Halloween Treat!

Oh. My. Goodness. I feel like I have gone completely AWOL from this little ol' blog of mine. I'm quite sad about it, but it can't be helped. This school year has been BEYOND crazy. I'm lovin' my class from 8-2. They are super sweet and funny...which is my favorite part!  When that bell rings, though,  it's a whole different story! Before and after school...there is WAY too much going on! New test. New acronyms. Data collection. Assessments. BAM! BAM! BAM! We are getting hit from all sides with so much. The funny thing is no one really knows what the future holds. So as fast we are told about something "new", it's OLD! With a new standardized test looming in the distance things have been quite chaotic. It seems like everyone is in panic mode. Does anyone else feel like that? I've been at this 25 years and I will say this is the toughest one yet!

All I know is I am required to teach the standards. If I do that then they SHOULD perform well on the test, right? (Someone please agree with me!) I am doing my best to stay afloat and TEACH ON!

Since it's Halloween weekend, one of my favorite times of the year, I wanted to give you all a little treat! And if you're like me, retail therapy always makes you feel better! I'm also in an extra good mood because Halloween is my big sister's birthday! We have lots of special treats planned for her...can't tell you what they are here in case she reads this! But I will say that she is the BEST sister in the world. So giving. So caring and patient. And one of the best teachers I know!

Stop by for a little sale going on all weekend.

If you haven't picked up this challenging analogy freebie yet, go and get it at my TpT store. My kids had a blast with this!

I hope everyone enjoys a very spooky weekend!!

Sunday Scoop Linky

It's Sunday night. The weekend is over. Looking forward to a short week ahead. We have an early release on Thursday and a planning day on Friday.

I can relax a bit since my formal observation is out of the way. WOOT! WOOT! I decided to finish it up early this year, rather than wait until the end. I have to say it went really well. I taught a lesson on analyzing primary and secondary sources. We worked with an excerpt from Christopher Columbus' journal. It was challenging text, but the kids had some wonderful conversation. I will share the lesson with you in a later post.

Right now here is my SUNDAY SCOOP with the Teaching Trio. Stop by and link up!

Thanks for stopping by and getting the scoop on me! Now off to get some plans done for the week!

Tried it Tuesday: BYOD

I'm happy to link up with Fourth Grade Flipper for
Technology is here to stay! We all know it. I decided it was time to embrace it. I tried BYOD. Yes! I allowed my students to bring and use their very own devices. I first emailed the parents to explain how I wanted to use technology in the classroom. I requested that the students bring in a tablet, iPod, or phone as long as they could access the internet. I have 3 iPads in my room and I brought in my own for any students that didn't bring a device. As it turned out, only 3 kids didn't have a device, so it worked out perfectly.

The first day we practiced using the site Poll Everything. (I had asked that the students to download the app the night before.)  They were able to answer multiple choice questions or short answers that appear in speech bubbles or word clouds. I gave them basic questions for the practice like "what is your favorite movie?" and "what is your least favorite ice cream?".

They had a blast!

I plan on using this app again during my formal evaluation coming up on Friday.

We have been studying the sun and stars and the kids took an interest in space. I taught them how to find websites appropriate for kids and bookmark them on their tablets. Most did not how to do this believe it or not.

The next day we worked on these super fun Space flip flap books created by Simply Skilled in Second.  I LOVE these books and so do the kiddos! Having their sites bookmarked made research go quicker and smoother.

If you have not tried BYOD give it a try. Let's embrace technology and bring it into the classroom more often. Of course, inform your parents and lay the ground rules for using their own devices at school.
Have fun!

October Currently

October is here! Fall is my favorite season even though there are no leaves changing or cooler weather here in Florida. This time of year just makes me happy! The colors. The smells. The holidays.
With the start of the new month, comes Farley's famous CURRENTLY linky!

LISTENING to SILENCE! There are only 2 nights per week that I am ALONE! I love this time to get things done or enjoy some reality TV all by myself!

I'm LOVING my class. I feel a little guilty saying it, but they are super sweet and smart. I think it's going to be a great year!

