Thursday, September 26, 2013

The year is off to a good start...

Hi everyone, I wanted to make a quick post and share some of the things we have been working on in the classroom.

Character Traits

Character traits have always been one of my favorite things to teach. Last year I noticed a lot my students did really well with identifying character traits within themselves and had trouble applying it to the characters in the stories we read. So when I introduced character traits this year, I took them out of the idea and strictly focused on discussing characters from a book.

I used this awesome FREEBIE from Workshop Classroom to start building the students vocabulary with character traits. We glued this page to our readers notebook and we're adding to the lists over time. 

Then we made this anchor chart to help the students thinking process on figuring out characters. I am currently reading The One and Only Ivan to the class and used Ivan in the center of this anchor chart. This showed the students that there are many ways to look at a character to help us better identify their character traits. 
(In case you can't read my chicken scratch)

*What am I thinking?
*What do I look like?
*What do I say?
*What do I feel?
*What do I do?
*What do others say about me?
*How do I change over time?

This anchor chart/lesson provided my students with many ways to look at a character to better understand them and identify their traits. 

Inferencing Investigation 

I loved the idea of kicking off inferencing with Babbling Abby's Snow Day Case Files. Though my only problem was that my Texan 3rd graders have no idea about what a snow day is. Haha. 
So I needed something that would better connect to their schema to make this intro lesson more successful.

So what I did was keep the same idea from Abby's unit but changed "snowy day" to a "no school".  In my version of the story, school is cancelled due to a thunderstorm that leaves the school with no electricity. 

The unit tells the story of mother who comes home and finds her son and grandmother missing from the home. They leave behind many clues and the students are asked to use their inferencing skills to help the mother discover where they could be. The contents inside this folder were:
- a note from Mom with a list of chores to do (only some where checked off)
- a chapter book with a book mark 
- brownie recipe
-a note from a friend to meet him at the park

My students were all over this activity and did an awesome job inferencing with the given clues. Check out the unit for more information on how to turn your students into inference investigators!  

Also, my very first giveaway announcement is coming soon. :) 

Until next time...

August and September S.L.A.N.T. box reveals!

Right before the new school year started Jameson from Lessons with Coffee started the SLANT Box for educators. This was a way for teachers from all over the world to connect with each other through emails and gifts. I signed up and so far it has been a blast!
During this process I have met some really great people! I wish I had more time to get to know these educators but my schedule has been absolute chaos. Which brings me to the double reveal of the SLANT boxes I received from Amanda (teacher and life blogger)  and Carol from Mrs. Cobb's Kinder Sprouts They put together some of the BEST packages!

Amanda sent me some of my favorite things to start the new school year. In my box I found fun shaped sticky pads, pens, stickers, and books. The best surprise was the coffee cup mitten that Amanda sewed for me and my morning coffees! She had just started knitting at the time and I think she did a great job on the cup mitten. Words cannot express how excited Amanda's package made me feel. My heart and cool hands thank you so much for your thoughtfulness. 

Well the secret is out, I love pens! Carol did an awesome job of putting together my September care package. She sent me some popcorn for my TV/ Movie nights, pens, a rocking orange tie (I LOVE it), and clear plastic badges. The plastic badges are huge help because they are something I wanted to use in my classroom this year to manage A. R. testing and never got around to purchasing them. Now thanks to Carol I have the badges to make my plan come alive! 

These generous and thoughtful boxes have left me feeling nothing but gratitude. I hope my SLANT boxes are doing the same for those I have sent them too. If you would like to join in on SLANT Box fun, head on over to Lessons with Coffee to get all the details on how sign up and meet new friends!

Until next time...

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Hello August 2013

Holy Guacamole it's August! I've linked up with Farley to get some August thoughts into the blog.

Listening: A friend told me about a band named Sparrow and the Workshop and I picked up their new album. They have been on repeat all week long. Such a fresh and relaxing sound. Check them out if you are interested. 

Loving: I am currently attending a 4 day writing workshop named The Writing Academy and I have been having "Ah-ha" moments all week long. This writing academy offers game changing writing instruction and they pamper all of the educators with FOOD and SURPRISES! It's like a teacher workshop heaven. Ha! Experiences like these get me so pumped to get back into the classroom.

Thinking: I cannot believe it's August. 
Summer 2013 was a good one but I am still shocked we are near the end. 

