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Friday, December 21, 2012

Our Christmas Presents

Today was my first day off and I spent it at the mall (not my favorite place). I stopped at 9:30 for a minute of silence for all the victims of last week's tragedy. Many tears and prayers for everyone who has been affected.

Since hubby is at work, I get to blog :)

Take a look at our Christmas presents. 

I will let the pictures do the talking:

Wishing for snow!  

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Share Your Opinion!

On Monday, I began teaching Opinion Writing and all I can say was A-mazing!!!   I guess we had been doing narrative writing for too long, because the kids rocked it. I am sure they were glad to try something new.

I decided to talk about something the kids were familiar with: Their favorite book character.

I wrote about him :)

On Tuesday,  I was observed (unannounced). The kids had created their hook and shared their opinions by then. We supported our opinion with facts and details.

Some of the charts we created.
The last picture is the final product .

My post observation went extremely well. I was very pleased with the grades and comments given by our interim principal.

I took it step by step. Modeled one thing at a time. Kids wrote. We shared. We edited. Repeat. Their first drafts were beyond fantastic!
We will do some editing, revising and write a final copy tomorrow. The rest of the week I have a variety of topics for them to practice with. After that, they get to use their brainstorming list we created on Monday.

In order to teach Opinion Writing, I created this product.

I love it. I really, really love it! I did some tweaking after teaching it. I did not wanted to put it out there without trying it out. Thanks to my amazing bloggy friend for reviewing this for me.

If my kids can write as well as they did, so can yours :) Find it HERE

Time to pick  someone who could LOVE this as much as I do.
Let's see... if you guess what my hubby does for a living I will send it to you for free!  I love guessing, don't you?  I think only one person who knows me personally can answer this. We will give her a serious talk if she spoils my guessing game. LOL.
Tiny hint: He wears a uniform to work.  Start guessing!

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Flat Estimation Jar?!

Raise your hand if you have ever used a flat estimation jar. Here, here!...(this is me raising my own hand).

The whole idea began with a small collection of  ... confetti!

They are organized using small Gerber containers. Gerber peaches are my favorite. Yum!
I used them to create a two dimensional estimation jar. 

This is how it works: I pick a handful of confetti. I project the confetti. My students estimate. We use sticky notes to organize our data using post-its. We decide how we are counting our data (by 2's, 5's, 10's). We find who got closest to the actual number and record it on our estimation books. We are making a book with the estimation of the month.

The kids LOVE it!  They keep begging me to get more confetti. I need to go shopping :)
But of course you can continue to use your 3 dimensional estimation jar.
Raise your hand if you'd like to try that? 

This is when you raise your hand and visit my TPT store to check this new product. 

If you are the first one to estimate how big my family is (cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents...) back home in Mexico City, you'll get it for free.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Red and Blue

Our school had a two hour delay yesterday. I did as much as I could since I had to eat lunch with the kids in my classroom and did not have specials :(

I had Election Day activities so our day ended being really short and productive.

We started with a class conversation about each candidate. I then typed their statements and created a chart.

Each student received a ballot. We created graphs to display our data and used a map to color five blue states and five red states.

We then created If I Were President posters.

Today I watched a little bit of the acceptance speech and we wrote congratulation letters to the president.

Here is to no more campaign commercials!  :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween Pics.

How was your day yesterday? I am trying my hardest to stay away from the pantry :)  I need willpower!

At home, we had a cute Rapunzel that refused to wear a wig (I have always wanted a blond baby) and a hockey player. My kids' school starts at 7:20...let me tell you, it was super hard to get up this morning.

At school, we had a great day! I am going to let the pictures do the talking :)

We also read The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything. Our awesome PenPals sent us the book. Thanks Jaime! We then used it to add one more choice for our Respond to Reading chart.

There were cupcakes, juices, popcorn, munchkins, goodie bags, and masks.

Friday... I am sooooo ready for you.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Two Small Freebies (Exit Slips and Halloween Homework Passes)

I purchased this guy in the summer. Cookies were gone right after the purchase :)
I knew he had to be used in my classroom since the Mr. thought the bear does not match our decor.  :)

I had read about Exit Slips and this is my Beary own way of using the same fantastic idea. 
I measured and created two different labels for Mr. Bear, exit slips and a sign with ideas on what to share. 

The idea is to find something Beary (insert your choice here) to share about, at the end of the day.

Find them here.

Halloween Homework Passes anyone?  I am looking forward to stealing organizing my kids' candy right after they go to bed.
I made these homework passes for my students and I am also sending it to my son's teacher (hint, hint).

Find them here.

If you download them (either one), would you leave me some love?  My comment box has been really sad lately.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Three Favorites

I learned way back when, that the best way to find great ideas for my classroom, was by visiting my peers. I read teaching magazines and visited as many teachers as I was able to, during my teaching practicums and student teaching placement.  I have to say... there is no magazine that can replace visiting many, many classrooms. Welcome to mine :)

My Three favorites:

Can I go to the bathroom?
I am sure I heard this question about a zillion times. I used a log, bathroom passes, hand signals, common bathroom breaks... until...
Whooooo Went to the Bathroom and Who Went to the Library was born. (Straight from Pinterest - with a twist).
The inside of my door has two top hooks. In the beginning of the year the kids learn that only two kids (one for a boy and one for a girl) are allowed to use the bathroom (located in the hallway) and/or get a drink of water from the water fountain.

There is no need to ask for permission to go to the bathroom. Really???!!!!

