Thursday, October 31, 2013

Boo! Happy Halloween!!!

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

Last night was my school's Trunk or Treat, and my cluster of teachers created this pumpkin patch and dressed as Peanuts characters.  I love how it turned out, so I had to share!

I hope that you and your families have a fun Halloween!  Be safe!!!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Happy First Day of School!

Today was the first day of school for my entire family!  Another year of teaching third grade for me, my husband is back as a School Resource Officer at our district's high school, and our little one has started first grade!  Happy new year, everyone!!!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Math Notebook Linky Party!

I love the math notebooks that I use with my students.  I definitely do not use them enough, but I think that they are an incredible resource for both the students any myself.  You can really learn a lot about a students' understanding by reading written responses.  Other members of my team are considering using them this year, so I have been looking for more resources and ideas.

So I am sooooo excited about this linky party!

I have only been to a few of the sites, but I have already found a couple of great things that I would like to add to this year's notebooks.  I hope to actually link up and share a few things that I do with mine, but for now I only have time to share the link.  Go check it out!!!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Need a laugh?

Everyone has their own way of dealing with stress, and we all know that teaching can be extremely stressful!    All of the news in North Carolina lately has had to do with the proposed budget, which eliminates tenure, cuts pay for advanced degrees, provides money for public school vouchers, and keeps our pay frozen.  Sigh. the midst of bad news, I try to find things to make me laugh.  Here are a few of my favorites.  Enjoy!

1.  I have never watched Shark Week, but this commercial is hysterical.  Don't view with young kids around!

Yes, I do have a warped sense of humor.  My apologies if anyone is offended.

2.'s Recipe for Ice Cubes.

You just know that it was posted by some aggravated mom/wife who was tired of always finding an empty ice cube bin.  The real laughs come from the reviews (there are over 800).  There are some clever people in the world!

 3.  My Imaginary Well-Dressed Toddler Daughter  This Pinterest board is hysterical!  The pinner is a writer who has two boys, and she has written clever captions to go with photos of snobby-looking children.
The best part are the names of the kids: daughter Quinoa and her bff Chevron are the main characters, but Antwerp, Hashtag, Paxil, Grosgrain, and Brighton are some other funny ones.

I could post a million more things, but I will stop with these three.  I hope that you enjoy them!!!

One last thing...between watching the first two seasons of The Tudors on Netflix, recently reading two works of historical fiction about Catherine of Aragon and Queen Elizabeth, and now the birth of William and Kate's new baby, I am beginning to feel that I am missing out on some sort of royal title. I would love to have a royal title.  Or at least a tiara.  I could really rock a tiara.

Keep calm and laugh on!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July Currently

It's a new month, so it's time for a Currently link up with Farley at Oh Boy, Fourth Grade!

My daughter, who will be turning 6 soon, still loves everything on Disney Junior.  She is limited to watching television to when she gets up in the morning, so she is glued to the TV when it is on. 

My family just got back from a week at the beach!  We went to North Carolina's Outer Banks and had a blast!   When we got back from our trip, I gained a new appreciation for my comfortable mattress.  I didn't think that I was uncomfortable at our cottage, but there is just something about being in your own bed!
My little one, standing at the bottom of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

My little one, at the top of the lighthouse.  She climbed all 257 steps without complaining once!

We have been back for just a couple of days, and now we are getting ready to head to Buffalo to visit family.  This definitely won't be as relaxing at the beach, but we will definitely do some good eating:  pizza and chicken wings, beef on weck, chicken finger subs, sponge candy...hopefully I won't gain a ton while I am there.

I am so excited about how much summer is still ahead of us, but I am kind-of bummed that I have already had my beach trip.  I like going as soon as school ends, but I think that I also need one last hurrah before the next school year starts.

Running...I would enjoy running so much more if I actually enjoyed running.  It has gotten more tolerable, but I am still ridiculously slow and can't wait to stop.  Today's rain gives me an excuse. 

My blogging tip is pretty much the Golden Rule:  Treat other bloggers the way that you want to be treated.  If you love when you get comments from others, then be sure to leave some on other blogs too (and not just invitations to join your giveaways or to follow you).  I definitely don't leave as many comments as I should, but I do try to leave thoughtful remarks.  I was able to gain a lot of followers very quickly when I started my blog last summer, and I credit my commenting for this.  I have only done one giveaway and I have no freebies to offer!

I hope that everyone is enjoying summer.  Have a fun, safe Fourth of July!

No More Google Reader...Time to Go on a Blog Hunt!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Yes, I am a little late to making the switch...better late than never, right???  I switched to Feedly last week, but I was not too crazy about it.  Today I switched to Bloglovin, and so far, so good!  I am having to add individual blogs, but I have been wanting to sift through the many blogs that I was already following.  So far I like the format better than Google Reader, and it has been pretty easy to find other blogs. 

And now that I've made the switch, I'm goin' on a blog hunt!

