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February 28, 2015

Measuring the Presidents

This week I tried something I've never done before... We measured the presidents... outside, with chalk.  Now this was already an undertaking since it's been super windy while "snowing" allergy inducing pollen (really does look like snow)... but the kids were troopers (and I'm thankful for my allergy meds).  

I saw this freebie by Teacher Chick, and when we had our second ruler lesson of measurement we then headed outside to try it out.  

Measurement with the President Freebies

I had the kids work in groups of 3 (since there were 10 presidents included) - they shared a piece of paper, a piece of sidewalk chalk, and a few rulers.  Each group was told which president to measure, and they got to work.  I saw a couple of groups try to line up their rulers end to end to make the specific measurement, but most measured by feet (drawing lines every 12 inches).  It was eye opening to them how they had to add up the measurements, and how they had to add or subtract inches from the foot.  Great real life project! 

When all 10 were completed, they measured themselves vs. their president and checked out each other's presidents.  You can see some marks in the below picture of where they came up to.  

Afterward we headed back indoors and everyone received their own paper to fill out.  We first figured out that 5 feet equals 60 inches, and that 6 ft. equals 72... then the kids got to work figuring out the exact measurements.  The kids also brainstormed what careers use these types of measurements on a daily basis, and why we have to know them for the future.  

It was a great tie in, especially in February, since we've been learning about the presidents anyway.  Just another thing to remember for next year!

Hope you had a great week!

February 26, 2015


Forgot to grab something yesterday? The sale is still happening and my store is still on sale!! Yesterday I checked out once, used the promo code, but completely forgot about my TPT credits. What are TPT credits? You can earn money off by leaving feedback on past purchases. Then during checkout (under the promo code box), click the tab to use them. 

Today I'm diving back in to grab up some cute clip art. Love finding new stores to shop at. The sale is also the time to grab up bundles! That extra discount really helps! 

What did you grab? Who did you find? Please share!

February 23, 2015

Super Hero Time!

Teachers really are superheroes!

50+ Teacher Appreciation Quotes: Download free posters and graphics for inspirational quotes about education and the teaching profession.

My most favorite teacher (other than my mom) was my 2nd and 3rd grade teacher Mrs. VanMastrigt.  She was firm, but she LOVED us, and pushed us to excel.  I already wanted to be a teacher, but meeting her sealed the deal.   She made teaching look easy...  It wasn't until I had my own classroom that I realized how much teachers do besides teaching.  I'm sure you can relate...
Why teachers are basically superheroes

This coming Wednesday, TeachersPayTeachers is having a quick, one-day sale in honor of all the Super Hero Teachers out there.  Several TpT teacher-authors will have their stores at 20% off, and then you can add an additional 10% off when you enter the code HEROES at checkout!  Super Savings!

I want to say thank you as well to my TPT followers.  I have a freebie that I will be sending via a google doc link to your TPT inbox later on this week.  Please make sure that you are following me over there so you will receive the limited time freebie.  I assure you - it's Super-tastic!  

My Best Blogging Buddies (my BBB's) want to help you find "heroic" products that have helped others in their classrooms. I love hearing how my products work in your classrooms, so I wanted to share some fabulous feedback on one of my bundles.

I wanted to give a shout out about my Whole Class Writing Journals.  They are by far the best thing that has happened in my classroom over the past 4 years.  Every year the kids LOVE writing, and learning about our classmates.  I've shared about them before, I just wanted to tell you that they are still working great.

The premise behind them are that they are community journals.  The covers are easy to print off, glue on the top of spiral notebooks, and they are ready to go.  I have the journals in 2 baskets in my writing center.  During writing time, when students are done with our writing activity or when it's workshop time, they grab a topic to write in.  Throughout the year they write in all of them, each student has their own page in the book.  During silent reading time the students can choose to read the journals and learn more about their classmates.

I contribute the journals as helping students form friendships, as they are helping students make connections with each other.

