Friday, March 29, 2013


I love this linky!

 Here are my five random things!

I made chocolate covered Peeps for my daughter's class party!   Pinterest Win!
My poor old dog Thor had only boys to deal with for his first 8 years of life!  Having Eden around isn't always easy on him!
Totally obsessed with this cute book right now!  Scroll down to see what my kids did with it!
We had a LOT of hail this week!
My ridiculously funny trivia team in action!~  I love these ladies!

I am so happy to have today off!  And thrilled to be joining in on this cute sale!   I put my 5 favorites on sale for 20% off!   Go find them!

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

This + That = Awesome! Cutest book ever!!!!!

Have you seen this book??   OMGoodness!   I am in love with it.   So many different ways to make connections with this book!
This Plus That by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
It is a fabulous little book of cute real world connections - that can be used anywhere in your curriculum.  It has great connections like city+bustling=city,  and yellow +blue = green...


My kids LOVED it!   I loved that when I read once upon a time+happily ever after= pretend,  all of their hands shot up to tell me that they thought she should have written = fairy tales (we just finished a fairy tales unit).   I love all the directions you can go with this ...
evaporation+condensation+precipitation=the water cycle
roots+stem+leaves+flower= plant
nonfiction+famous person=biography
folktale+magic=fairy tale
farm houses+open spaces=rural area
addition + subtraction + multiplication + division = math
I could go on forever!   Since today was the first time we read it,   I let my kids take it in any direction they wanted.   Here are some of their cute ideas!

I am thinking it would be a great culminating activity with almost any unit.   I love it and highly recommend it for almost any grade level!
Happy Easter!

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

And other duties as assigned....

Teacher contracts are a little vague...  because there is no way to include all of the things that we really do within a day, and the general public has no idea how weird our job can get.   Today was full of "other duties".   I am not going to go into what happened,  but I will just say that teaching sometimes is really gross.   Kids are sweet and funny and sometimes really disgusting.   As I was having a very strange conversation with a student today,  one of my very favorite teachers overheard me.   She just looked at me and smiled and said, "and other duties - as assigned".   Some days are just like that. 

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

At least it's spring IN our room!

I can't believe how cold it is... in March.... in Texas.   Still feels like winter for sure,  but we brought some sunshine into our classroom today.

We had so much fun today with flowers and plants!  It was a really great day.   We are working on learning the parts, functions and needs of plants.   I have been behind in getting around to some of the things I wanted to do so today we had a Plant-a-palooza!  Last night I made a stop at Wal-Mart (even though I HATE it) for a few necessities -  white daisies (Wal-Mart was out of carnations),  cheapo flats of Marigolds, and smelly markers (well... the smelly markers were just a bonus).   This morning, I grabbed the celery out of the fridge,  because we were never going to eat it and headed out to work.  

We started the day in our science journals creating experiment pages.  The kids were all scolding me,  because this was a total flip flop to our day - we always do ELA first.   I explained that we needed the whole day to watch what happened and they seemed to forgive me.   The first  experiment was colored flowers.    We filled three cups with water and added LOTS of red, yellow and blue food coloring.   The kids drew what they saw,  made predictions,  wrote down the time and the procedure.  I took pictures to print and add to their journals as well.   We made observations every few hours,  and the kids were thrilled to see how the flowers were soaking up the color.  The blue color definitely spread the fastest!


Our second experiment was the celery in food coloring.   We talked about the celery being the stem of the plant,  which developed into a discussion of which parts of which plants we eat.  A few kids shared their disdain for celery.  They set up their journals and made predictions about what would happen to the celery as well.   We tossed a bunch of celery into some very blue water and drew our first observations.  Some of the kids had seen this done before,  but most hadn't.  Again they made observations throughout the day - and were kind of frustrated that they were not seeing any change.  They were super excited at the end of the day when we broke some apart and saw how the blue had traveled up through the stem in strands.

Then we took a break and went to work on our Freckle Juice study.   They are LOVING it!  Here are a few pics of their cute folders!

