Sunday, October 23, 2011

Football ... World Series ...{aka Lesson planning ...}

     I realized today that I have been spending a LOT of time in front of the T.V. on Sundays! I am generally not a TV watcher, but during football season especially, Sundays and Monday nights are never quiet in our home! Saturday night Mr. B went to Michigan State vs. Wisconsin Badgers and today he crossed the state and went to the Lions vs. Falcons (he sorta likes football ... I mean, nothing serious ...) With him gone all weekend I was sure that I would get WAY ahead in my planning ...
Problem: lesson planning too often turns into a football watching/blog searching event. *oops*

and so, that is why I find myself in front of the TV - satisfied since my Packers have done what they do best again - watching the WORLD SERIES - blogging - surrounded by my mountain of teacher books - waiting for the MR to come home :)

Highlight from this Week 

The kids finished their Native American pots - they turned out super cute :) 


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Text Connections

Found this great text connection idea in Mailbox Magazine (great  WONDERFUL magazine for teachers!) last year and pulled it out again because my kids enjoyed it so much. Have the students write down a text connections that they make during their independent reading time on a slip of construction paper, share, and then categorize them into the three text connections. Once categorized, connect them to create paper chains:)  I love the visual "connection" picture that it makes in the kids heads. Since I teach 5th grade, the kids usually come to me knowing these three connections already, but I found this to be a great review lesson and a continual, visual reminder to be making them while we are reading. I modeled this strategy with Young Zeus by Brian Karas since there are so many connections you can make with it and the story is very engaging. We are also currently looking at Traditional Literature so it fit right in!
  • Text-to-world connections are easy since so many things in our society today have to do with Greek gods and goddess names (i.e. Poseidon, Hades, Olympus, Zeus, Titans).
  • Text-to-self is easy also - in the story he deals with understanding why his mother hasn't been there for his life - why adults aren't able to always do what they want to be doing, and he and his siblings have arguments - both things that many kids can relate with. 
  • Text-to-text was fun because this particular group of kids has been VERY interested in Ancient Egyptian, Ancient Roman, Ancient Greek stories (i.e. Percy Jackson) and is we made TONS of connections between what many of them are currently reading and this story.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday Stuff

Football. Yet another great thing about this beautiful Autumn season:)

Currently working on this next weeks lesson plans watching ESPN with my man.
Sunday's consist of football, football, and more football in our home - this year has been a welcome change for my husband, a diehard Lions fan! The game today against the 49er's was a little rough, but we dominated in the game against the Rams (big surprise!) so I'm happy! 6-0 baby!

 Random Sunday classroom stuff:

  • Started a WOW wall in my room - the kids seem to enjoy checking it to see if their work made it onto the wall. Working on getting it updated more than once every couple of weeks!
  • We started something new this year as an incentive for kids to work on their attendance. Every two weeks, the classroom with the best attendance wins the opportunity to either have a classroom treat or play the staff in a dodge ball tournament. My class won the very first best attendance of the year and needless to say, they chose to play the staff in dodge ball - it was epic. We won, of course (wink). They were short games and the whole ordeal only lasted about 20 minutes at the end of the day; the whole school was there and cheering - there was so much energy! Sadly, my kids struggle with good sportsmanship (the PE teacher has spoken to me about this already) and so the dynamic was lessened since I had to address some of their unsportsmanlike behavior in front of the whole school. But overall it went well, I hope that it helped them understand the importance of good sportsmanship.

Native Americans

So I stayed up SUPER late Wednesday night making bowls and bowls of salt dough - 50 kids worth! (recipe = 1 cup of salt to 2 cups of flour - add water till moldable) Thursday we created Native American pinch pots, coil pots, and totem poles to go with our Native American Unit. Next year, I will definitely order some real clay, but for the most part, this seemed to have worked pretty well. It was kind of a last minute idea - most of mine are recently! I took them home and baked them (200 degrees) and we painted them on Friday -they turned out AMAZING :)

 We're also started our Native American pocket notebooks to store all of our stories, writings, artifacts, pictures throughout this unit.
Again, the kids were totally geeked! They are Kings and Queens of coloring - which always makes their end projects look so AMAZING! I absolutely thrive on their passion and excitement over every activity we do together!
I checked out different Native American Legends from the library and am Super excited to use Cardigans and Curriculum's Native American Legends Idea! It is awesome and definitely worth checking out if you teach Native Americans - does a great job of using cross curriculum connections!

Off to an inter mural football game at my Alma Mater ... YAY EXERCISE!

Note: Please be aware that that as a social studies educator, my purpose is to get students excited about learning other cultures as well as their own. I am not perfect in my education of this, though I do try and do a lot of research before teachings cultures and history. Concerning the dioramas, I try to educate students on the breaking of stereotypes and regional uniquness as much as possible from my findings and research but do not claim to be an expert. By using tangible items it help spur students passion for the cultures and history we study and creates in them a desire to learn and discover more. If there is something that bothers you or have questions on my instruction concerning your culture or any other topic I may teach in my room, please feel free to email me personally to help me gain more understanding. I love learning about others and am always striving to educate my students better.

Just a Few of my Fun, Fall, Favorites!

^ *hehe* I love alliteration! ^

      Although, I will be very sad the day I can no longer wear my summer skirts and sandals, I LOVE FALL! 
It has to be one of the coziest times of the year (besides for Christmas, which I think beats all seasons and holidays for me!). But seriously, I love all those "Fally" things - apple cider, hayrides, pumpkins, chilly enough for a light jacket but warm enough to go for a walk kind of evenings, beautiful fall colors ... mmmm ... I don't think I could ever live somewhere that didn't have the seasons!
      So, since it has been MEAP testing week, and their poor brains need a break after the tests, I have been having a great time doing lots of FALL activities with my kiddos!

