Saturday, September 13, 2014

Sparking Student Thinking with an Index Card Challenge

Happy Saturday!

 Today is my handome Little Man's Birthday!! and my South Alabama Jaguars take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs in a little college football action.  This will be our family's first game at the stadium, and we are super excited to see what this team, and more importantly, the marching band can do!
Before I head out to the game I wanted to link up with one of my BBBs, Joanne, over at Head Over Heels for Teaching for a little Sparking Student Motivation.
Recently, my students completed the index card challenge.  Have you challenged your students with this yet?  It's fun, and easy to organize.  All you need is a piece of paper and scissors.  The orginal experiment says to use an index card, and this does work, but even with sixth graders we needed something a little more pliable.. you know.. those pesky fine motor skills and all...even with 11 year olds!
Basically, I gave my students a piece of paper and scissors and challenged them to figure out a way to cut the paper so I could fit through it.  THEY WENT CRAZY trying to figure this out.  I think I went through a ream of paper! 
I did gain a lot of insight into how my class thinks, who jumps in feet first, who is a quiet leader, and who is a good listener.  This is a great challenge to complete at the beginning of the year to find out a little bit about our students!
If you would like directions, you can go {HERE} to download the ones I typed for my students.  You can also go {HERE} and watch a Youtube video about the process.  The directions are a little different, but you get the idea.
How can you resist these smiles!
Don't forget to visit Joanne and see a few other ways to motivate your students!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Celebrating Grandparents Day!

We celebrated Grandparents Day at my school on Friday.
This is my grandpa.   He just turned 89.
Honestly, this was new for me.  I've been teaching sixth grade for more than 15 years, but it has always been in a middle school.  In middle school we don't celebrate with parties, Halloween, Christmas, or Grandparents, so this year having a sixth grade class in an elementary building will be full of new experiences for me.  The grandparents were invited into our classrooms for about an hour.  While there they visited with their grandchildren and their friends, helped them practice for our Mentor Sentences test, and read books together.  I was nervous about them coming, and not knowing what to do, but things went very smoothly.  These ladies and gentlemen were amazing to speak to, and their grandkids were so PROUD!

 Before our celebration day I was wrecking my brain about what we could do to celebrate these special people in our lives.  I wanted to have my students write about their grandparents, but I wanted to keep it within our currciulum, and make something that where we could practice a skill.  I was pressed for time because we had Monday off from Labor Day, and our computers were being rolled out so I didn't always have an entire class during the week.  We had computer orientation, and various other bits and bobs.  The week ended up being pretty choppy, so I decided a fun way to celebrate the amazing grandparents of my students was to write similes about them.  I modeled the activity after an I Am poem, similar to Eric Carle's Quiet as a Cricket.

My kiddoes loved the project, and their grandparents loved the writing.  They were laughing when reading what they were compared to.. oxes, beavers, snow globes, a monkey!  The kids were pretty creative.  I also wanted to have my students practice following directions.  This is a big issue in my room at the moment, so I created a glyph to color as part of the activity.

Overall, the hour was a great success.  If you need something quick to celebrate your grandparents you can find the activity that I made {HERE}.
Do you celebrate Grandparents Day at your school in September?  I would love to hear about the activities that your school does or that you do in your classroom!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Five for "Fraterday": Pickle Pops and ALS challenge

I guess showing up late to the party is better than not showing up at all!  Happy LONG weekend my friends!  We've been in school for two weeks, but I'm thinking of my Yankee friends this weekend who are just getting ready to go back to school!  I can't wait to see all those beautiful classrooms!
I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs, for a little rewind of my week as I try to get back into the blogging swing of things:

1)  How can you beat this beautiful sunrise that I get to experience every day on my way to work!  I have to drive over the causeway and across the bay, and I have found that I am really enjoying the quiet.
I like listening to audiobooks, so in the morning I try to listen to something that is educational or motivating.  Right now I'm listening to Ron Clark's book:  The End of Molasses Classes.  In the afternoon, I like listening something non educational..LOL so it's George Martin's A Feast for Crows (Game of Thrones).  If you have any suggestions for future audiobooks, leave me a comment, I'm almost done with both of these!

