Thursday, February 28, 2013

Day 59 Fun in Room 4B

Elizabeth teaches math to 4th graders in South Carolina.  Wow...getting to teach just one subject and not having to enter the nightmare world of Junior High.  That doesn't happen much around here.  Primary teachers such as myself must be a Jack of All Trades and must be a bit ADHD to teach...skipping from subject to subject all day.  My dream would be to focus on one thing/subject for more than 30 minutes!

Silly me...back to Room 4B.  What is the B for?  I have never had a letter with my room it a two story school?  Hmmm...dang...there goes that ADHD problem again.  See, teaching one subject at a time would really help with that.

Fun in Room in 4B is a fun blog.  Elizabeth combines humor with WBT (Whole Brain Teaching), the Common Core and adds a big dash of clever ways to teach those hard abstract skills to her students while making them easy to understand.  She spent most of the last couple months working on Fractions and Decimals.  Regular 1st grade fractions aren't an easy skill for some 7 year olds...but then when you start teaching equivalent fractions to 9 year olds...many of them start shaking and then when you ask them to change them into decimals...well their eyes can roll back into their heads and they are down for the count!

Elizabeth has some fun games and activities that get her students moving and thinking and best yet, understanding those hard skills.
 Elizabeth has made two versions of her Poke game.  One has a Valentine's theme (below) while the other one (above) is her non-holiday "ipoke" version.  Very cute and clever games to get your students practicing and using the skills you may be teaching.  You can find both in Room 4b's TpT store .

 Here is a close-up of the actual game cards.
Students just understand things better when they are must try this fun activity with your students:  
They are acting out the decimal number line.  They look like they are dancing don't they?  I think she should name it the Decimal Boogie! 
Here is the full description on her blog post {here}

At some point Elizabeth taught or teaches something other than math...I found this really cute "Poet-Tree" unit on her blog as well.  You can also find it in her TpT store.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Day 58 Positively Learning

Positively Learning is a blog by a Special Ed teacher in Baltimore, Maryland.  She teaches (inclusion) with the 1st grade teachers and sounds like she has a few small pullout groups, but mostly she supports the students learning in the classroom.  That's awesome!  I hate that the SpEd student I have is out of my classroom half the day.  I think this affects his behaviors in class more.

This is a very fun game that she does with her students.  It's called Batty Blast!  It's a phonics game that I can't wait to purchase from her TpT store because it's something I think my students would love to play too...

She also has the cutest "Smart Cookie" award notes.  Here is a partial shot of them.  See her full page of award notes she has posted on Scribd:

Click HERE for the full version on Scribd

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Day 57 My (Not So) Elementary Life

Today's blogger is a delightful newbie teacher named Heidi.  I'm not sure where she is from...though from reading her blog she has had bad snow days and scary tornado scares at school.  I'm so happy that is not one of the drills we have to do up here in North Idaho!
Her blog is called My (not so) Elementary Life and it is full of her fun experiences as a new teacher and great ideas she has created.  I love her enthusiasm and positive outlook on even the worst of those teachable moments!   Heidi teaches title I math and is a Kindergarten Reading teacher.  She has great ideas for helping the little ones understand big concepts.

Heidi also has a TpT store and a Pinterest board with her creations and other fun things she has found.  And I am happy to say...she is one of those OCD organized people like me :)  So it is really easy to find your way through her Pinterest Board!

Be sure to stop on your next blog hop and see the creative units she has posted!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Day 56 Flamingos and Butterflies

Today I have found Mrs. Dunn. She teaches 4th grade somewhere that most of us probably wish we could go to on her pictures it looks way too warm and there's a beach...and flamingos...and green things growing year round....perhaps that would be a fun place to have a blogger hook-up!

Mrs. Dunn doesn't sell on TpT...she is a straight-up blogger and a self-proclaimed book junkie.  She has the most amazing collection of books (I think I saw the word hoard in one of her  On her blog, Flamingos and Butterflies, she has a great link called Picture Book a Day.