Over our planning and lunch break I set up the room for our next project.   I covered the tables with paper and brought out the googles (mostly because they like them and they look cute and feel like scientists when they wear them) and magnifying glasses.   I gave each kiddo a marigold with all the dirt and roots attached.   They were so excited when they came in!   They were given the task of removing as much soil as possible from the roots.   I gave them old paintbrushes to help with the task.  There was dirt EVERYWHERE - but it was so worth it.  They made some awesome observations.   The roots were almost as long as the stem.  The roots had little hairs on them.   The soil had little white things in it.   The very bottoms of the stem were purple.   They were shouting out so many things at once.   I heard kids explaining things to each other and asking each other questions.   It was a geeky science teacher's dream!   I loved every minute.  
When they had cleared off their roots,  and put the soil into some of our empty flower pots,  I gave them the task of drawing and labeling a diagram of their flower.   While they did this,  I took pictures of their plants and printed them out.   Then they attached the picture to the opposite side of their paper and labeled the picture as well.  We talked about the difference between a diagram and a photo as well.    I think they turned out great.   Tomorrow we will go further into the function of each.

We have  a few plants left,  so tomorrow the kids will work in groups and create experiments to prove or disprove that plants need sunlight, soil, heat, light, water, etc.   Should be interesting!
Hope you had a fabulous day!!!!

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

A pencil sharpener that doesn't make me cuss in my head....

So our traveling trivia team - Teachers In Tiaras - the TIT's totally kicked butt in the competition!   We also won the best costume category and I won two door prizes!  Score!   I won a foot massager thing and a set of stinky perfume.    We had a very funny and fun time.   My sides are literally sore from laughing so hard.

So now I am home with a husband and son who are not feeling well,  and two little ones who are wrecking the house. And... plans need to be written.   Luckily it is only four days worth.     My team is starting a chapter book study of Judy Blume books.   We don't have enough copies to all do the same book at the same time so some of us will be working on Amy Lemons - The One in the Middle is a Green Kangaroo unit and some of us will start with my Freckle Juice unit.  Then we will switch.   I am excited about it.   Also super excited about a long weekend.   Summer is within sight peeps! 

One thing I have been meaning to blog about but haven't yet is my new pencil sharpeners.   I should start by saying,   I do not understand why we can pretty much rule the world with our cell phones,  but no one has come up with a better plan than the PENCIL.   I hate them.   The constant breaking,  the dulling,  the dollar store pencils that don't sharpen, the decorative pencils that peel and clog the gears, the pencils that sharpen sideways and break the first time you put them to paper.... I could write a book about how much I hate pencils.   But what I have hated more than pencils is freaking pencil sharpeners.   They cost half of your budget money,  and sound like helicopter taking off in the back of the room.   Then some little person thinks it is fun to try to stick their pencil in eraser side first and it is time to buy a new one.    I had made a no pencil sharpening rule in my room.    I sharpened them all myself and left them in a can.   It was a pain. 

Then I bought these.

To say that they have changed my life is not really an understatement.   They are old fashioned,  heavy duty pencil sharpeners.   They are really easy to use...  like I have lifted the no sharpening rule and actually let the kids sharpen them.   And here is the super important part.... they are SUPER QUIET.   For real.   Like,  I don't even notice a kid is sharpening a pencil, QUIET.   Like, no walls shake when I am sharpening pencils, QUIET.   Like,  I have stopped the constant flow of cussing in my head when a pencil is being sharpened, QUIET.   Seriously, quiet.  And they sharpen ALL pencils - even the dollar store ones!   They were created by a teacher,  so made by someone really knows.   Just like the best curriculum comes from TpT and other real teacher sites,  the best pencil sharpener comes from teacher.   I love these things.   I bought a set of 3 - gave one to my bestie and kept two in my room which saved me some money and I got them for $17.99 each with free shipping!   Worth every cent.   My only issue with them is that the clamp that is supposed to hold them down doesn't seem to stay clamped,  but they are easy enough to use just holding them still.   I totally recommend these babies.   Pencil sharpener sanity!

Have a fabulous week!

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Glue, Tiaras, and Five for Friday!

