Sunday, March 31, 2013

Poetry Month and April Currently

Posting twice in one day is my April Fool's Joke...but really, I'm going to do it!  :)

Welcome April...and Poetry Month
I'll be honest.  I. am. not. a. writer.  When it comes to Poetry, I am especially not a writer!  So when a teacher friend of mine was going on maternity leave, and she needed someone to pick up Poetry club for the year, I was kind of absolutely dreading it.  Instead of planning one club meeting at a time, I decided to do it all at once so that I would feel well-prepared.  My Poetry Unit highlights 7 different types of poetry and can be used for 1st-3rd grade!

The 7 different types of poems you can find here are autobiographical, acrostic, diamante, shape, haiku, cinquain, and couplet poems.  I have found that all of my students can identify with at least a few of these poems, and through modeling the poems during my teaching, I even enjoyed teaching it!  Shhh...don't tell anyone, though!  The unit also includes graphic organizers, publishing pages, and recommendations for picture books to use as mentor texts.

You can also click here to see my post from last year on how I used the unit in my classroom with the Poetry Club.  

Here is the Poe-tree I put up in my room last year.  It's things like this that make me really miss having my own classroom and making the room all about learning and student work.  

April's Currently
Farley has done it again with another great Currently!  She is always so creative, but most of all her posts are real.  I've never met her, but I feel like I know her, Bubs (her son), and her classroom.  If you have some time, hop over, read some other Currently's, and enjoy Farley's posts!  

I also posted a Math Freebie game today on place value, so hop over to grab the review game for free! Click on the image to link to my post!

Alrighty, gotta run!

Math *Freebie*, Pinterest...check!, and SB 2K13

Happy Easter!  I'm going to try to make this quick since I'm heading to my family's Easter Egg Hunt soon!  The holiday was my motivation for the colors of the game I created today!  As I was walking through a classroom the other day, they were practicing with base ten blocks, so it stirred up my creative juices to make this game!

With such a joyful holiday, I thought I'd make it FrEe for all of you!
Just another reason to sing Allelujah today!  

**Here's a snapshot of what you'll get!**
Visit here to get your free copy, and don't forget about my 5 favorite products that are 20% off!

I also linked up with Fabulicious Freebies on the First!!  Click the link below to find many other FREE items for your classroom!

Okay, so I'll admit.  I pin a lot of items on Pinterest and don't end up doing any of them!  My sister and I have spoken many times about how we wish Pinterest would add a feature where you could "check off" an item that you have tried or completed.  This would serve as your own motivation to check some off as well as serve as a great tool when you need help creating something you see.  If someone you follow has checked it, then you can ask them!

Last weekend the hubs and I headed to my sister's house and she had all the materials ready to make these eggs we found on Pinterest.  Blow up a balloon, but the string through a flour and water mixture, wrap it around the balloon, let it dry overnight, pop the balloon, and wallah (sp?)!!  So, here are my Easter eggs on my table!  This is my own little "check" on my Pinterest board!  I actually completed a pin!

~Up close view~

~A little farther away~

Spring Break 2K13
I don't have much planned for my Spring Break, but I forgot to give a shout out to my husband for breakfast in bed on my first day of break!  Woohoo...I can already tell it's going to be great.  

Alright, well I need to get my bunny ears on and hunt for some eggs, but I hope you all enjoy your holiday!!  Gotta run!

Friday, March 29, 2013

My 5 Fav Products!

Well, as of 3:40 yesterday I am officially on Spring Break!  Woohoo!  And it's Easter weekend, so why not join in on the fun and throw a sale on my 5 Favorite Products!  Head over to my TPT shop to get 20% off of these products!

Here's a preview of the 5 I've selected!  Click on the image to get a more detailed description.  
 Catch my #1 selling product...Data Binder and Student-Led Conferences!  This is your go-to resource for everything data and setting up student-led conferences.  Enjoy 20% off!

If your weather is anything like Indiana right now, you're going between types of precipitation and seasons all in one week!  We had 9 inches of snow last Monday and a Snow Day!  Tomorrow will be 60 degrees and spring! Enjoy this Weather Unit to help your students understand all this weather mania!

 Ahhh...beloved subtraction with regrouping.  Grab this great review game for just $1.20 through Sunday!

Poetry month is oh so close!  Grab this unit with examples of styles of poetry, differentiated writing pages, and ideas for mentor texts to use to celebrate the month of April. 