It always makes me happy to read how they are working in other classrooms.  I chose 4 out of the many feedback comments to share with you.  I'm so glad that people like them!

Click on the image above or {here} to go to the bundle.

Browse around the linky for other "heroic" products, or feel free to grab the graphic and link up your own!

Link-Up Steps
  1. Link to a post containing one heroic product and its feedback. Use the graphic if you wish. (No direct links to stores or products, please.)
  1. Include the linky button and link it back to this post so others may find great "heroic" products.

An InLinkz Link-up

Hope you have a wonderful day!

February 22, 2015

Relating Fractions to Decimals

Hello!  This past week we have been relating fractions to decimals in my classroom.  It's been a bunch of interchanging between the 2, and the kids are really getting it!  

A couple of days ago I had them do an exit slip by taking an index card and showing hundredths in 4 ways...fraction, decimal, word form, and in a model.  They used their classroom number as the numerator. 

Today we were adding tenths and hundredths, so we played with dice.  This is the type of thing I draw on the board anytime we play with dice.  Every _ is a dice roll.  They filled in the fractions, and then turned it into decimals before adding.  It was a way for them to check both answers.  

Here's an example of them working on their whiteboards... You can see my homemade dice on the ground by her shoe... gotta love round dot stickers.

Then they had a chance to practice adding decimals.  I love LOVE that he is adding horizontally.  

We are moving on with math... just need to compare decimals next week and then take our final NF assessments.  Almost done!  Where are you these days in math?  

February 21, 2015

Rainbow Trimester Goals

I can't believe it's already the third trimester.  I mean I totally can feel the ache for summer in my bones, but the fact that it's already the home stretch makes me so happy!

The sunshine was out in full force this past week, at least until Thursday when it was foggy, cloudy, and drizzly... then I wanted the springish weather to come back.  At the beginning of every trimester my kids review their goals, and make new ones.  I have been itching to put up rainbows, so I put the two together.

Now if I give my 4th graders a piece of 9x12 white construction paper and ask them to cut a cloud I know that I will end up with a 4 inch version, definitely not big enough.  I grabbed up some old file folders and cut 10 templates out and the kids traced them before cutting.  The strips are 2 inch by 9 inch pieces (I used a paper cutter on them).

One subject per color, the kids had to come up with their own goals.  I make up some examples of goals, and then the kids went at it.    

Here's what I put on the board to help keep the kids organized, I had to flip around the example rainbow so they could glue on the colors in the correct order... I don't own a yellow whiteboard marker... 

I hung half of them on one side of the room, and half on the other.  It's so easy to place them back to back, and hang them with paperclips.

The kids got to decorate their clouds to personalize them more, so cute!

Do your students share their goals with each other? 

February 20, 2015

Celebrating Chinese New Year with Crafts

I like celebrating the holidays in my classroom.  I wanted to share 2 crafts that we tackled yesterday for the beginning of Chinese New Year.  Felt Fortune Cookies and Paper Lanterns - both fun and both super easy.

For fortune cookies the kids received a square piece of felt with a traced circle (6 circles could fit onto a single sheet of felt).  As they were working on morning work I passed out the circles and they could cut them out.  A room mom hot glued the pipe cleaner onto the center.  When everyone's circle was cool, we folded them like a taco, and then folded them into the proper shape.  Easy peasy.  I passed out the individually wrapped fortune cookies (Winco had them for 7 cents each), and the kids could study their shape, then we broke them open and shared the fortunes out loud.  Some years I have the kids create their own fortunes, this year there was NO TIME and we put the already made fortune into their felt creations to take home.  

The kids have been working hard on their writing, so making a paper lantern was a big motivator for them to finish up!  The kids picked up a piece of card stock (their color choice) and folded it horizontally (hot dog).  They made some cuts from the fold to the top edge, leaving room for a border.  Along the border the kids could write Chinese New Year, draw symbols and characters, etc., then I stapled them together.  The kids wrote their names on the handles.

