Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Crazy Week...and It's Just Tuesday?????

Okay, I don't know about you guys, but this week is crazy!  I put my countdown up, so the kiddos must feel like they have to cram so much in since we only have 22 days left.  They were so talky yesterday and fast.  They would finish their work and run over to me asking..."Can I help you with anything?"  I mean it was great for all the offers of help, but after 15 minutes I ran out of things for them to do!  They finished their April free time work, their April scrapbook page, and their journals....really????  Bring on May!

Oh yeah....and I am in charge of planning a retirement party for a dear friend who is retiring this year.  The other person who was supposed to help me hasn't because she is busy with negotiations.  I have the party this Friday (cake buying, present buying, invitations, collecting money, etc...).  My oldest returns from college also on Friday (yes, I said Friday!) and my youngest son's communion is Saturday.  And...I am using up all my plan times making phone calls with insurance companies to try and settle my accident claim by the end of this week!

Oh my gosh my head is spinning!  So, I apologize for not blogging every day.  I will put up a real post soon...promise.  Thanks for hanging in with me!  :)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

End of the Year Countdown...Already????

Oh my goodness...where did the school year go?  I can't believe that I just put up my end of the year countdown.  I was sitting at my desk after school Friday thinking of pulling out some of my flower decorations.  We have had an AWFUL month of weather and I'm looking forward to May.  So as I'm pulling out flowers I see my end of the year stuff.  I think "Oh...I'll be needing that soon."  Then I decided to count the days...23 left!  Really?????  I was shocked.  I decided I better start decorating for the end soon before I have to pack it all up!

I wanted to share a picture of it with you.  I call it "Our Nutty Summer Countdown!"

We have 23 days left!  I use small numbers printed out on the computer for numbers 24-16.  Yes, I know I missed one already.  I guess I thought I had more days left!
 You can't really see it well in the picture, but I have a cute monkey cutout that the kids color.  I have them going all around the border.  The tree is a bulletin board set.  The big monkey I made myself.

Here is a picture of the coconuts that have bigger numbers 15-1.

So the kiddos will see this when they come in tomorrow morning!  They will love it!  How many days do you have left?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fun Field Trip

Field trips have gotten really expensive in my district.  Not only do we have to charge the students whatever the fees are for the location, we have to pay gas charges per mile - yes, I said per mile.

I teach in the southern suburbs of Chicago.  Chicago has some of the best museums in the country (at least in my opinion).  We used to go to the Adler Planetarium, the Field Museum, and the Museum of Science and Industry.  Not anymore.  The gas charges can turn a normal field trip of $5-8 per child to $15-25 per child.  We just can't have our students pay that anymore, and a lot of them can't afford it even.

We used to go on two field trips a year and then the bowling trip for a total of 3 trips.  Now we just do this one - Each year our PE teacher teaches our entire school a unit on bowling.  She teaches our third graders how to keep score as well as other activities. 

Since she shows our students how to keep score, she plans a field trip that takes third graders to a bowling alley to show off their skills.  Oh...my...goodness....do these students love this field trip (and wow do us third grade teachers love not having to plan it!).

Here are some pictures I took of my kiddos at the bowling alley.

Gotta love bumpers!

A student in action.

One of the piles of shoes!

Keeping score (yes, she has them keep score manually and not just use the
scoreboard...what a great way to incorporate math skills!)

Pretending to sleep on the bus (especially since the
bowling alley was only 15 minutes away!)

The trip is only a half a day, but the kids LOVE it.  It only costs $7 per child.  And it is so nice to be contained in one area so I can watch my entire class at one time!  What kinds of field trip do you take with your students??  Do you have to pay a gas charge too???

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Vocabulary Treasure Hunting In Action - Tried it Tuesday

I'm linking up with Holly again from Fourth Grade Flipper for her weekly Tried It Tuesday linky. 
I wanted to share how my Vocabulary Treasure was working out.  If you want to read my original post about how it works, click here and it will take you there.
The students fill out the form when they find a new or interesting vocabulary word.  They can choose a word from any subject area.  I then choose one each time and tape it to the board.

Here is a close up of the form they fill out.

