July 24, 2014

A Wedding and Honeymoon!

Well hello friends! I know it's been absolutely forever and this time I have a good excuse as to why I have been a bit MIA here on the blog. I GOT MARRIED!!! I know a while back I shared my excitement of getting engaged and then the process leading up to our first half-marathon and now the big day arrived and it's absolutely consumed me! I am happy to say that the wedding went great and it was such a good time. We got married at The Wynn in Las Vegas and all of our friends and family came out to celebrate. For a Vegas wedding it was beautiful, elegant, and just so much fun!

As for our honeymoon we just got back yesterday and we returned to Turks & Caicos! We went last year for vacation and when deciding on a place to go for our honeymoon I knew we both were excited to get back! If you haven't been please go! It has the most beautiful beaches, the resorts are great, the people are friendly...if it weren't for my fair skin I would still be there!!

And on to the bit of a change....
I just finished up my third year with LCPS and my husband recently separated from the Air Force. He separated right before the school year ended and this was our funny predicament: we weren't sure if we would move to Texas or stay here in Virginia. I didn't feel comfortable signing a new teaching contract since we didn't know where we would be living and it's much easier to not sign than to sign and try and get out of it...I just didn't want the hassle.

Now we have decided to stay in the area here in VA but that leaves us with the issue of finding work! Haha! He's in the process of getting a government job and now I have the joy of finding the much coveted teaching position. I might say, finding teaching jobs is stressful! With that being said, I will still continue to create and share teaching ideas of mine or things I have found to be helpful for me even though right now I'm not teaching. I have had so much fun with this blog and I am happy that I've been able to help others either through ideas, products, activities, etc. Thank you to my followers and supporters!! Even though it's been a big transition this summer I look forward to seeing all the fun and new ideas everyone has as we enter into our upcoming school year!

Happy teaching!

March 24, 2014

Must-Read Monday and Sight Words!

Good evening all and hopefully I'm looking at a delay (maaaaybe even a snow day????) tomorrow with this little patch of snow coming through the Northern Virginia area *crosses fingers*. With that being said I wanted to link up with Teaching Maddeness and share a Must-Read that I found to be very helpful in my classroom.

The book I would like to share tonight is the wonderful and classic Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. This book lends itself to so many different reading strategies and I chose this book to model inferring.

Everyone (should) know the story of young Max who is sent to bed without dinner for being naughty. While in his room his imagination takes him to a far off land of the Wild Things where he becomes king. However, after enjoying the time being king and being far from his mother, Max begins to miss his mom and decides to 'return' home. By the end he is back in his room and he finds his dinner waiting for him.

I love this book for inferring because the author doesn't tell you a lot...like, seriously. Sendak gives you just enough and, of course, his illustrations do the rest of the storytelling. So, I modeled for students by highlighting specific (love my highlighter tape!) sections of the book and showed how I took what the author gave me (i.e. specific lines from the text) and combined it with my background knowledge.

I also used a wonderful anchor chart I found on Pinterest that gives the kids a good visual of how we infer. Needless to say, the lesson went very well and after a few days practicing I could see that my students were starting to get it!

Another read-aloud I used was Chris Van Allsburg's Just a Dream. I've read this story before for the skill of visualizing and I brought it back (plus it's one of my kids favorite stories!) for some more inferring.

Last, and quickly but not least, I have a new sight word center that I'd like to share with everyone. I am in need of refreshing some of my centers and as I slowly get them finished I'll be sure to post them.

With the success of my Time Scavenger Hunt I have created this fun sight word scavenger hunt! My kids just LOVE searching around the room, and hey, it keeps them engaged so I'm happy ;)

**I'm slowly learning how to make PDFs editable so that those who download my products can edit them so it fits their county's objectives, etc. I've learned that you can save my PDF as images and layer on top of the words if you need to change them.

March 19, 2014

A Recap of Life and Time Centers

Hi again! I know it's been a while since I had the time to post here but alas life has once again taken over. Well, what exactly have I been up to lately? Well...

