Friday Flashback Linky: Informational-palooza!

Congrats to all of my winners so far!  There are still TWO great giveaways that you can enter that will be ending this weekend -

But now, it's time for...
This week in our classroom, my little MonSTARS have been busy, busy, busy creating their informational books.  If you'll recall, last week they read informational books on an animal of their choosing to become "experts" on the topic.  Here's where we are on this BIG project...
Students took their notecards (where each page would become a chapter) and ordered their notes (with numbers) in a logical sequence.  Then they began writing their chapters.  As notes were written, they were crossed out on the notecard.
 This is the first page of this student's chapter.  Each chapter had to have a title.  Each page must have a realistic illustration with a caption that matches the text on that page.
We were sure to cite our sources.  Each student used at least one book, as well as Discus, an amazing website for SC residents that has an animal kingdom section for kids that can read it to them which is awesome for those lower readers!

I do a "plagiarism" lesson to introduce works cited that teaches students that it's not okay to take others' work and claim it as your own.  I always hold up a beautiful piece of work from one student, "oh and ah" over it, and then give credit to the wrong student.  When the owner of the work tries to claim it, I tell them "no, this is _____'s work."  Before they get really upset, I let them in on this big word and what it means and then we talk about how they felt.  They really get it!
Students finished writing all of their chapters this week, so we created our Table of Contents for the books.  We practiced using Table of Contents a lot during this unit and students were quizzed on  using them - they ROCKED it!
Then we moved on to Glossaries.  Students had to read their own books and make a list of words from their book that they thought kindergarteners might not know. :)  Then they were to narrow their list to the 4 words that they thought were the most important ones.  They alphabetized these and created their own Glossaries for their books!
Coming up with their own definitions was the toughest part!  Even when you know what something is, it's hard to explain it!

We'll keep working on these books next week as we create diagrams, indexes, and covers!  We'll also begin creating PowerPoints about our animals to present to the class!

If you're interested in my Informational Resources, you can find them here.  My absolute favorite way to reinforce these text-features during this unit is by playing Around the World with my Non-Fiction Text Feature Cards...they won't let me forget to give them a shot at it each day! 

I have a lot to share with you from our persuasive writing unit, too, but I'll save that for next week.  Go up so I can see what you've been doing this week!


Budding Blogger Showcase: Don't Let the Teacher Stay Up Late

The winners of my Day 3 Giveaway were Karyn from A is for Apple, B is for Blog and Lisa A.  Congratulations on winning $10 iTunes giftcards!!  I hope you're able to buy some new tunes for your classroom...or yourself!  I've sent you both an email. :)

You can still enter to win the following prizes, but hurry....the giveaways end soon!!

Now, on to....
Hi! My name is Melissa Dalton and I blog over at...
Don't Let the Teacher Stay Up Late

Personal info (state/family/pets/interests): I live near Richmond, VA with my hubby, almost 1 year old son, Keagan, and two hound "puppies" - John and Rudy. Yes, they are people names, and yes, I'm okay with that. They act like people, too!
Grade You Teach: Title I Reading Specialist for grades 3-5
How long have you taught? This is my 7th year teaching, although it's only my first year in this position. I spent one (and ONLY one) year in first grade before I high-tailed it out and moved on to 4th (my true love). At the very end of last year, my principal pulled me into his office and said he needed to move me. I had the choice of 5th grade (learning an entirely new curriculum and having to give FIVE SOL tests or moving into this position.)  I decided maybe not having to grade papers and have the same kids all day every day wouldn't be such a bad trade off. I'm really starting to like it a lot!
What is your favorite subject to teach? Funny, it's not actually reading. I LOVE math and it's one thing I really miss in this new position. If I had been able to find a math specialist program for grad school, I would have jumped on it in a heartbeat.
What would we likely see if we popped into your classroom unannounced? If you found me in the room (I spend half of my day pushing in), I would either be reading with or to the kids, or you would see them doing review centers. Oh, or if you caught me at the end of a session, we may be dancing. I love doing brain breaks with the kids!
What gets you through one of “those” days? Remembering that I only have them for 30-45 minutes, and maybe centers if I just can't handle the stress.
What is one “can’t live without” teaching resource? Now that I've discovered it? Definitely TPT. I can spend HOURS on there looking for resources to use in my classroom!
Give us a glimpse of your teaching style by sharing a brief summary of a favorite classroom activity/project. I love story telling, and if I can get the kids writing at the same time, even better! For Halloween, I always tell my students that they're pumpkins in my pumpkin patch and I'm looking for a jack-o-lantern. They have to write a persuasive argument telling me why I shouldn't choose them. I get a kick out of reading what they put! I always choose the most horrible one (the one I would absolutely NOT carve), and I would publish it in my newsletter. I wish I had pictures to share...
What is one of your blogging goals for this year? I definitely want to surpass 100 followers (not too far away right now), but then I also would love to become more technology savvy. I want to make my own blog design and even host a linky party. I love participating in them and think it would be lots of fun to start my own!

