Thursday, March 19, 2015

March Blogger Match-Up!

I LOVE March Madness!

There are so many fun things to do with your students during this month!

I am really excited about the March Blogger Match-Up that The Creative Classroom is hosting! 

64 bloggers signed up and were each randomly given a team to cheer on during the tournament! If your team loses then you share a product with the blogger that you were matched against! As well, we will be giving the same products away on our blogs! You have a chance to WIN a LOT OF PRODUCTS this month! SO FUN! 

Now I am from Kansas! So WE KNOW BASKETBALL! In fact I got to check out a big item off my bucket list in December when I got to go to the FAMOUS ALLENFIELD HOUSE and go to a KU game! The great thing is that Kansas doesn’t just have our beloved Jayhawks in the tournament, but also the fantastic WSU team! We really couldn’t be prouder of our Shockers! Although I have to admit we are a little upset that they just MIGHT be playing each other! Who will win?  #rockchalkjayhawk #playangry #shockers

Now with our Blogger Match-Up I got paired with the North Carolina Tar Heels! I didn’t know much about the Tar Heels, but I am pleased to find out that they are ranked #4 and did you know that they have a passion for service! They do all KINDS OF SERVICE projects! I just LOVE THAT! So tonight I will be cheering on the TAR HEELS!
Insert picture!

I am going against the amazing Bridget from Hardcore Teacher Resources who will be cheering on LSU!

One of the things I love about the blogging community is how we can all learn so much from each other! When I saw that I was paired with Bridget, I spent ALL MORNING on her blog and in her TPT store! My TPT cart is OVERFLOWING! She has some GREAT ideas and some pretty fantastic products!  Bridget is a Gifted Teacher and oh my the amazing things she gets to do with her kids! LOVE! 

Let’s see who the WINNER will be! Leave a comment with WHO you are rooting for to enter the giveaway! IF the TAR HEELS  win or don't win this game (which I am CONFIDENT they will!) I will give away THREE products to the giveaway winner and of course to Bridget! 


Saturday, November 1, 2014

MOVEMBER FUN! Plus a Giveaway!

Happy November 1st Friends!

The last two weeks have just been a BLAST in our classroom! I wanted to do unit on nutrition in relation to Halloween candy, but I couldn’t find the hook that I needed…until….

Did you know that November is commonly called MOVEMBER? Mo Bros take action by changing their appearance by growing a moustache for the 30 days of Movember, to spark conversation and raise funds for men’s health research. Mo Sistas commit to supporting the men in their lives while helping to promote men’s health.”

I pulled out our fancy mustaches from Creative TeachingPress to add a little excitement to our experiments and discussion in science this week. We talked about MOVEMBER and what is and why it is important. The majority of the kiddos knew about it to some extent, several of the kids knew someone that has participated in Movember at some point. We divded into our learning about nutrition, healthy habits, and a close look at sugar! 

Do you colored pencils or markers in close reading?
I looked high and low for some great passages on nutrition to use with my 5th graders. I was SO excited to find this amazing packet from BIG IDEAS IN TEACHING. What I loved about it was the content was SPOT ON, but I LOVED the strategy to go back and COLOR CODE the answers to the questions. We will be using that from now on. Of course we had to use our mustache pencils to help us with this! I just took a mustache from the 100’s that come in this packet from CTP and hot glued them to the top of each pencil. The kids LOVED using their pencils each week! I loved how motivated they were to do their work! 

Do you know how much sugar is in your favorite snacks?
I have been on a “Let’s Get Healthy” journey over this past year. I look at food labels, plan out my meals, and hit the gym on a regular basis. I WAS SHOCKED by the news that American children eat 116 pounds of sugar every year. I wanted to do something with our favorite snacks and let the students visually see what they were eating! I came across Melissa’s amazing SUGAR SHOCK post.

I knew I needed to do this activity as well.I love a good hands on lesson, but I love even more a lesson that IMPACTS our thinking and IMPACTS our health. I asked the students to bring in their favorite sugary snack. We then used the nutritional information to determine how much sugar was in that snack. Students then had to do a little math as 1 gram of sugar = 4 tsps of sugar. We used graduated cylinders to pour our sugar in. 

We created a nifty display on the center table of our classroom. We just couldn’t stop talking about the results. Whenever someone would come into our room to drop something off, one of the students who ask them to come and look at our display. The kids LOVED sharing the information. We ended up keeping it up for Parent Teacher Conferences and the parents were AMAZED as well. My hope is that students take a closer look at what they are eating. We talked about how it is okay to have a pack of M&M’s, but then you should go and play outside with a friend! Truly fascinating conversations we had this week! 

