Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pizza Box Possibilities

At the end of every year we are able to put in a supply order with our school to buy more things we might need for our classroom.  Well this is my first year being able to buy as an individual and not as a whole team and I might have gone a littler overboard with some random items.  One being 8" white pizza boxes.  So my team called me in today to find out why in the world I was getting pizza boxes, was I starting a business on the side? Lol!  I told the girls I wanted to use them for centers and then I started noodling on what else I could use them for and instantly thought of book reports.  I once saw a classroom where the students made them into portfolios to hold all their masterpieces until the end of the year, but they were the larger pizza boxes.  I want to know what other ideas you have for small pizza boxes in the classroom!


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lovely Blog Award Winners

I have found 15 great new blogs to which I have given the award!

Once you've received the award you must:
1- Follow the blog who passed on the award to you
2- Mention the blogger who has given it to you in a blog post
3- Pass on the award to 15 new blogs

Congratulations to those chosen! Please go check them out!
Technology Rocks. Seriously. -
Ms. Fultz's Corner -
A Teacher's Treasure -
Oh' Boy Fourth Grade -

Thank you all for your patience while we were moving.  It was quite hectic but we made it through!


Friday, May 25, 2012

My first Blog Award

A huge thanks to Vanna over at A Crafty Teacher for my very first blog award, the "One Lovely Blog Award."  I am so very excited and very new to this that I am just appreciative people actually look at this thing let alone like it!  I will be passing this award onto 15 other amazing blogs, so be on the lookout for who I choose.  I won't be able to post again until next week since Mr. S and I are moving into our new apartment tomorrow but I hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sports Theme Part Two (2011-2012)

Here is the follow up to my last post.  Last time I showed you pictures from my room two years ago with the sports theme.  Now it is still the sports theme but at a new school, in a new room.  This rose/dusk color was a big shock from my bright white room but it has grown on me (took a whole year but finally got there, lol)!

Starting outside our hallway we find our reading bulletin boards. The one on the left tracks how many/which Sunshine State Books they've read and the one on the right is "Our Reading Goals." This year I implemented the Book Whisperer's Think 30! and these super cute football incentive charts were great ways for students to track how many books they read. They couldn't wait for their red football, which meant they were on books 16-30.

Our cubbies and Stellar Starburst Chart (our behavior system in 5th grade)

Writing center and Geography Challenge board
Geography Challenge (I'm a BIG fan of interactive bulletin boards)

Close up of the bags on the Geography Challenge board

Reading Dugout (Classroom library)

Word Study Wall (we learn a different prefix/suffix a week and put it up there with the definition and picture to help us remember the meaning)

Close up of the Reading Dugout. My favorite part is the actual letters! I printed them out on white cardstock but then drew on the red stitching so it looks like a baseball.

CAFE board, Spelling, and Vocabulary charts

My desk (that's the cleanest you'll ever see it!), calendar, specials, and Homerun Helpers (jobs)

Front of our room. Another favorite is the letters READ for the quote. I went to Jo-Ann's and got sports textured paper. The "R" is made from football paper, "E" is a soccer ball (had to make that one), "A" is a basketball, and "D" is a tennis ball.

Hall of Fame Work

Sorry that was so picture/caption heavy but I'm a picture gal, what can I say?  It was not too heavy in the sports theme but I brought it in here and there.  Of course, in true me fashion, I'm ready for a change!  So all the hard work I put into creating those letters and job charts and what not will now be going into the closet and new batch will be created.  Thankfully I like to create new things and don't resent myself ;o)  Hope you enjoyed!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Good Bye Sports Theme

Sorry it has been a while since my last post but a lot has been happening.  My poor puppy has apparently lost her mind and tried to break out of her cage and in the process lost her tooth and had to get surgery. :o(  She is now feeling better, which means momma is feeling better and ready to blog again!

Now, I still don't know what grade/room I will be in next year (I find out Friday) but I do know that I am changing it up for next year!  No more sports theme!  It has slowly been fading out anyway since the first year I did it and I think I just want to do splashes of color next year.  I will explaing more of that theme over summer (when it all comes together in my head, lol).  Here are pictures of my classrooms from the past:


Team News (calendar, schedule, lunch menu, etc.)

