Monday, January 30, 2012

FREE Groundhog pattern

We did not finish this today but I wanted to get this out in case you could use it this year. I was inspired by the big-eyed Scrappin Doodle clipart to make a groundhog peekover.
The cute paper is from Kerri at Teacher Bits and Bobs!

Today we read a Gail Gibbons book to learn about groundhogs. Before we read, we recorded our schema on a circle map. After we read, we crossed out anything that was a misconception and then added new learning in a different color. Not pretty but this is what my charts look like if I do them on the spot with the kids. This my attempt to combine the Debbie Miller chart I did last year with my new dedication to thinking maps.
I was hoping to have the kids write a paragraph about the new facts they learned but with a field trip this week and their less than stellar behavior, it may not happen. We'll see if my blood pressure can take it. Hence the shorter Phil response paper you see above in the sample.

Off to bring one son to basketball and help the other write 10 metaphors (really?) so I gotta run. Hope you can use the pattern.
Groundhog Pattern


Thursday, January 26, 2012

New Book Club Packet and a FREEBIE!

Thanks for all the supportive comments on my scary day post yesterday!! It is good to know that I'm not the only one to freak out a little at times like that!

Since you all were so sweet, here is a FREEBIE for you. I'd love it if you'd follow me here and my TpT store if you don't already. Click on the picture to download.

Feedback is always appreciated.

While you are there, you might want to check out my newest Book Club packet.  I just got a set of Dixie Loves School Pet Day from Scholastic and whipped up a packet focusing on story elements, inferences, and verbs. Only $1.50! Click on the picture to go take a peek.
 Off to supervise homework, make dinner, and drive to 2 different scout meetings! Hope to blog stalk ya later!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Had a Scare Today

If you have been following my blog for awhile, you may remember that my 4th grade son attends the school where I teach and we live just down the street. I usually go in @ 8 AM and my husband drops Quinn off @ 8:45 AM.  Today was a normal day except I forgot my cell phone. Hate when I do that!

Fast forward to lunch. Quinn's teacher is a friend of mine and she casually asks over lunch where Quinn is today. WHat do you mean? He isn't here??? I am shocked since when I left the house he was happily getting his Backwards Day outfit on. I start to get a bad feeling but I rationalize that it is possible he started feeling sick after I left. I immediately go to the staff room phone and call home. No answer. My heart starts beating wildly. I call my husband's cell. No answer. Now I am starting to panic. My imagination starts conjuring images of abduction from the school parking lot. Rational? No, but I think we already established in my prior Conan story that my brain easily jumps to worst-case scenarios.

I am about to go home to see if I can find out anything when the secretary comes in to tell me my husband is on the other line.

He starts with, "We had a little accident this morning..." CRAP! Did he cut off a finger?  My mind is going again...

Apparently they decided to give his Pinewood derby car a quick coat of silver spray paint before school. Quinn accidentally turned the nozzle the wrong way and sprayed it into his EYE!

They spent all morning washing it out, then in the emergency room and later the doctor.  Poor guy! I guess it hurt quite a bit but he is fine now.

 I'll leave you with what I had originally planned to blog about: Chinese New Year.

We made a circle map brainstorming what the students already knew about Chinese New Year. Then we read this simple book and shared if our families celebrated.
Later, we made this puppet.
Someone decided they looked better as hats and a new craze was born.
Having that mild panic attack at lunch made me a little more appreciative and tolerant of my wild bunch this afternoon.  Thank goodness my scare turned out fine.  Hug your loved ones!


Friday, January 20, 2012

Want a Chuckle?

Thank goodness it is Friday! Just a quick post to give you a chuckle. After lunch, a student came to me with her dramatic sad face on. She asked if she could go to the I Message with Kathy. She explained, "She says she won't be friends with me anymore because I believe in mermaids." I couldn't help it. I did laugh out loud. I covered it up with a cough as quickly as possible but I'm not sure she bought it.
Here is the poster we use to teach the students to work out their own problems. Let's just say these particular girls visit often. {Insert eye roll  and head shake here.}

The next hour, I was practicing rhyming with 4 of my strugglers. One boy was saying things that were so off base I was racking my brain trying to figure out how he was even coming up with those answers?? In the story, the last rhyming words were floor and door. I ask if he can think of any other words, hoping he will say store, more, poor, etc.  He gets an excited look in his eye and yells, "WHORE!" I guess I should be happy that he finally got one right.  He had no idea what he said and no one else batted an eye either.
TGIF my friends.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Meet My Class Pets and Some New Bloggers

Do you have a class pet? I just posted all about mine over at Critters in the Classroom.
If you have not yet visited this new blog started by Erica Bohrer, come on over for a visit!