I am linking up tonight with  for Five for Friday fun.   The whole point is to share 5 random photos from your week, which is PERFECT for me this week, because the best way to describe this week is random!  It was actually a really fun week - which I was not expecting coming off of spring break.  ( I will not confirm nor deny that there were actual tears coming from my eyes last Sunday night at the prospect of going back.)
My first bit of randomness was the sweetest bit.   One of my kids came in and brought me a gift.   She very ceremoniously handed me this bottle of Elmer's glue.    She explained that it was the favorite glue of the BEST teachers (raising her eyebrows) so she thought I would like it.   BEST GIFT EVER!
Monday morning an amazing thing happened - our math specialist came to the door and handed me (and everyone else on my team) a big old box of Versa-tiles.  We each received ten sets of tiles and the entire second grade set of books.  When does THAT happen?  Seriously,  when have you ever just received a bunch of materials that you did not have to beg for?  It doesn't happen much in my world,  but I loved it and my kids loved it.   I am beginning to think that our new math curriculum director person (I am unsure of her real title) for our district might be the true Bomb Diggity - like capital letters,  proper noun,  true Bomb Diggity.   And,  as if that were not enough,  I also received a giant tub of books to use for ELA.  I honestly don't even know where that came from,  but you won't hear me complaining (or admitting I know where it is if it was delivered to me by mistake -shhhh!).
Yesterday we had a little Christmas in March event when our very fun Donors Choose project materials arrived - ART SUPPLIES! Our funding was completed last week and they already arrived.   I let the kids break into the packages and they went wild.   We have new glitter,  glitter glue, glitter paint (okay,  I admit I might have glitter problem), wavy cut scissors, paint, paintbrushes, colored pencils, thin tip markers, organizers and super fun colored construction paper that is thick and holds a fold!   Not really sure who was more excited....
 We finally finished my fabulous fairy tale unit.   It was so much fun,  it started with a field trip to see Rapunzel,  A Very Hairy Fairy Tale in Fort Worth.   I am actually sad it is over.   I love a good fairy tale and I love all the conversations that we had about them.   My kids were very vocal about what a dummy they felt Rapunzel's husband was.  It was hilarious.  I feel very certain my students know without a shadow of a doubt what makes up a fairy tale.   Next week we move on to chapter books - Freckle Juice is first!   I am excited about that too.   I really do love my job.
My last picture is a tiara.  I love tiaras.   I wish they would catch on as an everyday fashion trend.  But that is not why I am posting it.   This weekend several of my friends from work and I are taking our rocking trivia team on the road (okay it is really like 10 minutes from here).  Our team needed a theme and we went with Teachers In Tiaras.   Yep....  the TIT's.   So wish us luck as we try to earn some respect in the trivia world.  LOL! 
Happy Weekend Peeps!

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Mourning the End of Spring Break...and Fairy Tales~!

I woke up this morning feeling .... blahhh!   Today is the last day of our spring break and let me tell you I needed spring break like never before.    I was so sick before the break and so tired and so sick of being so sick and tired.    It has been a really relaxing break.   We haven't done a lot of big things but it has had some really sweet moments.   I have had time to catch up with a couple of amazing friends that I have missed like crazy.   I have had hours of time just to watch my kids have fun at the park,  I went to go see The Great and Powerful Oz movie with my son Alex, and have just had time to chill and enjoy the blessings in my life - my family.

But tomorrow is back to reality.   I am a little excited because I get to tell my class that we had our latest Donors Choose project fully funded!   I am so geeked about this one.   It is art and writing supplies.   New markers, colored pencils,  paints, paint brushes, glitter, wavy scissors, bright construction paper, writing paper, and containers to hold it all!    Honestly,   I can't tell you how much I love new school supplies,  but I suspect if you are a teacher,  you feel the same way.   I LOVE Donors Choose so much!

Today, I finally, FINALLY, FINALLY completed my Fairy Tales unit.   I have been working on this for what seems like EVAH!   But,  I finished it and I LOVE it.   This is the first time I have ever gone through and listed all the common core objectives for a unit - so that took me a long time.   You see,  I live in Texas.   Rick Perry does not believe that we are part of the rest of the country,  so we do not use Common Core.  We have our own standards.   It makes me CRAAAAAZY!   It makes no sense.   I know it must have to do with money - but I hate it for me,  for my kids and for the kids I teach.   Our objectives are very similar - it's just that instead of 10 objectives for literature for second grade - we have like 68.   Makes me want to move.   But I will stop my tangent (because I could go on and HAVE gone on for hours about this) and show you a preview of my new baby!   Please go check it out on TpT
or on Teachers Notebook.


I love this unit because it can be used with any fairy tale.   I have included pages to go with many of the most popular tales,  but the story elements pages were created to go with ANY fairy tale.   It is full of pages that can be graded for reading comprehension,  language arts and writing.  It even has two quizzes - a vocabulary quiz and a fairy tale elements quiz.    I am really proud of it!
I hope that all of you coming off of spring break had a great week and those of you heading into it have an amazing break as well! 

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