Wanting: Back in June I told myself "When I have 100 followers I am going to have an Oprah sized giveaway" Granted it's probably not going to be a new car but I plan to do my giveaways just like I teach...BIG! 
I checked Bloglovin' last week and discovered I had way over 100 followers! My little blog has readers and I appreciate your eyes balls and time very much. So I've set a new goal of readers to have and when it happens, I'm going to rock your world! 

Needing: I don't know about you but I'm the king of starting too many projects at once. I need to get myself focused and back into action. 

B2S must haves
1. My planner is my everything during the school year.
2. Positivity is the key to everything great. 
3. I always buy something new to write with and this year I purchased some Japanese FrXion markers. It's an erasable marker set! Trust me, they look as cool as it sounds! Jameson from Lessons with Coffee posted a video on instragram and I was sold! 

Happy August and let's get this new school year rollin'! Until next time...

Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Made It- Mr. G and the Book Totes

Mr. G and the Book Totes, wouldn't that be a sweet band name? Anyways...

Hi! This year I will be using the Daily 5 and be departmentalized for the first time in my teaching career. Along with Daily 5, I really wanted to use book boxes for my students to have everything they need. Though I do not have the space for 40+ boxes in my classroom and needed an alternative. So I went with book totes! Check out what I made below.

Book Totes

First, I got my hands on these numbered buttons from an Etsy shop. 
I ordered a set set in black and white for my two different classes. 

I then pinned the buttons on to the corners of these colored totes bags I ordered from Oriental Trading. A set of 50 bags cost around $30. 

Rather than trying to find a place for all of the bags, I purchased these good'ol file crates and labeled them by classroom table numbers. The students will store their bags in these crates when they are not being used. 

Here is an aerial view of the bags sitting the crate.

These bags are the perfect size for everything I have planned for students to place inside.

Each bag will contain:
-station folder
-Writing Journal
-Readers Notebook
-3 classroom library books

Here you can see there is plenty of room for the items inside the bag! 

This project was fast and simple. Now the real question is how will these bags hold up as the year goes on? 

Until next time...

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Random Goodness and a freebie with Sunday Smorgasbord!

Hey ya'll! I wanted to use this link up from Fabulous in First to share some things that I never got around to blogging about during the last school year. 

3rd Grade Arcade
Last year I saw the video of Caine's Arcade and loved it. Check out the video by clicking here.
Since the video hit YouTube it has become a huge movement all over the world to get people creating and playing at home and in the classroom. 

I made it a goal to have my grade level create a cardboard arcade as an end of year project...and it happened! You would not believe the amount of cardboard our students brought into the school. I smelled and saw cardboard for days! 

The best part of the whole activity were the creative and imaginative games our students created on their own. The only help I provide was cutting the cardboard and holding cardboard for them when they needed me. I was super proud of them! In the picture above, one student used straws and cardboard to make a foosball table! The large picture on the right hand side is a basketball toss that gives the players a chance to rack up bonus points depending on how many holes you can get the ball through. I cannot wait to do this again next year. I will be sure to blog about that adventure when it happens. 

Write On!

Write On is a writing math station I used towards the middle of the school year in my class. This station challenges the students by asking the them to write a word problem with the given number and specific operation. I introduced each part of Write On through out the year, modeled creating a question, and had random question making challenges during whole group to get the students used to the station before allowing them to do it on their own. I laminated the activity sheets and used dry erase markers to change out the numbers. 

The students worked their way down the Write On board to complete the various questions and activities. After they wrote their word problems, they moved on and played Math Boggle. I also used this during my small group instruction and it created a lot of great discussion for building a better understanding of word problems.  The students wrote all of their work in their math notebooks and we went over their problems during individual conferences. If you are interested in trying this station, click here and download a free template!

Book Crawler 
I started working on my library and wanted to share this cool app named Book Crawler. This app allows you to scan and catalog all of the books in your library. The app costs $1.99 but it's worth the price because it's simple and easy to work with. It has various of options for categorizing your books but I am using the app in its simplest form. 

You scan the UPC code on any book and it quickly finds the book information. It also gives you an option to type in notes about the book and this is where I am typing the location of the book (ex: bin 13)

 Book Crawler has a search option that works perfectly. So when a student is looking for a certain book or I need one for a lesson, I can quickly see if I own the book and where I can find it by reviewing the notes. I sometimes forget what books I own. Am I the only one that does this? 

As you can see, I still have a long way to go. Haha! 

Happy Sunday everyone and thanks for stopping by! Until next time...

Check out more randomness by clicking on the image above. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday Made It!

