Friday, December 26, 2014

14 in '14

Do you hear that sound? It's the sound of teachers everywhere sleeping in, watching Netflix, eating long lunches, and going to the bathroom when they want to! Thank God Christmas break has finally arrived! I have so much Pinterest and Bloglovin posts to catch up on during break.
While scrolling through Bloglovin I found this fun linky hosted by some fabulous bloggers! Hop on over to Miss Kindergarten and link up!

Sorry for the not so great quality of some of the pics! Here's my list in no particular order
1. I turned 30 in February! I heard some horror stories about crying and all out denial about this milestone birthday. To be honest 30 has been a good year to me! 
2. I took my first trip to NYC in April. It was too cold for this Texas girl, but I'll definitely return again in the future. Oh the funny stories I could tell about this trip.

3. I celebrated my two year Crossfit anniversary in April. Crossfit is the hardest and best thing I've ever done for myself all at once.
4. I took a leap of faith and joined TpT! 
5. This particular verse of Jeremiah was really put into my heart this year. I'm telling you this year has been full of growing and changes.
6. I got to present at summer staff development in July, and share some fun with a group of sweet teachers at my school. I was having a bit of a hot mess hair day, my bad!
7. This hasn't happened yet, but I did find out a few weeks ago I'll be going to EdCamp Magic next June in Orlando!! I'm so excited and can't wait to visit Disney World again! Fyi teacher friends attending EdCamp Magic is free and tickets are still available.
8. I ran my sixth 5k in October!
9. I enjoyed lots of pool time this summer! I don't have a pool of my own, but I house and pet sat this summer. Luckily both houses had a pool!
10. I attended a Kagan workshop a few months ago, and my second Ignite conference in June. This school year I've put a focus on trying new things and doing the best possible for my class.
11. This year I was introduced to and have become somewhat obsessed with Lush products. If you haven't tried them, you're missing out! All natural amazing products that are worth every penny.
12. Without being aware of it, I've developed this strange habit of taking pics of my feet when I go somewhere, then uploading those pics to Instagram.
Before yoga

 Silly socks day during Red Ribbon Week

 At the gym

One of those super nice movie theaters where you sit in a comfy reclining chair. My bestie is a shorty, lol.
13. This quote has stuck with me all year, love it!
Original source

14. I've been integrating task cards more this year. After considering the layout of my room, and browsing Pinterest I began work on a solution. Hopefully I can share a picture of the finished area in another blog post. I expanded the area and evened up the rows.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Class Elf Week 2

Lord give me strength to make it these last few days until break!
I'm normally great at remembering and organizing things I want to blog about. These things didn't happen like I wanted to last week! This is gonna be a somewhat choppy blog post, so I apologize in advance. I'm sure y'all know the struggle! I'm doing good just to get myself dressed and to school on time!
Can I get an amen?!

We got some candy canes from the North Pole on Monday to kick off the week!

Last year my talented friend made this cupcake Christmas wreath. Thankfully with the help of some velcro Clara Cupcake stayed put all day! 

My fourth grade buddy and I both have elves, and we wanted to collaborate again this year. Her elf Randy came to visit, and Clara Cupcake spent the day in fourth grade! I wish I took pics of the shocked faces when minis walked through the door that morning!

I forgot to take pics the day Clara Cupcake took a marshmallow bath, teacher fail.

I was gone Friday, but made sure the minis had a reminder about behavior for the day. My sub said my class was good, thank goodness. 
Four and a half days left! I think I can, I think I can...

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Class Elf Week 1

Happy Sunday friends! Are you counting down the days until Christmas break like I am? I try not to think too much about what all needs to be done in two weeks, time because it makes my head spin.
Unless you've been living under a rock I'm certain you've heard at least something about the Elf on the Shelf....
While I was in Target I spotted some very special bandages in the dollar section. I just knew I had to buy them! I also decided our class elf needed a little oomph put into her wardrobe. Seriously, these elves seem to have better clothes than some people!
Sidenote: While looking at this picture I just realized I made an oopsie. I guess those two buttons on the skirt should face the front. Clara Cupcake has hers on with buttons in the back. I"ll be fixing that Monday morning.

Clara Cupcake arrived Monday morning direct in a chilly package from the North Pole. Thank God for great office staff who have some acting skills! You could feel the mini's excitement in the air as I read the book. Some kids informed me they have an elf at home as well. We went on about our business and left Clara alone. After returning from the computer lab we discovered her in a new place.

While scrolling through the hashtag #elfintheclassroom on Instagram I saw a wonderful idea. Nicole from All Things Apple shared her class elf has a Gmail account! How clever and cool is that? That night Clara got her own Gmail set up. 
I'm guessing a combination of tired and rushing are what caused the horrible mistakes I made in this email. Thankfully the minis didn't catch on to this one.
Clara Cupcake was found in her hot air balloon Tuesday morning!

Tuesday afternoon turned out to be a little difficult when it came to behavior.
Wednesday we found CC sitting by thinking maps and noting what she liked in an American Girl catalog.
I'm gonna keep it real y'all, Wednesday was one TOUGH day. My sweet little angels morphed into booger bears. Yes I am patient and kind with my class, however I don't play around when it comes to classroom management.
 I gave the speech about good behavior. I gave the speech about having class privileges. I even gave the speech about thinking before you act. The minis weren't having it so sadly on Thursday we lost some Christmas magic.

You could have heard a pin drop when I read this email. I love my minis but I absolutely do not put up with certain kinds of behavior. They got the message loud and clear. Behavior the entire day was 100% better.
Our Christmas magic returned on Friday!
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday teacher friends! In a couple of hours I'm headed to watch the Mavericks game, I can't wait!

