I Hate Being Popular!!

I had an elaborate post planned out for today, but that will have to wait.  Why?  Because I'm freaking out.  Why?  Because apparently I'm popular and that makes me sad.

I came to my blog today and THIS is what I see!
WHAT THE HECK??!?!  It seems PhotoBucket has replaced ALL of my blog images with this $&#*$&@ image letting me know that "I'm popular." 

AGH!!!!!!!!!!  I RARELY use PhotoBucket so I knew that I couldn't have exceeded any photo limits there, but apparently it says that I've exceeded bandwidth limits because I'm "so" popular.  I'm not buying it.  My little old blog is NOT that popular.

But, in a freak of panic, I went ahead and PAID to upgrade for the YEAR.  And, still no bloggy pictures, just the @$%(#&# "popular" image still!!

Has anyone ever had this happen?  What did you do?  I'm so sad.  I sent a message to PhotoBucket, but have yet to hear back from them.  Not a happy camper....especially after PAYING them.  My blog designer set everything up in PhotoBucket for my blog design, but is there a different {better} site I should be using?

It says that my bandwidth will reset in 10 days, but I can't spend 10 days like this.....HELLLLLLLP!!

Budding Bloggers Showcase: The Very Busy First Graders

CONGRATULATIONS to VANESSA P. for winning my Pop! In For a Game and a Book Giveaway!!  I have sent you an email! :)

Today, I would like for you to meet Kim from The Very Busy First Graders blog!  Her blog is super cute and filled with great ideas....like her Milk Mustache Posters and her Safari Reading Jeep - how cute is that??  Plus, she's having a giveaway that you can still enter!  Hop over and take a look after you get to know her a bit below.

Name:Kim Short
Blog:The Very Busy First Graders

Personal info (state/family/pets/interests):I live in Iowa with my husband and three daughters, 17, 12 & 6. We enjoy movies and games together as a family. We especiallyenjoy vacations! I think the kids would say their favorite place isthe Wisconsin Dells as they ask to go back every year! I love Colorado!My newest hobbies are blogging and creating items for TpT!  I should be working on my 17 year old's graduation party/graduation...but I just can't do it yet and admit she will be leaving us soon!
Grade You Teach:I teach 1st grade in a small rural PreK-12th school.There is one classroom of each grade level.
How long have you taught?I have been teaching for 12 years. I started out in my current school teaching through a reduced classroom size grant.I taught Kindergarten through 3rd, following the same group of students,having a different mix each year. I averaged about 12 students in a very small room! I started over after 3rd and taught another group of students Kindergarten through 2nd.  The position was being eliminated so thankfully the 1st grade position opened up!  I have been in 1st every since and love it!  I now average 24 students and next year will have 29!
What is your favorite subject to teach?I love teaching reading! I have loved reading since I was little! There are so many amazing fiction and nonfiction books out there and great activities to go with them!  I knew I would be a teacher one day! I would line all my stuffed animals up and play "Reading Rainbow" with them! I want to create that love of reading in all my little first graders and think I do that with books that interest them as well as by introducing new genres to them, getting into character while reading, creating fun reading spots (their fave is the loft!) and creating and buying fun activities centered around reading and books! I want students to know all about the places books can take you!
What would we likely see if we popped into your classroom unannounced?You would see us singing and dancing to learn, working around the room duringDaily Five, working with partners and small groups and sitting at the meeting spotwhere so much of our learning takes place!
What gets you through one of “those” days?My teaching buddies and diet cherry pepsi get me through stressful days with an occasional after school popcorn and M&M break! Thankfully there aren't too many of "those" days!!
What is one “can’t live without” teaching resource?My laptop and interactive whiteboard are the teaching resources I can't live without!  These two itemshave opened up the world to my small town students!
Give us a glimpse of your teaching style by sharing a brief summary of a favorite classroom activity/project.I love getting students up out of their seats to learn! Some of our favorite activities are Scoot games,Read the Room activities, science experiments and data collecting. I would have to say our favorite projects are the class movies. I make three movies a year with the students that I burn on DVDs for the students to give their moms on Mother's Day during our Mother's Day Tea.  We make a "When I Grow Up" movie abouttheir future career.  They write the script and decide on costumes and actors for this movie.  Our 2nd movie of the year is "The Peter Rabbit Operetta". We perform this live for our families during the school day as well as make it into a movie. They are in charge of costumes and we design props at school.  Our last movie is for our Mother's Day Tea. We make the movie ahead of time so it can be included on the DVD which is presented at the tea. This movie is a combination of silly poems about families and funny songs with a sweet tribute to our moms at the end.
What is one of your blogging goals for this year?
My blogging goal for this next year is to keep sharing ideas with teachers and continue to meet new bloggy friends!
Stop on by and visit! I would love to meet you! 


