TPT sale!

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It’s that time again! The beloved website and all-things-teacher-related company, TPT, is having a sale. This time, it is their Teachers Are Heroes Sale! Teachers are pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. I have soooo many items on my wishlist to purchase from other wonderful teacher authors! I especially love following any fourth grade teacher blogger/product creator!

The two most purchased items from my store are my Language Arts Daily menu, which is my featured freebie, and surprisingly, my Parent Contact Log, which is also free! I am so glad it is helping so many teachers communicate with parents and track their communications. Which item do you think is best for your classroom? Most of my store is absolutely FREE, so download away! The sale makes paid items 20% off, and with the code HEROES, you can score an extra 8% off. The sale is only through tonight… But hint hint, a little birdie told me it may be extended an extra day!

Another popular item (it costs $1.00) is my Root Word Work, a quick and painless way to teach the relation between certain roots in related words. I hope to expand that product this summer and add more root word materials to my store in general! I hope you enjoy. Have a great week!

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Unexpected 4 Day Weekend

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Well, hello! Greetings from Northeast Ohio, which is currently under at least a foot of snow that has accumulated over the last week and has not left yet. My home state of Maryland also got quite a bit of snow and bad weather this weekend, so if you know how we are feeling in these two states right now, you will agree that the snow has overstayed its welcome!

My post is titled Unexpected 4 Day Weekend because when I left work on Wednesday, I had no idea we would be gone until the following Monday! I think everyone guessed we’d be off for one day due to cold temps (wind chills near 20 and 30 below zero!) but we never dreamed of two! I dutifully took home my pile of papers and homework assignments to grade though, and I did make it through some of the stack…. While watching Friends on Netflix. Sometimes I think snow days are a detriment to me because as a teacher, I enjoy the time off but I start to get lazy! I forget about deadlines and planning ahead for lesson plans and just catch up on sleep… I hope that if you are a teacher, you have enjoyed your snow days this week, however many or few you received. Some people online were wondering how many days my district would have to make up now, and I just loved hearing a radio deejay (mistakingly) assume that this year, students would be in school through late June because of the snow! Supposedly, the new rule in Ohio this year is that as long as your students reach the required number of academic hours, there is nothing to “make-up.” My district has students in school from 8:30-3:15 daily, and currently with our 5 inclement weather days used, we do not expect to make-up any days in the summer. May 27 cannot come soon enough – our last day of school!!!

In the past few days, I completed a take-home test for one of my graduate courses, put away some laundry, went to church, went to a fish fry, washed a few loads of dishes, updated my online grade book, and read a few chapters for my night class. I still need to clean the house, finish my assigned readings, work on assignments for my online class, plan next week’s lessons for my kiddos, choreograph a recital dance for my YMCA jazz class, renew my license plates, and make a hair appointment. Busy, busy! This post was nothing more than to say I accomplished one more thing on my day off. Well, and to post a few pictures from my class over the last few weeks to give you a peek at what we’ve been up to! Last week we began PARCC testing at my school. My fourth graders have to take 3 reading tests, 2 math, and 1 social studies. In April, they will take 1 reading, 2 math (I think), and 1 social studies. It is a lot of stress for them (and for teachers) and I just want to get back to our regular schedule! I hope everyone has a great week!

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A New Year!

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Happy New Year and welcome to 2015! I am writing this from my couch, holding a glass of wine, and thinking about all of the lesson plans I need to write! Oh well, we had one snow day this week, so I can carry some of my plans into next week. It has been snowing this week here in Cleveland and many schools were off yesterday and today, due to weather. My school was off yesterday but we were back today. The roads were pretty bad, but I made it to work! The temperatures tonight are supposed to drop to negative 20 to negative 30 degrees with the wind chill! Brrr. ❄️⛄️❄️

I want to share a resource from a TPT seller – a FREE – resource that I am about to use with my students. With only 3 days of school this week due to teacher records day and a snow day, we did not have time to squeeze it in, but I look forward to taking the time next week to complete it with my class! They love evaluating themselves and their own work. We frequently graph our math timed test results and our test progress over the course of a unit. The resource is a goal setting worksheet about making New Year’s Resolutions. It is not necessarily about academic work or specific subjects, but that’s what I like about it! I want the students to be able to think about how they want to better themselves in the new year, and reflect upon some goals they can set. I will probably require that at least one of the boxes is related to academics. If you download the resource, you can see four boxes that are flaps that the students cut, to make a type of flap book. I LOVE the cute patterns, too! You can find this awesome freebie here from The Applicious Teacher (love her name, too since my classroom is apple-themed!).

