Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Favorite Gift and FREE Labels!

Once again Christmas has come and gone and I am so excited that my hubby hit the nail on the head with the gifts (a few emails with links from Santa's helper helped a little bit). I got a Xron laminator/sticker maker/magnet maker...the big one! He got a sweet deal on Amazon. Can't wait to use it. Also upgraded the hair straightener, and got some hefty snow boots! But the best gift (if you haven't already peaked) drum roll please....

THE AWESOME pencil sharpener! AND it's red!!!! Yep I'm a teacher.

Something else to share with you all that I ran across today...FREE labels! Yep FREE! I love labels, I usually make my own so they match everything, but you can't pass up free. I'm not sure if you can change the colors in these...maybe you can, I just didn't try YET.

I LOVE BHG magazines, I can get so many ideas from there. But I think I prefer the actual magazine, for some reason the web page seems a little overwhelming to me...between the ads and all the different links, and click here to get here then go here. Anyway I'll let you decide, but enjoy the labels...I know I will.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I hope all of you have a WONDERFUL Christmas! It looks as though I am not the only blog mommy that spent Christmas Eve this way:

Yep, we had to go to the doctor today. Three days of little sleep was making me one big Christmas Scrooge. So little A has croup (nothing new there, happens every year when the cold weather comes), and a slight ear infection. It's the coughing that keeps us up, and some how she bounces back and is all happy during the day while I am stealing naps on the couch. Even the doctor said she "looked" good, but sounded bad. So once again she is laying here next to me coughing...I hope tonight will be a little better!

If you have time tomorrow while you are surfing on your new laptop, iPad, or other device that Santa brought you don't forget to head over to Classroom DIY to check out my post for a GREAT idea for a New Year's resolution bulletin board idea...I can't wait to set it up in my classroom and share some pictures!

Here are a few pics of our pre-Christmas shenanigans:

Cookies for Santa

New PJs


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Do You Know Your Rights?

As part of our 5th grade Social Studies curriculum we have to dig into the Bill of Rights and most of the amendments. I'm not sure about you, but as an adult I still have problems completely understanding all that the amendments in tell let alone explaining them on a 5th grade level...and have them comprehend them, remember them, and apply them to past and present events! It's A LOT!

So we spent a week or so going over them, discussing them, and trying to apply them. They were still struggling. So I made this booklet template for them to use. It gives each amendment in "kid" terms. They then must use the final page with examples, they must find the example that matches and glue it under the correct amendment. Finally they got to draw examples of the amendments. This seemed to help a little more. But according to our local county benchmarks my class is still struggling with them, not that I blame them...this is hard stuff!

My next plan of attack is to spend a week on each amendment. This is not going to be my primary lesson plan for the week but instead will be something we talk about every day for about five minutes, maybe give a little worksheet or quiz on each one each week. With luck we will have these suckers memorized, understood, and be able to apply them by the CRCT.

So here are a few pictures of the booklets my kids made. I tweaked a few things and the examples so make it a little more applicable. You can buy the entire booklet in my TpT or Teacher's Notebook store here!

We cut the pages out and made the booklet with construction paper. You could also cut the pages out and glue them into your notebooks to use them along with interactive notes!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Rearrange and a few States

A few weeks ago we spent our last day with our intern (not a student teacher...the placement they do now right before their actual student teaching). As we were having a discussion about Science I noticed she was leaning on one of my bookshelves. I kept thinking..."surely she won't do it...I mean we have only talking about not leaning on them, sitting against them, pushing on them since the beginning of the year, naw I don't need to say anything" then not even a minute later...BAM! The top of the bookshelf collapsed! Thoughts: "Yep that just happened, she just tried to sit on it!" She was pretty embarrassed to say the least. If you have these bookshelves then you know that they aren't made with the best material. I always tell the kids not to lean on them or rest on them because of that. It doesn't take much to break them.

Then not even one hour later one of my students was walking back to her desk when she tripped. She tried not to fall and in doing so she caught herself on one of the bookshelves and....BAM! Down went number two. In her defense the shelf was already a little "wobbly".

So after investing in two new bookshelves I decided it was a good time to rearrange. So this is what I came up with!

I combined two groups across the back of the room. They are very talkative (like most classes) but by having the majority of them face the front I am able to see who is doing the talking. I can also see their work a little better when I am walking around the room.

Another group of six comes off the board and then I have a small group of four sort of floating to the side. They are four of my students with a greater need in the work habits areas, if you get my drift.

