Hi Friends! I feel like I've been so out of the loop this week. Since I've started blogging and creating for TpT back in September, I've worked on something every night. This past week I've barely touched my laptop after school. Life just took over! (I think I needed a little break, too.)

I have to link up with Doodle Bugs tonight and get myself back on track! (Disclaimer: it was such a crazy week that I didn't even take one picture...so no photos today!)

The beginning of the week was great fun! On Sunday we celebrated my niece's graduation from high school. She is off to Boston University in the fall. Memorial Day was spent with our besties swimming and grilling out. It was nice to spend time with friends and I love summer when we can get together more often!

Tuesday was my 6th grade son's awards ceremony. We were beaming when he took home a straight A trophy, a medal for 2nd place in the science fair, and a trophy for best in his (advanced) math class. Middle school is such a different experience and it has taken some getting used to! My baby boy is not my baby boy anymore!

Wednesday morning my room was packed with my parents and students as we held student-led conferences. It was an amazing morning. I was so very proud to see them take control of their conference. Parents were equally impressed! I had met with each student the day before and I asked them to tell me about themselves as students. I asked them to share their strengths and weaknesses. Can I just tell you they were right on with everything! Please take time to chat with your students. It makes them feel so "big"!
If you are looking for some guidelines and a resource for conducting these types of conferences, check out the post from Lesson Plan SOS HERE

During the conference time, I played an end of year slide show. Later, I was able to VERY easily email it to my families using Dropbox. No CDs needed! Saved me hours!

Thursday and Friday I was out of the classroom at a workshop. I'll be training teachers in my county this summer in reading. We are adopting a new series, but our training will be mainly about changes to the literacy block and new expectations from the county. YIKES! There are many teachers that I'm SURE will freak out. My county is starting to roll out CCSS in the upper grades and along with this, and a more interdisciplinary approach to the curriculum is what the county is looking for. I LOVE it and can't wait to dig in! For about the last 10 years, the county has provided the teachers with a curriculum map, along with daily lesson plans to follow in all subjects. This year those plans are going BYE BYE! I'm anticipating some resistance from participants during the training. Wish me luck! I'll keep you all posted!

Only 3 1/2 days left and then it's SUMMER time! Even though I'll be working the majority of the time, I look forward to the time away from school to re energize and prepare for a new year!

I have SO much I need to be doing to prepare for this next week at school. This sums it up:

 I did have to take the time to join up with Collaboration Cuties for their weekly linky.

I'm sharing the book Terrible Things: An Allegory of the Holocaust by Eve Bunting. This is an incredible story of what happens when you stand by and do nothing. It opens up the discussion about being a bystander. The book is set in the forest and all the animals are happily going about their daily lives. One day these dark shadows, called the Terrible Things, come and take one group of animals. The other animals say things like "just be glad it isn't us" and turn their backs. Eventually, the shadows take away each group of animals until only the rabbits are left. The shadows come one last time again and finally take them away. Little Rabbit escapes and he runs away to warn the other creatures about the Terrible Things.

This book is appropriate for upper grades, but I have used it with my third graders. You can use it to introduce a study of the Holocaust or as a just a discussion about tolerance, bullying, or being a bystander. The story is very engaging with black and white drawings that are, I have to say, a little creepy. 

After reading, we have a group discussion. Here are some questions I might ask:
*How did the animals get along before the Terrible Things came into the forest?
*What could they have done to protect themselves?
*Do the animals know what the Terrible Things are?
*How do the animals explain why each group is chosen to be taken away?
*What is Little Rabbit going to do? Do you think the other creatures will believe him?
*What message is the author trying to teach?

As a follow-up to the discussion, I assign groups the task of creating a poster with advice that Little Rabbit should give the other creatures he is warning. I think you will find this a deep, memorable story for you kids.

It won't be long now! Today we had a planning day, Monday is a day off, and then 7 1/2 days to go!

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs for the fun Five for Friday.
 I came across some great board games that I would love to have for my class next year. I like to use games in my Daily 5 rounds and I think these book themed games would be perfect. Check out Bookopoly, a Monopoly like game all about books. Book Lovers Jenga is cool. When you pull out one of the Jenga pieces it has a general question about reading. Diary of a Wimpy Kid Scrabble, which includes a 50 word dictionary and Wimpy Kid rules. I think my kids would love these!

I'm getting ready to hold my student led conferences on Wednesday. I have 19 conference forms to write out this weekend! (the reason for a quick post today)
Our 3rd grade FCAT scores were released today and we went up 10 points in reading! My principal was thrilled! This was her first year as principal, though she has been at this school for several years as the assistant principal, it was still a proud moment for her and us! She cried at our faculty meeting. It's so nice to work for someone that is so appreciative. It really makes me want to work extra hard.

My daughter is in 4th grade and her FCAT writing score came back today, too. She has been anxiously awaiting this one. She earned a 4.5 (out of 6) and we were so pleased. I texted her the news (the kids were off today  and she was home) and the first thing she asked was "Is Mrs. Feldman (her teacher) proud of me?" It made me teary to think about how much she cares about pleasing her teacher. I know she has had a successful school year with a warm, loving teacher.

