Friday, August 22, 2014

School is in Full Swing

I can't even remember the last time it was that I blogged last. This past year has been a little crazy. Planning (and going) a six week hiking trip to Spain. Ending up having to go by myself due to my friend getting into a terrible car accident. Also, doing a Spartan Race. There has been NO time for blogging!

My trip was wonderful! I didn't want to come home. You can see everything at I am already semi planning my next trip to Italy. is in fully swing! We have been back for over two weeks, and it seems a little strange to be working instead of walking in Spain. My class is great...just a little talkative, but nothing that I can't handle. My classroom is the biggest I have ever had--each of us has 25 to 26 kids (there are 5 of us). It is a challenge, but we're making it.

The biggest challenge is addition and subtraction right now. Our kids we have now didn't get into 2 digit numbers until late in the year (our math program isn't the best at pacing). After spending a lot of time with these skills over the past two weeks, we gave our first math test. Subtraction is still a weakness. So, I am sending their math tests home to correct. Along with the tests, I provided my parents with links to videos that explain how to add and subtract using the strategies used in the classroom. I thought that I would share them with everyone. Maybe you can use them to help explain math strategies to your parents. Just please forgive the was a long day "in the office".



Friday, November 22, 2013

Food Chains and Poetry

This week has been a ball of fun for the kiddos! YAY! I love weeks were I am able to plan fun, creative things for my lovelies to do in order to express their learning. That is really a weakness for me....creativity.

This week we have been learning how animals get energy, this includes food chains. We created our own food chains from an ecosystem of our choice on styrofoam cups. Most of my students chose the forest or savannah. We used the cups to make a mobile.

First, I poked holes at the top of the cup. I gave everyone 4 cups to create their mobile.

The students wrote the names of their animals and plants with a pen. I tried using a crayon and marker, but neither one of them would write on the cup. The students then drew their animals on a piece of paper. Then they cut them out in order to glue them onto the cups.

I strung the cups together with string.

Here is our finished product. A couple of my students said that it looks like snow falling from the ceiling. Ha ha ha.

We are starting our poetry week in our reading series. There were some difficult words for them to understand without a little help. So, we talked about the words "alliteration" and "personification" through examples.

After that I had the students create their own alliterations and personifications. They had a blast! Their favorite part was creating personification examples.

 To quote my favorite TV show..."I love it when a plan comes together".

Oh...I almost forgot....I got a dog! It's a sweet little thing. Here name is Pete Sake. She hasn't left my side since she's been at home!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

My Monday Truth on a Wednesday

I know that it's not Monday, but I just found Sunny in 2nd Grade's "My Truth" linky. So here is my truth about becoming a teacher....

It's amazing how the direction of the Lord can change your life. Growing up in a home that wasn't the best, I was led to help those students that have similar situations from my childhood. So many teachers are tired of all the paper work, nagging parents, and unsupportive principals; but I can't think of anything else to do with my life. I know that I am not a miracle worker, and there are days when I get irrigated by parents and principals; however, I remember that I am here for my students, giving them things that they might not get at home. There are years when parents thank me for the things that I have done for their children, and there are years that are from "you know where", but the God has given me a mission that I cannot abandon. My mission is to show my students the love of Christ even when they don't get the love they desire at home. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

November Currently

This year has just flown by! November is such a great time of's not too cold (in Alabama), the fall colors a beautiful, and the holidays are just around the corner. Since it's the beginning of the month, I've linked up with Oh' Boy Fourth Grade of the November Currently

It's just not cold out yet. I mean it's cool, but it's not cold enough to have the heat on or warm enough for the A/C. This means that I turn on my gas heater just to help knock off the chill in the room. It's such a lovely thing to have!

I bought new running shoes to help prepare me for my Spartan Race in March, and they are WONDERFUL! My feet don't hurt and there is a lot of support. 

Now that Day Light Savings Time is here, my body has to adjust to the time change. It just seems so late!! My body is trying to tell me that it's time to get into bed, ha ha.

I taught a good friend of mine how to make REAL Italian cannolis this weekend. They are one of my favorite desserts. Well, since the shells contain gluten I can't have any. So sad!! I was going to set some filling aside for myself, but she used a wooden spoon that had gluten on it.....rats!!! Now I am on a mission to make gluten free cannoli shells.