I also wanted to give a shout out and words of encouragement to some new bloggers. I was asked for advice on building followers and directed them to a post I did on that very topic. You can read it here if you are interested.

Mrs. Wright at First Grade Journal is new and already has freebies up, go girl!  Sweet Ashley over at Live 2 Learn was a victim of budget cuts and is without a teaching position this year. I think it is great that she started a blog and is keeping her head and heart in teaching until she can be back in the classroom!


Sunday, January 15, 2012

MLK frustration and other various topics

Topic 1: Need a great-tasting meal for the crock pot?
I made this Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup recipe I got from All Recipes and it was WONDERFUL! I wish you could smell my house. Seriously...who is going to invent smellivision already??

Topic 2: I got a good response from my thinking maps post so I thought I'd include a few when ever I remember to snap a pic. Nothing super original but maybe it will give you a jump start?
The students came up with the words. No laughing at my unicorn!
Can't stand that the basal calls it a naming word so I teach noun anyway. I'm a rebel like that.

Topic 3: Deedee Wills got this email this week:

 I teach in Joplin, which made worldwide news last May when our town was cut in half by an F5 tornado.  Many of our elementary schools were destroyed or damaged, and as teachers, we have had a roller coaster year.  I came from a meeting yesterday where many are struggling with the weight of all we are dealing with.  My request is this:  would you be willing to donate a created pack of your choosing to give away at a drawing at our upcoming district Kindergarten grade level meeting?  The meeting is Monday and I am sorry for the short notice but I did not realize until the meeting how down everyone is feeling.

Deedee had the brilliant idea to ask other bloggers to contribute TpT items to maybe help out the other grades as well.

I have contributed and if you would like to help out our fellow teachers in need you should hop over to Mrs. Wills Kindergarten

Topic 4: I could not find the writing paper I made last year for this so I had to remake it.  :-(
I guess this is how I will discover what I lost in laptop death #1. You can read last year's post to see what I do for MLK.  You are welcome to download if you can use it.
I have a dream

Topic 5: I want to thank Lori from Little Priorities, Mrs. Cupcake from A Cupcake for the Teacher, and Kim from The Adventures of a First Grade Teacher for awarding me the Versatile Teacher Award. I have gotten this award previously so I won't bore you with my seven things list again but I do appreciate the nod. :-)

Whew, are you still with me? That was  a lot. Sorry, you just got a peek into the craziness that is my brain.  Off to finish putting Christmas decorations away (don't judge) and cut my brother's hair. Hope you all enjoy your day off tomorrow!!! The big question is...will I get out of my PJs??? I HOPE not to!


Friday, January 13, 2012

A Visit From Conan

This was me this week. Insomnia is my new nemesis (now that my laptop is fixed.)

3 nights in a row I got about 3 hours of sleep. I just can't shut my brain off. Being on the computer seems to make it worse. I've even had nights when numbers/letters are running past my eyes like a ticker tape. FREAK, right? 
To make things even more fun, my husband was out of town (again) so this mom was on duty 24-7.

The third night I woke up suddenly at 12:17 AM. My first thought was, darn it, I was FINALLY sleeping!! Then I realized that something had woken me up. I heard voices! I peered into the hallway and saw light coming from the kitchen!


It probably didn't help that a friend had just told me that there was a daytime break-in in our neighborhood last week and the woman was home! She had to hide and call the police who then instructed her to run out the front door to a neighbor. Sorry, different story. But it is related because between that, my husband being out of town, and my serious lack of sleep, I was FREAKED OUT! 

I first checked on my kids but they were sound asleep.  I grabbed my cell phone and had 911 ready.... I finally got up the nerve to tiptoe down the hall to investigate. The floorboards squeaked before I took 4 steps. I froze and listened intently. Wait a sec. I know that voice. It's Conan O'Brien! In my hazy state I remembered that I turned the TV off but not the separate stereo speaker. DORK.  But wait, why was the light on?? Even exhausted I didn't think I would forget to turn off the lights before I went to bed.

Still uneasy, I went around testing every door and of course they were locked and everything was fine. I checked every room and I'll admit it, behind the shower curtain.  Those darn movies!

I didn't sleep much after that because I kept hearing things. I swear there was a SPLAT sound I couldn't for the life of me figure out. Anyone else ever play mind games like this when they are home alone?

