Monday, April 28, 2014

Creative Teaching Press + Sneak Peak! = EXCITEMENT!

Every February I start getting a little bored with the theme decorations in my classroom. I start dreaming about what I will do next year. I usually spend a TON of time pouring over teacher store catalogs, creating boards in Pinterest with different ideas, and of course looking through Teachers Pay Teachers.  

I am super excited that the team I will be working with next year met on Monday and we have ALREADY DECIDED what our theme will be! (top secret as some of my kiddos read my blog!) I love deciding early because you can being looking at garage sales for items and really take your time planning it all out. Oh how I love a good room decoration theme! 

I was SO excited to receive an early release of the new Creative Teaching Press catalog which will be coming out in June! Oh are going to flip when you the new products! 

I am excited to share with you two of my favorite items! 

The first one is the Inspire u Posters Pack of Posters! 

I will be teaching fifth grade next year and I think these are the perfect posters for my kiddos! I love the colors, I love that they are "chalkboard" themed, and I just love the WORDS. 
Here is one up close: 

  I am very interested in the 
Math GNOMES:Common Core Classroom Management System

The idea behind this product is to help make what we are learning in math a bit more visual. I have a visual learning board for writing and for CAFE (Daily Five) that we use almost everyday in class, thanks to my dear friend Kristen at Ladybug Teacher Files. The visual boards have provided a great organization for ME and for my kiddos. When we place standards or mini-lessons cards up on our board they became touchstones for us in the future. I am excited about the possibility of adding a math board to our room! In fact, I am already trying to figure out where to put it!

Here is the best part! I am not the only blogger who is sharing SNEAK PEAKS today! There are over 20 of us! Yahoo! So please head on over to Mrs. Prince's Kindergators to see MORE sneak peaks!

Be on the look-out for a CTP give-away that is coming very soon! 

Thanks for stopping by! Hope you have a lovely week with your students, family, and friends! 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Blogging with Literature Circles!

A couple of weeks ago I came across a pretty spectacular blog post from "Where The Wild Things Learn" blog! The blog post was on Blogging with Literature Circles. She pretty much had me with the title! You can click on her blog button to go to the post!

I have a group  of very energetic 4th graders and they also are excellent readers. They can pretty much read anything they want. We have been working all year about deepening our understand of the text and using evidence from the text to support our ideas. 

Back in January we read "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe."  When the students learned that C.S. Lewis and J.R. Tolkien were friends they decided they wanted to read "The Hobbit." Oh my! I was just not sure about that. I told them I would think about it, but I just wasn't sure. I knew that I needed to find an engaging way to discuss this very challenging book. 

Blogging + Literature Circles Format = ANSWER I NEEDED

I love literature circles. I love that students have assigned jobs and that they are accountable to each other. BUT I knew that we needed to dig in deep with our learning and discussion with this book. Adding the idea of BLOGGING was just what we needed. 

As Amelia suggests we are using to house our blogs. This site is SAFE. You even have to give parents a code to have access to JUST their child's blog. I like the format of Kidblog as well. My students were able to create their blogs within about 30 minutes. 

Part of the security measures on Kidblog is that the teacher has to approve ALL comments and posts. When I checked my email that first night I had 250 comments/posts to approve! The kids went CRAZY. They were SO and ARE so motivated by this approach. 
I am so excited about this journey that we are taking! I let it slip a few days early about the idea of blogging and the kids were so excited and also came with a million and one questions. We are on day two of this adventure and I FEEL so energized by it all. I can't wait until tomrorow when we can sit down and discussion Chapter 1. They were assigned a "Think and Respond" blog post for tonight over chapter 1. I am confident that this approach will take a very high level book and just provide us with a lot of discussion points! 
Which template do I use? What do I name my blog? The kids all hand to answer these questions and more!

I love this foto! You can see the kids helping each other create their blogs!

I look forward to posting about our journey over the next three weeks! I am already trying to figure out how to incoprate blogs into my classroom in all areas next year! I loop up to 5th grade with my kids, I think they would be so excited to continue this journey! 
THANKS SO MUCH to Amelia for this amazing TPT product. I love this product SO MUCH that I would like to giveaway two copies! Comment on how you use or would like to use technology in your classroom! I will pick two winners on Monday! 


