Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Duck, Duck, Goose

Today was our last day of summer school! Woo hoo! It was a lot of fun, but I'm ready for sleeping in! (Okay, really I only get like, two days to sleep in, but oh well!)

Here's what we have been up to the last few weeks:

Chasing flamingoes at the Topeka Zoo--

Turkey vulture at the zoo--

Pocket people biographies inspired by this blog post over at Primary Inspired--

Beach vs. Pool Glyphs and Acrostic Poems inspired by this blog post at Erica's Bohrer's First Grade--

This is why I love blogging...both of those projects were really enjoyable for the kids, plus they were EASY to differentiate for fourth graders.

We finished off today with a video about the American flag, a flag project, and a wet game of Duck, Duck, Goose.  While you are going around the circle saying duck, duck, goose, you also carry a splash ball that you drip over the kids' heads. When you get to the goose, you squeeze it nice and hard and yell "Goose!" It was a great way to stay cool in our 99 degree heat index today (it wasn't that hot then, don't worry!)

I'll be heading out for my husband's internship for five weeks and probably taking a break from this blog until August...I'll be excited to get back and see what you have come up with!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What Should I Do With This?

(picture from here...mine are green!)

These were one of my latest Dollar Tree I just need to decide what to do with them! I'm thinking maybe something fun during guided reading or math centers...OR something to do with Kagan, since we are a Kagan school and it seems to fit the 4-person model.

Any suggestions? Linking up at Ladybug's Teacher Files!

T2T Linky Party

I don't do too many linky parties, but this trash to treasure item fell into my lap thanks to one of my teaching friends.

You can find the linky party and giveaway here on Meghan's blog, Oh Boy 3rd Grade! (I guess she is 4th grade now!)

The great thing was I hardly had to do anything to it :) It needed cleaning and a cushion. With an extra pillow for comfort across the back, and the quilt made by my aunt for my graduation, this glider chair really is a treasure now!

  It went from this...

to this! Very cozy! I found the cushion on clearance at Target and loved the color and had to get it (much to the chagrin of my husband)!

Can't wait to see the other trash to treasure links! This wasn't bad for FREE +a $7 cushion!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Summer School

I've been working harrrrd this summer, so that July 1, my husband and I can do THIS!


Wow! I have 30 followers! That's pretty humbling for me. Honestly, I don't write this blog for followers. I started it at a point in the year last year where I needed a boost of positive energy. I had a difficult class last year, and things were constantly changing in our school and district. It was tough...and then I discovered teaching blogs! All those great ideas gave me the enthusiasm and encouragement to keep at it even when the job got me down sometimes. Now, I'm feeling so much better and REALLY looking forward to next year with all of the great resources I've found.

I probably won't have crazy giveaways or launch a TPT store, but I do want to document the things I've tried and my progress as a teacher. At the same time, I do love connecting with other teachers, and sharing ideas. I'm so thankful!

So, on that note, here are a few things I've worked on in the last few months.

I am soooo going to try Whole Brain Teaching...I think my kids need that infusion of energy, and I need a behavior system that isn't based on extrinsic rewards. We already do PBIS, and I felt like I was constantly bribing my students to act appropriately. I really want to get away from that this next school year, and this is where I'm going to start!

Whole Brain Rules Posters

Oh, and the reason the "Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat" poster has two hands on it is this: the kids show me a "one" for bathroom, and a "two" for tissues or garbage can. That way, I know exactly what they want to do, and I just nod yes or no. That also makes it nice for reading groups...I can just seem them and nod, and then they don't keep coming up to the table to interrupt.

These are labels I made for a bulletin board outside my room. It's from another idea I saw on blogland (shoutout if it was yours!), but I changed it to reflect our butterfly theme. Pictures of the board coming soon. Oh, and the font is cuter in real life, I didn't save it as a PDF first :)

Cocoon Labels

I borrowed this idea from Really Good Stuff. Last year I had the WORST tattlers. I tried tattle tickets, and lessons about tattling versus reporting. One student would tattle on EVERYONE, and then stand around and watch me, expecting me to DO SOMETHING right away. Drove me nuts. I have a stuffed bear with a butterfly headband who is going to be my tattle bear :) It's cheesy, but maybe it'll work. Again, cuter font on the real thing :)

Talk to Tattle Bear

Monday, June 20, 2011


The funny thing about kids is that one minute you are talking about segregation and the next minute some kid is telling some real/fake story about how his uncle got a pistol in his back.