So far it seems to be working out okay. I have an idea or two for my group table that seems to keep getting pushed back into the bookbags, but I didn't have time to rearrange much else before the break. I may spend some of my teacher workday tackling that.

We did finally wrap up the state reports! WHEW! It was a huge task, but I am proud of what my kids turned in. You can find a state report packet as well as a president report packet in both my TpT and Teacher's Notebook stores.

I loved how neat this one was

This student had access to the computer at home and printed all his pictures then brought them in.

This one was about Alaska (couldn't include the cover due to his whole name being on there)
but he drew ALL of his pictures, his captions were great!

This last one was on Rhode Island, she also drew all of her pictures and wrote some great captions

Each student had to write a paragraph about the author (themselves), and write it in the third person. She did a great job, very entertaining!

Stay tuned for some interactive note updates, a New Year's bulletin board idea, and some Social Studies ideas (including an amendment booklet).

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Winter Writing Brochures

I am such a bad blogger! I guess my New Year's resolution will be to get back into the swing of blogging. After teaching the same grade level for seven years I forgot how much work is involved in being on a new grade level: learning the curriculum, making EVERYTHING from mimio lessons (interactive board) to interactive notes and lesson plans from scratch...I could go on! I guess I really took advantage of the fact that I had so much to "pull" from in terms of my own creations. Even if I had to "tweek it" or adjust it, at least it wasn't from scratch.

One thing that I did do before the Thanksgiving break was a HUGE hit. It was the Turkey Survival Kit brochure. I do think that I had mentioned it in a previous post, but I was really impressed with how much thought the students put into making this brochure...and it helped that they had so much fun making it! The basic idea of the brochure is that the students must create a kit that will help a turkey survive Thanksgiving Dinner (not be eaten). Each page of the brochure should contain an item that would help the turkey, it could be made up or real. A lot of the students included something camouflage and/or something that would "de-scent" the turkey to detour a hunter. Again they were great!

So I made a new packet. This packet includes four different winter brochure ideas, instructions, cover pages, and inside pages. I can't wait to use these with my kids in the next few days. Three of them can even be used after the Christmas Break! Click below to view the brochure packet in my TpT store.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Picture Problems...and an App!

Okay so I need some help/advice! Not sure if any bloggers out there have faced this problem before, or if anyone knows how to help...but this is what I get when I try to upload pictures:

Whoops! You're out of space. You are currently using 100% of your 1 GB quota for photos. Upgrade!

Photos are stored in your Picasa Web Albums account and are included in your 1 GB free quota for photos. Additional storage you purchase is shared between several Google products and is in addition to your free quota. 
 So...what do I need to do? If I delete some of them, no one can see them! Can I delete the ones I uploaded and never used? How do I do that? So frustrating!!!!
In other news I found a great app and website! I could be behind the curve on this one (or at least I feel that I am), I just haven't had the time to web browse and blog stalk as I would like. Maybe I can catch up over the Christmas break! 
Anyway it's Grammaropolis!  Here is the website: . I found it first on my iPad as an app and LOVE it! I can't wait to let my students use it. The videos are so cute and catchy! 

Hope you are having a great weekend, I am gearing up to cheer on those Georgia Bulldogs! Thanks in advance for your help. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Too Much Turkey!

Well the week off flew by, of course! I spent the beginning of the week with my family, we took a trip to Tennessee for a few days. We had a ton of fun, then went right into the Thanksgiving Day festivities.  I swear I gained 5lbs on that day alone. I then spent the next two days purging the house of all the Fall decor and old Halloween candy (when my daughter wasn't watching, because that too was not helping my waistline), putting up the Christmas decor (because if I don't do it on this break, it won't happen until the next break...which is Christmas break), and finally getting to go through my daughter's toys (again when she wasn't watching) and clothes. Whew, no wonder this week flew by!

Now on to school the Turkey Survival Kit was a HUGE hit! It was probably the best persuasive writing my kids have done EVER! No joke, they loved it so much...along with the Cornucopia of Thanks, I was really impressed. I think my students do a little better with more structure and a little more prompting when it comes to writing. Well that and making it fun, I do have to jump through hoops and put on a show when it comes to writing...the groans that happen when I tell them to get out their writing journals are unreal!

This is my first year in fifth so I am nervous about the writing test. We start a little sample of writing bootcamp here in the next week or so, after wrapping up our informational writing (the state packet, which again is very structured and therefore they are LOVING it). I have also started making my kiddos write a page a day response to a prompt given to them every morning.