October 17th is my formal observation. I decided to schedule it early and get it over with. What I'm going to do, I do not know! I'm still THINKING about it. My administrators are very supportive and I feel comfortable with them in my room. I'll keep you posted on what I decide.

Getting older makes weight loss a challenge. It just gets harder.  I've been trying to lose here and there, but I just haven't been motivated enough.  A few weeks ago my older brother suffered a heart attack during the night. He had terrible chest pains, but wasn't sure exactly what was happening. He remembered how his good friend had recently described symptoms of his heart attack and my brother decided it was time to get to the hospital. The main artery to his heart was 99% blocked. The doctor said he was an hour from death. It's hard to even think about! I was a nervous wreck all day. Our dad died from heart disease and that was in the forefront of our minds.That day was the turning point for me. I decided that I had no choice but to get my butt in gear and lose some pounds! I HAVE to get my cholesterol down and get healthy!  I joined Weight Watchers online (like I've done a million times) and I started their Simply Start plan. It's basically eating healthy. No counting points, just eating good foods. Loving it and I've lost 7 pounds!!!

I currently have 3 iPads in my classroom. I am trying to get the most out of them with 18 students.  I have used them for word work time and the kids love that. I'm going to try a response system called Poll Everywhere. You can ask open-ended or multiple choice question.  The kids can answer via text message. I'm thinking they can pass the iPads around and take turns answering. What do you think? Have you ever used something like that? (Might be neat to use during my observation!)

Now for a little TREAT! Columbus Day is around the corner. I created a set of graphic organizers to accompany the books Pedro's Journal: A Voyage with Christopher Columbus by Pam Conrad and Encounter  by Jane Yolen. This is one of my favorite activities and I think you'll enjoy it, too!

Check this set out HERE at my TpT store. It will be on sale until Monday, October 6th.

Thanks for stopping by!

Five for Friday Time

Hey all! Trying to get back in the swing of things here. Joining up with Doodle Bugs for her famous

Here's what's been going on in my neck of the woods:
There is an assessment frenzy happening here. We got rid of one test and now a greater monster approaches...the FSA (Florida Standards Assessment). More than before it seems the pressure is on yet no one really knows what to expect...not even the top dogs! My district also implemented running records for all 3rd grade students. I am using the DRA2 (anyone familiar with that one?). It is quite involved and it takes so long to administer per student. I hate taking so much instructional time away from the class. I'm happy to have Daily 5 going strong. At least I know the kids are engaged in meaningful work. I would love to hear your advice or experience with administering running records.
Open House came and went and I never got a chance to share. (I was thrilled to see that my BFF, Denise, over at Sunny Days in Second Grade used one of my ideas. Check out her post HERE.)
For this activity, students complete the "Welcome to My Class" form. Here are some from my class:

 After the kids leave, I put out the "Good Morning" form for parents to complete during Open House. The kids are so excited to see these on their desks in the morning. I had some pretty creative parents fill these out this year:
 I also have parents decorate the back of a bookmark their child decorated earlier in the day. I laminate and tie the ribbon on when I get home so this is what the kids see in the morning. They just love to use these special bookmarks all year long.

 You can check out this product HERE at my TpT store.
 Over the summer, I worked on these:

 My students have a had blast acting out their reading! They make a fun brain break, too!

The fiction set can be found HERE and the nonfiction set is HERE.
Fall is my favorite season! The colors. The holidays. The (somewhat) cooler weather. Here are some books I like to share with my students even though our leaves aren't changing:

Margaret Wise Brown's The Little Scarecrow Boy is an old favorite. The scarecrow boy wants to learn to scare the crows like his father, but his father tells him he has to stay home, grow, and practice his fierce faces. I love how the boy makes his father proud at the end. This makes a nice read aloud and is perfect for story elements. Students can practice their own "fierce faces".

Look at these illustrations! The colors are so beautiful!

Another scarecrow favorite is The Scarecrow's Dance by Jane Yolen. 

In this story, a scarecrow decides to dance away the night. He finds himself at a house where he watches a boy saying prayers for the fall harvest. He decides to return to his post and do what he was meant to. I LOVE LOVE the illustrations. (The artist also illustrated the Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane...one of my all time favorites!!) Use this story as mentor text for word choice and similes.

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