Pizza Box Portfolios & Memoir Writing Unit

A quick post today all about writing.  Y'all know, I LOVE some writing!  I've been holding onto the students' published works in the classroom this year since I usually do the whole "pizza box portfolios" at the end of the year and send the treasured keepsakes home at once.

However, my classroom was busting at the seams with writings already, so I picked up some pizza boxes this weekend {oh yeah, and some pizza, too, of course!} and let students create their portfolios today.
They always turn out so unique and special!  We stuffed all of our writings in there and the kiddos took them home today!  I think I actually like the idea of creating these now rather than at the end of the year....maybe even at the beginning of the year so the kids can take them home and have a special place to put their treasured work at!   This way, I don't have to store everything...and they can take it home and show it off immediately! :)

Speaking of writing, we just wrapped up Memoirs in our classroom and have moved on to "How-To" writing.  Well, we've finally got a new Memoir Unit posted at the Clubhouse with some of my most favorite activities from our unit.

I hope you'll love it as much as I do!  There's everything from prewriting to celebration included....along with lots of published pieces and, of course, some of my writing discussion cards.  I think it is SO important for the kiddos to TALK about writing before actually writing!  For example, right now students get in small groups and use writing prompt cards to go around the circle adding "next steps" for how-to's until they've successfully told how to complete tasks.

In the memoir unit, the discussion cards have them work with a partner to tell about special memories and then the partner asks questions about what they've just heard.  This is so wonderful because it lets students know that their readers want to know MORE and it encourages them to add all of those details to their stories!

Anywho....here's a little preview of the activities included, but you can find the unit HERE if you're interested in it!


Sundays in the South: It's Been a While!

I think it's been a while since I've posted on a Sunday.  I'm pretty sure that's because it's been a while since we've had a "normal" Sunday around here.  Time seems to have flown by since the holidays!  Busy - busy- busy!

I sure am ready for spring!  Today is a beautiful day in the 60's here and I'm not going to lie...I'm getting spring fever!  I love that you can tell that the days are already getting longer.  Unfortunately since I was sick this past week, that means I spent much of this beautiful day cleaning the disaster that I call a house.  It's amazing how quickly things pile up, even with just the hubs and furry friends around here!

However, I HATE to go out of town without first having the house spic-and-span clean, so it had to be done!  There's something about coming back home and walking into a pristine house that makes my heart smile!

Out of town?  Yeah, I get to skip school one day this week....I'll be heading to Atlanta.  Anyone want to guess why?

You got it!  A concert!  I am soooo excited that concert season is starting back up!  It actually started up last weekend.  Yes, when I was under the weather.  I wasn't actually feeling too bad last Saturday since I was on maximum meds so I was up for it.  Unfortunately, that was the weekend that we actually had snow and I decided to go without a coat {not the smartest idea, right?}  Well, we have parking passes at our concert venue here in town, so we never have to wait in line.  Just park right at the door and ZOOM right in.

Well, except for last weekend.  When it was cold enough for snow.  And I was sick.  And I didn't bring my coat.  Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's what pushed my cold over the edge.

I think it was so crowded because, unlike my usual early arrival to concerts everything, we decided to go a bit later, knowing that we didn't care if we missed a bit of the opening act.  Well, it put us smack dab in the middle of the crowd.  Apparently the line out front was sooooo long that people were walking around to the back entrance making our line super long as well!  Ugh!

