Thursday, July 13, 2017

Lovin' Amazon Prime!

Amazon Prime Day has come and gone, and I'm anxiously awaiting my finds to arrive on my doorstep!  Okay, so maybe only one out of the four things I ordered was on sale.  And it had nothing to do with school stuff.  So what!?!  I still saved around $30 on my purchase, and that will always be just fine by me!

So what did I find that I just COULD. NOT. live without???  I've been eyeing this pencil sharpener for literally years.  But I'm such a penny-pincher when it comes to replacing something that still works.  My dinky little electronic sharpener has been doing the death rattle for months, but it could probably stick it out for a couple more.  However, it's the beginning of the year, and my classroom will soon be all clean and shiny.  Who wants a banged-up old sharpener sullying the absolute freshness that is my August classroom?  Yes, said freshness will last approximately seventeen seconds into the first day of school.  But I will cherish it in the weeks before school starts, and that grumpy old sharpener just will not do!

SO excited about my new sharpener!  Is this normal?

Let's see, I also got these RAD stools because I'm going to give flexible seating a go.  And shhhhh...don't tell my daughters, but I'm totally stealing the bean bag chairs that Santa brought them a couple of years ago.  Seriously.  Check out where they live now.  The girls won't even miss them.  Right??? Right.  (I fear there will be an update on this in the very near future.)

I love the sleek look!  I hope they are STURDY.  You get it.

She will soon be able to open BOTH of her closet doors!  Selling point???

There it is, under that pile of (hopefully) clean clothes.  Clearly, her pile of clothes gets a TON of use out of the chair.

I got two sets of these FANTASTIC lime green write-on dots for my math and reading tables.  I'm a little iffy on them because I've always covered my tables with fun fabric.  It usually lasts several years before I have to replace it, but last year, my little darlings picked and Picked and PiCKeD and PICKED until they shredded parts of it.  Rather than lay on my bad back underneath those tables to try to fix the damage, I decided to rip those suckers right off, and try something new.  I'm a little nervous, because, know how much teachers like change.

I hope they are kid-proof!

Finally, I ordered some Chaco's.  They are totally cute, and they were the only item in my basket that was discounted on Prime Day (HELLO 30%!!!  They were practically screaming, "BUY ME!!!").  I TOTALLY rationalized the purchase after my orthopedist told me I needed to be wearing more supportive shoes because my knees are angry at me.  Clearly, he is unaware that it is summer and flip flops are the National Shoe of Summer.  He is also unaware that I am absolutely UNPREPARED to be told that I need to start wearing more supportive shoes.  In honor of that nasty statement, I also rationalized the purchase of a pair of Birkenstocks.  Go ahead.  Judge me.  But I'll totally be there for you when you get told that you need to start wearing support hose.  Promise.

So comfortable!
Okay, it's only mid-July so I'll shut up now and go back to the pool in my NEW CHACO'S, thank you very much, Dr. Navarro.  But before I go, here's a gift for you in honor of the (belated) Amazon Prime Day!  Head on over to my TPT store and get some FREE Meet-the-Teacher goodies!  They'll only be free for the next 24 hours, so go NOW!!!  And don't forget to follow me while you're there, so you'll be updated on discounted and FREE new products when they are posted!  I also offer free and discounted goodies RIGHT HERE, so go ahead and click on that FOLLOW tab!  You know you want to!

Until next time, friends!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

What's New for Scientific Processes?

It's the beginning of a new school year.  Crayons are nice and sharp.  All the pencils still have their erasers. Everyone has a working pair of scissors.  Student (and teacher) desks are organized.  It's heaven in a classroom, am I right?

This clerical bliss will last approximately 19 more hours, so enjoy it while you can!

I am already jumping into curriculum in my classroom!  How 'bout you?  I'm trying to integrate expectations and procedures into my curriculum so that I don't lose any precious time this week.  This year, I have an AMAZING group of kiddos!  I'm so thankful!!!  I haven't even had to THINK about discipline. YAY!!!

I always teach the Nature of Science in my classroom the first week of school.  I hit a ton of my state's process standards, and the kids get an important review of enduring science concepts like the Scientific Method, science tools, and inquiry skills.  I love using the book On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne as a read-aloud this week.  We are able to link this sweet little book to so many science concepts, as well as discuss the importance of perseverance and never underestimating oneself.

Love this book!  Click HERE to get a copy!

