Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Warren Dunes {Priceless}

I had an absolutely AMAZING time with the kiddos at Lake Michigan today! The kids excitement was contagious! Their faces as we came upon the giant dunes was incredible! Climbing them was a workout adventure and jumping off steep sand parts with them was priceless! The lake hasn't quite warmed up yet but that didn't stop many of them from dumping each other with buckets full of Pure Michigan ice water! Some of my boys brought skim boards and we all had a great time learning together Michigan's "surfing" :) For some, this was their very first time to the beach and it was pure joy to watch these urban kids soaking up the sun, sand, and waves!
The day was full of screaming, running, climbing, jumping, smiling, wading, sandcastle building, sun bathing, snacking, and bonding. It. Was. Magical. And the pictures I took with my phone are full of pure happiness. The jumping ones are the best - all of us lined up, hands held in a long line, jumping off the steepest part of the dune into the sand below! What wonderful memories .. .. . 

Wait. Where are these fabulous memory filled pictures on my blog page?

Insert {crying} 
The sad part of the day came 15 minutes toward the end of this picture perfect field trip. 
I was skim boarding with a couple of my boys for the "last time" before getting on the bus. We were having a great time - falling hard, laughing at each other, and finally adjusting to the brutal chill. As always, I had been taking pictures and videos  - when it was my turn, I set my phone in a little red bucket next to us. Here is where it gets blurry. Someone asked me the time .. I found it for them on the phone . .. skim boarded .... .  landed hard ..  . laughed. Realized the red bucket was empty. Now, I am not sure of the sequence of the phone's events, but I have three theories. 
Theory #1: Some beach comber snagged my phone out of the little red bucket. 
Problems with theory: 
    There were not a lot of people walking the beach 
    There was a family laying right behind where we were skimming so they would have seen them
    We were RIGHT NEXT to the bucket - they would have had to have been SUPA smooth
Theory #2: After checking the time, I subconsciously put the phone in my skirt pocket, proceeded to skim board, fell, phone slipped out. GOne. 
Probability of this theory: 
    I don't think someone stole it and it was no where to be found on the beach around us
    I had been keeping it in my skirt pocket all day so it could have been done on autopilot 
    It sounds like something I would do. darn. 
Theory #3 {brought to by attention by a kiddo}: The MIchigan "Moch ness" Monster stelthfully stole it from the beach and is keeping it in his lair below ... laughing at our skim board attempts :) 

I prefer to go with the later since it makes me smile. 

Internet pictures of Warren Dunes ... not nearly as cool as the ones we took! {sigh.}

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Bucket List Linky Party

A Cupcake for the Teacher is throwing a cute and practical linky party - Summer Bucket List. Hopefully this will resemble some sort of accountability for me as I head into a once again, BUSY summer!

1. Actually go to the GYM! Now that I will be having some more days free {and I won't be tired and lazy after a day of work - cough cough} I'm going to try and get this body back into summer swimsuit and 24 year old obtainability. Your only young once, better look the best you can be right? {Self control I'm going to NEED YOU!}
2. Plan out my "thematic" reading/writing/social studies unit plans. I have already started integrating the three subjects {the only three I teach} but am wanting more organized/planned units. I plan on mapping out my curriculum based off the standards and our district maps, then using resources such as books and blogs to line everything up. This may be a lofty goal, but hey, SHOOT FOR THE MOON CAUSE IF YOU FAIL YOU FALL AMONG THE STARS {high school motto anyone? these are the moments you apply them - grin}
3. Buy a house - or at least look seriously with a relator at some small lake houses we are interested in. The MR. and I are very excited about finally getting our first place and enjoying a YARD. He is a true blue Michigander and though the house may be small in size, we WILL live on a lake. Yes sir. Can't really complain can I?
4. Blog more! During the school year I completely spazz out blogging. Seriously, I don't know how some of you do it! I can barely keep my head above water as it is without the addition of posting what is going on in my life! Props to all of you - and perseverance for me.
5. Spend LOTS of time at the lake! My husband and I generally spend our ENTIRE summer on one Michigan Lake or another ... however, this summer he is doing his LAST P.T. clinical near our best friends in Missouri so we will be spending our "lake time" at Lake of the Ozarks! I'm happy just as long as it's a lake!
6. Plan my classroom theme for next year ... contemplating SUPER HEROS - but playing off of historical characters since I'm trying integration. Maybe SUPER HEROS THROUGH HISTORY? Whatever I do, I know that there will be some pop art gracing my walls ...
7. Utilize tips from Clutterfree Classroom since Lord knows I have FAILED in the area of organization the past two years. It's embarrassing actually. Moving on.
8. Hook my desks together with cable ties so they can not move all over the room!  The only thing is I like to move students around until I find a good fit.  I guess they would have to switch desks since I can't move them.  Hmmmm?
First Grade Factory - click above to her post.
Thank you Little Priorities for this AMAZING IDEA from your bucket list!
9. Create a Learning Goal Binder
and use it to make a FAB learning goal board similar to this from the fabulous Runde'sRoom:
10. Make a teacher organization box {part of my organization gig} - similar to this one by 4thGradeFrolics
11. BUY A CAMERA! SO my blog pictures can look DECENT. Camera phone's are amazing {what up instagram} but they are not the best for blog pictures . . ... Time to invest. 

BUSY summer ahead of me! ONE MORE WEEK BABY! 

