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December 28, 2013

Photo Dump of Christmas Vacation (so far)

I'm just going to put it out there - you might have seen some of these pictures if you are following me over on Instagram.  It's been a pretty busy couple of days!

So excited - I'm seeing my BFF in just a couple of days.  We are heading to Legoland (we surprised the boys on Christmas morning), and her family is going to meet up with us on New Year's Eve.  We haven't ever really lived near each other - we met back in college - so I'm SO EXCITED to see her!!!  

Yes, I broke the washer.  I know it was me since I'm the one that tried to wash 2 kids' comforters and towels at the same time.  It threw the basket off balance, made a horrible sound, created a burning smell, and completely died.  It was a good washer - lasted 10 1/2 years with our family of 5.  So last night we had to take the boys and go washer shopping.  Found a great deal on a top ranked model that fit our price range.  It'll be delivered next week… so today I'll be hauling our laundry to my parents (just like I used to do back in college - but x5).

This is my word wall in my kitchen.  A couple of new things were just added - that "Do Small Things with Great Love" was a gift from a student.  Hubby also added a hook to hold up the aprons - yes, plural.  The boys have camouflage ones for those messy spaghetti dinners and when they help me cook,  and then I have my apple and sunflower ones.  The aprons have just been hung on a pushpin before now - I love how it took me 10 years to think of something so simple.

All 3 boys had their first official brother sleepover last night.  My youngest was so excited that he was finally big enough to join them.  I didn't wake them up when I took the picture.  :)  These past days have been so busy keeping them occupied and trying to clean.
This was us on Christmas morning.  The kids rushed downstairs (after I made them wait until 7… 5:15 was just too early!)

For Christmas I was blessed with a lot of Massage Envy gift cards.  It was the only thing that I really had on my wish list (if you don't count a flat iron).  A while back they were having a special - buy 2 gift cards get a free one, and my dear husband and parents picked up the deal.  So I had a "free" one yesterday, and will have another "free" one in January - (the free ones expire in January).

The days have been filled with Legos…

Here's our official Christmas picture.  Little bits did NOT want to get in the picture.

We also had fun painting the extra glass ornaments.

… and my oldest has been cooking us dinner.  

I'm loving this family time!  Hope you have a great day!  

December 24, 2013

Can You Help My Class?

I uploaded a couple projects to Donor's Choose the other night and I would love your help to fund them.  Both of these projects can have donations matched through December 29th.  Please make sure to use the code, "DISNEY" to double your donation.  Please help!     

Project #1 
I have a lot of fiction books in my classroom, but not that many nonfiction.  I would love to get a bunch of these Who Was series books for students to learn and research with.  I just need some help though!
Product DetailsProduct Details

Project #2
My students have been blessed with one iPad through Donor's Choose - the issue is that it takes a LONG time to make it through a student rotation.  I've seen how great it works, how much it helps students, how motivated they are to work at their own pace.  I just would like another one to help the rotation go faster.  

Product Details

If you are able to help out, please click the links above.  Remember the matching code will work until December 29th.  I would love to send you a thank you gift for donations over $5.  Just email me afterward and let me know which one of my new products you would like me to email you.  

Thanks so much for your support!  Have a great Christmas!  

December 23, 2013

When I Grow Up! {Giveaway}

When I was little the only thing I ever wanted to be was a teacher.  I'm sure many of you can relate.  You might have "taught" your dolls and stuffed animals… perhaps your younger siblings too.  I'm know my sister appreciated it (I'm being totally sarcastic). 

I knew about the teaching profession because my mom was a teacher… and my aunt… and my uncle… I understood what it would take to become a teacher, and the hard work involved after I got my first job.  Was I prepared?  To a certain extent, Yes!  Was it still a challenge, especially that first year?  Of course!  

This year my school implemented College Mondays.  Every Monday we wear our college spirit shirts - allowing students the opportunity to see all the different schools that are out there.  The point is for the kids to see different options, and to let them dream about their futures.  I wanted to take that idea and go further with my students.  I wanted to give them opportunities to dream about their future professions, but give them a realistic view of how it takes hard work to reach those professions.  

I have asked my different student parents to come in and talk about their jobs.  Over the years the students have learned about what it takes to be a fireman, work in an office setting, work at NASA, be a nurse, an EMT, a lab tech, etc.  I always ask the same questions to the parents - What do you do everyday?  How long did your training take?  What skills did you need to have?  Where did you go to school to learn your career? Why do you think this is a good career?  The kids get a good grasp of the hard work, but also why it's a fulfilling profession.  