It's hard not to read her posts about all the books she finds, uses with her students and just plain loves and not have my Amazon Wishlist open and add many of the titles she shares!  She truly does love books and even though you (and I) may not teach 4th grade...there are books for all of us to use.  I also think it's important for teachers in the older grades to remember that picture books aren't just for little kids...but there is a time and place where maybe a chapter book just doesn't fit in with your lesson and a picture book might just make your point much better.  It's like those animated movies.  They may seem like they are for the littles...but older kids and even adults can find something to enjoy in them too.

I do have one question I would like to end come flamingos has no 'e' and tomatoes and potatoes need to have that 'e' when you add the final '-s'.  That has always puzzled me!  Any grammar know-it-alls that can help me with that one?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Day 55 Erica Bohrers' First Grade

Erica Bohrers' First Grade blog is inspiring me to be more creative with my lesson plans.  I made a  change this year to doing mine on my computer.  It absolutely drives me nuts to buy those lesson plan books that you have write everything in from scratch each week.  It seems like such a huge waste of my pressure hours that I have each week.

Erica has the coolest visual lesson plan book ever!  You have absolutely got to check it out if you haven't seen it already...Click HERE.  While you are there, check out the cutest ever bunny art she has for Valentine's Day.  I already finished all my V-day projects, but those bunnies would be so stinkin' cute for Easter too don't you think?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Day 54 Doodle Bugs Teaching and Five for Friday

This morning I joined a linky party :)  Five for Friday pops up all the time...not always on Fridays...but isn't that just how our teacher's lives roll?  We get to things when we have a window of opportunity...It may not be when we want to do it, but it always gets done.

So my Five for morning....

1.  The weather.  The last couple weeks started to feel like there was a hint of spring in the air.  Perhaps the groundhog was right.  It got close to 50 during the days and the nights barely dropped to freezing.  The snow started melting big time...I could see my roof again and the potholes in the road, the bottom of the slides on the playground at school, and the path to the chicken coop!  But then it hit...

The notorious second wave of winter!  We have had over six inches again in the past two days with more falling as I type.  Dang...I thought I might get an early start to prepping the garden for the summer season...Not going to happen.....yet.

2.  Districts is today.  I am the assistant cheer coach for our high school team.  These girls AND boys are amazing athletes.  It's so sad that people pick on them and say that they aren't doing a real sport.  It's actually a combination of many sports and it is incredibly hard...the competitive part.  Yeah, that sideline cheering at a game is not what we are talking about.  

I love this picture from last night's practice because it has both my daughters in it.  My 'baby' is the one doing the prone fall.  What incredible trust she has in her bases!  My oldest daughter is the one with the blonde hair and black shirt on the left side of the picture.  She is one of those strong bases that holds a flyer's life in her hands.  

Please send us some good thoughts as we compete today and hopefully make it to State. Because there is nothing I want more than to  ride a school bus on my birthday for 10 hours  see these kids get a second chance to go to State!  {Yup, second year in a row we are traveling ON my} 

3. Finally got my A.R. (Accelerated Reader) bookmarks finished and posted onto my TpT and TN sites.  Yeah!  I found that when my first graders use these bookmarks, their passing rate is much higher because they actually read the book more than once before attempting to take the comprehension test on the computer. Keeping track of reading in a fun way and not 'cheating' the system has really helped them take ownership of their reading.  I have about 14 different designs to use throughout the year.  They love to see them change every few weeks.  You can find them here: TeacherpayTeacher and on Teacher's Notebook.

4.  The moose are back!  

This young lady will be 3 this spring.  She was born the year we moved into our house (we believe this is her).  We haven't seen her mama in awhile at our house, but we have seen her in the 'hood.

