Welcome to my blog site. This year I will be teaching 4th grade ELA/SS. I'm excited to embark on the new changes approaching me. I'm always looking for new ideas to get students engaged and eager to learn. I hope you enjoy my blog. Please leave comments or ideas.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Small Moments

I'm learning a lot about Lucky Calkins and the writing process. I haven't been a big fan of hers but I'm gradually warming up to her ideas and theories. I recently started reading one of her books. The book is provided below if you are interested.

Today I took her ideas into action and really tried to implement her practices. I was only able to complete two activities. I must admit I did add my own step in this process. (not sure if this is a step she does) I noticed the students seemed to grasp the concept better than I thought they would.

I told the students that the entire watermelon was centered on  being afraid. The seeds represent the small moments when they were afraid. I created a horrible watermelon and added sticky notes with small moments when I was afraid.
They drew their watermelon

They wrote 4 small moments when they were
afraid on sticky notes.

Next, students were instructed to share their 
small moments with their group. After talking with
their group they picked one small moment.

The next day students created the witches hat (as they call it) to outline their story using the 5 story elements.

Students wrote in their writing journal about their story.
We conferenced together as we determined the corrections that needed to be made. The next step was to write their final product on the watermelon. I will provide you the link where I downloaded the cute copies of the watermelon for free. 

The last step was to staple the final paper together and share our "Afraid Moments"

Thursday, April 26, 2012

AR Cards/Paint Chip Cards

I went to Home Depot and selected some fantastic colors for our new AR Tracker Sheet! I'm using the paint chip cards for students to write the name of their book and AR score. After students read four books and make a passing grade of 80 or above then they will receive a special reward. My intent is to keep students engaged and reading until the very end of school. (If you notice from the picture above these cards are wider and shorter than most paint chip cards) I think we can still use them as a bookmark. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

It's Time Again for Polka-Dot Wednesday 25th

Wow! Did the week fly by or what? This week I selected some neat activities and ideas that you might be inspired to implement this year or the 2012-2013 school year. So lets begin with Polka-Dot Wednesday!

Monday, April 23, 2012


This is my 3rd post in one day! Wow! I've got so much energy right now I will never get to bed tonight. I quickly wanted to share the bags that I put together for my students for their Wednesday Reading STAAR Test. I knew tomorrow I would be busy with cheer registration for my daughter and there would be no time to put these things together with the goodies inside-therefore-I prepared the bags  tonight. Hey! When you have  kids you have to utilize your time wisely so that's what I did. Below are my bags. Hopefully my son will keep his hands off the bags. The last time I had smarties for my students he ate half the bag the night before. The next day I told my students what had happened and they insisted that I tell him they were very disappointed with him. LOL They crack me up! Here it is....

If you have been following my blog you will notice that the bags go with the Reading Boot Camp theme that my students participated in before this big day.

I provided two chocolate chip cookies inside the bag for each student. I didn't want to load them up with a bunch of goodies because they would whine to go to the bathroom during the test. I'm not having that happen!!!!

I had extra stickers left over from the STAAR Game boards so I  used them on the bags. They turned out really cute! If you haven't seen my Reading Boot Camp and STAAR Game Boards you can find them under April and maybe March!

My favorite bag!! 

All the bags loaded up for tomorrow although the students will not receive the goodies until Wednesday for the Reading portion of the STAAR!

I bought these cute crosses at Hobby Lobby for my team. We have all struggled this year with this group of students because they came to us so low. We really performed miracles getting them to where they are today. I wanted to show my appreciation and team spirit by giving them the cross that says believe. I believe in God and that he gives us the strength to endure the many obstacles that we face daily. I believe he will look over our students and bless them as they take the STAAR. Amen!

Positive Notes to Students before the Test

I found some cards that correlated to our Reading Boot Camp Theme. I'm going to write a positive note inside the card for each of my students. I hope this will calm their nerves and let them know how special they are to me. These cards will be given to each of my 2 Reading Blocks on Tuesday before they leave for the day. The STAAR Reading Test is on Wednesday. I thought this was a neat idea and wanted to share with you. I think the students will look forward to recieving words of encouragement from their teacher.

These cards can be purchased at Hobby Lobby for around seven dollars. You recieve 50 cards!

I think I'm getting N-E-R-V-O-U-S too because this is the second blog post for the day. My nails will be bitten off by tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Polka-Dot Wednesday April 18th

Wow! It's that time again for Polka-Dot Wednesday! I hope the picks of the week have helped you in designing creative lessons for your students. There are so many talented teachers that are so kind to share their ideas. When teachers collaborate and share together they enhance student performance. Our goal as teachers is to ensure every student is successful.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cell Phone/Text Message STAAR

I'm trying to be as creative as possible to get my third graders pumped up for the STAAR. I did some copying and pasting to create the cell phone that delivers a text message STAAR question to the students. They are to select the correct on their own score sheet cell phones. The students will be doing this tomorrow. Afterwards I'm going to let them color the back of the cell phone to make it look like a cell phone protector case. I think they will enjoy this. I have two photos to share and concrete copies on scribd. I will post more pictures tomorrow as my students are in action using their cell phones.


