Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Parties and Pinterest Surprise

Christmas vacation is FINALLY here!! Everyone has been looking forward to this for a little while since we have not had as many breaks as in years past since the state changed our school calendar requirements. We had our class parties on Thursday which made for a little bit of a crazy day; however, it was all worth it. My kids had such a great time and were so excited about how the party turned out.

My room mother got everyone their own holiday bowl to take home after they were able to create their own ice cream sundae's!! Whoot whoot! She had every topping that a kid might dream of. After we at our ice cream, we drew numbers to see what gifts we would get. I had never seen my students so excited about being able to play and be children at school. Many of them talked about how it was the best party they ever had. That made me feel wonderful. My students surprised me with a gift card to get some things for my backpacking trip to Spain.

Many of them started their vacation after that, but there were a couple of people that come to school today to finish out the week. We spent the day watching movies and playing games. One of my students came just to give me a gift after they saw something on my Pinterest board! What?!?!?! I was floored!!!

They put it one an old cabinet door with string to hang it. This went in my classroom fast!

I do have to say that even though there are hard days mixed with the good, I wouldn't trade this class for ANYTHING! They really are lovely children that make me smile. It was a great way to start my vacation where I am going to just read my books.

What did you do for your Christmas parties?? What do you plan over the Christmas break?? 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Gingerbread Mania and Surprises

First of all, my heart goes out to those at Sandy Hook Elementary!

Wow, it's been a while since I have posted anything here! Now that I am done with my classes for the semester, I think that it's time to share what I have been doing in my classroom. First thing is that I have the most wonderful 3rd grade team!! They secretly went around the school to campaign for me for "The Teacher of the Year". My principal gave me the papers saying that I won the award without saying a word. I asked him if it was a joke then tried to give him the papers back, ha ha. He said that it wasn't a joke. I was floored!! My team told me what they did and I just about cried. They are the sweetest bunch of ladies that I have ever had the opportunity to work with!!

My principal has finally decided to allow my team to use REAL BOOKS for reading instruction instead of our awful basal!! Yay!!! We started with  The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. It's been a long time since I have seen children enjoy reading class. It warmed my heart to see my students having such lively discussions about what was happening and actually paying attention to instruction. We still had reading tests and assignments, but they were more meaningful to my students. The kiddos were able to make real life connections to the characters and what was happening during the Christmas pageant.

The first thing that I did was have my students look at the copy right date in the front of the book. We began comparing the cost of living in 1972 to today. We also talked about what was going on in the world and the types of things that were popular at that time. They LOVED it!!

As we read each chapter, I had my students name each chapter to help them start thinking about main ideas. Some of the names were: "Meet the bad Herdmans", "Herdmans Go to Church", and "The Evil is Stealing the Show". If I forgot to let them name the chapter, they were quick to remind me.

There was a lot of character comparisons being made along the book. Also we analyzed how some of the characters changed throughout the book. That was neat to see them pick up on those things even before we started talking about it.

Every Friday was our "FUNctional Friday". This was where we took a piece of functional text and looked at the components. The last piece that we did was directions to making a gingerbread house. Yes, we actually made the houses using graham crackers. It was SO much fun. I think that this will be what the kids remember the most. Doesn't the "Teacher of the Year" have to come up with awesome activities??? I think so!!! Ha ha ha!!
Here are some pictures from our wonderful day.....

Thursday, October 4, 2012

It's Been a Wild Ride

Oh it's been so long since I have been able to write! I haven't forgotten about my precious baby, aka-this blog. There has been SO much going to on with getting settled with a new school year and math program, trying to get my foot underway with new graduate classes, and try to take care of my family. It's been a wild past few months! Hopefully, I will be able to get back into the swing of blogging soon.

I don't have any pictures for you all this time. There's been NO time to take any. I haven't even taken any of my kiddos!! Now that's busy. I can tell you that I am working on a writing and reading unit surrounding The Hundred Dresses. They are reading the book and having book discussions about each chapter. This leads to them journaling about their discussion and personal feelings about the questions. It has been going to pretty good so far. There has been some deep discussions happening. We are taking some of the author's craft to connect it our personal narratives.

In the story one of the man characters tells a memory of when the bullying of another little girl started. This little sequence is a GREAT way to show how someone tells a personal narrative. So, as we are writing, I am referring them to how Eleanor Estes (the author) wrote this sequence to help them shape their narrative. We haven't gotten very far. Hopefully this will work out well.

