Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tried It Tuesday- Wall Schedule

Happy Tuesday!  I hope you had a fantastic day!  I have been busy, busy, busy today preparing to leave town later this week for my sister's wedding.  I am excited to finally meet up with my family who has been together for a few days now.  I am the missing piece to our family puzzle!  I am most excited to see my sister and my two nephew who live in the Netherlands and who I have not seen since I left there last August!  Charlie already knows that I get in late and he will be asleep, but when he wakes up he can jump on me!  He is very excited for that!  

Today, I am teaming up with the wonderful and fabulous Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper for her Tried it Tuesday!

Today, I want to highlight my wall schedule.  I started doing a wall schedule a few years ago and my students have loved it.  If the schedule is not in place when they come in, I hear about it and I have to drop everything and put the schedule up.  They like to know what is going to happen during the day and the order in which things are going to happen.  

My schedule cards are not fancy and I plan on making them cute over the summer!  I used to write the schedule on the board, but I was loosing valuable board space.  I invested in a schedule pocket chart that has been a lifesaver and will last me for a while.  This one is by Scholastic and is only $9.50 on Amazon.  

I choose not to put times on my chart because I did not want students shutting down if I went over on time.  I do have another board that has a time schedule for our specials and for lunch and chapel.  

Do any of you have a schedule posted in your classroom?  If so, what do you use and how do your students like it?


Monday, May 27, 2013

I climbed a mountain today!

Happy Memorial Day to everyone!  I hope all of you who are out of school are enjoying your first summer week-end and those still in school got a boost of energy to make it a few more days!  I feel very accomplished this week-end.  Yesterday, I did laundry, graded a ton of papers, cleaned the kitchen and started to pack for my sister's wedding.  If that wasn't enough I decided to climb a mountain today, Mount Beacon.  A friend of mine wanted to go hiking and she asked if I wanted to tag along.  I said sure why not!  I am not a bigger hiker, but I thought it couldn't be that hard...I was so wrong!  We decided to climb Mount Beacon in Beacon, NY.  Before you actually get on the trail, you have to climb ten flights of stairs.  They were the worst part.  I was having a bit of breathing issues after the stairs so I decided to go back down to the car and wait while my friend climbed the rest.  I finally caught my breath and relaxed enough and thought I am not just going to sit here, I am going to climb those stairs at least one more time.  So, I climbed the stairs and just kept going.  I took many breaks and questions whether I was ever going to make it, but I pushed through and made it!  I made it to the top of the mountain!  I have run a few half marathons, but am not in shape at all.  This was a huge accomplishment and I am so glad it did it!  I felt like I could conquer the world today!

Me at the top of Mount Beacon!

The view from the was so clear today, we could see for miles!

Christina and I at the top!

Our Victory Lap for making it up and down the mountain!

I know this post has nothing to do with teaching, but I wanted to share in the adventure and accomplishment I had today!  Have a great rest of you day!


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Motivating Students- Math Game Friday

I am so excited for a three day week-end.  I am home by myself because the rest of my family is in Tennessee or North Carolina getting ready for my sister's wedding next week-end.  I will join them later next week.  I am excited to just sit, watch TV and have no major plans for three whole days!  Of course, I have papers to grade and a suitcase to pack.  I have also started a new product for TpT and I bought the Teachers Notebook package that I am downloading and going through little by little, but those are non-stress things to do!  Today, I am linking up again with Joanne at Head Over Heals For Teaching for her Sparking Student Motivation linky party.

Our Spring Break was very late and when we came back we only had eight weeks left of school.  I decided since we were done with our testing I would do something fun every week in math.  I introduced 'Math Game Fridays'.  The students look forward to Fridays because we are doing something different.  Some weeks we have played a whole class game or a game in partners.  They think it is lots of fun and they don't even realize they are reviewing their math concepts.  One of the great whole class games I have discovered was an ipad app by Lakeshore Learned called Math Quiz Show.  It is set up like Jeopardy, but with math questions.  I can choose the number of teams and four categories. The questions are hard enough where they make my students think, but not to hard where they are getting them all wrong.  We played it yesterday and we had a great time.  They have two different versions of the game one for grades 1-3 and one for grades 4-6.  I think the app cost me $1.99, but it was worth it!

iPhone Screenshot 2iPhone Screenshot 1

I cannot wait to read about other ways to motivate students.  We have 17 more days and I cannot wait!  It has been a long school year and I am ready for a break (and to start all my projects for next year!).  Have a wonderful Saturday!


