Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Show Us Your Best Games

I am linking up with Tracey at The Teacher's Chair for "Show Us Your Best Games".
This is a game I used to play with my Grade 8's but younger children also love it.  It is just like Scattergories.  I choose 4 or 5 different categories.  If we were doing this in social studies, perhaps I would pick: 1. cities (in your country), 2. bodies of water (in your country), 3. languages of the world, 4. industry, 5. sport.

Now, divide your students into two groups.  Choose a letter of the alphabet.  You could do this randomly but I usually choose a letter that would have several options - who wants a Q or a Z.  Let's say I pick 'F'.  The groups work together to find items that start with that letter and fit in each category.  Only one pencil may be used per team to record the answers on the page.  The catch is, they don't want to pick the same words the other team has picked.  I score 1 point for each original first item and 1/2 point for each extra item that the other group did not have.  The children were ridiculously motivated and quiet.  They did not want the other team to hear what they were suggesting.

Possible answer:  1.  Fredericton, Fenelon Falls, Fort Erie (2 points)
                            2.  Fawn River, Flindt River (1 1/2 points)
                            3.  Finnish, French (1 point - of course the other group had French too)
                            4.  Fishing, farming, forestry (2 points)
                            5.  Football, field hockey, fencing (1 point)
Get it?  Simple and fun!  You could play this game in any subject area.  The children love having input on the categories too!  Enjoy your day!


Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Show Us Your Read-Alouds

Today I am linking up with Tracey at The Teacher's Chair for her School Week Linky Show Us Your... Favorite Read-Alouds.
Now who doesn't love a good great read-aloud!  I remember being read to for as long as I can remember - and I can remember a long way back!  The read-aloud that I have chosen to share is one of my all-time favourite fun read-alouds.  There is no deep underlying message, but it sure does demonstrate a great example of point of view.  I know it will totally shock people who know me, but my book is about an orange cat (of which I might have 3...).
As you can see from the cover, Chester the cat is trying to take over Melanie Watt's book.  He is not at all happy that there is a mouse in the story with him.  (All of Chester's writing is in red marker.)  If you have not read it, you must.  With your students, you could discuss point of view, compare and contrast Melanie and Chester, rewrite the story from the poor mouse's point of view... so many options.

On another note, I finally bought a laminator.  I was sooooo envious of all the stuff everyone else was making and I LOVE the thickness of the 5 mil plastic!  It is so much thicker and nicer than the school laminators.  All I can say is Wow!  Enjoy the rest of your day.  :)


Monday, 29 July 2013

Monday Made It and CRAFT Freebie

I am hooking up with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics for my first Monday Made It!

Now I am not crafty by any stretch of the imagination... But apparently I can use Washi tape!  I love it already!  So I made some designer clothes pins.  I also put my Whole Class Journals together.  That's pretty crafty, right?

If you click here, it will take you to Friday's post where you can get a set of the covers.

After I assembled my CRAFT board, I went home and typed up all of the strategies for my CRAFT Menu.  I have colour-coordinated them to match the labels in Ladybug's Teacher Files CRAFT Board.  If you would like a copy, I have attached them in Word and PDF.  I have also reattached my menu.  I used the super cute font LL Elementary Dots that you can get here free from I'm Lovin Lit.  (This is one of my all-time favourite fonts!)
Have a great day!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Sunday Smorgasbord - CRAFT

Today I am linking up with Fabulous in First for Sunday Smorgasbord.

I have had quite a productive day so far.  I spent several hours at school putting my CRAFT board together.  I took a couple of picture to show you.  If you like the letters and headings, you can get them for free from Ladybug's Teacher Files.  I decided not to use the bulletin board for this, but I might run into the problem of everything falling off the walls by early May... Does that happen to anyone else?

Now I'm going to work on creating each strategy for the Menu...

I also filed all of my new mentor texts in alphabetical order, tidied the teacher resource shelf behind my desk, and organized two of the closet shelves.  I still have lots to do but I still have some time.

I'll blog to you tomorrow for Monday Made-It with 4th Grade Frolics.


Saturday, 27 July 2013

Saturday Snapshots #3??

