Friday, December 28, 2012

I did it! My first TPT item!!!

I am so excited that I am posting for the 2nd time today, so I'm sorry bloggers! I posted my first TPT item!!! I have been working on different Homophone items and decided to start off simple, so I posted my quiz. I used some a border from Jen Jones at Hello Literacy:

and my favorite font from Ginger  Snaps:

So check out my new TPT store: Fabulous and Fun 4th Graders and first product:  (If I didn't give credit, correctly for using the font and border, please let me know and I'll fix it!!!)

Oh and if anyone can help me to make a preview, since it didn't work, I'd appreciate it!!!

2012 Best and Brightest Linky!

2012 has been a crazy year, especially with the new APPR and CCSS!!  I started blogging in February after finding so many cool blogs and not knowing how to follow them.  Since then I have been fairly inconsistent with blogging.  But that is my New Year's goal (to at least blog once a week!).  I am always blog stalking for new ideas, but rairly share my ideas and what I've been teaching in my own classroom.  Hopefully that will change.  I have been inspired by so many blogs over the past months, that I have gained so much from these bloggers.   Today I am linking up with Christina, who I have learned so much from, for her fabulous 2012's Blog Best and Brightest.  I love her, and if you haven't checked her out, please do at Bunting, Books, and Bainbridge !!!

The best thing I found this year was TPT.  No one at school had ever heard of it way back in January, so I was pleased to help out some of my fellow colleagues.  I couldn't believe this fabulous site existed! And thank goodness for it, since I have found some amazing lessons and activities on it!
The post I loved the most was Tada....Classroom Reveal since it was my pride and enjoy! I was so excited to finally finish all of the projects I had wanted to do over the summer and decorate my new classroom.  I still love my room and so do the kids (and adults) who walk in it. 
There are also many bloggers that I love and can't forget to thank for getting me started and keeping me going! So here goes:
Bunting Books and Bainbridge
4th Grade Frolics 
Ginger Snaps
Ladybug's teacher files
(even though I don't teach second, I love her blog!)
 Teaching with Blonde Ambition
My goals for 2013 will be to really start blogging more and creating more "fun" looking items and try a swing at TPT myself.   Oh, and get someone to "make over" my blog.   Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What we've been up to

Here are some pictures to go along with my recent blogs of what we've been up to in my fourth grade classroom:
Tess the Turkey Stories
(with the use of a label in top right corner for grading)

Mythology  Unit: Perseus vs. Medusa Newspaper Article Summary:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Great pencil sharpener!

So last week I splurged and purchased 3 amazing pencil sharpeners from Classroom Friendly Supplies.  I read all of the reviews on blogs this summer and thought maybe I'll purchase them sometime.  Then two weeks ago, all of my pencils sharpeners pretty much died, even the brand new one I bought this year.  I was amazed when I tried these out.  They sharpen pencils fabulously!  My only complaint is that they aren't staying on the counter or tables with the attachment.  If any of you ought there have one and figured out a great way to keep them from moving around, any suggestions would be great!  I bought this one:

Teacher Special (Buy 3 for only $17.99 each)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Please help!! Want fun looking documents

Can anyone help and tell me what you use to creating "fun" looking documents? I love the way everything I buy off TPT looks, but don't know what everyone is using out there! Any help would be great!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Yes, I'm still here...

So I don't know how you teachers out there with kids keep up with checking your favorite blogs, let alone keep up with your own blog. I have been busy planning new units to match the common core, while keeping up with my family.  So if you have any suggestions on how to do it, please share!

We have been busy in school and created a cute little craft to go along with learning how to write summaries.  ( I forgot to take pictures, but will try this week ) We are just finishing up a mini-unit on Greek mythology, including allusions.  Tomorrow and Tuesday we will be watching Disney's Hercules and compare/contrast the movie to what we know about Hercules, while watching for anything we learned in our mythology unit.  I highly recommend the Greek Mythology unit from Nicole Shelby which you can find here. I just absolutely LOVE her stuff and used many items from her FABULOUS unit!

I'm off to finish some lessons for the week and try to wrap some Christmas presents later! Have a fabulous week!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Personalized Pumpkin Writing Activity

I sit here tonight wishing and praying for a weather closing tomorrow!!! I could really use a day off already this week and it is ONLY Monday!!

Last week my kiddos completed my yearly Personalized Pumpkin activity.  First they color their own pumpkin on the given pumpkin.  After they finish coloring (without anyone peeking), they describe their pumpkin with a great paragraph, including an interesting hook.  Not the boring old "This is how I drew my pumpkin" or "I am going to tell you about my pumpkin".  The last is my absolute pet peeve!  BORING!

Anyway, after they draw and write, I collect their pumpkins and mix them up.  The kids stand in a circle and get a pumpkin which is not their own.  They hold their writing toward them and the new pumpkin facing the group.  One kid starts and reads their writing description.  They other kids then try to see which one is the person reading.  The kids love it and so do I.  Here are some pictures from after the activity.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Oh no, say it isn't so. Not the big 3-0!