Kid's names on their jersey

Fantasy Wish List for Open House

Coach's Corner (all the info I need to remember placed behind my desk)

Homerun Helpers (jobs)
Homerun Helpers (upclose)

Welcome Penants (supply shelves are empty but in those boxes are crayons and markers galor!) 

Hall of Fame (student's amazing work goes here)

Reading Dugout (The glove says "Catch a good book")
Since this post is very picture heavy I will post the 2011-2012 pictures tomorrow!  Sadly I am not in this room anymore, it was wonderful and LARGE and white and bright and I loved it.  I switched schools this year and love my new team but the color of my new room leaves a lot to be desired, as you will see tomorrow.  Hope you enjoyed my pictures :o)


Thursday, May 17, 2012

States on Parade

We just finished our State Projects presentations this week (yes I know, cutting it close to the end!)  and in "end of the year stress" fashion, I forgot to take pictures of their posters :o(.  Instead I am attaching a slideshow of some of my favorites from last year.  Last year's project was a little different as the students created parade floats about their state along with a written report.  They did an AMAZING job, as you will see.  The best part about this project was the creativity and the food.  If you know anything about me, you know I like to eat!  Probably at any given moment you can walk into my room and I am either snacking on something or there is food on my desk waiting to be snaked on, lol.  So for extra credit I offered up points if they brought in a food from their state.  I was very impressed with their effort and all the inventive homemade goodies they brought in: Peach floats from Delaware, Mississippi Mud Pies, Cowboy Stew from Montana, Buckeyes from Ohio, Whoopi Pies from Maine, and more.  For a whole week I ate like a queen!  If you click on the Smilebox below you will see just a few of my favorites (I had three classes last year).


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sunshine State Feast 2012

Today was our Sunshine State Feast and it was a total success!  For those of you who do not live in the state of Florida and do not know what Sunshine State Books are, they are a selection of 15 books chosen by the state each year for 3rd through 5th grade and another set for 6th through 8th.   If you read at least three books, you get to vote on real voting machines for your favorite and there is usually a big party at the end of the year if you read all 15 books!  In addition to the party that the media specialist throws, we in fifth grade hold what is called the Sunshine State Feast.  It is a feast of different foods from all the books along with games, scavenger hunts, and prizes.  The whole concept of the Sunshine State Books is to promote reading and I must say it does a good job!  Here are our invitations for this year's feast (students got them when they completed all 15 books).  They are just Rack Cards that I created on Vista Print.

On the back of the invitations we have a scavenger hunt for the students to complete.  We name a few items from each book to find and they bring them in on the day of the feast.  The person with the most items wins!  One of my teammates set up the feast and created wonderful worksheets and games for them to play.  There was a word search with vocabulary words, a figurative language sheet using lines from all the books, and a food fact sheet where the students tried to guess which book each of the foods came from.  Here are a few snapshots of the day:

All in all we had a great turnout, about 40 students attended!  We already got the list for next year and I am excited to get a jump start on them this summer.  I do have to admit, a majority of them are about animals and that's not always my most favorite subject, lol.  Wish me luck!


Monday, May 14, 2012

Dollar Deals!!!!!!

Scholastic is by far one of the best companies I know for teachers.  When they have a sale, they have a sale!  Right now they are having their Dollar Deals Sale, where their e-books are only a dollar.  Yes, all those books you buy in the store or online and pay $12 for are now in e-book format for a dollar!  The sale ends May 18th so get the goods while you can.  Happy shopping y'all!


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day Freebie

Happy Mother's Day to all you wonderful mommas out there!   My mother has been so much of an inspiration to me throughout my life and she still seems to have an impact, even when she's a whole state away.  Ah the power of motherhood.  Since my momma taught me to share well with others I am attaching a Mother's Day Freebie... my Fluency Reading Chart Tracker!

