Saturday, 28 September 2013

Five for Friturday

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for my first ever Five for Friday!  I'm very sorry that I'm a day late but I have been sick for so long and running low on energy.
I used my "Show What You Know" board for checking understanding on multiplying by 10's, 100's, 1000's with my lovely little friends.  I love it.  I can just take a picture of it and there is all my data on my computer.  If you would like a copy of this you can get it here from Jameson at Lessons with Coffee.  (I love it, Jameson!  Thanks!)
My students and I are so excited to be writing to our pen pals - Jennifer at Mrs. Laffin's Laughings.  We have all finished our letters and are sending them off tomorrow!  (Coincidentally, we have the exact same number of students AND boys and girls!  It was meant to be.)
During library this week, my students called me over to the ledge.  Look what we saw!  A hummingbird!
I sent off my SLANT box to Amanda at His and Her Hobbies this week.  Guess who helped wrap it again?  Cassie the kitten! 
And finally, here are a few pictures for you to enjoy from my family's weekly Saturday morning run/walk.  This is a beautiful park very close to my house.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Terry Fox - A Canadian Hero

Happy Sunday!  Today I am linking up with Jennifer at Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for A Peek at my Week.
Before I start with my upcoming week, here are a few pictures from yesterday's Run or Dye 5 km race.  This is where you walk or run 5 km in a very fun and low pressure environment.  As you pass through the race course, there are certain colour stations where people throw coloured cornstarch powder on you.  The result is very - um - bright!  This was the first time my city had held this event and it was sold out to the tune of 5000 participants.  Here are some of the people waiting to begin.  (It had just poured rain!!!)

Here we are before the race...

I'm sad to report that my silver crown blew away during the first kilometre or two...  And here is the end.  :) 

My mom's the one on the left in the white garbage bag, as it had started to pour rain again after we finished.  Isn't she a trouper?  Check out my hot pink legs!  Crazy!  (My toes are still pink after two showers.)

Now onto my week.  This week we are using Terry Fox: A Story of Hope for our shared reading, writing, and mentor sentence work.  Terry Fox was an incredible young man who attempted to run across Canada with a prosthetic leg to raise money for cancer.  It was his hope to collect $1 for each Canadian.  Part way through his journey, the cancer returned and he was unable to finish his journey.  He had run a marathon each day (42 km/26 miles) for 143 days straight!  In celebration of Terry's life, they hold a National School Run Day which is this Thursday, September 26th.  If you would like to learn more about Terry Fox, here is an excellent video that I showed my class.  It is only 9 minutes long.
Keeping up with the running theme... our school's Running Club starts this Tuesday (and Thursday) before school.  Our school has a strong and HUGE running team... It's so fun starting your day with a run with so many children.  Thursday is also our Open House where I will get to finally meet those parents I have not already had the pleasure of meeting.  I hope your week is also great!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

I Actually Won Something + Tried It Tuesday

Hello Tuesday!  I am sooooo happy!  I just got an email from Caitlin at Miller's Science Space informing me that I won the rafflecopter for her editable newsletters!  Have you seen these?  They are great!  You can find them here.  Thank you so much Caitlin!
I would also like to link up with Holly at Fourth Grade Flipper for her Tried It Tuesdays (my first one).
I would like to share with you how I'm doing my Reader's Notebooks.  I bought spiral notebooks (for ten cents each).  On the front, the children decorated this cover and I glued it on - because I am a wee bit uptight about the covers being straight and centred.  (Click the cover to go to the Doodle Art Alley website to get the subject specific covers.)
Then we flipped the spiral notebooks upside down and I glued this on:
The beautiful background is from Covered in Glitter and Glue's Black and White Binder Covers, and the font is my new favourite - 'Hello Chalk Talk' - and it's available free from Jen at Hello Literacy.  I wasn't sure how well it would work having the students flip the book but it has not been any problem at all!  I think having the covers glued on really helps.  On the Mentor Sentence side we are, of course, doing Jivey's awesome Mentor Sentence work.  I had never even heard of Mentor Sentences before reading all of your blogs in the Spring, but I LOVE them!  My favourite part is day 4.  If you would like to learn more about Mentor Sentences, click here.  I hope your day was as great as mine!

Monday, 16 September 2013

Positive Points Monday Linky

Happy Monday, Friends!  Today I am linking up with Sarah at Permanently Primary for her Positive Points Monday linky!
This is an excellent way to start off the week!
1.  I am nearly finished all of my PM Benchmarks.  I'm only missing two friends' assessments as they have been absent for the last two school days.  I'm still happy!
2.  My students absolutely love learning about Canada in social studies.  It's especially fun teaching people about things that they are interested in.  We sang along with Stompin' Tom!  Who wouldn't love that?
3.  I got my math groups and tubs all ready for this week!  We are working on place value to 10000:  showing numbers in a variety of ways, naming numbers, creating numbers...  We made the thousands and hundreds for our place value kits today.  Everyone finished cutting!
4.  I love love love the staff at my school.  They are just amazing!
5.  And finally, doesn't this just say it all?  This is dear Cassie when she discovered the kitchen tap this weekend.  I still can't get over how cute she is!
Link up with Sarah and share your positive points.  Have a great night!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Budding Blog Linky and Notetaking

