Two Quick Questions...

1.  - How do you know when your materials are good enough to sell on TPT?

2. - How should I spend my SNOW DAY tomorrow???

;)  Jealous?  Good!

Great Review Activity - Graffiti Wall

 So you know the sound.. when you say its time to review for a quiz/test and all of the kids groan and mumble...  Not a good sound.  This is just one activity I do every now and then to get rid of those awful sounds.  I've heard it called a few other things but I like to call it a Graffiti Wall.  
 Basically I have a large pile of dry erase markers out.  I give the kids the review topic we're covering.  (In the pictures I told them Geometry and Problem Solving - those were the two topics we were reviewing).  I have them think of ANY word they can that associates with those topics.  They could think of shapes, vocabulary terms, key words, etc.  I call them up 3 at a time.  They get to choose their own color and they write their word on the board.  Here's the fun part.  They get to write it HOWEVER they want!  

They can write up and down, in big letters, small letters, dot letters, bubble letters, in a circle, etc.     You name it - they can do it!  And they LOVE it!  All of the different colors and fonts really make the board come to life!  It looks so great!  :) Also, they are not allowed to repeat any word that someone else has put up.  That a way we get a variety of words and everyone has to be paying attention!
After the Graffiti board is complete - I pair up the students and tell them everyone has to choose 5 words from the board to tell their partner about.  Then the other partner has to choose 5 NEW words to tell their partner about.  They love it!  Then to take it a step further - I keep the Graffiti up until the next day and right before the test to do a quick review I erase one word at a time and we go over it.  The kids love it - they get to be creative - they learn - and we have fun.  What more could we ask for!?

Find it - Tag it!

I'm in no way good at thinking of cute names for games I think up.  Find it - Tag it was as good as it gets with me!  I just got back from running into school to take in my new Lakeshore Learning products I bought and to decorate for February ;)  I looked at my plans and realized I had nothing planned for our Success Math period that we have everyday.  Success Math is basically a 30 minute remediation/enrichment math period that our school has set into our daily schedule.  How it works is whatever topic we taught last month is the topic for this month in success.  For example, in the month of January we taught Geometry so in February for Success we're teaching Geometry.  Its basically giving those students who need more time - more time and those students who have it get to be pushed a little more.  We ability group for Success Math which takes some time to do this every single month and we haven't gotten our groups ready yet for Monday which is why I hadn't planned anything yet.  So I'm sitting here thinking of what kind of activity could I do no matter what level of kids I have?  And this is what I came up with:  Find it - Tag it!

Basically its a great review activity that gets the kids out of their seats.  For the lower kids - if I end up with that group, it will be a good way of getting to see how low and who needs what help.  For the high kids, it will be a great review and a way to say - Good - you know it now we can move on!  Find it - Tag it works like this (and I'm up for suggestions on how to make it better!)  I'll put the kids into teams of 2 and give each team a copy of the recording sheet and 8 post-it notes.  They will number their post-it notes with the numbers 1-8.  I'll announce a shape and they'll race around the room to find an object that is the shape I announced.  When they find it they tag it with their post it note - then they stop to fill out their recording sheet.  The recording sheet just consists of the name of the shape, the object they found, and how they know that object is that shape (i.e. it has 4 sides, 4 corners, etc.)  When we're all done we'll go back through all 8 shapes and the students will share what they found.  PLEASE let me know what you think!  You can download the file HERE!

Have a great week everyone!

PS - I'm sad that I can't get the Google Docs to show the preview anymore - anyone know what's going on??

Cause/Effect Graphic Organizer

So we begin cause and effect this month and I'm always looking for ways to really spruce up this concept and make it really fun and interesting for the kids.  I made this graphic organizer with the inspiration of a game my husband and I got for Christmas.  The game's concept is this:  Everyone playing has a piece of paper.  We all take a card - on the card is a scene.  We draw the scene on our piece of paper.  Then we roll a dice and pass it along according to the dice.  The next paper we get we look at the picture that was drawn and we write a caption.  Then we roll and pass again.  Here's the catcher!  The next paper we get we can ONLY look at the caption.  We cannot look at the first picture drawn.  Then we must draw a picture based on the caption only.  We continue this probably 5-6 times and then we get our original back and get to see how messed up they are.  It's pretty much a illustration game version of the game Telephone.

