Sunday, January 27, 2013

Geometry in the Real World, Headline News and Teach Like a Pirate

Late night post...
Busy director webinar was on Friday evening, GT certification class on Saturday, grading papers/lesson planning and a girl scout meeting on Sunday afternoon. Whew...where did the weekend go?

Hence, the late night post!
Friday was a gorgeous day! 78 degrees and sunshine! After a district benchmark test and spelling test, it was time to head outside. We had just started a lesson earlier on geometry...lines, line segments, angles, rays...and a review from when you they were just a weeee little tike! Square, rectangles, circles, triangles...

Anyway, I had my students grab their colored pencils, a pencil and clipboard and to the front of the school we dashed! I don't think they really believed me when I said we were heading outside to look for geometry. Once outside, the students I had my students spread out and face a direction that geometrically "called" to them. They drew/colored for about 15 minutes. Then they flipped their paper over and wrote about the geometry that they saw. It was a great informal assessment!

The top one is a drawing from my student from Taiwan. 

Our school uses Words Their Way for word study...spelling. This week I had my students use their word list to create news headlines. A few things to tweak with this assignment. My directions were to vague and even though we talk about titles ALL THE TIME, they still didn't capitalize the major words. We talk about it when we make a science notebook entry, math entry, free write in our journal, and ohh I don't know...all the time! Apparently, they aren't transferring the skill to their own writing. Any suggestions out there?

One thing I did, was change was the original assignment. I posted the new and improved activity sheet on TpT. Fun Freebie!

And last, but not least...before I head off to bed...

Monday, I'm joining Donna over at Math Coach's Corner for a book study. I got my Teach Like a Pirate book on Saturday! Wahoo! 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Please Vote!

McCoy P. is a 5th grader at my school. He is one of 12 nationwide elementary school finalists in a video project sponsored by Scotties Facial Tissues.  Contestants each created a video on the importance of trees -- to themselves, their school, and their community.  In his video, McCoy also explains how Woodridge is currently trying to beautify a green space between the 4th and 5th grade hallways, by developing different outdoor habitats including desert, tropical, grasslands, a pond, learning hut and raised garden beds. You can see the incredible plans in the video. 

McCoy and Woodridge NEED YOUR HELP!   Winners will be chosen by an online vote starting TODAY through February 15th at  If McCoy receives the most votes, Woodridge wins $10,000 to use toward the outdoor space.  You can vote once a day for the next month.  

McCoy is an amazing young man. He is extremely creative. During lunch, you can find him teaching 5th graders how to create movies and the tips and tricks of animation software. He's a natural born teacher!

Initially, it will ask for your name, address, phone number...please don't let this deter you from voting. Just deselect the check mark at the end and you won't get the spam stuff! You only have to do that once. After that, you just need your email address.

Please vote!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Recipe Swap Linky Party

My Journey to 5th Grade is having her first linky party... a recipe swap linky party. Boy, do I need to revisit my weekly menu...chalupas, turkey sausage, crispy tacos/taco salad, grilled chicken, spaghetti --- repeat each week. Sometimes in that exact order, sometimes not.

So...I am in need of some recipe ideas.
I'm sharing one that I have posted on my blog before...this summer.
But, they are soooo good!

Pepperoni Rolls! Yum! Just had 2 of them for lunch today.

I usually make 3 batches at a time.

You need:
Tubes of refrigerated French Bread (one tube makes 6)
Package of sliced pepperoni or turkey pepperoni
Mozzarella cheese sticks, each cut in 1/2,

Preheat oven according to package directions for the bread.
Remove bread from tubes but do not unroll. I usually just work on the baking sheet. Cut each loaf into six equal pieces. Roll or flatten each piece of dough into a rectangle. Working from one of the long ends of each rectangle, lay 6 pieces of pepperoni on top of the dough. Slice one cheese stick in 1/2, then place end to end on top of the pepperoni. Fold dough up and over the cheese and pepperoni, pressing the ends together tightly to seal.

Lay the pepperoni rolls, seam side down, onto the baking sheet. Bake!

Tipping sauces:  Ranch dressing or marinara sauce.