We mustache you what did you learn about sugar?

So much sugar is NOT needed for your body. It is not good for your systems.

Candy Labs-The Great Motivator
We pulled out our mustaches one more time this week to become Mustache Scientists! I think they would wear the mustaches all day if they could! We have been studying properties of matter in science and I used The Science Penguin’s Candy Lab’s product to help us explore the properties of matter through candy. You might be asking, Did they eat the candy?  NO! We used the candy to help learn about describing matter, but we didn’t eat ANY OF IT. When I did this last year, we did, but this year after looking at sugar, none of them even wanted to (well, maybe a few!)!  We were able to use a triple beam balance, measure the volume of the candies, test for solubility, and look at refraction! Such a FUN week of learning.  I really believe that this week will be a touchstone for us. When we are struggling with understand what relative density is or solubility we can think back to what we did this week!

Creative Teaching Press is behind MOVEMEBER 100%.  So much so they would love to give away to one lucky reader a packet of mustaches & photo booth kit so that you can show your support of this important cause! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Can't wait to hear your ideas! Happy Week friends! 


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Bright Ideas for the Classroom: Simple IPAD Charging Station

Happy Day to You All! 
I am excited join in on the Bright Ideas party this month!

I have been fortunate to get IPADS from three different Donor Choose projects. When I had two or three it was easy to get them charged and know where the cords were….but when I acquired three more it become a challenge! 

The Technology Coordinator for my building came to the rescue! He brought in a file folder stand and power strip! 

This has made such a different for my kids and I! IPADS all go back to the same place! They are ALWAYS charged, which means we can use them RIGHT WHEN WE NEED TO ACCESS THEM!

Super simple idea, but I hope it will help you and your kiddos! 
For more bright ideas more than 100 different bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Teacher Week: My Classroom!

Happy Day Friends!

I am SO excited to share with you my classroom for this wonderful, fantastic, awesome new school year! I love the girls at Blog Hoppin' and am so excited to link up with them for Teacher Week! 

I had an idea in my head of what I wanted my classroom to look like. I knew I wanted to use maps, quotes, and bright, happy colors. I looked ALL over Pinterst and took inspiration from Maria of Kinder-Craze, Rachelle Smith from What The Teacher Wants, Cara from The First Grade Parade, Kristen from Ladybug Teacher Files, Creative Teaching Press' new catalog, as well lots of ideas from Monday Made It's and a variety of craft blogs!

I am blessed this school year as I am looping up to 5th grade with my same kiddos. SO I had a very different kind of summer. I was not thinking and planning about those crucial beginning of the school activities, as I already know my kids and my kids know me. I was able to spend time really mapping out my classroom and spray painting EVERYTHING in site! I think my principal thought I was CRAZY. 

This is my also my 17th year in teaching....ahhhhhhhh! I think this is my favorite classroom ever. It really came together for me and my kiddos. We all love it so much! Our first day of school was simply fantastic! The kids were SO excited about our room. It was truly a magicial day for me! I LOVE looping! I love a bright, happy classroom! I love my kiddos! 

 As you enter my room my hope is that you see lots of colors! I also hope it is a calm space for kiddos! I want my kids to feel at home while in our 5Z classroom! 

Right as you enter you will find our Organization Station! I used a shelf I already had (yeah!) to create this one stop station. I found the lime green and blue buckets at the dollar spot at Target! The black buckets are dish plans from Dollar Tree! I used the chevron name tags from Creative Teaching and subject labels from Ladybug Teacher Files to help keep us organized! I LOVE my lamp! I spray painted an ugly lamp and found the shade at Dollar General for .25 CENTS! I also love my tissue paper flower pot! 


I really love how these flowers came out! A friend made them out of plastic tablecloths! I also love the yellow filing cabinet that everything is sitting on (I spray painted it!)! 

 I love our small group table (it is new this year!) and how everything came together in the back of the room! I made the curtains! Spray painted the lamp and the lampshade. The Daily Five posters are from Rachelle Smith, What the Teacher Wants! The amazing border is all from Creative Teaching Press!  

 We are using Ron Clark's "The Essential 55" in our classroom this year. We are focusing on 10 Essentials, a la Hope King! One of my favorite blog posts I have ever read!

I am already seeing a difference with my kiddos in just a few short days!

I love quotes and fell in love with this quote when I came across it! Do you know who said it? Winnie The Pooh! AHHHHH! Love it even more. I used Creative Teaching Press amazing products to create this bulletin board display! From the flowers to the chevron letters, to the borders. I just LOVE how it all turned out!