So, what are you waiting for?  Head on over to visit Melissa and help her reach one of her goals! :)  Just click her button below.
 Don't Let the Teacher Stay Up Late

Teaching Tip Tuesday and Winner, Winner!

Drum Roll......The winner of the Quietest Pencil Sharpener is Marissa from Wild About First GradeCONGRATULATIONS!!!  And, as I went to leave a little "congrats" on her blog, I noticed that she is having a fantastic giveaway, as well.  Hop on over to her blog for a chance to win a $50 Kohl's Giftcard!!

Speaking of giveaways, you can still enter Days 3-7 of my Giveaway Extravaganza!

Is anyone else HORRIBLE at keeping up with their counting tape of the days of the school year??  Maybe you aren't required to do this, but it is part of our math calendar program.  Since our calendar components are all on our Promethean Board, I have a super hard time actually putting up a paper version of the days of the school year - but we're required to....yep, marked down on observations if the paper version isn't up on the wall and up-to-date.  Luckily, my student teacher was da BOMB at keeping this updated.  Unluckily, she is now gone and it rests solely on my shoulders! ;)  Maybe it's because she got me off to such a great start, but I've actually been keeping it up-to-date on a regular basis!  Woot!  Woot!  This might be a record for me!

Anyway, I thought I would show you one way that makes this super easy to track and update....because if it were any more complicated (meaning taking more than two seconds) I would not bother with it!
I put the numbers for the days on post-its as I always have (tens digit in red, ones digit in blue...multiples of 10 circled, etc).  Then, I stuck the post-its to register paper (you know the long rolls of paper that would go in a cash register) and laminated it! This is a key part as it keeps the post-its from falling off and allows the same counting tape to be used year after year.  I think I'm about on my 6th year of using this one!  Finally, I cut the tape into sections of 10.  I then, put the entire section up, but roll and tape the end so that only the current numbers show (see pic above).  Then, each day I just roll it back one!  Easy peasy! ;)  I hope this itty bitty tip helps someone else keep their sanity with this tedious task!
You can see our counting tape stretching across the bottom of our window sill as one of my sweet students leads the class in math calendar.  It will end up going across two walls of my classroom by the end of the year, but this little tip makes it easy to control since all of the post-its stay put!


Learn to Type & A Winner!!

Just a quick post today to announce the winners of the $25 Barnes & Noble giftcards from day 1 of my giveaway - Janine F. and Jennifer M!!  Congratulations - I've sent you both an email. :)  It's not too late to enter the other 6 days - click here to win some FAB prizes!

While I'm here, I thought I would mention this awesome little site in case some of you have never heard of it. It's called Dance Mat Typing and it teaches kids to type using the home row key and ALL of their fingers! 
I love to have my kiddos type stories or create PowerPoints, but let's face it, the "hunt and peck" method makes it a sloowww process!  This site has 12 stages for the kids to complete and awesome animations and sounds that keep them entertained throughout the process.  They actually BEG to use it and their typing really improves quickly.  It's always a must to start using at the beginning of the year for me....I hope you'll give it a try and that your kiddos love it as much as mine!

