Tuesday, November 27, 2012

New Fifth Grade Freebie Website and How I Linky Linky

How many times have you downloaded a great freebie only to find out that it was for a much younger class? Mercedes from Surfing to Success had a great idea to start a website for fifth grade freebies. Go and over and get signed up! Or get signed up to be a contributor!

My Teacher Friend is having a How Do You Linky? Linky to get some ideas on how to be more involved with linkies. I wonder how many times I can fit the word "linky" in one sentence?! So this part of the post is geared more towards her, but maybe the rest of you can fill me in on some linkies that I'm missing.

If there are regular weekly/monthly ones coming, I usually write my posts ahead of time and wait for their post to finally link up. That way I can be ready to go and link up early so that more people will view my post. So that means that I don't post everyday on my blog, but I get a lot more traffic from linkies since I don't have a very large following yet. Linkies that fall in that category for me are Amanda's Friday Flashback and Tara's Monday Made It.

The other one that I do on a regular basis is Farley's Currently. That one is nice because you need to view the two before you and the one after you and leave a comment.

Are there any others that I'm missing?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Win a Laminator

Head over to Amanda's blog and enter her drawing for a personal laminator! One can never have too many! :) And then go sign up for all of her other fun things!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Liebster Award

Thank you to Being Inspired for nominating me for the Liebster Award. The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. It is to show new bloggers that they are appreciated  and to help spread the word about new blogs. 

The rules:
- You must post 11 random things about yourself.
- Answer the questions that the nominator set for you.
- Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
- Choose 11 blogs you love (with less than 200 followers) and link them in your post.
- No tag back (but please leave me a comment on this post with the URL to your Liebster post so I can learn more about you)!

11 Random Things about Me 
  1. I can say the alphabet backwards in ~4 seconds.
  2. I teach in the district that I attended.
  3. I currently run two fantasy football teams, which is down from four in past years.
  4. I play in my university's alumni marching band.
  5. I have had football season tickets for twenty years.
  6. I have participated in a ladies' football academy for the past two years as a fundraiser for the university's children's hospital.
  7. I detest raw tomatoes.
  8. I love sushi, although I don't live anywhere near an ocean.
  9. I took tap lessons in my adulthood because I never did in my childhood.
  10. I enjoy baking, but I'm not huge into cooking.
  11. I am very particular about things. I have used the same mechanical pencil during my fourteen years of teacher. I have used the same three-hole punch as well, so all of my papers line up.
Responses to Being Inspired's Questions
  1. Why did you start blogging? I started reading blogs this past summer and I thought that it was something that I could do. I was going through a professional change and I thought that it would a good way to share my experiences.
  2. I'm giving you a thousand euro - what are you going to do with it? First of all, I'm googling the conversion... OK. so that's $1287.30. Hmm, I'm buying an iPhone and a data plan and maybe plane tickets to visit my brother :)
  3. Do you like to travel? What's your dream holiday destination? Yes, but I can't stand being in the car for more than a few hours. So flying is the way to go. My dream destination would be somewhere warm like Hawai'i, but not during the holidays unless my family all goes together!
  4. What achievement are you most proud of? Permission to brag! Getting my masters degree in educational technology.
  5. If time wasn't an issue what new activity would you take up? I'm not sure. Time always seems to be the issue. Maybe I would have time to use the scrapbooking things that I already own?
  6. What's your favourite Christmas tradition? Singing Christmas songs
  7. Any blog recommendations? Ladybug's Teacher Files, Teaching Maddeness, technology rocks. seriously., and many, many more!
  8. What's your favourite pin on Pinterest? Right now I'm craving these Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Balls.
  9. A few easy ones to end with - chocolate or crisps/chips? Depends if I'm wanting something sweet or salty. Probably chocolate.
  10. Cats or dogs? I had a cat during my childhood and a dog during my adulthood. I guess that I would choose a non-shedding dog :)
  11. Real books or ebooks? Real.
Questions I'm Asking My Nominees
  1. What is your favorite classroom holiday activity?
  2. What is your favorite freebie?
  3. What is your favorite holiday dish?
  4. Black Friday or Cyber Monday?
  5. Where is your favorite place to shop for your teaching wardrobe?
  6. Summer or winter?
  7. I need a new book to read. What do you recommend?
  8. What is your favorite TV show?
  9. What is your favorite dessert?
  10. What is your favorite sports team?
  11. Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip?
Blogs I'm Nominating
  1. My Journey to Fifth Grade 
  2. The Wild Rumpus 
  3. Young Daze in Fifth Grade 
  4. Loose Shoelaces 
  5. 5th Grade Patriots 
  6. 4th & 5th Grade Happiness 
  7. Fab and Fun in 4th 
  8. Fabulous 5th Grade Fun 
  9. Fifth Grade, Fifth Grade 
  10. Fifth Grade Dayz 
  11. Literacy Sundae with Common Core on Top 
Whew! That took awhile! I look forward to reading more about you :) 