I am linking up with Jess at I Heart Recess for her Budding Blog linky party.  This is for blogs with less than 200 followers.
1.  I started blogging on my first day of summer vacation as a way to exchange ideas with all of the many teacher bloggers I had been following for the past year.  I love the blogging community.  Everyone is so supportive.  (It's also a wee bit addictive!  I'll be right back... I'm just going to see if anyone posted anything new.)  :)
2.  My favourite subject to teach is literacy - and especially reading.  I love to see the children progress through the year as they acquire more strategies and confidence.  I have more books than I know what to do with.  I ask the students to tell me if I am missing books they like - and then I buy even more!
3.  I like to use humour with my students - so I really like grade 4's as they 'get' it.  I think I am pretty relaxed in my teaching style and don't get upset by my students (or show them).  I like to learn about their interests and love them.  :)
4.  Three interesting facts:  1)  I once won an award for being "Associate Teacher of the Year";  2) I ran only one full marathon (with two friends) for a dear friend who had cancer, and I was sick for the whole last half.  That's right, folks...  I was sick for 21 long hard kilometres!  But you can bet we finished!  3) I absolutely love musicals - all and any!  Now if only my husband would learn to love them too.
5.  I do have a TpT store - but it is very small.  Check back later.  My link is here.
Please go to Jess' page and link up!  Click on the button above to go to her blog.

This year I am keeping a binder with alphabet dividers for my day-to-day student observations.  I have a piece of card stock (in very pretty colours) for each student.  I am going to record my observations on labels, carried on my clipboard.  At the end of each day I will stick the labels on each child's page.  How do you keep track of your student observations?

Monday, 9 September 2013

Math Game - Number Guess

So I mentioned yesterday about the math activity I was going to do today.  I purchased Avery Cord Style Name Badges, downloaded template #74465, and then typed one- to three-digit numbers - one number per card.  I just printed these on normal paper and paper cut them to 4" X 3" rather than wasting the nice perforated ones enclosed.  Then I slid one number in each plastic pouch.  During math class, I put one of these cord badges around the students' necks with the card on their back so they couldn't see their own numbers.
Now the children walked around with a post-it note to take notes (if they wanted) and they could ask yes/no questions - but only one for each student until they figured out their number.  Once everyone was successful, we discussed what kind of questions were very helpful.  For example, some children asked: "Is it 38?"  "Is it 217?"  Not very useful questions.  Some asked:  "Is it odd?"  "Is it 3 digit?" "Is it higher than 500?"  This provided them with more useful information.  It was an interesting and fun activity for everyone!  (I did, of course, rig the numbers - easier ones for those who needed it.)  Enjoy!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

A Peek at my Week and Forgotten Items...

I am linking up with Jennifer at Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for A Peek at my Week.
This is a pretty crazy week school-wise and appointment-wise.  I have something scheduled everyday after school from staff meetings to haircuts.  This school week is nearly like the first week of school again.  On Monday, I have my Grade 3/4 class that I had last week, but for the very last time.  Then on Tuesday, I say "Good-bye" to my Grade 3's and welcome a new batch of Grade 4's.  (Yay for a straight grade!)  So Tuesday will be like the first day of school again.  Back to learning routines. We will be reading the book Enemy Pie by Derek Munson and using it for our mentor sentence work.  We will be working on place value and number sense.  For a starting activity, I bought Cord Style Name Badges.  In each plastic pouch I am going to put a card with a number on it.  I will walk around the room putting the badge necklaces on the back of the students - so they can't see what number they have.  Then they will walk around the room asking yes or no questions to classmates in order to determine their number.  I'll post a picture for you later in the week.  I can't wait to finally get started with Interactive Notebooks this week!
One of my super lovely SLANT box partners Terry at First At Bat has asked me to post about some of the things I have forgotten to get before school started or wish I had, and any things that I might enjoy from the United States.  I would have to say the things I forgot were things I thought I had at school but realized I didn't, such as colourful paper clips, erasers, and little note pads. I also wish I could find the Sharpie Flip Chart Markers with a chisel tip.  Have you tried these?  They write so nicely in bright beautiful colours and don't bleed through.  They used to have them at our Staples but I haven't been able to find them in the past two years.  I also wonder why all the delicious cinnamon-flavoured candies appear in Canada, hook me, then disappear...  We used to have cinnamon Certs, cinnamon Mentos, cinnamon everything... Why no more?  Grade 4's study rocks and minerals.  Wouldn't it be interesting to look at little rocks/pebbles/minerals from other parts of North America - like Florida?  How's that for a few ideas?  Now it's your turn.  What kind of things do you wish you had for your classroom but don't have yet?  Enjoy a great night!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Saturday Snapshots - First Week!