My daughter loves them!!!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Subway Art

All over Pinterest, you will find tons of really cute posters called subway art. They are usually framed, related to family, patriotism, holidays, subject specific and not to mention, super cute!  I tried to search how this name came to be...but couldn't find an explanation.

So...I can I use this idea in my classroom?

We have been studying the American Revolution so, this past week I had my students create subway art related to Valley Forge. I asked my students to research Valley Force beyond our discussions and pull they key ideas from this event. It was a creative way for them to demonstrate their learning.

I gave them the option to either hand design or use some type of technology. I showed them two Web 2.0 tools, Wordle and Tagxedo. Then, we looked at Microsoft Word for using word art.

My students did a great job!

I changed the sheet so that it can be used with any subject area! 
If you would like a copy of this sheet head on over to my TpT store. It's free!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Taiwan and Fractions

What a week back! I am tired!

  • I finished my 6 essays for an award nomination...and it's mailed! Cross your fingers!
  • Welcomed our new student!
  • Comforted a student that has had separation anxiety since coming back from the break.
  • Made classroom accommodations for 2 students so they can function in class...each came back with a broken arm!
  • Did an interview with our local newspaper about a student that created a video for a contest. He is one of 12 finalists in the nation. (That post is coming soon...we need votes!)
  • Attended an all day professional development session followed by a late night meeting!


My class was so excited to have our new student arrive! He is from Taiwan! Very limited English...but super excited to be in our class.  My students have been unbelievable helpers. I am so humbled by them!

Thanks to some really great teachers who gave me fantastic resources for creating picture schedules and classroom graphics to use for visual prompts.
I created a visual schedule for him using some of the items from these sites. The other graphics I use to let him know what item he needs and movements around the room.

(Will update the picture of his schedule's at school.)

If you happen to get an ESL student in your class, these are some super fabulous sites for graphics!

Fun with Fractions!
We have had a great week with fractions.
Here are a few things that we have done and the resources I used. All fun and engaging for my students!

The Aliens have Landed!
We started off reviewing mixed numbers and improper fractions. I found these Flap Jack poke games! My students loved them. While my daughter and I were wondering around the Dollar Store, I found these plastic aliens. I told my students that the aliens were there to watch over them while they used the cards. They loved the aliens! One student thought they were creepy!

Greatest Common Factors!

Love these Flap Jack games!!!!
This one is Space Poke Cards!
I started with a mini lesson on GCF with the anchor chart and then continued the poke cards in small group. My student loved them!

Simplifying Fractions!
 This is super cute!

I used this in small group to teach simplifying  fractions. We used the hotdog baskets from Target (found in the $ section) for sorting. Just going to mention...Nacho Sort is free! Thanks Teaching to Inspire in 5th!
My students loved this activity!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Currently~~January 2013

Happy new year! We had a great time with our neighbors last night. A night of games and friends...perfect way to ring in the new year.

Farley's Currently went up fast and furiously! I always enjoy doing these. Great time to reflect!

Listening: Ok, so I'm not being rude and listening to my friend critique my essays while doing the Currently. She was over earlier helping me tweak the 6 essays I have to write for a nomination for a teaching award. The essays are due by January 11th! 2 more to go!

Loving: If you know anything about San Antonio and Fiesta, you know that one must have a fabulous wreath for your door. It must have lots of flowing ribbons, be bright, glittery and festive! I found these flowers that I'm going to use to make a wreath.

Thinking: I really need to get these essays finished and grade the 2 tons of papers in my school bag.

Wanting: We just ordered a gorgeous wrought iron bed...king size! I am super excited.

Needing: Writing has always been a challenge for me...which is why it is so bizarre that I took up blogging! Anyway...I know that I need to just knock these essays out and be finished, but here I am doing a bit of fun writing. Some might call it procrastinating...I like to refer to it as a brain break!

OLW:  I was watching a Lifetime movie when a Special K cereal commercial came on. They are having a "movement" about losing weight and what you will gain if you lose the weight.  My word for the new year has always been...lose, why not gain this year. 
Gain the power to say really is ok.
Gain the strength to get on that treadmill every day and resist queso and chips. (Going on a cruise in May!)
Gain the laser like focus to get work done at school so I'm not bringing home the 2 ton bag and get out the school door at a reasonable time.

Happy January 1st!