Tuesday, April 30, 2013

May Goals Already?

May?  Where did April go?
I guess that means it is time to set some new goals.
I'm linking up with Jess at I {heart} Recess.

Personal:  I have a 10 mile race on Memorial Day weekend. 
 I've been running about two days a week, but I need to step it up at the end here.
Health:  I need more sleep. 
There is something in my head that says,
"Stay up and get stuff done. 
 Don't worry about it.
Summer will be here soon. 
Then you can sleep." 
Blogging:  Between Google Friend Connect and Bloglovin, I've reached 100 followers. 
 I know so many people have big giveaways. 
I'm not sure if I can get one organized or if I should do a different giveaway. 
 Any thoughts?
School:  We just finished our elapsed time unit and half the class still doesn't understand.
A few teachers have shared some ideas with me, so I'm going to try them out.
Fun: I need a haircut, NOW! 
I usually go a while, but it has been too long. 
I'm afraid to tell you when I had my last haircut.
So those are my goals for May.
Do you have any goals this month?

Tried It Tuesday with Bubble Gum Math

We are still working on our multiplication facts in third grade.
There was a practice program we were using,
but it was getting so boring.
Then I read about Bubble Gum Math!
This leads me to ...

I recently read about Bubble Gum Math in
another blog and I knew I had to have it.
I can't remember who wrote the post, but I really want to thank her.
The ladies over at Fluttering Through First Grade have
created a great product.
It's a super fun way for your kids to practice their math fact fluency.

They have included everything you need to
set up the tests and record the results.
Each kid gets a gumball machine to keep track of their own progress.
Each kid works at their own pace.
Once a kid passes five tests, they get a piece of GUM!
I'm not joking when I tell you that my class spent
five minutes just asking questions about the gum.
Don't worry if you don't teach multiplication facts.
They also have the same setup for addition and subtraction.
How are your kids practicing their facts?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Must Read Mentor Text - If You Traveled West In A Covered Wagon

Amanda and Stacia over at Collaboration Cuties have set up this great linky. 
This week we are linking up texts we use with social studies.
My class just finished a westward movement unit. 
 A book I always use is:
The kids love this book!
The book is all questions and answers about traveling west in a wagon. 
I actually use this book more than our social studies textbook.
It is written in very kid friendly language.
Many of the questions are directly related to life for a pioneer kid.
My kids asked how the authors found out all this information.
Great question!
At the end of the book, it tells you the answer.
The authors used old diaries of kids and adults that traveled west.
There are other books in this series, but this is the only one I have used so far.
My pioneers unit was created around this book.
You can check it below.
I'll give it free to the first person to comment below!

Hope you had a nice weekend.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Friday Flashback on Saturday

Yesterday I needed a break from blogging and creating and planning and... 
I spent the evening wathcing Monsters Versus Aliens with my daughter. 
This little guy is my favorite character from the movie.
Then I watched some television with my husband
while I updated the pins on my Pinterest boards. 
It was a very relaxing evening. 
This morning I got up and went on a four mile run. 
I feel much better today. 
That is why I am posting my Friday Flashback on Saturday.
Each week goes faster and faster.
One wonderful thing I noticed is the sun is starting to come up earlier.
It's so nice to wake up in the morning and have a little bit of light.
I was really excited for Renee over at Fantastic First Grade Froggies
to include me in her Friday Teacher Feature this week.
Be sure to check out her cute blog.
She has a ton of great ideas.
This past week I had Parent Visit Day in my classroom.
My kids have been working on a bunch of projects
and I wanted to give the parents an opportunity to come and see it all.
In order to have an organized presentation for the kids, I made a set of task cards.
It was great because I didn't have to do anything.
The kids had the recording sheet and took their parents to each card.
I'm not joking when I tell you I just stood there and watched.
There was a lot of excitement from the kids and I had nothing
but positive feedback from the parents.