This past year we gave our students an ORF (Oral Reading Fluency) every other month and I wrote their scores down along with their accuracy, which was great... for me.  The kids really had no idea how they were doing over a long period of time.  I would tell them their score after each test and if they had improved or not but after that they pretty much forgot.  For next year I am planning on having the students put these in their Reading Notebooks to keep all year long.  The top line above Date and Percent Accuracy is, you guessed it, the date!  The bottom line is, no brain buster here, their accuracy!  I'll have them color in a bar graph for each reading as we go and hopefully this visual aid will encourage them to want to keep their fluency scores up.  Now here is the tricky part, I still don't know what grade I'm teaching?!?!?!  Can you tell I'm anxious?  Let's hope I have a grade that reads up to 300 words per minute, lol.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Apps for the Classroom

So in the past few days I have stumbled upon some fantastic apps for the classroom.  I'm sure some of you have probably come across these a while ago but I'm a newbie to the smart phone so this is exciting for me!

1. Book Source's Classroom Organizer - Classroom Organizer is a free web-based program that allows users to maintain and inventory books in your classroom library. With this amazing tool you can:

- Import titles from your files
   - Add your existing titles
- Import your student roster
- Enable students to check out and return books
- Run assessment reports on student and title activity

I just started scanning my books on Friday and it was addicting!  On Monday I think I will assign a student who has finished their Think 30! Reading Log to scan more!

2. Stick Pick - Allows you to draw a student's name from an on-screen can of popsicle sticks.  When you enter your roster (can enter mutliple groups) you will assign a level of complexity to each student, including ESL, so when that student is picked it will generate a set of questions based on their cognitive and linguistic level.  You choose the one you want to ask and then grade them with a correct, incorrect, or opinion option.  They also have a critical thinking rubric (Bloom's Taxonomy & Bloom's Revised) or degree of elaboration rubrics (ESL Mode).  Hello Marzano!!!

Now this app does cost $2.99 but I bought it today and already started inputting my rosters and complexity levels.  On Monday I will give it a whirl and let you know how it works!

If anyone else already uses this tool, or any other apps, in their classroom please let us know how you implement them!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Let the Revolution Begin!

It's my favorite time of year!  We began our unit on the American Revolution this week and I just love seeing the excitement, outrage, and shock on my student's faces as we work our way through the causes and effects that led to the American Revolution.  We began our unit with a picture walk to see what their prior knowledge was and they were, myself included, very surprised to realize how much they already knew!  I tell the students that these are modern day pictures but they are significant to the American Revolution... Their job is to figure out how.  I give them about 5 minutes in a group to discuss how these pictures relate to the AR.  Here are the pictures we use since our textbooks are not my favorite.
  1. John Hancock's signature - first person to sign the Declaration of Independence (Important because if the English won the war then these men essentially signed their own death warrant)
  2. Clock - Midnight Ride of Paul Revere
  3. Minutemen Movie Poster - Minutemen (Minutemen were a small hand-picked elite force which were required to be highly mobile and able to assemble quickly)
  4. New England Patriots helmet - peolpe who rebelled against King George's and wanted freedom were called Patriots
  5. Quarter - Quartering Act (the kids always assume it's George Washington that is the connection but I remind them that they are looking at the object, not the person on the object)
  6. A red coat - The Redcoats
  7. Stamp - Stamp Act (again, the students see the Liberty Bell and run with that)
  8. Tea - The Boston Tea Party or the Tea Act
After 5 minutes we go over each picture and I give a little story that goes along with it.  For some of the pictures students will assume it is important for another reason, and that's okay!  Always love a teachable moment and the kids like to show you they know a little bit more than anticipated anyway.

During one of Scholastic's Dollar Deals I snagged this great e-book called Hands on History: American Revolution.  It has wonderful activities to create and the students really enjoy them!  We talked about the Domino Effect and created this flip tab activity before we even began our unit and are filling in the causes/effects as we go.

Three dominoes later and we have the "No Taxation without Representation Simulation" (it's just fun to say!).  The simulation is the perfect way for kids to see how the colonists really felt when King George and Parliament started taxing them.  We used The Magic Hat from Laura Candler to pick our King, two Parliament members, and two tax collectors.  The kids are so funny about the Magic Hat, it's the be all, end all and they never question it!  Once the simulation is over, the kids write a journal entry from their character's point of view about how they felt during the simulation.  At the end of the year, this simulation is always one of the top three things the kids loved about our class!