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Tricks of the Trade- Field Trips

Happy Thursday!  I am so happy it is Thursday and I am in New York tonight.  I get to spend some quality time with my bible study girls, fellowshiping and learning about the Lord.  I do have to go to school tomorrow, but I am ok with that because we have a three day week-end!  I do not have much planned for the week-end, but I have a to-do list I am hoping to accomplish!  Tonight I am linking up with my two favorite girls, Jessica, from Joy in the Journey and Becky, from Compassionate Teacher for their Tricks of the Trade.  This week our topic is Field Trips!

I loved field trips when I was in school, but I find them more stressful as a teacher and they take more out of me then a regular day of teaching.  I do love giving my students different experiences that they cannot get in the classroom. One thing I always like to have is enough chaperones and I usually have an extra one.  I like to not have a group, so I can float around visit all the groups and take care of any problems that arise.  I also like to make sure everyone is wearing the same colored shirt.  It makes it easier to spot your group amongst a large group of people.  

When I was teaching third grade, I used Field Trip Factory for a few of my field trips.  They have free field trips to various businesses where the students will learn a variety of different topics.  One year, we went to Stop and Shop, our local grocery store to learn about nutrition in the supermarket.  The kids loved it and they thought everything was so cool.  It was like they never visited the grocery store before! This website also gives you lesson plans to do before and after your field trip.  I found them very easy to use and very helpful.

One last tip I want to share is for the trips you take that have a gift shop.  We recently took our students to the Newark Museum.  They were so organized and every group had a time when they went to the gift shop.  As the students made their purchases, they placed the items in a bag and put the child's name on it.  They then put their purchases in a big bag and kept them until the end.  We were then able to pass them out either on the bus or back in the classroom.  This worked fantastic!  We waited until we were back at school to hand them out and we did not have any items broken or lost before they went home.  We plan on doing a similar thing when we take our next field trip.  It saved us from problems that could have occured.

Well that is all!  I am off to bible study!  Don't forget to link up with Jessica and Becky, they are both also having fantastic giveaways right now!

Have a fantastic night!


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tried it Tuesday: Versitiles

Happy Tuesday!  I hope you all had a great day!  I know some of you are wrapping up the last few days of school, we have 20 more days left of school and I am counting them!  I still have a a lot of math to get through, but I am trying not to stress!  I am once again linking up with the ever fabulous Fourth Grade Flipper for her Tried it Tuesdays!

A few weeks ago I won a set of 10 Versatiles.  I learned about Versatiles ten years ago when I attended the International Reading Association conference.  I received a sample pack and I used it from time to time when I was tutoring.  The kids loved them!  It was something different and they could self check their work. 

I brought these out last week on my Math Game Friday.  I needed a game or activity that was individual and the students could complete after they finished their math test.  These worked great.  I do not have any of the actual book, but I have printed some of the sample pages for my students and placed them in page protectors for my students to use.  I am hoping to get one or two of the books over the summer.  You can also find a template online where you can make your own worksheets for these. Please let me know if you have ever used these before and how you use them in your classroom!

Well I am off to grade lots of papers!  I cannot get behind this week! (I think I say that every week!)  Have a great night!


Monday, May 20, 2013

Must Have Monday

Happy Monday!  I hope you are all doing fantastic!  Only three more Mondays left in the school year!!!  I still can't figure out the joy I get in counting down Mondays!  Today we celebrated 'E' day with extra recess.  My students were very excited to get outside and play for a few extra minutes!  I also revealed the corn hat to the students.  They were very excited about it and a few of them really want it!  (If you missed the corn hat, check out my post HERE).

Today, I am linking up with Teaching with a Touch of Twang for her Must have Mondays!  One of the things I cannot live with out in my classroom are blue pens and Post-Its!

 Product Details

I use these two things everyday! Post-Its are perfect for reminding myself what needs to get done or flagging pages that need to be copied.  I like the little sticky notes to mark pages or write notes in my TEs.  Whoever invented post-its was thinking about teachers!  I also must also have my blue pens.  I don't grade in red pen because I think kids associate red with bad and if a students gets a lot wrong, I don't want their paper to look like I bled all over it.  I use blue or sometimes orange or another fun color.  I also am picky when it comes to pens.  I only like to use the Uniball Onyx pens.  I buy myself a new box at the beginning of the year and it usually lasts throughout the year.  I must have those two items!