Realizing how uneven these pockets are, but I guess that is okay! The pockets will be used for our school-wide behavior program "On a Path To Sweet Success!" I am really excited about this, can't wait to blog more about it in the future!

I have already TRIED to keep classroom data, but this year I am TRULY going to do it! I dedicated an entire bulletin board to it! I am using Primary Polka Dots Data Binders for my kids, so I just blew up the same graphs to 11X17 to use for our classroom data! 

I am excited to try out this organization system this year! Our math books, science notebooks, word nerds notebooks, reading notebooks are all on this shelf! Along with our supply caddies! I am really hoping this works for us. We have pretty small desks, so we needed to try something a bit different!

I just love this picture! Yes, my kiddos know I love chevron! That awesome "Ms. Z" sign was made my one of my kiddos last year!

This is my friend Syd, sitting in this awesome chair that we spray painted! The pillow cases are from WAL-MART! I think that is one of my favorite finds this summer! Syd's awesome mom took all of the pictures of my classroom for me! LOVE YOU SHANNON!

I have lots more to share with you, but will leave you with this one! I LOVE how our supply cabinet turned out and the Dollar Tree bins are a STEAL and just the perfect colors!

I am excited to check out everyone's rooms today over at Blog Hoppin!

Happy Back to School friends!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Are you Ready for SHARK WEEK?

All teachers know that kids learn more when they’re excited and engaged. Today a team of bloggers come together to help your students take a BITE out of learning with a theme your students are sure to love! 

The school district I work in has embraced the Quantum Learning philosophy of teaching. There are so many different aspects of QL that are AMAZING. My favorite idea is "Home-Court Advantage." I LOVE working with my students to create this in our classroom each and every year!

Home court advantage is just what it sounds like-when a sports team plays in their home town on their own field or court, they have a statistical advantage. There is a tremendous amount of research that has been done on this.

Quantaum learning suggests that "
Home court advantage is a powerful psychological tool that creates feelings of safety, support, and belonging on the sports field as well as in the classroom. Students in classrooms where home court advantage has been established are more likely to take risks, participate, and ask and answer questions. At a time when many teachers are pressed to achieve common core standards, establishing a home court advantage in classrooms is a powerful step toward encouraging and reinforcing more effective thinking, discussions and collaboration." (Quataum Learning, 2009) 

There are many things that a teacher can do to create that home court advantage in their classroom in terms of belonging, safety, and support! I blogged about this in depth last year, please click here to read that post! 

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I LOVE the "I SURVIVED" book series by Lauren Tarshis! One of my favorites is "I Survived The Shark Attacks of 1916." When we talk about ENGAGING books, oh this is the series for you! I have used these books in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade! One of my favorite things about this series is how easy it is to use non-fiction books right along with Mrs. Tarshis' stories. My students are engaged in the story and then they want to look at the primary sources for what really did happen! My Shark Week freebie is a template for students to use to write a newspaper article about what happened during the shark attacks of 1916.

Click HERE to try it out!

Be sure to go for a swim in the linky party below. Every blog in the Shark Week Blog Hop features a fishy freebie for you and your students- but hurry! Shark Week only lasts until Sunday, August 17th  :)

Saturday, August 2, 2014

It's Back to School Time & Giveaway!

What a WONDERFUL summer it has been! I honestly can’t believe that it is almost over. I have had a wonderful, realaxing, fantastic summer filled with gym time, pool time, reading time, and lots and lots of friend time!

The last few weeks I have been working on my classroom and just enjoying every minute of it. I am looping with my students this year, so it is a bit of a different back to school prep for me. I am really excited to see what this year brings!

I am REALLY excited to show off my classroom to you! I will be doing that in the next few weeks! I went a little #chevroncrazy, but I love it so much! I was so inspired by Maria’s room from  I love everything about her colorful room, especially her spray painted filing cabinets!

Teachers Pay Teachers is having their BIG Back to School sale on August 4 and 5! My cart is FILLED to the BRIM as I will be teaching 5th Grade for the first time!

I am excited as this summer I spent some time working on a few products for my store!

We are doing a ROAD TRIP theme in fifth grade this year! I love quotes and I love having my students WRITE about them. This product came from that love! 

Check it out Here!

Last December we did a HUGE “Nutcracker” thematic unit with all of the 4th Graders. We read different versions of “The Nutcracker,” we learned about the music and the composer in Music class, and in Art we drew our own Nutcrackers. It was a PRICELESS time.
My dear kiddo who is presenting her Lego Story Starter build she did about "The Nutcracker"

President Clark (as we call him!) created his own version of "The Nutcracker" He did such a great job!

