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Five for Friday

I know it’s not technically Friday, but I was just way too tired last night to get anything done!  As many of you have noted Daylight Savings was a tough one this year!!  For me, it was on the last day of our spring break (which, side note- our district pushed back a week for the next two years!  So now it will correspond with the surrounding schools and universities… as well as nicer weather!), so waking up for work on Monday morning was ROUGH.  I did make sure to get out of the house early enough though for a Starbucks run for myself and my teaching partner 😉  We needed it!  So, long story short, here is my 5 for Friday… on Saturday morning.

Do you notice something different?  I checked my email as soon as I woke up this morning and there was a glorious little message for me… “your blog design is installed and looking fabulous!”  I was super excited, and I have to say that I agree!!  Tenille did a terrific job whipping up my blog design, I couldn’t be happier.  I am just amazed that she was able to sort through my vague ideas to create exactly what I had imagined.  If you are thinking about vamping up your blog I seriously recommend working with her.

We had WONDERFUL weather this week.  We went from sub zero temps to up in the high 40’s and 50’s.  It was a much needed taste of spring for everybody.  We were able to have a lot of driveway fun after school… this guy kills me 🙂  He and daddy picked out his helmet a few weeks ago… it just cracks me up!  He gave up on trying to ride his new bike and opted for big sis’ old scooter.

I had some “free” time while my student teacher was doing his final week of full time teaching, so I revamped this shared bulletin board outside my classroom.  I have a second grade class next to me, and all year we have been struggling with what to put up here (I moved into my room this year after a second grade teacher retired- it has amazing storage and a door that connects to my teaching partners room!).  She has just been putting up some random seasonal bulletin board items that she’s used over the years and I felt that it was my turn to chip in.  I wanted to create something colorful, so I recreated a bulletin board that I had pinned over the summer- you can find it here!
We switched from social studies to science this week (my teaching partner teaches ss and I teach science, and we combine our classes).  We started our unit on rocks, which means some fun and engaging hands on activities!!  We use FOSS kits in our classrooms, but they were so old last year that I decided to use Reagan Tunstall’s Rockin with Rocks activities.  My students last year loved it, especially the pet rock activity!  You can get it from her store here.  For this activity they were placed into mixed groups, and they are sorting rocks by size and graphing their results.  The graph they are using is part of the rocks interactive foldable that I am in the process of creating (hopefully it will be my first TPT item!  Stay tuned.)  I use a lot of interactive foldables in my classroom and my students just love them.  I’m pretty sure they say “we cut on the dotted lines, fold on the solid lines” in their sleep 😉
I have to leave you with this screen shot.  I was searching Amazon for a gift for my student teacher, and this cracked me up.  I literally searched “teacher gifts” and this is what showed up… a coffee mug followed by wine charms.  Amazon knows that the struggle is real 😉
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and that nobody gets “pinched” by any leprechauns next week!!

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Coming Soon…

I am super excited to announce that this blog is about to get a much needed makeover!!  I have been working with the talented Tenille over at Designs by Tenille for the past few weeks.  If you follow teacher bloggers, then most certainly you have run across one of her designs (check out her portfolio here).  Since I find her designs to be so appealing, and they mesh so well with my personal style, I stopped trying to create one of my own and let her do the work!  I can honestly say it turned out almost exactly as I had imagined it, and exactly as I had hoped it would- she exceeded my expectations in every way.  I can’t wait for you to see it!!!


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Five for Friday

It has been a pretty uneventful week around here since I have been on spring break all week, which is quite alright with me!  
I have spent a very large majority of my time working on this little baby.  I have just about 8 weeks left of graduate school, so I thought I’d take advantage of my peace and quiet and get a majority of my capstone project done.  I am creating and Implementation Guide for Culturally Responsive Teaching… I’ll have to post more about that soon!
Monday we spent the day at the doctors office crossing off all of our annual check ups (one of the benefits to having kids born one week apart!).  The first stop was with the allergist for my youngest.  As you can see from the picture above (taken just moments into the test) we are still going to be battling with an egg allergy 🙁  The good news is that he didn’t react to peanuts this time!  We’re just waiting on some blood work to confirm the results of the skin test, but hopefully we’ll be able to cross peanut off of the once extensive list!

After being poked and prodded and what seemed like an eternity at the doctors offices we decided to celebrate with our first ever trip to Cherry Berry.  He was pretty darn proud of his creation, and ate every last bite (ok… mom helped a little 🙂 ).

