Friday, March 16, 2012

Ode to English Plurals

my mom sent this to me and i thought it was GRAND! 
especially for ELA and English teachers. so fun. 
i am not sure where it is from {if someone knows PLEASE inform me as to where i may give credit!} 
i even shared it with my kids when we were doing plural spelling words, and though parts of it were a little over their heads, they understood the gist of it and laughed at all the right places :) 
{Ode to English Plurals}
We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!

Let's face it - English is a crazy language.
There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger;
neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren't invented in England .
We take English for granted, but if we explore its paradoxes,
we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square,
and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing,
grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?
Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend..
If you have a bunch of odds and ends and
get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English
should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?
We ship by truck but send cargo by ship.
We have noses that run and feet that smell.
We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.
And how can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same,
while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language
in which your house can burn up as it burns down,
in which you fill in a form by filling it out,  and
in which an alarm goes off by going on.

And in closing, if our Fathers are Pops, how come we don't call our Mother's MOPS?

Hope everyone has a FANTABULOUS weekend! Get out and ENJOY the weather! 

 Living GREEN FAIRY style for St. Paddy's Day 
{. .. .. and yes, the green garland is for St. Patrick's Day .. it isn't still up from Christmas, though that would be how I roll so I don't blame your questioning thoughts! *haha*}

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


tell me.

does this happen to all of you too??
or are my kiddos supply monsters ... eating, loosing, ripping, tearing, and destroying everything in SIGHT!

the middle one is what is LEFT of my cute, ribbon library passes. they even had cute little tags  . .. . .
 a teacher came in yesterday, surprise written all over her face, and asked, "are those really your library passes?"
no. that is what's left of them. come on! i did not sit around in the summer planning for my room thinking .. .. okay, let me see, i think i will use post-it notes and ghetto looking masking tape for our library passes this year. GEEZ.

had to vent.
over all, this group has been pretty good with supplies and taking care of things but ... . .. . sometimes it is still incomprehensible what kids are capable of destroying! truly.
so . ...
Operation "student proof" is happening tomorrow. ... . who am i kidding. i wouldn't even have a classroom if i did that!{sigh. smile.} ... . . . recode. ..... .. . Operation "create sturdier supplies" . .  .. goodnight!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Author's Purpose, TPT, and new scarf!!

So we have been learning about Author's purpose and I found the most fabulous idea on Juice Boxes and Crayolas. I couldn't wait to use it and actually presented it during my principal's observation. It was amazing! We also learned the hand gestures that Amy created. I HIGHLY recommend them! It was so cute because today, while we were taking the assessment I saw a couple of the kiddos doing them to help them on the quiz ;) GO AMY!
 We filled in the P.I.E chart - then we worked together to identify where different articles belong. The fun ones were those that rode the "line". I also created some note cards - while they are not nearly as creative as everyone's in the blogging world, they did the job and the kids did really good identifying different intro paragraphs during guided reading groups.
Today, we took our Author's Purpose Assessment. I finally got around to making a Teachers Pay Teachers account and am excited to actual share some documents! ... I feel like I must share something on blog world since I have taken and been inspired by so much! So, first up is a freebie - Author's Purpose Assessment :)

... . .. .on a slightly un-school related topic, I got the most fabulous scarf - loving the birds! . .. . . . but since I have worn it to school 3 times already it's becoming school related quickly ;)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Observations, Reading Block, and Such.

So for the last week I have been reviewing all of our reading procedures like a CRAZY woman! You see, my principal shared that he wanted to observe all of us during our 90 minute reading block to see how, what, when, we do things. He stated that it wasn't a formal observation but that he wanted to be more aware of what is happening so he can better support what we are all doing and give better feedback when we have questions. Yes, he is amazing like that. He is so involved, encouraging, and supportive- and I LOVE it.

With that said ... it is still nerve wracking to have ANYONE in your classroom for NINETY MINUTES! Let alone your principal ... and the intimidating notepad.

Our reading block, as required by Michigan law MUST BE 90 minutes {I'm sure many of you have the same thing}. My 90 minute block looks something like this ... . ... .
{Note: these are the times for when I have my partner teacher's kids
10:20-10:30 Students do a bellwork activity as I call students over to collect homework
10:35 - 11:05 Daily 4 {my adaptation of the Sisters Daily 5 Centers}
11:010- 11: 30 Reading Mini-lesson/ Activity
11:30 - Status of the Class {Usually takes about 5 minutes}
11:35 - 12:00 Independent Reading time - I do my individual student conferences during this time

At 12:00 we switch gears and begin writing or social studies depending on the week.

Normally, I would not have been freaking out too much over any evaluation. The schedule usually goes like clockwork. However, these last two weeks have been NUTS!
Last Monday - no school {Professional Development}
Last Wednesday - Music and Art field trip
Last Friday - no school {Teacher work day}
This Wednesday - field trip to Hockey game
 .. . . . ... this schedule, while loads of fun, messes with classroom organization,  procedures, and behavior BIG TIME!
. .. ..add to this Tuesday (the day before the Hockey game field trip yesterday) which was a completly HELLISH day ... I had four boys at four separate tables around the room, multiple movings of clips, and both classes in for recess to go over some simple classroom rules. With the field trip in between that day and my observation today, I was a hot mess this morning worrying about today's behavior!

