Saturday, March 30, 2013

Tell Me More Linky

The weekdays of spring break has passed which means it is time to start REALLY getting back into teacher mode. Of course, that also means getting back into blogging mode too. Maybe this week I will be way more productive and schedule some blog posts rather than simply waiting until the last minute to write them!

But for now...another linky party! Boy do I love linky parties! This one is hosted by Primary Possibilities.

PLAYLIST - I generally play a variety of classical music for my students while we are working. During workshop time (which is really just Daily 5), we listen to classical music. I have a variety of CDs I play. Sometimes I'll even use Pandora (except it's sort of a hassle to run back to the computer to mute it during advertisements while I'm working with a student). Sometimes when we are doing a writing assignment that requires some brainstorming, I will also play classical music. I tell my students that classical music helps our brain stay focused and work hard. My students are pretty cute about it. One time, when they were working on tangrams with their 5th grade buddies, one of my kids came up to me and asked if I could put on some classical music. Ha, adorbs.

HOWEVER, when the wiggles get to us and we need a little dance break, I put on some Greg and Steve.
Click on the image to see it on amazon! 
I highly recommend Greg and Steve cds! My class's favorite tracks on this cd are track 8 and track 10. It's perfect as a time filler, for indoor recess, and just a simple dance break!

PLANT - I LOVE flowers! One of my friends is planning her wedding right now and so I've been looking on pinterest at pictures of bouquets, centerpieces, anything flower related and aaah!!! So pretty!!! Getting flowers always brightens up my day! :) 

The only plants we keep in the classroom are plants we grow for our Science unit on plants and animals. During that time we grow mini lawns consisting of rye grass and alfafa and wheat. As an extension, my students are currently growing radish seeds in a cd case. 
 "Planting" time!

Can't remember when this was taken...sometime during the first week after "planting".

 Two weeks after "planting".

PRODUCT - I haven't made many products so there aren't many to choose from. However, I do have a best seller so I guess I can say that's my favorite. I also spent the most time on it too.

Click on the image to see it in my TpT store!
My favorite product created by someone else? As of this moment, I would have to say this..

Click on the image to see it on TpT!
This is perfect for "Work on Writing" during our Daily Five time. It's very straightforward and good practice for my kids. I highly recommend getting it if you haven't already! :)

What a fun linky party! Hope you all link up too! :)


Friday, March 29, 2013

Five (or Six?) For Friday

It's Spring Break this week! Woohoo! I made it a point to not spend the entire week working and managed to spend more time relaxing and catching up with people. One of my colleagues even makes it a point to IM me and ask me in the morning if I'm working. Goes to show what kind of reputation I have at school. Haha.
1. Kind of cheating here since this was taken last Saturday but that was when my Spring Break started! A friend from Oregon was in the area for work so we met up! We studied abroad in Taiwan together during my senior year of college. The was the last time I saw him. It was great to catch up again. :)

2. "Graded" my students' March Daily Five Check List. I plan to blog about this system sometime soon. Maybe this weekend?

3. Went to go visit a friend who works at Google for lunch. Got myself a nifty Google guest badge and free lunch! Plus, it was good to catch up with friends. :)

4. Worked on my students' memory books, my end of the year gift for them. Definitely another thing to blog about! PS. I love my personal paper cutter!

5. Being on break means I get to go home to the parents' place which is much closer to where the boyfriend lives. Also means I get to see the boyfriend during the week. Picked him up from work on Wednesday and went to this well-known ramen joint. Typically there's an hour wait to get in but we got lucky and got in right away! Yum!

6. Is it okay to add a sixth picture? Went to Target today and picked up some goodies from the dollar section. Pencils to give the kids as a welcome back from Spring Break gift! The Highlights books are awesome journal prompts. And the crossword puzzle book is just for me. :)

As you can see, this week was a good balance of work, relaxing, and catching up with friends. So sad that it is all coming to an end. :( But, we get an extra day of Spring Break because we have April 1 off in recognition of Caesar Chavez Day. Yay! :) I am actually pretty happy about it for other reasons. I have yet to have a school day on April Fool's Day and I'm not looking forward to it when it comes. 

Hope everyone had, is having, or will be having an awesome and relaxing Spring Break!! :)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Freebie: Eggy Contractions

It's been a while since I've created something. Things have been quite busy at school and I have had very little time and energy to go and create something. Spring Break has officially started for me this week (woohoo!). While this is a good time to spend on creating products, I decided to just spend this week relaxing and occasionally get some schoolwork done so no guarantees on any products being created during this break.