Don't forget about the Cyber Monday {and Tuesday} sale happening at Teacher's Clubhouse on TpT.  You can save 28% through Tuesday - just click below!


1,000 Follower Giveaway Extravaganza - Day 7...and a Little Back Story

Sundays in the South
Just another Sunday here in the Palmetto state.  We actually had Thanksgiving again today for my in-laws.  I'm blessed to have a husband who cooked everything...I just had to set up, clean up, and make everything look pretty! ;)  It was nice, especially since I was just working on a few hours of sleep AGAIN.  I traveled to Clemson yesterday with a "frenemy" for the Battle of the Palmetto State to cheer on my Gamecocks.  While Clemson is only 45 minutes from my house, it took us FOUR HOURS to get home from the game!!!!  Geez. Louise!  That reminded me why I don't travel there very often for games, but it was so worth it!!  4-in-a-row for my boys!!  So sad to see the college football regular season come to an end, but I am looking forward to a weekend with ab-so-lutely nothing to do next week.  Okay, so that's not true.  I will need to decorate for Christmas but maybe I can do that in my PJs??

This has been a FUN week here on my blog!  I've loved having a different giveaway for you guys each day!  Today is my last new prize and then I'll start announcing winners tomorrow!!  If you've missed entering to win any of the previous days' giveaways, you can enter all of them using the links at the bottom of this post.

For those of you who just "met" me through my blog this year, let me give you a little back story.  I've been a part of the online teaching world for many years (just a little late to blogging!)  I was lucky enough to be one of the very first members of a great group of teachers who shared ideas and resources on a message board called "Second Grade Teachers Club."  I made some wonderful friendships there and those teachers became a tremendous resource to me (many of which are bloggers now!) We shared ideas, resources, successes, and vents! While, I loved sharing all of the resources I created on the message board or my class website, it soon became very time consuming answering all of the emails requesting items, tweaks, etc, but I tried to keep up the best I could!  After all, I wanted to give back to the amazing teachers who were sharing their own ideas and tips with me.

Shortly after, I found another amazing teacher closer to home and was lucky enough to work side by side with her for a short time.  We soon found that we shared a passion for creating resources for our students and wanted to share our work with others.  At that time, there was no TpT, or even blogs, so we set out to create our own site where teachers could download any of our resources in one spot, at a click of a button.  Our class websites couldn't hold all of our files, so we hired a website designer, subscribed to a download system, and began offering our resources for a minimum price ($0.99 for all pdfs - half price if purchased in a bundled unit) to help pay for this service. (Some even referred to us as the iTunes of teaching!)

Years later, a lot has changed.  Everyone is now creating and selling their teaching resources online and sites such as TpT have taken all of the "legwork" out of the process for newcomers; however, Catherine and I are still loving every moment of the process and we're proud to have built our store from the "ground up" and been pioneers in the online teaching world.

We do, however, want to make life easy for YOU, our fellow teachers and those who have been loyal users of our resources since the beginning.  This is why we have decided to start a Teacher's Clubhouse store on TpT.....think of it as one stop shopping.  If you're already shopping there, you can pick up our units without even leaving!  However, you can still drop by the Clubhouse for our full selection of primary resources, or our newer site, Lightbulb Minds for intermediate resources. 

New to Teacher's Clubhouse?  We do not sell lesson plans because we know that YOU are the only one who knows your students and could plan for their individual needs.  We truly believe that there is not "one plan that fits all," so even our lesson plans are constantly evolving.  But, what we do offer are engaging activities and resources that will supplement and enrich your lesson plans, including games, PowerPoints, projects, assessments, and more!

We would love for you to check out our stores and to come follow us on TpT.  We are participating in the Cyber Monday {and Tuesday} Sale.  Just click the button below to head over to our store and save 28% off of all units purchased on Monday or Tuesday! {Don't forget to enter CMT12 at checkout for the extra 10% off our already reduced by 20% prices for the full savings.}
Plus, my final giveaway today is for TWO winners!  Winners will receive a FREE UNIT of their choice from Teacher's Clubhouse or Lightbulb Minds.  It's easy - enter below...and make sure you've entered all of the previous giveaways - winners will begin being announced TOMORROW!!!

