Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tried It Tuesday: Movie Maker and BOOK STUDY WINNER!

Ladies and gents I can not tell you how ready I am for summer.  One more day.  ONE MORE DAY.  It's not even because the kids are done but because I have had so much to do these last two days that I would really like my life back, lol.  Today I'm linking up with the wonderful Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper for Tried It Tuesday!

This past weekend I spent the majority of my time trying to make our 5th grade video in Movie Maker.  Now, it was quite easy when I just put in the photos for my homeroom class, the difficult part (and more so because of my OCDness than anything else) was making sure that every class had a fair amount of pictures, what order they were in, etc.  Then we had some music difficulty but once I made Movie Maker compatible with Windows 7 (not the Windows 8 I have... don't ask) it worked!  And after all that hard work, I played it this morning in front of EVERYONE at the award ceremony and... it skipped and jumped around and everything else that happens when it works perfectly on your computer but not when it matters most, lol.  I think it was just the projector we used because on the computer in our room when we watched it again later it worked just fine.  As long as the kids got to see the "pretty version" I'm happy :o)

These are the songs that I used.  I started out peppy and then the songs got a little more sad and tugging at the heart strings.

Beginning of the Year: "I've got a feeling" by the Black Eyed Peas
LEGOLAND - "Life is a Highway" by Rascal Flatts
Mud Walk - "Celebrate" by Kool and the Gang
Science Center - "Firework" by Katy Perry
Field Day - "Home" by Philip Phillips
Good Times - "So Long" by Zooey Deschanel (Winnie the Pooh Soundtrack) and "Time of Our Lives" by Tyrone Wells

Now for the big winner of this summer's Book Study!  Drumroll..........................

WORD NERDS!!!!!!!!!!!
I want to thank everyone for their votes and support!  If you are interested in hosting a chapter please leave your email in the comments section or you can email me personally and I will compile a list and send out a google docs form that you can fill out with the chapter you would like to host!  I'm very excited!!!!  Don't forget to link up with Holly for Tried It Tuesday and check out what everyone is trying today!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Must Have Mondays: 7 hour Interactive Sub Plans

It's Monday again and you know what that means!  It's Must Have Mondays!!!!  What is something that you cannot live without in your classroom or just everyday life?  Link up below and tell us your secret to surviving the day and see what others are doing as well.  To find out more about Must Have Mondays and how to link up check out my previous post :o)

This week for Must Have Monday I am featuring I'm Lovin Lit's 7-Hour Complete Sub Plans Thematic Unit A Zoo Day!  Now I did not realize this was a "must have" until last week threw me a curve ball and my copies for the sub did not come back in time and I had to scramble at 5:30pm to find something else for them to do with a first time sub during the last full week of school... WORST. NIGHTMARE. EVER.

Luckily, I had just seen Erin post about how excited she was that her Zoo Day Sub Plans were featured in TPT's newsletter (how awesome is that?!).  I thought, "Why not give it a try?  I have NOTHING else, lol."  Now some of you might be thinking, "Don't you have a sub tub, or extra worksheets and what not lying around?"  Usually I do, but it was the last full week of school and my kids were going crazy and I knew busy work was not going to help the behavior issues we had been having lately.  So I took a shot and downloaded both of Erin's Roller Coaster Day and Zoo Day.

These packets are amazing!  They include ALL the subjects (even science and social studies), are aligned with the Common Core, come in different levels for different grades, and they get to make a fun lapbook of all their information at the end.  I'm sort of jealous that the sub got to have fun and create these with the kids and not me, haha.  BONUS = It comes with sub plans typed out for each section as well.  You can't beat that!  Now I printed off the Zoo Day for my kiddos but Jessica over at Ideas by Jivey has actually done the Roller Coaster Day with her kiddos and let me snag a picture to show you what it can look like!  You can read about her experience here.

