Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Hi there :)

I had a blog. I feel like when I say that sentence to people, I have to use the past tense...had. And that makes me feel sad in my heartbox.

SO! I made a decision today. I decided to come back. Blogging makes me a better teacher. It allows me to keep up with what you're all doing in your creative and wonderful classrooms and it makes me want to be wonderful and creative with you. 

So I'm back. I'm back to blogging.

Hi there :)

OO Also, if any of you have suggestions--my blog needs a makeover. Badly. She needs a change. Who did your blog designs? I want mine to look cute and pretty toooo! 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

BlogLovin

WHOA! Ok. I'm feeling a little behind the times...turns out Google Reader is out and Bloglovin is in! And you guys KNOW how I like to be on trend :)

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

So feel free to follow! Please? Pretty Please? With a cherry on top?? What about hot fudge syrup?? Eh? Eh??

Thursday, May 16, 2013

That's PINteresting :)

Wow. So it's definitely been a while! I've gotta tell ya, things here on this end have been a little bit of a whirlwind as of late--more about that over on my personal blog--but I'm BACK! And READY!

So, to jump back into the blogging game, I thought I'd share with you some of the really cool teacher pins I've found. I hope you get as much out of them as I have!!

Setting Up Guided Math

I've recently changed my math block to a guided math format and am REALLY loving the change. It gives me a chance to really work with each kiddo. I can see the understanding (or confusion) on each of their tiny little faces and adjust accordingly  This pin really helped me get started. Let me know if any of you have any good guided math tips!

AR Clip Chart

Our school is pretty big into AR tests and quizzes and sometimes it's hard to keep track of which little kidlet needs to take an AR quiz. I found this little beauty on Pinterest and will definitely be making it for next year...because who doesn't love a clip chart?!

WEBSITE BONANZA!!

A million and a half (...or 20...) websites. Enough said. Too cool.

More Guided Math 

Another great Guided Math resource. I love how she's set this all up.

And Finally.....

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

April Already....WHAAAAAAAT????

I'm completely blown away because I canNOT believe that it's already April.

Seriously, let that sink it.

It's. Al. Ready. April.

HOLY MOLY!!!!!

Anywho, now that I've freaked out, here's this month's currently brought to you, as always, by the fabulous Farley over at Oh Boy 4th Grade :)


Listening: My springtime playlist has some oldies but goodies as well as some new stuff. Favorites include (but are not limited to...) Sweet Disposition by the Temper Trap, Gone Gone Gone by Phillip Phillips, and Counting Stars by One Republic. Oh happiness.....

Loving: Today was finally (!) over 40 degrees. I'm happier than a bird with a french fry.

Thinking: I am thinking about our Nashville funcation for spring break. I have never had so much fun in my whole entire life. So much laughing. Seriously, my stomach hurt (physically! hurt!) from laughing so hard...and from so much delicious food.

Wanting: I feel like there are so many places I'd like to travel to (a few in particular...) and I'm really just sitting here wishing I had the unlimited time and funds to do that! Or my own private jet. Either one works for  me.

Needing: I need to cool my heels and just breath. Slowly. In and out. Maybe yoga will help with that....

Advice: Que Sera Sera...whatever will be will be. I'm not sure I'm anyone to be giving advice, but I do believe that there's some sort of plan. I also believe I have no control over this grand plan and I need to just let it happen--even though my type-a personality really wants to control the situation....que sera sera.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Great Butter Battle

Our classroom has been a little bit Suess Crazy for the past couple weeks!

(I'm just sayin' why celebrate for a day when you could celebrate for two weeks??)

Yesterday, we honored the Great Butter Battle with our very own Butter Battle Experiment! If you throw a buttered slice of bread up into the air, will it land butter side up or butter side down more often?



To prep us for our experiement, we watched this little gem of a video on Youtube.com


The kidlets filled out a hypothesis page that included a hypothesis for both the student as an individual and for the group they were working in, a page that asked them to graph their results, and an experiment analysis page.

I've posted our project on TPT so you can do it too--here's the linkity link! The kids really had a fun time with it--for some reason, throwing buttered bread up in the air really is just a hoot and a half :) Who knew?!

Friday, March 8, 2013

March Currently

WHOOPS! A little late on this one....Thanks Farley!


Listening: Ok, this song is (as one of my students would say...) FABU. It makes me wanna hop around my apartment like a lunatic and sing into my hairbrush :)

Loving: Has anyone else out in bloggy land read The Fault In Our Stars??? I had every intention of starting only the first chapter last night before drifting off into dreamland....50 some pages later, I've fallen in LURVE with this book. It's wonderfully written. If you haven't read it yet, stop what you're doing and run immediately to the nearest book store to pick it up. You won't be sorry that you did!