Revolutionary War WAX MUSEUM!

I know I'm a little late on the draw ... but these last few weeks always catch up with me TOO FAST! Here is the update on our 5th grade Early American Wax Museum!

The kiddos did an absolutely OUTSTANDING job at the Wax Museum. This teacher is SO proud!
If you haven't read any previous blogs about what this is all about, the kids pick someone that we have studied this year from Early America and create a research paper {and Biography poster} on them.

We then spend a LOT of time practicing and memorizing this {they were about 1-2 minutes long} Kids are required to bring at least one prop and are encouraged to wear a costume {or as much of one as they had - ex. white t-shirt can be manipulated into anything!} Then we raid my costume closet full of old clothes I used to dress up in when I was a kid and finish off the kids who were unable to obtain certain parts of their wardrobe or prop.

The kids than stand in the hallway and freeze like wax figurines and wait for someone to push their "button" for them to "come alive" and share their speech ... then go "back to sleep."Other classes are invited to attend as well as parents, grandparents and other student relatives!

Here are some of our characters this year ... .. .. . ....   .

 Abigail Adams coming to life: "Oh Hello, I was just writing a letter to my husband John ..." 
 Queen Isabella - sent Christopher Columbus to the New World
This little gal came to us FROM SPAIN this year and started her speech out in spanish - adorable!
 Thomas Jefferson - author of the Declaration of Independence
 King George 3rd - British king during the American Revolution {notice all the tax money at his feet?} He was a popular character among the kids due to his "bad guy" reputation - these are the two "Georges" from my two different 5th grade classes
Paul Revere - Horse and all {LOVE IT!} 
"The British are Coming! The British are COMING!"
 Betsy Ross making her flag
 Benjamin Franklin - inventor of the lightning rod and bifocal glasses 
{loving this kids spectacles!}
 Squanto - did you know he had blond hair?! Me neither!
 Molly "Pitcher" Hayes - serving water from her bucket to thirsty injured men on
the battle field!
 Pocahontas starting a fire
Christopher Columbus - using his compass to discover America {the hat makes him look a bit more Charles Dickens'ish but it's cute!} smile.
Captain Myles Standish - did you know he had quite a temper? This little guy acted it out perfectly! {and yes, that is the Lorax mustache ... but Myles had a bushy red beard as well!} 
John Hancock - Signed his name BIG on the Declaration of Independence so that 
"the King and all of Parliament would see it WITHOUT using their Spectacles!" {actual quote}

As you can see, it was a MAJOR success and my teacher heart is full of joy! 
American Revolution Linky

"If we are to have war - let it begin HERE!"

- Captain John Parker at the Battle of Lexington 
We are continuing our Revolutionary War unit. The kids have be EATING IT UP! Recently, I have been having a LOT of substitutes due to district meetings, teacher evaluation {went WELL BTW! EEK!} and other events. With that being said, I have had the subs watch a couple Liberty Kid videos with the kids. I am not a big fan of videos, I like using short ones to launch a lesson, unit, or break up the day, but 20 minute movies are generally not my thing. However, they are perfect for subs {I do create little movie reflections so the kids have to PROCESS the video} and I feel that liberty kid videos are QUITE educational. The coolest part about them is that many of my kids go home and watch them OnDemand and are now watching something clean and educational on their OWN time! {Teacher heart made happy!}.
Here is an example video {they are ALL on Youtube} and a free video handout for discussion for the first two episodes: {PERFECT for sub plans! *grin*}

The freebie handouts can be found at my TPT store ... haven't figured out how to embed them on the blog page yet ... . . . .
 Here are a few more activities we have been doing:
We have been traveling down the "Road to the Revolution" and learning about all the different events that led to a declaration of INDEPENDENCE!
We worked on our Paraphrasing skills {something that is quite hard for kids I am realizing!} by paraphrasing the different important sections of the Declaration of  Independence.
Can't seem to turn the picture for some reason .. sad. You get the idea :)
We studied about Paul Revere and his midnight ride - we read the famous Henry Wadsworth poem {I use the kid's version from our Scott Foresmen Basel Series}
 Then we learned about the actual battles themselves - Lexington and Concord
I have them watch this video {I love this ENTIRE documentary, I show blurbs throughout the whole year for each unit}

We talk about the battle information and add this information to {This} battle matrix that I got from Teaching in Room 6.
One my most favorite mini-units during this unit is our Poetry unit. We start by breaking down the song sung by School House Rock on the video "Shot Heard Round the World" - which is obviously a poem as well. I give the kids the lyrics to the song and we use and adaptation of {this} sheet, which is ALSO from the amazing Stephanie from Teaching in Room 6 to begin our unit on poetry.
I introduce the vocabulary we will be needing and then we talk about the different characteristics of a poem {Rhythm, Rhyme Scheme, Stanzas, etc.}
and yes, I KNOW I spelled RHYTHM wrong - it happens when you are talking and writing at the same time - the kids corrected me - life moves on.  I need to remind myself to cross the "e" out so no one else "reminds" me! ha!
We go through the poem together finding these things as I give the examples on the chart. Rhyme Scheme and Rhythm are both hard at first for some kids so make SURE you give them LOTS of practice doing it with lots of different poems. This is a great introduction to our poetry unit which we just finished up Friday - I will post about that later.
For more unit and lesson ideas for the Revolution, please visit the link below! 
American Revolution Linky
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