So, all in all, 2 easy crafts that packed a punch with the kids yesterday!

February 19, 2015

Gold Rush File Folder Dioramas

We wrapped up our Gold Rush Unit before the end of the trimester, and the kids created file folder dioramas.  They were huge, but made the perfect size to get all the details inside. 

Basically how we created them were the same as when we usually make the smaller versions.  Here are my pictures from a past post.

Step 1: Lay horizontal

Step 2: Fold the right top corner down (Yes, you want that extra flap for the mountains.)

Step 3: Open it back up, and fold the left top corner down.

Step 4:  Open it up and see the gigantic X.

Step 5:  Cut one little fold of the X.

Step 6: Gently fold the paper in to the center until you get to the fold.  Secure (tape or staple - glue will take forever to dry).

Step 7: Flip it around to have 2 mountains on the back.

I had my kids add details to the dioramas.  In the past I had my kids draw everything... which usually ends up taking a really long time... and I didn't have that kind of time to give them this year.  They were able to glue in a clip art miner, and some chose to use a Gold Rush Bingo board clip art as their details (after we played Bingo during workshop).  Since it was just a fun wrap up to the unit, my main objective was for them to identify through their diorama (and their Gold Rush Mining Journal) what life was life during the Gold Rush.

Love how they came out even if they were huge!  One pushpin was all that was needed to hold them up on the wall.  

Hope you had a great day!

February 18, 2015

Good Ol' George and Abe

I think my students are starting to hate researching when we go to the computer lab.  I mean this month with everything going on that's the only option I have given them.  There is so much to learn!

Today I gave them this Venn diagram (from my freebie pack).  They had to find similarities and differences between George and Abe.  Today I just wanted to pop on to share this awesome website that one of my munchkins found.  

You can compare any 2 things/people/ideas that you can think of.  It makes it into a 2 column chart with different categories.  It was so easy for them to compare/contrast.  

After they researched, my kids had to write a 3 paragraph compare/contrast informational essay.  It's 3rd trimester, so it's time to break it in with my higher expectations.  They totally nailed it.  So proud of my writers.

I hope this website helps you too!

February 17, 2015

Read Aloud Wall

The other day I saw this post over at Teaching in Room 6 and I thought WOW!  I mean my kids do activities with our Read Aloud on a biweekly basis, but to actually see a bulletin board dedicated to the Read Aloud... that blew my mind away.  :)  

I already had some strategy sheets up from my Ninja pack to help my kids create the templates in their notebooks (since my kids still get a kick with ninjas and after the first copy I don't copy it), but I decided to focus the wall sheets for our activities with the read aloud.  We just started Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler so we haven't gotten very far yet, but the kids have the same strategies going on in their Reading Log.  A quick post it with one of the kids' examples, and it's so easy to add to the board. 

Thanks Stephanie for the idea to broadcast out what our read aloud is by posting it loud and clear on the wall.  

Hope you have had a wonderful day!

February 12, 2015

Heart Animals

Isn't it amazing what you can do with the heart shape?  On Fridays I like to do some kind of art project after all our tests, so last week I had my sub have the kids create Heart Animals.  It started out with a simple google search.  

Yep, I even took a screen shot of what I saw.  Tons of animals... then I made some samples up, and brought them to school so the kids could get some ideas.  

Look what I was greeted with when I arrived at school!  We have our own zoo on the pocket chart!  

The animals all started out the size of a quarter sheet of construction paper.  From there my 4th graders could make the hearts, and turn them into whatever creation they could imagine.  I pulled out the googly eyes for them to create with as well.  So much fun!

I know we are all about the standards, and I know that many places teachers aren't allowed to have fun anymore... but I really believe that kids are kids, and a Friday afternoon is a good time to work on following directions and creating art.  ;)  Today I needed my pocket chart back, so the kids had the option to take them home, or donate them to the local nursing home for the annual Valentine's Day party.  The kids all wanted to make someone smile.  :)  

Hope you got some animal ideas!