Thinking: There's a semi-empty bulletin board in my room that desperately needs some of my undivided attention...

Wanting: Two of my nearest and dearest friendlies and I are heading off to Nashville for some Honkey Tonkin' the first part of spring break and we are just so excited we can't stand it :) Can't wait for some warmer weather than what we've got up here....

Needing: The grading pile....it sits there...taunting me.....ugh. Need to get that done.....

Like: Cooking. I never used to dig cooking until recently. Now, I can't wait to cook for my friends. It's one of my new favorite passtimes.

Love: BLOGGING! Duh :)

Hate: Canceled plans. Don't you cancel those plans on me. Reschedule them? Sure! Cancel? Grrrrrrrrrrrr

Edit: Ok, so I'm a total direction ignorer and didn't have a like, love, hate that started with the same letter as my name!! My students would be so disappointed in me...haha

SO! My new Like Love Hate that Follows the Directions is....

Like: Sillyness
Love: Starbucks Coffee
Hate: SPOILED Plans

haHA! Fixed it :)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Where ya'll from??

I'm linking up with Fifth in the Middle to share where I'm from!


I'm a (very proud!) Indiana Blogger! I love my little state and couldn't be prouder to be from a good old fashioned midwest town.

Seriously, sometimes it's like living in Stars Hallow from Gilmore Girls.

There are festivals, parades, and sometimes you'll go to breakfast in the morning and someone will (seriously!) come up to you and say "Hey! I saw you at Target the other day--hows your dog doing??" Because that's how small-town it is.

I love it :)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Suessie Suess Stuff

...and a new classroom display!

March 1st is here and that means changing up the room again! We're all lovin' on Dr. Suess right now (especially The Lorax!), so we've brought some of our favorite stories into the classroom this month. :)


Here's our new funzie bulletin board! I drew our little Lorax friend and the Trufulla trees are made out of tissue paper. Here's a great tutorial by Martha Stuart on how to make them!

Besides the usual Dr. Suess favorites, our class has really latched onto a new favorite story book.


These stories are just too much fun!! They're relatively short as far as read-alouds go, which is nice because they're a good way to fill that little bit of time between transitions. Here's a link to the book on Amazon!

I'd love to hear what you're all doing! Our week of Suessie Fun Time has only just begun..... :)

Monday, February 25, 2013

AWESOME PIN ALERT!!

Ok folks. So I was perusing pinterest the other day and came across what is (in my opinion) one of the COOLEST teaching pins I've seen in a while and needed to share with you.

I was getting a little fed up with my work on writing centers. I tried to follow the Daily 5 sisters to the "T", but the thing is my little kidlets this year were just not feeling work on writing...so I was desperate to tweak it and make it more exciting for them.

Enter Pinterest Fate and/or Destiny.

I found *THIS PIN*



It's lean. It's mean. It's themed. There are different (ready-made....I REPEAT. READY MADE!!) writing centers for every month of the school year. EVERY. MONTH. I have died and gone to work on writing heaven. Seriously, I'm in nirvana here and everything is right with the world.

Ok, so set-up is a bit much. But think about it this way--now you'll have awesome monthly themed writing centers for the whole entire year and next year and next year forever and ever amen.

I'm happier than Yogi Bear with a picnic basket. Let me know if any of you wonderfully creative teachers out there get a chance to try it!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine's Day

Wow. We had such a fun time yesterday. The kiddos were so excited to be there on Valentine's Day and I have to say I was just as excited as they are. To put it bluntly, I was happy as a bird with a french fry.

Here are some pictures from yesterday!



P.S. The "Valenslimes" are curtesy of Hope King's Heart Attack Valentine's Day Writing Unit.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Valentine Designs

I received a couple of emails asking about my classroom decorations for February, so I thought I'd post a couple of pictures! Most of the ideas came from Pinterest (surprise, surprise :)) and TPT. Enjoy!

"Love Me Tender" February Math Centers by Hope King
and available on TPT--Here's the link!
My "Sweet Reads" Bulletin Board
Hallway Bulletin Board
February Books
Picture One: I {extra super duper for real} LOVE Hope Kings Math Centers. They are easy and the kiddos love them. I use them as an activity for early finishers. That being said, all of my students know they must turn in at least one "packet" of centers (one of each center completed and stapled into a packet) every month because the centers change every month. I keep them up in the room so they're easy for the students to access. 