So, it is official! I am now 30!!! Eeek where has the time gone?  I really didn't have a problem with turning 30, just keep thinking how did my daughters get so old so fast!!!
Anyway, my lovely best friends at work didn't let me forget my 30th birthday was Friday.  Here is what I walked into at work Friday morning:

And then these were down the hallways to my room:

And then on my door was the final one:

So all day the kids in the building kept following the balloons to see whose birthday it was and then wished me happy 30! 

Oh, that wasn't it either!! Every 30 minutes a student from my past came and delivered a little gift to me, not quietly either.  They opened the door loudly and yelled "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!"  It was so cute!  The day wasn't as crazy as I thought it would be since it was payback from a few years ago when one of my friends (my special education co-teacher) turned 50.  We put 50 balloons in her room and tons of Over the Hill decorations.  I figured payback would be way worse!!!

Overall it was a great day and then to top it off my hubby and I went to the melting pot!!

I'll be back tomorrow to post about what we have been doing lately!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Awesome Giveaway!

Head over to Ms. Fultz's Corner for a FABULOUS birthday giveaway!  We share the same birthday--date and year, how cool is that???

Too bad I wasn't doing a giveaway (maybe once I hit 100 followers)... (But first I need to post more often and as promised I will after volleyball ends this week! Yay!!!)  So head over there and enter Christi's great giveaway!!!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Explanatory Writing Fun and updates!

Explanatory writing has always been part of our fourth grade curriculum, but we never taught it very often, maybe one or two short writing pieces and one bigger one.  This year, I've decided to implement all of the different writing pieces the common core requires more frequently.  So a few weeks ago I started off teaching the kids transition words and having them use them in a fun "How to Slide Down a Slide" writing piece, from Teaching Madness, along with a great game called "What's Next".  I highly recommend this mini unit.  I haven't used all of the materials, since I want to revisit explanatory writing throughout the year. 

After a couple small writing pieces, we went on to publish "How to Blow a Bubble" for our Open House display.  I purchased "A Mind Blowing, Bubble Bursting, Lip-Smaking Project- POP" from Teachers pay Teachers since I wanted a fun activity to do for Open House.  I used a little bit from this project and used my own "person" for the kids to decorate to represent themselves.  The kiddos glued their writing to pink paper and attached their drawing on the bottom.  We then put pink balloons in to look like bubble gum.  (The balloons are now deflating...)  I was so proud of how they all turned out just in time for Open House.  I still have a bunch of activities left to fit in sometime since we ran out of time that week! 

Just a few examples
Half of the hallway .... more on the other side since we had 69 kids
We have also been focusing on roots and started review three easier prefixes (un-, re-, and pre-).  Each time we focus on one the kids get a copy of the tree and make their own leaves based on words we come up with.  Each tree goes into their Reader's Notebook in the Roots section.  Here is a picture of our bulletin board so far...

Finally!!! My Nonfiction book cart arrived finally after being on backorder since August.  I was so excited to be able to put out some nonfiction books for the kids to read.  They aren't all organized yet, but will be shortly.
Our class reading competition is under way.  Look at all of those scoops on the wall!  Each scoop represents a book read.  The kids are really enjoying reading this year and get excited to mark in their reading log and put up a scoop.  They are really trying hard to read from different genres too!  (Sorry for the bad pictures, my camera ran out of battery before I could take better pictures!)

Monday, October 8, 2012

So crazy busy...

Yes, I am still alive but have been so busy planning our volleyball team's second annual Dig Pink game.  On Friday, my volleyball team wore pink jerseys, decorated the gym with streamers and balloons, had a crowd serving contest, sold t-shirts, raffled off items, and had a 50/50, all in support of breast cancer.  We are hoping to raise more than $500, since we raised that last year. 

So I promise in about two or three weeks I will try to post more often about my fourth grade ELA classroom, but until then, my family and volleyball and of course the mass amounts of planning I've been doing in this new position are taking over my life!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Punctuation Takes a Vacation

I have been doing this awesome lesson to introduce and go along with Conventions (6 traits) since I student taught years ago.  I am not sure where the original idea came from, but I love this lesson! 

All of my kids loved this lesson and were excited to complete the activities.  Here is what you can do for the lesson:

Ù Read the book Puncutation Takes a Vacation by Robin Pulver.  (Skip over the postcards in the book--you will be using them later and make sure you read the letter in the story the way the punctuation is actually written so it has a bigger effect on the kids)

Ù Discuss how punctuation has a voice and how it tells us how to read things correctly.

Ù After reading the book and talking about it, put the kids into groups.  Pass out the typed postcards (the same as ones in the book).  Each group must determine which type of punctuation sent the postcard and record on a postcard sheet with their name.  (I added a stamp and laminated my postcards)

Typed Postcards

Student postcard to write down who wrote the postcard

Ù Extensions: Give each student the letter from the book (at the end).  Then each student individually must write out the letter correctly.  You can also go over the punctuation rules sheet and teach different types of punctuation after this lesson. 

Here is the document I used for the postcards, Punctuation Rules and letter (2 copies--one wrong and one blank to fix).  I can't find the postcard where the students write the correct punctuation (last picture), sorry!  Hopefully the link works since this is the first time linking a document.  If it doesn't, someone please let me know what I didn't do correctly!  Hope you all can use this lesson!!!

