Friday, April 10, 2015

Letter to My Class 2015!

I wrote this post last year and I loved how I got to reflect on my class. As a teacher each class is different and we (the students and I) learn new things throughout the year.  I wanted to give you a chance to write to your class reflecting on your learning.  Just use the button and link up!

Dear amazing students,

You renew my faith in teaching almost daily!  Moving up 4 grades this year, I admit I was a little scared but you have proved just how amazing upper elementary students can be.  What you come to school learning and your commitment to growth is phenomenal.

The first thing and by far the most memorable from our year would have to be how you question everything! Every single one of you wonders and questions the world around you.  Be still my science heart!  You have so many questions and few times I've had to take a deep breath and say we will get to them later and eventually we do, but I truly love how you wonder about so many things - from the names of planets and how they relate to our study on Greek Mythology or how big is our solar system? I want to be able to research and get to every question but it is not always possible.  Thankfully I found Wonderopolis just in time for the end of the year and now we have a designated quession time (a great transition activity)

You taught me that humor and laughing at yourself can be ok. This was ongoing, because my own handwriting is atrocious (I'm working on it) and sometimes I talk to fast and the wrong words would come out.  We had the running joke all year from this story.  We were talking about first civilizations on North America (U.S.A.) and I the two theories in our old book discussed a land bridge or they road boats from another continient.  I said they rode GOATS in class.  You can bet every student got that question right if it came up again.  They all said they laughed studying because they remembered that very line.  Being able to laugh at myself and share my humor with an older grade I found is a much better fit for me.   We rap (Flocabulary), sing our favorite video from the year (Tour the States), and even did some dance breaks all in the name of learning.  We love that aspect and the chance to branch out a little in our learning.

You taught me that you can give responsibility and let go a little. Growing up I always felt teachers needed and were always in control. In a way, they are. They are the final say in what goes on and what decisions on learning should be made, but how they learn can be up to them.  Giving students the option to work around the room, in groups, under desks, with flashlight, with whiteboards, backwards in chairs, on desks (Oh yes!)....and letting them still do work in their best learning position is fine by me.  You showed me that you can handle it and be responsible enough to let loose but still learn.  I mean, I don't go home and grade tests at my desk (I would love if I was that organized) and so I don't feel that desks are always the best learning position.  I also try to get you up and moving and outside as much as possible if I can connect it to what we are learning.  We take SS and Science tests outside if the weather is above 70.  We do work in the outdoor classroom.  We play SCOOT or States and Capitals musical chairs or the spelling version.  I try to make review and learning fun with games.  We do STEM challenges to challenge our teamwork and creative thinking.  You have continually stepped up the plate and accepted and not abused responsibility with grace which made our learning environment even more fun.

You taught me to love reading.  Last year in Kindergarten, I still read but adult books only.  Now I love reading YA lit and what you guys are into.  I loved getting the boys hooked on Percy Jackson especially one of my reluctant readers and I smile every time he updates me about his book.  I love how I can recommend books to you knowing each of your reading styles and how I influenced you to pick books not based on points (AR :( but by interest and what you love.  I love how I consider my homework reading - so I can be more involved and have better discussions with you. 

You are a class that goes above and beyond! You question the world and work extremely hard! I was (am) so blessed to teach you even just for one short year!  Never, never stop learning Class of 2023! I cannot wait to watch you grow!

I would love it if you would link up and take the time to reflect on your class this year.  I'll leave it open till mid June.  I'm excited to read how other teachers have grown and all your own amazing students.  Feel free to use the template below if you want to include it but not necessary!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Firework Card REwork! April Fools FREEbie as well!

I'm back from my hiatus and wanted to share a few things I've been working on !  I have so much more on Instagram (SSSTeaching) and my FB page if you have been seeing what I've been on, but with the 4month old little else is being kept up with.  Teaching has been going SO WELL!  Now getting into testing season, everything is getting crazy busy!!

First is a April Fools Reading Passage and FREEBIE.  I even learned a few things researching this and I really do enjoy this holiday - as long as jokes are completely harmless.

Click on the picture if you want to check it out.  Not exactly the prettiest but it's what I've got time for.  We need a little test prep break and I tried to get some critical thinking in there.

Next up I finally fixed some Fireworks cards I did a couple years ago.  I tried and couldn't replicate MY OWN DIRECTIONS! Seriously ;( Major fail.  Something was missing. I spent a couple days thinking and I believe figured it out!  check out this 3 easy ingredient fun project!!

all you need: dishsoap, oil and food coloring 

some sturdy paper to put the coloring on as well. 

Drop the food coloring in, then use a toothpick dipped in a little soap to make pretty designs in the oil.  (I put just a little oil in a pan) lay the paper on top then let paper dry on some paper towels to create these beautiful designs.  I have a video prepped for summer school on why this works but for right now I'm happy I figured out how to make them!