So, as you can tell, I LOVE the American Revolution and hope that that love of history rubs off on my kids as well!


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Basket Bonanza and Mother's Day

Tonight was our school's second annual Basket Bonanza and it was a smashing success!  A lot of my kiddos showed up to volunteer and I got to put my raffle tickets in for a lot of great baskets.  I even put in for two free round trip Jet Blue tickets (fingers crossed, Mr. S and I could use them for the honeymoon)!  I had to leave early so I'm not sure if I won yet, but I sure hope so.  There were some amazing creations there and lots of great gifts ideas for the holidays this year!  Our class voted on the theme Mother's Day for our basket and here is what we came up with...

  • Best Mom coffee mug
  • $10 Dunkin Donuts gift card (for breakfast in bed)
  • Two tabloid magazines
  • Bubble bath and lotion
  • Back massager
  • Ghiradelli chocolate
  • Paint Your Own Plate Kit
  • Three blank Mother's Day Coupons
  • Mother's Day card
The lovely ladies of the PTA and front office wrapped it in cellophane and made it look worth a million bucks!  Gotta love cellophane :o) 

Speaking of Mother's Day, we just finished our Mother's Day projects and I am VERY pleased with how they turned out!  Since they are in fifth grade I wanted to something that they didn't think was too "babyish."  So what do all teachers do when they are in a creative bind... go to Pinterest!  I found the front cover from Martha Stewart and I created the back on Phrint Shop. 

(At the bottom, students write their name next to Published By, but I shaded it out here for privacy purposes)

On the top is the Author's Spotlight where we included a recent picture of the student, their name, age, height, favorite color, favorite subject in school, favorite TV show or movie, favorite book, favorite food, and what they want to be when they grow up.  Along the bottom right are three coupons for mom: one free hug, an uninterrupted nap, and breakfast in bed.  The kids all voted that those were acceptable and probable coupons, haha.  The bottom left is a Mother's Day BioPoem that the kids wrote from their point of view of their mother.  It was really funny and interesting to see how some of these kids see their mom.  Kind of makes you wonder what they think about you???  Tomorrow we will wrap them in our big envelopes so they can take them home this weekend for Mother's Day!


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Behold the Ageless Wonder

Today was one of my teammate's 40th birthday and we went all out to celebrate!  The whole fifth grade wore black, each student (100 of them) made her a homemade card and we decorated her room with the cards, balloons, and birthday decorations.  We also had a wonderful breakfast of fruit pizza made by another team member.  She was not very excited for this day to come but let me just tell you, the woman looks smokin'!  She's one of those women who could strut around and say, "Yea, I'm 40... check me out!" but she's too humble to ever say that (so I'll say it for her, lol).  So my class decided to put a little extra pep in her step today.  We came up with 40 different compliments about the birthday girl and attached them to Dum Dum suckers.  Throughout the day the kids delivered them to her and #40 was a special note from me that told her what a wonderful friend she was and on the back I put "See... 40 doesn't suck!"  That part was a secret from my kiddos since I'm always preaching not to use that word, haha, but it was too perfect to pass up.  It was a big hit and she got a great laugh out of it all!


Monday, May 7, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Week

This week started off amazingly well with the Teacher Appreciation Jackpot yesterday!  I got a lot of great things for next year (even though the grade is still unkown).  I cannot thank those bloggers enough for all their wonderful contributions.  Along with great items to add to the almighty file cabinet, I found some great new blogs to follow!  As much as I love creating things, sometimes you just don't have the time or would have never thought of that lesson.  So again I thank you all for your contributions and hope one day to be able to share my goodies as well :o)  Here is a little treat I made for my teammates today because let's call it what it is... I totally appreciate them!  I wouldn't make it through the year without them for so many reasons and they deserve a sweet treat for all their help.  Thanks to Amanda from 3-6 Free Resources for the cute labels!