They are really enjoying this.  It took awhile for them to want to fill out the forms.  Then I decided to bribe I mean entice them to fill it out by giving them a warm fuzzy and PBIS tickets.  Now they fill them out all the time!

It was a great way to get my kiddos more involved in vocabulary throughout the subject areas.  And I actually had to tell them they cannot fill out a paper WHILE I am teaching!  :)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Spring Break Surprise

I forgot to share this with you all.  A few weeks ago a student came to my desk and asked me what my favorite fruit was.  I told her pineapple.  I didn't think anything of it...you know how many times our students come to us throughout the day asking random questions...no big deal.

Well it was the last day before Spring Break and this student came in the classroom with the biggest smile on her face.  She had something behind her back and started giggling.  I asked her what was going on and she said she had a prize for me.

The note says "Happy Spring!"
My face must have been priceless because she started laughing so hard.  And then she reminded me how she asked me what my favorite fruit was a few weeks ago.  I laughed so hard as she handed me this huge pineapple.  And then I told her....thank goodness I didn't say my favorite was watermelon. 
We both hugged and laughed until the bell rang! And of course I had to go show off my pineapple to all the other teachers and principal!
Don't you just love your kiddos when they make you smile?!  :)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted Linky

It's that time again...Latoya's Let's Get Acquainted Linky!  This week's linky is to share 3 of our favorite areas in our classrooms.  Since we spend so much of our time here this sounds like a great one.  So here goes...

1.  My Classroom Library

Here is one section of my classroom library.  I have my chapter books separated into bins. 
I love the colors.
This area I keep picture books.  It isn't very neat...I gotta clean this up.
I have a bunch of critters that the kiddos can read with.  This also shows my book bins that I made to match the polka dots I have throughout the room.

2.  My Desk Area

Here is my desk...do you notice the polka dots again.

This is one of the metal bookshelves behind my desk.  This is the taller one, where I keep my resources that I need handy.

This is the shorter bookcase with my teacher storage organizer.  The bottom case is a bookshelf with no shelves.  This one I covered with matching polka dot fabric to hide the supplies inside.

3.  My Bulletin Boards
And these are pictures of my bulletin board.  This one is before the kiddos came (no work...now it is full!).  I doubled my borders to match my subject colors.  It makes it pop a lot more.

This is the front of my classroom with the chalkboard.  I have my cute posters on each side of my alphabet line.  I guess I need to keep this one as my chalkboards are being replaced by white boards soon.  I will miss my chalkboard...
Now go join in the fun.  I love sneaking a peek into other classrooms....don't you???  :)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Fun Nonfiction Reading Activities

In my old reading series there was a theme called Disasters.  It included the stories:  Titanic...Lost and Found, Pompeii...Buried Alive, and Patrick and the Great Molasses Explosion.  I LOVED this theme.  It was a fantastic way to teach nonfiction to third graders. 

My third grade buddy and I decided when we got our new reading series, that we don't like, that we could not give this theme up.  So what did we do???  I went on Amazon and bought 15 copies of the old reading book.  This way we can use it in our classroom.

Product Details 
This is the old reader.  It is by Houghton Mifflin.  Our new series is by Harcourt Trophies.

We are doing this theme right now.  We taught disasters in our science curriculum before Spring Break along with Magic Tree House Disaster books.  Now we are using the old reader to continue on.

We started with Pompeii...Buried Alive.  My students were mesmerized with this story.  They couldn't believe that people didn't know that the volcano was a sleeping giant.  We had so many great class discussions with this story.

We made posters showing Pompeii before, during, and after Mt. Vesuvius blew up.  We made travel brochures showing tourists what they can see in Pompeii now.  We made mosaics, just like the story showed us, using paper squares.  We had so much fun that they didn't know they became experts on the town of Pompeii (all while learning about nonfiction!!!)!!!

Here are some pictures of some of the activities we did this week:

A travel brochure for people to come to Pompeii to visit the museums.

A travel brochure opened up.

A paper mosaic of two whales in the ocean.

A paper mosaic of a cat.

A paper mosaic a student called "The Light".