They look so intricate and fun! The kids LOVE these! Hope you get a chance to try them out! 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Guest Blogging!

I'm Guest blogging over at Minds in Bloom today sharing other ways to use Decide Now in your classroom!  Click the button to go to check it out! 

Grab button for Minds in Bloom

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Status of Class Exit Slip FREEBIE

If you love the technology exit slips in my store! Then I have a FREEBIE right up your alley!

This was so fun to do with class and has so many uses.  It is Facebook themed and students get to create a status!  There are literally 100s of ways you could use this in your classroom.

We just started traditional literature this week. I had the students activate their prior knowledge by filling out a slip for a character from traditional literature.  I did give the subgenres (myth, legend, tall tale, fable, and fairytale) so they had some idea!

I loved how creative they were!  Some of our lit groups just read Percy Jackson and Ella Enchanted so this fit in really well!

This FREEBIE is tech themed just like my other slips in my store! Be sure to check them out!   Leave comments here if you like it!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Moby Max Tablet

Moby Max sent us a tablet to use in our classroom!  If you have never heard about Moby Max you can read my post - here - about why I love it!

I was so excited to come home to this package! My students use and LOVE MobyMax for various reasons but being older one of my favorite uses is for test prep!
I knew as soon as I got my hands on this tablet what I would do with it. 
My students were SO grateful and excited to get their hands on more technology as well! We have 1 iPad, 1 barely working computer and my teacher computer - so any techology is greatly appreciated! 

We use MobyMax for 1/2 of our computer time because I can track what they do and I like the limited use of rewards time for practice - it works for us. 
This tablet stays in our room for Title 1/RTI time.  It rotates through students everyday and they focus solely on test prep for this time.  They can choose either language arts or math but it has to be test prep.  Sadly, they need mulitple choice practice and I don't feel like they get enough in class.  At least, it is on the computer and they earn game time for test practice, plus I can start this early in the year and get more students ready faster without piling on a bunch of test prep.
Did I mention the tablet is also able to support a browser and has apps?! I'm always encouraging students to research quetsions and find their own answers well with another tablet that is possible.  The calculator has also come in handy quite a bit!
The tablet does take a little getting use to at first since I'm only used to iPads but the students and I figured it out very quickly (them more so than me and I'm only 23!)  It really fits in well in our class and the tablet aspect has really helped me differentiate my teaching during small group time with focused test prep for students!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

February Currently

It's been awhile since I've even done one of these! I'm excited to be back in a semi-groove with blogging.

This little guy is still sleeping away! Don't get me wrong he got up at 4 (usually only once a night) great for a 2 month old! He's growing up so fast! He changes every day!!

He can coo and talk with the best of them and I love recording him!

He has a pesky pretty bad cough, that we've been to the doctor twice for.  Thank goodness not RSV or anything just virus but geez....even with what they suggest...still haven't had any improvement.  He's been sick and so has my husband, One day soon I hope we're all well!

I am excited for our new traditional literature unit we are starting on Monday! We did a round of book clubs in between genres and my students really love what this genre has to offer.  

I created a Traditional Literature Tab Book  to help my students keep the different types of folktales straight.  They were so excited about this!


There are even QR codes on each page linked to video examples for students to watch and fill out.  There are definitions, examples, characteristics, and practice on each page. 

Also, if you have not tried this in your classroom - it is a great FREE management tool and privilege for a class.  Check out my post to see more details!

I chose that title because as you can see in this post, motherhood has slightly consumed my life.  One day it would be a dream to be a Balanced Betty but right now the scales have definitely tipped and I'm ok with that. 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Traditional Literature Folktales

Our next genre is Traditional Literature.  We just finished studying theme in various stories and literature circle groups now are moving into folktales.

I found a few different resources for studying the different types of traditional literature but I wanted some way for my students to keep them all organized.

I created this Interactive Tab Book to keep straight the different types of folktales when we were discussing them.  It gives definitions, characteristics, and examples along with practice for each type.

The best part is that the book has QR codes! Each page contains a QR code that links to a video example of that folktale.  This can help students who need a refresher or have not heard that story before.  I was amazed at how many students didn't know Robin Hood or Paul Bunyan! This was great for them to explore! 


They were so engaged  the whole time and we took quite awhile to do this.  Next year, I'll probably plan it over 2 days but I didn't reserve the iPad lab enough ahead this year.  Here's some pictures of us - getting our tech on! QR readers were easy to use and familiar with my students, if your class needs a refresher there are some great FREE apps and videos to show - extremely easy to use!

There are pages for legend, fairytale, tall tale, fable and myth.  We're starting with myths first and some of my boys just read Percy Jackson so I know they are excited to start this!  These tab books are great for interactive notebooks or as an easy to use stand alone resource. 

What's your favorite folktale to teach and why? We'll be continuing are study of theme with these stories since it fits so well!