You can check out the cards in my Tpt store. 
They're free! 
Let me know if you think of other cards to add. 
 I had some different cards for my class,
 but they specific to my classroom and students.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
I'm off to enjoy some more of this nice weather.
Spring is finally here!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Peace, Hope, Love and Kindness..Along with a Freebie

Some fellow bloggers have set up a great linky for us:
My contribution just has to do with the love I have for my students. 
Sure we all have our bad days,
but the next day they can do things that just warm our hearts.
 My current read aloud for my third graders is "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."  
I was reading the chapter when Charlie finds the golden ticket.
 I knew I had everyone's attention, because it was silent in the room.  
Using my best reading voice, adding pauses for suspense,
I read the line about the very moment when Charlie
opens the wrapper and discovers the golden ticket. 
The class erupted in cheers and hollers.  
It was so much fun to see and hear my students' excitement for a story.  
So many of them had seen the movie so they already knew what was
going to happen and they still anxious to hear the outcome.  
To celebrate this fun story and the joy my students bring to me daily,
I'm sharing a freebie over at my Tpt store.

What is a story you have read that received a strong reaction from your students?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Mighty Girl Website and Teaching Elapsed Time

For anyone who has a daughter, niece or other girls in their lives,
here is a great website for you to check out.
A Mighty Girl
I love this site.
It has everything from books to clothing and it's all centered around girls. 
You won't find princesses or ponies,
but rather positive messages about being smart and confident.
Be sure to check it out.
  I'm in the middle of teaching elapsed time and
my kids are having a hard time with it. 
 I feel that I don't have a lot of "time" to teach it. 
Today I thought about how I could break it down for them,
but I would probably need another week to teach it the way I envision. 
 I still need to teach fractions to get the kids ready for fourth grade.
Can I get through it all? 
I've created a bunch of telling time and elapsed time
 activities for the kids, so I have plenty of resources to keep us going.
Any ideas for elapsed time?
Have you ever started to teach a topic and then
completely changed how you were teaching it?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Five For Friday - Earth Day Edition

Monday is Earth Day! 
I'm big into recycling and reducing the amount of garbage my family produces. 
Finding eco-friendly products are important to me.
So I decided to have an Earth Day focus for my Five for Friday. 
1.  Use cloth napkins instead of paper ones. 
I have about 25 black cloth napkins that we keep them in a basket on our dinner table. 
Each night, I put the dirty ones in a small container in our laundry room. 
When I wash our towels or sheets, I just throw the napkins in with them. 
It's so easy and I don't have to waste money on paper napkins.
2.  Use cloth diapers instead of disposable.
Have you checked out the modern cloth diapers? 
Yes, you will need to sometimes spray off the waste and wash them,
but they are super cute and just as easy to use as disposables.
I've used cloth for both my girls and even had cloth pull-ups and swimming bottoms.
If you know someone who is interested in cloth diapers, send them my way.
I would love to help them set up a cloth diaper system that works well.
Check out how cute they look on a little bottom.


3. Recycle.
This seems obvious, but so many people are still not doing it.
I can't stand it when I walk into our teacher's lounge and see
all the frozen meal cardboard packagaing in the garbage can. 
There is a recycling bin right next to the garbage! 
Sorry, I just don't get it.
4.  Carefully choose the products you use.
When it comes to bath and shower products,
I would highly recommend LUSH.
Have you ever tried any of their products?
Oh my gosh!  They are the best!
They smell wonderful and the company makes everything by hand.
The products can be pricey, but last a while and are very effective.
This is my very favorite product.
My mom bought me the smallest size for Christmas
 and I still have about half a container.
I use just a little bit, every other day and it works great.
5.  Let's teach our kids how to help the planet.
I found a sandwich in our classroom recycling bin this week.
My four-year old knows where the paper recycling goes and where to find our cloth napkins. 
Click below to check out my Earth Day pack.
What are some changes you have made to help out the planet?
Is there a change you have wanted to make, but haven't taken the leap yet?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Workshop Wednesday - Writing Mini Lesson