The next story is Titanic...Lost and Found

Titanic : Lost...and Found: 9780394886695: Judy Donnelly: Paperback

The kiddos can't wait.  And they are super excited that we are reading it the week of the actual sinking of the Titanic.  So now you know why I couldn't give this theme up!  I use this old reading book later in the school year when I teach fractured fairy tales!  :)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Place for Peace Fundraiser

Abby from Third Grade Bookworm is having a fundraiser for a former student.  Ruby had Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic  Leukemia and lost her life a year ago. Abby recently learned that Ruby's parents were not able to afford a headstone for her grave. They are struggling to pay off Ruby's medical debts and keep up with their everyday bills.  Aileen and Abby want to help give the family the ability to give Ruby a proper "place for Peace."
Click on the image below, if you would like to help.  For your $20 donation, you will receive $120 worth of products.  But more importantly...hopefully some much needed help for Ruby's parents...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tried it Tuesday

First I have to post this picture I found on Facebook this morning...

Photo: www.iampoopsie.com

I'm linking up with Holly again from Fourth Grade Flipper for her weekly Tried It Tuesday linky. 

This time I'm going to share something that is working in my class.  This is my Wonder Wall that I made this summer.


I use it after I teach a new topic.  I ask the kiddos what they are still wondering about with the topic or something they learned about the topic.  I use this as a group activity.  The do a Think-Pair-Share but with the four of them that they are sitting with.  I make sure my seating arrangement includes different abilities in each group.

After each member in the group share something about the topic, they have to pick what they want to write on their post it note.  Once they agree on what to write, they can write it. 

Then we share them all with the class.  This is a great way to check understanding of the topic and to see if I need to reteach or expand the lesson.

Go link up with Holly and see some other fantastic ideas!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted Linky

I'm linking up with Latoya from Flying into First Grade again this week for her fun Let's Get Acquainted Linky Party.  Click on the picture to join up!

 Here is this week's fun topic: 

TOPIC - Skittles Game

Here is the code:

Red- Favorite Ice Cream Flavor

Orange- Favorite Memory from College

Yellow- Favorite Sports Team

Green- Favorite Fast Food Place

Purple- Wild Card(Tell anything about yourself)
Okay here goes:  Red - My favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate chip.  Yum!
Orange - My favorite memory from college is when all of us teacher students were student teaching.  We would meet up on Fridays, after student teaching all week long, at a local bar with a few pictures of beer just talking about our weeks and what we got ourselves into!  The beer helped everything seem so much better!!!
Yellow - My favorite sports team has always been the Chicago Bears.  But now that Urlacher is no longer on the team, I don't know what I'm going to do.  We did go to a Wolves game on Saturday, so maybe I should switch to hockey???
Green - My favorite fast food place is a toss up between Chipolte and Panera.  I love a veggie burrito bowl from Chipolte and the BBQ chicken salad from Panera.  Now I'm hungry...Gotta love both!
Purple - Like I said in my sports answer...we just went to my son's first Chicago Wolves game.  He got free tickets for being the second highest fundraiser for his school's Jump Rope for Heart fundraiser.  We went with Grammie and Grampa too!  The Wolves were tied and went into overtime.  Then they tied again and went into a shoot out.  So exciting for his first hockey game.  It was so much fun!
I can't believe that the next day he woke up to having a voice.  If I screamed like he did that night, I would have lost my voice for a week!  To have young vocal cords again....  Don't you just love that expression and of course the Wolves claw on his hand! 
So that means that in the last 3 weeks we have gone to a White Sox game and a Wolves game.  Any ideas on what team we go see next????
Don't forget to join in the fun.  Click on the picture above to join in.  Happy Monday everyone!  :)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Awesome Giveaways

Antonia from Forkin 4th is having a HUGE B-Day Bash and Giveaway Celebration in honor of 200 blog followers! She is having her 26th birthday on April 23rd, so she is giving you from now until the 26th to win.  She has 2 bundles you can win:  a 4th grade bundle and a K-3 bundle (I am helping her out in that one).  Click on the picture to go enter this awesome giveaway!!! 

And here is another one...Jivey at Ideas by Jivey has a HUGE 300 follower giveaway.  This one is set up for different grade levels.  You have until April 20th for this one.  I'm in this one as well!  Click on the picture to go to her great giveaway!


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