I am excited to be "linked" with Laura Candler's Corkboard Connections in order to find some great elementary education blogs.

Be sure to check out some of these other awesome blogs!

Friday, June 14, 2013

It was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times...

This famous line pretty much sums up my life over the past couple of months.  I have experienced the euphoria of some amazing accomplishments while also experiencing some awful tragedies (nothing school related, I had an awesome class).  For the sake of keeping my readers, I will share the good things:

My tea the morning of my graduation, courtesy of my awesome husband.
  • I earned my Master's!!!!  No more grad school papers or projects!!!!
  • I made it through all of the End-of-Year craziness, which included a visit from President Obama to my school district!
  • I participated in and finished a (beginner's) triathlon!!!!
  • I made it through a year of being a teacher AND the mom of a school-aged child.  Bring on First Grade!
  • I completed the first year of implementing Common Core and am ready to do it again! 
Yes, you read that correctly...President Obama came to the middle school in my district!  I was not there, but it was an exciting experience for many of our students and teachers.   My police officer husband thought he might get stationed inside the middle school, but he had to work outside the building.  However, he did get to talk to actress Claire Danes when she stopped to ask him where she and her husband were supposed to park.  Better him than me...I would have been a blubbering fool going on about how "My So-Called Life" was cancelled too soon, how much I love "Homeland," and how disappointed I was that her character of Beth was killed off in "Little Women."  Louisa May Alcott and her plot twists...

Anyway, I am back in the blogosphere and am looking forward to catching up on what I have missed!

Monday, February 18, 2013

I Love This Sharpener!

It likes me, it really likes me!!!

I have been using this awesome pencil sharpener from Classroom Friendly Supplies for almost three weeks.  I am thrilled with it!  I was very hesitant about using it at first, and I literally sat and watched my students attempt to correctly sharpen pencils with it.  After reading a few other reviews and comments, I was worried that it would be a bit complicated.  I have a few students who still have a few issues using it, but for the most part it is a piece of cake to use.  And the pencil points...they are AMAZING!  It almost sharpens too well!  For years, I have been blaming sharpening problems on cheap know, the sharpened pencils where pieces of lead that are constantly breaking off and falling out.  Now I am really thinking that it has been the sharpeners. 

I have not mounted this sharpener to anything, but it still has been working great.  I love that the sharpener holds the pencils so that the student can hold on to the sharpener.  I love that it is quiet.  I love that it is quick.  But, most of all, I love that it works!!!

Click the link above and find out how you can get your own awesome pencil sharpener!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

February Currently

Happy Sunday!  It's the big day, the day of the sporting event of the year...the PUPPY BOWL!!!!
If you have never watched this, you need to head to Animal Planet and watch it for a little bit.  Don't miss the kitty half-time show!  It will be on all afternoon before that other big event...something about football, commercials, and Beyonce.

It's February, so I am linking up with Farley's Currently.  Head over to Oh Boy, Fourth Grade! and link up!
Punxatawney Phil didn't see his shadow yesterday, meaning that spring is just around the corner!  I'm ready to enjoy some nice weather.  It is sunny here, but it needs to warm up a bit.  Hopefully then I will be more into my running.

I have so much work to do!  Can't every weekend be 3 days long?  I'm working on creating a wiki of math resources for my grad school internship experience, and it is time consuming.  I also have some research to do on the TPACK model of technology integration for my other class.  Plus, I need to catch up on some lesson plans.  Busy, busy, busy!  I know what I'll be doing while watching those adorable puppies this afternoon!

My pet peeve...delegating tasks.  I know that good leaders recognize that they can't do everything, and that everyone can benefit when those who are the most involved help make the decisions.  Yet, over the years, I have seen people who are experts at delegating responsibilities and then get credit for a job that they didn't really do.  I guess it drives me crazy because I am the type who likes to do things myself.  I would probably benefit from doing more delegating, but crazy me likes to be in charge for those things for which I am ultimately responsible.  I will be true to myself, since I can't be Jedi Betty White!

Isn't this awesome?  Have an awesome week!!!!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Distributive Property Mania!!!!!

We have been working for WEEKS (I'm not exaggerating) on area and perimeter, and now we are throwing in the distributive property just for fun to help explain how to find the area of rectilinear figures.

        3.MD7c Use tiling to show in a concrete case that the area of a rectangle with whole-number     side lengths a and b + c is the sum of a × b and a × c. Use area models to represent the distributive  property in mathematical reasoning.

I am discovering (as are the math teachers in most of the states in America) that the Common Core standards are MUCH more complicated than they look on paper.  We were warned, right?  Now I'm a believer! 

ANYWAY, we have done a ton of activities to become more familiar with the distributive property.

First, we used this lesson on the distributive property where students used Fruit Loops to create arrays.  I began introducing problems like 4 (3 x 4) and we made arrays to correlate with each of the distributed facts.