The kids LOVED it and they were much better behaved this day than with the sub and independent work the day before!  I would highly recommend this to anyone who will be needing sub plans or just needs a great end of the year activity - I know I'm using them again!  Don't forget to link up your "must have" for the week and include the button to bring others back here so they can see more great ideas!  I would also love if you would leave some comment love for the other fabulous bloggers that link up (who doesn't love comments!).  Hope you had a fabulous Memorial Day!

Social Studies Sunday: You Wouldn't Want to be an American Colonist...

It never ceases to amaze me how wonderful our blogging community is and how perfect strangers will reach out and support one another without even having to be asked.  I am very proud to be a part of that community and wanted to show my support for those of Moore, Oklahoma by donating an item to Teacher's Notebook.  If you have not already bought your bundle, I highly recommend it!  It will probably take me all summer to sort through the goodies (over $2,000 worth of products) and the bundle will only be on sale until tomorrow, May 28th!

The Colonial era and American Revolution are two of my favorite things to teach in Social Studies!  I love the stories and history and perspectives and just EVERYTHING that happens during this time.  Now your students might be like mine and live in their "video game world" as I like to call it.  Usually all the problems we encounter in history together can be solved by simply doing something very violent that they saw on their video game, in their eyes.  I had one little boy tell me a few years ago that this whole King George issue was "Nothing!  I would just assassinate him."

Well this instantly broke my heart that this was the first thing he thought to do but I can't let this teachable moment go by so I ask him, "Okay, say you were old enough to join the minutemen.  You're in the colonies, how are you going to get to England?"  This begins a huge group discussion (because thankfully a lot of the students agree with me or are starting to see my point) and they bring up the months of sea voyage and the blockades.  Then other kids ask, "How are you going to get into the castle and pass his guards?"  His response, a little bit more hesitant now I can say, is a sniper rifle.  Well a student instantly jumps in with, "THEY DIDN'T HAVE THAT KIND OF WEAPON THEN!"  Now I am happy to see that this young boy, who was not violent by nature in any means, has started to actually THINK about history and that maybe this wasn't the way to go about bringing ol' King George down a peg or two.

This is when I realized that history is usually glorified, especially in their video games.  Even I'm guilty of doing it sometimes, not telling both sides or perspectives, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  It's not all the Johnny Tremain Disney version.  There was battle and death and disease and issues that had to be dealt with logically by using their critical thinking skills.  I wanted my students to see that and to do the same.  That is about the time that I came across this series of books: You Wouldn't Want to Be...

They have so many different books that cover all the different eras or events in history!  It's funny to watch my students read this book and you can see the astonishment when they learn that's not actually how the first Thanksgiving went, lol.  This nonfiction book has wonderful vocabulary, timelines, graphics, historical information and more but all with a humorous twist that keeps kids interested the whole way through.  After reading these books they can't wait to tell me what they learned!  And they actually use the information!  These are the facts that they store away in their file cabinets for the debates to back up their theories or the details to add to their journal entries.  I could not say enough good things about this series.  All in all it is a nice way to introduce the "bad and the ugly" to my students without traumatizing them or putting a very violent twist on things and gets them really thinking about what life was like during that time.  I use the American Colonist version during our Colonial and American Revolution unit and it is always a success!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Five for Friday Flashback (on Saturday... again)

I apparently cannot seem to get these posts done on a Friday, haha!  Alas, I am again linking up with Kacey and Amanda on a Saturday as opposed to Friday.

This week was a little different than usual, and not just because it was our last full week of school.  On Monday and Tuesday I missed out of the work day to attend a Common Core Vocabulary and Text Complexity workshop with my teammates.  It was very informative and I really liked a lot of the ideas we got out of it for Vocabulary!  Will definitely be implementing and blogging about them later :o)  Also got to each lunch out with my ladies two days in a row, always a bonus!  I came home Tuesday night and this is what I find waiting in my mailbox.  Drum roll please...