This is actually a different moose.  This is one of two that were bedded down in our yard just two days ago.  They are twins that Mama moose had last year.  Not sure where mama is, but she may be getting ready to have her newest baby and needs a bit of space.  I did see them all together just a week ago down the road.  Moose don't have their young until May, but she may be kind of cranky with two little ones tagging along! lol

5.  Today's blog for my 365 Blog Hop Challenge!

Doodle Bugs Teaching was what I found this morning.  I actually found her first on TeacherPayTeacher because I found her awesome --FREE-- calendar cards.  Here are the March HERE.  March is my favorite month...cuz I get to ride a school bus to southern

Doodle Bug is a Mississippi 1st grade teacher and I think she does what most of us do so well...packs in 26 hours worth of projects and ideas into 24 hours.  Please visit her blog and you will be amazed by her energy and creativity!  Perhaps some of her ideas and creations will help you save some creating time in your classroom!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Day 53 I Teach. What's Your Super Power?

Well, if there were a top 10 of the "Best Teacher Blog Names", this would be in the top 3 for sure!  Perhaps even number 1!

Megan is a Texas teacher, teaching 3rd grade this year and she shares the ups, downs and the need to have super powers...err...I mean the tricks she uses to help her students learn.  I Teach. What's Your Super Power is full of great stuff.  I discovered a new website for classroom behavior management.  It's called Class Dojo.  Megan tells all about using it in her class on THIS Post.

It seems to be pretty popular in some parts of the country from the way she talks about it...but hasn't made it to North Idaho yet. Heck, we are so behind in technology up here that it's no great surprise.  Hey, at least most of us have whiteboards now instead of chalkboards!  I do say most of us...there are a few rooms in my building where the teachers still use stuff called chalk!

Megan not only designs units and activities to use in your classroom but she also designs background papers.  This is a great thing if you want to design projects, cards, bulletin boards or cover pages for your TpT creations!  Click HERE for her TpT Store.

She has this mega pack for sale on her TpT store.  But if you want to take some freebies out for a test drive, she has some in her store too!

Are you following my Blog Hop Challenge?  Choose your favorite method to follow me over in the column on the side of the blog, 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Day 52 Fourth Grade Flipper

 I spend most of my time in the primary world...but lately I've been in search of other grade levels who teach those kids taller than me.  This pretty much covers 3rd grade and above (tall has never been an adjective used to reference me!)

This wonderful teacher teaches in a rural district in New York...yes, there's more to New York than 'The Big Apple'.   I teach 1st grade, but I find great ideas from any all levels of teaching.  4th grade was where I did half my student teaching (kinder was the other half--yes, night and day difference there).

I actually found a great resource for fluency on her blog that I shared with my school's reading coach and she in turn shared it with all the 3-6th grade teachers in the district and they went gaga over it.  So thank you Flipper!

I was looking at her list of blog topics in the right column and I saw a link for Class Pet.  I clicked on it and expected to see a rat or a guinea pig...or some other animal that would be sure to gross me out, smell really bad or make my eyes swell shut!  (Nope...I'm not describing 4th graders at least not until May when it gets warm in the classrooms and they come in from gym or recess!)

This is her class pet....
This is the coolest thing ever!  You don't have to worry about the kids killing it when they take it home over a weekend.  No food to buy, no smell and no mess to clean up.  It's perfect!  She sends it home with a journal for the kids to write about their adventures with the class pet.  This is such a great idea I think I will use it next year in my 1st grade classroom.  Thank you Flipper!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Day 51 Sunny Days in 2nd Grade

I would love to have some sunny days in Idaho right about now :)  Don't get me wrong...I love winter.  I love cold weather.  It's fun to snuggle up with a good book in front of a warm fire...but some days I feel my body just craving sunshine or even just sunlight.  Living this far north, by December the days are so short that by the times the kids leave and I pack up my bag, it's dark outside.  Yup, by 3:30 it's time for the headlights on the drive home.  There are a couple weeks when I drive to school in the dark and drive home in the dark.  That's the rough part.  I know it's harder for those that live farther north, but I can still whine just a little bit :)

So when I found Sunny Days in 2nd Grade...the name just drew me right into her blog....
Sunny Days lives, teaches and creates in Florida.  Perhaps all those hours of daylight help inspire her :)  Whatever her inspiration is, her blog is delightful.  She teaches a gifted group of 2nd graders...what a dream that would be!

