Monday, January 19, 2015

Keepin it together! Link up planner

So, I'm still working on my goal of becoming more organized this year and so far I'm off to a good start! Meal planning has been getting easier since I started making lists. My classroom is becoming more organized since I got rid of my desk last week and did some early spring cleaning.
The next area I need to get more organized in is blogging. I love linking up with other teacher-bloggers but have a hard time keeping track of which linky parties are on which days and on which blogs.

Since it's Monday, I'm linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for... share this chart I made to help me keep track of things. 
Click on the image above to download from GoogleDrive.

I hope you find this helpful! :)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sunday Scoop!

I'm linking up once again with the Teaching Trio for the Sunday Scoop:

Report cards go out this Friday, so I've got some work to do!

Yes, we are THOSE people who still have a few Christmas decorations up... Those HAVE to be put away today!

Meal prep for the week has been getting easier since I've started planning things out on Sundays. Hopefully I can keep this up. Some weeks I feel like my boys are little Tazmanian Devils devouring everything in sight!

I hope to spend some snuggle time with my boys today!! Having 3 kiddos, I've always tried to make sure that we do special one-on-one things with each one of them. Last night was my date night at Disney on Ice with my middle man. It was MAGICAL! I mean, just look at this face:

The best part was the Lion King segment. The costumes were absolutely beautiful and, as always, the music makes those little hairs on the back of your neck stand up!

Last week Chris from the Scoop in Second Grade nominated me for the Liebster Award! It is such an honor and a great feeling to know that people are actually reading (and liking) what I put up on here. Thank you so much Chris! I hope to finish my acceptance post for it today, so check back later!

And lastly, to all you hockey fans out there.. tune in to NBC at 12:30 today to watch the Rangers CRUSH the Penguins (hopefully, fingers crossed!) I'm wearing all my Rangers gear today and so are the boys... Hey, it's only weird if it doesn't work!

Happy Sunday :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Watch our class do long division!

Today I'm doubling my tech link up with Techie Turtle Teacher for Tech Tip Tuesday and Teaching Trio for Tech Thursday to share my love for educreations! Educreations is an iPad app that is basically a virtual white board. You can draw/write on the board and add images and text as it records your voice. I have used it in the past to create video math lessons that I post on my class blog for parents. (Check them out here!) During fall conferences parents expressed concern that they were unable to help their children on math homework using new common core strategies. Educreations helped me take care of that problem!

My class has been working on long division for some time and they are still struggling to remember the steps to solving the problem. I was about to post an educreations lesson so parents could help out at home when it dawned on me... Why not have the kids create their own video lessons!!! So today I brought in the iPads, gave the kids a quick tutorial, and sent them on their merry way. The results were nothing short of epic!

Here is the video lesson we created as whole class example:

And here is a video two of my students created:
(They used the mnemonic device learned in class Dangerous Monkeys Swipe Bananas to remind them to Divide, Multiply, Subtract, and Bring down.)

I feel that after completing this project my students have a better grasp on long division. However, we still have some work to do... I played the videos back for the class and students saw a few mistakes they had made. Usually when we are working with pencil and paper I find it difficult for some students to show their work. But, by narrating each step as they created their video lessons they were able to see exactly where the mistake was.

Accounts on educreations are free (though there are a few features only available with a pro plan starting at $11.99/month). I'm working with my class on the basic free plan. If your interested in trying this out in your own classroom, here are a few pointers:

And here is just one more cool resource for long division. This video comes from PBS Learning Media, which has a wealth of digital resources for just about any topic you can imagine. This video is part of the Math at the Core: Middle School collection. It highlights both the standard form of long division the more common core way using place value.

I hope you find these tools useful in your classroom! Have a great end to your week :)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sunday Scoop

It's time once again to link up with The Teaching Trio for the Sunday Scoop! Here's a peek at some things I hope to accomplish this week:
So I just finished planning our meals for the week and I'm super excited to try a new recipe from the Skinnytaste cookbook (seriously, if you don't have this yet what are you waiting for!), Crispy Coconut Chicken Salad!! A beautiful bed of baby greens, veggies, and crispy chicken breaded in panko and coconut! YUM!

I also just put the final touches on a new iMovie home movie from our trip to Disney last February (yes the footage has been sitting on my iPod for almost a year!). The new version of iMovie is much more user friendly and looks great on my 27inch screen! Now to work on footage from the rest of last year...

I brought up the idea of a school-wide reading celebration with my principal last week and ever since my mind has been racing with ideas. I started working on a book bracket tournament (check out my earlier post here) and now I'm working on planning things out:
And I'm most excited about going to see my oldest son skate with his hockey team at the Providence Bruins game today!! (yes, we are hardcore Rangers fans, so we will be rooting for our second favorite team today... whoever is playing against the Bruins, lol!) I can't wait to see his cute little face on the jumbotron!
Hope you all have a great week!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Sick Day Sneak Peak!