1. My new planner from Erin Condren!
I apparently I have a thing for apples lately...  LOL.  I bought this bad boy for next year because I am going to need to be SUPER organized.  I saw a lot of other teacher who spoke very highly of theirs and I thought I would treat my self (and I'm so glad I did)!  You know you're a teacher when you can't wait to start writing in your planner for next year when this year hasn't even ended yet ;o)
2.  Last Tuesday I posted about my Summer Book Study!  You have until Tuesday, May 28th to place your vote of which one of these you would like to see/participate in!  I now have all three in my possession and I'm so excited no matter which one y'all choose!

3. Our huge 5th grade party was on Wednesday after school from 2:30-6:30!  I sadly do not have any pictures to share with you today because my room mom has my camera to develop some pictures.  I do have a picture of our awesome shirts though!  This year's theme was Medieval and since our school is Highlands Elementary, we decided to go with the Highlands Games.

They had soooo much fun!  We have four different stations that they visit.  The gaming station is in our cafeteria and we place all different gaming stations (wii, x-box connect, play stations, etc.) around the room and use projectors to make the big screens on the wall.  They LOVE this part! We also have a craft station and they paint their frames for their pictures we took.  The last station is the actual Highland Games, we had archery, walk the plank (thanks to my hubby), sling shots, and ye old snow cones, lol.

4. Did you know that you could rent videos from Wal-Mart and watch them on your computer?!  This might be old news to some and I know you can do it on Amazon as well but this could be very important to teachers as it was to my teammate on Thursday.  Thursday rolled around and we were watching the movies from our novels we just finished (my group = Westing Game, teammate's group = Hoot).  My teammate did not have Hoot and couldn't find it in Redbox so we did a mad scramble to figure out how to get it pronto!

We work near a Walmart so I told her to see if they had it and then go pick it up while an assistant watched her class.  While doing the search she found that she could rent Hoot on her computer and watch immediately.  Since our computers are hooked up to our TV's... Voila!  The kids got to watch Hoot right then and there and it only took us two minutes to get the video :o)  Great for last minute movie days!

5.  My new pencil sharpener is on its way!!!!  Everyone has been blogging and giving away this bad boy and I knew I just had to have one!  It should be here in one week!!!!!

That's my week in review!  Hope you had a fabulous week and congratulations to those of you already on summer!  Don't forget to visit Kacey and Amanda and link up with them (if you haven't already on FRIDAY, haha).

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tried It Tuesday: Summer Book Study... You Pick!

Over the school year I never get a chance to read professional development books but over the summer I'm all about it!  This summer I have three new additions to my library: Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess, Word Nerd by Brenda J. Overturf, and Guided Math by Laney Sammons.  I'm linking up today with Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper for Tried It Tuesday because I am trying my first ever online book study!  Technically I'm not starting it until this summer but I wanted the voting to start now :o)  Here is a rundown of all three books!

Teach Like a Pirate

Based on Dave Burgess's popular "Outrageous Teaching" and "Teach Like a PIRATE" seminars, this book offers inspiration, practical techniques, and innovative ideas that will help you to increase student engagement, boost your creativity, and transform your life as an educator. You'll learn how to: • Tap into and dramatically increase your passion as a teacher • Develop outrageously engaging lessons that draw students in like a magnet • Establish rapport and a sense of camaraderie in your classroom • Transform your class into a life-changing experience for your students This groundbreaking inspirational manifesto contains over 30 hooks specially designed to captivate your class and 170 brainstorming questions that will skyrocket your creativity. Once you learn the Teach Like a PIRATE system, you'll never look at your role as an educator the same again.

I have heard many good things about this book and wanted to see how it could help me become a better teacher.  Usually my book studies are more geared toward amping up a particular subject (as you can tell by the other two choices) but this one just spoke to me about amping up ME as an educator. 