So I upgraded the binder paper my students usually use and created this journal for students to fill in as they learn about different careers.  
 This journal contains 11 different careers.
 It also contains a student cover.
 Students will research the information (I do it together in class), and record their information into the journal.  A blank journal sheet is included for additional careers.  

I want kids to dream about their futures - just like we did.  I hope this Student Created Career Journal helps you in your classroom too!

Want to win it?  Just leave a comment below with your email address and I will send it to a lucky winner on December 26th.

Have a great day!     

December 22, 2013

My Store is on SALE!

Good morning everyone!  Just a FYI to let you know that I put my TPT store on sale for today and tomorrow, just in case you are planning for the future and need to pick something up.  :)

Hope it helps someone!  

December 21, 2013

Yesterday was a Busy Day!

Oh, what a lovely Saturday morning.  As many of you, I am now on Christmas vacation.  Here are some moments of a fun filled yesterday.  Linking up with Doodlebugs to share my 5 for Friday/Saturday.   

I had joked with the kids about needing staples, and I actually did get them.  I actually did a happy dance after I opened it up.  The kids still thought I was crazy.  

I loved this gift sign.  I'm going to leave it up all winter long…  I don't live where it snows though, so it's all just wishful thinking.  

Yesterday the kids created their Sugar Cube Missions.  I think I've done this now for 5 years… and every year I tweak it a little to make it a better experience.  This year I had the kids sit on the ground on a huge roll of butcher paper.  Boys were on one side of the classroom, girls were on the other.  Each group had the same amount of supplies and I limited their time to 30 minutes.  I also only supplied the spice drops (bells), licorice (adobe roofs), and candy canes.  Less mess, no headaches.  It was a competition - anyone that could lift and carry their mission won.  

I popped 10 bags of popcorn for our Polar Express movie then carried it all to school in a big trash bag. While watching the movie the kids compared the book to the movie using 3 train cars.  I made this up at the last moment, so I'm sorry it won't really help much for this year.  It's over on Google Docs.  During the movie, every half hour or so, we had an "intermission" and they wrote down some notes on their papers.  

This week we also tackled finding the prime factors of numbers.  I love doing this right before Christmas so we can make Christmas trees.  We covered a piece of paper front and back with examples… the kids enjoyed making their own Prime Factor Christmas Tree Farms.  

Words can not express how I loved having a PJ day yesterday.  This was the first year that I had one as part of my party.  I'm so glad I did.  I might have another one today too!  I was so exhausted last night and my almost 4 year old kept waking up - his tummy wasn't happy.  

Hope you have a wonderful day!  All the gift are now wrapped… maybe I might do some baking, I might watch a Christmas ABC Family movie, I might just blog hop for a while.  :)  Love the feeling of vacation!  

December 19, 2013

A Bunch of Kindness (RACKs)

My class completed a bunch of RACKS this week. We couldn't help ourselves, it was addicting.  We used this free pack of notes by Diamond Mom - mainly since there were 9 per page (and I wanted to save on copies).  We took a bunch of new books, wrapped them up, and delivered them to different grade levels with a RACK note.  
You've Been RACKed! Random Acts of Christmas Kindness
Then we took more RACK notes and taped them to a bunch of pencils to deliver to the primary students.  Other students were writing notes to our school parent helpers to put in a basket in the office.  Then we took time as a class to make cards for our Reading Buddies (added a little candy cane to them), and wrote thank you notes for the office.  It was a little bit of chaos, with a huge helping of fun.

Today we made posters for the middle school teachers with the saying, "We can't wait to be in your class when we grow up." The kids signed and delivered them too. They also signed cards for their PE teachers and gave a candy bar. 

The fun part was seeing the smiles and random thank you emails of staff that had been RACKed, and they didn't know who was behind it. The kids were tickled hearing the emails. :) So glad that we were able to do something to reach all 9 grade levels. 

After all of that, we did a little RACK for each other.  I had a bunch of these gingerbread men that I've held onto for the past 5 years… since I used to do the Me Doll project back in 2nd grade…  anyhow, the kids chose a person and wrote their name on the person's belly.  Then the kids flipped them over so the backs were showing on their desks.  I gave them 15 minutes and they walked around with their pens, writing compliments or adjectives to describe their classmates.    

I collected them, hole punched, and tied some yarn to the top.  These are now high above our carpet area as a reminder of all the kindness in our classroom.  

I hope this helps you in some way!  Have a great day!  

Cute Art Projects

Proud mommy moment. I love preschool art projects. I also love how they give me ideas of things that my own students could tackle without as much hands on help. 
My youngest brought home a large paper grocery bag filled with all these art projects. Automatically I went aww... and then started thinking of what I could move around in my schedule tomorrow to create something else in class. 
I keep saying I'm done with art projects - I'm up to my neck in construction paper, scissors, glue, and paint... But I love this time of year. Maybe there will be time to add another project to the schedule. 
Have a great night! 