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Great Giveaway!

One of my favorite bloggers is having her 1000 follower giveaway! Go on over to Teaching Maddeness to check it out!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Keyboards Shortcuts and What's the Deal with Vistaprint?

Sometimes I like to mess around and experiment with keyboard shortcuts. It appeals to my OCD nature to methodically hold down one or two keys and press others to see what happens. Not that any of these are a secret or a major discovery, but these are the ones that I tend to use the most.
*topic change*
So what's the deal with Vistaprint? I read about other teacher bloggers who rave about Vistaprint. I guess I don't know how that would benefit me as a teacher. So I'm asking those of you who order from Vistaprint to tell me what you order and how you use it so I can jump on the bandwagon! And where do you find your great coupons?

*topic change*
I am linking up with Teaching FSL for an efficient reporting linky. Last year when my grade was at the intermediate school, we only had 15-minute conferences. Sometimes is was very hard to get everything in during that time, and sometimes I was done in five minutes. I used this form so that I made sure that I shared the same things with each parent, otherwise I go off on a tangent and forget. It's also something that they could take home with them and discuss with their child or spouse.
Obviously, you're not going to want to use mine, but you could adapt for your own needs.

But now that my grade is in the middle school, we have drop-in conferences and it's much more difficult to plan since you have about 5 minutes with whoever shows up. And any number of the 65 sets of parents could come. And we don't do as much standardized testing, so I don't have a lot of data. So I'm not sure how I'm going to prep for tomorrow, but I have about eighteen hours to figure that out!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Noun Foldable, Turkeys in Disguise, and Gift of Giving

This week, we are working on a noun foldable that I found on Pinterest (of course). Here is the original link. We just finished up our nouns unit, and I thought that this was a nice summary of what we learned before they are assessed.

I also assigned the take-home portion of our turkey in disguise activity. I got the idea from Stephanie at Teaching in Room 6. I can't wait to see what they do! We will be doing a persuasive writing activity next week. So far, I've gotten the Kool-Aid Man, a rainbow with clouds, Blake Shelton, and a soccer goal keeper with the face of Taylor Lautner. I'm also finding out how weird some of my students are...

Update: Here they are!

One students made my neighbor teacher this cute little turkey. Maybe my girls and I can whip some up for the grandparents...

Wednesday was our readathon for the fundraising that we did to sponsor four district families for Christmas. Our entire fifth grade (approximately 130 kids) took on this responsibility. Later in the month, parent and teacher volunteers will help the kids go shopping for the families using the money that was raised for the readathon. Following that spree, there will be two days of wrapping during study hall. This is my first year that I've been involved in the project, but another fifth grade teacher has been doing this with her class for years. We decided this year to take it on as a grade level and try to help out four families in need. We ended up raising $1500!

It's hard to believe that we're halfway through another quarter, which means another round of conferences on Monday. I'm not sure that I ever got a break during those four hours last time! I met with twenty-four sets of patents! Hopefully things will be slower this time.
This week we also looked at new basal textbook series that are aligned with common core. One was Houghton Mifflin. Do any of you recommend a series?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Teaching Tip Linky - Straight Rows

I am struggling to come up with what I want to write about for this teaching tip linky. Teachers often come to me for organization tips and ideas, but I cannot think of a thing to link up. That could be due to a very busy weekend that has fried my brain. I have previously talked about my pencil challenge, which is going pretty well. I have shared my raved-about sub plan template here.