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1,000 Follower Giveaway Extravaganza - Day 6 (Laminator)

Only TWO DAYS left of new prizes in my 1,000 Follower Giveaway Extravaganza!!  Today's prize isn't even listed above, but how in the world could I give away my favorite teaching resources without my one "must-have-can't-live-without-need-more-than-one-of-them" FAVORITE resource - A PERSONAL LAMINATOR!

Remember this summer when I got my first personal laminator??  I couldn't understand how I taught for 15 years without one of them??  Then, I had to get one for home?!  Well, now I have one for my car, too...I knew that electrical outlet in my Jeep would serve a purpose! *only kind of joking*

So, when I had the opportunity to review the Purple Cow Personal Laminator and offer one as a prize, I was THRILLED!!  Trust me, you need this LOVE...even if you already have a personal laminator - here's why:
It's compact, easy to transport and super easy to use!
It comes with a variety of pouches to get you started on any projects.
Just plug in, set to hot or cold, flip the switch to on and wait for the ready light to flash!  It warms up in just minutes!
WAIT!  Was that a hot or cold switch?  That's right!  This laminator has the ability to laminate COLD for those items that are too fragile for heat.  Think vintage photographs, pressed flowers, etc!  How COOL is that?
And, in just seconds you'll have your laminated project!  Okay, so it's the weekend and I'm working on my sign for the BIG RIVALRY game tonight.  If I have to go into hostile, enemy territory I'm going to be prepared! :)
*Sorry, back on track*
My all-time favorite feature is that the lamination is so much thicker and sturdier than those large laminators we have at school!  So, there you have it - the BEST EVER invention for teachers..the personal laminator.  Enter below to win your very own Purple Cow Personal Laminator!!!

Tomorrow will be my last new giveaway and then winners will begin to be announced.  If you missed a day, it's not too late to enter:

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1,000 Follower Giveaway Extravaganza - Day 5 (Talk Bar)

Woot! Woot!  Today I have another awesome FREEBIE up for grabs!!  Have you seen this?
It's the Talk Bar from Learning Resources and it's my new favorite addition to centers in my classroom!  It's an electronic device that has 6 slots for sliding pictures.  Each slot is a "button" that students can push to record and/or play a 10 second segment.  Is your brain already thinking of the many ways you can use this in your classroom???  The possibilities are endless!  Here are a few of my favorite ways...

1. Sequencing - Story events and stages of the life cycle are perfect for independent centers!
2. Math Practice - Number facts, expanded form, and money are a just a few!
3. Vocabulary - Students can read the words and say their meanings or use in a sentence.
4. Spelling - Show a picture of a word for students to spell.

It's great for partner or small group work, too!  The button switches to off/record/play so it's easy for students to use independently.  And, my favorite part is that it mounts to the wall!!  I don't have mine mounted yet, but it's on my "honey-do" list! :)  It comes with 18 blank cards and I love the idea of having students create their own pictures to slide in (we did this with life cycle stages) but I could see printing images from a computer on cardstock to use as well.

Here's a video if you'd like to see more about this great little electronic device...

Would you like a Talk Bar to add to your classroom (retail $59.95)?  It's easy...just enter below!!

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1,000 Follower Giveaway Extravaganza - Day 4 (Brag Tags)

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

To show you how THANKFUL I am for you following my blog, I have something really special planned for you today!  THREE LUCKY WINNERS will win a set of 35 Brag Tags and 35 Chains from ImageStuff!!  What are Brag Tags, you ask??

They are the newest, most awesome way to reward your students for their hard work and special accomplishments! Brag Tags are similar to "dog tags" - boys and girls love to collect them, wear them, and show them off!

What better way to show your students how THANKFUL you are for their efforts than something this cool and fun?!   Here are the top reasons I LOVE these tags!