Word Nerd

Word Nerds takes you inside classrooms at a high-poverty urban school and shows how two teachers implement creative, flexible vocabulary instruction that improves their students' word knowledge and confidence, enhances classroom community, and increases achievement.

I've actually already started reading this one and REALLY like it!  There are TONS of amazing ideas to teach, and have my students actually remember after the test, new vocabulary words.  Another good point for this book is that there is a free preview online, but the "preview" is actually the whole book!

Guided Math

Use a practical approach to teaching mathematics that integrates proven literacy strategies for effective instruction. This professional resource will help to maximize the impact of instruction through the use of whole-class instruction, small-group instruction, and Math Workshop. Incorporate ideas for using ongoing assessment to guide your instruction and increase student learning, and use hands-on, problem-solving experiences with small groups to encourage mathematical communication and discussion.

Now I know that Guided Math was a big book study last summer but now that I am most likely going back to teaching math next year, I wanted to give it a go.  There are also new teachers/bloggers out there that might want to try it as well.  That all being said I have not met one blogger who did not LOVE this book and implement it this year!

What summer book study would you like to see?  Please leave a comment if you would like to participate with your email and once the votes are in I will send a Google Doc for all those who want to participate by hosting a chapter.  I know some of you might only want to participate if it is a particular book and that is okay, I will ask for volunteers again once the final book has been chosen!  I plan on starting the book study around the beginning of June so be on the look out!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Must Have Mondays Linky: Learning Cubes

This all started because of that TPT Teacher Appreciation Sale, it's all their fault!  I kept seeing what was in other people's carts and my wish list/"must have" list grew and grew and grew!  Now, I'm also a huge fan of Oprah's Favorite Things episodes, they were always my favorite ;o)  My husband and I always shout when we find something we like, "IT'S ONE OF MY FAVORITE THIIIIIIIIIIINGS!!!!!!!!! You get a car, you get a car, you all get a car!" (it's rather embarrassing, but we don't care).  We'll usually switch up "car" for the item at hand, but you get the point, haha.  Well when you combine those two things, you get Must Have Mondays!

That's what this linky is all about, I apparently MUST HAVE more favorite things!  Whenever I'm blog stalking hopping, I always see really cute pictures and ideas and think, "Oh man, I've GOT to do that next year!"  I figured this would be an easier way to combine forces and see what is working for other teachers out there.  Every Monday you can link up and find ideas from other teachers that you might never have thought of.  I want to know what are the things you can't live without in your classroom or even ordinary everyday life!  It can be anything from products, to procedures, to incentives, to lessons, to posters, to shoes, to morning bagels (don't play that's one of mine!).  It can be anything!

Here is my first "must have" for my classroom: Kagan Learning Cubes

I have a set of four of the Vocabulary Learning Cubes and then single cubes for Lesson Launcher, Lesson Wrap Up (both great for guided reading and even whole group), Current Events, Reading Comprehension, Story Prewriting, and Historical Events.  The kids love them and they are great because they can work with any piece of writing or lesson you are using.  The reason the Vocabulary Cubes are a must have in my classroom is because they really get the kids thinking about the word and how to use it correctly and apply it to their everyday life.
You can use them anyway you want but I usually introduce the vocabulary terms and definitions with my kiddos and once we have gone over them and talked about the synonyms and antonyms and used them in sentences, then we move into our table groups for the application process.  Each student has a white board, marker, rag, and their vocabulary sheet.  It will start off with one person and they get to pick a word from the list (they're supposed to pick a word they are the most unfamiliar with).  Once they have told the table which word they chose, then they roll the dice.  What ever side it lands on, EVERYONE at the table has to do what the dice says for the word that the roller picked.  I love this because then the students get to see how many different ways a word can be used.  I mean, we do this in math right???  How many different ways can we solve this problem?  So why not with vocabulary!?
Once everyone has shared what they put down, then they all erase their masterpieces and the cube gets passed on to the next person and it starts all over again.  The only rule is that they cannot repeat any words and cannot look at another person's creation while working.  Once my kids get REALLY good at this I throw in a twist.  Have you ever played Scattegories?  I love it!  Well in Scattegories, if you write down the same answer as someone else then both of you have to eliminate your answer and you don't get a point.  That's the new rule for the Vocabulary Cubes!  Only do this once all kids are comfortable and confident in this process.  When they are earning points and don't want their score to be eliminated, they become much more creative and ingenious about how they use their word and you can see their little brains working so hard.  I just can't say enough good things about these cubes!  You get so much out of so little :o)
The word was "apparently."  Usually I make them give me more depth to their sentences, but who's going to say no to that!? HAHA
So there you have it, my "must have" for this Monday!  Before I go, can we please talk about how stinking cute my new button for this linky is thanks to Michelle from The 3AM Teacher?!  Poor thing, I gave her a very little/vague description of what I was looking for (mainly because I didn't know) and she created EXACTLY what I wanted (again, without me even knowing)!  Head on over to her blog and check her out, she's amazing!  Link up and let me know what is a "must have" in your life?  Don't forget to add the button to your post and have it link back to this post!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Social Studies Sundays: Colonial Simulation