This year, I decided to incorporate the popular lapbook into my Nature of Science curriculum.  After several days of organizing supplies, setting up notebooks, and practicing procedure, I know my kiddos need some time to be creative and show what they know without using a worksheet!

This lapbook incorporates the Scientific Method, science tools, and inquiry skills, but it also encourages kiddos to make a personal connection with science.  How do you behave like a scientist?  Where do you see science in the real world?  If you were going to win the Nobel Prize for science one day, what would it be for?  My kiddos LOVE science, and they love to imagine becoming famous someday for an invention or a new discovery.  Today, I had a student predict that he will discover that the universe is round, and that's why it's infinite.  Okay!  I just love how these lessons and activities get them so excited to jump right into the meat of the curriculum!

My Scientific Process Lapbook is FREE for a limited time in my TPT store, so get your copy while you can!

Scientific Process Lapbook available on TPT
My Nature of Science Guide is also available in my TPT store.  It has cute posters, vocabulary cards, an Albert Einstein activity, a flipbook and quiz on the Scientific Method, a ton of science tools, and MUCH MORE!

Nature of Science Guide available on TPT

Have a great year, friends!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Mini-Unit Mania!

Blink your eyes, and almost two months have gone by!  It's so easy, isn't it?  I can't believe my last post was in March!?!?!  I guess just maybe I've been a tad bit busy preparing my students for the STAAR test.  It has been a whirlwind!  I swear, some days I don't think I even stopped to catch my breath.  Thankfully, testing is over (for the most part), and now we can get down and dirty with some educational FUN!!!

We have been doing so much hands-on in 5th grade, including my latest freebie!  The kiddos are super-excited to be getting a taste of 6th grade math.   We started with integers last week.  After teaching integers and realizing that there really wasn't anything out there that was exactly what I wanted (hence the integer mini-unit tickling the back of my mind - stay tuned!), I decided to create interactive materials for next week's mini-unit on percents.  If you haven't heard, I LOVE interactive notebooks.  Everything that goes in those bad boys can be used as a resource for tests, quizzes, and even review in the following school year.  I always encourage my kiddos to keep their notebooks from year to year.  Yes, I realize that it may just be a pipe dream, but I have lingering hope that these notebooks will NOT end up in the trash on the last day of school! 

So I'm in the middle of creating this mini-unit on changing fractions, decimals, and percents - just waiting to use it next week on my guinea pigs before I make it official.  But never fear!  I have this cute set of task cards available in my TPT store RIGHT NOW, and they are FREE for a limited time!
Click here to get your FREE Fractions, Decimals, & Percents Task Cards
The task cards range from easy... challenging!!!
I use task cards in a variety of ways.  My plan for the last two years has been to get a whole bunch of those $3 dish tubs from Wal-Mart and create a Task Card/Games Station for each math unit.  I have this vision of tubs lined up neatly on the floor with cute labels and children hovering over them excitedly, trying to decide which activity to do first.  Sigh. 

For the moment, I have two tubs that are filled with baggie upon baggie of task cards, games, challenges, and activities sitting on my classroom floor underneath my Math Wall.  With our new math curriculum and textbook adoption, I had ZERO time to organize this year.  I was just happy if I knew what and how I was teaching the next day's lesson!  Sometimes I use task cards after a lesson as reinforcement before I assess the skill.  They are a great resource to target specific areas where students struggle.  I always use them to review.  They are also available to my fast-finishers, though this year I had LOTS of bookworms who had their nose in a novel immediately after turning in an assignment!  I also use task cards in table groups.  I make multiple sets, and give them to groups to complete at the same time.  Then, I can take a grade because everyone completed them.  How do you use task cards in your classroom?

So what else are we doing as we begin to close out our 5th grade year?  STEM challenges!  My students ask every morning, "What's today's challenge?"  They are so super-excited about science and math, I can hardly stand it!  Be on the lookout for some exciting STEM challenges coming your way in the near future!  Until then, let the countdown to summer begin!!!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Spring Break Metamorphosis

It's spring break!  Well, technically, I only have about 3 days left, but I intend to use them wisely!  Hopefully I will be able to insert some fun into what has, so far, been a complete metamorphosis of my home.  What have I been doing this week?  Weeeeeell...