All for.....Kid Rock.  I'm not the biggest Kid Rock fan, but I do like a few of his songs.  {Picture with Sheryl Crow}  You see, our town pretty much only gets country acts.  So, when someone else comes along we have to support!  Don't get me wrong, I love country, too - and I always support those concerts {well, I will not be supporting Jason Aldean this year....since it's his 4th year in a row here}, but I would LOVE to see some variety!!!!!!!!!!!!  We have very eclectic music taste and I would love to take advantage of our local seats rather than traveling to Atlanta or Charlotte so often.

Surprisingly, the concert was amazing, though.  He came out to a little Journey and threw in a lot of different tunes throughout the show.  And, yes, he did sing Picture even though it was with someone else. :)

That was a great start to our concert season.  But, guess who is up this week???

I'm not sure how we've never seen Bon Jovi in concert, but it's definitely a "bucket list" show!  So excited!  It will be a fabulous day trip with the hubs mid-week!

Speaking of mid-week, if there are any "budding bloggers" out there that would like to be showcased in upcoming weeks, send me an email!  I try to keep it to bloggers who have fewer than 300 followers.

I did get my Memoirs Writing Unit finished up, too....it's in the proofing stage right now, so I hope to be able to post about it soon.  It has lots of my favorite activities from this unit in it and I can't wait to share it with you soon!

Make sure you have entered my Itty-Bitty Giveaway for a "Pop! for Word Families Game" and a $10 Barnes & Noble Giftcard.  The winner will be announced on Wednesday!

While we're talking about giveaways, I have to make sure you've heard about my friend, Rachel's giveaway at The Tattooed Teacher!  She just hit 1,000 Followers and is having a SUPER giveaway!  I donated a Unit of the Winners Choice from Teacher's Clubhouse or Lightbulb Minds - so you're covered if you're primary or intermediate.  Go enter!  Now!


Pop! In to Win a Game and a Book!

Posting two days in a row???  See, I told you I was going to make up for missing an entire week of blogging! :)

The doorbell rang at 8:30 last night and I thought, "Who could that be at this hour?"  Normally, it is a kid trying to sell something....yes, even at that hour!  I reluctantly went to answer the door sent my husband to answer the door and was surprised to find that it was UPS!!

Don't you just LOVE that BIG BROWN TRUCK?  It was a delivery of some books I had just ordered.  Christmas for a teacher!

Before I share the new books, let me take a moment to share a new game that I just added to our games/centers.

I'm always super surprised to discover that my second-graders don't really know rhyming words.  This was apparent again this year when I used my Second-Quarter Morning Work PowerPoints.  One section on it gave students a word and they were to think of as many rhyming words as possible.  For example, if it gave them "hand" I had some students say "ham" or "hang" or "fans" - they were using words that had the same beginning sounds or vowel sounds instead of the same ending sounds.

By reviewing this skill daily for 9-weeks, they finally seemed to REALLY grasp it!  But, I knew that I wanted to give them more practice with rhyming words and word families, in general before starting our Poetry Unit later this spring.

So, I pulled out this game from Learning Resources.
It has been great ongoing practice and students can't get enough of it. Here's a little bit about why I love this game.
Everything fits into this nice, sturdy, compact container.  The directions are printed on the back, which means they'll never be LOST!
The playing pieces are extremely sturdy and thick so they could never be torn or damaged.  And, there are a TON of playing pieces, so students could play this game over and over again and never repeat the same ones.  I also love that, since there are so many pieces, there is a WIDE variety of word families included - not just your basic word families, so it's perfect for 2nd graders!
Any number of students can play the game...it's not just for 2-4 players - very flexible!  Here's how to play - A student draws a popcorn piece from the container.  Then, he/she spins the spinner.  If he/she lands on a "2" then he/she has to name TWO words that would be in that word family.  If the student completes the task correctly, he/she gets to keep the popcorn piece.  If not, it goes back into the container.