9 games in one big back!  Enjoy addition and subtraction format in a fun way...especially at the end of the year!  

Happy shopping!  Gotta really, I'm going to run!  (I'll post about this week's running adventures over the weekend!)

Monday, March 25, 2013

10K, Weather Craziness, and New Math Games!

10K Race
This weekend was a 10K race for my training, and it worked out perfectly.  If you remember, I changed districts this year, and my old school had a 10K fundraiser this weekend!  Perfect timing!!  It was so nice to see my old students and teachers and get to run at the same time.  The PE teacher has a running club and a lot of my former students were running in the 5K race.  I was extremely proud of their hard work and determination! What a cool thing to be able to do a 5K at the age of 9!  These types of events make me realize just how remarkable our students are outside of the classroom too.

Okay, so about my actual running.  The course is a 5K loop, so if you're doing the 10K, you do the loop twice.  I had a goal of running 8:00 minute miles.  The first half was a bit slower than the second half, and I don't think I had the confidence that I could actually do 8 min/mile.  I ended up averaging 8:07/mile which I was pleased with, but it certainly makes me realize that I should be running at least this for my shorter runs.  Now the real question is whether or not I can run this pace for 13.1 miles! Fingers crossed!

Weather Craziness
We always know in Indiana that we're going to have crazy weather, but really?  A snow storm on March 24th!  On Saturday we had beautiful weather.  So much so that I took my dogs for a walk to the dog park, played frisbee, and completed doo-doo duty in the backyard!  24 hours later this is what it looked like at my house.  What does all of this mean for me?  A snow day today!!

             Saturday on a walk with Addie and Scout.   Sunday into Monday 8 inches of snow!

Snow Day = New Math Games!
I've had such a great response from all of my I have...Who Has? games that I've been trying to add to the selection.  Right now, I'm doing all math games, but have many language arts ones on the list for spring break.  Watch out contractions, short vowel sounds, r-controlled vowels, long vowels, and silent e!  I'm coming for you.

Anyway, I started with a bright and vibrant spring theme for converting fractions to decimals because I needed a little bright in my life.  After all, Spring Break is only 3 school days away!
Next, I used some pizza slices for fractions practice.  My EL students need some help on simple fractions before we move into more complicated fractions.  This will be a great refresher and an easy entry point into fractions.  
And our 4-H clubs are gearing up again for a great summer 4-H fair, so I got a little country with reading decimals.  Knowing how to read decimals is an important skill for students, and this is a great game for reinforcing these skills.  

Here are links to some of the other games that teachers enjoy:

Also, I have undertaken a huge task (much bigger than I originally had though) to create a year-long unit of greek and latin roots.  If any of you do work with learning roots and vocabulary words and would like for me to include something specific, let me know!  

The countdown is on until my Spring Break.  I'm hoping this snow melts and the weather warms before my 9-day stay-cation!

Gotta run!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Holy Calluses and Tech Tuesday with My Big Campus!

Holy Calluses

Yep!  That's right.  I'm talking calluses on my feet.  Disgusting!  My feet are officially getting back into running shape.  I say that with excitement and disdain at the same time.  I have said before that I'm working on my speed so I've chosen to do the "advanced" version for my half marathon training.  With this, the distances havent' been killing me, but I've been trying to ramp up my speed.  My legs have definitely been more tight and a bit more sore, but I forgot about those sweet calluses!  

I'm going to chalk up this week to some holy calluses.  Once they are there, it'll be no big deal (except to the nail lady who asks if she can shave them off and I have to regretfully say no), but for now my feet are not feeling 100%. 

I typically wear heals, but I think this week I'll have to shift to some of my flats for the comfort level.  I'm pretty short at 5'4", so I try to wear taller shoes since many of the 5th graders in my building are taller than me!  I'm just going to chalk this week up to making all of them feel tall, and treating my feet to some no-heeled luxury! My flats will be ready to get dressed up this week rather than my typical jeans/weekend look!
**I also thought you'd rather see a picture of shoes than my callused feet! :)

Tech Tuesday

My Big Campus: A Social Learning Network
My Big Campus is a great resource for students and teachers to share information with each other.  Teachers and administrators can restrict viewing and sharing for safety reasons, but students can create documents, comment, share, upload videos, look at links you've shared with them, etc.  MBC also has what they call "bundles" which are resources that teachers have already created that you can tap into as well.  