HOWEVER, I did have to quickly create a worksheet for one of my word work stations for our April Daily Five time so I thought I'd put it up as a freebie.
This worksheet actually goes along with these plastic Easter eggs that one of my parents created last year. (She was inspired by Pinterest). I forgot to take a picture of what she made so I can't post it here. But basically she wrote the two words the create the contraction on one half of the egg and then the contraction on the other half. I didn't have a chance to use them last year so definitely putting it to use this year! 

Of course, this worksheet can be used for any contractions activity, really. It's just nicely themed for Spring and Easter. Fonts are from Lettering Delights

Hope you like it! :)
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday   

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Answers Revealed!!!

On Sunday, I linked up with Flying Into First Grade's Just Acquainted Linky Party. I had to post two truths and a lie. Here is what I wrote:
1. I have lived in a different place every year in college.
2. I have two dogs.
3. I have two younger brothers. 

It's almost Sunday again so I figured it is time for the answer to be revealed!

1. I have lived in a different place every year in college (TRUTH). 
I moved so much in college it was pretty crazy. I proceeded to continue to move at least once a year after college. Finally somewhat settling down right now because this is my second year at my current place!

2. I have two dogs. (LIE)
I WISH I had two dogs. I've been wanting dogs for a while and keep telling myself that I will get a dog soon.

3. I have two younger brothers. (TRUTH)
One brother is in Florida for college and the other is in middle school.

Did you guess correctly??? Check back tomorrow for the next "Just Get Acquainted" linky party topic!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted! (Linky Party)

I am linking up with Flying Into First Grade's Let's Get Acquainted Linky Party!!

I wanted to link up last week but failed because I was brain dead and couldn't think of things that I liked that started with my initials. But this week's topic is much easier, so here I go!

2 Truths and a Lie
1. I have lived in a different place every year in college.
2. I have two dogs.
3. I have two younger brothers. 

Leave a comment and try to guess my lie! Good luck! :)

Don't forget to link up too!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Five for Friday (Sat edition again)

Man, my Fridays have been busy time to do my usual Five for Friday post!

1. Our Germinators have been doing wonders! The radish seeds are growing like crazy! Something new happens every day which makes for a very exciting beginning of the day for the students when they come into the classroom. 

2. We did Teacher's Wife's "Who is worth more to you than gold?" writing activity. How fortunate am I to have some students think I am worth more than gold to them. This illustration really blew me away because it depicts me well!!! I have seen many different drawings of me from my students. This would have to be the best one!

3. Second trimester report cards went home this week which also means...spring parent conferences! I use for all my classroom sign-ups (class parties, field trip drivers, conferences, volunteers, etc.). It is very easy to use. Plus, it's free! 

4. We started our geometry unit this week! The kids love it! I'm sure they enjoy having a break from addition and subtraction. Of course, we still do our daily math facts practice. :)

5. What better way to celebrate the coming of St. Patrick's Day by making Leprechaun pudding? I saw this on Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas and thought, what a great idea! The kids absolutely love it!

One more week until Spring Break! Aaah!!! Can't wait!!! :)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Encouraging Reading - Book Bingo!

How do you encourage your students to read at home? After reading Teacher Wife's post on the 100 Book Challenge (which I think is an awesome idea, by the way) I thought I would share what I do to encourage reading at home.

I want my students to love reading, which is great because they already do. But I also want my students to be exposed to and experiment a variety of books. So in comes...Book Bingo!!

It's actually not my original idea, I had the help of Super Teachers Worksheets. But I think it's pretty awesome! They have different bingo boards for different grade levels but here is what the generic one looks like:
Click on the image to get to it!
So I stick this in the kids' MONKEY folders at the beginning of the school year. I explain to the students that this is completely optional. I don't make my students do this to avoid complaints about extra work, but I do encourage them to do it. And of course, there is a rewards system for it!

The kids can only get one bookmark per book bingo card.
Basically, the students work at their own pace. When they finish one of the items on their book bingo board, they put their MONKEY folder on my desk. I check their book bingo board and give them their prize. The bookmark is pretty self explanatory. The stickers for on the students' individual sticker charts which is connected to the clip chart in my room. Lastly, the book is ordered from Scholastic using the points I get from parent orders. Once an entire board is completed, I give the kid the month's Scholastic catalogs to look through. The kid then circles three books he/she wants and gives the catalogs back to me. I choose one of the circled books to order. 

The kids love getting their free book! I'll admit only a small percentage of students in my class actually actively work on completing their book bingo cards. But the students who do partake in this, they go crazy! Last year I had a student who completed three cards within 4 months. This year I have a student who has completed around five. 

