Saturday, 31 March 2012

50 Follower Giveaway!!!

I am so appreciative and thankful for all of the support that I have received for my little blog!!  And I am happy to say that I will be having my Giveaway!! It will start today and the winner will be announced on Saturday, April 7th.

So here is what you could win:

My experiment book
 You caught me doing something great PUNCH CARDS
And your choice of anything you want from my TPT or TN store.

SPOILER ALERT!**********************************************
 I have already talked to Ian from My Rubber Stamp about my next Giveaway! Some of you may recognize his work from Farleys blog.  I just love his creative stamp designs and I think every teacher needs a sweet customized stamp from him.

My favorite right now is the Green Owl - WHO did AWESOME???  YOU DID!!! Get this awesomeness signed and returned!!!

So part of my 50 follower giveaway is finding out what kind of stamp YOU would want,  so that I can get the details sorted out with Ian for my next giveaway (I really love planning ahead). 

Now the important part.....Here are the ways you can enter my Giveaway:
1. Leave me a comment that you follow my blog
2. Leave a comment that you blogged about my giveaway 
3. Leave me a comment that you follow my TPT store
4. Leave me a comment that you follow my TN shop
5. Leave me a comment on what kind of rubber stamp you would like for my next giveaway

That is 5 different ways you can enter your name into my giveaway draw!!

Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry (along with your email) so that you have more chances to win!!

Good luck :)

Friday, 30 March 2012

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

I am sooo sooo soooooo excited because I won Misty's 31 Bag Giveaway!! I have been wanting a 31 teaching bag for a loooong time, so I could barely control my excitement as I found out the great news.

I happened to be minding my own business shopping for some organizational items for my closet at Canadian Tire (I am in a MAJOR spring cleaning/CDO mood, the Clutter Free Classroom would be proud).  Then my mad search for the prefect shoe organizer had to be put on hold because I received an email from Misty.  Of course she didn't tell me that I won in the email.... that would be tooo simple... she sent me a "code" so that I could find out for myself on her blog (she is seriously funny).  Well, needless to say I was soo excited that I left Canadian Tire without purchasing anything (Thank you Misty, my bank account really appreciates it). 

I also can't wait to share my before and after pictures of my "CDO" project.  I am sure it is going to take me a little bit longer.... but I will absolutely love it when it is done. 

Have a wonderful Friday night,

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

March Madness!!

Professional Development.....

Sometimes I hear those two words and want to hide, scream, jump for joy because I can learn something new.  In my short time being a professional teacher I have discovered ONE important fact that I want all newbie teachers to learn quicker than I did.

Are you listening??

If you want the really good PD sessions at the conferences..... you need to get there early and if need be push other teachers out of their chairs, scream and yell if you don't get in, skip earlier sessions.  I saw an amazing lady talk about her carpet lesson idea and I definitely wanted to learn more so I put her on my list of must go to conferences.  Sadly a lot of other teachers thought the same thing as me and even though I got there 15 minutes early, it was standing room only.

Needless to say, I learned my lesson.  Next time I will come prepared (to kick and shout)!!

Any who, one great thing that I took away from this conference was Box Cars and One Eyed Jacks.  These ladies have published several books that use games in order to teach math.  This was perfect for me because my Professional Development Project for the year was "How can mathematical games affect student engagement and math learning?".  So I was hooked! I also loved that these books only require dice, cards, and some teacher created materials (so thrifty me was happy that I didn't have to spend too much money on additional resources).

Here is one  game that I have used and loved, if you want to learn more or have questions you can check out their website or email me.

Make 20: 
This is for Grades 1-3 and requires the students to do addition and subtraction up to 20 and understand odd and even numbers.  You can have 2-4 players and all you need is some cards (ace to 5 for Grade 1, or ace to 9 for Grade 2 and 3), paper and a pencil.  Using the game board (there is one already made in the back of the book, you can download one from the website, or you can use mine), students start at 10 and try and make their way to 0 or 20.  Each player turns over one card from the deck, if it is an odd card the player must subtract and move back the number of spaces indicated on the card.  If it is an even number they must add and move forward the number of spaces indicated on the card.  The first player to get exactly to twenty or zero is the winner.
 This is a super easy game to teach, and a fun way to play with number lines, addition and subtraction, and odd and even numbers. The only problem I had with this game was that some students found themselves "outside" of the game board if they got a lot of even or odd numbers in a row.  My rule was that if they were stuck a number for example 1, they would have to wait until they got an ace or an even number to move them forward.  If they got a 3, they wouldn't move into the negatives, instead they would miss a turn. 