Today I'm going to show you a Colonial Simulation that I found somewhere on the internet (if anyone knows where please let me know and I will give credit where credit is due) but I don't have any pictures of my kids doing it because this group of students are going to give it a go tomorrow and I will be at a two day Common Core training.  I'm bummed because it is one of my favorite simulations and I will miss watching them problem solve, use their critical thinking skills and different background knowledge to figure out how they will survive in this new land.  Click on the picture below to download your copy of the simulation.  It is two pages (front and back) and you will also need the map.

The wonderful thing about this simulation is that I can pass out this bag full of goodies and that's it.  My job is done.  From here on out the students explore, discuss and learn.  It's a very impressive sight to watch.  I include the two simulation scenarios (Moving to the Colonies and Choosing the Best Location for Your Colony), the map for the location scenario, a glossary of what all the terms on the map mean, a blank sheet of notebook paper to work out their math, a set of directions and a jobs sheet.  Each student has a job, just as they do in literature circles, and that is their role throughout the entire simulation.  My cohort from last year made the glossary and job chart so I will ask her if she's okay with me posting them and hopefully add them tomorrow!  Although if you need this ASAP you could create the jobs that will work in your room and I know she found all the terms online :o)

Just think of this as the Colonial version of Oregon Trail.  Have y'all ever played that game?  I used to LOVE it as a kid.  We would always call across the room during free time, "Brittney, you died from a snake bite!" and other ridiculous things like that, lol.  I hope you and your kids enjoy the simulation!

Don't forget to check out Jessica's blog, Joy in the Journey, for her 200 Follower Giveaway!  Besides having some AMAZING prizes to giveaway, she's always got great ideas!  Definitely somebody worth following if you are not already :o)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Short and Simple Workshop Wednesday: Math Manips

Apparently my body knows that school is coming to an end because it is starting to shut down earlier and earlier these days, so this will be short and simple!  I am linking up with Jessica from Ideas by Jivey for her Workshop Wednesday: Math Manipulatives.  Now you might have noticed that in my post title I used the term "manips."  This term originated in one of our more tense data meetings when discussing all the different things we have on hand that we can use and out of nowhere someone says "manips" instead of manipulatives.  Now this might not be a big thing to anyone else but it was hysterical to our team because of WHO said it and now it is this big inside joke and that's all we call them :o)  Have to love those moments!

