Saturday, February 23, 2013

Hall Pass

I saw this earlier in the week and meant to participate. My Google Reader Account is now full of Hall Passes! Such a great idea!

P- Product

My favorite product in my store is my (Math) Operation Snowball Fight.

Operation Snowball Fight

My class still asks to play this as a review during math centers. I  am a big fan of the self-checking QR codes!

A- Area

This corner of my room is my favorite. In fact I just moved the carpet over so that it faces that direction.


What I like about it:
The quilt on the chair was part of a service learning project I did as an undergrad for my honor’s thesis. The class voted to have me keep the quilt so I could repeat the project with future classes. Since then my future classes have donated quilts for media centers post-Katrina and raised $3,000 by auctioning quilts for Haitian Earthquake Relief. 

The frog chalkboard was a class auction gift a couple of years ago. As I’ve mentioned before, the principal let me paint the rest of the door with the chalkboard paint. I post a question of the day for my students to answer. The kids still get a kick out of writing on the door and we’ve done it all year!

The curtain was one of my projects this summer. It is actually half a fitted bed sheet wrapped around a tension rod. (I got the idea from this pin.) I tied it up with two pieces of ribbon and had instant no-sew curtains. I used the flat sheet as the background on my bulletin board. (see below)

The flowers are a recent addition, but daffodils from my Irishman make me smile!

S – Signal

I was fortunate last year to take a slightly extended maternity leave. My sub started the year and I took over mid-December. For the most part it was great. There was one habit though that made me crazy.

My students had been trained to use the finger signals when they had to go to the bathroom. As in hold up one finger or two depending on….well….you know. I couldn’t handle it. To me that falls in the category of TMI.

Then I found this on Pinterest. The link here is for free printable classroom sign language posters. What I love most is that they are based on real sign language.

My students use sign language to ask to go to the restroom or to get a drink of water. When they raise their hands, they use the sign language to let me know if they have an answer, a question, or a comment. 

They have small individual posters for each sign or the one page overview. I used the poster machine to enlarge the one pager, but I may go back to smaller signs and post only those we use regularly.


To transition between activities I try to incorporate a brain break. I posted about a few of my favorite websites for transitions last week in this post. Also pictured here are even more free brain break resources. (Link 1 and Link 2)

S – Sanity

I used to live for reading blogs during my lunch break. Everyone at my school takes a working lunch alone in their classroom. Now that I have a student teacher in my room with me, sitting at my desk reading blogs might be considered a *tad* antisocial!

Other sanity savers: audiobooks from the library on my phone and photos of my kids posted behind my desk.

Now I’m off to read some of the other posts with a cup of tea and a cupcake from Costco. Yummy!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Five for Friday


For a short week, it sure felt like a long one! It always seems to work that way though!


Today was the big day! After a week of cheers and pledges, today was our Fun Run. I used some of my new clip art from Creative Clips to make our class sign.


My class held the sign as they walked together around the track towards the end, so it is a little beat up! 


The font on the sign is one I created myself. I have to tweak it a little, but I almost have it ready to post. St. Patrick’s Day is a BIG deal in my family, so I had to have a font to match!
I have come across a few things written in my Sully Lovely Class List Font. I even got an e-mail from someone who said they used it all month. That made my day! I’m still starting out and improving, but it makes me feel good knowing people are using what I created!
Check back soon for Sully Lucky!


Last week I read a blog post about IPEVO Wishpool. The teacher in the post had just received an iPad keyboard/case and a telescoping stylus. My own stylus recently met an untimely death. I have never heard of a telescoping stylus, but I love the idea of being able to reach across the table to share an iPad in a small group.

I’ll let you know how it works. My wish was granted this week and my items shipped today. I'm super excited!


Donors Choose – Worms
Another blog I read last week was about a Donors Choose project a teacher had funded. I got to thinking about it and decided to apply myself.

I was awarded a grant from the local chamber of commerce about five years ago to purchase this:


I had a successful vermicomposting project going on for a while. Then I went on maternity leave. My class survived my absence, but the worms did not.


The PTO replaced my worms and all was good. Then I had baby number two. Again the class was fine, but the worms did not make it. I have no intention of going on leave anytime soon, and I have an empty worm bin that is just taking up room.

Thanks to Donors Choose, there are about 4 pounds of red worms on their way to refill my Can-O-Worms. My class is SO excited about the project. They are already planning the healthy snacks they will bring so that they can feed the”trash” to the worms. Success!