Picture Two: This is displayed on the bulletin board in my room. Later this week, the kidlets will be writing a book review to go along with one of the Valentine Books we read in preparation for V Day. It'll be a sweet way to meet those standards and let the kiddos express their own opinions! Two birds with one stone! Huzzah!!

Picture Three: Our hallway Bulletin Board--my kidlets are extra sweet this year :)

Picture Four: Our little collection of Valentine Books--a fun way to keep love in mind this month! 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Currently!

And on the first day of the month?! Boy do I feel on top of it....Thanks again, Farley!


Listening: I've been working on my Winter Wonder Playlist for a couple of months now, but it's seriously all I can listen to. Be on the lookout for a special post about it over on my personal blog, Sparkly Quirky Lifebox :)

Loving: So my momma came in to school with me yesterday and helped me dec out my room for February...and folks? She's done it again. It looks picture perfect. She is just so good at making things look good! Love her :)

Thinking: So I just started doing yoga, and it's all I can think about! I love it!! I'm not very good, but I love it just the same. If you're feeling frazzled, maybe give it a try! Who knows, you just might love it!

Wanting: Coffee. Always. Enough Said.

Needing: That stack of papers to grade is just staring at me....ugh. Why did I procrastinate so long?!

Pet Peeves: I HAAAAATTTTTEEE (hate hate double hate loathe entirely) when people make plans and then cancel them. It's like, why even bother making the plans?? Also, when students are talking and starting their work while I'm still giving directions...ooo that really makes me seethe.....

Anywho! Happy February, Friends!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Scholastic Book Order Genres + Freebie

I feel like it's Freebie Palooza over here! Do you ever wonder what to do with all those scholastic book orders? I know I do. I always feel like I have a ton of extras...

My teaching partner told me about something nifty she's doing with them, and I thought I'd share the idea with all of you! The kiddos are going into those book orders and cutting out the books based on genre. One day might be all fantasy books, another day might be non fiction and so on and so forth.

I thought it might be a fun idea for the kidlets to make up their own book of genres so we decided to take a.......(drumroll please)....Genre Vacation!!

I've created this "Sightseeing Journal" for the kiddos to keep that houses all the examples of the genres they've cut out of their scholastic book orders. It also has a space at the top of each page for the kiddos to write down the definition of each genre so they don't forget!
A Cover Page for Each Student
Example of an Inside Page

If you'd like a copy, this freebie is posted here on my TPT page. Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Freebie Fun!

We've been really busy comparing and contrasting--basically, if it's a person, place, or thing we've compared and contrasted it to something else.

However, our favorite comparing and contrasting activity has been the Classmate Compare and Contrast. As an end of the week reward for working so hard, we did this fun little activity to wrap up (and assess) comparing and contrasting. The students paired up with a buddy and thought of all the ways they were the same and all the ways they were different. It was so cute to see them think of all the creative ways they could compare and contrast themselves.

I, personally, was really surprised at how unique some of the answers got! "I have freckles, she doesn't." "I like pizza puffs and he doesn't." "My favorite day of the week is Monday and her's is Wednesday because she likes craft day."

We filled out a funzie little worksheet to go along with the activity, which acted as a twofer writing grade and reading grade...man oh man, do I love a twofer :)



I've posted the worksheet I made to go along with this activity on Teachers Pay Teachers--here's the link :)

The best part...it's free! I mean, there are few words in the English language I love more than the word free....well, maybe the word coffee....or if the word "Free" is followed by "Gift with Purchase".....but I digress.

Stop by and download this little freebie! Not only will you get a (FREE! Have I said it enough?) fun little activity for your kiddos, but you'll give my ego a boost! See?? It's a win/win!....please? :) Happy Tuesday!

P. S. Two yummy new (low fat!) recipes posted on Sparkly, Quirky Lifebox--check it out!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Linking Up with Love

I'll just admit it...I'm a mushy, gushy sucker for love :) The hearts, the chocolate, the red and pink, the inordinate amount of chick flicks and love stories....February is just around the corner and I. Can't. Wait.

It's even apparent in how prepared I am for the next month. Usually I'm a smidge behind the eight ball (I'm human. It happens. haha), but not this month! I'm just too excited! My bulletin boards are done, my math centers are finished and my projects are planned--please, let me just be clear this NEVER HAPPENS! Proof positive of how excited for February I am.

