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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Oh, Spring Break!

Why is it that spring break flies by 100x's faster than the weeks leading up to it? Oh well, it was a week that was severely needed and I enjoyed recharging over the week to finish up the school year strong.

While many of my students were headed off to go skying, going to Branson, and even a few venturing off to warmer climates. I, on the other hand, had a "staycation" the majority of which was suppose to be devoted to my masters portfolio (hopefully giving that away in June in exchange for a degree), however, there were a few other things on my list that I wanted to do too, and working on the portfolio may not have received as much attention as it deserved.
 
My husband and I had an evening of firsts at Diamaru it's a Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi bar. The company my husband works for was having a send off for one of the employees and spouses were invited. It was so much fun! The chefs prepared the food right in front of us with plenty of jokes and tricks as they prepped the meal. The entertainment factor was worth this experience alone. The sushi though, was a first for me, and I'm not sure I'll adventure to try it again. I'm already planning on asking a group of friends to head over for supper some night for a fun change up.




The next day, the hubby and I helped out a church camp outside of town. Too much hard work to take any pictures. It was a fun few hours getting to know some of the people at the new church we are attending better.

In the evening we headed to the Pheasants Forever shindig. Catered meal and auction to gain funds for children's programming and wildlife habitats/management. As the daughter of a game warden I'm a huge supporter of groups that respect the natural resources that we have. Several of my students and their families were there and it was fun to see them without it being at a conference. 


Over a good part of the week, my dad was able to stay with us and commute to a nearby town to train other game wardens. It was great to have him over, as the two of us are really close. Although he had a free bed and much better meals than the guys that opted to stay at the barracks (he might have rubbed in the night we had 1 in. thick porch chops to the guys), he may not come back: we put his handyman skills to work. He helped us switch out the 70's light switches, hook up our doorbell, and helped to get our automatic garage door working again. We sure enjoyed having him over and all the hard work he gave throughout the evenings.


Favorite guys gearing up for some work around the house :)
Before & After... sorry for the poor lighting in the second picture!

One great part of break, is having more time to hang out with our pup Remi. She is a natural retriever, she wants nothing more than to go after and bring back anything you throw. She is relentless. Her drive is something else, she goes and goes and goes and never wants to stop. We played for over an hour and she wouldn't get a drink until I put the stick over her bowl. Silly dog, but we love her!



 


Everything else... a hodge podge of the rest of my break:  

Off brand shoes.. but I can finally be cool like my kiddos, much cheaper too! KSU sunglasses for the win :)
Representing my favorite Wildcats. Lost to the better team last night, but for a team that wasn't suppose to make the tourney, I couldn't have been happier!

I did do some work on the portfolio. A look at the majority of my undergrad work. Can't wait to be done!

Spring break was fabulous, but the school days are rapidly approaching. To help others like myself with a little planning for the rest of the school year here are a few things you need to know! 

http://ideasbyjivey.blogspot.com/2014/03/poetry-and-figurative-language-ideas.html

A poetry bundle from some of my blogging buddies. It's full of great products for a great price. I can't wait to use these resources!

My friend Diane, from Fifth in the Middle, is having a birthday TODAY! (Be sure to wish her a happy birthday!) Also, check out her facebook, she has a special celebration for followers!

Last, but not least. Spring has been in the air here and inspired a new paper pack. With all of the fun times this break, I'm having a mini sale. $1 deals on some of my newest products this weekend only!

www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Christy-Whitehair



Hope that you have a wonderful weekend!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Opinion & Letter Writing

Whew. What a week last week was! It can be summed up in just a few short words: parent teacher conferences.

The bright side, as soon as my last conference was completed, spring break started! After a bit of a brain break, and sneaking into my classroom to take some pictures, I'm finally ready to get away from spring break projects for a little blogging. I'm hoping to catch up on some of the fun stuff we've been doing in the classroom. We've been so busy in our room and there are many things that I need to blog about yet!