Okay, so back to what I'm supposed to be talking about!  I saw these Exploragons in an EAI Education catalog (very dangerous for the wallet by the way) and knew I had to have them, and I don't even teach math!?  I teach math on Wednesdays when I keep my homeroom and have math stations (TIMER Tubs) in my class for early finishers.  I'm sorry I don't have a picture of my kiddos using them but here is a pic from their website.
Let me start by saying that I do not work for EAI and they do not pay me, so all my praise is just because I think this product is so great!  One kit is about $15 and comes with different color snap and flexible sticks, a protractor, ten large task cards, and 30 riddle like task cards.  It's an amazing center to use when studying geometry and measurement and because so many different activities come with it, it can be used for a long while without the kids be bored.  You can buy extra stick sets for about $7 but I've always had two students use this station at a time and they've never needed more.  Because I'm so OCD and love organizing I also love that it comes in a pretty sturdy Ziploc bag to hold it all.  The kids LOVE it because it is fun and hands on but I love how much they learn and literally explore with even realizing it!

Here is what they have to say about their product:

Exploragons™ are a hands-on manipulative tool that allow students to explore geometric concepts in the classroom. Students can easily snap the flexible sticks together and explore polygons and plane geometry. Exploragons™ come in 8 different lengths and colors, which enable students to create a variety of angles. Protractors with a special nub are included, which allow any of the Exploragons™ to easily attach, in order to measure angles.

The Teacher Set includes 30 Quick Check Cards that feature short activities which can be handed out to individual students or small groups. The set also includes 10 Dry-Erase Task Cards, great for practice with vocabulary, shape attributes, and can be photocopied for use as blackline masters.

- 76 Exploragons™ pieces
- 4 Clear Protractors
- 30 Quick Check Cards
- 10 Dry-Erase Task Cards

Concepts covered:
- Basic vocabulary
- Shape attributes
- Proper shape names
- Angle relationships and measurement
- Informal arguments involving angle relationships among polygons
- Parallelism
Alright, well maybe not so short and sweet, lol.  I'm excited to see what everyone else is linking up with and don't forget to check out Jessica's blog!  She could also use some love and prayers sent her way for her friend and fellow teacher through this difficult time.  We've all been at hard places in our life and it's the love and support we get from family, friends, and sometimes strangers that get us through it and make the difference.  I know she would appreciate it and even though I've never met her in person, she has always been very supportive of me and my endeavors and I would appreciate it if y'all could do the same for her.
Thanks for always being so wonderful and have a great night!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tried It Tuesday: Projects by Jen

I'm linking up today with Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper for Tried It Tuesday! 

Projects by Jen is an amazing website where Jen compiles a list of projects (about seven a year) that she hosts for grade levels K-5.  They are projects that work across the curriculum, get kids to investigate and think and let them learn about other students from around the country.  Now this is sort of new, sort of not for me.  Two years ago my students and I did the Holiday Card Exchange project and they LOVED it!

This year I am TRYING a different project: Picture It 2013.  24 different classrooms across America each have a section of one piece of art.  This year's artist is Piet Mondrian.  You might recognize some of his paintings from his blue, red, yellow, black and white geometrical squares.

Once we were put into a specific group, Jen sent all of us an email with the art work in a PDF, what section your class was to color, an informational card to fill out about your class and the addresses of all the other teachers in your group.  From there my students and I researched (thanks to the websites Jen gives you to get you started) Piet Mondrian and then colored our section!  It was very interesting to see how each student colored the same section and who made designs and who colored a solid color.  In Mondrian fashion, they were only allowed to use red, yellow, blue, black and white crayons.

We started to receive the other sections in the mail and we wanted to post their informational cards that came with them on our map.  Below you will see what it looked like today but as I was leaving we got six more sections in the mail!  The kids absolutely love getting mail and finding out about other schools around the country!  We didn't have enough room in our classroom so we moved out into the hallway, lol.
Here is a closer view of the artwork.  I put up a black and white template and as we received the other sections we just placed those over them.  We put up a map of the US and added stickers and string to connect the informational card to their state.  Now the kids can see how many different schools across American are learning about the same topic they are :o)

This is without a doubt a project I would recommend to anyone else, no matter the grade level.  If you've never checked out her website, you should definitely head on over to Projects by Jen!  Don't forget to link up with Holly for Tried It Tuesday as well!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Social Studies Sundays: Geography Videos

While teaching Geography and the state capitols, these two videos are ALWAYS shown multiple times in my classroom.  Now I'm not saying this a full proof plan, but I have never had a student fail their states and capitols test after watching these two videos all week.  You can watch the kiddos singing in their head and their lips moving while taking the test and it is just too cute!

