Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mathematical Practices Poster Set

I did it!  I created my first item to sell on Teachers Pay Teachers!  I created a Common Core State Standards Mathematical Practices Poster Set.  They are beautiful, bright and colorful.  I'm not going to go into a long entry about it, I just wanted to share because I am very proud of them and am excited to start a new journey by selling some of my creations!  I hope you like them!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Tornado, Toolbox, Titanic!

Wow! It's amazing how time just gets away from us.  I can not believe that it is already March 9th!  As we were working on our latest hallway bulletin board project, one of my students actually said, "What's the point of changing it?  School is almost over!"  That's not true of course, but to a 4th grader in Florida, anytime after the FCAT Writing test is probably considered the end of the year.

I have had a great, and very busy couple of months.  I have a bunch of pictures to share with you today!  I have recently, (as of yesterday) decided to start making really cute and useful things to share on Teachers Pay Teachers and Teacher's Notebook, so be on the lookout for those coming up!  I just started trying some new things last night, so it's a work in progress for sure!  I have 2 items on TPT already but nothing really fancy.

Tomorrow is my Grandma's 90th Birthday!  Unfortunately, since I live 1,100 miles away, I will not be able to celebrate with her, but we talk on the phone and I will visit with her over Summer.  She is a truly amazing woman, she does not act or look anywhere near 90 years old!  Actually, a month before I moved to Florida, the house she and my Grandpa built and raised my dad and uncles in was destroyed by a tornado and she escaped with only superficial scratches!  She was 87 at the time.  She won't read this, but... HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GRANDMA!!

Ready for the pictures??  Here we go!

Before the FCAT Writing test, my 4th grade team had a couple of Writing Days.  These were days that the teachers rotated through the rooms, each focusing on a different area of writing.  For the last one, we had a Bag Ladies inspired activity.  All of the projects we did with the students went into their own Writing Portfolio that we made.  Hours and hours of folding bags and putting materials together went into this project, but we do what it takes to make learning memorable and fun for our kids!  This was my model bag.

To promote descriptive writing, I had my classes complete a "Show Not Tell" activity.  I saw one very similar to this on Pinterest and loved it!  First, I had the kids work in groups to brainstorm descriptions of 12 different emotions or feelings.  I typed up their ideas and then assigned kids to illustrate and describe those emotions.  They were not allowed to write about the one they brainstormed.  I was so impressed with their work.  

While discussing how to solve division problems, I was suddenly struck with an analogy using the 3 little pigs.  I had my class imagine 3 piggies hiding in a house.  If 1 big bad wolf tries to get them, how many piggies will he get to eat?  Well, 3 divided by 1 equals 3.  This simple explanation helped them so we went into remainders.  For the pictures sake, if there are 55 piggies stuffed into this house, and 9 big bad wolves come to eat them, the wolves will each take an equal group of pigs to the basement to eat.  Each wolf will have a group of 6 piggies and there will be 1 piggy left, because that pig rid in the chimney!  LoL  Silly, I know, but I'll do anything to make math more interesting for them!

This is just a poster I made for the kids to visualize factors.

With a departmentalized 4th grade, I find that the most hectic time of the day is the last 5-10 minutes.  My homeroom class comes back to get all of their belongings gathered up and to be dismissed.  I made up this checklist of things they need to do before they leave the room for the day.

This is my version of the ever popular "Teacher Toolbox"!  I bought the toolbox from Lowes for $20, and used glitter cardstock that I already had to fancy it up!  I attached the cardstock to the inside of the drawers by using strips of clear contact paper.  The labels were made on my Cricut (the first project I ever used it for since I bought it 2 years ago!)  It was beyond simple... I stuck white contact paper ($2 at Big Lots) directly to the sticky cutting board.  I cut out the words I wanted and peeled them off, letter by letter, and stuck them to the outside of the drawers.  It took me 2 evenings to complete the entire project.  It is now at school filled with all of my favorite supplies.  LOVE IT!  

Now for the fun!  For my friend's birthday in January, we went to the Titanic Experience in Orlando.  It was so much fun!  We did the entire dinner experience and of course had to buy the Titanic snow globe and picture with Captain Smith on the Grand Staircase as a souvenir!!  It was something completely touristy but amazing at the same time.  They had so many artifacts and information about the famous disaster.  There is even a 2-ton chunk of Titanic hanging by the iceberg exhibit.  It is something I recommend that everybody attend.  Your ticket has information on your identity for the evening.  It is information about a real passenger and their family and reasons for traveling.  At the end, you learn your fate.  I survived!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!!  I hope you had a wonderful time off with your family and friends over Christmas break, I know I sure did!  I look forward to school breaks because I get to see my family who live out of state.  Normally, I fly home to see them, but for Christmas, they get to come to warm, sunny Florida and stay with me!

We started back at work on Thursday, which was a normal teacher work day.  Nothing too exciting, just getting back in the swing of things.  Friday was the exciting day!  My school had a "Just Pin It" professional development day!  A few teachers complied best practice ideas in a variety of areas and displayed them in fun and creative ways.  The whole staff then rotated through the 7 different stations and were able to see these ideas in practice in our classrooms.  It was so fun and informative.

The different areas covered were:  Behavior Management, Math, Foldables, Writing, Reading/Vocabulary, Classroom Organization, and Common Core.  I snapped a ton of pictures and collected a bunch of handouts.  I worked with another 4th grade Writing teacher and setup the Writing station.  We had a PowerPoint slide of ideas that were submitted from other teachers in the school and I put together a Pinterest board full of ideas and printed the URL for the staff on business cards.  If you follow me on Pinterest, it's the board titled "Just Pin It - Writing".  Check it out, it's pretty fantastic!  I included ideas for all age groups, my regular "Writing" board is focused mainly on 4th grade.

Before we were released to explore all the best practices being used in the school, we had a presentation from "The Bag Ladies"!  They are truly amazing!  I can not say enough about their creativity and innovation!  I had never heard of them before and am now so excited to fill my classroom with their ideas.  If you don't know who they are, you need to check them out.  We all ordered units from them and I can't wait to get mine and start using it.  Here are a couple of pictures of the project they made with us.  There are so many more ideas that I can't wait to try out!

This is a large flat paper bag with 1 large pocket, 1 medium pocket and 2 small pockets.

Accordion fold book with cardboard covers. 

Cardboard roll book.

And yes, my Christmas tree is still up!  I will likely put my decorations away tomorrow.