Monday, October 10, 2011

Halloween Number Stories

This isn't anything fancy, but I created a Halloween worksheet of number stories.  For those of you not in the habit of Everyday Math jargon, It is a worksheet of Halloween story problems.  I'm not sure why every few years they feel the need to give math stuff new names. Oh well.

Click on the picture of my beautiful daughter and it will take you to the Google Doc.

The Creative Apple is having a great giveaway. 
Hurry on over there and see if you can snag a freebie!

Friday, October 7, 2011


Welcome to our O.R.E.O. Project Fall 2011!
Our Really Exciting Online Project)

I love this time of year.  Each year my class and our first grade learning buddies stack Oreo cookies and gather data.  This is a online project hosted by Project By Jen.  I have done this project for the last 6 years.  The kids have a blast collecting their data.  They also like eating their results.

These were the guidelines we were required to follow
You will measure the COUNT of cookies used to stack --
NOT height of stack.
Each participating class needs at least
1 bag of Nabisco's Oreo® Chocolate and
Crème Sandwich Cookies.

(classrooms need to use the REGULAR Oreo cookie --
not double stuf or triple double for their average.)
Students will observe how many Oreos
they are able to stack before the Oreos
® tumble.
Students are encouraged to predict
how many Oreos® they think they will be able to stack and then compare actual results.
Students are NOT to use anything to stabilize the cookie and they are NOT able to adjust cookies as they stack. (i.e....once they have placed the cookie and their hand has left the cookie, they may NOT adjust that cookie again.)
Each student will have TWO attempts to stack Oreos® and
will record the highest amount they were able
to stack before tumbling.

Teachers will need to explain to their students that this is a project with schools all over the world and also explain what information this project is attempting to collect. They also need to discuss that at the end of the project, all results will from their classroom will be averaged and posted!

Once the entire class has stacked their Oreos®, they will average all their results to turn in ONE class amount.

Click below to see all of the classrooms across the world who have joined in this project and posted their results online.

The link below will show you the results of all of the classrooms that have participated.

Enjoy some pics of my kiddos and thier learning buddies.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

You Know You Teach Third Grade When . . .

Let me start by saying, I normally teach 5th grade.  This year I am teaching 3rd grade.  As part of our state's curriculum, I have to teach fairy tales and fables, so I started this last week by reading a different fairy tale each day.  On Thursday, I read Puss in Boots.  I would have never been able to read this to my 5th graders and say the main character's name 15 different time without hearing snickers and giggles.  The 3rd graders were enthralled, without so much as a strange look or a giggle.

On Friday, I read Rapunzel.  It talked about how the prince climbed up Rapunzel's hair, they fell in love, and performed their own marriage ceremony.  After a few months Rapunzel's dress began getting tight around the middle and her step-mother became angry with her and cut off her hair and threw her out of the tower.  One little boy looked at me and said,"I don't get why was her step-mother so angry?"  Holy cow! I didn't know that sex-ed was part of Fairy Tales 101.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Put Down the Pencil and Walk Away

Somebody should stop me before I volunteer again.  Please!  I swear I need an intervention.  The note goes up on the board in the office, you know the one, "We need someone to volunteer for ________ (you fill in the blank)  please let me know if you are interested. "    I am like a crack addict and volunteering for a committee seems to be my fix. 

I will say I have gotten better.  Now instead of outright putting my name on the list I say,  if you can't find anyone else I will do it.  Who am I kidding.  Once I say that, they stop looking and Bam! another serving for my plate.  It's called boundaries and apparently I seem to lack them.  Does anyone else out there have this problem?  Or am I alone? 

Happy Tuesday!!!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Yay Me!!!

Ok, first let me say I am soooo excited to be awarded with this Versitle Blogger award.  However, I am not feeling like I derserve it this week.  I have been stressed to the max and have not been decent enough to thank Patti over at "A Series of Third Grade Events"  The thought of needing to tell you all 7 things about me and pass the award onto 15 others seemed daunting.  After a day out of my classroom for meetings today, I feel destressed enough to sit down and blog.  So here goes.  Thank you so much Patti!  I am honored that you have bestowed this upon me and my little blog.  (Let's just say I started this post on Thursday and now it is Saturday and finally I am actually going to post instead of saving as a draft.) 