Nothing says “Spring Break” like -26 degrees!  Brrr… that was the actually air temp when I brought my oldest to school Thursday morning.  Thankfully there was a warm front moving in and the day quickly heated up (isn’t it sad that I consider a high of 10 degrees to be “heating up”?).  I am SUPER excited for the 10 day forecast though.. 50 DEGREES!! Which also means that next week I will have a bunch of kids dressed for “warm weather” without coats for recess and it will be a disaster.  Oh well, at least I will get to open my windows and get out some of the nasty, stale winter air in the house 🙂 

Since spring and warm weather will eventually be coming this way I took the opportunity to head to they gym this week.  It is one of the things that I have found to be the most difficult this last year, and I really need to get back into it.  While I would certainly not classify myself as a “runner”,  I really enjoy the app Couch to 5K.  It is a free 8 week training program that you do 3 days/ week for about 30- 40 minutes.  My town has a little 5k each May that I like to “run” and I’ve used this app for the past several years to get me ready.  
I know that many of you are just about to be starting your spring breaks next week- I hope that you have as much rest and relaxation as I did!  And if you do not get a spring break… well, I rested for you ( you can laugh at me when you’re enjoying your summer break and I am still in school).  Enjoy your weekend!

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Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites Book Study: Ch 1 and 2

Well, so far so good!  My hubby and kids granted me a morning of sleeping in and being lazy (and it wasn’t even Mother’s Day!), so I got the opportunity to read the first two strategies in the book since I didn’t quite make it last night.  Similar to what Elizabeth Hall said over at  Kickin it in Kindergarten, the first two chapters were very confirming and affirming,  like a “pat on the back”.  There were actually a lot of things that I had just talked about with my student teacher in the last week or so! Here is my take on the two strategies: Brainstorming, and Doodling.

(Graphic organizers provided by Kickin it in Kindergarten)

For this math tub activity I simply gave these two a bucket of cubes, my latest dollar store find, and a dry erase grid and told them to record the data that they sorted.  They each sorted the cubes and graphed their results a little differently- this picture shows them spontaneously explaining what they did to each other 🙂

For our 100th day celebration one of our stations was “Build a 100 cup structure”.  I simply told each group that they had to work together to build something out of all 100 cups… some groups struggled with this concept more than others, but this group certainly had it figured out!

At some point in my teaching career it became somewhat of a faux pas to do art projects in the classroom.  Well, gosh darnit I’m going to bring it back, and if anyone has anything to say about it they can kiss my paintbrush!  While I’m not going to rush out today to stock up on tempura paints ( I am on spring break after all ), I am going to start focusing more on how to use “doodling” purposefully in my classroom.  I have been piloting 3 new math curriculums this year and one of the things that I have loved is that they all encourage students to draw pictures and “show their work” (does that phrase make anyone else cringe with horrible flashbacks?).

Here is a video of one of my mathematicians using drawing to help him add!

Strategy 3 is Field Trips, I already know this is going to be somewhat of a hot topic for me to read about.  We have seen a severe decline in the number of field trips we take (like we have 0 planned for this year…;-/ ), so I can’t wait to see what she says about them!  Rest assured I will be back on Tuesday ready to discuss it.

The rest of the readings schedule can be found below:  

 Chapter 3 discussion over at Mrs. Wills Kindergarten on Tuesday (March 3)
Queen of the First Grade Jungle Chapter 4 (March 10th)
Fabulous in First  Chapter 5 (March 14th)
One Extra Degree Chapter 6 (March 17th)
Mrs. Jump’s Class Chapter 7 (March 28th)
The First Grade Parade  Chapter 8 (March 31st)
In April, you will be visiting these girls for the remainder of the study:
Mrs. Ehle’s Kindergarten Chapter 9 &10 (April 4th)
What The Teacher Wants Chapter 11 (April 7th)
First Grader At Last Chapter 12 (April 11th)
Erica’s Ed Ventures  Chapter 13 (April 14th)
KinderGals Chapter 14 &15 (April 18th)
A Rocky Top Teacher Chapter 16 (April 21st)
The Inspired Apple Chapter 17 (April 25th)
Little Warriors Chapter 18 (April 28th)
Falling Into First Chapter 19 (May 2nd)
Kickin’ it in Kindergarten Chapter 20 (May 5th)