So here's what I was thinking on how to use this with Cause and Effect.  I made a very simple graphic organizer of basically boxes and arrows.  Each student will begin with their sheet of paper and I'll have all of the students think of a cause and effect situation in their minds (we will have discussed C&E many times before this).  On their graphic organizer they then write the effect in the first box.  Then we pass the paper on and the next paper they get they have to write a cause.  And so on until the graphic organizer's full.  Then we'll give the paper back to the original owner and he/she gets to see how their original idea planned out.  I'm going to really stress to the kids to have fun with this and be creative!!  I'm excited to see what they come up with :)  Please let me know what you think!

Download the graphic organizer HERE!

Black History Month Timeline Project

So since I started this blog, I've blogged everyday except last night.  I literally felt like I was breaking some sort of law by not blogging!!  It killed me - but I was out with my husband and having fun otherwise and then came home and went straight to bed.  It was a great Friday Night :)  And this morning I paid my debt for that lovely evening by waking up with an awful migraine...  I don't get them often but when I do - OUCH!  My vision almost completely goes away and when it comes back it hits me like a sack full of bricks.  It just wouldn't go away either!  So I did the only thing I could think of - I went back to sleep :)  And I'm now awake - its 3:45 and I feel 10 times better :)  There's nothing like sleeping away the day!

And now time for blogging!!

So next week starts my biography unit which will take place the entire month of February.  The first week we're doing Black History Month biographies, the next two weeks we're doing regular biographies over famous americans, and the last week (which is a 3 day week) we're doing a president's day biography.  So..  I was trying to think of a way to make each part of this unit unique by incorporating a fun project.  I've decided to start us off we're going to do a timeline project.  Nothing too fancy - but timelines are something we haven't covered yet.

Since I'm a Scholastic addict - I have about a million of these My First Biography books:

So in our literature circles next week, each group will receive a different biography of a famous African American to research and study.  Here's what I've come up with:  Timeline Project

The students will fill out the first page and then each student will pick one of the 5 important facts.  With that fact they will fill out and illustrate the second page.  They'll write the year of the event at the top, illustrate a picture of the event, and then write a 1-2 sentence description of the event.  Then the kids will put them into chronological order.  I plan on connecting them by placing a hole punched hole on each side and connecting them with string.  I hope they turn out okay!  I would love some feedback on what you think I should add or change :)  

Happy Saturday everyone!  (I'm heading to the casino to help celebrate my brother's 21st birthday! - Wish me luck!)

Behavior BINGO

As we ALL know, classroom management is something that is constantly changing based on things such as our students, best practices, and our schedule.  One of my favorite - and one I've found to be extremely easy is Behavior Bingo.  Basically its a BINGO board that I keep up on the front board and any time I catch someone being good they get to put his/her name on it!  If the class begins to get a little rowdy - all I have to say is "I'm looking for someone for the BINGO board.." and in an instant I have quiet, focused students.  I try to fill up a board about once every two weeks that a way it stays 'fresh' and exciting for the students.  Also I let the students pick their prize!  The last student who won got to play fetch with Allen for 10 minutes and she LOVED it!  I just think its a cute, easy idea and I thought I would share :)  I hope someone else can use it as well!  

Bulletin Board/Musical Scoot

I don't know about anyone else, but this has been a rather long week!!  I'm so glad tomorrow is Thursday because that means that the next day is Friday!!  So I'm such a nerd and keep this post-it note on my computer about things I want to blog about and the list just keeps getting longer and longer!  So I thought I'd try to do a few small things all in one post! :)

So each month or so the teachers on my team try and do an Accelerated Reader contest either within our classrooms or with each other.  This month we decided to do one with each other and I must say - the bulletin board turned out to be absolutely adorable!!