I hope that I won't have to wait so long to make a new post and make sure that I get you all some pictures and links to accompany the next posts.

Friday, August 24, 2012

First Week of School is Over!

Before I get started on the events of the week, here is what my classroom looks like finished!

This week has been an interesting week meeting and getting to know my students. They're just doing things that just CRACK ME UP! This class is wonderful too. There are things that they do which shows that they have lots of room to grow throughout the year, but I know that they are a group that will do it in a spectacular fashion!

Since I know that kiddos are nervous their first day of school and have lots of questions, I gave them an opportunity to ask me anything they wanted to know. Well, the results were pretty funny. My favorite was "how do you do hair to do dat?" My hair is curly so I guess they don't know that it can be that way naturally.

Also, I read The First Day Jitters and had various activities that were related to the book which included a "4 square". The first square was about being nervous before school then progressed into how they felt after finishing their first day. There is the website that my team used to find activities for this book. 

The school's counselor has the whole school going through 7 Habits of Happy Kids this year as a part of our school-wide discipline plan. The first week is "Be Proactive". I am hoping that this helps my students think about their behavior. Have any of you guys ever gone through this book with your kids??

I do have to say--I have never been so tired in all my life! After work I have to come home and get crackin' with grad school stuff until my eyeballs are going to fall out! This teacher can not wait until she gets used to going to work AND doing grad school again.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Meeting the Students...First Day Jitters

I've been teaching for 6 years and I still get just as nervous as I did my first year when it's time to meet my new students. I think of a thousand things that I need to get done the night before then when those things are finished, I come up with a thousand more things to do.

This was my first official week back to work, but without the kids. On Monday, they walk through the door (aaaahhhhhhh!!). I've put the finishing touches on my room, but I still don't feel ready. I'm sure that I will have dreams of what the first day is like. When things into to full swing the dream escalate to me teaching in my sleep. There are many nights I wake up trying to find out why my bed is in my classroom when I'm supposed to be finding my kids. The nice thing is at least I get to dream with correct faces since Thursday was "Meet and Greet" night.

The girls and I right before "Meet and Greet" (I'm in the black dress and NOT pregnant)

The kids were supposed to bring their school supplies while getting a chance to me, their teacher. I can't tell you the number of times that I was asked about the instructional goals for the school year or the first 6 weeks of school. This has NEVER happened to me before!! Also, there we some very comical encounters with students and parents. There were some parents threatening their children with "beatings" if they acted up. One of my students was TWIRLING in my room like a

For the first week of school we will:

  • Read the First Day Jitters then make a book about being nervous for the first day of school. 
  • Make a time capsule where the students will write about their interests and their goals for the school year. At the end of the year they will open it up to see how they have changed and see if they meet their goals. 
  • Start an E.B. White author study since we are going to Children's Theatre
  • Complete "get to know you" surveys then making Venn diagrams with a partner, comparing how they are similar and different.
What are some things that you are going to do the first week/few days of school?

Our principal had a "trick" up his sleeve for the teacher's first week back. Today we did a team building activity...and it WAS an ACTIVITY. Everyone had to download a code scanner onto their phones first of all. He placed games coded with pictures around the school, and each team had to work together in order to complete the games. In order to go to the next game, we had to scan a bar code telling us where to go. Since it was a contest, there were about 60 teachers RUNNING (full speed with sweat and all) all over the school (3 stories high) for about an hour. It was the most fun I have had on a teacher work day!! Each game was a challenge if you didn't work with your team, and the competitiveness of finding each game around the school was exciting. Of course he through in a little "hiccups" to confuse us. What a great way to start the year ;)

Did you all do anything special on those "lovely" teacher workdays??

Thursday, August 9, 2012

School is Starting...Ready or Not!

