Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Questionnaire

I am liking up with Michelle from Fabulous in First for her Christmas Questionnaire.

Hot Chocolate or Eggnog?
Overall I like hot chocolate more but I do look forward to having some eggnog each year.

Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Santa wraps them all in special Santa gift wrap

Colored lights or white?
White lights on our large Christmas tree and colored lights on the stairs and the small tree on the porch. Kids and husband have been trying to convince me to change to colored lights on the big tree. Not gonna happen!

When do you decorate? 
We start the day after Thanksgiving. The candles in the windows go up first. Then the tree. The rest happens over the next week or so depending on how busy we are. 

Real or Fake tree?
Fake. We don't have the room for a real tree. I found a 7' skinny tree at Michael's years ago that fits perfectly in our dining room.

What tops your tree?
An angel. Love her.

Favorite Christmas Memory or Tradition.
We get the kids pictures with Santa on Christmas Eve every year. It started when I was pregnant with my daughter. Being eight months pregnant, chasing a toddler, and teaching full time made me a bit behind that year. We went first things in the morning and were the second people in line. We have been going on Christmas Eve ever since. I actually tried to convince my kids to go earlier this year since vacation started early and they would have nothing to do with it. So off we went first thing this morning. We were second in line (our good friends had got there just before us).

Do you remember a favorite gift as a child?
My favorite gift was actually a hand me down from my older cousin. It was a doll that you could somehow flip her hair to change it from blonde to brunette. I so loved playing with that doll at her house and was beyond excited when she gave it to me one Christmas.

Do you prefer giving or receiving?
Giving. I love finding the perfect gift.

What is your favorite Christmas song?
That's an easy one. Holly Jolly Christmas by Burl Ives. It just says Christmas to me.

Candy Canes, Yum or Yuck?
Yuck. As a kid I would want one so bad each Christmas but could never manage to finish a single one. 
  Favorite Christmas Movie?
It's a tie between Its a Wonderful Life and Christmas in Connecticut. I love the oldies.

Shop On-line or at stores?
This year I did a bunch on-line. There are always a few last minute things to pick up at the store.

Photo cards, letters or store bought cards?
Now that I have kids it is photo cards all the way.

Merry Christmas!


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Currently December and TpT Cyber Monday Sale

Once again I am linking up with Farley over at Oh Boy 4th Grade for her monthly Currently.

Listening to the rain. It has been a wet fall and I am hoping for a mild winter. There was just too much snow last year.

Loving this four day weekend and selfishly wishing it was even longer. Never enough time to accomplish all that I want.

Thinking I need a secretary. Honestly I love just about everything about my job EXCEPT for grading papers.

Wanting my Christmas shopping to be done. I didn't set foot in a mall all weekend!!!!

Needing to get my office organized. Needing to get furniture to help get me organized.

Favorite Tradition - going to Maine and spending New Year's Eve with our friends is one of my favorites - although it was hard to pick.

I am very excited about the upcoming TpT sale on Cyber Monday and Tuesday. I have so many items on my wish list I don't know where to begin. All of my items are on sale for 20% off, even my bundles! If you enter the promo code CYBER at check out you will save 28%!

I have 68 items on my wishlist! It will be far less than that after tomorrow. How many items are on your wish list? 

Happy Shopping!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Thanksgiving Freebie!

Just used this in my classes today. They kids actually enjoyed practicing numerical expressions. Although I think they enjoyed coloring more.

You can get it here for free! 

I have also included a page for students to show their work.

The super cute turkey came from My Cute Graphics.

What fun activities do you do with your class to keep them engaged before the holidays?


Saturday, November 2, 2013

November Currently!

Linking up with Farley for November Currently.

Honestly, does anyone else still hand write their report cards? The elementary teachers in my district still need to hand write our report cards. Are we the only district in the dark ages.

Happy November!


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Ordering Decimals

I love it when a last minute idea turns out great. Last night I was trying to come up with a fun way for the students to review ordering decimals. So a quickly created this freebie.

Today all three classes completed the activity. It worked really well for those still struggling with comparing and ordering decimals. Being able to easily manipulate the numbers around helped them "see" which number belonged first, second, etc. Also, having the anchor numbers made it less overwhelming for my struggling students. Since everyone was working at their own pace, it made it easier for me to get around the room to help those who needed it.

Not only did they enjoy doing an "art" activity in math class, they loved displaying their work in the hallway. I have to admit I do not do it nearly enough.

I wish I had zoomed in for one of the shots. They really did a nice job.

Several students still need to finish coloring so we will be adding more to the wall tomorrow. They are anxious to get their work up there!

Did you do any Halloween theme activities in your classroom today? I would love to hear about them.

Happy Halloween!


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Happy Halloween and a Freebie!

I can't believe how long it has been since I have posted. I honestly do not know how teachers find the time to post regularly while working full time. I am trying desperately to keep my head above water. This whole blog thing seemed much more doable this summer. 

Anyway, enough excuses. Here is an activity I just whipped together to do tomorrow with my classes. It is nothing fancy, just a quick way to review ordering decimals before our final assessment. 