One of our favorite activities that we used was a daily journalprompt in December based on the holdiays! It was a great time of writing, but then also sharing about traditions that the students have their families.

My all time favorite product is Crock-Pot Cooking & Writing in the Classroom for The Fall! 

I love cooking and I love writing! This product puts those together. I have found that my students are SO engaged in the writing process with these activities.

I was pretty excited about this feedback I received for this product!

Well, friendswhat is in your cart? What are you looking forward to purchasing? How are you enjoying your last minutes of summer?

I would love to send off at TPT gift card to one lucky winner to use in time for the sale! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also check out all of the other pretty amazing bloggers and TPT authors who have their products on sale! 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Guided Math Conferences- Chapter 5 & Giveaway!

I have just three lovely weeks left of summer. I can’t believe how fast it went by! I have worked in my classroom a bit I have shared a few sneak peek pics on Instagram come find me @carmencita9c. Next week my team will meet and we will map out the first semester. I am so looking forward to that. I love to have a plan!

Speaking of plan…that is what Chapter 5 is ALL about. Having a plan for routines and procedures during Guided Math so that YOU CAN DO INDIVIDUAL CONFERENCES! For some teachers this comes very easy to them, for others this is more of a challenge. You gotta know where you stand so then you can make a plan for it.

Historically, mapping out routines was not an easy thing for me. Sometimes I would think, “Well they should already know that” and move on. Well that one thing that “they should already know” would always make a big difference and usually create a bit of chaos!
As the book states, “The first step is creating routines and procedures for independent student work is envision precisely what students should be doing.”

You have to think about so many things:
 How do students turn in work?
What do they do if they finish an activity early?
If they need help who do they go to?
What are the voice levels in the classroom?
Can they get up to sharpen a pencil?
Can they ask someone else for help?
Lions, tigers & bears…oh my!

There is SO many things to think about, but my advice is to take it step by step. Start with one of your guided math rotations and work on figuring out what that looks like, sounds likes, and feels like. I love using that terminology when I am thinking about routines and also when I discuss them with my students.

I start with this chart thinking through each rotation on my own. What do I want the students to be doing and reacting to situations that they come across?

From there I move on to create a CHAMPS poster for the rotation.

The procedures are not in their final stages yet!
As the author suggestions we “create and post an anchor chart showing what independent work should look and sound like” and feel like: 

We do this together for a couple of reasons! First of all the students will think of things you do not think of! Most importantly it creates BUY IN and OWNERSHIP! Students will remind others of the expectations (that is PRICELESS!) and they want to succeed at the expectations that the class set. If students do not think of important things, you can add them (that is why it is important for you to go through this process first!).

We now move on to step 2 & 3 “Introduce and model the routines and procedures with mini lessons and “Have students role-play working independently.”

 I can’t stress how important this is! At times it seems silly…I am really going to have my 5th graders practice this routine again…and again. What I found out the routines that we practiced more where the ones that we never had issues with, but the ones we didn’t practice as much we defiantly struggled with. It’s common sense of course, but we are SO pressed for time during the time, it’s hard to “give up that time!” I promise you though, if you do dedicate the time, you will REAP benefits for the rest of the school year!

The last step for teaching routines/procedures is “Have students practice and self-assess their behaviors.”

I always seem to do this very informally maybe just by a thumb up or thumb down. I am thinking about doing more of a rubric this year, to make it more serious for the students. I am hoping to share that with you on Monday! 

The very last step I take is we go back to our anchor chart and finalize it. I will then type it up in the CHAMPS terminology and post it. We will refer it throughout the entire year! I then move on to another rotation and we go through this process again!

There are SO many other details to discuss in this chapter! I will be back on Monday with more! 

Please check out Melissa’s post from Dilly Dabbles who is also hosting Chapter Five! 

I want to leave you with a COOL Give-Away!

One of my favorite bloggers and TPT creators is Melissa from Inspire Me ASAP!

I honestly own every single thing in her store! Not only to own everything, I use EVERYTHING. Many of her products I use every day!

Melissa has generously offered to giveaway her Guided Math 101 Product to one reader from my blog and one reader from her blog! SO you have TWO CHANCES TO WIN! 

Please comment below your best tip for teaching routines/procedures. Make sure you include your email address. Check out Melissa’s blog for another chance to win! I will draw a winner next Friday!
 Make sure to check out the other bloggers who are writing about this awesome chapter!