Well, I only have 3 more days of "freedom" before I am required to go back to work! I'm ready to get back in the routine of working again. I miss teaching my little rug rats! This week has been FILLED with work detail in order to be on top of my game this year (one of which was making a few chalkboards for my room). It's hard not being stressed when you know that your year is going to be jammed packed with stressful things

  • Having a new group of kids to get to know
  • Teaching a new math curriculum that has LOTS of parts to get together
  • Observation year (this only requires TONS of paper work to go with it and hoping that my kids don't "cut up" too much when the principal is in my room)
  • Final year of grad school which includes a practicum that will be done in my room
  • Having to make sure that I have everything translated into Spanish this year since I will have a few families that don't speak English (first year doing this, so I'm sure that I will become a pro by the time the year is over with)
This weekend will be filled with just a few last minute things to get done so I can at least take my stress level down to about a 5 instead of a 9.
  • First 9 weeks of math planning
  • Newsletters for the first 2 weeks
  • Full lesson plans for the first 2 weeks
  • Trips to the store to get a flash drive (mine died at the end of the year) and storage containers
  • Pick up one of my grad school books
  • Plan some meals to be cooked in the crock pot
Ready or not school will be starting for the teachers on Monday then comes the kiddos on the following Monday! On yeah, I almost forgot that "Meet the Teacher" night is next week too!! Oh my!!! The school dreams have already started and I am sure that they will get even worse as "The Day" approaches. 

I will TRY TRY to remember to talk pictures of my room now that it's finally d-o-n-e. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Making Progress and To Do List Linky Party

These past 2 weeks have been crazy busy with getting my classroom ready. Those little kiddos will be back August 20th!! AAAAHHHH!! There is still SO much to do before I am ready!

The first order of business was to get my classroom library in my computer system and reorganized. I did not know how big of a task that was going to be with over 700 books. It's finally D-O-N-E, done! I wanted to make sure that the books were separate by genres and have a good check-out system. Now that everything is online, I think it will be much easier to keep track of those books.

There were just SO many books to organize! Ha ha.

Here it is finished. Well, almost. I still have to put down the rug and clean it, but the hardest part is finished.

I was able to get most of my classroom put back together without any problems. Of course, I still have some work to do to make it perfect.
This is view from my desk. Luckily my desk doesn't take up much room since it's like a small personal student desk for a bedroom. I am still wanting to fix the cabinets that have the focus walls. Hhhmmm, that's going to take some thinking.

This is from my door. 

This is from the front of the classroom. You see that huge bulletin board? I found this simple phrase to put up since I am NOT creative or crafty.

These are my new station baskets. One set for the morning RTI time, another for reading, and the last set is for math workshop. Yay! I'm just proud that it's colorful and fun ;)

Before I left school for the day, I sat down and made my to-do list, and joined the "To Do List Linky Party" by The Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies. Man is it long!! I am hoping to get most/all of these things done this week so I can make another one to tackle. 

On another note, I am wondering if the people at Target, Walmart, and the various Dollar Trees are starting to recognize me. I am finding that I am making SEVERAL trips each week to all of these stores. I just don't want to miss out on the great deals for all of the nifty/cheap school supplies. Each time I go there is always something new that I am able to use. I am going to have to start telling my friends that I am not able to out for lunch because I am broke from all of this shopping that I have been doing lately! What is sad that none of it has been for me!! 

This coming year is going to fabulous though...I just know it. I might be a little rocky since HALF (not lying!!) of my grade level will be starting their maternity leave at the beginning of this year. Another one is just coming back from maternity leave, ha ha (you don't want to drink the water at my school :p)!!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Crockpot = Teacher's Best Friend

With school starting soon (August 13th for teachers and the 20th for students), I thought that I might share a great blog find.

A Year of Slow Cooking is God sent!! 

Just click on the picture below to go to her blog. You won't regret it!!

Stephanie O'Dea uses her crockpot everyday to create amazing meals! They are more than your traditional crockpot recipes too. Stephanie gives her and her family's verdict on each dish too. We all know that teachers are at school for the most insane hours everyday. Who wants to go home and spend the rest of their evening cooking?! I know that I don't have the energy after being at work for around 12 hours!!

If you are gluten intolerant, like me, all of her recipes are gluten free since her daughter has Celiacs. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Blog Award! YAY!!

I know...I know...I am breaking the blogging rules with 2 posts in one day, but......

I am SO excited and grateful that I have been given a blog award! Thank you Stacey at 3rd Grade Times for this lovely Versatile Blog Award. 

The rules for this award are as follows:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you
2. Include a link to their site
3. Include the award image in your post
4. Give 7 random facts about yourself
5. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award
6. When nominating, include a link to their site
7. Let other bloggers know they've been nominated

Sense I am suppose to give 7 random facts about it goes....