Well, it wouldn't be Saturday without another fun Saturday Snapshots.  I'm linking up with Run! Miss Nelson's Got the Camera for, could it be, my third Saturday in a row?
Rufus and Abby have felt pretty left out because I keep posting pictures of Cassie - but you know how a kitten is just so cute.  Here is a picture of Abby trying to be cute in the plant, and Cassie being crazy with Rufus nearby.  Do you understand where Cassie is?  She is in-between the blinds and the window.  She goes there every day!  Crazy!
And here's another angle of crazy Cassie in the blind.  Oh my her ears look big here!
Finally, here are a couple of photos from last year's trips to NYC and Cape Cod - and we get to go again in August!!!  I can't wait!

Yesterday I had some printer trauma - Yes, all four ink colours ran out at the same time.  My mom and I got new ink, and I have re-printed my Class Journal Covers and CRAFT labels!  Yay!  (If you didn't stop by yesterday, I posted a freebie of my journal covers that you are most welcome to, or you can find them at my TpT store.)  I'm heading to school again tomorrow... I will post photos of my progress later.
Happy Saturday,

Friday, 26 July 2013

Class Journal FREEBIE and Classroom Work

Today has been a very busy day!  I started off with a perfect run in the slightly cooler weather.  Then, my running buddy, Rebecca, came to my school and helped me hang up the no-fade paper on the bulletin boards in my new classroom.  I couldn't have done it without her.  Here is a picture of the BIG double board with the cute green polka-dot border around it.
I was pleased to see that my room wasn't in as horrible a state as I had thought I had left it.  I am going to go on Sunday and tidy some more.  :-)

On my way home, I accidentally stopped in at Dollar Tree.  Oops!  I bought bristol board for my CRAFT board (in beautiful neon colours), 2 pool noodles (that I am going to beg my sweet husband to cut into 3 pieces each for fun physical education games), and 8 hard cover notebooks for my whole class journals - I love that idea!
So... I made some covers for the journals.  Do you use Whole Class Journals?  If so, I would love to hear about it.  Are you using them again?  Did your students enjoy them?  How did you share the contents with the class?

Click on the picture for a free set ('favourite' and 'favorite' version is included).  I hope you all had an excellent day too!


Thursday, 25 July 2013

Math Fact Games FREEBIE

I have just finished compiling a collection of simple math fact games - requiring only a deck of cards or number cubes - that I hope you will find useful.  It's free, of course.  There are some variations within the games so they will work for a variety of different levels.  I intend to use them during the Math Facts part of my M.A.T.H. centres.  (For more information, please refer to this awesome post by Elizabeth at Fun in Room 4B.)  Please leave me some friendly feedback on TpT if you download it and like it.  Many thanks for your support.  :)

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Word Work Freebie

Hi there!
This is just a very quick post - someone requested a copy of an example of some of the activities I use for Word Work with the Words Their Way lists.  I have included many of the activities for you.  My students use the same word list for two weeks - there are an awful lot of words in each list.  I usually attach a few of the activities (word sort first - by spelling pattern, prefix, suffix...)  and end with a partner activity (Snowman = hangman without the hanging, partner quiz).  If you would like a copy of the package in Word, drop me an email. :)

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Time Travel Tuesday

Today I am linking up with Jess at I Heart Recess for her Time Travel Tuesday. prepared...Here I am!
Yes, I know.  What am I wearing?!  I think it's actually coming back in style...

Grade: 3 or 4 (it's so long ago I can't remember)
Year:  Let's call it the late late '70's :)
School:  Centennial Public School
Teacher:  Mrs. Davidson
Favourite TV Shows:  Charlie's Angels, 6 Million Dollar Man, and CHiPS (who didn't just love Erik Estrada!)
Memories:  I loved going to school, climbing trees, playing with friends

Now it's your turn.  Find your photo, scan it, and post about you when you were in the grade you presently teach.

My mom and I had an awesome trip to Watertown today for a wee bit of shopping and a delicious Olive Garden lunch.  YUM!  We found some great deals on clothing, and best of all, I found 10 packs of Crayola Markers on sale at Target for one dollar - thank you Shana for the tip!  Needless to say, I bought 12 packages of markers for my classroom.  Super awesome!  It's getting hot here again...