Sharing Germs
I got a call from the nurse at the kids’ day care last Friday that my oldest was sick. After four days with a fever and cough we got her to the doctor and on the mend. Of course if you have kids you know that means it is onto the next one! My husband was home sick on Thursday. After two days of migraines, I’m now fighting this cold, but not successfully. At this point I can only hope the little guy doesn’t catch our germs.

My sister-in-law in in town from across the pond. We have not been the best of hosts. I’m hoping she doesn’t get sick! She did bring over some Karvol Capsules. I love these things! They are like aromatherapy oils that you put on a cloth near the head of the bed. I can’t find them anywhere in the states – or anything like them. I usually use them sparingly when the kids are really sick, but now that our stash has been replenished I am using one just for me.


Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Links to Make You Boogie

I have a reputation at school for being a bit techy. I have loved following this linky the last couple of weeks, so I thought I would join in with a few of my favorite finds.

Up first is a website I use quite a bit for transitions. Need students to clean up from one activity and get out supplies quickly? Timer is the answer.


What sets this one apart is the music. There is a drop menu of songs to choose from. Need a quick tidy? I recommend 57 seconds of Hawaii 5-0. Not long enough? Watch the kids scramble when you play 2 minutes and 30 seconds of Mission Impossible.

I keep saying I am going to try this with my husband. I wonder if 5 minutes and 37 seconds of Star Wars is enough time to do the dishes?

I also use this timer without the music for timed math tests. I enter my time and project it on the screen so students can track how much time is left as they work.

My other new favorite find is a bunch of YouTube videos perfect for a brain break. I found Koo Koo Kangaroo on Pinterest. The Irishman looked over at me while I was watching Dinosaur Stomp one night.

He couldn’t believe I was going to show that to my class. I did. They LOVED it. We have bookmarked all the Koo Koo Kanga Roo Dance Along videos, and we take a dance break 1-3 times a day.

Some of the favorites:

No Crust


A word of advice – the dance along videos are best for the classroom. One of the other third grade teachers did one of their regular videos by mistake and couldn’t figure out what the fuss was about.  I have them bookmarked and choose a student to decide which one we will dance to when we need a brain break.

What is your favorite site for a brain break?


My  big project for the weekend was to set up a Facebook page for my blog. I'd love it if you would follow me there! I just read about posting freebies for Facebook followers and I hope to try that out in the next couple of weeks.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Five for Friday

TGIF! I’m linking up again this week with Doodle Bugs for Five for Friday. It was a busy week!
I found “Edible Idioms” in this book from Scholastic. I’ve done them for the last several years. My student teacher did it with the class last week. They came out better than ever!

Piece of Cake – Bowl of Cherries – Go Bananas – In a Pickle – Cut the Cheese – Hot Potato – Hard Egg to Crack - Cool as a Cucumber - Spill the Beans - Top Banana - Peas in a Pod - Bringing Home the Bacon - Apple of My Eye
The used construction paper scraps to fill their plate with idioms. I love it!
I found these printables from The Teacher Wife that I used to make Valentine’s for my kids’ day care classes.

In rereading it I found that she taped the hearts onto the glow sticks. That would have been much faster than the hole punching I spent far too long working on. Oops!

Also from The Teacher Wife was the Love Pox. I was at Michaels the night before looking for heart stickers. I found one sad little package left on the shelf, but it worked perfectly. I will be spreading the Love Pox again next year!
My class had a breakfast party for Valentine’s Day. The room parents came in and made fresh waffles. We started the day with fruit and waffles and Valentine’s. I LOVE breakfast parties. I also love waffles. It is a win-win!
My husband delivered these daffodils to school on Valentine’s Day.

My fourth grade teacher had us memorize the poem “Daffodils” by William Wordsworth. When the Irishman and I were dating, I went to visit him several times across the pond. In Ireland and then in England when he was in uni, we walked through the daffodils reciting the poem. I love flowers with meaning!