Make sure you link up to Teaching with a Touch of Twang!  I cannot wait to see what everyone else must have!


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Mentor Text- Poor Pluto

It is a rainy Sunday here is New York.  I am curled up on the couch watching TV and wearing my PJs.  I figured it was a perfect time to link up with the cute girls at Collaboration Cuties for their Mentor Text linky Party.  This we it is science books!


Science is my favorite subject to teach and my favorite topic is the Solar System.  I grew up and their were nine planets.   I was sad when Pluto was no considered a major planet any more.  I was introduced to the book Poor Pluto by a student of mine.  I read it to the class and they loved it!

This book was written by a third grade class in California as part of Scholastic Kids are Author's program.  The book is about a class who learns that Pluto is no longer a planet.  They wanted to make sure Pluto did not get to lonely out in space.  They decide to build a rocket and go get Pluto and bring him back to Earth.  Pluto soon gets sad and misses his friends, the class devise a plan to but him back in space.

My students loved this book because it was written by kids their age and they were also sad Pluto was no longer a major planet!  It is a fun book and I would suggest checking it out!

Make sure you check out Collaboration Cuties for other fun Mentor Text!


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sparking Student Motivation- End of the Year Yard Sale

Today was a great day!  It has been a few weeks since I had nothing major going on and I could just run errands with my mom and relax!  We set out this morning with all intentions not to be out all day, but we were!  We started the day going to a neighborhood yard sale and we scored some great deals (I will talk more about it in a bit!).  We then ran some small errands: Target, Lowes, etc.  We had to get some things at my dads and we decided we would spend some time going through some of my stuff from when I lived in Florida.  We got carried away and ended up organizing all of it, which was wonderful because that was on my Spring Break to-do list and I never did it!  We came home and did some yard work with our neighbor.  It was amazing what we were able to get done in two hours outside and the difference it made!

Ok, now on to Sparking Student Motivation!  I am finally linking up with the ever fabulous Joanne from Head Over Heals for Teaching!

Jessica , my co-teacher, and I decided to count down the last twenty-six days of the school year with the alphabet.  The letter 'Y' is Classroom Yard Sale day!  We have been using tickets as a reward system for the students all year.  It has work well.  The students can use their tickets to buy school supplies, items from our prize boxes, homework passes and a favorite the teacher's chair.  Some students are very good at saving and others the tickets burning a hole in their pocket the minute they get them.  On Yard Sale Day, students will have the opportunity to use their tickets to enter into drawings and win prizes.  I have been collecting items like books and small toys at garage sales and through my Scholastic Book Order for this day.  We revealed this to the students this past week and they were so excited.  We told them that these prizes would not be just ordinary prizes from our prize box they would bigger and better!  I have heard some kids saying they are saving because they want to get a bunch of stuff!

When I was garage sale shopping today, I told my mom I needed one outragous item for this Yard Sale.  She pointed out an ear of corn hat and told me this would be a great idea!  When I saw it I knew it would be perfect!

I am not 100% sure on how I will use this as a prize.  I was brainstorming in the car today and I think I am going to reveal it to the kids on Hat Day (Wednesday).  I am going to have a special ticket they can earn for being good that will just be for this hat.  They can earn them from now until the Yard Sale, but these tickets will be for extra good behavior.  We will see!  I have a feeling once I reveal this hat everyone is going to want it!  

Before I go I want to share about two wonderful giveaways I am apart of!

First, Becky from Compassionate Teacher is celebrating 100 Followers and has a fantastic giveaway!

The Second Giveaway is my teaching partner in crime, Jessica, from Joy in the Journey.  She is celebrating 200 followers!!!

These are both great girls and you should enter because they have an amazing amount of items they are giving away!

Have a great night!


Friday, May 17, 2013

Budding Blogger Linky Party and a Freebie!

It's Friday and Donut Day!  Two of the best things linked into one day!  We are counting down the last twenty-six days of the year with a letter from the alphabet.  Today is "D" day and we are celebrating with Donuts!

I am linking up today with I {heart} recess for her Buddy Bloggers linky party.  This is for bloggers who have under 200 followers.  I am excited to meet new bloggers and introduce myself to people who may not know me!

