Friday, December 28, 2012

Bloggy Meet Up, Abbreviations and Super Fun Figurative Language

I had such a great time last night meeting up with some really cool bloggers. I was in awe with how much they do and all their really cool posts. They inspired me to get moving with a few things that I needed to finish up for my TpT store.

Starting with...

Before we left for the break, my class worked on abbreviations in their writing. I created an abbreviation sort for one of their language arts rotations.

Super Fun Figurative Language!
I love it when my students start making connections! They are seeing figurative language everywhere! It is so funny when they stop in the middle of something and shout, "Simile!"
Here is a figurative language packet I put together with a little super power theme! My students have loved it!

So...Ba Bam! Here are my newest creations!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Fab Hubby and Awesome Daughter

Last Friday, the 3:00 bell rang, very excited students were heading out with their parents after a fabulous class party...I was heading out with 102. 4 temperature. Yes, it is true. It was not exactly how I had expected to spend my first few days of the break!!!!

Boy, was I sick! Sick, like I have never been before! Sick, like I don't remember most it, except for the chills, sweats, sore throat, aches, cough, stuffy nose...rinse and repeat for 4 days! All I kept thinking about was all the things I needed to get finished before Christmas. Thank goodness my shopping was complete, but hubby's stuff was not wrapped... no little stocking stuffers for daughter ...Christmas breakfast food not purchased...ugh!

In comes, Awesome Daughter! During my chills, sweats, sore throat, aches, cough, stuffy nose induced coma, my daughter and her friend wrapped all the gifts! She is the best. She even told me not to worry, she would sneak out early Christmas morning and stuff daddy's stocking with his treats. She would even come in every so often and would pat my hand. Awww! Love that girl.

Now, the hubby, he has been beyond fabulous. He kept me hydrated, brought medicine, listened to me whine, cleaned, cooked, did laundry, finished stocking stuffer shopping, prepared for Santa's visit and made me chicken noodle soup.

Overall, we had a great Christmas! Pigs in the blanket for breakfast, gift unwrapping frenzy, fantastic turkey and sides at the in-laws and an evening of Rummikub and Mexican Train!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Scratch Off Holiday Gifts!

I've been racking my brain for something inexpensive to give my students. I love scratch of tickets! What a great idea! they are...

To make these scratch off tickets you'll need:
  • dish soap (any brand works)
  • acrylic paint (I went with holiday colors. You can always do the silver paint to look authentic.)
  • paint brush
  • packing tape
  • scrap paper

Here are the steps!

  1. Design your scratch off ticket. Print on card stock. Cut each one out.
  2. Lay out each ticket on scratch paper.
  3. Cover the scratch off section with packing tape.
  4. Mix 2 parts paint to 1 part dish soap. Paint the portion that you want students to scratch off. Use even strokes. It will take 2-3 coats of paint to cover the words.

5. When they are dry, cut them off the paper.
6. Scratch off!

Here are the things that are under the scratch off portion...

  • Sit in my black rolly chair. (No one gets to sit in this chair. They are going to be so excited.)
  • Shoes off for the day. (Thank goodness we have pe at the end of the day.)
  • Move your desk next to a friend.
  • Lunch in the classroom with a friend.

Super fun! Super easy! Super cheap!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Tragic Event

When the news of Newtown broke, my grade level and I were in shock trying to comprehend the unthinkable. I had to check in with my brother who happens to live 30 minutes from Newtown.
This evening, watching the news,  I'm sitting in utter disbelief as the events of the day unfold. It is heartbreaking.
Hug the ones you love.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the community of Newtown.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Rocks, RAK and RTI

  Rockin' and a Rollin'
Lots of testing this past week! Our students took the CoGAT, plus they had a Words Their Way and a fraction test. Perfect timing...for a little Peanut Butter and Jelly Geology!