There are four teachers on our team so we made each of us into 'snowman' form!  Starting from the left we have Mrs. Lehman who's holding hands with her daughter.  Then we have Mrs. Stevenson who's holding a soccer ball - as she's the high school girl soccer coach.  Then we have Mr. Hubble who's a huge Michigan fan therefore he has a Michigan hat.  And then we have ME, with Allen of course!  :)  For every two books the students read they get to put up a cotton ball.  The snowman with the most cotton balls at the end, wins.  (It looks like we're losing, but I'm just keeping my cotton balls hidden from the other classes so they don't get jealous of how amazing we are!)  LoL!  The whole bulletin board turned out to be too cute - I just wanted to share!  

Now these adorable pictures below are of my kiddos playing one of my favorite activities - Musical Scoot.  If you're familiar with the Task Cards that are all a rage on the website Proteacher, then you'll love this!  The game 'Scoot' ( which I did NOT come up with or create - another idea I found on Proteacher), is basically where you take the task cards and place them on the students' desks.  It's a timed game and when the teacher says the word SCOOT - the students rotate around desk to desk completing the task cards.  Great game!  But MUSICAL SCOOT is much more fun!  What I do is place the task cards around the room.  The students have their recording sheet and a clip board.  I play music and as the music plays the students dance around.  But when the music stops they must stop dancing and talking and quickly find a task card to complete.  They love it!!!  And it never gets boring - you could play it once a month and they wouldn't care!  Check out their awesome dance moves!  

I just can't take it - I love my job!  If you use task cards in your classroom do you have any other creative ideas on how to use them?  I'd love to hear!  Have a great Thursday!  

Candy Heart Fraction Fun!

So before all of this blogging that I'm so addicted to now - I thought I was a pretty amazing teacher.  But I don't COMPARE to the teachers out there who are so adorable and so creative in their activities and such that they do and make.  I'm so jealous.  So in my desperation to be as awesome as they all are, here's my first attempt.  I always do this activity every year with my kids in February so I thought I'd make a 'cute' page to go with it!  Hope you enjoy!  I'd love some feedback :)  Thanks!

Lakeshore Lovin'!

Look what was on my doorstep when I came home today!  Woot- Woot!!  

I just absolutely <3 Lakeshore learning!!  I got some extra money a few weeks ago and what better to spend it on than my classroom!?  It's like Christmas all over again - but better!  Wanna see what's in it!?  

I think I have more resources than our Title One Department...  I just have an addiction!!  Anyone else out there have this problem!? Can't wait to open them!!  What should I buy next on my shopping spree?  Any suggestions??  :)  

The Hairiest Staff Member at Central Elementary

So I can't believe I haven't posted about this staff member sooner - I can't believe it wasn't my FIRST posting.  But alas - I am now getting around to making all of you other blogger educators out there very jealous.

Back in November, the staff and students at Central were very excited to welcome the newest member of our staff.  Allen!

Allen is a two year old Black Lab/Golden Retriever Mix.  He is a full time service dog who works at our school!  Allen began his training at the age of 3 weeks - as soon as his eyes opened.  He was trained at the Indiana Women's Prison in Indianapolis in the Indiana Canine Assistance Network.

He was in training for two full years where he worked with many different trainers and fur-lowers.  I applied for our school to receive a dog back in August of this school year and in October I received a phone call saying that they might have a dog for us!  So I went to go meet Allen and it was Love at first pet :)  

My husband and I went through a week long (9am - 3pm) training course on how to train/continue to train/and handle a service dog.  What a great experience!!  

Allen's first day in our school was November 1st and he hit our school running.  The students absolutely adore him!!  He has made such an impact on our behavior and motivation - he is simply irreplaceable.  