This first video is from a cartoon when I was a kid, Anamaniacs.  It's Wakko's 50 States and Capitols Song (he also has a song about the presidents and the continents).  It's to the tune of Turkey and the Straw.  I print off the lyrics for my students so they can sing along at school and home.  It is a fast song but once they've watched it a few times then they get the hang of it.

The Tour the US video is a little more "hip" and the kids LOVE to watch the white board drawing!  One of the things I like about this video is that he includes a visual to help the students remember each of the states and their capitols.

I will say that my students remember Wakko's song a lot better than the second video but they still learn something from both and that is why I show them both :o)

I hope you have a fantastic Sunday and Happy Mother's Day to all the mommas out there!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Five for Friday Flashback!

It's Friday Saturday and that means is Friday linky time, lol (Obviously I didn't get to finish this post yesterday)!  I'm linking up again with DoodleBugs Teaching's Five for Friday!

This week's recap...

We finally finished up our Mother's Day Cards!  I had to hold myself back from being my normal OCD perfectionist self and just let the kids create the cards however they wanted to.  They turned out great and the kids really like the outcome.  I'll definitely be using Tagxedo again for next year but maybe with a different media...

I went to the Scholastic Warehouse Sale today and grabbed each student a book to put inside their summer reading bags!  Let me tell you, this was a dangerous task.  We're lucky I made it out of there without going into the three digital dollar signs y'all!  I'm very happy with my purchases though and for the  new books to add to my classroom library. 

 This week we had H.B. Bolton, the author of The Serpent's Ring, visit!  I mentioned earlier this month, or maybe it was last month, that we were reading this book as a read aloud in homeroom before her big visit and it is really good so far!  My kids are really enjoying learning about Norse mythology and since most of them read The Lightning Thief earlier this year they are also making text to text connections.  What teacher doesn't LOVE that!?

She was also promoting her second book in the series where Evan and Claire, the main characters, are now dealing with Native American Mythology and in the third one they will travel to Camelot (my fav)!  Needless to say my kids were very excited and I was so proud of all their great and thoughtful questions they asked her.  She was very kind and took a picture with my kiddos and then took one with me.  Now, as all kids love to do, they photo bombed us!  The photo below was supposed to be just the author and I, lol, and as you can tell we had some company.  BUT I think it turned out even better than any of the other photos we all took and I couldn't be happier!  There is another one where you can see all the students and I think I'm going to give them that one as an end of the year gift, maybe ask her to sign them since she's a local celebrity :o)

Good news... I'm staying in 5th grade!!!  Sad news is I'm losing a team member :o(  Only to second grade though.  Now all I'm waiting on is to find out what our schedule will be like for next year.  Will we be departmentalized again? Teams of two?  Teach all subjects?  I'll keep you updated!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week to me!  I bought an Erin Condren planner for next year and LOTS of wonderful goodies from the TPT sale.  I know some people might scoff at the amount I spent on a planner but I have been seeing them everywhere and I LOVE to be organized.  The new and updated version is EXACTLY what I need for next year and I just had to have one.  I worked ridiculously hard this year and I decided I needed a "Treat Yourself!" Day (anyone else watch Parks and Rec???) so I bought one!  Then I went on a major minor shopping spree during the TPT Teacher Appreciation sale and got some really great items for next year!  I'm so excited to start using them!  Anyone else already planning for next year???

 Hope you all had a terrific week!