Now for the rules.  When you receive this award, you must thank the person who gave you the award, tell seven things about you, and pass this award onto 15 blogs that you feel deserve this award.

Thank you again Patti!

1.  I love to sing.  I was in concert choir in college.  I was part of my churches worship team for several years.  I sang, and got paid I maight add, in several weddings.  However, the moste memorable wedding I sang in was my own.  I held my husband's hands, looked into his eyes, and sang to him.  It was awesome; not a dry eye in the house, except for my husband, I told him if he cried while I was singing, I would kill him.  He didn't cry and 17 years later we are still going strong.  Then I was given the opportunity to sing the same song when my mom and dad renewed their vows on their 25th anniversary.
2.  In that same vein, I always wanted to be a rockstar.  When I turned 40 is when I realized that was probably not going to be my reality.  Oh well.  I am a teacher, and isn't that kind of the same thing?

3.  I love to watch television, and my guilty pleasure show is America's Top Model.  If you tell anybody I will have to deny it.  Holy cow, I don't know why I love it so, but I do.  Deep down, I probably always wanted to be a model too.  I did take a modeling class when I was 12 and got to model clothing while I walked around a department store encouraging people to visit the girl's department.

4.  My sister owns her own custom cake business, Stephanie's Sweets, and I get to help her make these edible creations.  I  very much enjoy spending time with her and getting to explore my creativity in this way.

5.  I love to travel and have visited many interesting and diverse locations in the past, present, and even the future through the pages of books.  One day,  I would actually like to travel to some of these places in real life.  I have two fantasy vaction spots:  Australia and Japan.

6.  I have written 2 grants in the last 2 years and have received $1700 to use for technology in my classroom and to go on a field trip.  This year I plan on writing a grant to see if I can get ipod touches or ipads to use in my classroom for "Listen to Reading".

7.  I love to cook and try new things in the kitchen.  I have been working on a recipe to submit to the Pilsbury Bake-off next year.  I think it would be fun to compete in food contest.

And Now My Winners Are. . .
I have to say, picking just 15 was hard.  There are soooo many great blogs out there who have sparked enthusiasm and creativity for me.  I feel blessed to have found this community of teachers to collaborate with this year.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Daily Five is the Bomb-diggity!

For the last 7 years I have been teaching the 5th grade in some form or another.  Sometimes straight and sometimes in combination with a 4th or a 6th.  Guided reading for me consisted mostly of passing out the same  book to a group of about 6 kids who were all at basically the same level.  I would then try to meet with as many groups as possible in one day, which was usually 2, while trying to keep the rest of the kids busy.  This was usually achieved with worksheets or if I had an exceptionally well behaved class, I may have tried using centers.  Lets face it, it was all busy work.
We would sit at my kidney table which I later upgraded to a U-shaped table and would take turns round-robin reading.  I thought I was getting fancy when I would give them post-it notes. They would look for new words, ask questions or make text connections and they may even make a prediction or two.  I would give them a set amount of pages to read for the next time we would get together and then I would send them on their merry way.  I would expect them to write a summary for me in their reading notebook, which I later upgraded to writing friendly letters back and forth with my students.  (I am not saying that this is a bad idea, I'm just saying after a while all of that reading and writing or summaries and letters was too much for me to keep up with.)  My ultimate goal was to make sure everyone got through their books.  

I thought that what I was doing was what I should be doing.  We would DRA test our students at the beginning of the year and then again at the end of the year.  My students always showed growth.  Our district judges us on how the kiddos do on the DRA.  They have to achieve a certain fluency speed, have a certain accuracy, and write a good summary.  We did this well.  I didn't give much of the rest of reading a second thought.  All that one on one stuff was for the primary grades.  Right?