I cleaned out the toy box to make room for Barbies and doll clothes so the darn cats can't drag them downstairs anymore.  I sorted clothes into their proper drawers, because clearly my children did not inherit my stellar organizational skills.  I de-junked closets, drawers, a dozen Dollar Store buckets (never stick your hand to the bottom of a bucket, or you could wind up with a handful of lip gloss), AND under the kids' beds.  I picked up 42,000 random Lego pieces, tiny rubber bands for looming, and beads that were supposed to be on a homemade necklace.  I wiped dry erase marker off of mirrors and cleaned ink stains out of carpet (Nature's Miracle Stain & Odor Remover is the BOMB, y'all - it's made for pet stains, but it gets out EVERYTHING!).  I hung beautiful turquoise metal flowers on my bedroom wall, and created a reading nook with a chair that doesn't look comfortable at all, but is very cute.  I washed 7,458 loads of laundry, folded/hung, and put away said laundry, including four dog blankets that were very STINKY!!!  I bathed two dogs, and set up a grooming appointment for another.  I bleached everything I could get my hands on (except the animals and kids), pulled weeds, mowed & fertilized, vacuumed twice, cooked Zuppa Toscano, cleaned bathtubs and toilets, took out 7 bags of garbage, donated 3 bags of clothes and toys, went to the grocery store 3 times and Hobby Lobby twice, took back a bunch of stuff to Target, and made my bed every morning.  Today, I've left the house alone for a bit so that I can work on materials for my class's current novel study, blog, and update one of my favorite mini-units so that I can share it with YOU!  Keep reading to see pics of the transformation!

Yep, this has been my spring break while my kiddos are at their dad's, and I wouldn't have it any other way.  I love getting stuff done, especially things that have been on my "list" for months.  When the kids come home tomorrow, the fun begins!!!

To commemorate the metamorphosis of my home, I decided to update my metamorphosis mini-unit, and make it FREE for a limited time in my TPT store!  We just finished this unit in my classroom.  In fact, I'm hoping there will be a Painted Lady Butterfly gracing our classroom when we return on Monday.  I'm feeling some serious guilt right now, because one of our larva had not pupated before the break, so I don't think the poor lady will make it (this has seriously kept me up at night).  But I left a huge feeding bottle of sugar water in the butterfly cage, so fingers crossed that our one pupa makes it to adulthood!
Click here to get your copy for FREE!
My kids LOVED this unit, especially the update where I had them research specific insects and document their types of metamorphosis.  You should've heard the ones who got the tick and the lice and the termite!  Hilarious!!!  I can't wait to do the craftivity with them later this month during our science blitz.  It's always a big hit!  Make sure to visit my TPT store get your copy today!
Metamorphosis plates - head on over to my TPT store for instructions and more pics!
Here are few pics of my "vacation."  I'm feeling so accomplished right now!!!  Enjoy the rest of your spring break!

Roderick is trying to hide from his bath - he's not the smartest one of the bunch!

Found this priceless gem while cleaning out the toy box.  Prince Eric got a tat!  His love for Ariel is eternal!  Awww.......

My bedroom metamorphosis - I plan on painting the table with orange chalk paint at some point.
My little buddy, Tex, loves hanging out, a.k.a. snoozing, while I work.

This is it!  You can only get it at pet stores, and it's pricey, but well worth it!!!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

On the Fly

We are moving ahead in social studies this week, focusing on our first president...the one and only George Washington!  I was out two days last week with a SCREAMING case of mountain cedar sinuses, so on Friday when I returned, I was more than discombobulated.  I knew it was in my plans to study George Washington, and I remembered that I wanted to do something different than last year, but in my allergy haze, I hadn't figured out exactly what that "something different" was.

When does a teacher do his or her best thinking???  That's right!  On the fly!  What I came up with wasn't as pretty as this cute little bundle I put together over the weekend, but we didn't get that far in the activity, and I can't wait to introduce the rest of it tomorrow!
Available in my TPT store FREE for a limited time - click the picture to download your copy!

Included in the bundle is a reading passage on George Washington, a graphic organizer to chart his traits, and a cute craft to put it all together.  I will post pics of the final product when my kiddos finish up.  They are so artsy, I can't wait to see what they do with this!

I have to admit that I stole some of the idea for this activity from another one that I created a while back - my People Book Craftivity.  The concept is different, but you might recognize the body template in the craft.  Forgive me!  It's been a crrrrrrrrraaaaaaaazzzzzzzzy few weeks for me and the kiddos.  On top of our normal extra-curricular craziness, the girls and I are in a play.  Our church has a wonderfully growing theatre group, and opening night was last night.  We've been in rehearsal for the past two months, spending our nights and weekends singing and dancing and getting super silly!  The show is a revue of classics and crazies, with numbers from Spamalot, Mame, 42nd Street, Oliver, Gypsy, Sister Act, Hair, Miss Saigon, Hairspray, and lots of others.