I'm linking up with Miss Nelson of Run! Miss Nelson's Got the Camera for her Saturday Snapshots.
I have just finished my first week of school and it was a pretty great week.  My school has an awesome staff and it was so nice to see everyone again.  I enjoyed my class more and more each day but I learned late in the week that we will be doing a little bit of shuffling to even out the numbers so I get to change from a 3/4 split to a straight Grade 4!  I couldn't be happier!  I LOVE Grade 4!  And it's so nice not to be worrying about two different curriculums.  So I will meet some new students next week, and say good bye to some really lovely Grade 3's.  We did an activity Friday afternoon that was really fun.  Each student was given a section or two from the newspaper.  They were asked to find numbers and cut them out.  Then, with their table group they glued them all on a piece of construction paper, chose their favourite number together and shared it with the group.  It was interesting to hear their reasons for choosing their number and learning whether they had knowledge of percents, money, decimals; whether they could read larger numbers... so many things.  (I wish I had taken a picture of the finished product.  They did a great job!)
Going back in time, we spent an excellent day in Perth, Ontario last weekend for lunch with almost all of my cousins, 2 aunts, uncles, and cousins' babies.  It was so fun!  Here are a couple of pictures from this beautiful little town.

Finally, poor sweet Cassie got spayed on Wednesday.  Don't worry - she is crazy and cute as always.
Have a great night!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Back to It - Learning Styles FREEBIE

The posts are definitely shorter now that I'm back at school.  I'm enjoying my students more and more each day!  I made my Boggle Board from Tara at 4th Grade Frolics which you can get here.  I think she did a really great job on the letters!  So far we have made words together to ensure they understand that the letters can cross over, switch directions... as long as they touch by a corner or side.  They really enjoy it!  It's hard to get them to stop...  "I have another!!"  I have these on my whiteboard and I will change the letters each week.  I think they need a pretty border around them.  (Please note that my letters were magnetized by my awesome sweet girl helpers, Rachel and Claire.)
(I'm sure it will surprise you that you can make the word "cat". Shocker!)
We also did our learning styles questionnaire. Now I did not make this at all!  I got this from a workshop last year and re-typed it.  If you would like to see the questionnaire, click on the chart below.  I read the questions to my students one-by-one, and they highlighted which answer was more applicable to them.  Then they totalled how many A's (Visual), B's (Auditory), and C's (Kinesthetic) they had.  The next day, they chose a Post-It note colour, wrote their name and which learning style suited them best.  Then they placed it on the chart in the appropriate column.  (I glued the notes down so they would stick more solidly.)
I'm very anxious to have our class lists all finalized so I can get started on my interactive notebooks - so excited to use them.  I hope everyone had a great day!  Blog to you soon!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

First Day, Fred, and Locker Woes

Well the first day of school has come and gone.  It was exciting to meet all of my new friends and begin to get to know them.  They are all so different and have such interesting things to share with us.  I feel like my class is very boy heavy this year but in reality it isn't.  :)  We read (and they loved) "First Day Jitters".  But most of them told me that their favourite part of the day was Saving Fred!  They worked in groups of four to save Fred.  I particularly love this picture that shows how well each group member participated in this activity.
I feel like I'm way behind in what I wanted to do today because we spent WAY too much time trying to learn how to open the locks for their lockers!!!  It was so hard for them.  Does anyone else have lockers for such a young age?  Any tricks on helping them open them?  I drew a diagram...  worked with them one-on-one...  Ahhhhhhh!  Maybe they should just keep their things in the lockers but not put any locks on them.
On a brighter note, I put washi tape around my "Show What You Know" board and think it looks so much better. 
Finally, here's my Learning Goal Board.  I'm sure it will surprise you that my learning goal colours match the colours of the students' duotangs/notebooks for each subject.  (red-language, blue-math, green-science...)  :)  I hope you had a great day!

Sunday, 1 September 2013

A Peek at my Week

I am linking up with Jennifer at Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for A Peek at my Week!
Tomorrow is a holiday - and the day before school starts.  So, of course, I am going to pop into school for some finishing touches... sharpen pencils, put temporary names on desks, and hang up these!!!
My wonderful niece, Claire, has worked her 'bee magic' again.  She made me five bees to hang around my room.  Too bad we aren't allowed to hang anything from the ceiling.  Wouldn't they be adorable hanging?
On the first day of school, we will be working on routines, routines, routines.  We are going to read 'First Day Jitters'  and do the 'Save Fred' activity to see how each member works in a group.  (I'm not sure where to find gummy lifesavers...  If anyone has an idea, that would be great.)  We will also talk about how to pick 'just right' books.  At the end of the day, I'm going to hand out these gift bags that Claire and my step-daughter Rachel worked very hard on last night.  They are such great helpers.
We have a big school-wide assembly on Wednesday.  The 850 students will be introduced to the teachers.  It will be so nice to be all together.  We will be continuing our shared reading with 'First Day Jitters' and, of course, Jivey's awesome Mentor Sentence work!  (Click here to get her Mentor Sentence Bundle.)
In writer's workshop we will be talking about generating ideas.  We will discuss 'fake reading vs real reading' and what each looks like.  We will do the 'Words Their Way' assessment to see where each little darling is in his/her word work ability.
On Friday, we will be TIRED!  :)
I'm excited to get back into routine!  And now all of you blogging friends who started school in August (or July!  Yikes!) will be so much happier that we are all working.  Have a great week!