Happy Friday!
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Chalkboard Paint on the Classroom Table

I mentioned the chalkboard table in my post on Friday. I got a few e-mails about it, so I thought I would post more information.
I read a blog last year about a family that painted their dining room table with chalkboard paint. I pinned the blog post and started thinking about my reading table.
My school is older. The teachers go “shopping” for furniture by looking at what others have discarded. My reading table is two trapezoid tables that are worn and stained. I have used table clothes to hide the table tops for years. Paint would be a better option.
I talked to my friends at Home Depot who recommended this paint and a small roller. I sanded and the applied three coats over the course of a few weeks. I used the brush on the edges.
We use the chalk all the time. We write 10 word summaries and draw graphic organizers during reading groups. We draw diagrams and work out math problems. The kids beg to write on the table.
To erase the chalk I use water and sponges. My kids used to complain if the mist of water got them wet. Then I renamed it “Smart Spray.” Now they try to get a little spray. I control the smart spray which helps!
Every week we wash out out sponges and clean the table with a bucket of water. It really isn’t that big a hassle.
My principal is awesome. I had left over paint so I asked if I could paint the connecting door. She happily went along.

The chalkboard frame was a class gift from a couple of years ago. I love the way it looks posted on the door. I post a question of the day on the door. They are usually just getting to know you questions, but we all enjoy it!

I know a lot of people are anti-chalk, but it works for me!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Reading Temperature Freebie

My student teacher is now at 100%. As a result, I keep volunteering to create things for the class with an ulterior motive. So far it is going well! My students are loving the things I’ve made for them!

Today we needed something to use to assess students’ ability to read temperature. I’ve added this one to my TpT store, so check it out!


I had a few questions about the table I painted with chalkboard paint. I took some pictures this afternoon and I hope to post later in the week with the “how to” and details about how I use it when teaching.

Our Boosterthon pep rally is tomorrow. Jeans and a t-shirt? Yes, please!

Have a great week!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Valentine’s Day Writing

I just posted my Valentine’s Day Writing Craftivity. My class has been working on this all week and we are LOVING it!


I am listening to the Harry Potter audio books right now, and I got the idea for this after listening to the scene in book 6 (I think) where Ron unintentionally eats a chocolate containing love potion. As I listened to the description of him acting crazy in love with a person he hardly knew, I decided my students would get into the idea.

Add to that some love bug clip art, and a craftivity was born.

The idea is that you were bit by a love bug and fell madly in love with the first thing you saw. Most of my students have picked an object to fall in love with – a football, a hamster, a toilet, and so on. We are publishing the writing on Monday.

I printed 5x7 photos of their faces on Friday and they have added a love bug band aid and heart antennae to finish the look. I can’t wait to get these finished and posted in the hallway! Such fun!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Five for Friday

I told myself I would try to blog once mid week. It didn’t happen, so I am joining up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday.
1. Scariest words for a teacher

This morning our principal came over the intercom and said, “Teachers, we are in a Code Red. This is not a drill.” We spent the next ten minutes on full lockdown. Our doors lock from the hallway. I was flustered and tried the wrong key as a million thoughts went through my head. I turned out the lights and gathered my 18 students to the corner of the room. They crawled under tables and chairs.

We sat there with no idea what was happening. After a few minutes, I calmly whispered to them to get comfortable. I told them that we would be sitting there silently no matter what happened. I told them we would be brave and stay quiet even if we were scared and even if someone knocked or tried to get in. I was praying silently. My student teacher was holding hands with a little girl who had started to cry.

We got the all clear and still had no idea what had happened. I work at a lab school on a university campus. They consider anything at the university to be on our campus. The incident happened at an office building on the edge of campus about half a mile away.

The news report I read about it said the school was on lockdown for six minutes. I can honestly say that was the scariest six minutes of my life.

2. The Smart Spray is Working

This summer I painted my reading table with chalkboard paint. My class LOVES it. Every time they sit at the table they ask if they can write on it. I thought it would get old, but not yet! During math groups this week we were working on fractions on a number line.


After working on thirds together, I assigned each student a different denominator. They worked away drawing their number lines. In each group there was at least one superstar to suddenly look around and realize that each number line showed 0 to 1. They pointed it out to their neighbors.

I did the happy dance. I gave ClassDojo points for insight. I grabbed my phone so I could capture the moment. It made my day.

We use a water bottle and sponges to clean the chalk. After listening to students complain about getting sprayed with water when I sprayed the table I started calling it, “Smart Spray.” After this lesson I joked with my kids that the smart spray was working!

3. What to wear?

I’m taking part in a case study with the LSI Marzano Center. This week was my third taped lesson. As with the other two I was up late the night before trying to figure out what to wear. This time my husband looked over and said, “Didn’t you wear that last time?”

Not helpful.