As a way to celebrate the end of March and the start of April I am having a March Madness TPT & TN sale!!!! Everything in my stores will be 20% off until March 30th. 

Monday, 26 March 2012

Guess WHOOOO is almost at a Giveaway!!

I am super excited because I am almost at my FIRST EVEEER giveaway!! I have been planning my 50 and 100 follower giveaway for a little bit now and I am SUPER excited that I am almost there.  I am so proud that my little blog has such dedicated followers (that always make me giggle with their cute and supporting comments).

So here is my sneak peak at my 50 follower giveaway!!

The lucky winner will recieve:

A copy of My Experiment Book:

 This can be used with any science experiment from Grade 2-5! It contains a title page, templates for the students to record their: materials, variables (independent, controlled, and dependent), prediction, observations, conclusion, and future experiments.
A copy of my "You Caught Me Doing Something GREAT!" Positive behavior punch card
This package includes 10 different themed punch cards. 

Can you tell I am a little excited???

I will post more details about my giveaway once I reach the 50 follower mark!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

My new blogging home!!

Did you see what I did??????

I have been admiring soo many beautiful blogs that Erika from The Honey Bunch has designed, so I decided to have a blog makeover.  I now feel pampered, refreshed, and relaxed because I really didn't have to do anything (it was like I spent the day at the spa).  Thanks to Misty at Think, Wonder, &Teach for helping me pick out a design package (she made it sooo easy), and Erika for taking over my blog making it soooo beautiful.

I suggest checking out both of these ladies blogs if you haven't already.

Misty has also created a new blog called 3-6 Free Resources and it is ammmmazing!!! I love that it puts all of the great things for these grades on one site (and some of my resources have been posted on this site too).  This is also designed by the one and only Erika!

Erika also has a brand new blog dedicated to her designs, it is called The Honey Bunch Blog Design.
You can find out a lot of information and drool over other blogs on this site.

 So a special thank you and virtual hug to Erika and Misty!! I appreciate your help with my little blog.

Ethan and Aunties Craft Day

These are the days that I LOVE being an Auntie.  I got to spend the afternoon with my nephew and we made our Easter craft.  He is officially an expert at painting with his hands (his day care has already taught him the routine! He keeps his hand flat, lets you paint it, and then he places it on the paper without any fuss).  I think he was really proud of the Easter Chic he made :)

 I put one in a frame for his Mommy and Daddy!

I also finished my Classy Redneck Quilt over the weekend.  It is really big and heavy so I had a hard time taking a picture of it.
 My doggy, Ola, has decided that this quilt is the best thing ever!  She is always curled up in it.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Harry Wong

Now I am sure most of you have heard about this man, Harry Wong, the author of The First Days of School (How to be an Effective Teacher).  I became familiar with this book about 4 years ago when I first began my education degree.  I still use this book as a resource and I would be a little embarrassed to show you my copy because it is an unorganized mess (I have sticky notes everywhere!). 

Some of the most useful things that I have utilized from this book is setting up clear routines.

When I was a student teacher I made the assumption that routines are very important in elementary, but then these routines fizzle away when you reach high school.  As a substitute teacher now, I have come to the conclusion that Harry is always right.  I still need the routines, even with the bigger kiddos.  And I have faced the facts, even though the kiddos are bigger, they still thrive under routine and structure and prefer having a class where classroom management is strong.

So here are some things that I have done to ensure that my routine is clear.

1. I post my daily schedule every day. This reduces the number of students that come to me and ask... "What are we doing next??" or "What are we doing today?" or "Do we have art and gym today? Please Please???".

2. I post bell work on the white board.  In this case I had the students work on Daily 5.  However I mix it up with the following:
- math word questions
- fun riddles
- newspaper board writing
- "to do"/"catch up" time
- etc 

3.  I post my handful of helpers.  I found this tool really helpful in the lower grades, and almost every class I visit now seems to use this tool as well.  The helpers that I always have are:
- Calendar/Special student of the day
- Messenger (if anything needs to go to the office)
- Line Leader (they are in charge of leading the class)
- Line Caboose (they made sure every student makes it to the destination)
- Helpers (these students are great for turning off the lights, handing out papers, opening/closing the blinds, etc.)

4.  I try to be consistent with my expectations.  Before I let the class start the lesson I always take extra time to review my expectations of their work, my expectations for their behavior, and their expectations for me! I let the class tell me this instead of me rambling on... plus I love to hear "We should be making level 4 work, that means we should be taking our time to add the icing, sprinkles, and candle!", "We expect that YOU should help us when we need it!!" (this is always cute every time). 

