Sunday, April 28, 2013

Uh uh & Peas

These are the most used words from my child this weekend!  The "UH uh"'s are about to get her in trouble, but the fact that her way of saying please has FINALLY developed into something that closely resembles the word please, "peas," rather than a ridiculous huffing, heaving noise, is a plus! :)  Not to mention "uh, uh" and "peas" are kind of how I feel about today.  "Uh, uh" you mean Monday is tomorrow??  "Peas" can I have another day off?

You would think after 4 days home I would be more prepared for this coming week than I am.  However, even though I spent a few hours at school on Friday morning, I am still not ready!  I spend the past four days, enjoying my sweet little girl, catching up on lost sleep, doing a little shopping, a movie date with my baby, and finishing up the unit I was working on! WHEW!  I would say I kept myself busy enough, however I do wish I was a little more prepared going into tomorrow!  On Friday as my kids filed into the room and I explained that I would not be staying for the day, one of my sweet babies said "WHAT? YOU HAVEN'T BEEN HERE ALMOST ALL WEEK!"   All I could say in response was "I know sweet girl, I wish I could stay!"  My lovies would have been in HOG HEAVEN if I could have stayed and B could have stayed too..... but ugh I have a feeling very little would have gotten done!

As I begin reflecting on last week and prepping for this week... I think this quote applies very well.
I could not prevent one. single. thing. that kept me out of the classroom last week, so instead of dwelling on that, I will just adjust and keep sailing! :)

Last week I posted that I finished my math centers!

Well, today I managed to get my end of the year literacy centers D-O-N-E!  Kid you not, this was a big to-do checked off the list!! I started these like 3 weeks ago and just finished!!

These centers are full of fun, my kids have started on the synonym and antonym and LOVE THEM!!  Three of the centers offer differentiation ideas, all included!  In addition to the centers you see above, there are 3 writing prompts for summer, too!  I figure I will put their writing with their glyph when it's done!  All centers have a 1/2 page directions sheet, come in color, and black/white (except for the cause/effect task cards), and an optional recording sheet!

I also loaded both of these units to TPT together at a discounted rate for the two!  You can check it out here! :)

Tomorrow morning, my kids will work on assembling and beginning their Mother's Day book!  Can't wait to see the fun(ny) things they write this year! :)

Here are just a few of the snapshots of our weekend! :)
Berklee woke up to a surprise on Saturday!  She has been dying for a bike forever!  Every. single. time. she would see a bike or a trike, it was a never ending jabber about "ike, ike, ike!"
 A nice dinner date after going to see the CROODS yesterday!  It was a gorgeous evening, so of course we had to sit out on the patio!
Because a girl can never have enough hats, especially when they look like an owl!
When it came time to putting this sweet girl in bed last night, she went straight to mommy's bed!  She rarely sleeps in my bed and has never, before last night, went to sleep in my bed.  I didn't have it in my heart to tell her no, so here she lays!
 B loves herself some "scream!"

Wishing you a wonderful week! :)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Five for Friday!

Let me tell you, this week has been .... well not my favorite.   Monday started out rocky, not only did it start out rocky though, it was the only day this week that I was able to squeeze in some REAL instruction!  You will find out more down below...... :) 
1.  I posted Monday about it being a ROUGH day.  Well I would love to say Tuesday was better, but that would be a complete fib.  That's right Tuesday was even worse than my Monday.  I made it to school extra early knowing I needed to get my tests for the small group I would be pulling for the STAAR test.  Made it to school 15 minutes earlier than I technically have to be there... Didn't make it upstairs until AFTER the tardy bell, 35 minutes later.  Not to mention that on my way up the stairs, my clumsy self tripped on the stairs spilling my MUCH NEEDED coffee, EVERYWHERE!  Awesome.   I didn't get to head back to my classroom from testing until 12:45 that day.  Needless to say, very little teaching took place.  Wednesday was not much better.  I made it back at 10:30, just in time to pick up my kids from specials.  We did a little math, watched a little bit of Charlotte's Web, and then it was time for literacy centers.  I loathe you standardized testing. 
2. With unexpected absences and being pulled for testing 4 different days, I have gotten a little behind on teaching.  I have had to find ways to incorporate activities to reinforce what we are learning in science and social studies into centers.  So I began thinking and remembered that I bought some VERSA TILES at the SDE conference in January!  Remember these?? 

