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, March 26, 2012

A Dog Called Kitty

This week both my Reading Classes will begin a literature study on "A Dog Called Kitty". I absolutely love this book. Every year we read this book and the students fall in love with it. 

Before we started the unit, I put together some booklets for my students. I made a copy of the book cover- yes I did-then pasted it to the booklet. The booklet has about 20 pages all together. All students receive a copy of the book as we read the story. As we read we do many activities to keep our engagement intact. Below I have some pictures of what we completed today. We focused on Predictions, Mental Images, and Descriptive Words.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tuesday Reading Boot Camp was a Success

My third graders started Reading Boot Camp today. I was kinda upset about the weather situation. Last night and this morning we had heavy thunderstorm so we had to cancel the outdoor activities for the boot camp. Kiddos were Bummed Out! We did do stations and it worked out really well. My first period did a wonderful job. I scored their papers (using the tracking sheet) to discover that many of the students had earned 3 blue beads (100-90)! Fantastic!! We had some problems in second period because the group was so large. The dyslexia students were able to stay and participate in the Reading Boot Camp---this made a huge group. I will have to make some adjustments next week. I'm thinking about bringing out some games that relate to our objectives. This will allow the groups to be smaller as they travel around the room. Overall, second period did pretty well--I had a lot of students earn 2 blue beads (89-80). That made me smile! : )


Monday, March 19, 2012

Patricia Polacco Books

My library bought a new selection of Patricia Polacco Books. The kids really enjoyed this book today "Someone for Mr. Sussman". It's about a "matchmaker" that falls for one of her clients. (Sounds like a trashy reality series on televison- I promise it's not  LOL) Ms. Z tries to change herself in order for Mr. Sussman to like her. It's revealed at the end of the story that he liked her for simply being her.

Student's worked with a partner during this assignment. They selected which character to draw on the small paper plate. Students were given time to color the pictures. Then they were to work with each other thinking of adjectives to describe both the characters. They really did an excellent job. Very impressed with my little darlings.

The next objective that was covered using this book was Cause & Effect. This is really a great book to teach this concept. I planned ahead and wrote a Because event on one sentence strip-then an Effect on another according to the story. I had 6 cause and effects that were mixed matched. I placed them on the student's tables as they walked around with their partner browsing and discussing the topics. Then I gave one cause sentence strip to each group-they were instructed to go to each table again and find the effect match. The kids really enjoyed this activity because it was different. Both partners had to read and present their cause and effects matches. Way to Go My Third Graders!!!!! 

Tomorrow my students have Reading Boot Camp but we will resume with other Patricia
Polacco Books on Wednesday and Thursday. I have a neat PAC-MAN activity scheduled for Friday.
I don't know "WHY" but my peeps want to learn more about PAC-MAN the video game.
This will be interesting!!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Reading Boot Camp Continued

This morning after taking Bentley on a walk, I went up to my school to complete some of the Reading Boot Camp material that needs to be finished by Tuesday. Yikes! I've been procrastinating- Shame on ME! Below I've provided you with pictures according to how this boot camp is going to work!  

The envelopes are going to ensure that all the student's paper work remains safe.
I have this awful tendency to lose a lot of things. Just ask my peeps!

This paper is attached to the envelope on the back.
I will keep track of their scores and beads using this tracking system.
The sheet is arranged according to Week 1-Week 5. 
My student's names are hidden behind the blue sheet.
Students will be traveling to six different stations with a partner.
There are six questions at each station. 
The passages are only one page. 

This sheet of paper  has been folded in half. Hot-dog style.
The front of the page provides the students with information about the Boot Camp scoring
and bead counts.They accumulate beads according to what their final score is for each Tuesday.
The portion of the score sheet that has boxes will be used by the students so they can color in the amount and color of beads they received at the end of the week. Scores will be provided at the end of the week.
The final score determines the amount of  beads they will get. 
Example: Score 88 - the student will receive 2 blue beads for WEEK 1. 
The student will color in two blue boxes representing how many he/she
has at that time.

When students open the folded paper they have 
a place where they can write the answer down.
On the back of the sheet --I included Week 5.

This is the assortment of colors I used for them to record
their answers and color in their beads.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Preparing for Tuesday Reading Boot Camp

Today, I started preparing for Tuesday Reading Boot Camp. Tuesday Reading Boot Camp is geared towards getting the students motivated for the upcoming STAAR State Assessment. The Boot Camp gives my 3rd graders the opportunity to practice the objectives that they have learned throughout the year.

Before, we start the stations in the morning we will actually be outside practicing the following skills: Synonyms, Antonyms, Prefixes, Suffix, etc... My students will  be competing against another 3rd grade class. My intent is to have activities that keep the students physically moving. I will provide you with more details about these events when I have them totally figured out. LOL

After students finish the first part of the Reading Boot Camp they will come inside and travel to each station with a partner. They will read a short text and answer 6 questions.  Points will be tallied and students will collect colored beads to place on there wrist band. I will have more details about how this will be organized soon.

Paper Glued On
I didn't glue the colored paper on the board.

Station Names 

Station Names
The questions will be glued onto the colored card stock paper and will be laminated. I will place the small Velcro Stickies on to the board. Then the reverse side of the Velcro Sticky will go on the small card stock question. I will change the questions out each week and place Velcro on the back.