A couple of weeks ago, we started into a persuasive writing unit. It began with two great mentor texts "I Want and New Room" and "I Want an Iguana" by Karen Kaufman. Two incredibly cute books, full of an exchange of letters between a mother and son with the son trying to convince the mother that he absolutely HAD to have. My students were hooked by the story lines {what kid hasn't tried to convenience their parents of something or another?}


http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/I-Wanna-Iguana-Mentor-Text-Pack-241335

Last year, I found a great resource from the Collaboration Cuties that worked perfectly for the beginning of this unit. Within the pack were graphic organizers, that we utilized in the creation of our own letters to home. Over a few days we read the books, reviewed the parts of a friendly letter, filled out graphic organizers to create our own letters, and eventually published one. Students had the option to print more than one copy in order to share a clean copy with their parents. 

One student came back happy to report that she and her dad would be building a tree house over break. I think she has persuasive arguments down pat {although she's a cutie too, not sure how her parents would tell her no too often, haha!}





A fun project that was a great introduction into persuasive writing and a wonderful review for letter writing too.



Monday, March 17, 2014

Mathematical Monday: St. Patrick Edition

 Happy St. Patrick's Day! I hope you remembered to wear your green!!

 http://iheartrecess.blogspot.com/2014/03/mathematical-monday-common-core-math-do.html

We are on spring break this week (yipee!!) but I wanted to share a couple of St. Patrick's day freebies with you. I used one of the activities during a homeroom day earlier in the month. I enjoy homeroom days: I usually set up centers for a variety of content areas, not just language arts; it's a fun change up for me.
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Luck-of-the-Irish-Rounding-to-the-10000s-Place-591731

The activity we did, was a rounding activity. Just color the shamrocks based on the number that they would round to. Below I'm including another freebie fit for younger students needing review for number order.
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Hidden-Numbers-St-Patricks-Identifying-Numbers-Activity-594061

Hopefully I can get myself to school today so that I can take a few pictures to update you all on life in my room. We've been super busy I've just been really bad a taking pictures!

While your celebrating St. Patrick's be sure to jump over to visit my blogging buddy Jivey. It's her birthday and she's having a huge giveaway to celebrate!

http://ideasbyjivey.blogspot.com/2014/03/follower-appreciation-and-birthday.html


Sunday, March 9, 2014

50+ Ways to use Apps in the Classroom!

Hello friends! It is a bright beautiful day and I thought I'd share about a little "spring cleaning" on this blog of mine.

See those tabs at the top? Have you ever taken a gander at the "Classroom "App"lications" tab? If not you should! I've been hosting a monthly link up to link up and share ways that the iPad has been used in the classroom. Currently, in this tab, I have each idea that's been linked up categorized and hyperlinked directly to the posts. There are currently 50+ ideas in a variety of content areas to peruse!



Next month, there will be a bit of a change in the link up. Instead of just focusing on iPads I'll be opening it up to any apps that are used in the classroom as the App Store & Google Play often have many of the same apps available.
If you have a few spare moments, take a peek. I'll try to be better at updating this tab on a more regular basis. Also, if you have an idea that you'd like to share, be sure to click below and link up!


http://teaching-in-oz.blogspot.com/2014/03/classroom-applications-creating-comics.html

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Celebrations, Giveaways, and Freebies Galore!

What a wonderful week it has been! To kick off the weekend, I wanted to share to blogging birthday celebrations with you, complete with freebies and tons of prizes to win too! Get clicking and enter to win!

One of my best blogging buddies, Erin, is celebrating with a week long party for her blogs birthday! If you have not bopped by Erin's blog you've been missing out! She is a middle school ELA teacher, and shares so many resources for the Common Core and reading that are perfect for upper elementary too! I own several of her products including her interactive notebooks, and trust me if you buy one you won't regret it. All of her products are laid out perfectly! I'm so excited to be a part of her giveaway!

http://imlovinlit.blogspot.com/2014/03/its-follower-appreciation-week.html


Nick is also one of my best blogging buddies. He constantly amazes me with what he is able to do with his 3/4th grade combination classroom! Nick is such a nice guy, and has so many wonderful ideas that I really want to highlight his blog. If you haven't checked it out or bopped by in awhile you really need to. Follow if you haven't already, I know you'll learn a thing or two! Nick is also creative, with items such as his Wonder Unit on TPT (I own, and love it!) he also designs clip art. If you bop over to his blog, you could scoop up clip art fit for all year long! Again, I am honored to be a part of another celebration!