I'll admit that writing is not one of my favorite subjects to teach. 
Math - Yes!  Writing - Blah! 
I'm always looking for new and exciting ideas, so I went over to...
I figured if I was going to take some ideas, I will try and leave one as well.
It can be tough to teach kids how to be descriptive writers. 
The best thing I can do is try to have fun activities to help them along the way.
One activity that the kids have really enjoyed the past few years was an alien writing activity.
We started by brainstorming common places.
-grocery store
-fast food joint
-baseball game
Then each student has to choose one to use in their writing.  But, there are a few rules.
-The writing must be from the alien's point of view.
- The alien cannot smell anything.
-It's an alien, so it doesn't know the name of our objects.
I always give the students an example first.  Here is my writing.
I have entered what appears to be a large container filled with Earthlings.  There are long, flat wooden boards with many different materials on them.  The Earthlings are also sitting on long boards, but they seem to be closer to the ground.  As I observe the Earthlings, I notice that many of them are smaller and there are a few taller Earthlings.  The taller ones are walking around and looking at the smaller ones.  The small ones that are sitting keep picking objects up and putting them into their mouths.  I can see white squares and when I touch the square, it feels like a sponge.  I also see some liquids that the Earthlings pour into their mouths.  I can see their mouths moving up and down.  Then suddenly, what they put in their mouths disappears.  After some time, all the little Earthlings look at the tall Earthlings.  Then all the little Earthlings get up and put materials into some containers.  After that, they go out a door and I can no longer see them. 
Can you guess where I am?
It really is a fun writing activity and gets the kids thinking about descriptive writing.
They love reading their paragraph out loud and having
the other kids try to guess the location.
I even had all the kids type up their paragraph and then I put them together in a class book. 
 I put two stories on a page, double sided, so each kid could take a copy home.
Of course we put an answer key in the back since a few places were tough to figure out.
I hope you can use this idea and I'm excited to go and check out the other ones.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted Linky Party

I've been so busy lately and I really wanted an easy and fun post. 
That is why I am linking up with Latoya for...
TOPIC - Skittles Game

 Here is the code:

Red- Favorite Ice Cream Flavor

Orange- Favorite Memory from College

Yellow- Favorite Sports Team

Green- Favorite Fast Food Place

Purple- Wild Card(Tell anything about yourself)
Red - I have a very specific ice cream that I love to eat...Oberweis Chocolate and Peanut Butter. 
It can't be in a container from the store. 
It must be from the Oberweis Ice Cream Shop. 
The best is when half the ice cream scoop ends up being peanut butter. 
Orange - I don't remember much of college.  Just kidding. 
Meeting my husband was a great memory for me.  Isn't that sweet?
Yellow The Chicago Cubs - This is the year!?
Green - I'm not much of a fast food person. 
 I would have to say any place that serves sandwiches with chips.
Purple - My favorite season is summer because of the hot weather. 
I wish I could move somewhere that is warm all the time. 
The spring weather here in Chicago has been awful. 
I need warm weather now!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Five for Friday

This week I have a bunch of random things going on in my:
1.     It was another busy week at school, but tomorrow is the only thing on my mind.
Tomorrow is the day my baby girl turns 1!
She is the second born and I keep getting emotional
when I think about her birthday.
I love seeing her grow, but I really want her to stay little.
I'm so nuts about this that I took pictures of her
before she went to bed tonight, just so I could
remember the final minutes of her as a baby.
Am I crazy?  Yes.  Do I care?  No.
2.  My kids had a wonderful time in math this week. 
I introduced them to QR codes. 
They loved using the codes and being able to bring in their own devices. 

3.  On Sunday, my sister and I went to a Blackhawks game. 
 It was so much fun to have some sister time and the Hawks won! 
The game put them in the playoffs.
4. I'm trying to decide if I should sign up for a 1/2 marathon this summer. 
I ran one about three years ago and thinking of doing another one.
Anyone else signed up for a race this summer? 
I need someone to just tell me to sign up already!
5.  I got a new pair of running shoes this week. 
I'm looking forward to going out Sunday morning and running in them.
  I love running in new shoes.
How was your week?
Anyone have fun plans this weekend?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Multi-Step Story Problems and QR Codes

Don't laugh, but I just learned about these codes a few weeks ago.
I've seen them everywhere, but never knew how they worked.
That all changed, thanks to Matt over at Digital: Divide and Conquer.
After I learned about them, my first thought was MATH! 
 I love math and my kids love any chance they have to use technology.
So math seemed like an easy place for me to start.  
I started by placing these cards around the room. 
I put the story problem and the code next to each other.
Then the fun began. 
The kids went around the room with a partner
and tried to solve the story problem.
The rule was you had to show your work. 
Most of these are multi-step problems, so I needed to see each step. 
 Once the students solved the problem, they moved on to the scan.