1. They can be customized in many different ways (your name, shapes, class themes, etc).
2. They are super durable and unique!
3. They can be used to reward so many accomplishments (reading goals, perfect attendance, honor roll, character, etc).
4. They make a great keepsake at the end of the year!
(Space Theme)

How to Use Brag Tags in the Classroom
Most teachers use these tags by setting up a "Brag Tag Station" (bulletin board) to hang students' chains.  Students wear the brag tags each day, but hang them back up at the end of the day so that they're not lost at home.  Students add tags throughout the year for their accomplishments and then take them home at the end of the year as a memorable keepsake!  What better way to remember their achievements and growth?

Many teachers also let students add beads to their brag tag chains for other accomplishments (such as reaching the top of the behavior clip chart and/or reaching "challenge" AR goals, etc).  The possibilities are endless!!

So, are you ready to win a set of these for your classroom?  It's simple!  Just enter below!  And, don't forget to enter the previous days' giveaways below, too!

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1,000 Follower Giveaway (Day 3) & Budding Blogger Showcase: Tales of a First Grade Teacher

It's Day 3 of my 1,000 Follower Extravaganza!!  Who doesn't LOVE using music in the classroom?  Enter today to win a $10 iTunes Giftcard!!  I've decided to give away TWO of them!!  It's easy - just enter below.  And, make sure you entered the previous days' giveaways, too (see below)!

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It's Wednesday, so it's time to meet a fabulous new blogger!  I hope you'll read on and drop over to visit her blog!  She has lots of ideas and plenty of experience at several grade levels!

Hi I'm Jessica Berggren from Tales of a First Grade Teacher. The above meme just cracks me up! I grew up in the 80's/90's and MC Hammer was one of my middle school faves.

I am originally from New York. Long Island to be exact. I grew up there, got married there, had my first teaching job in NYC and then moved out to the island. I even had my first baby there....and 1 month later moved to S. Florida. We have been here for 8 1/2 years.
I have been teaching for 15 years.  My teaching career is a bit of a circle story.  I started in 1st, and then moved up to 4th. I stayed there for 5 years. I moved to Florida and taught 3rd grade for 3 years. Now I teach 1st again--so another 6 years  (or 5 1/2).

My Favorite subject to teach would have to be writing. It's the one area that my kids and I can show off our personalities and be creative and imaginative.

If you popped into my classroom unannounced you would probably see me turn white, then red, and then slowly come back to my self.  Even after 15 years, I get a little anxious when someone comes in unplanned.  After the initial shock, I will pretend you are invisible and go on with my routine.  So you might in the zone, building stamina, being independent, having fun.....and hear.....classical piano music (I like to play music in the classroom).

On those tough days, I do 2 things:
1. I take the advice of a former colleague of mine from my third year teaching. Patty would say to me. 'Jess, remember they are just kids.' I would take a deep breath, and be like oh yeah. It's easier now that I have kids of my own.  I always picture one of my children, and think, What would I do if it were them?
2. I pray!!! I've had some pretty rough classes in my 15 years. Prayer is what truly got me through  and why I am still teaching.
In this new age of technology, the teaching resource I could not live without (well almost anyway) is the Document camera/projector/ CAVS unit.  I literally have my screen down and teach with my computer and Inter-Write pad or my document camera all day long, in EVERY subject.

My teaching style/favorite classroom project:  My style is to give my students the skills they need and allow them explore and learn. "Be the guide on the side, not the sage on the stage"
I LOVE Daily 5 and how they explain how to train your students. I read the book about 3 years ago, and said to my self, "If I knew then, what I know now".  Daily 5 is my favorite time of day. My little first graders are so independent and learning!  When I go around with my penseive binder and read with my kids I truly get to know my students. When I look up from my reading table and see kids giggling over a story, or writing eagerly in their journals... it makes my heart happy.

My Blogging goal for this year, is to blog more often and to share as many free ideas that I can. 
Thanks for reading and letting me share my tale.


1,000 Follower Giveaway Extravaganza - Day 2

For Day 2 of this extravaganza I'm giving away the FABULOUS, OUTSTANDING, QUIETEST CLASSROOM PENCIL SHARPENER!  If you missed my post about this amazing little machine earlier in the year, you can read it here
I'm not joking when I say that this pencil sharpener has changed my life classroom, so I can't giveaway my most favorite teacher items without including this gem!  If you don't win this giveaway, you should head on over to purchase your own at Classroom Friendly Supplies.  Best of luck - enter below!