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Five For Friday!

It's Friday! I am joining many blogging friends across the globe with the traditional Five for Friday post! The idea is to post five random things about your week! 

Have you heard about Destination Imagatinon? It is an amazing program that promotes problem solving, teamwork, and creativity. This past weekend was the Kansas State DI tournament. These girls took home the 1st place trophy for the Improvisation Challenge! 
The girls had to: - Create an original five-minute Improvisational Skit
- Develop the interaction between a character from the past and a contemporary character.
- Show how those characters work, using the time period, their occupations and skills, to deal with Pandemonium.
- Use stage makeup to create, develop, and/or enhance one skit character.

 I am SO proud of these girls! Four of them have been part of DI for three years and they just get stronger each year in this challenge! We are heading to GLOBAL FINALS in Knoxville, TN the last week of May! 

 This year 4th Graders in our district have been SO BLESSED with some pretty amazing field trips! This past week we went to the Hutchinson Cosmsophere and spent the ENTIRE day there! We took a tour of the Rocket Museum! We actually got to see REAL spacecrafts and just hear some amazing stories about space. We also got to build a rocket and LAUNCH THEM! At the very end they actually launched a TRASH CAN up in the was priceless! 

It was my birthday this week and this sweet little one made me the CUTEST sign ever! I LOVE all things chevron and Natalie knows that! She also gave me a big old bottle of glitter! Glitter is a bad word in our classroom since SOMEONE knocked it all over the floor and then forgot to tell Miss Z about it. It ended up in ALL parts of the school! I told the kids that NO GLITTER until 5th Grade (I get to loop with these kiddos up to 5th grade next year)! They love teasing me about glitter! I just love moments when you can tease and laugh with your kiddos. 

ME, JEN HATMAKER, and my dear friend Wendy

#43 on my BUCKET LIST got crossed off! I got to hang out with Jen Hatmaker! Oh how amazing this woman is! Jen is the author of books such as SEVEN and INTERRUPTED and just the kind of person I want to be! We had a wonderful women's conference. I got to be the person that picked her up from the airport. I was SO excited about friends kept teasing me about how I would react when I saw her! So much so that my dear friend Zach sent this text...

I just might be a pretty huge fan of Jen! It truly was a dream for me to meet her. Her words and her life have greatly impacted my life over the past few years. You should check out her blog at 

 Friday was a perfect day! Starbucks with Ellie, shopping, and Olive Garden for lunch. The best part was that Ellie had never had an Olive Garden bread-stick before...she was in LOVE. 

Happy Day Friends! I hope you will check out all of the links over at Dooddle Bugs!



Friday, April 4, 2014

Easy Fix for Ugly Brick Walls and a Freebie!

Don't you just LOVE those ugly brick walls in schools? I never know what to do with them! Parent Teacher Conferences were  getting ready to happen and I knew I wanted to add something to the walls, but I also knew it needed to be EASY! 

I picked out some Chevron Solids 4" Designer Letters from Creative Teaching Press and got to work! 

Can I just say how much I love these letters? I love that they are a "light" chevron, but in GREAT colors! I thought they would be the perfect ACCENT I needed for the boring brick walls! 


 I LOVE how this wall turned out! Students used words and illustrations to depict their favorite learning experiences of the year so far. It was SO much fun to see what the students chose as their "favorite" moments! 


 Love the fact that this kiddo loves Moby Math! I happen to think Moby Math is the one of the best things "since sliced bread!"  

I love that this kiddo wrote about Collin's Bus! We had a great time learning about how school buses were made at the factory. 

On the other side of the wall I used the same letters to make a bold statement with our class "Instagram" wall.  I printed out pictures (in black and white)  from the quarter and then each kiddo wrote a caption for that pictures. This wall was a BIG HIT with kiddos and parents alike! 

Two super simple hallway displays that just honestly make me HAPPY! (BTW don't you just love Pharreell's HAPPY song?)

UPDATE-I received a few emails asking for a copy of the Top Ten Learning Experiences. I posted it on Teachers Pay Teachers! You can find it here for free! Enjoy!

Thanks Friends!