1. Why did you start blogging?
I was encouraged to start blogging by mom and my teaching partner Jessica from Joy in the Journey.  I had started a TPT store and they thought having a blog would get more exposure of my products.  They also encouraged me to share some of my teaching ideas.  I never thought I would do it, but it has been wonderful since I started!
2. What is your favorite subject to teach and why?
I love teaching science.  I was never a great science student in school, but I always loved the experiments and hands-on learning.  I love exploring the unknown with my students in science and discovering new and exciting things through experiments and hands on learning.
3. Describe your teaching style.
I like to make learning fun.  I like to take my students on an adventure with learning new things.  I feel each child learns differently so I need to make sure I am covering various learning styles to accommodate each student.  I do not mind a loud classroom, if my students are learning in the process.  We have fun!
4. Give three interesting facts about you.
- I went to five different schools from K-8th without moving once!
- I have over 1000 books in my classroom library that belong to me! (I have a slight obsession with books!)
- I have run three half marathons with my best friend Kate.  Two have been the Disney Princess Half Marathon and one was the Chicago Rock and Roll Half Marathon.  I would love to run a Marathon one day, but right now I am not in shape at all to run any long distance!

5. Do you have a TpT store? If yes, post the link.
I do have a TpT store.  It is not very big, but I have a million ideas in my head I am hoping one day to make products for.  Please check me out at:

Here is a freebie for you!

Freebie Fridays

This was lots of fun!  I cannot wait to meet some new friends through this!  I hope you all have a great week-end!


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Gifts, Gifts, Gifts Galore!

One more day in this week!  Before I link up with Jessica from Joy In the Journey and Becky from Compassionate Teacher for their Tricks of the Trade linky party I wanted to share a funny happening in my class today!  One of my students walked in and the first thing out of her mouth was you are dressed like Louie from One Direction.  The kids thought it was funny and I was a little confused...I was wearing a red skirt and a blue and white stripped shirt.  Apparently from what I was told...he wears red pants and a blue and white stripped shirt.  I was even wearing my blue shoes like he does.  My kids were crazy about it and at lunch I googled it and sure enough there was a picture of him dressed in a stripped shirt and red pants.  I want to assure you I do not choose my clothes to match the members of One Direction.  It made me laugh so I thought I would share!

Gifts...One of my Love Languages is Gifts.  I love to receive gifts as well as give gifts to other people.  It makes me happy!  When I am feeling blue, I go shopping and buy something for someone else. I just love to give!  This year I coached girls JV basketball and at every game no one had a water bottle, before our tournament the other coach and myself decided to give the girls each their own water bottle.  I purchased these at the dollar store and used my Circut to cut their names in vinyl.  The girls went crazy and could not believe their name was on it, especially if their name was unusual like, Jayda or Kamaria. 

For Christmas, I made a former co-worker and my principal the same gift because they are both big tea drinkers.  I saw this on pinterest and I thought it was the cutest idea.  A tea wreath!  After I made it, I thought you could substitute tea with hot chocolate packets or even dollar bills.  It was so cute and so easy!  HERE is the link to the original post on how to make this cute tea wreath!

I also love to receive gifts.  Some of my favorite gifts are gift card, especially when they are to my favorite places.  Last year, my students knew I loved to shop at the Loft and at the end of the year I received a few gift cards to that store.  I felt special because they went out of their way to think of me!  I also cherish my students' artwork.  If they draw or color me a picture I always hang it up and make sure their name is one it because I keep it all in a folder in my file!

I cannot wait to get ideas from everyone else.  I have no idea yet what I am planning for my students yet!  I still have a few more weeks to figure that out!

Hope you have a wonderful rest of your night, I am off to grade papers!



Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Workship Wednesday: Using Food

Happy Wednesday!  We made it over the hump and only have two days until the week-end.   Today I am teaming up with Jivey for her Wednesday Workshop.  This weeks topic is math manipulatives.

I have used a variety of different math manipulative in the last couple of years.  Some of them are your standard ones like pattern blocks and base ten blocks, but I have also used some other items as manipulatives.  One of my favorite lessons was when I taught 3-dimensional shapes.  I found food items in the shapes and we identified the shapes of each piece of food.


Some of the foods I used were: Buggles, Hershey Kisses, Cheese Balls, Marshmallows and Jolly Ranchers.  The students loved this activity!  Everything is more fun with food especially in math!

I cannot wait to read all of the fabulous ways everyone else uses and stores their manipulatives!  Have a great rest of your evening!


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tried It Tuesday that Failed!

Happy Tuesday! Today I am teaming up with the Fourth Grade Flipper for her Tried it Tuesday.  Today my my Tried it Tuesday...failed!


