-because-I-don't-know-what-to-do-with-it counter/bookshelf. Everything in a red pouch is for math intervention and I also had these piles over there:
What is in those piles, you ask? WHO KNOWS. That is why they had to go. Somewhere. Anywhere. Maybe even ~gasp~ the trash circular file that sits on the floor next to my reading table.

This was on that counter too, you know.
Except for the unpainted salt dough map. That wasn't on my counter. BUT THE REST WAS.

As you can imagine, every day I would look at that giant mess and think terrible, terrible thoughts about a giant sweeping arm motion and a LARGE trash can. But, luckily, winter break rolled around, and I started to get my wits about me again.

So, I buckled down. I mean no Facebook, no Pinterest, no email, no TpT, no blog-stalking.


If it was trash, away it went. If it belonged in a binder or folder, by golly it went in the right one. If it needed a bucket for organization, I grabbed an old one and re-purposed it.

No pile was left unturned. And this is what happened:

Clean counter part 1. No messy piles. No unwanted papers or books or JUNK. Reading group materials organized.

Clean counter part 2. Math intervention organized. Old papers tossed. Stuffed animals still looking on.

People, I felt GOOD. I felt so good I even tackled a bookshelf in some serious need. Did I take a picture? NO. But I promise you, the bookshelf looks great too and I feel like I could actually find something on it!

Just for fun, I took a picture of this little gem too. Because I still love it. Every day I love it.
One little bit of organization in an otherwise chaotic world!
Now, the key will be to KEEP it this way. On that note...

The Clutter-Free Classroom is starting the Clutter-Free Classroom Project for 2013. This sounds like the perfect way to get organized a bit at a time and have help from everyone else who's trying to get organized too! Head over to Clutter-Free Classroom to check out the details and how to participate.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

It's About That Time...A Freebie!

It is. I'm sorry to say it, but it seems like this little break has gone by way too fast.

I know many of you are going back today, or possibly tomorrow. Many of us will be back to work on Monday.

Last night, I was up late thinking, "Uh-oh. What are we doing when the students come back on Wednesday?????" This gets my stomach all jittery and my mind all jumpy. Even though I know that it's still a few days away, I like to start getting my game plan together so at least it's not a punt-o-rama when their smiling faces walk through the door. You know what I'm talking about. AND, if you you're even closer to going back to work, I'm sure you are feeling the pinch a lot more than me.

So, I thought about my first day back with kids. What are we going to do?

I usually like to start out with something familiar and routine so that everyone can ease back into their days. Every year, I introduce my class to the 3-2-1 Graphic Organizer in the first few days of school. This is certainly NOT an original idea, but I have no idea where it came from. (Maybe someone can enlighten me, so I can give credit where credit is due?) It's a graphic organizer that we use at the beginning of the year and for all sorts of things afterwards.

Since it is a new year, I thought, "Why not a 3-2-1 to get us off on the right foot?" I put one together that I will use with my darling 4th graders on Wednesday, and I thought that other people might like to check it out as well!

If you think it would be useful to you, you can click the picture and grab it for FREE!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

These {Giveaways} Are Great!

Hi everyone! Hope 2013 is treating you well so far.

I wanted to pop by quickly and let you all know about some super cute and fun giveaways going on right now!

First up: Ash from The Polished Teacher reached 250 Followers recently! This giveaway has tons of great prizes, and I'm lucky enough to be one of the contributors! Click the pictures below to head over and enter away.
Not to mention, she has an ADORABLE blog. Get over there!

Next up: Over at Across the Hall in 2nd Grade. Halle and Jenna have put together an adorable giveaway idea, so head over there and check it out.

perfect pair giveaway
They have an adorable blog as well! Check it out!

You can win some of their great units, as well as the picture books that go along with them and support them! What a great idea!

You know you are blog-stalking like crazy anyway, so you may as well enter some giveaways while you are at it! :-) Enjoy!