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!

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