I just need to be on my big vacation. I haven't been on a vacation in YEARS! It's time to get out of the country for a while. Come on May 25th!!!!

Yummy Pin

I love taco salads, but this one is on the lighter side. It doesn't have meat! What?? Then how can it be good?? Well, the beans are seasoned with the taco seasoning and is a GREAT meat replacer. You can eat a whole bunch and not feel guilty. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

France and Spain Here I Come

I know...I know....I am breaking the "one post a day" rule, but I have some exciting news!!!!!

I booked my plane tickets for my trip to Europe! I'm just so excited about this trip even if I am walking 500 miles while I'm gone. I am even taking off the last week of school in order to go! Crazy, I know!

Here is a link to my blog about the El Camino/The Way (you may have seen the movie with Martin Sheen):

If you decide to follow my "traveling" blog then you just might get a "play by play" about the trip when I am gone.

Find the Perimeter

It's been a world wind kind of nine weeks. I can't believe that it's the 2nd nine weeks already!! Before I know it, I will be driving back to Michigan to see my family for Christmas. My kids are pretty shocked too. We were getting ready to do an assignment and I told them that they are about 1/2 way done with 3rd grade--I almost had to pick up their jaws off the floor they were so surprised.

We just started our geometry unit in Math Investigations this week, and I am very pleased in how well everyone is doing. Who doesn't like to use a ruler to measure things?? Ha ha.

While on Pinterest, I found this cute song to help my students remember what a perimeter is, and not to confuse it with area. The "Perimeter Song" is to the tune of "Farmer and the Dell". In addition, we created an anchor chart together to show how to find the perimeter of shapes.

One of the lessons was an assessment on perimeter. They were to measure large shapes on the floor that were created out of tape. Since I really didn't want to put tape on my floor in order to create various shapes for the kiddos to measure, I put the shapes on chart paper. I was a perfect solution!! Also, the kids only had to give their group members a "check mark" on a rubric. I didn't like that either. I mean, if this is going to be an assessment (even an informal one) then I want to know that they are able to do the work in order to find the perimeter. I created another solution. Instead of use that stupid rubric, I made their chart paper a consensus map. The shape was in the middle and there was workspace marked off for each group member. Once they found the perimeter and agreed then they would write the perimeter in the middle of the shape. It worked out great!!

Once everyone was in a group, we talked out the rules:
1-EVERYONE had to measure each side. This is a way to double check out work.
2-Use the edge of the ruler to measure the edges of each side.
3-Write down each measurement.
4-EVERYONE is to find the perimeter in their own space.
5-Write the perimeter in the middle of the shape once everyone agrees.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Main Idea Activity and Analytical Writing

Ever since starting the new Wonders program, we have been trying to get a good schedule/routine down. Our principal had us go to a 6 day rotation instead of a 5 day rotation. This had prooven to be helpful beyond measure. It gave us time to dig deep into stories and skills. Oh yeah, an to do stations! Whoot! Whoot!

The last six days were all about main idea. Most of our stories were nonfiction (50% of our text has to be nonfiction according to the Common Core) which was great for main idea. With the last story before testing,  my students were completed a consensus map for main idea.

I grouped everyone into groups of 4 and gave them a piece of chart paper with the main idea that the class agreed upon in the middle. The chart paper was then divided into 4 sections. Each person had to give details (we call it evidence) supporting the main idea. After everyone was finished, they had to come to a consensus about the details written on the chart paper. Once everyone agreed, they would each sign the paper in the middle.

This went better than I could have imagined! They were truly digging. This helped them on their reading test too!

Here are some pictures of our little project:
Look at those busy bees working away on their main idea and evidences.

This was the nonfiction text that the students used.

This brings me to our analytical writing ….

In the Common Core, students have to construction analytical writing pieces (answering questions using text evidence) to prove they read. This the first year to write this deeply; therefore, I had to do a lot of modeling on using text evidence.

I found it helpful to create a “show your evidence” wall with sentence stems for showing text evidence.
Here is the guidelines that we set for our writing.

This is the piece I modeled.

This is the piece we wrote together.


They wrote a piece on their own too, and took it home to show their parents about text evidence.

 Here is an example of a student using analytical writing for a test question.