Last year's love month was pretty terrible. It just seemed like one thing after another was happening to ruin my mushy gushy mood. That being said, I'm not going to let the crummy experiences of February 2012 ruin 2013...HUZZAH!

Anywho, my point. I'm linking up with Tales from Outside the Classroom for a fun linky to talk  gush about the things that I'm loving right now.


People
There are definitely some people in bloggyland that I'm loving right now. They're so positive and their ideas are so fun and fresh I just can't help but think of them as rockstars--for real. They make me wanna jump up and down and scream and sing One Direction Songs at the top of my lungs as an ode to how awesome they are!
.....I am nothing if not a little excessive.....
Anywho! Here are the lovely ladies who are busy taking the teaching world by storm and who I wish I was half as cool as :)

Amy at Little Miss Organized--seriously, she is so cool!!
 

And Kelley at Teacher Idea Factory--her ideas are crazy good.
  Sour Apple Studio

Places:
Right now I am lovin' the Starbucks and the Stacks :) I'm a coffee lover in general, but my adoration of the almighty Starbucks seems to come and go in waves, and right now the tide is high!! It's probably all the leftover gift cards from Christmas--my students know me too well haha.

Stacks is the new funtime restuarant in my town. It replaced our beloved Passtimes (to read more about that, hop on over to my personal bloggity blog and read this entry...) and somehow made it even MORE amazing!! Let me explain. It's called Stacks...after LIBRARY stacks. Yes. The whole thing is old school library themed with books everywhere. Heavenly.

Things:
Here are a couple of fantabulous TPT finds that I am ALL ABOUT right now :)

Hope King's Heart Attack Valentine's Day Unit
(Is there anything this lady can't do?? It's like she should have a cape and some sort of emblem....)

Clutter Free Classroom's Snowmen at Night Craftivity
The kiddos just loved this perfect little wintertime activity. So much fun :)

I can't wait to read what everyone else is lovin' on right now!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Teaching Quote of the Day and Update

Kiddos are just too funny--for me at least, it seems this class is especially witty!

Storytime.

I like to play music for my kidlets when we're doing our independent morning work. Today I played them the song Ocean by John Butler Trio. I explained to them that it's an instrumental song that though it sounds like a bunch of people are playing on lots of different instruments, it's really only one man on his guitar!

One of my little sweethearts looked at me after hearing this and said, "This song isn't just awesome...IT'S AMAZING!" I love that the power of music can show them things that are "amazing" :)

Sidenote: If you care to read about my for real life at all, there's a new post up at Sparkly Quirky Lifebox (my personal blog). Please feel free to follow :)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Tell Me Something Good--Linky

I'm linking up with Rowdy in First Grade for a mega positive wonderful little linky :) So...without further ado....here's something good!


School: I feel like I have a classroom full of little hams. Hilarious, spunky, little hams. Seriously this room needs it's own TV show because it would blow the Kardashians right out of the water! They are too funny. I've even started sending my friends teaching quotes of the day. For example, this is a conversation I had with one of my little friends the other day:
Kidlet: Did you know the Canadian flag has a flower on it?
Me: I think it's a leaf, my friend.
Kidlet:....agree to disagree.

Agree to disagree??? What 7 year old says that?! Awesome ones. That's who.

Home: Something good about home....hmmm....I feel so blessed most of the time. Home is wonderful. My friends and I have a weekly dinner/game night and I've been spending a lot of time with my family as well. I'm a very lucky little girl. More specifically, my bestest buddy (turned teaching friend!) is about to start on a brand new adventure. She is moving to Laos for 6 months to help her cousins with their new twin babies. She is so brave and adventurous and I cannot wait to hear all about it. More about my for realsie life at my personal blog :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Oh. My. Goodness. WANT. (Erin Condren Planners)

Ok, so maybe I've been living under a rock or something but has everyone hear of the Erin Condren Planners except for me??? They look FANTASTIC!

Question: Does anyone own one?? What do you think? I'd love to hear some feedback!

Follow the linky if you have no clue what I'm rambling about :) You won't be sorry that you did! 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Apartment Subtraction: A New Look at "Borrowing"

Borrowing, Regrouping...it has many names, but each time this traditional subtraction concept comes up I feel it is one of the most difficult for students to visualize and comprehend. I've started doing something with the kidlets that our class has dubbed "Apartment Subtraction". It's a story I tell each year that helps the kiddos understand what to do when we're doing double digit subtraction with regrouping.

Here is the poster I make with the kiddos to go along with the explanation....