2:  I am loving my class!   This is the 16th year I will be teaching sixth grade, but the first time I have been in a self-contained classroom.  My class is coming together and I think it will be a great year.  They have never worked with interactive notebooks before, so I'm loving introducing them to this new experience and teaching them how to use the notebooks to study.

3.  We are still adjusting to all things new in the South.  My daughter found a travel softball team to continue playing in, and we recently had our first tournament.. the average temperature was 105 degrees!  YIKES!  We played four games that day!  This was new to us.  Usually if the heat index is above 90 things are cancelled.
I can't wait for her to get her"24" jersey numbers, but I am not looking forward to scrubbing the red clay dirt out of those white pants!  We also learned about these beauties... do you know what this is?
It's called a Pickle Pop, and it's frozen pickle juice.. I'm totally thinking YUCK YUCK YUCK!
I guess they are pretty popular down here at tournaments.  The concession stands sell the big dill pickles and then freeze and sell the juice.  Apparently they help to prevent stomach and leg cramps from the heat.  I'm not sure if I'll be able to get my rock star catcher to try one, but we'll see.

4.  I rounded out the school week with a school ALS challenge.  

Our school was challenged by another elementary  school in the area to raise money and face the ice bucket. Of course I chided my class that they could not raise enough $$ to put us in the top three.  And of course, like every good sixth grader, they met the challenge.  We came in second and brought in almost $75.00 which is a lot for my little community.  I faced the ice on Friday afternoon.  

5.  Last, but certainly not LEAST, my Little Man made the Mobile Youth Symphony Orchestra!  This group is based on audition and they usually take students in grades 8-12.  Being a seventh grader we weren't sure, but wanted to give him the opportunity to try because his school doesn't have an orchestra and he has to play bass within his school band.  HE MADE IT!  WOOT WOOT!  I'm so proud of him! (He's the bass player in yellow)

Did you have an awesome week?  Are you ready to go back to school?  Enjoy the last weekend of summer!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Meet the Teacher

Hello Friends!  As I mentioned last week, things have been a little crazy in my household lately as we adjust to moving, starting new schools and jobs.
I was hired for my new sixth grade position with just a few days before Meet the Teacher.  My classroom was NOT ready, but I was determined to make the best of it.
I wanted a theme that would show my students they were "Big Kids" since I now have them in a self contained classroom all day instead of a middle school setting where they switch classes.
Since most of you know that I love wearing my Converse sneakers, I thought this was a great way to introduce a little about myself and make my room feel like it was more for Big Kids.

  I basically tried to clean up as much as possible before parents arrived, since I had about 8 hours in my classroom before meeting them!
I decided to go with a Black, Red and White theme.  It reminded me of my old school, and gave me a little confidence with all of this change.  Plus, I love this boarder!
Even though I didn't have the prettiest room, I wanted to let my parents know that I already cared about their child, and felt that communication was important.  On each child's desk, along with the usual forms I left a water bottle, and bag of microwave popcorn.

I was going to use small bags of popcorn, but I found out my school wants closed bag treats, and the microwave popcorn was buy one get one free!  The case of water was $3.50, so I feel like it was a pretty good bargain to at least spruce up the desk area.
The Goody Labels for the popcorn and water bottle are in my TpT store.  You can go {HERE} if you want to grab them for $1.00.  You could also use them for Back to School or Open House.
Things are starting to settle in a little, so I'm hoping to be back into the blogging routine again.  I've reached 700 followers on FB, and am pretty close to hitting 1,000 followers on Bloglovin, so a giveaway is in the planning stages.  Be sure to follow me on FB and here on the blog to keep up to date.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hallooooo? Is there anybody in there?

Hello friends!  I'm sorry that I haven't posted anything in over two weeks.  Life appears to have gotten in the way!
Short version: I've accepted a job teaching sixth grade at a new school...well new to me anyway in the great state of ALABAMA...