Or how someone threw a brick through a window because someone had been standing on somebody else's lawn and there was some graffiti about hating Mexicans (somehow those two things connected...I missed it!)

We went on a field trip to the Brown vs. Board of Ed (my school is two blocks down the street so we walked). The kids really enjoyed it.

The conversations above happened when we were talking about what kinds of things were done to the African Americans during segregation. Somehow the kids turned it into "Tell the scariest story I know and maybe embellish just a teeeeensy bit." The sad thing is that I wouldn't be surprised if there were more kernels of truth in them than untruth. Most of them don't come from fabulous homes or neighborhoods.

I guess the best case scenario is that they remember those feelings of fear or anxiety when they are tempted to treat someone unfairly or unkindly...maybe all of those "tall tales/real life experiences" will help them understand empathy.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Have you guys been using Pinterest? I started out pinning crafting and style ideas and inspiration, but I've started branching out into classroom ideas and it's been fun! It helps me organize all of those fun things I see on blogs, plus it helps you directly link back to those sites.

This is me:

Come on over and see what it's about! Do you have boards?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

My space

(These three bulletin boards are the ONLY bulletin boards I have in my room! Yes, tiny!)

These are some pictures from a few years ago when I first moved into my new classroom.

I write this post to say I'm so excited because we are getting DESKS!! I know a lot of you are probably happy with tables, but we have odd-shaped rooms to begin with, and these hideous trapezoid-shaped tables were just the right size to run into all the time! The one nice thing about them was that we could move them around and manipulate them a lot of different ways. However, the tables often had legs that would loosen up really easily, making them wobbly. Also, because we have 24-25 students, it got really cramped fitting them all in around the tables.

We do a lot of Kagan cooperative learning in our district, and whenever our presenters came, they would have to be invited to see our tables because they really don't work well for Kagan leveling. We definitely had to be more creative in our arrangements. So, I think we are excited to be able to do Kagan more easily.

So, out with tables and in with desks! I know desks come with their own sets of challenges, but the kids won't have to drag as many things back and forth between their tables and cubbies, and I think that will make it worth it right there!

Summer School

Whew! I haven't posted about summer school yet! With summer school, trying to get my classroom set up for next year before we leave in July, and just enjoying the rest of my lazy time, I haven't blogged about it!

I LOVE IT! I have six sweet kiddos...seriously, we fly through the material. The first day, I had to scramble to come up with something else for them to do in the afternoon because we had done EVERYTHING and I didn't think we would get to it all! So, it's really nice to be able to do everything we need to do. Plus, there are times when we just sit and chat for a minute, and I can get to know them better.
I have 4th graders, all of who are English proficient except for one. It's new territory for me, as I don't have an ELL endorsement, but we are getting along. I have the students for about 4 hours, and we follow a 20-day math program and an ELL reading curriculum from National Geographic. Now that I have gotten used to it, I'm at the point where I'm trying to spice it up a a bit :)

One of our vocabulary words was weave, and so we got to work on a weaving project that they seemed to really enjoy. Some of them did have trouble with the "over, under, over, under" pattern, but it wasn't TOO easy for them that they were bored or thought it was baby-ish. Doing art projects with 6 4th graders is so much more relaxed than 25 third-graders!

Anyway, that's the update so far. My real classroom is coming along. I am going with a butterfly theme for next year. I'm not a big theme person, but I do like to have something fun going on for the beginning of the year. I'm thinking we'll do those tie-dyed coffee filter butterflies to decorate my door. I also saw a cute bulletin board somewhere in blogland that had pics of the kids with "From the desk of..." to hang their work on. I'm thinking I might do "From the cocoon of..." hehehe...let me know if you have any other butterfly ideas for 3rd graders!