The lesson went well, and we tape the coaching session next week. As in getting taped while watching tape of my teaching.

I think a shopping trip might be in order this weekend!

4. SumDog

My class is OBSESSED with SumDog. They actually log onto Edmodo and post things like, “Meet me on SumDog at 4:00.” They love the contests. They love the games. They love earning coins to make purchases to dress their avatars. They love playing against their classmates. My monthly contest winner last month answered almost 15,000 questions correctly over the month.

I love the fact that they still view SumDog time as a reward. It is by far the best way I’ve found to study facts!

We are going to create a school-wide March Madness-style SumDog challenge with a bracket and all. Has anyone done anything like that before? Any idea where I can find a template?

5. Clip Art

I am obsessing over some clip art. I regret not making more purchases last weekend. But this one and this one and this one are calling my name. I see some fraction projects in my future. We’ll see how long I can hold out!

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

February Currently


It is that time again! I'm joining the fun with Farley.

Let’s see…my husband and children are asleep, so the house is quiet. The last week or so, one (or both) kids has woken up before I even made it to bed. I am working away, but LISTENING to every little noise. I’m hoping this phase passes soon!

I am LOVING the weather. Living in South Florida is rough in the fall. October comes and we are still WAY too hot, while the rest of the country is enjoying cooler weather with their pumpkins and apples. February makes it all worth it though! The windows were open and we hung the clothes out on the line this afternoon. We took the kids to the strawberry patch this morning for some yummy goodness. Love it!

I’ve stayed up late working on some projects for my TpT store this week. I’m still a newbie and trying to get things going. Now that my student teacher is starting to take over I am giving myself a project a week to prepare for the class that I can then post.

I got this one posted tonight in time for the big sale:


I am happy with all that I’ve gotten done this week, but I am THINKING that it will catch up to me soon if I don’t get some sleep!

I am WANTING my house to clean itself. I’d settle for having someone clean it for me. Sadly I don’t see either of those things happening any time soon!

I am excited about picking up some goodies during tomorrow’s sale, but I am NEEDING not to go overboard!

PET PEEVES- The first has to do with the Irishman. I love my husband dearly. He is a wonderful man who works hard. He wears a tie to work, and he works 5 days a week. I cannot figure out how it is possible that we will have 10 or so ties scattered around the house at any moment. I find ties on the kitchen counter, on the couch, in the bathroom, EVERYWHERE! We have tried several systems for organizing the ties, but it hasn’t made a difference.

My second PET PEEVE is missing manners.  It is so simple. I can’t stand listening to people old enough to know better with missing manners. My youngest is 18 months old and already says please and thank you. In class I really strive for “Yes, please” or “No, thank you” from my students when answering appropriate yes/no questions. It is the little things that can make a big difference.

Now I’m off to bed. Good night!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Five for Friday

Ahhh, Friday!


ONE: Sick kids

I was missing 7 of 18 kids by the end of the day today! There is a bug that has worked its way through my classroom. Thursday afternoon I had the cleaning crew disinfect my room after our attempt with wipes and sprays. I’m praying that I don’t get it!

I opted NOT to start a lesson on fractions and instead started a football themed contest on SumDog. They LOVED it! Some of the kids that were in class today posted on Edmodo to updated their friends who were out about what they missed.

TWO: Possessive Pets

I have been working on these possessive noun task cards for months now. I decided last week to put it in my student teacher’s plan. My class tried it out this week.


I finished fixing it up and got it posted to my TpT store this evening. Check it out!

THREE: Great Purchases

I bought Amy Lemon’s My Book of Fractions this week. I have had the students make fraction bars the last couple of years, but they always get lost and students with poor motor skills tend to end up with a mess. This book was perfect! Instead of staples I punched holes and used paper fasteners (aka brads) to make the book. The students can pull them apart to compare pages, but they store neatly without lost pages. I love it!

I love everything I’ve ever bought from Amanda. I have several of her metacognitive products. My students made their own tool boxes this week that I have bound into little books to store their handouts. I’d planned to take pictures, but I forgot. I’ll blog more about this later. I am so excited about this unit!

FOUR: The Lists

I have always been a list maker. Since my student teacher started taking over though, I have gone into list overdrive! I really got a lot done this week, but I am going to have to stop volunteering to do things. These lists are growing!

FIVE: Super Sale!

I’m taking part in the Super Sunday Sale! Be sure to stop by my store and take a look!

Have a great weekend!