Hi everyone! Quick update on my summer reading: I finished reading Teach Like a Pirate, Daily 5, and Cafe. All 3 books are great reads. I'm planning on talking about these books when I share my completed classroom for the 2013-2014 school year. This way you can see how these books influenced my classroom and instruction. Now back to the real reason I'm here... my first Monday Made it!

I've been working like a mad man getting ready for the new school year. My goal is to finish all major projects one week before we get back in session. Can it be done? We'll see!

Here is my quick Monday Made it post to share some of the things I have been working on.

My Classroom
Here are a few snapshots of my classroom. This is the first year I will departmentalized and will be teaching ELA and Social Studies. I'm working on making my classroom more subject focused. I put up my C.R.A.F.T. and V.O.I.C.E.S. boards and think they look sweet! A huge thank you to Ladybug's Teacher Files for providing the labels I used on my boards. Click here to get your own set for free! 
 My first real major beast to attack in the classroom is my library! (more on that when I finish). 

Drawer Organization 
I've been wanting to make one of these drawer units for a while now and I finally did! I used the blank labels provided by The Tattooed Teacher with this post. Click on the link and she has all the steps and labels you need to get yourself organized. 

Daily 5 Posters
This year I'm using the Daily 5/C.A.F.E. structure for my reading instruction for the first time. I will be blogging a lot more about that soon because I would like some feedback once my plan is finalized. I went ahead and started making my posters for the daily stations using these hipster monsters. Who doesn't love a monster in glasses? 

Photo Album Task Cards

Finally, I wanted to share this awesome idea that I saw on FB from Rachel at Minds in Bloom. I used $1 photo albums (purchased at Wal-Mart) to store all of my station task cards. No laminating needed! Now students can flip through the task cards and get to practicing! 

Hope you all enjoyed my first Monday Made it and thanks for stopping by. Until next time...

Friday, July 12, 2013

You like me, you really like me!

The liebster award came knocking on my blog door 3 times this week and this is how it made me feel.
A huge thank you to the following bloggers for nominating me! 
  1. Mrs. Whitehead from Thoughts from Third Grade
  2. Nick from Sweet Rhyme & Pure Reason
  3. Ms. Choi from Live, Love, Laugh, and Learn in Third Grade
This award is fun way to check out and meet new bloggers. In return I have also nominated 3 blogs for the Liebster Award. And the nominees are...
  1. Kelli Love from LoveN3rdGrade
  2. Katie O from Kdot's Learning Spot
  3. Emily and Kerry from Third and Goal
I also created a Liebster Award badge, please feel free to use it if you'd like. (located at the top of this post)

In order to accept the nomination, I must: 
  1. Link back the blogs that nominated me
  2. Nominate 3-5 blogs with fewer than 200 followers
  3. Answer the questions posted by the nominators
  4. Share 11 random facts about myself 
  5. Create 11 questions for my nominees
  6. Contact my nominees and let them know I have nominated them
My 11 Questions and Answers
1. Why do you blog?
I blog because it connects me to other educators outside of my regular teaching bubble. 

2. How many schools have you taught at?
Only one school! This year is going to be my third year in the classroom!

3. What's your favorite grade to teach?
I've taught 1st grade and 3rd grade. 3rd grade has won my heart. 

4. What piece of advice do you give out the most?
I still have a lot to learn but there is one piece of wisdom I share and it's "go read some blogs!" Haha
Nothing inspires and motivates me more than simply reading what other educators are doing in their classroom.

5. If you could have 1 super power, what would it be?
I would want the ability to clone myself. Then the clones could handle all the mundane tasks of life and the real me can enjoy the good stuff! 

6. What are your reading this summer? 
Teach Like a Pirate, Daily 5, CAFE, and The One and Only Ivan

7. What's going through your mind on your very first morning as a teacher with a class full of kids?
A lot of pep talks with myself and "woo-hoos" of excitement. 
8. Where would you go on your dream vacation?
Outer Space, wouldn't that be sweet?!

9. How do you unwind after school?
I sit around with other teachers in a classroom, talk about our day, give advice, and laugh

10. What's your favorite teachery school supply to buy every year?
post-its and teacher planner

11. What is the funniest thing you've caught a student saying?
During my time in 1st grade one of my students innocently came up to me and said "Mr. G, what does (it rhymes with skit) mean?" and stared at me waiting for an answer. I contained my laughter and explained to the student that "it" was a boring word that she should never use. That's the best I could come up with!  I just wanted the entire situation and word to go away! I had a good laugh with the student's parent that afternoon. Oh first grade, what a year that was. 

