Monday, February 20, 2012

what a week!

Last week was quite a long week.

And I am reading that everyone's week was pretty long as well.

All that partying we did on Valentine's Day made it feel like a Friday. Not a Tuesday at all. I woke up in the middle of the night on Tuesday fully convinced that the next day was Saturday. Imagine my sadness when my alarm welcomed me to Wednesday.

Speaking of Valentine's Party ~ I had a simple plan. When it comes to class parties I like to keep it as simple as possible, yet fun. I sent a note home to parents explaining that we'd be decorating sugar cookies along with passing out our little love notes Valentine's. I was supplying the heart-shaped sugar cookies and asked the parents to supply frosting and toppings. So simple, right? So then why did three kids show up with other frosted cookies, mini cupcakes, and chips. Ugh! There goes my simple plan. I know these kids can read! I've heard them. How about their parents?

I know, I have control issues.

The rest of the week dragged on and on and on.

Now, we are at the beginning of a short week. First President's Day today (yay!), then staff development tomorrow. However, these short weeks tend to turn into long weeks. We'll see.


Thursday, February 9, 2012


President's Day is near. More than a good reason for a day off school in this long stretch of the school year, it's a good reason to teach compare and contrast. My class is working on a compare/contrast essay about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. The idea is not revolutionary, but it works so well to integrate social studies, reading, and writing.

First, I read books to the class about Washington and Lincoln. As I was reading, I stopped every few pages for the class to tell me what to record on our fact posters. They look different, you say? My sub wrote the Lincoln facts with the kids.

Once the facts have been collected, the students decide which they feel are the most important facts to include in their essay. The structure of this essay is basic - introduction paragraph, compare paragraph, contrast paragraph, and conclusion paragraph.

The students organize the facts they have selected on this graphic organizer in a bullet format. Then the top box contains all the information for the compare paragraph and the bottom boxes are for the contrast paragraph. From here they will write their rough draft. Click on the picture to download the graphic organizer for your classroom.

I'm hoping these turn out well and we are done before President's Day!


Monday, February 6, 2012

the teacher is out tomorrow

I'm attending part one of a seven-part class tomorrow (that I didn't ask to attend).

All the live long day.

This is the first time all year my kiddos have had a sub. I gotta say, I'm a little worried. Even though my class is a really well-behaved class, I still worry. They sometimes forget to use their good manners when I'm not around. Sometimes some boys throw food in the cafeteria. One guy has been written up three times for throwing food. Three? Really? You didn't learn a lesson from times one and two? He must have needed some more quality lunch detention time in the front office.

Anyway, I stayed extra late tonight getting everything lined up for my sub. Why does that always take so, so long? Hopefully, I left enough work and explicit enough instructions. There might be a fine line between being detailed enough and insulting. If worse comes to worse, there's always silent reading.

The upside to this class? Seven sessions means seven times I get to eat lunch out with my friend who is taking the class at the same time. Awesome.

Also, 4th grade teachers have morning duty on Tuesdays. That makes seven times I get to miss duty. Doubly awesome.



Saturday, February 4, 2012

welcome to the schoolyard!

I have finally succumbed to the siren call of the teacher blog. I originally started blogging on our family blog to keep the family updated with the kids. Then I made everybody read about added my crafting and cooking adventures to the mix, with an occasional tale from the schoolyard.

I'm pretty sure the grandparents and aunts and uncles don't want to hear more about the classroom than they already do, hence the teaching blog. I'm not completely done decorating around here, but I'm excited to get this started.

Let's meet the teacher.

This is my 16th year of teaching. I've taught mostly 2nd and 4th grade, with a year of 3rd added in for good measure. I'm back in 4th grade this year after teaching 2nd for the last 5 years. Confused yet?  I am married with two sweet daughters. That sentence alone can keep a teacher girl busy enough, right? So let's just add in that I love to sew, paint, and do paper crafts. Oh, and of course, I love to read books and blogs.

I also just opened up a Teachers Pay Teachers store. I am blown away by all the creative offerings in that store. I am always making stuff on the computer for my class and a friend of mine encourage me to open a store. A little flattery goes a long way with me, I guess. There's not much in there yet, but I'm sneaking in some time to work on it in between working on the school yearbook right now.

To celebrate a new blog and a new TpT venture, I'm offering these two fun Valentine's Day math bingo activities for free for about a week. So hurry and grab one. Actually, it's only one activity ~ one is multiplication for intermediate grades and one is addition for 2nd and 3rd grades.  Enjoy!

See you on the playground!