Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tried It Tuesday: 200 Followers Giveaway!!!

WOO HOO!!!  I've reached 200 followers!!!  This calls for a celebration y'all!  So I am linking up with Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper for Tried It Tuesday and this is a BIG one for me.  I am trying my hand at my very first giveaway!  I didn't get to have one for 100 followers because by the time I realized it, I was half way to 200, lol.  These lovely ladies have generously donated some amazing products to help me celebrate!

Megan from I Teach. What's Your Super Power? is giving away a Winner's Choice item from her TPT store!

Tamara from Mrs. Russell's Room is giving away a Phonics Pack of your choice!

Jessica from Joy in the Journey is giving away any TWO items from her TPT store!

Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper is giving away ANY item from her TPT store!

Kelly from First Grade Fairytales is giving away a Winner's Choice item from her TPT store!

Diane from Fifth in the Middle is giving away her Welcome Banner!

Kelly from Koonce's Korner is giving away her Sailing Through Text Features AND Scooping Up Homophones!

Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching is giving away her Citing Evidence Posters (which I have and LOVE)!

And yours truly is giving away ANY item from my TPT store AND a $10 Teacher Pay Teacher gift certificate!

All you have to do to win these fantabulous prizes is enter below!  I am so excited I can hardly stand it!  Y'all know when you start a blog you HOPE people will actually read what you write and live for the day when someone actually comments, haha.  Every time I look at my followers number I am always so surprised that this many people actually follow my blog.  I know 200 is not a lot to some and one day maybe I'll get to those grand numbers but it doesn't matter because I am VERY excited to be at 200 today!

Thank you all for following me along in this adventure.  I have met some wonderful people and made great friends along the way.  It never ceases to amaze me how generous the blogging world can be and I want to thank all these women again for helping me with my giveaway!  Another big thanks to Megan (who designed my lovely blog) for her freebie Spring and Summer pack that allowed me to create the button for this giveaway!  I hope y'all enter multiple times and show these AWESOME ladies some love on their blogs because they totally deserve it!
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Monday, April 29, 2013

Monthly Goals Linky: May

Today I'm linking up with Jess from I {Heart} Recess for her Monthly Goals Linky Party for the first time!  I do love a good linky and this was a nice way for me to sort of organize all my thoughts and ideas for the month.

Personal:  Lately between everything going on in our crazy lives, we have not been cooking a lot or if we have it's the same meals over and over.  I used to make a weekly menu calendar and SOMETIMES a monthly calendar but lately not so much...  Now that school is winding down and tutoring is canceled for the summer I've got some more time on my hands and hopefully will get better at cooking so my poor husband doesn't second guess this lifelong decision he made to be stuck with me, haha.

Health: Workout.  It's that simple.  I'm not promising it's going to happen y'all but at least ONCE I want to workout this month.  Laugh all you want but I have been so exhausted lately that working out at least once this month would be an improvement, haha :o)

Blogging:  I started my very first monthly linky party last month and my goal this month is to have at least ten people link up.  I got so many good ideas from April's Monthly Market and I can't wait to see what everyone has for May.  All you have to do is link up any time during the month of May (starting on May 1st) with your ideas or what you have already tried in your classroom for these three topics: Cinco de Mayo, Mother's Day, and the End of the Year.

School:  I'm already in the process of creating summer reading bags for my homeroom students so I'm feeling pretty good about this goal!  I'm including one middle school Sunshine State Book for next year, our county's reading log program for the summer, Barnes and Nobles' summer reading adventure logs and a bookmark so far.  I would like some other things but we shall see, maybe a visit to the public library for their summer reading program or a calendar of events...  Any ideas?

Fun:  I know this is kind of out of my hands... but I REALLY want a house.  So that's my goal!  I'm going to do everything in my power to get us one, lol.  Wish me luck!

Head on over to Jess's blog (it's really cute) and link on up!  What are your goals this month?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Social Studies Sunday: Geography Suitcase

This week's Social Studies Sunday begins our Geography unit.  I always have the students create their "suitcase" so that as we travel across the United States they can pack their suitcase full of information and souvenirs from our trip!

I began this a few years ago when the fifth grade standards used to have us learning about the five regions but now we only need to learn about the state capitols and location on a map.  Instead of my usual notes and handouts from United States Geography Journey by Linda Schwartz, this year we will be using our State Snapshots.

I'm going to TRY to explain how to create your own suitcase but please forgive me if it is confusing...  One of my best friends/fellow teachers Amanda taught me how to create this and I can attest that hands on was much easier than trying to verbally teach in this instance.  So I'm apologizing now!

Steps to create your own suitcase

1. Get the large brown paper bags from your local grocer.  We have Publix here and they are BEYOND helpful!  I asked for 100 of these babies (since we are departmentalized), told them what it was for and they just handed them over with a smile :o)

2. You are going to cut along the edges of the bottom of the bag.  Look at the picture above.  You will only trim the very edge of the right side, top, and left side of the bag.  When cutting the right and left edges you only want to chop off the bottom of the bag along the four edges, not where it folds.  You will see what I'm talking about in the second picture below.  Leave the bottom edge untouched (the portion with no red line).  When you have finished cutting you should be able to open it like this.

Notice how the folded sides are not cut off.  When in doubt it should look like the picture below if you opened it.

3.  Open up your paper bag and lay it flat out.  Now there are multiple ways to use this suitcase.  You can leave it as is and place papers inside the two pockets or you can also fold it up and place it in a hole puncher and add pipe cleaners to make it into a binder.