1. My favorite song to play on my flute is The Super Mario Brothers Theme Song
2. I am gluten intolerant
3. I can't help getting to work at 5:30 AM to get work's so quite at the school ;)
4. Almost done with grad school (YAY!!! Can't wait!!!)
5. I am a horrible speller
6. Moving in with my mother soon to save money for a house
7. In 2 years I am going to walk the Camino Santigo (A  LONG pilgrimage through France and Spain)

Now those that I am giving the award to (these are just few for right now)....

Mrs. Parker at Learning with Mrs. Parker

School's Coming Back

Well, I have spent my summer doing absolutely nothing!! There was the occasional reading of professional development books and planning for the next year, but I really did nothing. This makes me SO glad that I am able to get back into my classroom to start setting up for next year!! Wahoo!!

The first order of business was to set up the desks. With our new math program it is essential that my students are able to work in pairs or in groups from the moment they walk into my door. Usually I have my kids in rows and slowly move them into groups once they have the procedures down pact. However, I am going to start off in pairs. This seems like the best way to have control but allow the kiddos their group math time.

The next project was/is the biggest of classroom library. I am always trying the think of ways to organize my library and have a good checkout system that would prevent the "misplacement" of books over the year. After lots of blog stalking, I found a great solution. It's a internet based library catalog system. The kiddos checkout their books from the website anytime they find the perfect book for themselves. The best part is, I get to control the number of books they checkout and how long they can keep them! It gives email notifications when books are overdue. Now, I will ALWAYS know who has what and am able to write notes home for those little ones that are forgetful. (You all need to check it It took me 3 days to get all my books in the system (732 books to be exact, what?!?!), but I got it done and I know that it's going to be worth it.

Now the only thing left to do is to categorize these books into genre basics and label the books themselves. This might take a while, but I am hoping to get it done in a couple of days (This might mean a little help from friends and family, hehehe). I will post a picture once I am done.

These projects are only the beginning of what I have to do to be ready for my students. You all know. Putting things up in the classroom, going to MANY stores to get what I need, finishing the class blog, and LOTS of planning. This means lots of late hours at the school to be ready. Thankfully I work with a great team when it comes to planning and being ready with the math curriculum.

 I am very excited about the new group of students that I am going to get. I can't wait to find out who they are!! I am ready to put to use all those great things that I have about to better impact my students and to give them a better education. Nothing is better when I am able to see growth in a student (well rounded growth to be precise).

I would love to know what the first thing you are going to do to get ready for this coming school year!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Journaling Expectations and Newsletters

It's the middle of my summer and I have to tell ya, that I am READY to go back to work!! To most people that have lives, it sounds crazy. But I am one of those people that doesn't have a life and gets bored after a few days of vacation. I have been trying to do some recreational reading; however, it doesn't sooth the thoughts of all the things that I have to do before school starts. Even though I have a huge list of things still yet to do, it doesn't replace my desire to go back to work to teach some kiddos.

I figured that I would share with you some of the things that I worked on yesterday. I am a journalling freak! My kids need to have a journal for everything. Last year, we talked about our expectations for each on, but it they didn't always abide by those. Therefore, I came up with a new plan to glue the expectations inside their journals. Maybe this will help them remember what kind of work they are supposed to do.

(The pictures will take you to the files)

Morning Journal Expectations
Each morning we have RTI time and the kiddos are working at stations (mainly reading stations)

Writing Journals Expectations
My kiddos use a journal to go through the stages of writing until they get to their final drafts. They write their final drafts on pieces of loose leaf paper.

 Reading Journal Expectations
During our reading block the kids go stations so I can pull small groups

Math Journal Expectations
 During our math block the kiddos have math workshop time

Last year I put all of the newsletters on the class blog, but I don't think as many parents visited the blog to get the newsletter as I had hoped. To try to keep that from happening again, I created an introduction newsletter that shows the parents what to expect on the newsletter and where they can find it. Also, I tried to make it clear that they can request a hard copy since I know not all homes have internet. 
If you want the DOC file, just leave your email address. Otherwise, the picture is to a PDF.

My list continues to get smaller, but it still a long one. I have other things that I will share latter, but I figured this could be a start. I really need to slow down my pace since we don't go back until middle of August. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Little Pig Webquest

As I am currently revamping some of my school items, thinking of things that I need to do for the kiddos, and reading my books; I remembered a webquest that I created for on of my graduate classes. It's a literature and science webquest using the story The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith.

After reading the book, the students must determine if Mr. Wolf is guilty or innocent. He makes a very convincing argument. The students have to first research characteristics of real wolves. Creating a newsletter, they will tell their decision. To add some extra fun, everyone participates in a courtroom trial, using the information they found to help them create a real courtroom experience.

