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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Yummy State Cookie...and Sales Galore!!

Now that Thanksgiving is over and most of my shopping is done (yay!), I wanted to take a minute to post about a fun activity we do in 4th grade right before Thanksgiving break.  The teachers on my team started this tradition a long time ago and I am so glad that we continue it.  Our local vo-tech students in the culinary arts program make HUGE sugar cookies in the shape of New York for the entire fourth grade.

This could work for any state and some states would be a much easier shape to make a cookie cutter for:)  Our curriculum in 4th grade focuses on our state and we study geography in depth at the beginning of the year.  When we decorate the cookies, we have them use edible items to mark the locations of various places and it is a great review.  To avoid the chaos of passing out materials, I get everything ready in little cups to decorate the cookies with and I also have the cookies passed out on cardboard trays waiting with globs of frosting on them.

The students spread the frosting, then I post an overhead of the NYS map and we review the locations and what the edible items will represent on their cookies.  We used:
  • M & M's for Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, NYS, and our hometown
  • mini chocolate chips for the Catskills and Allegheny Mountains
  • regular chocolate chips for the Adirondack Mountains
  • Hershey Kiss for highest peak, Mt. Marcy
  • Red Hot for state capital, Albany
  • blue icing for Hudson River, Mohawk River, Finger Lakes, local lake (we pass around the icing)

Here is a completed cookie:

I send them home with students with foil wrapped around the cardboard.  I also have students raise their right hand and repeat after me, "I will not eat my cookie until I have showed it to an adult and told them the names of the places on my cookie.  Then, I will eat it if my mom or dad say it is okay.  I will only eat as much as they say I can because it is pretty big."  (or something like that...they think it is so funny!).  

Also, don't forget about the sales going on at Teacher's Notebook (Saturday thru Monday) and Teachers Pay Teachers (Monday and Tuesday)!  My wish list is loaded with over 40 items!!  It is like an addiction.  Yikes!   I have my little store participating in both of the sales too!

I am linking up with the 3am Teacher for the TPT sellers that are participating in this sale!

A few of the products that you can snag at my store are:

Editable Class Schedule cards

 Ancient Rome DBQ (Document Based Question)

Set of Six Document Based Questions

190 Math Meetings for the SMART Board 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thankful Linky and Deep Sea Creatures, OH MY!

When I came across this Thankful Linky party by the wonderful Stephanie in Teaching in Room 6, I knew I had to link up!  There is so much that I have to be thankful for since I started this blogging journey last summer!!

1.  Absolutely number one on my list is the AMAZING bloggers that have inspired more than I ever could have imagined!  Here is a short list of my 4th grade peeps, but there are so many more!!

The very first blog that I came across was Tara's at 4th Grade Frolics.  Her blog is what inspired me to create my blog and she is such an amazing teacher and person!  Everyone in the blogging world knows her and she must be crazy busy but she always makes time to make each of her followers feel special.  Her ideas are amazing and I always look forward to her posts!
Laura at Love To Teach has become one of my closest blogging buddies and I love that we both teach in NY!  I have many of her products and they are amazing!!  We both love pugs too and she has a heart of gold.  See her post here when she donated profits from her TN store to Green Mountain Pug Rescue.
Kelly at Teaching Fourth has also become a wonderful blogging friend.  I love her ideas and lessons that she shares.  She started a Fun Friday linky and I link up when I can get around to it!  Love her!

One of my favorite blog crushes is Farley at Oh' Boy Fourth Grade.  Her posts always make me smile and giggle a little too:)  She is famous in the bloggy world but still takes the time to appreciate her followers and make us feel special!  I am thankful for all her amazing ideas that inspire me to be a better teacher!

Another 4th grade buddy is Antonia at Forkin 4th!  I love her blog and she is such a sweet lady!  She has great freebies always posted.  I am so thankful!

Caitlyn at Fourth Grade Lemonade is an absolute sweetheart and she is another 4th grade blogger that I am so thankful for!  We both started blogging last summer and I always look forward to her posts.  She is a blogger that I can always count on!

2.  I am so thankful for all the FANTASTIC freebies and resources I have gained access to and heard about because of blogging!  Recently I won two amazing giveaways!  Seriously?  I am  the type of person who doesn't win anything ever!  

The fabulous Sara at Miss V's Busy Bees (LOVE her and could write a post just about HER!) had an amazing 500 follower giveaway and I was winner #2.  

What did I win?

I KNOW!!  I have been so busy shopping and downloading all these fabulous prizes!  SO, SO thankful!  I am one lucky girl.

Then, this past week I got an email from Bex at Reading and Writing Redhead that I won her giveaway for a $20 Walmart gift card!  Wahoo!!  I know it is $20 but I seriously felt like I won the lottery:)

3.  Of course, I couldn't forget to mention how grateful I am for all the graphics, fonts, and clipart that have totally transformed my documents recently!  Here are a few of my favs:)  Click on picture for the link.