.... .. . ... but BOY did my kids DELIVER! They were AMAZING! All the way through. Ninety minutes of pure teaching BLISS! I cannot tell you how incredibly PROUD I was of them, their behavior, or of how smooth and beautiful our reading block was presented. It was exactly how a good day runs in our room. I feel good. I feel accomplished. These moments of success and pride must be cherished by teachers as to get us by on those days where we question why we ever entered this profession!

and I am cherishing it.

Stole this from Lindsey over at My Life as a Fifth Grade Teacher - it SO made me laugh!
 if only . ... . .. ..

Sunday, March 4, 2012

field trips and frustrations.

Wednesday we took a fabulous art and music field trip in Kalamazoo {and yes, for those of your who do not live in Michigan, there really is a Kalamazoo *grin*}

Our first stop was to a Glass Blowing Factory. The kids were absolutely fascinated by it! 8 volunteers were even able to help cut the hot glass. It was really neat!
Our second stop was to the Kalamazoo Symphony. I am always a little nervous about this since it is a whole hour of sitting through orchestra music ... but the kids did GREAT! It did help that we were in the very first row! It was a really neat experience and the kids genuinely enjoyed themselves.

The last stop was to a history and science museum. They had the neatest hands-on activities. I think I may have enjoyed it as much {or more} than the kiddos *smile*
The two "hits" were definitely the news station, the diner {where they got to serve each other} and the general store ... what fun!
 Yes, that is me ...I love dressing up - we had a blast in this room buying and selling, and talking in old fashioned accents ;)
 Coal mining was a hit too ...
 Who can resist a good photo op! 
 Needless to say, the frustration did not come from the field trip ... since we had such a fantastical time!

The frustration is coming from READING. 
I try very hard to follow reading workshop to the best of my ability. My district gives us a reading basal program {of which I am NOT a big fan of} which I generally only use the leveled readers from for guided reading and such. With that said, I am pretty much on my own to figure out any thing I want to incorporate concerning reading and writing workshop since they do not send us to any workshops. I feel that I have good systems in place with Daily 5, CAFE, mini-lessons, guided reading groups and  independent reading time but I can't seem to mesh them together into one, smooth, effective block. I am struggling with figuring out what, when and where. 

I am curious to know how those of you who have successful reading workshops figure out the following: 
1} Without a text book telling you, how do you figure out what order is the best for teaching strategies/concepts/genres? It is truly just your own judgment? 
2} How do you gauge your time on each section/strategy/genre/ etc.
3} When, during workshop time, do you do the actual activities that go with the strategy or concept (like summarizing or point of view) 

I would LOVE some ideas or perhaps a link to a blog you may have posted concerning one of these areas. 
I have learned SO MUCH from all of you - really I don't think I would be going out of this limb alone if it weren't for all of your amazing ideas and inspirations!

Frogs, frogs, and more frogs!

Currently, my partner teacher is discussing endangered animals and animal adaptations with our kiddos in science. We had a presenter come in and talk about the dangers that are threatening many frogs and making some of the species extinct. Many of the factors point back to humans and things that we do that hurt these cute little creatures. Needless to say, the kids jumped passionately aboard the "save the frogs" wagon and we had a great time researching about them, creating them, and making others aware of their impact.
In science they created created amphibian creatures to scale out of clay.
 In writing, we are working on expository text and so I had them create "Ms. Frizzle" frog reports ... Ms. Frizzle reports are my name for "mini reports." You know the short little blurbs that the students in the Magic School Bus books have on the side of the page - the mini research reports on a very specific part of a large topic?
I show the kids examples of real Magic School Bus reports. Wanda's on pollution. Arnold's on coral reef partnerships. Ralphie's on wind energy. We talk about how even mini reports have a Main Idea, a TS {topic sentence}, supporting details {though they will have less since they are "mini"}, key details that help the support, and a wrap up conclusion sentence.

I had the kids brainstorm something unique and specific that they wondered about frogs ... why their tongues are so long? How they jump? What they eat? Which ones live in Michigan? etc.
we researched them down in the lab .. .. .... .
then we came back and filled in the 4 sections of expository text.
Once they were done with their "Ms. Frizzle Report" paragraph they re-wrote it onto a lily pad.
We also created "Save the Frogs" diamante poems. I had them use Read, Write, Think's diamante poem creator. They LOVED using that! We cut out frog heads and legs and glued them to our poems.
Together with the lilypads, these looked SO cute! The presentor is actually putting on a display concerning Saving Frogs at the public library and asked to display all of our reports and poems. The kiddos were so proud - as they should have been :)
Oh, and of course, we had the kids dress in GREEN :)
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