The students will cut and color the figures, then put them in order from least to greatest. I made four different versions so each member of a group would be working on a different set of numbers. I plan to have the students paste the shapes to a sentence strip.

The adorable clip art came from

If you would like a copy of this activity you can click on the images above or here to download.

Please comment if you download. 

Are you planning any special activities for Halloween?



Saturday, October 5, 2013

Scoot: I'm a believer.

In my search for new and exciting lessons that align with the Common Core, Scoot games have been a frequent search result. Up until two weeks ago I had never tried the game. It never seemed to be something that would work for my class.

For those of you who are not familiar with Scoot - You play by putting a task card on every desk. The students start at their own desk and complete the task card. Then on your signal (say scoot, ring bell, etc) the students rotate to the next desk and repeat.

My concern with Scoot was the fact that the ability levels within my math classes are so drastic. If I used the traditional rules of Scoot, I would have students that were bored to death waiting for the signal while others would have to move before they finished the card. 

Then, the other day, as I was trying to come up with a fun way to review place value, I revisited the Scoot game. I realized that the timing of the game was my issue. I needed students to be able to move at their own pace. The answer.............more task cards than students. So I adapted the game.

I put a task card on each desk and then several more around the room. I used two other tables and a back shelf. Instead of students waiting for a signal, they move as soon as they complete the card. Instead of moving in a particular order, they move to any free spot that they haven't visited yet.

 The big thing for the students to remember is to check the number on the task card and be sure to put the answer in the correct space on the answer sheet. 

The students loved it. More importantly, I was free to move around the room helping students who were stuck. I was also able to use their answer sheet to assess their learning. It was easy to see who was still having difficulty based on their answers and how many cards they were able to complete.

I used these cards  Place Value Mystery Number Cards.They are free from Love to Learn over on Teachers Pay Teachers. Go check them out. 

Place Value Mystery Number Cards (5-, 6-, & 7-Digit)

Have you used Scoot in your classroom or adapted any games to "fit" your particular class? I would love to hear about it. I am always looking for new ways to inspire my students.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Currently October and Exhausted.

Where did September go? Did I blink and miss it? I am beyond exhausted. The transition back to school has been a crazy one. We have a new math and ELA program to sift through. Add to that the new teacher evaluation process to figure out. It has been just a bit overwhelming. 

I have several ideas for post but I am definitely finding it difficult to find the time to complete them.I decided to link up with Farley with the hopes that this post will help motivate me to get back on track and start writing.  

This pumpkin waffle recipe is my husband's favorite. Check it out. http://www.5dollardinners.com/pumpkin-waffles/



Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tried it Tuesday: Graphing Strengths and Weaknesses

Ever since I started blogging this summer I wanted to link up with Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper for her Tried It Tuesday. Now that I am back in the classroom and trying all sorts of things, I feel that I finally have something worth posting.

This activity comes Hunter over at Hunter's Tales from Teaching. When I read about this idea I knew I had to try it with all my math classes. This is a great activity to discuss differentiating in the classroom. It also helps build community while celebrating our differences.

To begin this activity each student was given a piece of graph paper to create their own bar graph. They graphed math, science, social studies and ELA along with art, music, and P.E. They could also add up to three other categories. Based on a scale from 0-10, the students rated themselves in each of these categories. Before the students began graphing, I modeled the activity. As I graphed each category I explained why I chose that particular rating. It's important for the students to realize that even teachers have weaknesses. I also let them know that I was not going to be offended if they labeled math lower than the other subjects. Honesty is what is important.

Later the students shared some of their results. This led to a great discussion about how we all have different strengths and weaknesses. 

You can see that this student's strengths are in math, science, art, music, video games and vacation! ELA and social studies are areas of weakness.

This student doesn't see himself as particularly strong in any of the major subject areas. His strengths lie in art, music, P.E. and playing. Look at the last category - homework. He scores that a 1. Got to love the honesty here.

At this point we are only a few days into the school year and already I have a great view into the students' feelings about math, as well as school in general. This activity is definitely a keeper.

How do you have the students evaluate their strengths and weaknesses? 


Monday, September 2, 2013

Back to School and September Currently!

Tomorrow is my first official day back at school. The morning will be spent in a staff meeting and in the afternoon we will try to finalize our schedules. There are three 5th grade classes this year so we will need to figure out how to work in a three way switch. Each teacher will teach her focus subject to all three of the classes and then each of us is responsible for teaching ELA to our homeroom. In between I will try to put the finishing touches on my classroom and get ready for the students on Wednesday.

In the meantime I am once again participating in Farley's Currently.

Leave it at school - this is a big one for me. I really need to work on this. At least one day a week I need to leave it at school. By leave it I mean EVERYTHING - my school bag, the stress, parent/student concerns - and give my family the undivided attention they deserve!

Hugs everyday - My kids are growing up so fast I need to hug them while they will still let me.

Anyone else starting back tomorrow?


Sunday, August 25, 2013

August SLANT Box Exchange - Reveal!

This month I took part in the SLANT Box Exchange that was hosted by Jameson over at Lessons with Coffee. If you are not familiar with it, check it out here.