Those are the 4 major things that I do to establish a consistent routine in my classroom.  As a substitute teacher this can be difficult if some of these things are not already established.  However, when they are established it makes my life A LOT easier because the students do not feel like their routine is out of order without their classroom teacher there (and I don't hear "this isnt how Ms/Mr.... does it" as often).

So what do you do to keep routines consistent in your classroom??

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Daily 5

In my last practicum experience I was lucky enough to be in a school that was very forward thinking.  This gave me a ton of experiences that I may or may not have been privileged to at other schools.  On a daily basis I had the use of Ipads, Ipods, Smart Boards, and I was also given a Smart Table to do some initial classroom testing (I had a TON of fun using the smart table for collaborative learning).  As a substitute teacher I almost feel naked when I walk into a class and I don't have these technologies at my fingertips.  I was also able to work in an environment that was moving towards 21st century learning.  I had a lot of fun visiting all of the different classes that were centering their classroom activities and outcomes around a bigger theme.  Two teachers in particular were educating their class on an orphanage that they had recently visited in Africa.  As a class they created their own African art, hosted a community wide auction, and then all of the proceeds when to the organization in Africa.  They creatively integrated this into the curriculum where it was applicable and made their class globally aware.  I was amazed by the knowledge the little grade 1's had, and how proud they were of the progress the made throughout the year.

Another great tool that I took away from this practicum was the integration of Daily 5 by the entire Grade 2 team.  I am a big believer in the Daily 5 and Cafe books by the Three Sisters.  If you haven't read or used some tools from either, I suggest you take a look.  It has changed the way I teach Language Arts!

The Daily 5 is broken down into:

1. Work on Writing
2. Word Work
3. Read to Self
4. Read to Someone
5. Listen to Reading

And CAFE stands for:
Expand Vocabulary

In these books they take you step by step into each section and provide great ideas and methods for integrating it into your class.

I only have one complaint about this book:
When I examined their expected daily schedule, most of the time was spent on language arts and math.  From my experience every class that I have been in has had other subjects as well..... you know... science, social studies, computers, french, music, physical education, etc.  So I didnt find the time break down of each Daily 5 activity applicable for me.  However, I found it easy to incorporate 3-4 daily items each day (even if it occurred throughout the day).

Some of my favorite things to do with Daily 5:
I loved read to someone, depending upon the day I would either use popsicle sticks to randomly choose pairings or I would group by reading level.  This also gave me time to read one on one with a few students and fit in some assessment.  I also created my own coaching bookmark to help the listener be a better coach.

I would use read to self every day after lunch (this was mostly a classroom management technique in order to calm the wiggles),  As soon as the kiddos put their lunch away they were expected to get a good fit book and read.  As a positive reward I would pick table groups that were ready and reading and give them a table point. 

Listening to reading was sometimes difficult to do but I found a few great sites:
storyline online
book flix (unfortunately for this site you need to be a member, most schools in Alberta pay for this service so I had this for free)
The Ipad and Ipod also have some great apps for stories, however, if you don't have access to these a simple tape player and head set work wonderfully too!

Because I live in a province that can be sunny and 10 degrees Celsius in the morning and a snow storm in the afternoon, I have become an expert at indoor recesses.  I always have lots of games in the classroom, but one of the kiddos favorite things to do is watch a story.  So I let the special kid of the day go on the smart board and pick a book and the class quietly watches and enjoys their snack (this really helped a lot of my students that couldn't handle unorganized activities).

I am still no expert with Daily 5, but I am loving what I have discovered so far.  I always get really excited when I substitute teach in a classroom that is using this tool because I can get soo many new ideas for myself. 

Anywho... I have rambled on a little more than I wanted.. I am excited for tonight because it is my favorite TV night! Greys Anatomy and Vampire Diaries :)  I am hoping to work on my Red Neck Rag quilt while I catch up on my shows.

TGI almost Friday!!

*******************************RECENT ADDITION****************************
A special thank you to Kim at Finding JOY in 6th Grade! She sent me on a blog hop to Ladybug's Teacher Files where I fell in love with the variation that Kirsten made to her CAFE - CRAFT board so that it was more applicable for her Grade 4&5 Class.  This is an image from her blog post, but I suggest hopping on over and reading about her variation if you haven't done so already. 

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

I heart Awards!