Monday, December 1, 2014

December Currently

Hey friends! It's time for another month of Currently with Farley! Don't forget to link up and join the fun.
Listening- I love love love everything Christmas, so it's only appropriate to listen to Christmas carols.
Loving- Our class elf Clara Cupcake returned today! I love scrolling through all the #elfintheclassroom pics on Instagram.
This year Clara Cupcake (CC for short) got a new wardrobe and is now a fashionista. 
I'm also loving how our December bulletin board is shaping up.
I just realized I forgot to straighten the C before I left oh well. The border I picked up at Mardel last month. Our Christmas lists are getting some techy love thanks to Reagan Tunstall's Techy Santa pack.
Thinking- Who hasn't heard of the huge Cyber Monday sale at Tpt??? I'm excited to be participating in my first sale. I cleaned out my cart this afternoon, but I feel like I just gotta have more stuff! The font I used for my currently is from the amazing Cara Carroll. 
Speaking of TpT and thinking ahead, I read on the forums about the next conference coming up in Vegas. I know I'll be there! Is it too early to start counting down?  
Wanting- I'm hungry but am so indecisive on what I want to eat. I went to the grocery store yesterday so I need to eat what I bought and stop eating out so much.
Needing- Grades for progress reports are due Friday morning. I bought a couple of assignments home with me, but blogging is much more fun wouldn't you agree?
Giving- I'm going to try my best to do a random act of kindness every day. Whether is a small gift for someone or paying for someone's coffee at Starbucks I hope I can make someone smile every day.
I guess I should get to grading these papers or else I'll regret it come Thursday night. Don't forget to link up and share your currently!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Shopping Carts Ready

Hi y'all! I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving and enjoyed the day! I ate way too many rolls, but they were so delicious and worth it. My mom and I saw Interstellar after eating; great movie but I kinda feel like I needed a degree in quantum physics to truly understand everything that was happening!
Congrats to Erin M. for being the winner of my Instagram giveaway! That $10 Tpt gift card is gonna come in handy for....
Thank you Jillian Starr for sharing these adorable graphics to promote the sale!

If you braved Black Friday and went shopping, I bow down to you. I haven't done any Black Friday shopping in years, but I do love me some Cyber Monday! I can't wait to finally unload my wish list!
I haven't done too much school related over the break, but I did manage to finish up one new product.

I plan on reviewing place value and comparing numbers in more detail with some of my small groups during math stations. This is my first year having a separate rotation for math stations instead of mixed in with ELA. Hopefully I can get a blog post up about that soon. 
So get those carts ready for Monday! I can't wait to snag some more fabulous products. Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Fluency and a Giveaway!

Hi friends! I've been meaning to get the blog post up and going, but this week has been off the charts! Everyday after school I've had something either work or personal related, plus I haven't been to the gym all week. I don't even wanna think about stepping on a scale. The good news is one more day of school and then hello Thanksgiving break!
I've been working with a group of my minis during intervention on fluency. Not only do I want them to increase their words per minute, but I also want them to read with expression and be actively engaged. I racked my brain for ways new ways to practice fluency and voila a product was born.

We are a techie loving bunch in room 316, so I decided to combine literacy with QR codes. I didn't want this activity to be tied to any sort of assessment. I do monthly fluency checks with my class where I include all the nitty gritty data. Assessment of course has it's time and place. Fluency With a Twist I wanted to be a no pressure no time limit sort of thing.
8 different stories and 9 different tasks can be mixed and matched. No story will be read the same way twice in a row!
I worked with two of my minis this week. The first go around I just wanted them to read, then came the twist part.
Each QR code is a different color which represents a different task they must do while reading.

As soon as they scanned those QR codes they started to giggle. 

Engaged minis, fluency practice, and movement combined in one my mission was accomplished. I overheard one of the girls commenting how much fun she was having. Don't we want our students to have fun while learning? I don't know any student who has fun doing the same old same old every day. Check out this fun activity at my TPT store.
Are you ready for a little giveaway?!
I'm celebrating reaching 100 followers on Instagram! My only regret is not joining Instagram earlier than I did. 

Two things I love on Instagram; teaching ideas and seeing what other teachers are wearing. So in honor of both I want one teacher to enjoy some extra spending money for both! More than once I've browsed #whattheteacherwore or Pinterest to help me get dressed for school. I'll announce the winner next Friday. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

You Ought Know About Learning Spaces

Happy Saturday friends! I hope your weekend is all kinds of fabulous! I'm thrilled to participate in my very first blog hop this month with Jasmine over at Buzzing With Mrs. McClain.
Last year I started implementing learning spaces with my minis, and let me tell you it's been one of the best changes I've made. I'm a huge advocate of movement in the classroom. If our minis aren't getting the nourishment and oxygen they need for their brains we can't expect them to learn. Nourishment and oxygen will only happen with activity, not sitting in a chair all day in a lecture type environment. I'm so passionate about this subject I could ramble on, but I won't! On to the blog post...

This is what my classroom looks like at least a few times a day.

There used to be an extra bookshelf where those ottomans now are, but I wanted that area to be more effective. 
With the exception of taking tests, I allow students to choose their learning space with clear expectations. Students know learning spaces are a privilege, and if they choose not to make good choices that privilege is lost. 
This is our listening lounge which I originally intended only to be used during listening station but now is a popular area in the classroom. 

I was so scared the first time I tried learning spaces that it would only cause chaos. When everyone is in their preferred learning space it's so quiet you could hear a pin drop. I also make sure there are plenty of clipboards to go around so time isn't wasted looking for a flat surface to write on.
I'm hoping to add more pillows and some bean bags to my room this year. I wish I weren't so picky about what I wanted and it'd get done a lot quicker.