Here are a few newsletters and posters we put out to parents and other schools announcing Allen.  

Here are a few more picture of him in ACTION! :)

Like I said - he has drastically changed the atmosphere of our school and I don't know what we'd do without him.  I'll post more later about what he does specifically in the school - but feel free to ask question if you have any!  Jealous - aren't you ;)  Goodnight!!

Main Idea 'Scavenger Hunt'

My class has been working on learning Main Idea for a few weeks now.  I love being able to come up with ideas on how to get the kids out of their seat and active and that's sometimes even harder when you're learning different reading concepts such as main idea.  So I came up with this lovely scavenger hunt.  I'm excited - I hope the kids love it (I use it Thursday) - and I hope you love it too!  :)  Have a great week everyone!

Literacy Quick Tips

I love making resources for the parents of my classroom to use.  I feel that it's not only my job to educate my students but also to educate my parents and keep them up to date on best practices and researched based instruction.  Teaching begins at home, continues in the classroom, and ends at home.  I am only a small piece of the puzzle.  With that being said - here's one of the brochures I made this year to hand out to parents.  It contains a few websites for parents and some for the students.  It also has 5 literacy quick tips - 5 fun, simple activities that families can do at home to help promote literacy.  I hope someone else can use it too!

If you can't download it from the picture - you can get it HERE.  Enjoy!

Symmetry Time!

So one of my most favorite things to teach in math is symmetry and lucky me - its that time of the year!  One of my favorite activities to do with symmetry is allow the students to really explore different shapes.  I use the di-cut machine that our school has and cut out a variety of different shapes and objects.  The kids get to choose 6 and then investigate by folding, twisting, and bending.  Then they sort them on their mat that they made and labeled themselves.  The kids love it, its easy to do, and they really understand the concept!  Check out these adorable photos from today!  

iPod Touches in the Classroom

I was very lucky last year when I was approached by my principal and asked to pilot having 30 iPod Touches in my classroom.  Wow!  Are you kidding me?  I was a second year teacher and out of everyone he chose me.  I was honored and definitely and eagerly said YES!  So in the past year and a half I can come up with and discovered a lot of great ideas on how to use iPods in the classroom.  I thought I would take some time and share some of the resources I've made in hopes that they can help someone else out there!  Below is a fun, simple fractions lesson you can use with the iPods.  You will need to download a free application called ScribbleLite (or any other type of 'paint' app) to complete this activity.  Download the activity here or click to get it below!

And here is a great list of all of the applications we have on our iPods.  Some are free and some cost around $.99 but well worth the money!

Finally I'd like to share another great resource... a website.  If you use iPods in the classroom and don't receive e-mails from you need to sign up TODAY!  The website is:

Its a free site that sends out an e-mail everyday of applications for the iPad and iPod Touch that have recently gone from costing money to being free.  They aren't always educational, but then other days you'll hit the jackpot.  And a word to the wise - if you find one you want make sure you download it quickly because they'll only stay free for a day or two and then they go back to costing $$!  :)  Sign up today!

(My husband is nudging me to go to bed now - I'll post more later!  Happy Friday tomorrow everyone!)
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Technology in the Classroom


Hello there! I'm so excited to start this blog and to share my passion for teaching with my students, parents, community, and friends. I really hope I can stay up on this blog. I've tried blogging in the past about my life and other specific things but they were all unsuccessful. :( But what better to blog about than the thing in life that I love to do most - teach! My blog might seem a bit sporadic at first, but after a while I hope to get into the groove of things. I thought I would start off by talking and sharing one of my biggest passions in education today - technology. I've only been teaching for three years, very young in an education career. But in those short three years I have grown to be very passionate about the technology that I use in my classroom. I am very fortunate to have a lot of technology - a lot more than most. In my classroom you'll find a class set of iPod Touches, a document camera, a class set of clickers, a mobi, a projector, 4 PC student computers, 1 Mac teacher computer, 1 thinclient teacher computer, and a dvd/vcr player. I have very much embraced this technology in the last few years and use every inch of it to my advantage with the students. The video posted above really shows how I feel and use technology in the classroom. In my next few posts I hope to share some documents and ideas that specifically show the usage of this technology. Enjoy!


tech. info. here!