I started with a sequencing story about the formation of sedimentary rock. As they listened to the story, they drew (in their science notebook) what they part of the anchor chart. As they finished each section, they would build that part of the model. Once we finished creating our model, the students drew a core sampling of the sedimentary rock and answered question in their mini lab book. Right after the story, I showed my students beautiful pictures of actual sedimentary rock. I wanted them to be able to make the connection with the process and the creation of the layers. Thank goodness I did...the priceless comment of the lab... "Ohhh, sedimentary rock is real."

My RAK (Random Act of Kindness) ...thanks Farley (Currently- December)  for pushing me to get it started!
The "Clean Team" got started this week. My students started cleaning the computers around our school. This has been a huge success! The teachers are excited, my students are even more excited! The kids have felt like Rock Stars walking into a teacher's room to clean their computers.

Notice the pink eraser...secret weapon for cleaning!!!
Teacher comments...
"Dear Mrs. Dolat's Awesome Class, 
Thank you so much for cleaning our laptops! Our students are so excited to be working on "sparkling computers" rather than "dingy computers"! You are the best!!!"
"OMG... your class is awesome!!!! "
"What a great service!"

Our called "Walk to Learn." Walk to Learn comes from the fact that every student on our grade level walks somewhere during our 30 minutes of intervention. No matter if you are in an intervention group or not, everyone goes somewhere. We really have a great thing going. Of course, we are always trying to perfect it. 
Quick low down...
  • Based on inventories, students are placed in small group or big group.
  • Small group-needs intensive instruction.
  • Big group-changes all the time- Exemplars Math, Science Vocabulary, Poetry, Grammar, Moose Science...really these change based on student need. 
I have one of the small groups for reading intervention. We have been working on the PLORE reading strategy and prefixes and suffixes. These slider cards from Lakeshore have been highly engaging. They provide a reading passage on the front and then ask questions relate to prefixes and suffixes. Slide to get your question, flip to get your answer! The backside (see the card on the right) provides the answer. Love them!

Thursday, we played some online prefix/suffix games. Just sayin'...we won a million dollars!!! Don't be jealous! You too, can win a million!
Here's how...
Rags to Riches

Then we played Short Circuit.

It's cookie bake day! Can't wait!
Happy Saturday!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Currently December

Ahhh...December! Tree is up, lights are strung outside, stockings are hung, Christmas shopping...NOT started! Ugg!!!  But, my Currently-December is done!     Link up with Farley to post your Currently.

The rain outside!  Gotta love Texas...and a high of 79 degrees today.

Cookie bake next weekend! Yum! These are the best cookies ever! Even better when they are frozen! The cookie recipe has been passed down from my husband's grandmother. I learned how to make them from my mother-in-law. Now, we have a few friends (they were asking in Oct. when we were baking cookies) over for a  "bring your own cookie tin---whatever you decorate, you take home" cookie party. The night before, we prepare all the dough and icing. Our kitchen always looks like it has snowed from all the flour and powdered sugar.  My husband is the master at rolling, cutting out the shapes and cooking the cookies. Sounds like he does most of it, right? Uhhh...well he does. My job is to get in there and frost and decorate so that we can get our tins filled. These cookies are his breakfast for the next month.

We had a fantastic time watching The Nutcracker ballet! A friend and I took our girls to lunch and then to see the ballet. It was a great day!

The weekend always seems to fly by! I have to get out to buy items for my daughter's advent calendar. I'm now 2 days behind. After that, hours of grading. I let this week get by without keeping up with my grading. Not good!

I usually do the rice and glue wreath ornament, which is really cute. On the inside of the wreath, I add a picture of each student. I think it is time for something new. Ideas?

My class is going to start a computers. My students are going to go around cleaning classroom computers for the teachers.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Another Funky Tech Tip

On my ever-so-fun quest to get my director of technology certification, I just finished another class...Making the Move Toward Blended Learning.

This is one of the resources from the class. Sorry, those links aren't active, but hopefully it will give you some new tools to use in your classroom. 

Featured Tool #1

What is it? OMG! This site allows you to reformat a website page for printing. Say, you want to use an article for research, but there are various other things that might be too overwhelming for a, crazy font, white space.... you can delete portions of it and then print it. 
How can you use it in the classroom?
Teach students how to use the site (3 easy steps) add it as a bookmark on the tool bar so they aren't printing pages and pages. Cut down on ink and paper!