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-1TquitLRe-c/UxPxrOHy7TI/AAAAAAAACJc/zkjg6tfeNeg/s1600/1yeargiveawaybutton.png

I hope that you've found a couple of GREAT blogs to follow if you haven't been following already and a few fun freebies and giveaways to enter too. 

Cheers to the weekend friends!

 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Workshop Wednesday: DoGo News

Quick post tonight to link up with one of my best blogging buddies, Jivey, for her Workshop Wednesday. This week it's all about sharing websites for reading!

 


The website I am sharing was shared with me by one of the fifth grade staff members: DOGO News

http://www.dogonews.com/

DOGO News is updated frequently with news stories that are kid friendly. The site is set up so that students can also comment and interact with articles if you so choose. If an account is created {FREE!}, as a teacher you can create lesson plans using articles, create reading lists, and invite your students. 

http://www.dogonews.com/

I like to pull in articles from this website to pair with other texts we are using in the classroom. The students enjoy the format and I like the wide variety of informational texts that can be utilized. Articles have also been used to spark conversations and debates. This website {all free!} is truly worth a look!

What websites are you using for reading? Be sure to check out all of the wonderful links, and link up your favorite websites too!


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Classroom Applications: Creating Comics


March is here and I'm hoping that spring follows shortly. Later this evening we're suppose to get a nice layer of ice under 6-8" of snow. So over winter!



February was a busy month in my classroom. We used the iPad for several different projects and I thought I'd share about one we're in the midst of this morning. This break from our current writing project had many students engaged and pencils going, so I am linking this up to my friend Joanne's Student Motivation Saturdays as well!


http://headoverheelsforteaching.blogspot.com/2014/03/spark-student-motivation-adishsponge.html



We started our mini-biographies, part of Loving Lit's Interactive Research Pack. So far this week we've walked through the beginning parts of research together as a full class. Erin's lessons are laid out with extreme detailing that is super easy to follow; I can't wait to see what the students come up with when they begin their own projects in the following week.  I'll be posting more {hopefully} on our progress; I keep forgetting to take pictures along the way.

After we finished up the guided, note-taking process it was finally Friday (this week has felt as if a couple of extra days were thrown in). The students were really engaged by the research materials that Erin had shared on Dav Pilkey. With it being such a long week, I wanted to switch up from our research project for something a little more fun.

If you don't know, Dav Pilkey is the author and illustrator for the Captain Underwear series. Much of what he writes about today, was inspired by comics he made as a child. As we watched the videos and read the comics that Erin included in her pack on Mr. Pilkey, my students were so engaged! For a change up, I wanted to see what the students could create with only the parameters of creating a comic that was school appropriate.

Our iPads are loaded with StripDesign. I love the versatility in this app and I've blogged about how I've used it for vocabulary and figurative language here. The application is easy to manipulate; you can draw, add pictures from camera roll, stickers, and text. 

I'm not sure my room has ever been as quiet as it was while they were creating. Their creativity abounded. It was such a fun release and I love to see their ideas when the parameters aren't so strict. Some students opted to have paper instead of the iPad, but either way they turned out great.

This comic was probably my favorite. This little gal created a whole world revolving around donuts {I love the sun!} A bad guy tried to take over the world, but his plan was crumpled, or was it? (She left her comic end in a cliff hanger.) Her table mate continued on with the them in breakfast world, where the same villain emerged to try and take over once again. I loved their creativity and collaboration!


Getting ready to use StripDesign

This student ended up with several FULL pages by the end of the day. He was so excited to show me!

The beginning of another comic.

Comics can be a pretty creative writing format. I gave students the option to be as creative as they'd like with this little creative break from our report writing. However, students could be asked to tell about different climate regions, vocabulary, or historic events in a comic book format. The possibilities are endless!

How are you using the iPad or Chromebook in your classroom? What apps are you loving and applying to your lessons? Be sure to link up all month long! Also, be sure to check out many other ideas that motivate student at Joanne's blog too!












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