Then two things happened.  My second grade daughter was an entire grade behind in school and was really struggling in reading.  She hated it.   Then, I really analyzed how my students were doing on our state tests.  That's when I really began paying attention to what my first grade teacher friend was doing in her classroom for reading.  I asked her many questions about how she taught and assessed reading.  I took a graduate class on teaching struggling readers.  I learned the difference between running records and miscue analysis.  This is when I realized I wasn't really teaching reading. I was creating good word callers that could write a summary that passed the mustard.  They could not, however, go beyond the text and answer deeper meaning questions like authors purpose or inference questions.

That's when it happened, I discovered "The Sisters" for myself. I had heard of them before, but never gave them much thought for me the upper elementary teacher.  I attended their Daily 5 and CAFE in the Classroom workshopes.   I have to say they have helped me put into place a real reading system for my classroom.  It all makes so much since.  It was like, "Duh".

This year I moved to third grade and jumped into the pool with both feet and I am swimming in the warm waters of Daily Five and the CAFE in the Classroom.  My kids love it, and I love it.  By day 7 we have made it to 29 minutes of stamina for  Read to Self and we have introduced Word Work.  I know that the sisters suggest Work on Writing next, but I had to get spelling going.

By the way, my daughter is now in 4th grade.  She still has some reading issues, but she is reading right where she should be for her grade level and she enjoys books now.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Paper Timmy or Tommy or Tina

Every year I lke to start off my year with some character education along with my procedures.  This year so far I have read Crysanthemum, Lily and the Purple Plastic Purse, Don't Laugh at Me, and Have you filled a Bucket Today

After I had read all of these books I did a lesson that I call Paper Timmy.  I Draw a stick figure of a child on a sheet of chart paper and I usually call it Paper Timmy.  I usually make a big deal out of the fact that we have a new student in our class and his name is Timmy.  This year I have a Timmy, so we have a Paper Tommy.  We discussed how in each book someone said mean things to someone else.  I asked the children to think of a time when someone said something mean to them or that they said something mean to someone else.  I have them share these out loud.  As they say each mean thing, I begin to crumple up Timmy.  I say do you ever feel this way inside, all tight or crumpled when someone says something meanto you?  Eventually I have a tight wadded up ball.  The kids relate to this and say that they have felt this way inside when they get made fun of.  We all agreed that this is not a good feeling.

Then I tell them that it takes many positive compliments to ofset (not the word I used with them.) just one negative comment.  Then we begin to say nice things to Timmy and compliment him.  As the children say nice things or fill Timmy's bucket, I begin to undo the tight paper ball.  We continue complimenting Timmy as I continued unfurling the wad until he is flat again.  I try desperately, with lots of flair, to get Timmy to look perfect .  This is when I point out that no matter how many nice things we say to Timmy, you can't erase the effects of the mean words.  You can never take them back.

I hang Timmy somewhere in the room and when we begin to experience times when kids are being mean, I point to paper Tinny and remind them that they ned to say nice things and they cannot take back the mean things.

I have had former studetns come back to my room at the beginning of the year and they will point and say "There is paper Timmy.  I remember him,"  I love that. Be prepared however, one year I had a student tell me that it made him feel bad when his step-dad told him he would never be anything when he grows up.  That's when I realized that when he left my room he would believe he could be anything when he grew up.

This is one of my favorite activities!  I hope you use and enjoy it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Week One is in the Books!!!

I must say I am learning to embrace my inner third grade teacher.  I wasn't sure she was actually in there, but when put to the test, she came up big.  I am loving these kids!!!

It has been 8 years since I taught 3rd grade and I only did it one year and I have tried to blot out the memory for the last 7 years.  I am sure they were not that bad, but I had many things stacked against me that year.  I had just gone back to work after taking a year off having my daughter, I was stuck way out in a portable building with a 5th grade and two self contained special education classrooms.  The portable was literally on the next block from the school, which meant that my little darlings had to walk hike to the main building a couple of times a day, rain or shine.  Sometimes library just wasn't worth it.  There were 4 other single portables out there with us.  We referred to ourselves as "The Village".  It really did seem like an M. Night Shamilan (sp?) movie.  On top of all that my class had the alphabet soup of issues.  Don't get me wrong I loved them.  In fact I followed them for the next three years till they were in 6th grade.  Not that I had all of them every year, but I had most of them at least twice by the time they graduated from 6th grade.  But for crying out catfish, they didn't know what to do with lined loose leaf notebook paper.  I did not realize the vast difference in maturity from 5th to 3rd.