Say What?  I know, you're saying.. HUH?  I thought she was a NY blogger, why did she go to Alabama?
My husband finished his PhD program earlier this summer, and is the new Associate Director of Bands at the University of South Alabama.  {GO JAGS!}  In the picture below we took him out to dinner to celebrate when we got word that he was finished.  Can't you tell how excited my daughter is!  He did not have time to walk through ceremonies because he is in charge of the marching band at South and they had band camp, so we will see him get his hood in December.

We finished the school year, and a quick four weeks later we are starting a new school year!
I was worried I wouldn't find a job, since I have to become certified here, and take a bunch of praxis exams, (NOT FUN BEACH READING)

but God had other plans for me, and granted me the grace of quickly finding a position... in SIXTH grade none the less!
I love my new school, but there has been a TON of work and learning for me to do.  I found out I had a position about a week before school started, and I had to take those darned exams, so my head has been BURIED!
Please forgive me!  I promise I'll be back into the blogging routine soon, and sharing the antics of my very awesome, very rambunctious sixth graders!
Meanwhile!  I did manage to participate in the TpT BOOST sale that will be on TODAY.  Everything in my store will be onsale, and if you use the TpT code:  BOOST you will be able to save an extra 10%.

Are you an Alabama blogger? or even from the South?  I'd love to hear from you.  This Yankee girl need to learn a few rules about being Southern!

Monday, August 4, 2014

On Your Mark.. Get Set.. SHOP

Are you ready for today?  Is your cart LOCKED and LOADED?
It's finally here, that big sale that the teacher blogger world has been talking about for DAYS!

I've been going over my wishlisted items and I think I'm ready.  Speaking of ready.. are you ready to head back to school?  I've been looking at some back to school products that I really need to start to prep.  Here are a few from my store:

I use these in my Interactive Notebooks to help my students complete data analysis
Need them both?  You can go {HERE} and get the BUNDLED SET at a reduced price!

I usually start the year with Algebra, so getting my properties match up cards ready along with
 Express 'Yarself Matey is a must for the first few weeks of school.
Are you already ahead of the game and ready to be really looking ahead?  

Why not pick up my Halloween or Thanksgiving Figurative Language Pack?  It is great practice for the basics in Figurative Language, and by saving that extra 28% now will ease your paycheck later!  There won't be another sale this quarter!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Back to School Sale- What's on Your Wish List and a Giveaway!

Are you ready for a little Back to School TpT shopping!  Those two awesome days when so much WONDERFUL is on sale is comine soon!  August 4th and 5th to be exact.  My store will be onsale and you will be able to get up to 28% off of all of my products for ELA and Math.
My Algebra bundle will be less than $20 if you use the CODE:  BTS14 for 12 activities, task cards and lessons for your classroom!  That's less $2.00 an item...

Two of my Most Wishlisted items include:

This Interative Lesson includes a book suggestion, Hundreds Chart Lesson applying prime and composite numbers, and a foldable and Lessons on finding the Least Common Multiple and Greatest Common Factor.  My students LOVE this lesson.. no more rainbows, they really see the connection that prime numbers have to these concepts.

My students also love this writing project.  I have done this both at Back to School and as a prject at the end of the year.  Students make comparisions, write a friendly letter, and do reflections.  It is a great project to set out at Open House, and it will give you a good handle on where your students are to start the year.  Most of the project is pretty independent once you get the basics down, so if you have any individual reading assessments to take care of, this is a great way for students to stay engaged.

What's on MY wishlist?  Something AWESOME that just came out from Christy over at Teaching Tales along the Yellow Brick Road.  One of my goals this year is to integrate more technology into my teaching. Christy has created this amazing I-Pad Interactive Notebook product: 
You know I love using Interactive Lessons and Notebooks, and with over 40 different organizers that I can use with or without the I-pad.. I'm in heaven!
Want to see what other great products are wishlisted?  Check out out linky below and don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win some moolah to spend during the sale! We are giving away 3 TpT gift cards! 

An InLinkz Link-up
Sooooo don't you need some extra money to spend during this sale??? We've got your back!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Pin It button on image hover