If you are interested in another way to use the cute “2015” flap book, see the pictures I’ve attached! I meant to do this last year but just never got around to it. I saw it on Pinterest and just loved the idea of remembering all of the good times from throughout your year. You display the container in your home and add to it each month, or whenever positive things in your life occur. Then, on New Year’s Eve, you get to go through the bucket and read your collection of memories from the past year! I created my bucket from a simple plastic pretzel container (upcycling!) and I printed the 2015 cover on plain paper, then decorated with highlighters. Printing on colored paper would be fun, too! I’m sure you all can get much more creative than me, but my goal here was to keep things as easy and cheap as possible. I already had the zig-zag chevron index cards, so they were free, but you can find them at any teacher store or probably Target. I look forward to all of the great memories my husband and I will add to our 2015 bucket this year. Can’t wait to write my blog post at the end of the year to reflect on how this went!

Have a great New Year and if you are already back in school, give us some of your teacher tips or a great resource you like to use in this “back to school” time!

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September & October Activities

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Hello! I am going to combine all of our activities over the past 6 weeks into one blog post! I am going to attach pictures from science (electromagnet experiment, light bulbs, and circuits), reading (learning about inferring and predicting), writing (personal memoirs and writing process), and math (multiplication, division, multi-digit multiplication). We are starting a new social studies unit about the early people who lived in Ohio, including the Paleo Indians. As a teacher who, as a child, grew up in another state, it is so much fun to learn about this with my students! As a 4th grader in Maryland, I can remember learning about government and Maryland’s history, including a lot of information about the 13 Colonies. We also had to draw the Maryland state flag (very difficult, look up the flag if you get a chance!) It is so interesting to me how the standards for social studies vary from state to state (as they should, since students should know their state’s history). What topics do your students study in social studies, and what grade do you teach?

I have been so busy lately with my online graduate class, “introduction to technology.” It is so much fun and I am learning so much about new websites and programs! I will definitely share some tips – can be used for educators and non-educators, too – in an upcoming post! Our midterm for grad class was due this week, and I had parent conferences at work on Thursday until 8 p.m. (including my driving time, I worked a 14 hour day). So I have had a busy week! Not to mention our new, standards-based report cards are due by Wednesday so grades can be printed! Luckily, we have a 3 day weekend and I am relaxing a little and spending time with family and friends. Maybe I will have a picture to share in the next post of where we are spending our weekend currently! 🙂 Hint: It has to do with football. 🏈 Have a great weekend!

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Kahoot quiz website

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Long time, no blog post…. Eek sorry. We have been so busy in the first three weeks of school, learning about fourth grade topics – multiplication, arrays, factors, reading literature, writing personal narratives, and completing our social studies mini-unit about geography! I forgot how fun fourth grade can be, since it’s been two years since I last taught it. The students are so much more independent than third graders and can work in groups more cooperatively. I can’t wait until we get into more small groups, literature circles, and math/science projects so I can learn more about my students and how fourth graders’ thinking is more advanced than the third grade curriculum I was accustomed to last year. Room 2 rocks!

In other news, it has been extremely hot for the past 2 weeks in my classroom. The heat here in Ohio would not let up and we had many 85-90 degree days, without air conditioning. I hope it cools down soon! To keep my students interested and alert (it is so easy to get sleepy when it is too warm!), I decided to take them to the *air conditioned* computer lab. I created my own Kahoot game for the students to play and explore.

A big thanks to my mother in law Karen, for showing me the Kahoot website when I was at her house last weekend! And happy belated birthday for last week!