Featured Tool #2

What is it? A free online tool that allows students to type information that will then generate the content in a newspaper format. Quick, easy and fun!

How can you use it in the classroom?

*Write about a historical event
*Write a book review
*Have students write a week of events in Room ____ for parents.
*Explain a math concept.
*Post an original poem.

Featured Tool #3
Scribble Maps

What is it? A very user friendly free tool that allows you to draw on a map, add pictures, create place markers, add a video and comments. You can even sign up for an account to add more too, is free.
You can share, email, embed or print your map.

How can you use it in the classroom?
*Chart out historical events.
*Create a story, use the place markers as events....sequencing.
*Great way to teach map skills (allows you to create a legend)

If you have used any of these tools, I would love to hear how you incorporated them in your classroom.

Happy Saturday! We are off to see the Nutcracker! Mommy -- Daughter day!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Liebster Award!

I'm so giddy, I can't stand it! I've been nominated not once, but twice for the Liebster Award!

Thank you so much to Fifth in the Middle and I Heart cute is that blog name?! The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. It is to show new bloggers that they are appreciated and to help spread the word about new blogs.

The Rules:
  • You must post 11 random things about yourself.
  • Answer the questions that the nominator set for you.
  • Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
  • Choose 11 blogs you love (with less than 200 followers and link them in your post.
  • No tag back, but please leave me a comment on this post with the URL to your Liebster post so I can learn more about you!

Random things about me....

  1. I made a bazillion Pretzel, Hershey, M&M treats to take to my sister-in-law's (my brother's wife) family (who happen to live 4 hours away and I was meeting them for the first time) AND forgot them in our freezer!!! Good thing I didn't forget the Bugles, cheerios, pretzels, M&Ms, goldfish snack mix and cute napkins! Huge hit! I think I could have just brought the bag of Bugles and would have been golden!
  2. I'm working on my director of technology certification.
  3. My daughter is the fourth generation to live in our house. 
  4. I'm the leader for my daughter's girl scout troop and we have a meeting tomorrow. I'm only half prepared!
  5. I picked out my china and crystal (and my parents bought it) when I was in fourth grade. 
  6. We have the cutest 2 dogs!  A Yorkie and a Maltipoo! They are the best of friends!
  7. I love making wreaths! Here is my latest...

8. I LOVE Buc-ee's beef jerky.
9. I am working on a huge project, an outdoor learning environment for my school.
10. I just received 2 grants, one written with 2 other teachers for a Family Science Night and one for an after school program I started called GEMS. GEMS is Girls Excelling in Math and Science. We have over 160 girls participating!
11. I have the most amazing husband! When the school year starts...he does laundry, cooks, cleans and is extremely supportive of my craziness.

My responses are a blend of questions asked by Fifth in the Middle and I Heart Recess! I know that there are only supposed to be 11, but I liked their questions!

  1. What is your favorite classroom holiday activity? April Fool's Activity-Followind Directions Prank
  2. What is your favorite freebie? An appetizer! :-)
  3. What is your favorite holiday dish? 
  4. Black Friday or Cyber Monday? This year, Black Friday. Sweet Shoppe was having a 40% graphics sale. I stocked up!
  5. Where is your favorite place to shop for your teaching wardrobe? Macy's 
  6. Summer or winter? Summer
  7. What is your favorite TV show? The Housewives of....take your pick, I watch them all. Guilty pleasure!
  8. What is your favorite dessert? Chips and salsa. I really isn't dessert, but for me, it is!
  9. What is your favorite sports team? San Antonio Spurs
  10. Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip? Mayonnaise (especially on white bread and leftover turkey!)
  11. What is your dream job (other than teaching)? Owner of a boutique 
  12. What is one thing you wish you were better at? Grading papers in a timely manner and working out!
  13. Do you have a TpT store? If yes, post the link. My store! Thanks for visiting! A big figurative language unit coming soon.
  14. What do you fear? Fire.
  15. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Cookie Bake with family and friends. We invite family and friends over to decorate cookies. Whatever you decorate, you take home. It is my mother-in-law's recipe! There is an ingredient in it that I refuse to acknowledge, but man, they are good!!!!! They are the BEST cookies ever and so is the icing!  Frozen is the best!
  16. What is your favorite subject to teach? Science!
  17. How many students do you have? 24 precious darlings!
  18. Who do you admire most and why? My mother. She was the most positive, kind hearted, always saw the good... person I have ever known!