We have started a unit on the respiratory system in science.  There was a very cool activity in our book that used balloons, a straw and a bottle to make a model of part of the respiratory system.  Like a good teacher, I tried this activity out this morning and it worked perfectly.  
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This afternoon when I went to do it with my students, it failed. Most of the water bottles made today are made of a thinner plastic.  When we went to put the ballon on the bottem, they didn't hold their form and created opennings where air could come in. 
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We tried placing masking tape and duck tape along the bottom, but nothing worked.  I learned this during my first science class and all of my students were disapointed that it was not working.  I have a few small soda bottles which I think will work so I am going to make four or five models and let them work in groups tomorrow to see how it works.  I was bummed because I thought this was a cool idea!

I would like to annouce my winner of my 50 follower giveaway! Drum roll, please!!!!  Mandy Breton from Caffeine and Lesson Plans!!  She won four books and two items from my TPT store!  Congrats! Thanks to all who entered and stay tuned because I love to give things away!


Monday, May 13, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted and freebie!

Only four more Mondays!!!!  I don't know why I am getting so much joy in counting down Mondays!  Tomorrow there are 26 days left until school is out and my teaching partner and I have come up with a fun thing for each of the last 26 days of school.  We stole/borrowed this idea from the cute girls at Collaboration Cuties.  Tomorrow is Apple day for the letter A!  We are bringing in apples for all of our students!  

Tonight I am linking up with Flying into First Grade for her Let's Get Acquainted Linky Party.  I love learning about each of you each week.  Here is this week's questions...

1.  What made you decide to become a teacher?

I don't know what truly made me want to become a teacher.  I loved playing school and pretending.  I think I just thought it would be fun.  I was in band and we would go to competitions and I always wanted to be one of the teachers over on the side proudly watching his or her students. I just knew I wanted to teach.  I was one of the few in high school that declared a major going into college. 

2. What has been your most rewarding experience as a teacher?

I think some of my most rewarding moments happened last year.  I worked at a Christian school and I would start each day with a devotion from the kids version of Jesus Calling.  We would do it every day and the kids loved it.  When the end of the year came the only thing I wanted to get my students was this book.  It was going to be quite expensive to get 20 copies so I just prayed and looked for something else to get them.  I went to the Scholastic Warehouse sale with mom (if you have never been, GO it is awesome!) and was looking through their fill a box for $25 aisle.  I moved a box and their were a stack of the Jesus Calling books, the kid edition!  I was so excited and knew it was God. The rewarding part was receiving an email from a parent the week after school thanking me for touching her child's life and instilling quiet time with God each day.  She told me her daughter will not get out of bed in the morning without doing her devotion.  It made my heart happy to hear that!  If my kids learned nothing else, I hope they learned the importance of spending time with God.

3. If you were not a teacher, what would you be?

I would probably do some sort of Administrative work for a theatre company.  I love theatre and actually spent the first three years after college working in the education department of a regional theatre.  I would also love to not work at all and just volunteer at some non-profit organizations.  I am not sure that will ever happen!  

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
Here is a quick freebie for you!  I am getting ready to send out our mid-quarter warning notices and I made this form for students who are missing work.  I copy the slips on pink paper and we call them pink slips.  The students do not like getting them and I hate to write them, but I always have students who do not turn in all of their work.  I give them this one chance to make up this work or their grade will suffer.

 That's all for now!  Have a great evening!


Sunday, May 12, 2013

A quick post about a mentored text

Hello everyone!  I hope everyone had a fantastic Mother's Day.  I enjoyed spending time with my mom on this beautiful day!  This is a really quick post because it is late and I need to get to bed!  Five o'clock comes very early!  Once again I am teaming up with the cute girls from Collaboration Cuties for their mentored text linky party!  This week's topic Math!

This week I chose a book that is not your typical math mentored text.  This book is a chapter book that I read to my students while we are working on learning fractions.  The book is about a boy who does not do well with fractions.  He has a huge fraction test coming up and his mom gets a tutor for him.  Wilson thinks that having a tutor is the worst thing that can happen.  He keeps it a secret for as long as possible.  Most of the book talks about fractions, but the students in the book are working on a science fair project.  The book goes through the scientific method also.  My kids love to listen to me read during math.  I usually start the class off my reading a chapter.  They have been encouraged that fractions really aren't that bad and it is ok to have a tutor!  The author also has a book 7 x 9=Trouble!, which is fun when teaching multiplication facts!

Don't forget my 50 follower giveaway ends tonight.  Go HERE to enter!

Have a great week!