My body may be home sick today, but thankfully my mind's not!
I'm curled up on the couch with my laptop working on ideas for a school-wide reading celebration. Our PK-8 school started using the STAR reading and math assessments this year from Renaissance Learning. When I logged in on Monday I noticed a new banner announcing their Read the Most Coast to Coast reading celebration on February 27, 2015 (Which lines up perfectly with NEA's Read Across America Day, or Dr. Seuss Day) The goal is to see how many books students across the country can read in one day. Progress will be tracked live on their site as students take quizzes on Accelerated Reader. Click on the banner below to learn more:
So, I signed my class up and brought the idea to my principal to have a school-wide reading celebration. Which is why I'm spending this sick day doing some Pinterest surfing on the couch. I've gathered some great ideas and started working on a few of my own.
Here's the rough beginning stages of sports themed reading bracket challenge. Books will face off against one another as the school votes to determine which book students like the best.
The "East Coast" side of the bracket represents the elementary half of our school, while the "West Coast" bracket represents our middle school. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top!
I'm thinking about passing out blank brackets for students to fill out and make predictions. Accurate brackets will earn a free book at the next school book fair (or Scholastic book club order).

So, what do you think? What types of reading celebrations do you have in your schools? Our school has never done anything like this before so I would love to hear about what's happening where you teach!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Woo Hoo!! 50 "likes"

Today I reached my first mini-milestone, 50 likes on Facebook!! To celebrate my newest product is FREE for the next 24 hours! Come scoop it up and let me know what you think.

My Side of the Mountain was written in the late 1950’s. Cell phones, internet, and modern technology did not exist. How would Sam’s time on the mountain have been different if he’d had a Smart phone with him?

This project gives students the opportunity to think critically about the text and make inferences about Sam's character. Who would Sam call? Who sent him emails while he was away? What would he look up/research on the internet? What songs would he listen to? I used this project with my students right before Christmas break and they loved this modern approach to a classic novel.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Organizing the new year!

Keeping my house organized is something I struggle with on a daily basis. The laundry piles up, toys are scattered about, and I feel that I am always rushing at the last minute.
Well one of my resolutions this year is to be more organized in all aspects of life. One of the most challenging things for me is meal planning for our family of 5. I LOVE to cook but don't always plan ahead, so at the last minute we end up throwing together some peanut butter sandwiches...
Hopefully now, with my new planning sheets, I will be able to stay on top of things in the kitchen!
 Click on the image above to download from Google Drive!
To help me out with my meal planning adventure I have been scouring blogs, websites, and cookbooks. Here are some of my favorites:
  • SkinnyTaste: LOVE this site! This is my number 1 go to for new recipes! There are thousands of recipes for every occasion on her blog and I just got her first cookbook for Christmas. Last night I made her Skinny Chicken Alfredo Pasta (I just subbed in some gluten free pasta) and it was amazing. So rich and creamy you would never guess it was "skinny". So far I have never tried a bad recipe from her!
  • Practical Paleo: A great cookbook for anyone interested in knowing more about the Paleo diet and wanting to try some new recipes.
  • Carnivore: Another fabulous cookbook find! I ordered this one for my husband the meat-lover last Christmas. Sadly I only got to try a couple recipes before my dog ate the book...
  • SuperHealthyKids: This site has some great recipes that even my picky 5 year old loves! His favorite is Veggie Packed Pizza Rolls. They are super delicious and easy to make. you can prep the sauce ahead to make weeknight meals even easier!

Good luck on your New Year's resolutions! I hope you find these as helpful as I am : )

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Welcome 2015 :-) Today I'm linking up with Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade for Currently 2015!
Listening: Watching the 2015 Winter Classic with my boys. The Rangers aren't in it this year... but that's ok (as long as the Capitals don't win!) Let's go Blackhawks!!

Loving: my new iMac! My parents surprised us this year with a beautiful 27inch iMac for Christmas! This prompted a much needed overhaul of our office. I finally cleaned up and organized all of the boys artwork and school stuff. Hung us some plastic pockets so we now have a place for homework, mail, and coupons (hopefully we can keep it all off the kitchen counters in 2015!). Next up are some curtains for the big slider and the continued organization of the hubby's side.
(My clever parents gave me this gift first. I am not as clever and could only come up with "cheese balls", lol!)

Thinking: It's about time to go fill my prescription and get some new specs. It's been 8 years and my prescription sunglasses have been hanging out in the Orlando airport since last February!

Wanting: I want to put away all our Christmas decorations, but I'm currently lacking the motivation to do so. :-)

Needing: After seeing the shirts I made for our Disney trip last February, a friend at work asked me to make some for her family's upcoming trip. I have Frozen and Star Wars designs planned out and just need to get to Michaels for more fabric paint. I can't wait to get started! Believe it or not, I actually enjoy making each stencil and cutting it out with my xacto knife. There is almost something calming about it.

YES to eating healthier in 2015! Santa brought me the new Skinnytaste cookbook :-)

MAYBE I'll step out of my fitness comfort zone this year? I would love to make it to more Zumba classes and maybe sign up for a 5k (that's a BIG maybe!)

I WISH I could devote more time to writing in 2015. I've always had a secret desire to write a novel (well I guess it's not so secret anymore!). I have so many ideas scratched out on my notepad. I would love to start developing them and see what happens!