It's not too late to enter the Day 1 Giveaway for TWO $25 Barnes & Noble Giftcards!

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1,000 Follower Giveaway Extravaganza - Day 1

'Tis the season to be thankful and I am so thankful for each of YOU - my followers, fellow overachieving teachers, and blogging friends!  I wanted to do something really special for the 1,000 milestone of this little blog of mine, so I'll be posting a new giveaway option each day this week!  I'll be giving away some of my FAVORITE teaching resources and there are lots of ways to enter each of the giveaways, so I hope you'll drop by each day!

For the first day, I'm giving away TWO $25 Barnes & Noble Giftcards.  I mean, come on, the most favorite resource of every teacher has to be a GOOD BOOK!  So, if you win, spend this to purchase a few new books for your classroom or treat yourself to a great read - the choice is yours!

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Sundays in the South: Like a Prayer

This was a super busy week outside of school!  It was actually kind of a blur, but a great one! :) My grade level gave our sweet, sweet girl, Susannah, a bridal shower at school.  If you were following my blog this summer, you might remember that she was a guest blogger one week - you can read her post here about her first year of teaching and her precious engagement that happened at school.

She's having a December wedding so we gave her "A Very Merry Bridal Shower."  One of the gifts my grade level got her were red plates to go along with the poem below.  I LOVE this idea to help celebrate "Red Letter" Days during a marriage.

A Red Plate Tradition
 May today be one of the many red letter days
Times you'll remember in so many ways
This gift is a tradition for you to start
A gift of love, straight from the heart
On days that are special that you'll want to recall
Set out the red plates to celebrate it all
Honor the person and their great feat
On these special plates, joyously eat
It may be a birthday, promotion, good grade
A Little League win or wise choice that was made
May your years together as husband and wife
Bring you countless special days throughout your life
These wonderful times will come and go
Keep the red plate at the ready as your blessings flow

The rest of my week was planned to go smoothly, as I was looking forward to going to the Madonna concert on Saturday with a girlfriend.  I had my outfit all planned out (yes, that's 32 bracelets!), accommodations in Charlotte, etc.
Then on Wednesday I saw my sweet friend Rachel from The Tattooed Teacher post about the Madonna concert the next day in Charlotte. SAY WHAT!???!  See, what I forgot to mention, was that I put my husband in charge of buying these tickets since they went on sale on a school day.  Well, he accidentally bought tickets for Charlotte instead of Atlanta which is where we usually head for big shows.  Well, apparently the date for the concert on our calendar was still for the Atlanta show so I had been planning for MONTHS for a concert on the wrong date!!!  In a panic I now needed to plan for an out-of-town concert the NEXT day!!  Unfortunately, my girlfriend couldn't work out childcare to go now, so I ended up dragging my husband along.  He was actually my first choice for the concert since he is the one I am most comfortable acting like a complete fool in front of (yep, I may have vogued), but he's not a big Madonna fan and didn't really want to go. 
Despite that fact, we had a BLAST!!!  Of course, Madonna was as controversial as ever and didn't hold back at all!!  The production - I can't call it a was more like a combination of a movie, Cirque du Soleil show, Broadway production and a concert all in one - was unbelievable!  Even my husband had to admit that it was one of the best productions we've ever seen - and we attend a LOT of concerts each year!  My favorite songs were Express Yourself, Vogue, and of course, Like a Prayer....just being a part of singing that song with Madonna was epic....seriously!  I was on cloud nine and haven't stopped singing yet - this was our second "bucket list" concert this year (the other being Aerosmith this summer).  And, by the way, I'm working on bringing back bracelets from the 80s! #lovedglammingitup
The silver lining of the concert date fiasco was that I was now going to be home for the last home game of the year for my Gamecocks!!  It's been a blast going to all of the games with my family this year.  Even though my husband hasn't been able to go to all of them, my parents and/or nephews have been great football companions!  Surprisingly, out of everyone, I think it may be my mom who enjoys the games the most!  While it's been a great year to see my Cocks win every home game, it was also a tough year to watch Marcus Lattimore get sidelined with a heart-breaking injury for the second year in a row.  He is absolutely one of the best role-models there could be for our young kids.  This was a tribute from our band at last week's game...
His injury always reminds me of this quote - "Bad things happen to good people because they are the only ones strong enough to overcome it." - David Shaw 