That's me on the left, getting trashy for a bit of fun on Avenue Q!
I love these characters, including the other 61 people in the cast, the director, the musicians, the techies, and everyone in my theatre family who make this kind of kooky awesomeness possible!  Those who know me also know that I never showed the teeniest bit of interest in theater in my other life.  And then God took me on a roller-coaster of a ride, which included moving me to make an on-the-fly decision to audition for Steel MagnoliasIt's been four years and seven shows, and I will forever be grateful to Him, and these wonderful (and sometimes trashy) people who make my new life so much better.  I mean, seriously...tell me of another Lutheran church family whose pastor is willing to dress in drag so that we can have an Edna for Hairspray???

And I get to share the love!  Two of my students are in the show, too!  One of my little lovelies has been a part of the Zion Theatre Group for ages (her dad is in the picture above - what happens in the theater, stays in the theater).  But we recruited another lovely lady from our class to join us.  ZTG is changing lives, one show at a time!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Food Chains, Food Webs...and Kittens

So far, February has been just what I expected it to be...  Fast and furious!  State testing commences in less than two months, and the nightmares have begun.  You know the ones I'm talking about.  I'm not even gonna go there right now because the sun is going down and I don't want to feed the monster!!!

Focusing on the positive...  We've moved on to the life sciences, and this is by far my favorite unit.  I'm an animal lover (hence my SEVEN pets - four dogs, three cats), so I guess that explains why I love teaching about animal adaptations, food chains, ecosystems...  Last year, I bought several class pets to help teach the unit.  We had multiple goldfish (we tried to train them to come to the surface to feed, but they all died before we could get any hard data), a tadpole (sadly El Guapo died before he even lost his tail - not so guapo), and two hamsters (Petco really will take them back within seven days, especially when you arrive bawling with a mostly dead hamster in a shoebox - that's a whole other story).  This year, I strategically avoided class pets by rescuing three kittens over the Christmas holidays. 

Yeah, somehow I think last year wins.

Moving on... 
I wrote this mini-unit to supplement my curriculum on food chains and food webs.  It integrates reading with passages on several topics, research, as well as a cute craftivity to make it fun and meaningful.  It's absolutely FREE for a limited time, so get it while you can!  Click HERE to visit my TPT store and download your copy!

Craftivity to go with mini-unit 

In case you were wondering how I ended up with three kittens, it turns out that I am categorically unable to turn away homeless animals, or say no to my children when it comes to adopting homeless animals.  Even when they are cats.  Cats I swore I would never own.  Ever. 
My friends and family have decided to put my picture up in all pet stores, along with a Animals Anonymous hotline.  But seriously, how do you say no to these faces!?!? 

Emily and Tex

Tiger - grrrrrrrrrrrr!!!  Doesn't he look tough???

Monday, January 19, 2015

"Marvel"-ous Mixtures & Super Solutions

It's been a while, but I have a legitimate excuse!  Have you ever tried typing with a broken finger???  It's not at all fun.  QWERTY doesn't work as well when your down a digit.  However, I created a super cute and useful bundle on mixtures and solutions, so I just had to share!

Last week, we had a district benchmark in science, and we were a few days behind in the curriculum, so we did a cram session on mixtures and solutions.  The thing I love about science is how engaged the kiddos are!  They don't even realize they are learning as they mix substances and decide the best way to separate them.  Big words like "solute" and "solvent" aren't so scary when they realize it's really just salt and water.  (If you haven't noticed, science is my favorite subject to teach!)
Mixtures & Solutions Mini-Unit
The activities I use in my classroom to teach mixtures and solutions are available for FREE in my TPT store for the next 24 hours, so go get you a copy!  Click HERE to download the file.  Be sure to check out my Matter Mini-Unit, too!  It was featured recently on my blog, and has TONS of fun activities that would be a great stepping stone into mixtures and solutions!

If you're wondering how I broke my finger, it's a fairly dumb story.  I tried to grab a 40-pound dog by the collar while she was wet, and running at me full-speed.  The best part of the story is the X-ray.  Close your eyes if you are easily offended!  I swear it's legit.

Yes, it's TOTALLY the finger you think it is - which is why the X-ray is so awesome!
Have a great day tomorrow, friends!