The only rule: You can use the bathroom when the teacher is not doing a mini lesson, or when she is not  in the middle of her famous speeches :)

I have a basket with all their names (laminated owl notepad sheets with a ring). One for the boys, one for the girls. If they need to use the bathroom, they do not ask bug me, they just go.

The bottom 4 hooks are for 4 kids who are visiting the library. Four kids can visit the library (no boy/girl rule here) at the same time.  Again, they do not ask, they just go. The best times to go to the library are while we are doing morning work and snack time.

Did you bring...?
I had issues tracking when they kids returned a form the office needed, payment for a field trip, paid for their yearbook ... until...
My quick check off list was invented.
After I get my class list, I type their names in alphabetical order (first names only). It must be thin enough to fit into one of those long notebooks you find at Michael's Dollar bin.

I use this quick check off list when the kids are asked to bring a payment, when I finish writing their report cards, when I get field trip money... I pretty much use it for anything I need to make sure no one is forgotten.  This way I do not have have to flip through pages, forms, checks....
This is a quick way to see who needs to turn something in. Voila'!

Noisy Base Ten Blocks and Quick Erasing?
We use our noisy base ten blocks quite often. It is not fun hearing all the crashing of base ten blocks.

On the other hand, how long do your kiddos take to erase their work form their white boards?

Both problems solved :)
We have something called Red Carpets.  Michael's rectangular sheets of felt.  I drew the lines to separate the hundreds, tens and ones). Whenever you are ready to use Base Ten Blocks just pretend you are me: "Please use a red carpet and show me what you know about place value". :)

If you think black socks were just to keep your feet warm...let me tell ya'. They are the best white board erasers every invented! I purchased a dozen of black socks which they usually smell (as if I was going to give them my stinky socks). I promise you they clean the whiteboard in no time!

Any tips that make your life easier?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Halloween Freebie

I took a three hour nap today and I can't sleep.  So I made this to share with you.

Download here.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Number Patterns and Snakes (freebie)

What's the rule? and Number Patterns was the last math topic in my classroom before our break. I gave the kids markers, pattern cards, white boards, and hundred charts. Model, think aloud, practice, model, teach a partner, model...repeat.

We started with two digit numbers. I modeled how to find the number pattern step by step. We did a lot of these before moving on to three digits.

We used two color markers. The first marker was to find the pattern, the second was to extend the pattern. They loved it! 

Then came the snakes!  I printed the snake pattern using different color paper to make them pop. The kids 'planned' their number pattern before getting the snake sheet. They had to choose a pattern (+2, +5, +11, -12...anything they wanted), and then transfer that to their numerical snake.

Here's the snake pattern for ya'.

You can find all my number cards and much more here. Thanks Jaime for all your help!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Without a Topic in Mind

I have a few conference left for tomorrow. Most of them will be phone conferences (I am going to surprise them since they did not sign up to meet with me). My room will be a bit messy as I take out my track out to do list (which is really long at the moment) and decide what I really want to get done.

I do not have any plans for my almost three week break besides working on some TPT stuff, clean the house and do some fun things with my own kids. I am also planning lunch dates with friends I never get to see.  Relaxing and having the house to myself will be great!

I have one thing on sale on TPT and the day I sold my first one I screamed, texted my husband and waited for some feedback. Not sure why but the feedback from my sales has not come. I wonder if it is terrible, helpful, descent, or just plain OK.  How do you encourage your buyers to let you know about their purchase?

Ms. Santana from The Learning Tree sent me this cute sign from her 500 Giveaway. Thanks Kimberly!

My principal is retiring and I am heartbroken. I said it. I love her.
What is it like to have a new principal?  I have only worked for two, but this is the first time I will work for someone who did not hire me... and that is stressing me out!  Any advice?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fall is Here!

We have had some gorgeous weather around here. I am so glad my kids get to enjoy recess without complaining melting. Today I may have extended our recess for 10 minutes today. Don't tell anyone. 

I am looking forward to celebrating Halloween, having my kids eat tons of candy for one night, and celebrating my 15th wedding anniversary. 

Casey is celebrating the beginning of Fall with a blog hop and I was invited! I couldn't say no. I am easy  sometimes :)

There is only one tiny problem.

I  have... one...You read that right, one... item on sale. Nothing else :) 

My first three-week break begins in a week. I think I will be working hard on showing you some things I have been working on lately. 

At the end of the day is all about the fun and the support we show to each other, right? 

It is report card weekend for me. Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

How do you show your feelings? (freebie)

This week during Writer's Workshop, we worked on showing our feelings by using specific actions.

I had faces ready for them to use. The kids worked in small groups and began brainstorming one characteristic that could describe how you look, or what you do that matched that facial expression. Each group had the chance to write one word and rotate through the rest of the classroom where the other cards were located.

After each group had the chance to participate I made this:

The next couple of days, we reviewed our chart and talked about expressing our feeling through actions and specific details. They had to write some 'feeling sentences' to practice.

Some of my favorites:

I had a very red face when my sister pinched me.
My mouth was wide open the day I saw my new dog.
In the morning my face was really, really red because my mom woke me up.
My legs were shaking on the first day of school.
When I got a new toy I was jumping up and down.
The day my brother cut up my pompoms, I yelled loudly because I could not use them anymore.
Seeing a big black bear, makes my body shake without control.
I had tears down my eyes, the day my brother went to the beach for a whole week.

Here are the case you like them :) do you show your feelings?