I'm extremely sad to have spent my last day at The Cockpit for this year and am really not looking forward to going into hostile, enemy territory for the last game of the season!  I sure am hoping my Cocks can pull off a fourth straight win against that school from the upstate (yes, where I I'm completely surrounded by the enemy!)

On a brighter note, I hope to have my 1,000 Follower Giveaway up by tomorrow!!  Check back for some awesome prizes!!!  I'm off to watch Dexter!!!!  Is anyone else a fan?  Oh.My.Word.  This season is keeping me on the edge of my seat!!
Red Letter Days

This one special red plate is intended for "Red Letter Days."

Surprise one another by setting it for your new spouse when you prepare a special dinner for him.

Let the birthday person use the red plate to mark another year of good health and happiness.

Set the red plate for a guest of honor who comes to visit your home.

Celebrate the completion of a big project or a promotion for your loved one.

One day you may set this plate for a child who brings home a great report card.

However, and whenever you choose to use this red plate, I pray God's blessing on you, your marriage, and your family.
- See more at:
Red Letter Days

This one special red plate is intended for "Red Letter Days."

Surprise one another by setting it for your new spouse when you prepare a special dinner for him.

Let the birthday person use the red plate to mark another year of good health and happiness.

Set the red plate for a guest of honor who comes to visit your home.

Celebrate the completion of a big project or a promotion for your loved one.

One day you may set this plate for a child who brings home a great report card.

However, and whenever you choose to use this red plate, I pray God's blessing on you, your marriage, and your family.
- See more at:

Friday Flashback Linky: Informational Genre & ActiVotes

Sorry, I'm late with this linky today.  I may - just may - have come home from school and taken a nap today.  Someone only had a couple of hours of sleep last night.  One word.  Madonna.  More on that in Sunday's post. ;)

Let's take a look back at this week in the classroom.

In Reading, we began our informational genre study.  I started this unit by having each child write down three animals they'd like to learn more about on a post-it note.  I collected these and assigned each child an animal from his/her choices, making sure that each child had a different animal and that I could locate books on his/her reading level.

Then, I told students that I wanted to become an expert on sharks.  We began to create a K-W-L by listing everything we know about sharks.  Next, I wanted to find out what they WONDERED (wanted to know) about sharks.  Again, I gave them all a post-it and had them write their question on it.  We then sorted the questions and created an Affinity Diagram to guide our research.
Students then used these same questions to guide their own research.  We created a Mega Lotus with these same categories and each student created a set of index cards with these topics to help them organize their notes.
Each page that follows has a Lotus with one of these topics in the center.  Students will record new information learned and use each notecard to create a chapter in their own informational book later.
During this unit, I use sharks as my topic during daily mini-lessons and then students apply what they've learned using their own animal informational texts.  One of the first lessons focused on gathering information from photographs and captions.  After this lesson, students drew realistic pictures with captions (using labels) to show something important they had learned.
In Math we continued our place value unit.  This week we focused on comparing numbers.  Students created their own "greedy gators" using popsicle sticks.  They wrote the words "greater than" and "less than" on them to practice using the correct terminology.
In Science we began learning about different habitats.  Students are in the middle of working on their habitat murals that will show plants and animals that can be found there.  They were asked to show food chains that could be found in their habitat.
But, the most exciting part of our week was that we finally got our very own class set of ActiVotes!
Students are using the ActiVotes for the first time!
 We're reviewing place value.
 I love this pic!  They go crazy when the graph shows 100% of them answered the question correctly!

Link up to let us see what you and your students were up to this week!

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