I finally joined the Instagram craze. (I give in to peer pressure so easily!)  I only have 2 pictures posted so far. (They were really my test shots! LOL! ) I'm still trying to figure it all out, but I would love for you to follow me and I would love to follow you!

Enjoy your long weekend!

6 1/2 school days left!!! I can't believe this year is over. I ♥♥♥ my class so much! I'm super sad to say good-bye! As the year is ending and summer vacay is starting, so does the fun (well some anyway)!

I'm linking up with some fellow bloggers to share my summer bucket list...it's not super long so don't blink...

First on my list is work. I know...boo hoo! Not very summer vacation like, but it's necessary to earn some extra money during the summer. I'm sure any teacher can understand that. I have a job  training in the district for our new reading series.  I actually enjoy training and it's great money, so it was to good to pass up. Here is the series we are adopting. I'll be learning more about the training next week.

My daughter, Lily,  will be attending a performing arts camp for 4 weeks. It's local and I think it's going to be a great experience for her. My son, Dane, and hubby will be heading to Califonia for a weekend in June. My son is attending a weekend water polo camp at UCLA. I think they will have a great time! I'll have a few days of quiet with Lily.

In August, we plan on heading up to the Disney water parks. Lily will be dancing at Downtown Disney and taking a Disney dance workshop, too. This is the third year she has participated. It's great fun and she's so happy when she's dancing. Here she is during the workshop last year. 

I plan on working on TpT  and spending some time swimming in my pool, going to the beach, and hanging out with family and friends. I'm also dreaming of a bloggy buddy meet up. I hope it happens. There are so many new friends I want to meet! 

Of course, I will work on stuff for my classroom, too. I usually do some professional reading in the summer...I know that's nerdy! It should be a busy couple of months, but I just can't wait!!

10 school days left! Wahoo! So many of you are closer to the end and others have several weeks left. I thought I would share this little Father's Day craft for those you that still have time and may need a little something.

My Father's Hands by Joanne Ryder is a beautiful story of a little girl and her father working in the garden. The father shares what he finds there, as the little girl takes notice of his hands and the work they do.

Students will create a hand garland card to give to their dad (or father figure in their life). Here are the directions. It's pretty simple. You can use a smaller strip of paper, but you'll get less hands. You may need to fold into a wider size to accomodate larger hands. I used this size for my 3rd graders.

On each hand, have the kids write a sentence describing something their father does for them. You may suggest that each sentence starts "My father's hands...". The kids can add details to the hands or you can use colored construction paper. I think this makes a thoughtful gift for the dad in their life! Hope you enjoy it!!

My thoughts go out to all of the families in Oklahoma.
Thanks to Latoya at Flying into First for hosting this fun linky! This week she's asking that we share two bloggy buddies.

I have SO many new friends that I've made that it was super hard to pick, but I finally decided to choose two of my newest buddies.

First up is Michaela from The Center Based Classroom.

The Center Based Classroom

Michaela is a Massachusetts blogger and fellow third grade teacher. She shares lots of neat hands-on and center/workshop activities. I just found her blog and love reading about her products and projects. Her kids recently completed some really cute biography projects. Head on over and check them out!

Second on my list is Brittany from Closing the Gap...in a Cute Outfit. I LOVE this name!

 She is a first grade teacher from Louisiana. I found her through her adorable linky, Share Whatcha Wear. You link up with a picture of you in your favorite outfits and share a little about your clothes. It is so fun to see what my teacher friends around the country are wearing. Her blog is adorable and funny. You must check it out!

The end is near people! I can feel it! Only 12  school days left with the kiddos. Here is a little freebie for you. Let you kids create awards for different events from the school year. (no awards for other students only events). Makes a cute bulletin board display, too. Hope this helps fill some time you may have in the last days! Click HERE to download and enjoy!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

I'm linking up today with Collaboration Cuties for their Must Read Mentor Texts linky party!

Today's focus is science. Kids love science and I like to use as many different texts as possible to teach a concept. (Our science book just isn't enough.) Lynne Cherry is a favorite author of mine. Her books focus on the environment and environmental issues.
Living in South Florida where we have mangrove habitats, I like to share this book, The Sea, the Storm, and the Mangrove Tangle:

 I love her endpapers (those are the pages before the title page and after the text of the book). In this book she shows maps of where mangroves grow and plants and animals that inhabit them. 

The story takes you through the life of a mangrove from seed to full grown. Over the years, the mangrove is home to many species of animals above and below the water. This is a must read if you are studying habitats.


Lynne Cherry's books mix fact with fiction which I love. If you are using this book, or others like it, you may want your kids to think about the facts embedded (good word to teach them through this activity) in the story. I created this handout or you could simply have students use a notebook, to find and list facts from fiction.

Explain to your students that a book like this would need to be read more carefully than a fiction book because of the facts.  A book like this lends itself to a good discussion about author's purpose since kids could say that it was written to entertain since it's fiction, to persuade you to protect the environment, or to inform you about the habitat. Be sure to ask for proof from the story to support their ideas. Hope this is a strategy you will try with your students!

Have a great week!!
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