My questions for nominees...
1. Beach or Snow?
2. Sweet or Salty?
3. Do you collect anything? If so, what? If not, what would you start collecting?
4. Family tradition?
5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
6. If you could change one thing in education, what would it be?
7. What is your favorite dinner recipe?
8. Do you have a TpT store? If yes, what's the link?
9. What is your best teaching memory?
10. Something you have always wanted to do?
11. The lottery question...what would be your first purchase?

Blogs I'm nominating...
2. Mrs. B's Best - Ideas and Ramblings
11. PJ Jots

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Currently November

Ahhh....November! I survived October with all it's craziness. November, has great potential for being crazy also!
I missed the October link up with Farley, so I couldn't miss November!

Saturday always seems to have a Law & Order marathon. I've actually watched 2 episodes that I haven't seen. Love it! Right up there with NCIS and Criminal Minds.

I just started working on my Director of Technology certification. So far, I have taken a class on Digital Citizenship/Internet Safety. That was really interesting. That class was perfect timing. Our district is working on lessons for digital citizenship. Right now, I'm taking a True Technology Integration class.  It is so good! We are analyzing different videos based on the level of technology integration. Here is a video that is great. Restaurant Project. Ahh, finding the time to integrate to this degree. Should add that to my "wanting" section. 

I woke up and realized there is no coffee in my house! How can that be? I resorted to Vanilla Chai tea. It's yummy, but just not coffee. My family is off to a friend's ranch, so I think I might head to The Corner Bakery  for a lovely breakfast and some much needed coffee! 

Needing-add a massage! The color and cut are desperately needed!

I love to play Jesse Cook in my class. It is guitar music that is a bit peppy, but not distracting. 
Happy November everyone!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Google Apps Summit...way cool!

I had a great time at the Google Summit today. Thanks to Dr. Roland Rios from St. Sam Houston ISD for creating a great conference.

Here are some of my fun tech tidbits that I learned today.

Fun Tech Tidbit #1: Never grade a paper again! Ok...maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but well on it's way to being true. If you use Google Apps, this is for you!
Everyone was talking about Flubaroo.

Flubaroo allows teachers to grade a quiz created from a Google form by simply answering the questions first as the teacher.  Loving this!

Here are a few tutorials for Flubaroo.
The Innovative Educator
Flubaroo Tutorial

Fun Tech Tidbit #2: I attended a session by Amy Mayar.

She showed us how to search Google templates. There were some great resources on the site.
What I really liked, was a post on her blog where she shows how to make a video comment on a student's Google doc using Jing!
Way cool! Check out her posting.
She also talked about using (district account) Google Sites as a student portfolio that follows a student through 12th grade.

Last Fun Tech Tidbit: Interactive Google Presentations
Now, this one was a bit more involved. Do you remember, the old Choose Your Adventure books? Helpful session, since I had done these last year with my students. We used PowerPoint. We also used Student Response Clickers to have participants vote on the path. It had some glitches!

The session today gave me some helpful hints on how to start the process and make it a bit easier to start with students. I also got to mesh my process  with my new learning. There were some great tips for making it easier. We will do these again...only this time through Google Presentation.

I really enjoyed the day. Hope you can use some of the ideas.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I Got Boo~ed!