My partner teacher and I took our kids out one gorgeous afternoon and burned our initials into leaves with magnifying glasses - A HUGE HIT!

I had my kids create Pumpkin RAFTS, a great idea from Caffeinated Conclusions
R (role) = Pumpkin
A (audience) = kids 
F (format) = letter 
T = 1. Please do NOT carve me! 
       2. Please DO carve me! 
Strong Words = 1. Annihilate 
                          2. Creation
These turned out AMAZING - I was very impressed with their creativity - I am currently teaching narrative and this was persuasive, but they did relatively well even in their persuasion considering we haven't gone over it yet. 

We created seasonal poems - poems that tell us how the season arrives 
I would share the worksheets and poem layout, however I still haven't figured out the whole attaching documents ordeal ... darn. 
They turned out really cute however! 
We had already done leaf rubbings the day before so we put them with our poems 

I just LOVE these kids, they get so GEEKED about everything! It is so refreshing after last year when nothing was cool ...

Friday, October 7, 2011

Excuses ...

Last year, I did not allow myself to blog, even though I was dying to ... but with balancing my time between my first year and my poor, newly, married husband, I did not have ANY time (I do NOT know how some of your first year blogger did it! PROPS!). With this being my second year, I have indulged in participating in the creative and inspiring world of blogging! I the second year, everyone told me,  you will have SO much more time ... Who ARE these people?!?!?! It is easier, calmer, actually ENJOYABLE even (grin) but time???? I don't think I will ever have time to do everything I want to do with my kiddos! And so, here it is, a month into my blogging year and I am already AWOL. But, like every good student ... I have my excuses....

1. Not having the internet on my lap top is KILLING me! It stopped working a couple weeks ago and I am dying without it. I've been staying SUPER late at school (yes, what good teacher doesn't already stay pretty late! I swear I live in this ROOM!) getting last minute planning ideas, email catch ups, and blog snooping :0) This has definitely put a pause on my personal blogging, especially since I can't share any of my pix without my camera cord (which of course I forget EVERY morning!). GEEZ.

 2. The weather has been absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I LOVE fall! The colors are changing and it has been surprisingly warm. You will find me outside most evenings walking around our little town or playing girls inter mural soccer at my Alma Mater (Andrews University). I am SO thankful for this exercise - something that was also placed on the back burner last year! I am very excited because football season starts next week! 

3. MEAP testing is next week and it has been about the only thing on my mind! We have been doing hardcore 4th grade ELA review...busy, busy, busy!

With these silly excuses, I still have been diligently keeping track of all of your blogs! I have gotten AMAZING ideas from some of you and am excited to share them :) One of these days I just might!

Until then, I hope everyone is enjoying this wonderful fall season! 
If you live in Michigan ... GO OUTSIDE! 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Homecoming, Football, and Satisfaction

I LOVE football (huge Packers Fan!) and so I am very excited that our school does something special for Homecoming, even though our little guys still have quite a ways until that life experience :) My partner teacher and I set up a fun filled, football day for our kids this last Friday. First, the kids already come to school decked out in Spirit Wear - Purple and White was EVERYWHERE! We combined our classes into 6 groups. In the morning, we each took 3 groups - she did tail gating games and I did football relays and friendly competitions. I had made these cute little paper trophies to give to the winners ("best catch", "farthest throw", "longest Kick", Etc.) The kids REALLY got in to the games! Then we came in for our whole school Pep Rally and the high school football team showed up with the cheerleaders, part of the band, and Willie the Wildcat mascot to hype the kids up for the game tonight! What a great time - brought back high school memories! What would a football party be without hot dogs? After the pep rally we had a "tailgate" snack (which our parents so wonderfully provided for!). Then we switched to do stations in our own classrooms. I had three stations for the kids to rotate through. 

#1 = Football Vocabulary Writing Activity
The kids had to use at least 5 of the football vocabulary to write a "small moment" during a football game (we have been studying Lucy Caulkins "Watermelon vs little Seed   
#2 = Football Math
Here I just had some fun football problem solving worksheets - nothing fancy, but the kids liked them 
#3 = Create a football Pennant 
The kids made pennants for our football team - the WILDCATS! They turned out really cute, except our colors are purple and white so I think I will have to go and buy some more purple markers, we ran all of them dry! :) 
In my partner teachers room, she did math problem solving stations around the room about football as well, she also had the kids decorate big banners in the hallway that we carry in the parade every year, and she had them play table football with this adorable table football rug and goal posts. 
We were both completely SHOCKED at how well behaved these kids were during our stations. Generally, on celebration day the kids are so hyped and excited that these can often become noisy. But my kids this year are AMAZING - I put some music on (sports themed of course!) told them to work in level 1 whisper voices ... and that was that - a perfect afternoon! 
After school we have the homecoming parade through town and any of our kids are welcome to come walk in it with us, then we head off to the game - which sadly we lost - but it was a wonderful homecoming! 
To end a great Football Weekend, I headed over and watched a few of my boys Rocket Football Game - not only did I get to see the couple boys from my class this year who are on the team, but I also got to see a few from last years class :) They were so excited! I felt so good. What a great weekend! 

Do any of you celebrate homecoming at your schools? If so, do you have any neat ideas??
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