I am happy to say, the next night I finally slept. The funny thing was, the next day my brain seemed to be misfiring more than the previous days.  First, I accidentally wrote a student's name in the sentence I was writing on the board because I was talking to him. The kids loved that one. Then I spelled ocean without the a. When I caught my mistake one sweetie piped up, "Oh,  I thought you were testing us." Must be all the daily editing. :-) There were some other mistakes that I can't even remember, but the kids just shook their collective heads and said knowingly, "Her brain is just not working right today!"

The light is still a mystery. My boys sometimes sleepwalk so it is possible one of them thought they were in the bathroom. Yes, sleep peeing has happened. Victims have been a closet, out in the garage and a near miss in the refrigerator! I scared the poor kid to death that night when I came running, screaming STOP!!!!! 

 Sweet dreams my friends!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Thinking Maps and Book Clubs

Do you use Thinking Maps? We do and I really like them. Our school has decided to make a big push for ALL students to know and be able to use ALL the maps.

I am trying to use multiple maps a day and incorporate them in my bulletin boards. For example, here is the snow globe inspired by Deanna Jump but I paired it with a tree map that we made on the story structure of The Snow Globe Family.
 Here are the map circles I posted about last year but this year I added a bridge map!

Are you familiar with the bridge map? It is for analogies and at first I was like, really? In first grade you want me to do analogies? But my wonderful teammate, Robi, showed me how to make the relating factor more kid-friendly and she inspired me to use them with our phonics/grammar, etc. skill every day and it is working out great!
I took the pic before we filled the bridge in. The two words that make the contraction go underneath them.

I like seeing how others use thinking maps so I thought you might, too even though they aren't beautiful. I could post how I use them in writing if you are interested? I'd love to hear how you use them. It is pretty cool to talk to a student not in your class and still have that common language.

I also wanted to let you know I have some new Book Club packets available to keep those high kiddos challenged. The first is a Ready Freddy 2-pack: Caterpillars on the Move! and Good Morning, Groundhog! There is even a double bubble map in there to compare and contrast the two stories. :-) I got my books through Scholastic Club Shop.
 And for my 3rd grade readers this one is AR 3.1.
 These are available in my TPT store if you are interested.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Fixing Sideways Photos and more

Sorry for the length between posts. If you have been following me for awhile you may remember that my school laptop is cursed. It completely died and I lost data TWICE and now many keys on my keyboard just stopped working. One letter is in my passwords for everything so that was awesome. Not one to give up, I tried writing strategic blog comments to avoid certain letters or copying and pasting letters in from other documents. This took forever and was beyond ridiculous so I was silenced eventually.  The Bane of My Existence {my laptop's new name} is now in the shop {again} and I have a loaner. I am finding this equally frustrating because the things I was working on I saved to a thumb drive thinking I could keep going with the loaner. I forgot the loaner wouldn't have my cute fonts and it has a different version of Word so all my docs are sciwampus {misaligned if you don't care for words that are in the urban dictionary.}

Anyway, enough grumbling. Time to get to the cuteness. We made New Year's Resolutions.
I will make more friends.
I will pass speedy math more quickly.

I will get my morning work done! (Amen!)
I need to get better at math.
First, we read this picture book 
Then, we talked about what a resolution was and brainstormed some together. They wrote their resolution on a cute hat template I got from Brooke Perry last year. {SO glad your family is doing better and you are blogging again, Brooke! If you don't know about her blog Primary Perspective you should go check it out.} I was able to change the date on the hat since I had the same font. Do you think the fact that I could name the font immediately may indicate that I spend too much time on the computer?

As I have posted before, I use my Daily Editing Math Word Problems every morning in combination with Cara's Calendar Companion. My math scores have been amazing and I am sure it is all this daily practice. This week, spelling mistakes started popping up in addition to having to correct the capitalization and punctuation, circling the sight words and solving the math problem! The kids feel so proud that they can recognize that the word is spelled incorrectly. I even had one girl who got that New Year's was missing the apostrophe which is a toughie!!!  I look through their binders occasionally and had to share how cute this guy illustrates his math problems. For those that are struggling, I tell them to draw traditional counters and cross them out, etc but for those that are quick, I tell them they can spend extra time on the illustration.

Aren't those precious?

Do your pictures sometimes turn out sideways in Blogger? I am not sure what happens, but sometimes when I upload pics to iphoto they are sideways or upside down. I can turn them around in iphoto but when I upload to Blogger they still end up sideways!  I finally figured out that I can drag the photo to my desktop, double-click on it to open it, go to Tools in the menu bar and drag down to rotate left, right or flip horizontal or vertical. Save it once you like it and now you can upload it to Blogger from your desktop. Deanna Jump, I don't know it you read my blog, but I remember you have been bothered by this problem so I hope this helps! If anyone knows of a better way I am all ears!