I have been a little slow to catch up on two awards that I have been given (sorry, I am a little less productive over spring break).  But I want to thank Satya at Crayons, Glitter, & Smelly Markers and Becky at Teaching, Learning, & Loving for giving me One Lovely Blog Award.   I find both of these blogs inspirational!! I love reading these blogs and remembering why I first decided to become a teacher.  It wasn't for the money, it wasn't for the hours and long spring break (however that is a nice reward), it was for the KIDDOS! Sayta is in university and working towards her Bachelor of Education.  I love reading about all the new things she is learning and trying in her practicum.  Becky is in her 3rd year of teaching Kindergarten, and she some amazing ideas as well as a TPT store.  She also makes me want to teach Kindergarten because it looks like so much fun (I always have remind myself how exhausting those little ones are, and that Kindergarten teachers are a special form of superhero).  So I suggest checking these blogs out if you haven't already!
Now onto the award!
I took my time to research the many blogs that I am following... I really wanted to find blogs that haven't already received this award (however there are too many lovely blogs out there), and that are just starting out like myself.

So here are my picks for the award:

 Courtney at Teaching in Paradise (she gets to teach 3rd Grade in Hawaii, jealous yet?)

Working 4 the Classroom - creating a collaborative community

Her blog name just makes me giggle

Congrats to these blogs! I could have spent hours picking more blogs that deserve this award, but my doggy is itching to go for a walk.  So check these blogs out and send them some love. 

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The Hunger Games

I have to admit I may have lived under a rock for a while...

Yes a while..

Because I did not know anything about the Hunger Games Series until I went away on spring break.  I had seen some posts about the book, but the title always made me uninterested.  Then I discovered that this book is part of the curriculum in Grade 6 in BC, my only excuse is that I haven't taught a lot of language arts at that grade (even then it isn't a good excuse).  Anywho.. I am catching up with the times and I read both the Hunger Games and Catching Fire in 4 days.  I couldn't put this book down!! Now I understand why so many teachers are having success with this book in their class.  I am now following the Hunger Game Lessons for some great lesson ideas.  I just hope that one day I will be able to use these ideas (fingers crossed). 

So I am no longer living under the rock, and today I bought the last book in the series... Mockingjay.  Some of the reviews I have read found that this book was a disappointment compared to the other two.  So I am interested if you have read this book and feel differently or similar?

I am pretty sure it will be a late night for me because I always have a hard time putting down a good book.... and sleep can be overrated sometimes. 

Lastly, I was reminded by All Free Teacher Resources that I have a FREE Easter behaviour punch card download on TPT!! I made this in February and completely forgot to mention it in my last Easter post.  So thank you Emma! This card reminds me that I need to put out an American spelling version of this card (I have the Canadian apelling of behaviour, so I will make another freebie version soon, thoo thorry). 

Monday, 19 March 2012

E is for Easter

I started to do some research today on some fun things to do in the classroom for Easter! I love Easter... mostly because I am a chocoholic. Today at the grocery store I was really tempted to buy myself one of those huge kinder surprises (you get a treat and a toy, best marketing idea evvver)...  but I refrained.. it was hard.  Instead I went onto pinterest and found some great ideas.
I thought that this was a great idea from Itsy Belle, and who doesn't have fun placing their hands in paint and making artwork?  I am tempted to try this with my nephew, he is only a year old, but at his day care he made me a hand print to take home so I think he has had enough practice.
Isn't that just stinkin cute! I am going to find a nice picture frame to put it in because I am a proud auntie.
This craft is from Little Wonders' Days and I cant wait to try this activity again.  It is called shaving cream art and it is soooo much fun to do.  I have previously used this activity in high school to illustrate polar and non polar substances.  If you want to learn more about that you should check out science matters, this blog explains how you can use this craft as an experiment. 

Lastly I found some delicious looking easter treats that I thought would be a lot of fun for the kiddos.
I love this carrot treat idea.. you could use any treat that is orange (goldfish, crackers, or candy).  I also like that you could make this healthy and control the amount of sweets each kiddo receives. I found this on Life on Old Savannah.

Lastly, these cupcakes make my mouth water! This idea was taken from Family Go and you can get the recipe there. In case you are wondering (as I was), the carrots are made out of an orange Starburst and green Twizzlers (can you say YUM).

I have to confess that I am obsessed with Georgetown Cupcakes (a reality show on TLC) and every time I watch that show I feel the sudden urge to get out my kitchen aid and make extravagant cupcakes.  So these will definitely be on my list to make.

Have a wonderful Monday!