This year I am not only prepared for their maturity level, I embrace the maturity level.   I now understand the true meaning of model frequently.  I mean come on, I could never sing a song about  "Check for Understanding" set to the tune of the hokey pokey with my 5th graders.  This year we have done it 2 times already.  Carpet time is becoming like an old friend, comfortable and inviting.

Below are the books that we have enjoyed together.  I will post tomorrow about the great activities that we did with these books.  If you are familiar with these books you can probably guess the theme that we have dealt with this week.

My name is Nannette.  and I can understand Crysanthmum's angst.  Plus, I could never find anything with my name on it when I was a kid.  I hated Ann and Beth and Susan.  They had cute pencils and stickers and such that were emblazened with their name.  I had to find stickers with Nancy of them and carefully cut off the "cy"  (Nan is my nick name.)  However, I love my name now!
Lily is not a bully, but she is a bucket dipper.  This is a good book to show kids that we can all be a bucket dipper sometimes.  If we are, it is important to say, "I'm sorry."

Great little book to show that we all have something that someone could make fun of.  And shows how we should think about someone's feelings before we make fun of them.  I found this cute video that goes along with the book.

Great book for getting kids to begin to think of ways to make others feel good instead of bad, and why bullies may act the way they do.  Not that there is an excuse, but knowledge gives you power.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Jasztalville's Needs One More

Jasztalville is having a Starbucks giveaway as soon as she reaches 100 followers and right now she is at 99.  Only one more follower and you could be the lucky winner of a $10.00 gift card.

Hurry over to take advantage of this giveaway.  If you have not read her blog, you are missing out.  She has lots of great ideas and passion for teaching!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Currently I Am

I love getting to know a little bit about all of you through these fun Linky Parties.  Here is what I am currently doing.  And I mean currently, as in right now while I am on my computer while still laying in my bed when I should really be doing something else. 

Have a great holiday weekend all.  It is back to school for me on Tuesday.  I can't wait to meet my new class and get back into a routine.

If you want to join in all of the Linky Party fun, head on over to Oh' Boy Fourth Grade and let us all know what you are doing currently.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ready Or Not Here It Comes!

I officially went back to work this week, and the kiddos are coming on Tuesday!  I have to tell you, I am a little more than nervous.  Which I don't get cause I feel like if I have been teaching for 18+ years, I should not be nervous.  At least I have not had the bizarre nightmares yet.  You know the ones I am talking about. 

However,  I am teaching a new grade, learning a new curriculum, we have a new principal, I am attempting the Daily 5 and CAFE in the classroom, I am the chairperson of our Positive Behavior Support (PBS) team and we are in our first or implementation year, and so on.  I am sure you get the picture.

Today, I finished my classroom to the best of my ability.  I am ready for the kids to come.  Supplies are on the desks, my word search is ready to go, I have my procedures ready to teach, and my Daily 5 lesson is good to go along with a picture book to read aloud.

I am giving myself permission to not think about school for the weekend and I am going to go in Tuesday morning good to go, at least for Tuesday morning.  I will worry about the rest of the week on Tuesday afternoon.

For the rest of you who go back to school with your children next week, enjoy your last weekend of freedom and good luck as you go forth and teach next week!!!

Here are some pics of my classroom.  I hope you enjoy them.  I am excited.  If I have used your ideas in my room a million thanks.  You have made my classroom look awesome.  At this point I have borrowed from so many of you, I have lost track.  If I have used your idea let me know who you are so I can give you a shout-out!

This is the view from my desk.  There is my Elmo that I cannot and I mean cannot live without.

This is the view from my door.  That is my new (at least new to me) area run for my kiddos to sit on for group instruction.

This is the front of my in class library.  I still need to label and organize my book bins.