6. TA DA!  The finished product!

You can use this brown paper bag folder for ANY unit and the kids love making them and decorating it to be their own.  If you have any questions about assembly or confusion please feel free to leave a comment and I will try to clarify the best I can!  Come back next Sunday to see more of the goodies we put inside our suitcase and some amazing online resources to help you teach Geography!


Friday, April 26, 2013

May's Monthly Market SNEAK PEEK & Friday Flashback/Five for Friday

Well this week has been a whirl wind but I have had so much fun!  It ended today with Field Day and I am exhausted.  Luckily we are going out with our best friends for dinner for my husband's birthday and they love/know we me well enough that when I'm not "all there" they will forgive me, lol.  This week I'm linking up with DoodleBugs' Five for Friday and Teaching Maddeness' Friday Flashback.  Let's recap the week shall we?


1. Testing is done!!!  It was two weeks of fingernail biting but my kids worked SO hard and I am very proud of them.  We tied it all up the day after with a surprise portion of FCAT...  The "How to eat a donut" portion!  I got this super cute idea from Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching and the kids LOVED it!

2. We finally completed our DonorsChoose thank you letters this week as well!  We had four projects funded in March (which is AMAZING) therefore we had to write LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of letters for our generous donors.  It feels nice to have that checked off the End of the Year To Do List.

3. It finally came in the mail!  I ordered Word Nerds from Stenhouse Publishing and I am so excited to read it.  I have skimmed through portions and read the first chapter online and I am already coming up with some great ideas for next year.  My kids did a good job with vocabulary this year but only for the few weeks they needed to retain it... then it was gone.  The two teachers who wrote this book have some phenomenal ideas about teaching vocabulary while your students actually enjoy it and retain it.  I feel a summer book study coming on... Anyone interested?!

Word Nerds

4. Here it is... May's Monthly Market Sneak Peek!  The three topics we will be sharing about are Cinco de Mayo, Mother's Day and the End of the Year.  Do you do anything special or funtastic for these three events?  Is there an idea on Pinterest or TPT you're just dying to try?  On May 1st head on back here to link up your ideas and see what everyone else has in mind for the month of May!

5. Sometimes I am in total teacher mode and am hyper aware of everything around me and other times not so much, lol.  I was apparently in one of those "not so much" times this week and just noticed that I hit 200 Followers!!!  I am so excited and would love to have a 200 Follower Giveaway with lots of wonderful goodies from me and my fellow bloggers.  If you would like to participate please leave a comment and your email below!

Happy weekend y'all!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tried It Tuesday: Sign In Folder

Today I am linking up with Holly from Fourth Grade Flippers for Tried It Tuesday to show off my Teacher Sign In Folder!  Now I didn't necessarily try this today but I did try it at one point and I realized I COULD NOT live without it and thought other teachers might feel the same!

Does anyone else have  a million little sticky notes of user names and passwords or a journal full of them?  Well I did and I couldn't handle it anymore!  The OCD in me said it had to be organized now (colorful wouldn't hurt either).  I stapled a few sheets of notebook paper into a file folder on the right side and on the left I put rows of blank address labels.  On the paper I wrote down all my school and county user names and passwords and the address labels are all the different logins for the websites that I have signed up for.  I use this file folder at least 4-5 times a week for all the different websites we have to visit for this or that.  I keep this next to my computer at all times and I know many of you may be thinking, "That's an awful idea!?  Anyone could get into your accounts!"  Well none of the accounts I write down are the "biggies."  I don't write down any user names or passwords that would put me at risk in anyway.

You can't see it here because I took them out, but I will also store my student's passwords for online programs on a sheet of paper and just slip it into this folder.  It's beyond beneficial to have this at the tip of my fingers whenever I need it!  Quite simple to make as well!  All you need is a file folder, address labels, notebook paper and a stapler.  You could even tweak it and just do two side of address labels!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Social Studies Sunday: Interactive Notebook - Native Americans

Welcome to Social Studies Sunday!  Every Sunday I will post something about social studies whether it be projects, lesson, pinterest ideas, read alouds, picture books, etc.  This Sunday is about our Social Studies Interactive Notebook and Native Americans!

I know this has been a long time coming and truth be told I just got caught up with so many other things in life and the blog world that I plain forgot to post it when we were studying Native Americans.  Better late than never I guess!

Here is our unit on Native Americans for our Social Studies Notebooks.  Since we did not have a lot of time to study this unit, it is not set up like my traditional interactive notebook with the learning on the left and reflection on the right.  Instead of me teaching the students about the four major Native American regions, I had the students teach the lessons!

We began our unit with a graphic organizer "Who Were the First Americans" and filled in our prior knowledge about Native Americans on the left side.  Then each table group was assigned a different region (Pacific Northwest Indians, Southwest Indians, Eastern Woodland Indians, and Great Plains Indians) and had to find information about the eight major topics for each (Tribes, Shelter, Music, Art, Food, Major Beliefs and Practices, Interaction with the Environment, and Interesting Facts).  I let the students use the textbook, Social Studies Weekly Newspaper, the computers and anything else they could find to help them with their research.  After all their research the students presented their information to the class.  Before each group presented we created a new graphic organizer in our notebook and the students even helped come up with some of the ideas for how they wanted their information presented.

Once all the presentations were over and graphic organizers filled in, we finished off our "Who Were The First Americans" graphic organizer by filling in the AFTER section.  It is the same categories as our prior knowledge, but now we should have more detailed descriptions :o)

On the left you'll see my example and the right is the student's final product.


You can really use any of these graphic organizers for any regions, tribes, or topics.  The kids really enjoyed getting to become the teachers for the day and did a pretty good job I must say!