After they scanned the code, they were given the answer to the problem.

If their answer was incorrect, they needed to go back
and figure out what they did wrong. 
I was circulating around the room the whole time,
so I could help anyone who was stuck.

I work in a school where many of the students have access
to a handheld device, so about half of them brought one to school.  
Also, they uploaded a free QR code scanning app at home. 
I had my phone and a school Ipad for us to use too.
I know not everyone has this type of technology at their school.
A math center would be a great place for these cards
if you have at least one device in your classroom. 
My kids loved this activity. 
I looked over their recording sheets and they really did a great job.
Another third grade teacher tried this today and
her kids were just as excited as mine.
Have you used QR codes in your classroom? 
Are you interested in this set of cards? 
I will send these for free to the first two people who email me.
Scan the code at the top of this post to get my email address.
Just think...the weekend is almost here!


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Monday (Tuesday) Made It and Tried it Tuesday

I'm a day late for one linky and right on time for another.  Today I am linking up with Tara from Fourth Grade Frolics and Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper.  Both ladies have some really great things going on.

Below are the gift bags for my one year old daughter's birthday. 
 I didn't make them, but my sister did.  I just helped to put the goodies inside. 
Aren't they so cute. 
My girls need to bring goodie bags to their daycare for their birthday celebrations. 
 I don't like to buy those plastic bags that will be thrown in the garbage, so we went with cloth bags that can be reused.
You should see all the other awesome things my sister has sewn for the girls. 
I told her she needs to start selling her stuff.

Here is my older one holding one of the bags.  Yes, those are Hulk pajamas. 
She puts them on as soon as she gets home and doesn't take them off until the next morning.

Third Grade Math Review Cards - I made them and then tried them as well.  I love them. 
I needed something that was a quick daily review for my kids and also introduced a few new topics. 
I usually copy two cards back to back.  Then we spend about ten minutes going over the two skills.  There has been a lot of math talk in my room.  I love having the kids come up and show us how they solved their math problems. 
Sometimes they solve a problem in a way I never thought about. 
The great part, I haven't heard any complaints about these cards. 
I can't wait to see what you made or even tried recently.
Have a great week.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Five for Friday!

Really?  Another week is already over?  These days are just going by so fast.  Do you feel the same way?  So I am back for another ...
1.  Easter was so much fun with my older daughter as she was looking for eggs. 
Here was one filled with Skittles!

2.  Over the break we went to see The Croods.  Have you seen it yet? 
I thought it was a really funny movie and the popcorn was pretty good too.
3.  This week we started one of our favorite units in third grade - Westward Movement.  I think the kids enjoy this unit because they are able to compare themselves to the children that lived back then.  Our first activity was charting words that we thought of when we heard the word "Moving."

We've listed ten items that we would bring with us if we had to move today and even started writing in our travel journals.  The kids are actually asking for more time to write everyday.  I'll share some of the journals once the kids have written more.  Here is the unit I created for my class.

4.  There is a really big giveaway over at Mrs. Rios Teaches Second Grade that you will want to check out.  There are over 107 prizes to be given away.
Also check out 3 Hoots for Little Learners for another big giveaway.  There are so many awesome products that you can win.

5.  Lately, my students are having a hard time getting along.  At least one person is in tears every day and they seem to have forgotten how to talk kindly to one another.  I was discussing this issue with two of my colleagues and they came up with some great ideas.  It's all going to start with a video called, "Kid President: Make the World Awesome."

You can also check out a blog post about it at Digital: Divide & Conquer.
 I'm hoping to share some ideas with you next week about my plan
and if it had any effect on the kids.

Hope you had a great week and have an even better weekend.