The Cliff Notes version of how this all works - you are paired up with two other teachers to get to know. One of those teachers will send you a goodies box and the other receives a box from you. I had the privilege to meet two fabulous 4th grade bloggers. Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper and Tara from Teaching with TWitte. It was great getting to know these two lovely ladies. It was even more fun shopping for the items to put in Holly's SLANT Box. I hope she likes it.

The other day my box arrived from Tara! I was so excited. It was like Christmas in August.

And to say that Tara went above and beyond is an understatement. I was blown away.

Inside that cute bag was a BUNCH of Post-It notes which I cannot wait to use. Inside the wrapped package was this.

How incredibly thoughtful and exactly what I needed. The last three years I have stopped using the tradition plan books and started creating my own spread sheet pages. Up until now I have just been putting them in a plan old binder. Not any more!

But that's not all. Inside the binder was this.

 One the left are all the adorable Post-It notes from the green bag. On the right is a package of labels, a mini dog notebook (that my daughter is sure to steal borrow), dark chocolate (YUM), a DD card, and my favorite (although it is very hard to choose from all this fab stuff) the CD. This is no ordinary CD which is what I first thought when I opened the package. No, this CD  is called "Mrs. Quinn's Have a Great Day CD". It is packed with amazing/motivating Country music. Seriously, Tara took every bit off information we shared and went crazy with it. I am beyond blown away. 

Oh wait, there is one more thing. Tara also sent this amazing letter. Isn't she the sweetest!

I am so glad I joined the August SLANT Box Exchange. It was a great experience and with Tara's goodies box I am totally ready to head back to school.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Upcycling and the Big TpT Back to School Sale

Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday Made It - Teacher Toolbox

I am excited to be linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for the last summer Monday Made It. I have been wanting to make a teacher toolbox for ages. It took seeing the one my teammate made to get me motivated. 

You can find samples of teacher toolboxes all over Pinterest.

Here is my before.

My choice of colors:

And after:

I can't wait to start filling it up.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Homework Late Pass Freebie!

 I have always had a problem giving homework passes. I have a hard time with allowing a student to skip a homework assignment. I find many students skip the assignment that they most need the practice in. And that would drive me crazy! So my solution is these homework late passes. A student can pass in his/her assignment one day late without penalty. My students loved getting these. Many would save them for a day that they forgot their homework or would hold on to them so they would not have homework on their birthday.

Awarding Homework Late Passes -

My students can earn a late pass several ways. The first and easiest way is to donate a box of tissues, a roll of paper towels, or hand sanitizer to the classroom. I allow the students to earn one late pass each month this way. This worked so well this pass year that I never had to purchase any of the these items and have ten boxes of tissues left over. I also use the passes as rewards. I might award a late pass to a shy student who takes a risk by raising their hand for the first time in class or give them to students who go out of their way to be helpful or a good friend. The possibilities are endless and FREE. We all know how expensive it can get to fill the prize box.

So if you would like to try out my homework late passes, click on the picture below.

Do you use homework passes?
How do you award homework passes?


Saturday, August 3, 2013

August Currently!

Seriously, where did July go? 
This has to be the fastest summer ever.

Once again I am linking up with Farley from Oh' Boy 4th Grade

Listening: To my kids and husband. The kids and I have been gone for most of the week. They are enjoying some much needed attention from their dad. They missed him so much.

Loving: The fact that I do not have to jump out of bed today. It has been a long week of traveling. 

Thinking: Two funerals in one week - surely it was all a bad dream. This week has definitely taken its toll. Holding many family members in my thoughts and prayers. 

Wanting: Coffee! I don't normally frequent Dunkin Donuts but after a week of travel and multiple road trips.....I am hooked. Decaf iced mocha with cream please!

Needing: To get going to the Farmer's Market to pick up our veggies from Farmer Adam. 

Back to School Must Haves: 

Post-It Notes - I don't think I could last a day without them. 
3 Ring Binders- They help keep me organized.
Address Labels- I use them almost as much as post-its. 

What are your must haves? I have to admit it was tough to pick just three.



Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Made It! (July 29th)

I am linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for my first Monday Made It!

Duct Tape Clipboards:

     I pinned this craft over a year ago from Classroom DIY. I made a few last summer and last year's class loved them. They would use the clipboards every chance they could. The problem was I only made 8. Not nearly enough for a class of 26. So this summer I am making more. Hopefully enough for an entire class. 

     Here is what you need: a clipboard, colorful duct tape, and scissors.

Here is how I went about completing this project.

I start by covering the corners. Take squares of tape and folded it over the corners. You can see this clipboard is really beat up. It could use a face lift.

Cut a slice in each side of the fold. This will help you to bend the tape around the corners. Do this to all four corners.
Then take strips of tape and fold it over the top and bottom of the clipboard.

Now start covering the clipboard with strips of tape. Slightly overlapping as you go. 

I start in the front and overlap the tape in the back.
Continue until the entire clipboard is covered.
Two down, sixteen more to go!
My son actually covered the solid blue clipboard. He did it his own way and it looks great. 

Now I need to figure out how to store these lovely clipboards. I currently put them in crates but I really don't like how that looks and it takes up a lot of space. Any ideas? How do you store your clipboards?


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