 After practicing (and munching) through several examples, we used pre-cut  1-inch squares to create arrays.  We went through the Break-Apart Arrays activity where students created all of the possible ways to break an array for 12 (we did 2 x 6).  The possible break-apart arrays included
                                                         (2 x 1) + (2 x 5)
                                                         (2 x 2) + (2 x 4)
                                                         (2 x 3) + (2 x 3)
                                                         (2 x 4) + (2 x 2)
                                                         (2 x 5) + (2 x 1)
We also split the array horizontally into (1 x 6) + (1 x 6).
Students wrote down all of these arrangements on a recording sheet.
 The students worked independently to record all of the possible break-apart arrays for two other products.  It definitely got easier the more that students practiced it!
Finally, students chose one of their arrangements to glue onto a piece of construction paper.  We again went through the process of writing equations with the distributive property.
                                                   4 (2 + 4) = (4 x 2) + (4 x 4)
We are continuing to work on the distributive property, but without the manipulatives.  It is definitely challenging, but I am hoping that all of our practice will make a difference in their understanding of this important property of multiplication!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Five for Friday Linky (on Saturday)

I'm joining up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday Linky!

Time for 5 random things about my week.  I know that I am posting this on Saturday, but here is the reason:

Being the party animal that I am, I was in bed by 8:30 on a Friday night.  Honestly I would rather stay up and catch up on work on a Friday night (even more exciting, right?), but between staying up for New Year's and not sleeping well on the other nights I have been EXHAUSTED!  I am feeling slightly more human today.  Now I have the energy for a busy Saturday, which includes my daughter's basketball practice and a bowling birthday party for one of her friends (I know, you are jealous of the life I lead).

2.  Homeland, my new addiction
 Have you seen this show?  Wow.  I mean, wow!  It is intense from the second it starts.  I have only watched 3 episodes, but I am hooked.  We do not have Showtime, so we have to pay to watch episodes.  That is probably a good thing, because I might not leave the house if I could watch all of it for free.  Parts of it were filmed in Mooresville, so I can't believe we waited until this week to actually start watching it.

3.  I gave my students writing homework!
Again, this is not very exciting, but I am resolving to help my students become better writers.  I don't think that any teacher feels like they do enough writing with their students.  I know that I could do more!  We've done a bit of writing so far this year, but I have decided to take a few steps back and work on tweaking some of their basic sentences.  I gave them this assignment the other night for homework.  I know that many of my students rush through their homework, so I was also hoping that this was a way to get them to slow down and check that they met all of the requirements for the assignment.  I was pretty pleased with the majority of the work that was turned in.  Some students may have had help from their parents, but that's okay!  I received no complaints, so I might just have to do this again!

4.  Area and Perimeter and Distributive Property, oh my!
The end of the quarter is almost here, which means end of quarter testing!  We have been doing a great deal of work on area and perimeter, and the students are having difficulty keeping the two concepts straight.  Throw in splitting area arrays to demonstrate the distributive property, and I am stressed!  One of my co-workers and I have made plans to create (or find) some awesome review activities over the weekend.  I'll be sure to share if I am able to make anything really great!

5.  Promethean ActivTable

This Thursday, I am going to a training session on using Promethean boards and the new Promethean Activ Tables!   How cool are these things?   I don't know that my district is actually purchasing the tables, but I cannot wait to (literally) get my hands on one of these tables!  I wonder if there is an air hockey app for them...don't they look like they would be perfect for that? 

I hope that everyone has an awesome weekend!!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

January Currently

Happy New Year!!!!!
Ready or not, 2013 is here!!!

A new year, a new month, a new Currently!  I've linked up with Farley from Oh Boy Fourth Grade! for some linky fun!

Listening:  My husband and I are watching a rerun of the 60 Minutes episode on Steve Jobs.  I would love to read his biography!  I'm not sure how I feel about him as a person, but he definitely was gifted.  

Loving:  Our daughter is spending the day with her grandparents, which gave me the opportunity to totally overhaul her bedroom.  She is probably going to freak out when she sees it, but it is clean and organized (and I have lots of things ready for consigning this spring).

Thinking:  I've been pretty productive this break:  finished a few books, posted on my blog, gained a few new followers, gone through several closets, and have written (almost) all of my thank you notes.  Go, Julie!

Wanting:  I've done a lot, but there are still more things that I would have liked to have finished before going back to work.  Can I have an extra week???

Needing:  I have running shoes.  Really nice running shoes.  Have I been running?  No.  Do I have lots of good excuses?  Of course!  The reality is that I am running in a 5K in a couple of weeks and I have not been running in a couple of weeks.  This should be interesting.

OLW (love this!):  Faith.  
Faith in God.
Faith that I am where I am supposed to be.
Faith that there is a lesson to be learned in every experience (and that I will learn that lesson quickly!)

Happy 2013, everyone!