Sunny has a fun thing she does called Show and Tell Tuesday.  She has a different topic each week.  Some of these include: Literacy Centers, Book Shares, 100th Day, but she has many more....check it out.  And the fun part is you can link up your blog with her topic.

On her Winter Show and Tell Tuesday she has found some very clever winter ideas including the best ever snow globe project!!  You absolutely have to go check it out!  I will have to file it away for next year....I would much rather move on to spring ideas.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Day 50 The Schroeder Page

Monica teaches 2nd grade and posts her teaching ideas and adventures on The Schroeder Page.  She has a lively blog...full of ideas and activities...lots of videos and pictures.  

Yesterday her post about dental hygiene has me wanting to teach about teeth in my class too...wish I had a school nurse who wanted to do fun stuff like her school nurse!  Hmmm...homemade toothpaste?  That sounds like lots of fun for the students!  

This year we adopted a new science curriculum...the National Geographic one.  It looks like it has great reading material and ideas for experiments, but our district didn't purchase the lab to do the units we have to buy it all ourselves!  I'm not sure how to describe how I feel about that. :(

But science is one of my favorite things to teach and my goal for next school year...after being in my new school for a to see how I can work it in to my lesson plans.  In the meantime I file away cool ideas that I find.  And Monica had the coolest science activity for Valentine's Day.
I love the scientific method.  All the built in questions and the potential for problem solving and writing are huge!  So when I saw this made me crave to teach some meaningful science again!  Monica even includes the directions for how to make the goggles.  Yes, the kids MAKE the goggles they wear!  How cool is that!?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Day 49 3rd Grade Grapevine

Do you have everything ready for President's Day?  It's the 100th day of school for us tomorrow so President's Day will be on hold for another day.  But if you are in need of some last minute ideas, head over to Mrs. Hardin's 3rd Grade Grapevine.

This coin chart is her freebie for today.  These are great charts for teaching the coins!  I downloaded these and will be using them as I am introducing nickels very soon.  

Susan has some great resources and ideas on her blog...but the bulk of her ideas are in her TpT and TN shops.  Be sure to visit those shops!

Accelerated Readers in My Class

Once the 1st graders learn all the letter sounds and can begin blending the race is, read, read.

In Idaho, Fluency is the only thing in 1st grade that is tested by the state and it's the only way they measure whether we, as teachers, are doing our job well enough.

I could go deeply into that subject...but I will skip that because it's like hitting your head against the wall.  The wall will still be there, but your head will hurt...a lot!

So, what we do is get them to read and read and read.  And being the good teachers that we are, we push comprehension while we push fluency.  What point is being able to decode quickly when what you really want to be able to do is READ.  Reading is not just decoding it's comprehending!

Ok...I had to say it.

So one of the fun things I do in my class is 'LET' them be independent readers.  No, you see, I WANT them to be independent readers, but it's a game.  You want them to WANT to be independent readers.  And it works too!  When you earn things it always means more than if someone hands it to you.

So I have leveled reading baskets that they are assigned to choose from once they are an independent reader. That alone usually sells it.  THEY get to choose the book, not me.

Then I made these bookmarks... {they love bookmarks as much as pencils}
This is a freebie sample you can download on my TpT store.  You can buy the whole set...I made 17 different variations so I can change them out every few weeks.  

I made these so the students could keep track of how many times they read their book.  They have to read their book 5 times before they can do an Accelerated Reader test on the computer.  In the beginning there are the kids who try to cheat the system, but this is easily solved when they don't pass a test.  Then they have to conference with me and either have to move down a basket level or I have to choose their book for them or they have to read the first and fifth time with me.

They don't like losing their it only takes once or twice and they are following the routine by the 'rules'.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Day 48 Teaching 4 Real

Pam is a Georgia teacher who blogs.  Her blog Teaching 4 Real...keeps it real.  She has a great mix of her ideas, shared ideas from other bloggers, freebies and of course my favorite...the giveaways!  She combines it all with a mix of humor and southern charm!