Anyway, Kahoot is a FREE website in which you can create your own quizzes for students to complete. I personally love using the pre made quizzes from other educators, and then I tweak them to fit my needs and my standards. On Wednesday, the students showed their knowledge on a Kahoot quiz about the continents and oceans. This was useful to me because we had a test on Friday and I needed to see how much my students learned in the past 2 weeks and how much more we needed to review. To take the quiz, it is super easy!

1. Students sign into computers and go to Kahoot.it — note the website is dot it not dot com. As a teacher, you go to a different Kahoot website to create the quiz, so click on the word Kahoot. So the students are logged on and I am on the teacher site, clicking on my quiz.

2. Give students the code to access the quiz, which you will see when you launch the quiz. The students write their name as a username (they can make it whatever they want, but I require first name only and then their specific number, 1-25, in our class) and type in the code.

3. You will see everyone’s names displayed as they join the quiz; when ready, click start quiz.

4. Each students reads the question on the main screen (you will need to display this on a large screen, doesn’t have to be a touch screen necessarily) and uses their own computer to type in an answer. It is kind of like a free version of a clicker system! I assume this works with iPods and iPads as well (I have tried it successfully that way on my own, but not in a classroom).

5. After all entries are submitted, the correct answer is displayed, along with a general graph of how many students answered correctly/incorrectly. It does not show individual data — that part is available after the quiz is over and only you can see it and download it for future use. The students’ favorite thing at this point is seeing who is in 1st through 5th place! They love it! Then the quiz moves onto the next question.

What a fun, educational, and competitive (in a good way) tool to motivate and interest your students, all while collecting useful data to inform your teaching! Please leave a comment if you try it and let us know how it goes! I have so much more to blog about now, but not enough time. Gotta finish lesson planning and getting some grad school online assignments finished. Have an awesome week and enjoy this picture from our classroom this week!

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Yelp Reviews

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Do you enjoy eating out? Do you enjoy going to bars and trying out new restaurants? Maybe you attend a lot of sports events or you travel to many different cities and states! Last question — Do you like free food? If yes, then you should join Yelp by creating a profile on Yelp.com. That’s all you need to do in order to go to free Yelp events and meet lots of new people and fellow Yelp reviewers!

I have been yelping for a couple of years and am already on the Elite squad. I have attended quite a few Elite events as well as regular Yelp events, including testing out Olive Garden’s summer menu and touring Cleveland’s new aquarium for free! It has been an amazing experience and I get to bring a guest to each event, to enjoy the yummy food with me. Each event I have attended has been a lot of fun! I enjoy finding out more about delicious new restaurants and businesses when I try their products at events. Check out my reviews here.

Hope to see you on Yelp soon – there is a group of Yelpers in a town near you! And for all of my teacher followers on here, I hope to have pics of my new classroom up soon! I got a new job teaching 4th grade in a new district and am very excited! Still getting all of my supplies and materials organized, as well as my classroom library. Here is a little sneak peek to tide you over until I get better pictures on here… When do you go back to school, if you work in a school setting? I start in two days!

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Kids in Need

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I wanted to share with my blogging world a great resource for teachers in Cleveland. Kids in Need is an organization that helps teachers in low income school districts by donating FREE (everything is free) books and classroom supplies for the students! I have been fortunate to visit the warehouse in downtown CLE four times over the past three years, since I have worked in low income schools during all three of my three years as a full-time educator. The supplies and resources are incredible, and so I was blown away to find out they donate books as well!

This past week I went to a special books-only donation and I was allowed to choose two books for each of my students. I also received class sets (20 books each) of two books – one was about A Bug’s Life and the other was a beginner reader book. I was impressed with the selection for early childhood teachers and I was able to choose some fantastic books for my students. See the photo for part of the selection! Then I took the books to school and randomly chose sticks (apple sticks with each student’s number on it) to see who would pick their books first. We did two rounds until every student got their two books. They were very pleased with their choices and I can tell they were so grateful to have brand new books! Each student got a sticker from me to label their book with, which they loved. I also noticed my students were reading the books at lunch and recess and they begged me to let them read the books at 3:15 during our “fun reading” time!

Reading is such an important part of education and it helps our students become better learners. I am finishing my K-12 Reading Endorsement this summer and have done a lot of research about the importance of reading and the benefits of having a print rich environment full of books! Thanks, Kids in Need!! 📚

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