Here's the Story:

"'You' are in the top right apartment and you want to give something special to your downstairs neighbor. The only problem is since you're a smaller number than your downstairs neighbor, you don't have enough money. You need to borrow 10.

You always always always borrow from your upstairs neighbor because he's so nice and will always lend you a ten. You NEVER borrow from the downstairs neighbor. He's a grouch--probably because he has to live on the ground floor and doesn't like it.

Once you've borrowed your ten, make sure your upstairs neighbor has 1 less and you have added "10" to yourself.

Now can you subtract?? Yes!"

I hope this strategy is able to help someone else out! The idea of giving each apartment it's own 'personality' has really given the kiddos something to visualize--making it so much easier for them to remember. Let me know if it works for you too! :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Party Party Party Time! Classroom Reward Ideas :)

I'm so proud of my little kidlets! They earned their 10 Charger Tickets (schoolwide incentive program) which means they've earned a special surprise....only what the heck are we gonna do?!

Let's be honest--we all love doing special fun things for the kidlets, but sometimes it can get a little pricey or time consuming or lame. What to do...what to do.....

WELL FEAR NOT, DEAR READERS! For I have a few ideas to share :)

We've decided to have a (wait for it....) THEMED. READING. PARTY. (Oh how I love a good theme...) and the kidlets are casting their votes this afternoon. Yippee!

I thought I'd share these ideas with you for a couple of reasons--reason numero uno: I love to share. Reason numero dos: I thought if someone out there in the bloggy land was looking for something fun to do with their kiddos, then this might give them a couple of fun ideas :)

Idea Number One: Reading Slumber Party

This idea is a like a magical pajama day, reading party hybrid. The kiddos wear their PJs and bring in their favorite stuffty animal and a pillow to sit on the floor and read. The best part? What is a slumber party without popcorn?! (Provided by yours truly. I love me some yumalicious popcorn.)

Idea Number Two: Reading Camp Out

Are you a big fan of the great outdoors?? Than this is the incentive idea for you! Have your kiddos bring in a sleeping bag and a flashlight, turn off the lights and have them read by the light of their flashlights! And, (since all parties need snacks....) I found this trail mix-esque recipe on Pinterest (from whence all good things come) for 'Smore Trail Mix. Voila!





Idea Number Three: Beach Party Have the kidlets bring in their beach towels, wear their sunglasses and summer gear and hit the beach for a reading party! Here's a fun snack to match--follow the picture link for the recipe :)


Well there you have it, friendlies! Three ideas I hope you'll be able to take a run with :)

Sidenote: Check out my other blog Sparkly, Quirky Lifebox if you're looking for something to make for dinner this week. I made a (Lowfat But Still Delicious) Cheesy Bacon Ranch Pasta with Chicken and it was pretty yummy. Thank you pinterest!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Happy New Year!

Hi Friendlies,

Just to let you know, there's a new (NYE centered) post up on my other blog Sparkly Quirky Lifebox--feel free to check it out! :)

Love,
Steph

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

January Currenly

Happy New Year!! Here is this month's currently curtesy of the Fabulous Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade :)


Listening: This was written last night before we all headed out for dinner and dancing. As I was standing in front of my bathroom mirror, listening to the sound of crazy fun dance music (entwined with the laughter of my friends) I realized how truly lucky I am. I have beautiful friends and family and sometimes it just hits me like a sledge hammer; I am blessed.

Loving: I am LOVING the new rose gold watch I just bought. Seriously, I am in love with it. Like it's getting serious and I don't want to see any other watches besides this one. The best part? 14 dollars from Target. Happiness!!

Thinking: I am really putting some thought into how I want to organize my classroom library. My gut tells me that by AR color would be best...that way the kiddos can find books at their level just a little bit easier instead of trying to guess. Does anyone out there in bloggity land have a better idea? Because I am open to suggestions!

Wanting: I am really wanting to stretch out winter break. I love my job, I love my kiddos, I love that I get to play with glitter on a daily basis. That being said...I am reeeeeeally loving winter break. It's just me, my books, my friends, family, and my coffee cup.....bliss :)

Needing: I think I need some new ways to organize the materials and manipulatives in my classroom. The minimal storage makes it a toughie, but I'll figure it out. Again, any ideas you all wanna throw my way would be SUPURB.

OLW: Sparkle. I chose this word because I feel like it's more of a philosophy--hear me out. It's kinda like adding glitter to every part of your life and/or just putting in the extra effort (or sparkle) in everything you do. Smiling more. Laughing more. Hugging more. Doing more. A little extra in everything you do. Sparkle. Love it.