My mom bought some of these for me as a kid and I LOVED them!  I bought all the books they had for my grade level, which unfortunately were only science.  I would have loved to have bought some math and ELAR ones if they would have had them.  I began telling my mom about these when I bought them and she told me that she was pretty sure she had some she could give me, since she is no longer teaching.  She is now in the admin side.  Looky, looky, she found them!! :) 

Well I introduced these awesome tiles to my kids this week.  Oh. my. word.  I didn't realize they would be such a big hit!! They thought they were the most awesome things since sliced bread.  Ok, that wasn't their expression, but I'm pretty sure it is what they were thinking!  This week I had them focus on life science since we've been talking plant life cycle and insects life cycle.  They also had to observe our caterpillars since they are basically doubling in size everyday and will soon be forming their chrysalis.  Here is an inside peak at the book and tiles!
3. Wednesday, B therw up in the middle of the night.  Not a fun way for a baby, or anyone for that matter, to wake up!  She was up for 2 hours in the middle of the night and then slept until 10!  She was fine the rest of the day.  However, her babysitter and their whole house got the nasties too!  This meant a four day weekend was in order for this baby and mommy.  However, since I had not had a conference period since Monday and had very little opportunity to actually give my students meaningful work (because I've been out), I went in and organized lessons this morning with B.  What did she run to first thing?? 
Yep, right to the books.  No surprise here!  She had the books scattered everywhere!  We ended up spending 4 hours at school by the time I got lesson plans made, kids situated, paperwork done, my bag loaded down, and thoughts collected for Monday.  When we left, she was EXHAUSTED. B snatched a donut from the office before I could notice, thankfully our office ladies didn't mind sharing!

4. This week I managed to get my Springing into Summer Math centers done! 

I also revamped my Mother's Day Book I have used over the last 3 years and added it to TPT!! This is a favorite every year with my kids and their sweet mommies!  Check out this post for examples of some of the books from last years kiddos!  They always turn out so cute & funny! :)

5.  If you caught my Tuesday post, you saw all about the Teacher's Taking Care of Teachers fundraiser going on for West, Texas. 
Well by donating a mere $25, you received $150 worth of TPT products!  Wowza!  Let me tell you, these files did not disappoint! While there were several that I won't be able to use because they are for lower grade levels, there are a lot of good things I can use. The best part of all though.... $20,000 was raised!  How awesome to know I could help those teachers who have lost basically everything due to the explosion!  Check out this article about the fundraiser!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and get LOTS of rest!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Teachers taking care of Teachers!

This will be short and sweet.  Mostly because I'm exhausted from administering the STAAR test.  You wouldn't think walking in circles around tables for 4 hours actively monitoring students would be so exhausting, but let me tell you, it is.  I can whole heartedly (that is a word right?!) tell you that if I never had to administer the test ever again, I would not be the least bit sorry.  However, there is tomorrow .... and I get my fourth serving of this darn test!  Oh the things we sacrifice for our team and our students! :)

Ok... So onto the reason for this post!  A fellow blogger, Texan, and Cen-Tex Teacher, Crystal from Kreative in Kinder, has organized an amazing fundraiser for the teachers of West!  These teachers have lost basically everything due to the extensive damage to the schools of West after the fertilizer plant explosion last week.  (If you're unfamiliar with the details, check out her blog for the details and pictures) She opened up this fundraiser for 24 hours on Sunday.  If you donated $25 you would receive $150 worth of TPT products!  ... In the 24 hours she had this opened, $10,000 was raised!   WOW!  Due to the overwhelming response not only of donations, but people asking for her to extend the fundraiser, she was able to partner with someone and open it back up until THURSDAY at 8 a.m!  Needless to say, as soon as I saw it was back open, because sadly I missed it on Sunday, I donated! :)

I could not imagine being in the place of these teachers or students.  Every little bit helps and when everyone gives a little, it turns into a lot!!