Finished Product

Finished Product


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Polka Dot Wednesday 3/14/2012

Tips to Overcoming a Stressful Observation

Teacher Evaluations:
Tips for Success

Lately, I’ve noticed many teachers blogging about their upcoming evaluations. This time of year can be stressful for teachers due to the upcoming state assessments, students zoning out, and the end of year paperwork trail--- then an EVALUATION!  You know you’re a great teacher but you’re under some big time stress and pressure.  I would like to provide some advice as you prepare for your observation.  In bullet form- I will list some tips that have always worked for me. I’ve been teaching 12 years and recently received my Masters in Education Administration in 2011. Believe me I know what the principals are looking for during the evaluation. Hint: They are looking more at what the students are doing in your class.
  •        Be sure your objectives are posted and that you state the objective verbally to your students.This year my darlings read me the objectives from the board each morning. (This would be a great idea for you to utilize during an observation.) Administration would be flabbergasted.  

  •      Have student work displayed in your room. Admin love walking around and viewing all the learning that is taking place in your classroom. We must remember that at one time they were teachers as well and they love to see work dripping from your walls.

  •     A good tip would also be to provide a layout of your room with the names of your students and where they sit. Give this to your principal as she enters your room. During your pre-conference time you should discuss some of your little love-bugs that are squirmy or could be potential behavior problems.  On the layout form place a red sticky dot next to the student’s name. This will act as a reminder for the principal concerning individual students.

  •     As your being observed, you need to provide students with positive comments. These comments need to be specific. Bryce “I really enjoyed listening to your summary”. Teachers need to focus less on saying “Good”. I know it’s a hard habit to break.

  •     I strongly recommend using various activities to showcase you are meeting your student’s diverse needs and learning styles in your room.  

  •     Admin also like to see students engaged with one another. I’m the biggest fan of students working in collaborative groups. They are able to communicate about their learning, change their opinions about ideas, and use their higher order thinking as they discuss various topics. As they collaborate within their groups you are available to act as a facilitator. This gives you the opportunity to listen to their conversations and jump in with higher order thinking questions.  If I was an admin, I would be blown away by the engagement of collaborative groups. My darlings have some type of collaborative group assignment each day before they do their independent activity.

  • Utilize Higher Order Thinking Skill within your lesson.
  •  Create a lesson that provides -- direct teach, collaborative group participation, and then independent work. Please don’t spend countless minutes doing a direct teach. You lose the student’s interest which counts against your evaluation.
  •  Allow students to share their work. When students share their work they become more excited about their learning and want to improve.

  • Teachers that teach primary grades k-2 can utilize the “Pair Share”.  As you read a story-ask a question-allow students to turn to a partner and discuss. In my opinion, this is a great way for students to begin slowly moving towards a collaborative group setting.  (It starts off in a calm setting between two students). Later after they tackle this procedure you could move them up to a collaborative group. Again, you can take it slow-maybe 3 students in a group then eventually move up to 4.
  •  Whatever you do---LISTEN----Do not stay in one place! Example at the board or the smart board. You need to be constantly moving around the room as you do your direct teach or as you discuss topics with the students. Also, during independent work it’s essential that you walk around the room to monitor your student’s progress.

              I hope this information helps you as you prepare for your Observation! My intent was to provide you with some important information that principals are observing in your classroom. If you have any other tips please leave a comment. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I decided to create a Polka-Dot Wednesday. Polka-Dot Wednesday is designed to "Show Case" the most amazing and interesting ideas that teachers have developed. The ideas are "Show Cased" on my blog with the creator's website and name. If there are any FREE downloads --(I will direct you to the creator's blog). I'm hoping that "Polka Dot Wednesday" is a hit and that you are able to collect some valuable lessons or ideas to explore within your own classroom. Remember "POLKA-DOT Wednesday" located on 
Teaching with Style.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

When Lightning Comes in a Jar Patricia Polacco

We  kicked our week off with Patricia Polacco Books. We will continue reading her books after we return from Spring Break. I thought some of you might be interested in the activities that we did regarding the book titled " When Lightning Comes in a Jar".

Before reading this book, I thought it would be a great idea to find some Nonfiction Information regarding "Fireflies". I selected some information online and arranged it into an artilce with pictures, captions, subheadings etc.  There were various subjects ranging from the fireflies habitat, communication, and decline of fireflies in America. My peeps were very engaged! I also provided them with a diagram and they had to label and color the parts of the firefly.

Tomorrow we will complete the story and sequence the events in order. I have provided you a picture and link below to scribd so that you can copy the sequencing activity. I must say ---It turned out rather cute.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Patricia Polacco My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother

Students enjoyed listening to the story told by Melissa Gilbert on Storyline Online today. I created a cute activity to go along with this assignment. The Objectives covered were Inside/Outside Characteristics, How the Character Changes From Beginning to End of the Story, and Sequencing the Events.

This document can be found on scribd

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Spring Break & Summer Fever

Spring Break & Summer Fever

My district has one more week until "Spring Break". I'm already noticing some behavior issues and lack of interest in learning. My peeps haven't taken the state assessment as of yet --- so I don't need them checking out of school. I've decided to give them the opportunity to write down some topics of their interest. I will consider their ideas and find away to implement some of them within the curriculum. Tomorrow students will give me this information as they enter the room in the morning and afternoon.

I provided a picture below that shows the Monday routine for my third graders. When they enter the room they go straight to the table to collect their Homework Agenda, New Pencil, and Important Information. It makes morning transition so nice. I don't have to pass material out and they understand the expectations.

The "Topic Interest" paper is located on the table and students will complete it at their own desk then return it to the pink basket.

My Next Idea to keep students engaged and eager to learn is to start 
Reading Boot Camp after they return from Spring Break.
This will be a Reading Boot Camp that occurs every Tuesday during Reading.
I will be collaborating with the PE teachers and collecting some equipment 
for students to use for outside purposes. More to come on
Reading Boot Camp 2012.

If you have any suggestions please post a message.