This week, I am supporting some of my EL students with their core instruction on social injustice, slavery, and the Underground Railroad.  Since I will be out one day during my time with them, I wanted to make sure they still had meaningful work to do.  As I started on MBC, I found a teacher who had already posted information on MBC that I could use!  

Here are 2 of the screen shots for what came up.  Remember...another teacher created all of this and I can use it too!  Woohoo!!  

Photos, videos, links, and documents can easily be added to these pages. What I like most is that it's all in one place.  Students can research, find great resources, talk with their peers via comment areas, and type and share their work for others to see all in ONE place!!  

Click here to view a short 2 1/2 minute YouTube video on the features of My Big Campus.  I'll keep you updated on how I use it with my small groups and with my staff during professional development!  

Gotta run...Smash will be on in about 15 minutes!  


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Week #4: Mini Training, Do's and Don'ts of Gym Workouts, and Currently

Well it's been a while since I've been on here.  The main reason is that my blog went a little funky for a bit, but all the bugs are worked out and we're ready to roll!  Some other reasons include our state testing and coordinating a piece of our accountability measures for that, parents who are hateful, and oh yea, a car accident.  Wah wah!  In the midst of all of that I've been trying to keep up with my training for the Indianapolis Mini Marathon too!

So here is my recap of the last couple of weeks:

Week 2 of training:
- I had a ton of after school commitments and really didn't do so hot with keeping up with Hal's recommendations for my training.  I only ran 3 times that week, but got some good mileage in on the weekend.  Our weather hasn't been so great (until this weekend!) so I've been doing all of my training on the treadmill at the gym.  As stated before, I have a secret love for the gym.  I really do enjoy running next to people and feeling good about walking out of the gym knowing I've accomplished another day of working out.  However, while at the gym I see a lot of things that I love, and don't love as much.  Below is my compilation of Do's and Don'ts at the gym.

Any of you agree or disagree with these?  Feel free to share what you would add to the list...on both sides!  I must say the worst one was the older gentleman walking out of the gym in on his towel and a button down shirt that was not buttoned.  Granted we couldn't see anything, but it was 20 degrees outside!

Week 3 of training:
I had another week of crazy after school meetings, PTO, math family night, etc. so I knew my workouts weren't going to be as regular as I would like, but I did get as many in as possible.  I have realized that sometimes you just have to be real with yourself and read your body and your schedule.  I try not to beat myself up about missing workouts, but it really bugs me that I can't cross it off on my schedule.

Remember how I said earlier that I had a lot of meetings this week?  Well I was on my way from one to another and then this happened...

 Talk about making the week a bit more stressful!  Oh, and in between getting my license and talking to the person I hit, I locked my keys in the car!  Really, I'm not sure it gets much worse than that except that the police officers couldn't get it unlocked!  I sat in the back of a barred police car for about an hour while my husband drove all the way home and then back with the other set of keys.  I have a way of making one problem into many apparently! On the brighter side, no one was injured, so I can count my blessings.  I now have a rockin' rental car (that smells of smoke - yuck!), but it gets some sweet gas mileage, so I'm enjoying that!

...and because of the accident I missed our Family Math Night at school!  I heard it went well, but was definitely bummed to miss it!

Week 4 of training:
Everything kind of went back to normal this week...yee haw!  The only after school commitment was dinner with some friends, so I got all but one workout in this week!  I ran 20+ miles this week and ended today with a great 7 mile run.  This is the longest I have run in a long time, and I was kind of intimidated by it, but I figured I had to get started.  I forgot how good it felt to feel that weird!?!?  The weather was about 55 degrees and BEAUTIFUL during the run!!  I passed so many other people working out or walking their dogs.  I love this time of year!

And finally...better late than never, but Farley's Currently!

I really enjoy getting mail (not bills) in the mailbox.  For my love of getting mail, though, I'm not very good at sending it.  Also, my husband has been making some really good milkshakes lately and I love them!  They are a great treat!  I love my dogs, but I hate muddy paws.  Just when I clean up one round on the floor they head out again, and I'm swiffering for the fifth time in one day! Still love 'em!

Can you tell it's been a while!  Hopefully I'm all caught up now.

I gotta run...the mighty Hoosiers are playing in about 1 minute, but I'll be back later this week to post about some great websites I've found recently for my students! :)