Click below for this awesome webquest

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Students are Gone But Class is Still in Session

I'm officially free from students and my teacher workdays are over. We all know what that means.....SCHOOL'S OUT!! Each year, I am always glad to see the year end, but it doesn't mean that work is over for me :) This is the time where I feel free to explore changes that I want to make for next year in order to become a better teacher and meet the needs of my new little lovelies. Most people go on their vacations, spend time with their families, or just relax for a few weeks first; however, I am more of "lets keep the ball rolling while I'm still in school mode".

Here are a few of my goals that I want to accomplish during my summer break:

  • Become more familiar with my students' mindset--In a previous post (Gearing up for Next Year) I mentioned three books that I purchased that focused on teaching students in poverty. I have been finding myself wanting to know why my students act the way they do and since a lot of them are in poverty, so these books are to help me know what I can do for them. Already started reading Eric Jensen's Teaching with Poverty in Mind and I am excited about what I am reading!
  • Change behavioral/homework plans--I just felt that my behavior management could be better; therefore, I am changing to the Clip Chart system. This way my students  can be rewarded for their behavior as well as having appropriate consequences for misbehaviors. For homework, I am going to use Homeworkopoly. I know that a lot of teachers are using this in order to get students to do their homework, and my students need as much help as possible.
  • Revamp reading stations--I just feel that my station time could be better. The feeling of disorganization during this time had been STRESSFUL! So, I am going to make a plan that more suits my students and my personality. 
  • Math in general because of BIG changes--This is the biggest change of all since our whole district is changing over to Math Investigations. The change is VERY exciting since I teach using the Investigations methods anyway; however, I have not followed the curriculum. So, I have some scheduling things to work out, how I want to organize all the materials that I am getting from the AMSTI people, and how I want to communicate to the parents the changes. I was thinking about posting some math lessons on YouTube as well as having days for the parents to visit my room. What do ya'll think? This also means that I have to make sure that I use math journals (I'm pretty stoked about this)

Join the linking party at Primary Inspired to tell about your goals for next year

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

End of the Year Mementos

This year has flown by! It's hard to believe that in just a few days I will be saying my good-byes to my students. We turned in our textbooks today, I will be posting my grades tomorrow morning, and field day and class parties are on Friday--it's officially over. I have been trying to think of some things that I could do with my students that they could take home with them that would hold some memories down the road. From the help of my co-workers, I was able to come up with 2 ideas that we big hits!!

Idea #1--Write letters for the next school year. I had my students write letters to themselves about things that might want to know or be reminded of on the first day of school when going into the 4th grade. These students really blew my away with some of the things they came up with. We put the letters into envelopes and decorated them. They will be able to open them the first of the following school year.

Idea #2--An alphabet memory book. My students are in the middle of creating an alphabet book that contains information that we have learned correlating with the letter it begins with (A=addition, c=clouds).

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Amazon Gift Card

I know that I have been slacking on the teaching idea front; however, I have been crazy busy with end of the year junk! It's only 7 days away! EEKKKK!!!! I have been trying to get my act together for the summer so I can better my teaching style for next year. In order for me to do that I entered this amazing giveaway for a gift card to Amazon. I guess I will be nice and share with all of you ;) Who wouldn't love free $25?? Hop on over to Creating Bookworms for your chance.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Super Size Me

I am so excited about this new giveaway! It's so huge, you have to go visit The 3AM Teacher to believe it! Just follow the link below to see what is in store for you, but have to hurry because it ends soon. Let's just say there are totes and TONS of free graphics involved!!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Gearing Up Next Year

Since it's almost the end of the year, I have been trying to get myself thinking about how I should prepare for next year. So many things have been floating through my mind that a list is going to made soon before I forget half of my ideas or ambitions. 

One of things that I really want to do is do a better job reaching my students. There has been a huge culture shift at my school that seems to have happened overnight. One thing my school did as a whole is read Ruby Payne's Understanding Poverty to help us understand our children's culture a little better; however, I was not in that particular book study (I lead a different one). So I decided that I would get some books for me to read over the summer to help me make some plans while I have a break from graduate classes. Here are the books that I ordered (maybe you all can tell how well you liked them and how they helped you):

                   Teaching with Poverty in Mind: What Being Poor Does to Kids' Brains and What   Schools Can Do about It
                                                            Eric Jensen

     Regenia Rawlinson

Donna Walker Tileston, Sandra K Darling

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What I found on my desk

My first day back after my "vacation"/family emergency was an interesting one. The sub left a very interesting note about the happenings of my classroom. Students getting sent to the office everyday, the various strange objects that she collected, and other goodies. What in the world happened to my lovies?!?!