Technology information here


Parent information here


Welcome Students!!  Below you will find all of your Wordly Wise lists as well as your basal spelling lists.  Please print these off as needed.  If at any time you find an error, please let me know as soon as possible!!  

*Note:  Please see 'How-To' direction below on how to download the documents from Google Docs!  

Need ideas on how to practice studying for your Wordly Wise and Basal Spelling?  Download these easy activities! (click on the words 'easy activities')

Week 1, August 29 - Sept 2:               Wordly Wise     Basal Spelling
Week 2, Sept. 6-9:                                 Wordly Wise     Basal Spelling
Week 3, Sept. 12-16:                           Wordly Wise     Basal Spelling
Week 4, Sept. 19-23:                           Wordly Wise     Basal Spelling
Week 5, Sept. 26 - 30:                        Wordly Wise     Basal Spelling
Week 6, Oct. 3-7:                                 Wordly Wise     Basal Spelling
Week 7, Oct. 10-14:                            Wordly Wise     Basal Spelling

No Wordly Wise or Spelling the week of Oct. 17-21 due to Fall Break

Week 8, Oct. 24-28:                            Wordly Wise     Basal Spelling
Week 9, Oct. 31 - Nov. 4:                   Wordly Wise     Basal Spelling
Week 10, Nov. 7-11:                           No Wordly Wise or Spelling
Week 11, Nov. 14-18:                        Wordly Wise     Basal Spelling

No Wordly Wise or Spelling the week of Nov. 21-25 due to Thanksgiving Break

Week 12, Nov. 28 - Dec. 2:                 Wordly Wise     Basal Spelling
Week 13, Dec. 5-9:                              Wordly Wise     Basal Spelling
Week 14, Dec. 12-16:                         Wordly Wise     Basal Spelling
Week 15, Dec. 19-22:                        Wordly Wise     Basal Spelling

There will be no spelling the 2nd semester of the 2011-2012 school year.

Week 16, Jan. 10-13:                       Wordly Wise     

Week 17, Jan. 17-20:                       Wordly Wise     
Week 18, Jan. 23-27:                        Wordly Wise     
Week 19, Jan. 30 - Feb. 3:              Wordly Wise  

Beginning this week, we will now be taking Two weeks for every lesson in Wordly Wise.  Therefore you will see the same list two weeks in a row.  The lists are getting more challenging and longer so I want to make sure all students have enough time to prepare for the quiz.  
Week 20, Feb. 6-10:                         Wordly Wise     
Week 21, Feb. 13-17:                     Wordly Wise     

No Wordly Wise or Basal spelling the week of Feb. 20-24 due to President's day break

Week 22, Feb. 27 - March 2:                   Wordly Wise     
Week 23, March 5-9:                          Wordly Wise     (Same as last week)
Week 24, March 12-16:                     Wordly Wise     
Week 25, March 19-23:                    Wordly Wise     
Week 26, March 26-29:                    Wordly Wise    
Week 27, April 9-13:                         Wordly Wise (Prefixes & Suffixes)   
Week 28, April 16-20:                       Wordly Wise  (Prefixes & Suffixes)  
Week 29, April 23-27:                       Wordly Wise     
Week 30, April 30 - May 4:               Wordly Wise     
Week 31, May 7-11:                           Wordly Wise     
Week 32, May 14-18:                         Wordly Wise    

Directions on how to download the documents from Google Docs:
1.   Click on the link you want to download.  This will take you to the document via Google Docs
2.   Click on the word 'File'
3.   Click on the words 'Download As'
4.   Click on the word 'PDF'

The document will download to your computer.  It's that easy!! :)  

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