With all of that said I am thinking of two things...doing something similar to the Turkey Survival Kit, maybe a Gingerbread Man something (I will share it all with you once I wrap my head around it). Also I will keep you all informed of this fun writing bootcamp we have coming up...what do you all do to gear up for the writing test (if you have to give one!)?

Finally on a personal note... I am starting my New Year's resolution early, (because I don't make New Year's resolutions) I am totally starting to work out more and eat a little healthier. I have to slim down and my first goal is going to be Dec. 28th, why this date?, well because I have booked our family picture session with this AWESOME photographer on this date, and while it will be cold and I will have to bundle up....I still want to look a little better :) Okay so now that I have written it, and put it out there in blog world I must do it!

So I will leave you with a pic or two of our fun trip, since I have no freebies to share or pics of the classroom :(  Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving Break! Now to get through the next holiday rush....first being the retake of the state test for my 10 (yes 10) transition students happening this coming week, so keep them in your thoughts!

Okay sorry no pictures....having some problems downloading :(  I'll post some soon, sorry to tease!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Last Minute Thanksgiving Plans

Seeing that I am sitting here writing my plans for next week and trying to incorporate some fun Thanksgiving stuff and favorite read alouds...I thought I would share with you!

This is what I came up with...I made some things (which I will try to share) and I took or bought some other things of which I got more ideas from (which I will try and share the links).

First of all is this great Cornucopia of Thanks. I have used this for a few years. Not only do they make the cornucopia using the glyph/legend but I have my students write a paragraph describing their choices, and as to why they choose them. I have them put everything on a long sheet of construction paper and laminate them, they look so pretty. This one I did buy a year or two ago, but as I said well worth it and being able to use it over and over every year.

One of my favorite Thanksgiving books is: One is a Feast for Mouse

There are a couple of activities I am going to do with this one. I found a great package of Language Arts WS to use with this:

But I also added a few more fun activities: vocabulary booklet, stack your own mouse with a Thanksgiving feast, and a summarizing activity.

Finally there is a cute You Tube video for a trailer for this book...very cute:

Okay moving on to the next book: A Turkey for Thanksgiving

Again Cutsey Clickables has a great little packet to use (I didn't buy this one, just saw it actually):

However I did get some great ideas from this packet (to make a turkey survival kit, such a cute idea):

And you can always discuss point of view with this story!

The final book I am going to use is: 'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving

We will discuss the parody. I will also have them write down the ways they are similar. Lastly they will make a turkey with a thought bubble and have the turkey trying to persuade kids to take him as a pet, or something with Save a Turkey, Eat More...!

Well those are few of my ideas for this last week before Thanksgiving. I hope you enjoy and make it through!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Figuratively Speaking

My class just finished a reading unit on figurative language. It was so much fun to teach/review this with fifth graders! I loved being able to build on what they already knew, and go a little deeper. This year I taught it with Reading (well I always have taught it through reading, but mostly had a grammar/language arts view in my lessons).

Once again Pinterest ideas struck my lessons. My co-teacher found a link on Pinterest to a figurative language booklet idea. After looking at that and a few other ideas we came up with our own "version" of this booklet. The kids did GREAT! I also made a mimio to go along with the unit and used picture books each day (with each type of figurative language) as an "attention getter" or opener.

I LOVE how the booklets came out, so here are a few pictures. Also CLICK HERE to get the figurative language packet which also includes a rubric I made in order to grade them!

The covers:

A few pages:

Saturday, October 27, 2012

We Need Our Monsters!

This week during ITBS testing I wanted to give the students a little something fun to do, as a break. So I made this fun activity to go along with the book I Need My Monster. As I have mentioned before I LOVE THIS BOOK! It is so cute! And this lesson just proved that even big, bad 5th graders love this book. It also was a great book to use with Halloween just around the corner.

After reading the book we discussed all the different text elements we heard/saw in the book. I mentioned that I had used this book with opinion/persuasive writing before (because the monsters are trying to persuade the little boy to allow them to be their monster).

After discussing I gave each student a copy of the glyph WS, where they had to answer questions as to what they would want their own monster to look like. The next day we began assemblying our glyph monsters...they came out SO cute!!!!!

The final step was that they had to write a descriptive paragraph as to what they would want their monster to look like (not what the glyph looks like, but based on their choices from the WS). I haven't gotten their paragraphs on the wall yet, but again they LOVED doing this little project/activity and everything turned out ADORABLE!

So here is the first of my TWO things I am giving you all...mostly for putting up with my sparatic posting and less than thrilling posts. I hope you enjoy! CLICK HERE TO RETRIEVE THE PACKET (which includes wall display items, glyph WS, and monster pieces) Have fun!