Anyway, they were so excited about having me back that I found this note on my desk when I returned:

Today and tomorrow are the last 2 days of our ARMT testing. YEAH!!!! Next week, we are going to start our weather unit. This means we get fill our brains with awesome weather knowledge and test it when our meterologist (James Spann) comes to speak at the end of our unit! They always have so much fun when he comes!!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Ten Questions

I would like to thank Stacey from 3rd Grade Times for giving my Lovely blog Award! It was so sweet of you! Also, Summyr from The Teachacholic tagged me in "ten question" here I go....

1. What's the last book you read aloud to your class?
A Hundred Dresses. My Kids loved this book! They really got into how people should be treated, and how they should treat other people.
2. Which field trip have you enjoyed most and why?
I would have to say that I have enjoyed Rufner Mountain. It's where the kids go on nature hikes and discover various plants, animals, and insects in nature. They also get to see some pretty awesome animals from the guides. They have so much fun, and I get to see them put their knowledge from the classroom to use!!
3. Which subject do you enjoy teaching most?
I enjoy teaching math the most. It's fun to teach a subject that gets such a bad rap in creative and fun ways. Before I know it, they are having a great time learning without realizing that they are learning.
4. What computer program(s) do you think is most effective for student achievement?
Our school likes to use Study Island, and it's wonderful!! It allows me, the teacher, change the settings for individual students to give them what they need. The students can play games after answer problems in reading and math correctly or the teacher can print off worksheets directly from the website. The best part is it lines up with the common core!!
5. What could you NOT teach without?
I don't think that I could teach without my electronics! I them every single day!!
6. What is the most memorable gift a student has given you?
Well there is one that is more memorable because it's comical; however, there is one gift the was just PRECIOUS! This year for about 4 months I was eating popcorn as a snack. So for Valentine's Day, one of my students brought me a bag of popcorn attached to my card even though I hadn't eaten any in MONTHS! 
7. Which do you prefer, having students write down their homework or posting 
the homework on a website?
Writing down their gets into their memories better
8. How often do you email/call parents?
On a weekly basis plus whenever important matters come up. I am in LOVE with group emails, ha ha ha. 
9. How do you run literacy centers?
I do the daily 5.
10. Why did you begin blogging?
I just figured that someone might be interested in my ideas or my boring happenings as a teacher.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

High Test Scores = Teachers Get Pied

I think that it's been almost a month since my last post...such a LONG time ago! There has been so much going on that I just didn't think that I needed to carve out time to blog. With having to take care of my mother then deal with the loss of my father and try to get my school work done in between the craziness; blogging just wasn't the first thing on my mind.

The Lord has been taking care of my family during these difficult times in ways that I couldn't even describe. He has given my an amazing church family that is supporting me and my mother in this difficult season. I was so glad that I was able to take off a whole week of school during state testing week!! My lovely team took care of my kids while I was (well....still out until Monday) out so I didn't have to worry about anything. I have never lost anyone so close to me before and it's the most difficult thing that I have experienced in my life, and I know that it's worse for my mother. There has to be such a dependence upon the LORD to make it through these hard times.

I do love when  I get emails from parents telling me that the sub is making their children miss me terribly. He he he. It warms my heart, I just can't help it.

Before testing I planed on giving everyone an update on our ARMT Spirit Day. It was a huge success!!! The children LOVED dressing up and it got pumped about taking the tests. I think the best part was the pep-rally. The students that exceeded the state's standards the previous year got to pie their teachers in the face. What kid wouldn't want to do that?!? They let us have it too! They took those "pies" (really just whipped cream) and smeared them in our faces or at least making sure that it got us really good in the face. I never have so much cool whip all over my body as on that day. It was dripping from the top of my head, I had to constantly wipe it from my eyes, and remove lots of it from down my shirt. The kids couldn't have had more fun.