Most of her teaching over the years has been 3rd through it's a bit above my young first graders...but there is more than just first grade in the world.  I'm sure there must be...I've heard rumors.  ;-)

I loved  her lesson on Geometry when she was teaching Angles and Lines.  Kind of reminds me of the Line Boogie I made up for my firsties to remember horizontal, vertical and diagonal.
I could just see my principal coming in on a walk through evaluation when I'm doing this.  Oh wait...she did come in once when I was doing my Line Boogie :)  She got quite a kick out of it too!

So what sort of embarrassing lessons have you got caught in the middle of by your administrator?  lol  Please share!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Day 47 check this one out!.... Learning Specialist Materials

I have already found 3 ideas to use in my classroom and I hadn't even gotten through a half dozen posts!!  This blog has some very easy learning games to make out of really simple things you can find  in the dollar store or around you house.

Here are a couple easy to make games to help with decoding that I thought my first graders would really love.

She gives all the directions for the number of letters and what and where she found the items she used to create the games.

She also has a store with more items to buy.  I was particularly intrigued by the Reversing Reversals books she has.  I have a couple students who continue to mindlessly do this with their letters and numbers.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Day 46 Teaches 3rd in Georgia

I have been finding lots of blogs...LOTS of blogs. I think I have my list made through the middle of March already!  It's fun to see all the different styles and personalities through these teacher's blogs.

What I have found is that blogs are like finding a book at a bookstore.  If the title doesn't hook you, the cover photo might.  Now that's good and bad.  It's great marketing, but you might miss some amazing stories if you only look at the cover.  Which is what we teach our students all the time.

Just like there are thousands upon thousands of books, there are almost as many blogs out there as well!  And if I only looked at the header and the most recent post...I might not find  some awesome jewels out there.

Today's blog is a good example.
To the author of this blog, I will apologize first.  I got caught up in the cute and fancy headers that so many bloggers have created to draw me, the user, in.  Your header was pretty simple...and you really don't have very many posts either.  So I almost surfed right on by...But your blog is like the iceberg where only a little bit of the possibility is above the surface.

If you are a 3rd grade have to dig into this blog.  She has some very useful tips and ideas...but what you don't see right away is her huge resource over on TpT!  She has a LOT of great units, games and lessons that she has put together for you to use right away in your classroom with your students!  She has 175 items in her store!  Wow!  Go visit!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Day 45 Miss V's Busy Bees

Happy Valentine's Day!  I hope everyone survived another themed day with their students.  1st graders get a little wild if you just mention that something will be different that day.  

I could say something as simple as..."Students today we will be using blue pencils instead of yellow." or "Today's lunch includes a cookie."  And it will set them all wiggling on the edge of their seats all day.

Now try having Valentine's Day, a day off of school for President's Day and then follow it with the 100th day of school on Tuesday...and will be the longest 4 day week of your teaching life!  I love their enthusiasm...I really do.  And having themed days in 1st grade is a blessing because in a school where field trips are scarce it gives you lots of material to write about!

But the buzzing in your classroom all day is draining...perhaps that is why this little town has like 3 bars on the one block of Main street!  So there will be enough stools for the teachers to wiggle on  Just kidding.  I've never been in any of them....yet!

Speaking of buzzing like a is today's blogger.....

Sara is the blogger behind Miss V's Busy Bees.  She is a young, enthusiastic teacher down in Alabama.  She has lots of great ideas and fun links...especially for someone straight out of school.  She seems like a natural teacher who is just waiting for the perfect classroom to call home.

While subbing during the day, she is in school to get her masters in she is the one to ask if you want some suggestions or ideas that are technology related!

Sara also has been busy creating and has some clever products for sale on TpT.  I don't normally like ants in my classroom...but these Ant schedule cards are so stinkin' cute!  You can get them in her TpT store.  Click HERE

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog :)  This was blog 45 in my 365 Blog Hop Challenge!  Only 320 more to go!