My 11 Random Facts
  1. As a child I would drink pickle juice from the jar
  2. I'm super optimistic 
  3. I am a proud cancer survivor (had non-hodgkin's lymphoma when I was 18. Went into remission when I was 21)
  4. I am the oldest of 3 brothers
  5. I sometimes wish Santa Claus was real
  6. I love horror movies but hate going into haunted houses during halloween
  7. Ice cream is my kryptonite
  8. The first CD I ever purchased was in 4th grade and it was the Dangerous Minds soundtrack. Little Mr. G thought the Coolio song was awesome.  
  9. I own a personal laminator (friends tease me about this one but we all know they're jealous)
  10. I was nominated Texas Education Intern of the Year during my last year in college and missed the deadline for the application because I was wrapped up in completing my portfolio. This make me laugh and slightly sad. haha
  11. I've never broken a bone (fingers crossed)
11 questions for the nominees
  1. Why do you blog?
  2. What is your favorite book for a read aloud?
  3. Are you a good dancer?
  4. Do you have a favorite teacher/education website?
  5. What are you most excited about for the new school year?
  6. What subject do you love to teach the most?
  7. How do you handle a tough day on the education field?
  8. Which holiday break is your favorite?
  9. Which is better... pens or pencils?
  10. Favorite type of music?
  11. Favorite piece of advice to share with educators? 
Hope you all enjoyed getting to read a little bit about me. Be sure to check out the other blogs mentioned in this post and read their answers and random facts! Until next time...

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ready to Dance?

Ladies and gentleman it happened...I won a blogglovin giveaway! I was thrilled when my new friend (a fellow Houston blogger) Diane from Teaching with Moxie contacted me to let know I had won the giveaway. Suddenly I was $20 TPT richer and had an awesome product from Diane's TPT store in my inbox! I am so thankful to have been part of an awesome giveaway. Thank you Diane for giving me a reason to dance!

Now I am not here to simply brag on how lucky I am. I am here because I want to give you a reason to dance! The super cool Kelly from Koonce's Korner has hit 100 followers and she has giveaway so big that I guarantee you'll bust a move! Click on the picture below, follow Kelly's blog, and enter for a chance to win $80 worth of products and gift cards! The winner will be announced Monday, July 15!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Wednesday link up!

This link up  from Third Grade Galore and Digital Divide and Conquer is  just what I needed to write out my Wednesday thoughts. 
My Win

Check out my new blog design by Megan from A Bird in Hand Designs. It's awesome! I cannot thank her enough for listening to what I wanted and making it come to life. Thank you Megan!

My Loss

My car has been dirty for a month now. I keep telling myself I am going to take it in for a wash but I haven't. Poor baby, I will show it some love soon. This image is from google search, I assure you my car isn't this dirty but it feels like it is. 

My Cost

"Arrrg"... I have started some of my summer reading today with Dave Burgess' Teach Like A Pirate. I first heard about this book on instagram during Teacher Talk Tuesday. #teachertalktuesday 
Side bar: I love instagram. It's a lot fun getting to see quick glimpses into teachers daily routine through images. 

A teacher posted that she had started reading the book and was getting inspired for the new school year.  The title alone had me intrigued. After doing some research I knew this was a book I wanted to read and purchased a copy on Amazon. So far the book has been really entertaining and helping me focus on what I want from this new school year. I look forward to reading more and sharing my thoughts. Have an awesome Wednesday everyone.

Until next time...

Monday, July 1, 2013

Blogger Meet Ups are Electrifying!

I attended the Houston blogger meet up this past weekend and it was an awesome afternoon. It's a lot fun getting to talk to other educators about their experience in the teaching world and the things they do in the human world too. haha.

Check out the picture and links below of all bloggers that were able to attend.

Megan @ I Teach. What's Your Superpower?
Barbara @ The Corner on Character
Kristin @ TeachnTex
Jennifer @ Teaching and Laughing
Kelly @ Koonce's Korner
Sandi @ Fearless in 5th
Lindsay @ My Life as a Third Grade Teacher

A huge THANK YOU to Diane and Megan for hosting this great event.
If you are a blogger from the Houston area, head on over to the new 
Houston Blogger facebook fan page.  Be sure to "like" the Houston Blogger page and also check out more pictures from this weekends meet up.

I ended my Saturday with my family at the Electric Run! This was the first time this run has come to Houston and it is great experience. This is a 5k night time run/walk, a light show, and a dance party. I would definitely check this if it ever comes to a city near you. Visit the 
Electric Run website for more details    

Until next time...