December 18, 2013

Math Poinsettias {Factors, Multiples, and Prime/Composite Numbers}

Yesterday for math we made poinsettias.  The kids each had a half sheet of pink, red, and white construction paper.  They folded it, cut out their petals, then glued them onto a large piece of construction paper into 3 flowers.  

The white poinsettias we labeled prime and composite numbers.  Each petal had their own number that had to be labeled with a P or C. 

The pink ones were all multiples.  They chose a random number between 2-10, and then went around the flower, writing the multiples.  

The red flowers were factors.  Students chose a 2 digit composite number, and then wrote the different factor equations on the petals.  

The kids enjoyed getting out their scissors and glue sticks during math, I enjoyed seeing how they transferred their learning into an art project.

Hope this helped someone!  

December 17, 2013

Revisit: Snow Day Party

Snow Day is coming the first Friday back in January!  Since this week I am trying to prep for when we come back in January (in the midst of December classroom chaos)  I wanted to link up with 2 super cool linky parties to share my lesson plan that worked wonderful last year.

Originally written January 4th, 2013:
I live in California and where I live we don't get snow.  At all.  Not even a bit near our houses.  So my kiddos never get a chance to have a snow day at school.

Now, as I was sitting at home over vacation I saw that Tara from 4th Grade Frolics had a snow inspired day for her winter party.  I was jealous for a moment, and then I decided to have a snow day as well - to celebrate January and coming back to school.  

So I chose some of the activities and crafts that Tara mentioned, and added a couple of other ones that I enjoy.

Here's how I planned my day:

Snow What Fun (Read Aloud)  
To first get the kids thinking of what the snowmen might do if they were alive, I will read the book Snow What Fun.  I know it's supposed to be the night before Christmas but the kids won't care.  If a snowman came to life, I'm sure it would want to have some fun.

Snowman Narratives (Tara's idea
Her idea of having the snowman come to life for a narrative inspired me to have my own students create this same project.  Every morning from now until March my students will be completing quick writes complete with our Rainbow Edits (for convention practice).  My students will write about their own personal snowman and what would happen if they were to wake up someday to find it had come alive, or what their snowman would do if it was alive.  As the students finish with their Rainbow Edit they will have a chance to illustrate their final drafts complete with their own snowman.  I made up this freebie.  Just click to download.  

Snowball Fight (Math Facts)
I have a box of paper scraps - each page is around 8x8 in. and the perfect size for a snowball.  The kids each will take a page and write their name on it (small print to the side).  Then they will write a math fact on it.  On the count of 3 we will toss them up in the air, and then grab another snowball from the floor.  We won't toss it to another person, we will just throw them.  When we grab another one the kids will have to answer the math problem and write their initials next to it.  Then they have to come up with a different math problem to write on the paper.  We will crumple them up again and throw them.  We will repeat the process until we can not fit anymore math problems on the papers (or 10 minutes - whatever comes first).

 Fraction Snowflakes (Math - Tara's idea)
This project uses qtips, dark construction paper, and white glue.  They create a snowflake using qtips and then had to calculate the 2 fractions.  I'm going to have my students write the fraction of how many full qtips/total number, and then another fraction of how many half qtips/total number.  I think I'm going to give them a total of 20 full qtips to do what they want with them - break or use full.

Making Snow (Science experiment)
We just did the Orbeeze experiment yesterday, so I don't want to do an entire write up again.  Instead I'm just going to make snow (with them watching) and they will predict what will happen - how the snow will look and feel compared to real snow.  Then we will create a Venn Diagram using our senses and background knowledge.  I will tell them what this pretend snow really is made from.  The diaper ingredient always grosses them out - especially after they have all touched it.  It's not like it was a dirty diaper!!

Snowflake Bentley (Read Aloud)
Don't you love this book?  I love how there are so many facts included and that it stresses that each snowflake is unique.  This will be our after lunch Read Aloud for today.  
Snowflake Bentley

Creating Snowflakes (Art)
I had every intention of sending snowflakes to Conn. but they don't need them anymore.  So we will do it for fun, to practice following directions, and to decorate our own classroom.  After reading Snowflake Bentley I want them to create their own unique snowflake.

Glitter Playdough Snowmen (Art - Tara's idea
I used the same recipe that Tara shared and will give each student a little amount to create their own 3d snowman as they finish their snowflakes (and have picked up all their tiny little scraps of paper off the floor/desk/chair).

I love Winter!!!


I hope this helps someone.  :)  Have a great day!