I hope I am doing this right, but I used Hello Sassay font by Jen Jones! I love her fonts and you can find them at!! Thanks Jen!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Crazy busy

How do all of you keep up with blogging? I can barely find the time to check all of the blogs I follow, let alone blog or take pictures of things my classes are working on.  We have been busily doing running records, DIBELS, etc so that we can place all of our kids in fourth grade into strategy groups.  I have my Data meeting tomorrow to go through all of the information we have collected.

I haven't been able to start my "Daily 5"/Centers yet with getting used to the kids and switching classes.  My kids have been wonderful in adjusting to their new schedule though.  We have introduced a few of the "rounds" or choices, just have the rest to intro next week.  Remember, I am not really following the book to a tee, since I only have the kids for 80 minutes, but I am trying to make it my own. 

We have started CRAFT (CAFE modification) and are plugging away at strategies while reading one of my favs, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.  We are working on choosing Good Fit Books and trying to read more.  I started a class competition to see which section of my ELA can read the most books by the end of each marking period. Each time they read a book and can retell it, they can put up an ice cream scoop on the wall.  The kids are really trying to read different genres with the 30 Book Challenge too.  They are excited about reading which I hope will continue all year. 

I promise to take pictures soon to share other things we have been working on.  However, school, coaching volleyball, and spending time with my family are overtaking blogging.  I will be back soon!

Friday, September 7, 2012


This week has been incredibly exhausting and busy.  With my new schedule there is really no down time to do anything before my next set of kids come in.  My daughter started pre-k this week and I've had to drop her off every morning and pick her up during planning, so I feel like I am spinning all day.  During my classes we haven't gotten much done.  I know I planned a little too much, but in two days I still didn't get through everything I wanted to in the FIRST day!!! Hopefully next week will go smoother!!! The kiddos are great so that is a blessing.  So happy Friday everyone! :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Phew... through the first day!

Wow, what a crazy day we had today.  With all of the kiddos changing classes and having all of their supplies today to figure out where they went, it was soooo crazy! Hopefully by the end of the week it will calm down.  I am so glad that the classes were pretty well behaved, but I know I am going to have to pull all of the tricks out of the bag for my last ELA class since it is at the end of the day.  Those kiddos were beat by then!
I know I am beat right now from school and then practice and now have to replan for the week.  So today is a short post!  Hope everyone who went back this week had a great first day!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Tada....Classroom Reveal

Finally! My classroom is ready to go (except for a few miscellaneous things I have to do tomorrow sometime during our conference day and before volleyball practice).  I feel pretty good about my classroom being done, but not so great about getting ahead with curriculum.  I think that has to do with my new position and the common core.  I am trying to not be so OCD right now about having things perfect and planned ahead. Just one day at a time!!!

Okay, so on to the fun part... Sorry in advance about the picture overload!

I just LOVE my classroom and hope the kids will too. I have had sooo many complements and I am so excited to meet my kiddos on Wednesday and see their reaction!!
My CRAFT board (CAFE tweaked...) from Ladybug Teacher Files:

Classroom library (Still missing my nonfiction book cart...)  I finally sorted through all of my books and organized them by genres.  The green bins are fiction and the pink will be nonfiction once I get the cart.  On the top of the newly recovered old bookshelf is my "Book Hospital" for damaged books. 
This is the side of my room with my desk and u-table for reading groups.  You can see my "curtains" I made covering my shelves along the windows.
Towards the front of my classroom (Don't mind the ladder, our tech people weren't done hooking up my Smart Board)
Back of my room towards door
Birthday bulletin board:
A Pinterest inspired bulletin board to plot places we have found in our books:
Another Pinterest inspired board for roots, prefixes, and suffixes:
Our Rules:
Class/individual incentive for tickets I give out during class for those who follow directions quickly, etc...
70+ book boxes for all my kiddos to store their independent books and Reading Binder. (I am waiting for a last minute shipment of green for a couple of boys..didn't think they would really love pink ones since I ran out)
Learning targets for ELA Common Core I Can Statements:
Center choices: I spray painted Dollar Tree pizza pans and plan to use magnets for the kids to choose their Center choice (Read to self, Teacher, Work with Words, Work on Writing, and Grammar) once we get there in a few weeks.
Cubbies and Class sets of books:
Work on words in each "shoebox" tub and drawers for completed work below--one for each class of ELA.
Writing center with paper to write on, dictionaries, thesaurus and baskets to put work on top.  (Through the open door is my special ed co-teacher's room)
VOICES board for writing:

Work on writing choices (We will be going over these throughout the next few weeks and posting student examples.)

Welcome to our room (My homeroom kid's names are on the nacho chips):

Ice Cream Book Reading Incentive (When a child reads a book they will put a scoop on their class cone.  The class each marking period with the most books read will win an ice cream party):
Welcome to 4th Grade ELA!!  (My teacher name sign and WELCOME sign I made this summer)

That is it! My summer has been very productive and I really LOVE my room, especially the colors!!!