You may have remembered that last month I registered my fiance and I for the Rock and Roll Half-Marathon and last weekend we ran it! I've run the Disney Half-Marathon a few years ago but this was Philip's first one (please note the Tough Mudder headband...this guy finds these things easy- wish I could say the same!!). Overall, it was a great accomplishment and there's something to be said for completing something like this with someone versus by yourself. I definitely recommend a goal such as 5ks, 10ks, etc. since they keep you motivated to keep moving!

Yay us!

Also, I've been so busy with school since our county pretty much wants E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G planned to the t and not to mention assessed and some kind of data being collected (ugh!). And honestly I've just been exhausted. When is Spring Break again?!? 

But, as my class is finishing up our time unit I did manage to get some activities made for review centers. Here's what I've got!

Time Scavenger Hunt:
This is a fun center where you laminate and cut out the time cards then place them all around the room for students to find. Once found, students must record the time on their accompanying handout.

Rolling with the Time:
This center students use dice to create different times. They must roll the dice and the first number rolled is where the hour hand points. Then, they roll again and record the minute hand. After they have both hands on the clock drawn they must write the time they've made.

Other centers I use are:
-I Have Who Has...
-Time computer games
-Math Facts Flash Cards (for review)

The next unit we are heading into is probability in math and human body systems in health...I'll be working on products for those units soon!

February 27, 2014

Fraction Action: Gumball Fractions!

Hooray for Fractions!
OMG have we been b-u-s-y with fractions this week and I am happy that I actually have some time to share it with everyone! Today we continued with our review and I love the time we have to take a little bit of a break and do some fun activities where the kiddos get to demonstrate what they know versus completing just some handout. So, today we got started on our gumball fraction machines!

Students were given the template and I had the kids decorate their own machines (I technically was going to print the template on red construction paper but I ran out of time and couldn't get to it...so I just made them design it- which came out pretty cool). 

Then, they were to pick four colors of their choosing and begin drawing in their gumballs. As you can see some students drew MAAANY gumballs and some drew only a few (I told them to draw at least 10). Luckily those who drew almost 100 found a way to keep track of them but next time I may just give them the amount.

But, with that said, I was really able to see how much they knew. The objective was to review locating fractions within a set and being able to write fractions correctly using numerators and denominators. I'm happy to say that my kiddos did great with this activity and I'm happy to share their work!


February 26, 2014

More Fraction Action!

Fraction Sundaes!
This week we have been doing so much thinking with fractions and I am always happy to get away from worksheets for a while! Today we reviewed a bit with identifying equal parts and we are now just beginning to identify parts within a set. What better way to do that than these fun Fraction Sundaes!? I also have to point out that my kids get quite creative with their ice cream flavors!

First students are given a piece of construction paper, a bowl template, and the scoops template. The copy I gave them have about 9 scoops/page so I printed off two per kid so they had the choice of doing as many scoops as they pleased. I did tell them that they HAD to at least have 4 different ice cream flavors and it was interesting to see what the little guys came up with...

Some students chose many scoops and one of my lower students was able to show me that he understood parts of a whole by having only 1 scoop per flavor but correctly writing the fraction! I love how this activity lends itself to differentiation all on its own :)

Tomorrow I am excited to try another activity reviewing fractions using marshmallows!I got the idea from a little pinterest find:

Here's a preview of the handout I made to go along with the marshmallow fraction activity. Link to download coming soon :)

I will be back to update you on how well it goes!

How do you introduce and teach fractions to your little kiddos??

February 24, 2014

Fraction Math and Must Read Monday Linky!

Happy Monday everyone! Today I'd like to share a little about my math unit on fractions!

We've just begun talking about fractions and how to identify them based on the number of equal parts they are divided into (i.e. halves, fourths, sixths, eighths, etc.). Now, we are beginning to identify fractions within a set and what better way to do that than using candy?! Some teachers use M&Ms but I personally like Skittles because they don't melt and get as sticky but both work just as well.