 It couldn't have come at a better time! What a crazy month! I was super excited to find my surprise hanging on my door early this morning. Which means, someone got there earlier than I did! Wow!
 If you aren't familiar with "Getting Boo-ed" just Google it or look on Pinterest. Totally different from being virtually boo~ed. I got a super cute gift waiting by my classroom door.
Two other teachers and I were going to start it, but someone beat us to it! Even better! What a great way to boost the spirit around school! It's the little stuff.
After school, I went to Target, to find my cute stuff to pass on the BOO!
Final products...
All from Target! So many cute things!

Had to add this...Monster Trail Mix...Really?!!! How perfect is that for Halloween?

Tomorrow, is our school carnival. The fifth grade team will dress as Mad Scientists! Every grade level will parade down the halls of the school showing off their costumes. Right after school, we hold the biggest fundraiser ever! The Fall Carnival! Ahh, the tricks that I will have up my sleeve to maintain control! Actually, I have some really fun stuff planned. Stay tuned. If they work, I'll share.

Side note ~~~ I'm really excited to attend the TCEA Region 20 Google Summit this weekend. If you live in the San Antonio, or surrounding area, you should attend. It is FREE! Here is the information.
Google Summit
Can't wait to share what I have learned.

Back to being Boo~ed...have you done any fun things right before Christmas? Looking for ideas.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Cards and Dice

No...not heading to Vegas. Darn!
A few posts back, I talked about math fact fluency being a hot topic at our school. So, I've been looking for some fun games to reinforce multiplication facts.

Enter...Spiral Multiplication Game!       Spiral Cards for short!
My students are obsessing over the spiral multiplication math game. They are even asking to stay in during recess to play! I found this game at

We changed the directions up a bit. Students create their game board using the cards. They select game pieces and place them on the card in the middle. That is the start. Then, they use the double dice. The outside number, is what they multiple the card by... the inside number is the number of spaces they get to move. They love this game!!!

Must have for any game that involves dice! Felt Squares! 
I explain to my students that the dice must be rolled on the felt square----one it absorbs the sound and two, it protects the plastic ones from cracking. 
Here is a picture of one of my felt squares and some of my fun dice.

Happy rolling!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

It's Electrifying!

Experience before label! I handed each group the extremely cute, Insulators and Conductors, box of items and asked them to light the bulb.

No other directions! It was so interesting to watch as each team approached the task.
8 out of the 10 groups were able to light the bulb. group had a faulty bulb! Oops!
After, I gave them the label...closed circuit, we had the discussion-What makes it a closed circuit?
We then discussed an open circuit...
I posed the question...Are there everyday items that will close the circuit...LIGHT THE BULB?

We created our insulator/conductor testers with the items from our oh sooo cute boxes. We started predicting what item might be a conductor. Then off to the testing.  What great discussions!
Students made their own connections as they tested.  I loved listening.
They added the information to their data chart and then drew a closed circuit. When they finished up their sheet, I had them discuss the questions that were on the inside of their box. Loved the group that said, "Where'd those questions come from?"
Ahh.. the power of wires, batteries and a light bulb! They make you oblivious to questions posted!

The top of the box. 

Inside the box lid

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Outdoor Learning Environment and Math Facts

Oh, my goodness! It has been forever since I posted!
I am in the midst of writing 5 grants and prepping to present to our school board for an outdoor learning environment. Ohh, and also doing lesson plans for my oh sooo cute-precious and darling class. (They really are!)

If you happen to have an outdoor learning environment at your school, I would looooooove to hear from you about how it was started, what you have in it, how you maintain it and how your got the funds.

So, completely not related to the outdoor learning environment, my post for the evening is about math fluency! HOT topic at our school.  Our fifth graders are coming to us with low math fact fluency. Research shows that higher order math skills such as multiple digit addition, subtraction, multiplication, long division and fractions will be severely impaired without fluent retrieval. 
Preaching to the choir? I know...
My friend, Amy, found this website that helps to work on math fluency! LOVE IT!!!!!
Students work at their own pace. There is a short, daily lesson that combines basic skills with a beat the teacher quiz. Once they master a skill set, the questions start to become harder. Teachers receive a weekly progress report letting you know how your students are doing. 
 Oh, did I mention... it is FREE!!!!!!!

What do you use for math fluency?