Praise the Lord, tomorrow is Wednesday! 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Roller Coaster Ride Monday

Today was a Monday in rare form, and when I say in rare form, I don't mean that in a good way.  I have 6 alarms set every morning, yes SIX!  The first four are my WAKE-UP, SERIOUSLY TIME TO GET MOVING, ROLL OUT OF BED, YOU'RE GOING TO LOOK A HOT MESS alarms!  The last two are my "HEY YOU, HEAD FOR THE DOOR OR YOU'RE GOING TO BE LATE" alarms!  Apparently this morning when the first four went off, I ignored them.  Yep, I didn't actually wake up enough until the 5th alarm.  Once I realized what time it was, I woke up in a PANIC!! I had about an hour and ten minutes until I had to be at school!  Since I live about 30 minutes away from my school and STILL had to drop off B, I'm sure you can understand the panic!  On mornings like this (which really has been rare this year), it seems to set the mood for the day unfortunately.

My morning, even beyond waking up LATE though, was rough. My kids were OFF the chain.  Goofing off and not paying attention was their TOP priority today.  I was convinced it was just going to be one of those days.

Then, at lunch as I was waiting in line at Subway (since I obviously didn't have time to pack my lunch today) and I was checking my email.   No sooner than my phone updated the emails did I see an email from Tracy Teagler!  Yep, yesterday she posted a giveaway for her new Troll themed reading strategies and skills unit! Aren't the Trolls cute, I swear Melonheadz never disappoints when it comes to her clip art! :)

I always enter to win these fun things, but to be honest, I NEVER seem to win!  However, the subject line was WINNER, WINNER!  Let me tell you, this was the HIGH of the day!! ****INSERT INSTANT CHEESY GRIN!****I was on cloud nine! This unit was already something I planned to add to my "wishlist" for next year! Once I made it home and downloaded the unit and was able to really check it out, I have to say it's probably one of my favorite units of hers yet!!

Onto, other exciting news......I managed to get one of the three units I was working on DONE yesterday, HOORAY!!   I will have it on sale in my store until Sunday! :)
There are a total of 10 centers, plus a fun probability extension!  These centers will last my kids until the end of the year once I add a few others that I have from prior years and units!  When I began planning this unit knowing it would be my last set of math centers before summer I knew incorporating baseball and the beach into this unit was a MUST!  Then I saw Krista Wallden's bubblegum clip art and couldn't resist!  Plus when I think baseball I think sunflower seeds, peanuts, and BIG LEAGUE CHEW!

Centers included in this unit cover:
  • Addition with regrouping (to 99)
  • Subtraction with regrouping (to 99)
  • Place Value (to 999)
  • Coin Collections (These actually go up to $1.25 and offer a differentiated option for your kiddos who are ready for more of a challenge!)
  • Patterns (Finding the pattern within a sequence of numbers and identifying the missing number)
  • Comparing Numbers (Comparing numbers and number sentences)
  • Fractions (2 DIFFERENT CENTERS, 1 with multiple options)
  • Time (in 5 minute increments)
  • Probability 
  • Probability Extension Mini-Book
Tomorrow I get the dreadful miserable  joyful opportunity of administering the STAAR test to a small group of 4th graders.  Can't wait.  I'm sure you can sense my excitement.  Maybe my kids will appreciate me more this week after I'm gone for 2 mornings! Hah :)

I plan WILL have my Mother's Day Book finished this week and can't wait for my kids to get started on the revamped version of the book!  It is amazing how much I have learned in the last year and how far I come in this blogging and TPT world!

I wish you all a WONDERFUL week! :)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

What a week... 5-4-F

I don't know about you, but this week has been nothing short of emotionally draining for me.  I feel like I could seriously do a 5 for Friday solely based on the tragic events that have occurred throughout the week.....However I refuse to focus on the negative!  So here it goes, a day late! :)

The usual link up with Kacey over at Doodle Bugs! :)
1. I will start with the ugly so I can end with the shine!  When this week began, I knew that it was going to be a hectic week, however I didn't realize with all of the tragedies that occurred it would be nearly as hectic as it was.  
The week began with the tragic bombings at the Boston Marathon.  I have been asked if it makes me scared to run now.  My answer is no, in two weeks I will be participating in the color run.  Living in fear, is not living.  When it is my time, I will go, until then I will live my life to the fullest enjoying all of the little things!
Thank you Melonheadz for the pictures!
 Tuesday as I spent the day running around the school getting last minute things together for our class field trip on Wednesday, I learned that a student at the high school, in the town I live, was taken to the hospital after a self inflicted gun shot wound.  This event occurred on school property at the stadium.  Although it didn't occur in the district I teach in, it still hit me hard knowing the situation occurred. 