STAAR laptop /Getting Ready for the STAAR

Sorry for the delay in blogging! I had a fun filled weekend as I interviewed participants during our job fair on Saturday and my daughter went to her first prom. Wow! It was a very hectic weekend-to top it off I got a migraine headache on Sunday and had to take Monday off. Yuck! So I'm back to the land of the living--I think!

I wanted to share the mini lap tops that my students used today to answer questions from a passage. I didn't want to make this week about drill and kill with STAAR but I knew we needed to touch up on some skills. I found these templates online to make a laptop but now I can't find who the creator is--so tonite I will be searching to ensure that she/he gets credit for the idea.. I did download it to my scribd. Maybe I wasn't suppose to but I will change it as soon as I find the web page. It's so close to STAAR and I wanted to make sure that you had a copy incase you wanted to do the activity. The students read the passage, did their strategies, and then went from laptop to laptop to answer the questions. They could not collaborate today with a partner. The students seemed to really enjoy it.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Brown Bag Project with "A Dog Called Kitty"

"Brown Bag Project"

My students will begin a "Brown Bag Project on - A Dog Called Kitty" in the next week. They will draw a card and choose a character. The characters consist of Ricky, Dad, Mom, Sammy, and Brad. I have included a rubric on scribd. http://www.scribd.com/doc/88611151/Brown-Bag-Project  --The following pictures display the actual content that students will be required to complete. They will also have the opportunity to place items in the bag and do a show and tell. I will provide a small rubric for this part of the assignment. My intent is for students to get use to presenting in front of an audience. 

Name of Character
Draw a picture of the character
List adjectives describing the character

Provide quotes from the character

Write in sequential order important events that the character experienced within the text.

Write a summary using beginning, middle, and end. The summary should provide information about the character and the details of important things that happened during the character's life within the text.

Writing; Author's Purpose

We practiced Arthur's Purpose in writing today. I wrote on the board the 3 different reasons authors write. I placed a different colored sticky note next to each category. Students quickly provided me with topics that could go under each category.
Afterwards, students received on of the different colored sticky notes. They were to write one of the purposes for writing based on the color that matched the category on the board.

Topics under each category.

Students wrote in their journals and placed their sticky note on the top.

I love this one--- Come try our new samwich! 
Gotta love kids!!!!

After their paragraphs were complete some students shared their topic and the rest had to guess if the author's purpose was to entertain, persuade, or inform. Then we expanded the conversation by providing evidence of phrases or key words that helped us decide in was one of the categories. 
Great Assignment

Saturday, April 7, 2012

STAAR Game Boards for Review

My kids are gone to their dad's for Easter Weekend so I'm here at home cleaning and making new things for my third graders to prepare them for the up-coming Reading Staar Test. I created a game board-based on the rules, procedures, and strategies used on our state assessment. I actually got the idea from the blog site Life as a Fifth Grade Teacher.  I'm adding and modifying the board to fit the needs of my third graders. I recently completed the boards so I wanted to show them off. They are so cute! I'm going to have them laminated before the students play with them. I will have the rules and cards for the game uploaded as soon as I finish them. Enjoy! 

Here are the cards for the first two game boards. http://www.scribd.com/doc/88416550/Staar-Cards.I will be making different cards based on my third graders needs.

Total Participation Techniques: Resources

I'm thinking about ordering this book online at amazon. The author provides teachers with strategies and techniques to enhance participation in the classroom. The goal is to have students more engaged and active during oral discussions or collaborative groups. Students who can express his/her ideas, voice their opinions, or change their thinking due to learning new pertinent information -will more likely increase their higher order thinking skills. The primary goal is to cognitively engage students and keep them thinking out side the box. I think this book might be a great purchase to add to my teacher toolbox. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Summary Check

This is a cute idea that I got from one of the instructional coaches a couple of years ago. I found it in my file folder and thought it would be great to use in our literature study we have been working on. The students have been reading "A Dog Called Kitty". They have enjoyed this book so much. I hope I don't boo-hoo when Kitty gets hurt. Anyway, I will be using this neat Summary Check tomorrow after we read a chapter. A summary check is very easy to make and if anyone designs a better one please pass it to me!

Students are to write the check to me! LOL
They are to write 2 sentences about the beginning, middle, and the end.
They had a lot of fun pretending it was a real check.

 Next, the students glued the check into their packet for
"A Dog Called Kitty". Great Assignment today!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Cute Easter Eggs

I went to Walmart and purchased four bags of these cute animal print eggs. I just had to share the pictures of the eggs because they are so darn cute! I think I might go back and buy some more before they are all gone. Theses eggs can be used for so many activities. This week I plan on using the eggs for the following- inferencing, and synonym & antonym review. 


Today my kiddos did a Inference Hunt! We had to set up inside because last night the weather was bad. The ground was still real wet.They read inferencing cards and selected the best answer for the scenerio.  I have provided pictures below.