Monday, August 29, 2011

Come on...Irene!

So...I've spent some time inside lately due to the torrential rain and windy winds. Irene did a number on so many people! My husband and I were lucky enough to have very minor damage to our deck. Only one board was damaged when a massive tree limb fell exactly vertical through the deck. We had many leaves and debris in the yard, but after a quick clean up, we are back to normal! We are some of the lucky ones who never lost power...praise the Lord!

All this time inside gave me more than enough time to spend my last (sad face) days of summer working on...SCHOOL WORK! What did I do, you ask? Well, I worked on my classroom library (labeling all the chapter books with AR level and points & putting a color sticker on each binding to represent the AR level--phew!), cut out laminating, organized what I could, and lots more!

Today was supposed to be our first day of teacher work week...but Irene put a damper on that. One more day of summer!! Except what did I work on?? More BOOKS for the classroom never ends. And...I'm feeling the pressure because we have Open House on Thursday...which means my room as to be READY! Can we say behind schedule? I've have LOTS to do once we go back to work. Fingers crossed for Tuesday...can't believe I'm crossing my fingers to go back to school...

Hope everyone survived the storm...and earthquake (last week)! A friend of mine decided to endure a blizzard as well to make it a hat trick--she went to DQ! Love it :-)


Wednesday, August 24, 2011


August has been a crazy month for me! I feel like I have been gone forever! I spent some time in Savannah, Georgia for the first time (beautiful) and have also traveled to NC and MD in the last few weeks. Needless to say, my blogging time has been limited, as well as my time working in my room. We have teacher work week next week and will have a significant amount of time to work in our rooms, so it will all have to come together during that time. I'm sure many of you out there are already back in full swing. Some school systems nearby were supposed to start today but the earthquake really shook up those plans and they postponed the start of school by one day! My guess is that they wanted to check all the schools to make sure they are OK for students and faculty.

I have spent a couple days in my room trying to get things started. I had to move rooms since I'm moving up to 4th grade, so there has been lots of organizing! I don't have my student desks the room looks fairly large. I'm sure once they are in, the room will look significantly smaller. I managed to get my fabric and borders on the bulletin boards and begin working on my "teacher corner." I've had to make some modifications this year because my new room is smaller than my old one, and I've had to get rid of 2 tall bookshelves. That doesn't leave a lot of space for my stuff! Yikes!

I hope you enjoy the photos of the slow & steady transformation. I'll be posting more as I spend time in my room next week.





Notice the curtains I made this year!!


Friday, August 5, 2011

It's been a week!

I can't believe it has been a week since I posted!  I've had a crazy week!  I spent a few days in DC watching the Braves play and touring our nation's capital.  It was so much fun, and I got some great pictures to share with my kids this year!  I also attended a Promethean conference yesterday.  I learned how to use ActivInspire to create animation.  I haven't had much time to explore my favorite blogs or Pinterest this week, but I did manage to create my Daily 5 checklist.  I'm going to share it below as promised.  My plan is to use this same checklist throughout the year, but there is always a possibility that it will need to be altered.  I'd love to hear your ideas!  Please leave a comment if you use Daily 5 and how you use it in your classroom!

Daily 5 Checklist

Friday, July 29, 2011

Up All Night

Well...Sugar, my dog, decided that she really didn't want to sleep last night and would rather play outside...thus leaving my husband and I to wait up for her to be ready to come in from the yard.  In the meantime, my mind was racing with all the new ideas I'd seen yesterday on so many wonderful blogs.  Specifically, I was thinking about Literacy Centers to use during small group reading time.  I have used the Daily 5 management system the last 3 years and LOVE it!  Since I'm moving from 3rd to 4th grade, I've got to revamp my independent work, which I call "Literacy Jobs." 

I got to thinking about all the things I want my kids to accomplish while I'm holding small group reading instruction.  The 3 things I definitely want them to do are: vocabulary work, a comprehension assignment to go along with the story of the week, and grammar.  For grammar, I use Mountain Language  I use the stand-alone chart as a center, but I believe you could also order the bulletin board set.  It is great because it focuses on ALL the skills they need to know.  It requires a lot of training in the beginning of the year, but it is well worth it.  I would advise that you exclude some of the questions in the beginning of the year and then build them in once you've covered that particular skill. 

Once the students complete the necessary literacy jobs (vocab, comprehension, grammar), I had to think of other jobs for them to work on--literacy based, of course.  While waiting up for Sugar, I thought about creating a literacy job sheet for the students to use as a checklist.  My idea is to require the vocab, comprehension, and grammar and make those assignments worth 25 pts. a piece--for a total of 75.  Then the students can choose other jobs worth certain points to complete during the week--after they finish the first 3 required jobs.  The jobs they get to choose from will have points, and they must choose jobs that are worth enough points to add to the original 75 (from the first 3 jobs) to equal 100 points. 

Here is what I was thinking for the jobs they can choose:

Reading Center (Listen to Reading, Read to Someone, Biography/Autobiography, Newspaper read & respond)

Word Work (Making words, 7 Little Words, Word Ladders, How much is it worth?)

Writing (Poetry center with task cards, Weekly Writing Prompt, Silly Stories, Picture Writing)

Computer (Typing practice, Spelling City, Pixie, Blog response or other weekly content-based assignment)

Descriptions of jobs:
-Biography/Autobiography: students will read a selected book about someone and will fill out a sheet to go along with the story

-Newspaper: we use VA Studies & Science Weekly and have questions that go along with each edition

-Making Words: give students a content-based work (Interdependency) and have them come up with words within the larger word--Example--find 5 verbs: eat, dip, enter, etc.

-7 Little Words: I discovered this as a game for the iPhone and will adapt it using content-area words

-Word Ladders: I have used the ones from Scholastic in the past and have them laminated for kids to use with a Vis-A-Vis and then they write their final answers on a sheet they turn in

-How much is it worth: assign each letter of the alphabet a numerical value (in the form of money) and have students use that as a key to add up the value of each letter in their spelling words

-Silly Stories: I came up with this idea last year and love it so much that I'm using it again in 4th--I have 3 index card boxes--1 for character, 1 for plot, and 1 for setting.  The kids pull 1 card from each box at random and have to write a story including all the information from the cards.  It makes for very interesting, silly stories.

As I continue to work through my ideas from last night, I'm going to create the literacy job checklist.  Once I have a version--since it will probably change--I'll post it on here to share with you.  I hope you'll gain some ideas from this post.  Maybe you've got some other ideas that would fit into this!  Please add a comment and share!  Enjoy your Friday!!


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Slight Obsessions

I've spent most of today working on setting up my blog, looking at other blogs, and becoming completely obsessed with several things!

-Visit Talbott's Task Cards:

-Pinterest is an amazing way to document websites, photos, and ideas you find!

-I'm working on getting some photos ready to post to show you how I'm going to do math journals this year and homework folders. 
Stay tuned!


My New Button

Follow Me Through 4th!

Welcome to my blog!

I am new at blogging, so we'll see how this goes as I begin to share my experiences with you!  I have taught 2nd grade for one year, 3rd grade for two years, and will now be teaching 4th grade!

I've spent most of the summer working on school stuff:
-organizing all my chapter books with labels and AR points
-preparing to do math journals for the first time
-learning the curriculum by making study guides
-spending money (yikes) on a new theme for my room this year--STARS*
-learning new technology
-researching online & discovering the world of teaching blogs!

I hope this blog will serve as a way to share ideas and communicate with others as we begin to tackle another year!