But, the REALLY fun part that keeps students on the edge of their seats is that there are pieces that say "POP" in the container.  If a "POP" is drawn, the student must return ALL of the pieces he/she has already won back to the container.

We play a game similar to this in my classroom called ZAP! for various skills, and let me tell you, they eat it up!
It's a new favorite of my students and I'm confident that they'll be able to brainstorm lots of rhyming words and word family words during our upcoming Poetry Unit!

Keep on reading, if you'd like this game for your classroom!

Now, back to those books....I LOVE finding new books to use during my units.  Here's a little peek at my new additions.
I specifically set out to order this little gem for our "How-To" writing unit.  I'm always on the lookout for new books for this unit, as they seem harder to find that I would think, and this one will be PERFECT!  It would also be great for a little "Grandparent's Day" writing gift. :)

But, while I was there, I also picked up these books for our Fairytale Unit later in the year.  Fairytales are so easy to find and I LOVE all of the different versions and tales from others' perspectives.
And, I was also suckered into these...I think I could incorporate them into my Memoir Writing Unit.
Those Shoes will also be PERFECT for teaching Needs/Wants...I love when a book has a dual purpose! 

Would you like any of these additions for your classroom?  You can enter below to win the "POP for Word Families Game" from Learning Resources and also a $10 Barnes & Noble Giftcard to pick up one of these books (or a book of your choice!)

Good luck!  The winner will be announced on Wednesday!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday Flashback: Super Edition

It's Friday!! {Happy Dance}  Since I didn't share last week, this might be a little overload....apologies ahead of time!

First, the WINNER of the Tall Tales Craftivities Unit from my Flash Giveaway is....Cathy VerSteeg!!

You'll have this headed your way shortly - Enjoy!!

Since we're talking Tall Tales, let's start the Flashback with Reading.

Last week, we wrapped up our Fables Unit with our puppet shows.  This is always a great way to work on fluency and expression.  The kiddos did a GREAT job!  I don't really love teaching fables....probably my least favorite genre if I have to admit it.  But the addition of these fable scripts and puppets did add a little spark to our unit.
 I found them at The Creativity Institute.  The puppets are a remarkable quality and the scripts include Aesop's fables and original fables, which I love!

After wrapping up fables, we started Tall Tales....which I adore!!  Here are pics of our most recent craftivities...
Last weekend something very rare happened around here.  We actually had S*N*O*W!  And, by snow, I don't mean the frozen, yucky, thin layer of ice that shuts everything down...I mean soft, fluffy, huge, beautiful flakes that covered the yards and left the roads clear!

That NEVER happens around here!  The kids made snowmen and had a fun time, then it was all gone as it reached 60 degrees the next day.  My kind of snow!  :)

What does this have to do with math, you ask?  We had a MATH SNOWBALL FIGHT the day we returned to school.  Many of my kids said they were out of town for the long weekend and they completely missed the snow!  So, we brought it to our classroom.

I mean, LOOK at those faces....they loved it!  We were working on two-digit addition, so each child wrote a two-digit number in large, neat writing on a piece of white paper.  Then they crumpled it up to form a snowball.  I had half the class stand on one side of the room and half on the other side.  On my signal, we {yes, I participated} threw our snowballs!  Then, everyone picked one up and headed back to their seats.  They each had a partner at their teams so they opened up their snowballs and added them together (independently).  If their answers matched, they went to stand back in the throwing positions.  If not, the talked about it and figured out where the problem was.  Then, we repeated it....over and over again.

They could have done math ALL. DAY. LONG.

Word Study:
We worked on contractions this week.  We did all of our usual word study activities....I Have - Who Has?, Hop and Write, etc.  but we also made these.

And, of course we had to conduct a little surgery....

They always get so stinkin' excited about being "doctors."  Later in the day, we had indoor recess {rain, rain go away!} and look what I caught....
These sweet girls had pulled out their doctor masks and gloves and were using unifix cubes to give their patient a shot!  Love them!

We started our "How-To" writing unit yesterday.  I always start this unit by having them write directions for "How To Slide Down a Slide" - something they ALL know how to do.  I don't give them any instructions, other than the topic.