Until next time,

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Must Read Mentor Texts - Science Edition

I am linking up with Collaboration Cuties for their Must Read Mentor Texts.
This week the focus is science.  I would like to share this hilarious book that I use to introduce the Scientific Method.
Here is the book description from Amazon.
Is it possible to eat snowballs doused in ketchup—and nothing else—all winter? Can a washing machine wash dishes? By reading the step-by-step instructions, kids can discover the answers to such all-important questions along with the book's curious narrator. Here are 12 "hypotheses," as well as lists of "what you need," "what to do," and "what happened" that are sure to make young readers laugh out loud as they learn how to conduct science experiments (really!). 

Jenny Offill and Nancy Carpenter—the ingenious pair that brought you 17 Things I'm Not Allowed to Do Anymore—have outdone themselves in this brilliant and outrageously funny book.

This is a great text to show the steps needed to carry out an experiment.  The child creates a question, makes a hypothesis, tries the experiment, and draws conclusions.  As you read it with your class, point out the steps followed for each experiment.

You could also discuss famous scientists who have failed prior to having great success - examples can be found here: 16 Most Inspiring Famous Failures.
My class loved this book...  I hope yours does too!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Saturday Snapshots - #2

The weather has provided us a wee bit of relief today.  We had a big storm last night which cooled the place off temporarily.  Today is hot again but not quite as humid (Thank goodness!).  I'm linking up with Miss Nelson's Got the Camera for her Saturday Snapshots.
My photos certainly do not compare at all to Miss Nelson's - I take most of my pictures with my iPhone...

As I blogged about yesterday, I have worked really hard this week making my shared reading plans for the upcoming year.  Now as every cat owner knows, cats are all about helping.  Here is baby Cassie reading my mentor texts (by osmosis).
Cassie is very smart!  She also is the:
I spent a lot of time working on the gardens.  I sent this photo to Nicci at Chalet Re.  "Here are the perennials I got today."  "Is Diet Coke a perennial?" asked Nicci.  I wish!

I got them all planted on one of the hottest days this summer.  I couldn't understand why I was sweating so much - I'm not usually a sweat-er... (Imperial and Metric!  Yay!)
Even the kitten was oh so hot.
I hope you had a satisfying Saturday!

Until next time,

Friday, 19 July 2013

Busy Busy Week

Happy Friday!
This has been a busy busy week!  It has been crazy hot up here in the Great White North!  Wowza!  Nevertheless, I made some things for school, gardened, and enjoyed some delicious meals in air-conditioned comfort.

One of the first things I did was combine/tweak a CRAFT Menu that I found at Mrs. Woods' Class Grade 5 with the information from Kristen at Ladybug's Teacher Files to come up with this CRAFT Menu that I would find useful in my class.  What do you think?
I also created shared reading plans for the first four weeks of school.  I have incorporated the Mentor Sentence work from Ideas By Jivey and the expectations from the CRAFT Menu.  I have all 3 of Jivey's Mentor Sentence units and I LOVE THEM!!!  (If you are interested in purchasing them, you can buy them as a bundle now and save $5!)  What does shared reading look like in your classroom?

I also wanted to draw your attention to a post that I found incredible.  It was by Brandee at Creating Lifelong Learners.  She posted about creating book trailers on the iPad using iMovie.  What a fabulous activity.  It would definitely demonstrate higher order thinking and comprehension of text.  She has a sample trailer for you to watch.  Now, the only problem is... How do I get some iPads for my class?

Stay cool!

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Setting Up My Math Workshop

Today I am linking up for my first ever Workshop Wednesday with Ideas By Jivey!  I'm going to talk about setting up my Math Workshop.  I have just been doing a lot of thinking so far and am open to suggestions...

My thoughts so far are to use the M.A.T.H. format on Tuesdays and Thursdays as discussed in this awesome post by Elizabeth at Fun in 4B.  (M-Math Facts, A-At Your Seat, T-Teacher's Choice, H-Hands On)  I think I will call 'T' Teacher Time and have that be my guided math group time.

On the other three days, I would like to have the children do a quick Calendar Math as they enter.  I have used this one by Stephanie at Teaching in Room 6.  Thanks, Stephanie!  I would follow this with the Three-Part Lesson.