If you're a fellow Texan, you surely know where West is. This is a sweet little town that I drove through on my way to school when I was in college as I came and went from home.  Currently, I live about 45 minutes from West.  Being that both sides of my family are of Czech decent I always LOVED stopping to grab some fresh kolaches, especially the pineapple and poppy seed ones!! I have a huge weakness when it comes to anything with poppy seed!!! Waking up to find out the news of what happened on Wednesday night in West was devastating!   I can say though that I couldn't be more proud of how people from all over the state of Texas have responded to the tragic events!
Thank you Melonheadz for the pictures!

I could go on with more that happened on Thursday and Friday... but I will stop here.

2.  Let's get happy!  Saturday of last weekend, my mom and I had a garage sale!! I would say it was quite successful!  We had a couple of friends bring over items in addition to ours... I meant to take a "before" and "after" sale shot and of course I forgot.  We were able to get rid of A TON of junk and make a little money, too!! Altogether, we made close to $400 between all the families!  Not too shabby for cleaning out the house!  Around lunchtime that day, two of my brothers came over to start putting up the shed I bought a couple weeks ago!  Let's just say what looked like an easy job .... was anything but easy!  Seven hours later we were finally done!  B even got to try and give the boys a hand!  The picture below is a snapshot of the weekend, including her first ice cream cone, first fortune cookie, helping out with the shed, and helping mommy make dinner on Sunday!

3. On Monday, I began introducing "how-to" writing.  As we began this, we did a fun little activity to introduce it.  EDIBLE CHARLOTTES!   Yep, you heard it right, we made edible Charlottes.  Two years ago I did this with my kids and it was a hit.  It worked out perfectly that we were introducing expository writing and focusing on "how-to" writing during our Charlotte's Web unit again this year!  My kids were so excited about this and so was I!  I started off the lesson by simply explaining what we were doing, telling students the supplies they were going to need, and showing students how-to make the edible Charlotte.  From that point, it was all in the students hands.  
After they finished making their Charlotte, I of course had to get pictures of them with their Charlotte! :) 

Once they finished making their Charlotte, they had to complete their "how-to" brainstorming map.  Let me tell you, I think was the MOST engaged and quiet they have ever been during writing time.  I would say it was because they love writing, especially expository-how-to writing so much, but lets be honest....It is really because they knew that once they were done with their writing and I checked it, they could eat their Charlotte! :)
  My favorite part of this lesson is without a doubt, taking their writing and then making a Charlotte following their directions!  Let me tell you......... They learn really quick exactly how specific and detailed they must be with their writing!  Here is just a sampling of how some of the spiders turned out following their directions! 
*You may think some of these look close... but none of the "eyes" have anything keeping them to the crackers!!*
If you haven't had the opportunity to check out my expository freebie writing on TPT, click here to check out the post with more details on the unit! 

4.  Wednesday, was a much awaited day for my kids!  Our class field trip!  I have been hearing NON-STOP for over a month the countdown to our field trip!  Back in August, I applied for a Target Grant for field trips.  I was one of the lucky picks to receive this grant, so my class ONLY was able to go on a field trip for a day!  I decided to take my kids out to a local retreat and we worked on team-building exercises outside in the AM and were able to go to their on-site theater in the afternoon!  I will do a longer more detailed post later about this so not to clog up this post, too much!! :) 

5. While I had every intention of getting my current unit I am working on completed this week, it did not happen!! I completely blame the craziness of this week on that!! I have just been mentally and physically exhausted, so it hasn't happened!!   I spent extra time this week cuddling on the couch with this cutie, she doesn't like to share her time with the computer!! I can't say that I blame her! :)

As we look forward, as we reflect upon this past week, I will leave you with the verse below.