This is what I got....
SERIOUSLY????!!  Wait....this is going to work beautifully with my master plan!  You see, after they do this little task for me, I introduce them to my friend, Al the Alien.  Al hangs out with us during this ENTIRE UNIT.  Since he's visiting from another planet, he doesn't understand anything and only does exactly what he reads. 

So....we headed out to the playground and I Al {okay, me with an Alien hat I found in the Target dollar spot last year}, put their writing to the test!  He tried to slide down the slide by following the directions on EVERY.SINGLE.PAGE and failed! 

Geez!  Writing "how-to" is much more difficult than they imagined!  We headed back in and talked about why he couldn't complete the task.  

We posted some "transitional word signs" that will help us throughout the unit.
They got "Al the Alien" clips to clip to their papers during this unit to remind them of the important things we discussed.
Then, they applied what we learned and took another shot at writing directions so that Al could make it down that slide!

Yes, those are the writings from the SAME two students from above.  Soooooo much better and GREAT for our first assignment during this unit.  We have lots more practice coming our way before our culminating "Teach-It Day" where the students get to be the teachers for the day and teach their classmates how to make or do something!


A Whale of a Tale: Tall Tales Flash Giveaway

I absolutely LOVE teaching Tall Tales!  I am so excited about starting this genre!

We always have sooooo much fun with it!  We read, put on plays, create puppets, write our own puppet scripts, write our own tall tale stories with exaggerations, sing songs, and hold a tall tale tea.....it's fantastic!  I'll be posting more about all of these as we go through the unit.

Now, I can add one more item to that list.  The students have been having a ball with our new craftivities this week.  Take a look at these....
I am definitely not an artist, but I do think they turned out pretty cute!  Each craftivity comes with all of the tracer templates needed to create the character and an "Is - Can - Has" chart (both in present and past-tense).

We've started using them this week and they've been FANTASTIC!!  Here's a little about how I've used them...

After we read a tall tale about a character students work in small groups of 3 students to complete a craftivity.  I decided that it would take WAY tooooo long and use WAY tooooo much construction paper for each student to create each one on their own.  So, I give each small group the tracers and materials they need and they have to work together to trace, cut-out, and assemble the character.  Then they also work together to come up with facts they've learned about the characters to complete the charts.

It has been a GREAT teamwork activity!  They are so focused and serious about it! ;)  And, the charts and their discussions (as I roam around) really let me know what they have learned about that character and story.

One reason that it has went so smoothly is because I think I did a good job of organizing the materials beforehand.  I knew that I wanted each small group to have their own tracers, so I printed 8 sets of each character's tracers.  {I know, I know...that is a lot of cutting.  I sent an email out to my parents to see if any of them would be willing to cut at home (you know that while most parents may not have time to volunteer AT school, they would LOVE to be involved and help from home) and I had 10 parents respond!!  Those babies were cut out and ready to be bagged in no time!}

I printed each set on a different color of cardstock.  You know there are always pieces left behind at clean-up time and I wanted to be able to easily locate the set with the missing piece if this was the case.  The great thing about the tracers is they have the character's initials on it and a label telling students what it is (for example, the tracer for John Henry's hat trim would say "JH hat trim" on it).

I put each set in a gallon-sized ziploc bag and then put all 8 sets in a 2-gallon ziploc bag labeled with the character's name.  I punched a hole in the top of the bags and hung them on a 3M hook in our class restroom for easy storage. (Hey, I use every inch of space in our room!)

Here's a look at a couple of the students' finished products this week....

I forgot to snap a pic of our John Henry products today, so I'll add that (along with Davy and Sally Ann Crockett) to tomorrow's Friday Flashback!

My plan is to make ANOTHER pack so I'll have all of the characters on-hand, but that's going to have to wait a bit because I'm in the middle of finishing up my Memoir Writing Unit....hopefully this weekend!

Would you like to be one of the first to own this Craftivity Pack?  I'll be giving one away to a commenter using the random number generator in a FLASH GIVEAWAY!! 