The Three-Part Lesson consists of Getting Started (connect to prior learning, set the context for learning), Working On It (introduce new learning, provide opportunities for practice and application), and Consolidation (help students demonstrate what they have learned, provide opportunities for sharing and reflection).  If you would like to see an example of a Three-Part Lesson, go to this post by Jennifer Runde.

Thoughts?  Suggestions?  I would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Tunes Tuesday

Happy Tuesday, everyone!  I'm linking up with Nick from Sweet Rhyme & Pure Reason to join in on his Tunes Tuesday linky party!  What a great way for children to learn about grammar!  There are already some amazing songs posted so be sure to drop by, download, and enjoy.

I have chosen the song "Fireflies" by Owl City, and action verbs as the grammatical focus.  To download my activity, please click here.

We are having a very hot week in my neck of the woods.  I hope you are all finding ways to stay cool.  Have an awesome day!


Monday, 15 July 2013

Holiday Booked!

Hello fellow Bloggers!  I just wanted to quickly tell you that my super sweet husband has booked our trip to New York City!  This is one of my favourite trips ever, and we have started the tradition of going every summer since our 10th year wedding anniversary.  Here's a picture of us from last year.  (We rented bikes and pedalled around Central Park.  So fun!)

Don't forget to tune in tomorrow for Tunes Tuesday with Sweet Rhyme & Pure Reason...
Have a great night!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Sunday Smorgasbord

Today I am linking up with Fabulous in First for her Sunday Smorgasbord!

It has been a busy week filled with gardening, running, reading and EATING!  I found a bit of time to add a third product to my teachers pay teachers store - Word Hunt.  It is like the game Boggle.  Either you can create a game for your students on the blank template, or your students can create one and exchange with a partner to solve it.  My children loved it!!!  They really liked it when I could find tons of words on the pages they created.  "I didn't realize I made so many words!" would often be heard.  Please leave me some feedback at my store if you download it and like it.  :)

Is anyone else c-r-a-z-y about coloured pens and markers?  When I moved classrooms this summer, I think I had enough pens/markers to overfill one desk drawer!  Every time I see a new set with pretty colours, I need them!  I think I have a problem.
Love these Sharpies!!

Well, I'm going to go plant a few more perennials...  Enjoy your day!

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Saturday Snapshots

Happy Saturday, my blogging friends!
I am linking up with Run! Miss Nelson's Got the Camera for my first ever Saturday Snapshots.

I worked very hard on the gardens this week.  They had been very badly neglected but are beginning to come to life again. :)

Of course I need a picture of beautiful Cassie - now 15 weeks old!

And finally, here are some pictures of the beautiful scenery we saw on our weekly run/walk with my mom, brother, and nephew this morning.

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, 12 July 2013

Liebster Award!

  A huge THANK YOU to Allison at Live, Love, Learn in Fourth Grade for nominating me for the Liebster Award!  I am very new to the blogging scene but love it already.  Thank you for all being so kind and helpful.

The "Rules" to Accept the Award:
-Link back to the blog that nominated me.
-Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers.
-Answer the questions posted for you by your nominator.
-Share 11 random facts about yourself.
-Create 11 questions for your nominees.
-Contact your nominees and let them know you nominated them.

Blogs I'm Nominating:
All Four Reading
4th & 5th Grade Happiness
Koonce's Korner
Love. Learn. Teach.
Write in the Middle

Allison's Questions:
1. If you had to describe yourself using only three adjectives, what would they be and why?
Determined, outgoing, and loyal.  Determined:  Once I set out to do something, I do it!  Outgoing:  I might just say "Hi" to everyone I meet, much to my running partners' embarrassment.  Loyal:  I am loyal to friends, family, even products.

2. What is your favourite stress reliever during the school year?
I love to go for a run with friends after school.  There's nothing like a run with some tunes to get rid of stress!

3. Do you use reading workshops in your classroom.  If so, what do you think about it?
I seem to always change this from year to year hoping to find something perfect.  So this summer I have just finished reading Aimee Buckner's "Notebook Connections:  Strategies for the Reader's Notebook", and I'm going to read Laura Candler's "Power Reading Workshop" in the hopes to make this work better for me.

4. If you could go back and relive one teaching experience you've had what would it be?  Positive or Negative.
This is a difficult question.  I think it would be every moment that you see that spark in your student and you know you helped make this happen.