First, I like to make things visual and I do this by randomly picking 5 students and have them stand in the front of the class. Students must observe the 5 students I picked and must determine what is in common with them. For example, I may have chosen 3 girls and 2 boys to represent the fraction 3/5 being girls and 2/5 being boys or maybe 4 wearing sneakers and only 1 wearing boots to show 4/5 and 1/5. The kids always tend to like that activity and it poses a bit of a challenge for them.

After that initial activity I introduce how we can identify fractions within a given set. This requires students to be familiar with how to write fractions and what the numerator and denominator are within a fraction. For this I like to use Scholastic's free StudyJams videos to help give the students an idea about how to write fractions. BrainPopJr is another great site for kids but that requires a subscription.

Then on to the fun! After you've built up some background knowledge students can engage with their learning through this hands on activity. I called mine Fraction Action: Skittles Math! Make sure you've discussed with your class that students aren't to eat the Skittles since many students' hands have been all over them and we use them for learning, not eating. Last year at the end of the activity I did hand out mini bags of Skittles for them to take home, which helped their impulse to eat them during class.

I have created this little student handout for them to use to track their fractions during the activity. The goal is for them to see how fractions are present within a set and ours being their bag of skittles. I only use 10 skittles total since I just scoop the candies from a massive bag versus always buying the mini pre-packaged bags. It also helps me differentiate for different groups of students.

I am also linking up again with Amanda over at Teaching Maddeness to share out my choice for Must-Read Monday. This week I would like to share out a book I read back in October called I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll (click on the picture to get it at Amazon).

This is the cutest little book ever and the story lends itself to a fun read-aloud or as a mentor text for a writing prompt. It tells the story of a young boy whose monster goes on a vacation but he can't sleep without his monster. So, substitute monsters come and visit him throughout the night and each one he dismisses for different reasons. Finally, his monster returns and realizes that the little boy is perfect for him and vice versa.

I used this book for a mentor text and my kids were super inspired by the story. I had them brainstorm about their 'perfect monster' and the qualities they wanted in their monster. The objective for the lesson was for students to plan their writing into a beginning, middle, and end and this book really helped them do that. By the end of the unit they were very excited to share their published stories :)

February 17, 2014

Must-Read Monday Linky!

What a weekend getaway! I had SO much fun visiting the beautiful California with my love while he is out that way for work (darn Air Force always whisking him away!). With the long weekend I'm glad we were able to make it work for me to come out but it definitely makes things hard when you have to say goodbyes at the airport. Luckily I get him back on Friday so I can't pout for too long ;)

But, here's a little linky I'd like to share this evening...
Wow, what a linky to be a part of! Amanda from Teaching Maddeness has started up  a brand new linky that allows bloggers to share the books they are reading, whether it be professional, pleasure, or read-alouds in their classroom. I love celebrating reading and getting a few teachable ideas never hurt as well!

The book I am choosing to share is one of my all-time favorites and it never ceases to amaze me how much fun my kids have when reading this story! They are glued to the characters and anticipating what will happen next...and best of all, it provides rich literary learning opportunities for my little learners. Of course I'm talking about Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!
The kids beg for me to keep reading and find the story hysterical (as do I!). Dahl always does a wonderful job of characterization and I love blending our character traits lessons (inside and outside) with this read-aloud. I also like opening up my students to other authors since they get stuck with the Mary Pope Osbourne's or Jeff Kinney's. I definitely noticed a few Roald Dahl books in my kids' book boxes after we concluded the first book. So neat! The kids also have some background information that they bring to the conversations such as the movie. Having read the book and discussing how it is similar and different really helps drive home the point that often times the book is SOOOOOO much better than the movie. 

Another book that I wanted to share very quickly is one I am personally reading for pleasure. I don't get too much time to myself for reading but I definitely make an effort. After having my nephew for a long weekend a few weeks ago we took him to my parents house where he watched Jurassic Park for the very first time (and he loved it!). My mom remains an avid reader and offered me her copy of the book to borrow and I seriously have difficulty putting it down! If you are a fan of the movie, I am mean who isn't, then I definitely recommend the book!! I haven't finished it yet but I look forward to reading what happens next...
I can't wait to catch up with everyone in the linky to see what great books they have to share!