I am hoping that this really got them motivated in wanting to do well this year. Also, I am hoping that my absences don't affect them either. I sent my parents an email explaining the situation, so maybe it will be alright.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Break's Over and ARMT Pep-Rally

       I can't believe that my spring break is just about over. I have kept to my "no school" policy this week. It wasn't hard since I have been taking care of my stepfather in his battle against cancer. Next week, those smiling faces will be trampling through the halls with sleepy eyes and a fresh brain.

      I love it when we come back from a break because they are more eager to learn than before. It makes my job a whole lot easier when they have their brains turned on ready to go! What I love most is that testing doesn't start for a couple of weeks. This gives us all time to get back into the swing of things and have some fun before those dreaded tests.

What I am really excited about is our 2nd annual ARMT (Alabama Reading and Math Test) pep-rally that the teachers hold for the testing grades. The teachers usually become the cheerleaders, doing all those great tricks/tumbles (well, maybe not this year since most of the teachers are pregnant). The grade levels have a cheer contest to see who has the best cheer/chant. The winner gets the spirit stick. Ahem, third grade won last year!! Leading up to the pep-rally, the kids get to participate in spirit week. They get to dress up that are paired with different slogans (Army day is--"attack the ARMT", nerd day--"outsmart the ARMT").

This year the kids with the highest scores get to pie their previous teachers in the face! OM MY GOODNESS!!! I will have pie all over my face in the next couple of weeks. Hopefully my group this year will be motivated to do well so they can pie me in the face next year. I know that there are several that would LOVE to do it. Ha ha ha!!

All before this, I am going to have a restful week or so with my students which will be nice. It's time for the 4:30 wake up calls, the dire need for caffeine, and random stories form my students. I love my job!

Monday, March 19, 2012

An Amazing Giveaway!!

Since I am on vacation (from the kiddos), I thought I would stalk some blogs. Well I came across an amazing giveaway!! Visit Primary Inspired to registrar! Here's what you can win:
Party Time Math Pack from Journey of a Substitute Teacher
Snack Literacy Center from Sunny Days in Second Grade
Slides & Ladders (Fry Words 101-200) from First Grade a la Carte
Common Core Cheat Sheets for YOUR Grade from Learning with Mrs. Parker
Candyland Compound Word Game from Seusstastic Classroom Inspirations

Friday, March 16, 2012

Upper Elementary Linking Party

We all know that it can be hard to find those 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade resources at times. Well, come join the linking party at Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies with other upper elementary teachers. We all need to stick togther! Ha ha ha.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Letters from Parents to Kids Idea

One more day to go before I am sitting back and relaxing.....well, sleeping in at least. There is still too much to do with my day to sit around and relax. I was sitting here finishing clipping my coupons when I thought of something for all my upper elementary friends (mainly 3rd grade teaching friends).

Third graders are usually pretty scared about taking their first state tests, so I thought about getting my parents to write letters to my students last year. In fact, my whole team got in on the game!! We sent out a letter to the parents, explaining that the letters where to encourage their children and calm any fears. Also, they were to send the letters in a sealed envelope with their child's name on it. On the first day of testing, all the students opened their letters. I have never seen such joy on their faces! Even those students that got letters from me (their parents didn't send one). They read their letters every day before they began. It was the sweetest thing. 

Since it was such a big hit last year, I am going to try it again this year. My students need some encouragement even though I know they will rise to the occasion ;) Last year I sent home pretty paper with an envelope so there would not be any excuse. I think that would be a great idea for this group too.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It's Almost Here and Awards

Well, I have almost made it. Spring break is only 2 days away and testing is almost upon us! I can't wait to sleep in past 4:30 and chill out in the mornings with a cup of coffee. Even though I will be working on my graduate assignments and taking care of family business, I will NOT be doing any work related activities. Maybe a little blog stalking, ha ha ha.

I really want to get some ideas about how to get my students motivated for testing, and feeling good about doing well. Any ideas ladies??

I got another blog award too!! I am just so excited! It's from Kim at Finding JOY in the 6th Grade. She had bestowed upon me the Liebster Award.

This award is given to blogs with less than 200 followers and passed from Blogger to Blogger to highlight up and coming awards.  Liebe is the German word for love, so this award has a special meaning for those just starting out. Guidelines for this award are as follows:1) Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog 2) Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you 3) Copy and paste the blog award on your blog 4) Present the Liebster Blog Award to blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed and 5) Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment at their blog.

I am going to give this award to Julie at Lighting a Fire in Third Grade. She is doing a great job. You all need to go over and check out what she has going on in her classroom.