Although it doesn't get everyone going, I still love it and definitely would continue doing it. Next year, I'm thinking of also using Teacher Wife's 100 book challenge to go with this. It would be great!

What do you do to encourage reading at home? What about exposure to different genres and authors?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Five For Friday (Sat edition!)

I was out with some friends Friday night so didn't get a chance to post. So my Five for Friday will be on Sat instead! :P

1. Saw on some teacher blogs that Wednesday is Principal Appreciation Day. Google couldn't help me confirm it because it told me that Principal Day is May 1st. But I decided we should do something for our principal anyways! Why do we need a reason to appreciate someone anyways? So we created a class book appreciating our principal. I think this was the best one so I made it the last page in our book. Save the best for last, right? :)

2. We went on a field trip on Wednesday to go watch a play. The play, "Tomas and the Library Lady", was a biography of Tomas Rivera, a Chicano poet, author, and educator. The kids really enjoyed it! The play had a mixture of English and Spanish so it was an extra delight for my Spanish speakers. There were a couple of students there who were hearing impaired and had hearing implants. Not sure who arranged this, but there were two sign language translators there signing for those students. I thought that was simply wonderful! 

3. After our field trip we still had some time to spare so I had the kids do a free-write in their journals. May favorite journal entry by far. :)

4. Our Science unit on plants and animals is done. However, I saw this pretty awesome Science investigation at RAFT (Resource Area for Teaching). It's like a warehouse for teachers with a whole bunch of random things. They also create science and math kits that are already prepared and ready to use in class. This particular one is the Germinator. You can't really see it in the picture but there are radish seeds near the top portion of the paper towels. I'll have another post with more close up pictures later.

5. This is a little cheating but since I'm writing on a Saturday I guess it's okay? Tonight is our school's big school fundraiser! It's a 50 themes this time. I'm excited to see the parents go crazy with their bidding! :)

Don't forget to link up! :)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Encouraging Others :)

Can I just say how much I enjoy this unit, "Keep Trying?" Today, we finished reading "The Kite", a Frog and Toad story. Basically Frog and Toad try to fly a kite but every method Toad is trying doesn't seem to work because the kite just falls to the ground. There are some robins who are watching and keep discouraging Toad with some not so nice words and make him want to give up. But Frog continues to encourage Toad to keep trying and finally after the fourth attempt, Toad is able to get the kite up and flying. Hooray!

After reading the story, we talked about why this story was selected to be a part of our unit. Then we talked about what lesson could be learned from the story. They were all good think-pair-share opportunities. For the last partner share question, I asked the class if they would rather be the person who says mean words and tells others to give up or the person who encourages others and tells them to keep trying. After some partner discussion, I did a quick poll and thank goodness! Everyone wanted to be the encouraging person. :)

After we shared our reasons for our choice, I had the students write their reasons down to put on our concept-question board. Cute responses. :)

Ha, when this one was brought up during our class discussion I literally laughed out loud.
Aren't these children simply adorable????

Sunday, March 3, 2013

8888 Pageviews and Another Linky!

So blogger tells me that this blog has had 8,888 pageviews! How cool! In the Chinese culture, 8 is a lucky number because it sounds the same as wealth in Chinese. So I guess this is a very lucky moment for me. Maybe it will help me gain more followers. :)

But I'm not just here to announce that! I was trying to catch up with all my teacher blog subscriptions and came upon this lovely linky party.

Fifth in the Middle is hosting a "linky party" on her blog! I guess you can say it's more like she's creating a database of all the blogs based on states. I think that is really cool because then I get to see what other bloggers are from the same state as me. If you want to be included or simply want to check out what other blogs on from your state, go check it out! :)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

March Currently

It's a new month! So fast! That's time for Farley's March Currently!

Listening - Not actually watching this so I don't really know what is going on...

Loving - It's been a stressful and busy couple of weeks so little blogging has been going on. Glad that I can at least join some linky parties!

Thinking & Wanting - Well let's see...need to check and grade student work, set up my reading groups, change my daily 5 centers, write report card comments, etc, etc. The fun work never ends!

Needing - Anyone else have hay fever like me? Well it seems the allergies have gotten worse this year. It used to just be a stuffy nose and tons of sneezing. Now it has upgraded itself to itchy, red, and swollen eyes too. Argh!! Not fun.

Like, Love, Hate - Pam's the name so what's there to say? I like to play when I have the chance. I LOVE anything potato related...fries, mashed potato, tater tots, hash browns, etc. And I am absolutely annoyed and cannot stand peekers when we are taking a test!!!! :)

Hope you enjoyed reading! Don't forget to link up! :)