You can leave up to 4 comments -
1) comment once if you're a follower of Teacher's Clubhouse on Facebook

2) comment once if you're a follower of Teacher's Clubhouse on TPT

3) comment once if you're a follower of Lightbulb Minds on Facebook

3) comment once if you're a follower of Lightbulb Minds on TPT

I'll choose a winner TOMORROW when I post for the Friday Flashback!  Hope you'll join me! ;)
Congratulations to Cathy for winning this unit!!


Budding Bloggers Showcase: Where the Wild Things Learn

 WOW!!  All I can say is I'm sorry!

I have been MIA since LAST Wednesday!  I came down with a nasty cold Friday and it kicked my rear!  I am JUST now feeling like myself!  I even missed Friday Flashback last week.  {sad face}  I will have a TON to share this week....so much so that I'll try to post again tomorrow, too!

Since I'm such a horrible blogger {I swear I'm back on track now!}, why don't you visit someone who's doing a much better job at it!

Let me introduce you to Amelia....who has the best blog name EVER!!  "Where the Wild Things Learn" - how cute is that??  Read on to find out more about her and then hop on over to visit and become a follower of the blog with the best name EVER! 

Hi! I'm Amelia Capotosta and I blog over at Where the Wild Things Learn.

I live in Ohio with my husband, Joe. We were high school sweethearts and have been together for nearly 9 years, married for a year and a half. We just bought a new house in December and love it! We don't have any children yet, but definitely forsee many in the future! For now, my 56 students certainly feel like my children :)  Here's hubby and I on our wedding day!

This is my first year teaching 4th grade and I {L-O-V-E} it! I know, I know, we all think our grade is the best... but my fourthies are simply FABULOUS! I love this age. They are starting to become little individuals with responsibility and personality, but they still think their teachers actually know something and are cool.. who woulda thought that's true?! ;) Plus, they still give hugs!

I've been teaching for 3 years. I taught 6th grade for two years at a different district. I loved my experience there, but I think I made the best move when I switched to 4th grade in my hometown district. The staff here is da bombdiggity (did she really just say that?!) Yes, I did. Sorry, but they're that great:) Plus, my teacher partner and I work so well together. We're both loud, obnoxious, and outgoing teachers, and we mesh so well!

My absolute favorite subject to teach is Reading. I have been getting lost in books since I was a youngin', and I love instilling the love for reading and adventure in my kiddos. There's nothing better than sharing a good story and learning lessons from a good book.

If someone popped into my classroom unannounced, they'd see one of two things. Either a.) Me making a fool out of myself in some way: singing, dancing, jumping up and down, doing cartwheels (hey, whatever works) I have lots of energy and I'm always finding ways to keep my students attention. or b.) You may not be able to find me. Most of the time we are in a Daily 5 setting, and I am either sitting on the floor or at a table with a group of students.

When I have one of "those days" Diet Coke, chocolate, and reading get me through. I don't drink coffee, so Diet Coke is my caffeine "drug of choice" and chocolate makes me happy :) When things are real tough, I think of curling up with a good book when I get home, and it's all good.
The teaching tool that I couldn't live with out is my Smartboard. It is just such an oportunistic teaching tool! Whether I am displaying timers for Daily 5 stations, interactive games for review, videos, or even letting the kids build and practice on it, it is a staple in my room. I LOVE that I can just pull up teachable moments as easy as 1-2-3!

My favorite unit that I teach I call my "Fabulicious Fantastic Folder Unit." The past 2 years, I have taught this using the book "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe." We read the book as a class, and complete a lapbook using two manilla folders glued together. There are flipbooks, charts, 3-D objects, and all sorts of other components. The entire unit takes about 6-7 weeks, and covers ALL of the 4th grade ELA Common Core standards, and even touches on some SS ones. My kiddos have LOVED this in the past, and so do I! I will be starting this in about 5 weeks and I can't wait. Here's pictures of previous ones:

My blogging goals this year are to share, collaborate, grow, and learn! This journey has already brought me so far and taught me so much. I feel like I've only touched the surface of the opportunities and learning this blogging world has to give me. I want to build lasting relationships with all of you wonderful teachers out there. I absolutely adore the idea that teachers are using my lessons and ideas in their classroom, and I love getting ideas from all of you. I hope the journey continues :)


Budding Bloggers Showcase: Ideas by Jivey

This week is all about LOVE!  I heart Valentine's Day in the classroom!  I love seeing my little munchkins pass out their cards to each other.  I remember how important it was as a child to find the perfect set of cards and pick out just the right one for each person.  :)  We'll be doing this fun activity again tomorrow.  I found it on Pinterest last year and it was a BIG hit!

Minute-to-Win-It Valentine's Day Obstacle Course.  Click the pic to go to the source and grab it!
And, because it's the week of love, I have a blog to showcase that you will LOVE and she's having a 100 Follower Giveaway right now!!  It ends tomorrow, so head on over right NOW and join in the fun!  You're going to L-O-V-E Jivey!!

I'm off to go see Top Gun in IMAX....yep, the old Top Gun....the things we do for LOVE!  *sigh*

Hi! I'm Jessica Ivey, or affectionately known as Jivey. Apparently, Jessica was a very popular name when I was born because so many of my friends are named Jessica!! So, they shortened my name (like J-Lo!) to Jivey. It totally stuck, and when I get married, I'm going to have a hard time letting it go. Ha!

I live in the suburbs outside of Atlanta, Georgia, and teach there as well. I have two wonderful dogs: Timmy (a 2 year old toy poodle) and Zoey (a 10 year old lab-pit-terrier... in other words, only Mama knows for sure!)- they are my babies... might as well be my children. They certainly think they are human anyway. I love photography and scrapbooking, but all that went on the backburner since I just bought my house in August- first time home buyer! August? Yep. Only the CRAZIEST month for a teacher. What was I thinking?? So I like to spend my "free time" decorating and sprucing up the place. :)

Grade You Teach: I teach 4th grade this year. It's my second year in 4th. I also taught 3rd grade for two years, 1st grade for two years, and 2nd grade for one year. I didn't necessarily switch willingly every time as we had a principal who liked to "toss things up," but I LOVE having the experience in other grades, and being aware of what they should be coming to me ALREADY knowing. It's hard to pick a favorite grade honestly. I love the kiddos' maturity and independence in 4th, but I sure did LOVE seeing the growth they made in reading in 1st grade.

How long have you taught? 2+2+2+1 = this is my 7th year. And yes, that is how I figured that out. :)

What is your favorite subject to teach? I absolutely adore Language Arts and Social Studies. Ironically, when I was in school, I HATED Social Studies. I think my teachers just didn't make it fun, so I dreaded having to memorize names and dates and battles and wars I cared nothing about. I think I love teaching it so much because I keep that in my mind- I make it as fun as I can and try to connect meaning to everything they need to know!

What would we likely see if we popped into your classroom unannounced? You'd see kids all around the room and you'd have to find me sprinkled in there! I am constantly having my kiddos working in partners or groups and I just mingle in and out of what they are doing.

What gets you through one of “those” days? Chocolate or Riesling! :)
What is one “can’t live without” teaching resource? I love my kiddos' Social Studies Interactive Notebooks! I honestly don't think they would "get" what they get this year without them! One thing we do in them is read together a passage on the topic we are learning about and they decide what's important from the text- instead of writing notes about it, they draw pictures to represent those key facts and label them with short words and phrases that help them remember their importance. It really helps my ESOL students as well as my below-level readers, because we all know they aren't going back to re-read those passages at night!!

What is one of your blogging goals for this year? Well, since I just started blogging in January, I'd say my biggest goal is to meet more bloggy friends! I've already made a few, and it has definitely improved me as a teacher! I love getting ideas from others as well as sharing them!

Thanks soooo much to Amanda for giving me some blog space today! I hope you'll come join up with me at Ideas By Jivey, and let me know you stopped by! I'd love to return the favor! :)
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