5. What are your hobbies?
I like to read, run, garden, watch movies, and I go through quilt-making bursts (none this year!).

6.  What is your all time favourite lesson?
I love teaching about Fractured Fairy Tales, creating a class one, and having the students create their own.  So fun!

7. What is your all time favourite recipe?
Better Butter Chicken from 'Eat, Shrink and Be Merry'.  Delicious!

8. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I would absolutely go to Italy!  I have always wanted to go there - especially after seeing "Eat, Pray, Love" and "Under the Tuscan Sun".

9. If you had unlimited money, what would you buy for your classroom?
I would buy iPads for my classrooms.  The things you can do with technology are incredible.  I hear about many of you with a few iPads in your classroom and am a wee bit envious.

10. What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a blog?
Speak from your heart and just go for it!

11.  Are you an animal lover?
I  love animals - especially cats!  I have three beautiful cats (one of them a kitten)!

11 Random Facts About Me:
1. I don't like coffee - not at all.
2. I am a Diet Coke addict - hence the Mini Me with a Diet Coke.
3. When I wake up in the middle of the night, I read on my iPhone.
4. I love to go out to eat.
5. Fancy restaurants are not my favourite!
6. I run with my mom every Saturday.
7. I love all things Apple.
8. I check Bloglovin' about ten times a day!
9. I like to get up early every day.  I know.  Weird!
10. There is always a tv, docking station, noise of some sort on in my house and I like it that way.
11. I have all genres of music on my iPod

11 Questions for my Nominees:
1.  What is your favourite food/recipe?
2.  What is your favourite subject to teach?  Why?
3.  Where is the most special place you have ever travelled?
4.  If you could only have three math manipulatives in your classroom, what would they be?
5.  What is your favourite all time movie?
6.  What is your favourite thing about summer?
7.  What is your favourite teacher resource?
8.  What actor would you like to play you in a movie about your life?
9.  If you were not a teacher, what would you be?
10. What made you start blogging?
11. What is something that would surprise people about you?

This has been fun!  I can't wait to read everyone's answers.  Have a great day!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Homework Thoughts on a Thursday

Do you think it's a problem that I had a dream last night that I was in my classroom and half of the children did not have their shoes on?  (If you know me, you would know that this would be quite upsetting for me.)  Crazy!

I have been busily reading people's posts, reflecting, and SLOWLY working my way through my To Do List.

Many people have been posting about their homework practices or asking what others do.  I am not a huge fan of assigning homework for the sake of assigning homework.  I think children's time with their families is precious.  Some children are only home and awake a few hours each school day.  Should they be doing homework during this time?  Now I expect my students to read each day - be it alone, with a sibling, with a parent...  I provide books for this if they wish.  I also send home a duotang each Monday with a Homework Newsletter in it.  My intent is that it shows the parents what we have been working on and they can get some sense of their child's understanding of it.

Here is an example of one of my newsletters:

What are your thoughts?  I would love to hear them.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Tunes Tuesday Linky

Today I am linking up with Sweet Rhyme & Pure Reason for his Tunes Tuesday Linky Party.  This is where children learn about a particular grammar skill through awesome songs!  Who wouldn't love that?!  Just click on the button below for further information and to join in on the fun.
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, 8 July 2013

Multiplying and Eating, Drinking & Linking

Here is a super simple way of multiplying in an easy, hands-on way.  I can't believe I hadn't come across this idea before.

I have always used arrays to demonstrate multiplication of math facts up to 9 X 9 but I would draw the dots or use actual objects to represent each number - didn't work very well with large numbers. .

At my math course, we used base ten blocks to multiply 22 X 26.  Make a rectangle with 22 units one direction and 26 the other way.  Essentially, we made our array out of base ten blocks.  This did not take long at all as we filled in as many hundreds blocks as we could first, then tens, then ones.
You can clearly see that we have 4 hundreds, 16 tens, and 12 ones = 572  Easy as pie!  Then, we used grid paper to solve 15 X 12.  It was very easy to draw the base ten blocks on the grid paper.  Ta da!
Before you all rush off to try this, I'm going to link up with Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road for:
Here is an easy recipe to bring to a party.
It's delicious!!
Enjoy your day.
- Lisa