I saw this as a "Use Your Writing Glasses" pocket chart.  I am going to turn it into a "Write like a Star" pocket chart to fit my Hollywood theme. I love the big pink sunglasses that I created.    I even glued some bling at the top corners of the frames. This will get more added to it as we do some mini-lessons for writing.

This is my desk.  This is where I will meet with small groups of students.  They also love to sit in my desk for a reward.

This is my popcorn word wall that I got from The Teacher Wife blog.  I think it looks great!

Here is my word work stuff.

This is my "Rock Star" behavior clip chart.  We have a school-wide chart.  We do not move up just down.  So I had to modify this a bit.  Thank you Abby from Inspired Apple.

Here is my CAFE wall and my Daily 5 choices.  These I actully created myself.


I love the clock numbers.  These I have gotten somewhere.  I can't remember where.  I think it will be great for my 3rd graders.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Daily Five Friday (Saturday) Freebie

 I have been working like a wild woman to transform my humble classroom into a Hollywood extravaganza.  I am implementing the Daily 5 and Cafe this year in my classroom.  A few weeks back I created and posted CAFE posters.  Now I have created mini posters for the Daily 5 choices.  I am still new to this whole creating and posting thing, so hopefully you are able to download my posters. 

I find and rip-off, steel, or borrow my images from google images.  I know that the "Admit One" was a download from Mrs. Van Dyke's website.  Please know that I only use these images in my classroom and do not profit from them in any way except for the warm fuzzy feeling of creating something fun and exciting to help liven up my classroom and facilitate learning in young children's minds.  Enjoy!

I am excited to finish my room and post some pics next week.

Now it is your turn.  If you have a great freebie or want to find a great freebie hop on over to Blog Hopper and join in all of the Friday Freebie Fun!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Here is my Room! (The Unfinished Version)

I hated to miss out on all of the fun because my room is not yet complete, so I am giving you a sneak peek at my thought process.  I have been working in my room for days, but it really has a long way to go. 

The first three picture are what my room looked like when I walked in to my classroom last week.  Look how shiny my floors are.  There is nothing a beautiful as freshly waxed floors just waiting to be walked on for the first time of the new school year.  I tip-toe around in my bare feet just to keep it that way.  Just kidding, but I do try and not scuff it up while I am rearranging my room.  The maintenance workers want us to put a map of our classroom before we leave for the summer.  I can't do that.  I look for inspiration all summer long, and then I am able to look at my room and arrange it for the new school year once I get there.

The view from the back of my room.

The view from my doorway.

View of the back of my room.

The next three pictures are what I have accomplished so far.  I spend a lot of time contemplating where I want everything.  Unfortunately I was not able to keep all of my stuff.  I have had to streamline to accommodate my desire to Daily 5 and CAFE this year.  Also, I have moved down to 3rd grade so I am really changing up my room.  I was given a huge rug from a coworker coming into my building and one was left in the room to put in my classroom.  I am so excited to get all of my children up on that rug for whole group instruction.  My kiddos will be able to use the computers for listen to reading.  I also have my tape recorder the for the children to listen to books as well.

My computer area.
I am going with  a Hollywood theme this year.  Sorry the top of the board got cut off.  This is going to be where the students will check-in for their lunch, sign-out to go to the bathroom, exchange their pencils, and get paper.  I will put some clever movie type saying here. 
This will be my supply/check-in area.
 This will be where the students will get the materials for Word Work.  I have stamps and pads, pipe cleaners, reading rods for Making Words, magnetic letters, pencils boxes with sand and clay.  On the top in the pop corn container there is write on wipe off handwriting cards, mini magnetic erasers, fine point expo markers, and pointers for working with the word wall.
This is where I plan on keeping my Work Work materials.
 I suffer from last-minute-itis, so next week when it has to be done, I will post pictures of my completed room.

Thanks for stopping by and don't forget to check out Blog Hoppin' to see all of the rest of the awesome classrooms out there.  There are so many talented, hard-working, and awesome teachers out there.  I am glad to be to be surrounded by  so many people who make me proud to say, "We are teachers and this is what we do!"