So I have a very short and simple tip. If you hate your rows/tables creeping and shifting shapes, zip tie the legs together. That's it! Of course, you'll need to commit to that arrangement for awhile unless you think of something that you can easily undo. But in our middle school style of having different kids throughout the day, I assign students to a spot, not to a desk. So when we switch spots, all they have to do is move their bodies. So keeping desks in the same physical spot for awhile doesn't bother me. There you go!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Fun Friday, Friday Flashback, and Vikings

And linking up with Amanda for her Friday Flashback.

This week we focused on the Vikings in social studies. The highlight was writing with Viking runes.
First we talked about the runes and how they compared to our letters. They said that some of them look like our letters and some stand for more than one letter. We also talked about why we thought that they were primarily composed of straight lines. Then I wrote them a message that they had to decode. Their assignment was to write a message about Vikings back to me. They thought that this was awesome and wanted to know if they could keep the sheets so they could write secret messages to each other.

In literacy, we focused on writing number notes using the Write Tools program by Alice Greiner. I highly recommend this program for writing. Number notes is a pre-writing outlining strategy. Here is an example that we did for Native Americans.
From here, you write four different kinds of topic sentences - declarative statement, number sentence, question, and situation/stance. Pick one to be your topic sentence and one to be your concluding sentence. If anyone is interested, I can go into further detail in another post.

So that's what's been going on this week. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Seven Reasons for Exploration

A few years back, I started using Hands-On History: Explorers by Michael Gravois to use with our textbook to make things more hands-on for my early explorers unit. I also use his Colonial and American Revolution ones as well.

The first activity that I use is the Seven Reasons for Exploration activity. You start by making a cute mini-book out of a sheet of paper. Here are the visual steps.

You can use this book for anything! After filling out each reason (curiosity, wealth, fame, religion, national pride, better trade routes, and foreign goods), students glue their booklet on the first page of their explorer notebook and title and decorate it.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Vocabulary Foldable

I found this great vocabulary foldable on Pinterest which took me to Laura Candler's website. The best thing was that it was free! My students love using it during literacy, but it could also be used in other content areas. There are two versions. One version has all of the boxes labeled so you know what goes where. The second version is for after you have done these awhile and do not need the labels. In either version, you write the word, draw a picture that represents it, use it in a sentence, and define it.

Monday, November 5, 2012

November Monday Made It - Give Thanks Banner

This is my first attempt at creating a pennant banner for my classroom. While it isn't the best thing out there or even my own actual design, I am proud of it! I got the clip art and frames from The Digital Bake Shop. The font is DJ ChunkM from DJ Inkers. I did it all in MS Word, since I don't have Photoshop or anything like that. I couldn't figure out how to crop the background paper image into a pennant shape, so when I printed them out, it looked like this.

It was easy to cut them into a pennant shape, and I used the extra scraps to Mod Podge onto some clothespins for hanging the pennants on the line. And of course I laminated them before hanging so that they would last.

So if anyone knows how to crop images into certain shapes in MS Word, please comment with the instructions! :)

Is it sad that this is the only thing that I have for this month's Monday Made It?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

NLHC October Items and November Preview

I noticed that I forgot to share the signs and things that I made for the October No Late Homework Club.

First of all, we decided to be a little lenient and allow one late assignment per subject. However, they had to use a coupon to remain eligible. If they went through the month without having to use the coupon, then they got to cash it in for a PBIS buck.
 This month's locker sign:
 And next month's preview:

Friday, November 2, 2012

November Currently

Today I'm writing a forbidden second post to join Farley for her November Currently. Here goes...
It's almost 9:00, and I'm working on this while listening to my toddler sing over the baby monitor. The Samuel L. Jackson book recording is coming to mind...

Tomorrow I am going to see Harry Connick, Jr., at the reopening of a local flood-damaged theatre. It will be a good reason to get dressed up! Goodness knows I don't do it for school :)

After using my coworker's electric three-hole punch today, I am in love. I don't know why I don't already have one of these, but it is going on my Christmas wishlist immediately!

UPDATE: For those of you who have never heard of one, this is the Swingline hole punch that my coworker lent to me.

The Baby Einstein isn't referring to what I use in school, which I think is the original intent of the question, but it's running through my mind after listening to it non-stop for the past hour trying to get said child to go to sleep. But I could see where it could be useful in a school setting.