So, that is quite the long list of what I am thankful for in the blogging world!  Thanks have been long overdue and I appreciate everyone that takes any part in this little ol' blog:)  Thank you for sharing in my journey and helping to "Flip This Teacher!"

Next, I wanted to share with you the Deep Sea Creatures activity we recently completed.  First, we explored sonar and I put various objects in a shoebox.  Then, I shook the box and students had to guess what was inside using only their sense of hearing.  I asked them, "What sense did you use to guess what was inside the box?"  It was a great review for my 4th graders!.

I found this amazing website here that is so student friendly.  When you go to this page, there is a sonar sound effect.  The website begins with a description of Creatures of the deep sea and a black box that students can scroll over with their mouse acting as a "flashlight" lighting up different sea creatures as they go over them.  

Then, there are 19 sea creatures to click on and read more about.  Each one has fast facts listed and below is a more detailed description.

I assigned each student a deep sea creature and I had them:
  1. Write important facts about their creature on a notecard.
  2. Draw a scale image of their creature using the scale 1/2 inch = 1 foot.

I reused the back of 2 large pieces of chart paper and labeled it 1,000 ft. increments.  See how BIG the giant squid and sperm whale are compared to the other deep sea creatures!  This part of the lesson was particularly powerful and fit well with our math curriculum.  Students who had to make a tiny sea creature were really challenged!  It was great to see the proportional relationship:)

 I numbered each sea creature and placed its corresponding notecard with a matching number on the side.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone!  I have to work Wednesday this year (half day with students and half day parent conferences).  It will really make me thankful for Thursday:) 
I am counting even more blessings this year (you!).

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Monday Made-It November!!

Happy Sunday!  I had some much needed girlfriend retail therapy with an overnight trip on Friday to an outlet mall.  It was CRAZY busy on Saturday!  Wow...I spent more time waiting in line.  Boy, I am still exhausted and am so thankful we have an extra long weekend.  Thank you Veterans!!

I read this book, The Wall, every year before Veteran's Day to my students.  Our team hadn't discussed it but the other two team members usually read it as well.  At the end of the day on Friday, we just happened to all be reading it to our classes (which we were unaware of) and we all cried like babies!!  When our students went to get their bags and coats from their lockers, we realized that we read the book at the same time and were all CRYING!!  The students were buzzing about it:)  You have to read this picture book.  It is short but very powerful and could be shared anytime of the year!
I am so excited to be  linking up with the wonderful Tara at 4th Grade Frolics for the November Monday Made It!  
My first Monday Made It is actually Tara's Made It but I did print and laminate it!  Doesn't that count?  She has an awesome Holiday math centers pack filled with SEVEN different centers!  Check it out here at her TPT or you can get each center separately too:)  
 Here is only a small portion of all the activities in her Holiday Hoopla Math Centers pack.

With all these amazing products that I have been finding for my students to do during centers,  I really needed a place to store them more efficiently.  I still want to get some plastic drawers to store more manipulatives, but I bought this Scholastic file folder handing organizer that works like a charm to hold many copies of center work!  I found it here on amazon.  It has space for ten folders vertically, however, I already have 2-3 folders in some sections together.

I have this hanging on my board with different colored folders for easy access.  It has math games/activities, cursive practice sheets, and holds extra copies of papers for math, social studies, science, and ELA.  It is very strong and holds a ton of papers!!  In the past I put extra copies of papers on a shelf behind my desk with no real system of organization.  It drove me bonkers!!  Now, I can have students check the folder for a paper instead of trying to find it myself.  I did tell the students that they have to ask me before getting extra papers because I only make two extra copies of each handout.  Some students would always be going to get the extra copies instead of organizing their papers to find their original:)

I am loving these 4th Grade Common Core Math Vocabulary Cards!  Again, I didn't "make" it but I bought them, printed, laminated, and cut out:)  You can find them here at TPT.  I printed them single sided and then placed the word and definition back-to-back before laminating.  I was worried that you wouldn't be able to see the definition through the front, but they turned out great!

I have a group of words hanging up at a time using these little, but very strong magnet clips found here on amazon.  These are the best little magnets ever!

Finally, I actually did make something with the help of KPM doodles:)

I added some great covers to my Ancient Civilizations DBQs (Document Based Questions) that I have listed on TPT here.  The colorful covers with graphics from KPM Doodles and the preview sets I made really jazz it up!  Thank you for all the inspiration fellow bloggers:)  

Jerusalem: The Holy City
Ancient Egypt

Ancient China
Ancient Greece

Ancient Rome

Middle Ages: The Age of Faith

I was disappointed that no one guessed who Lilly was for Halloween!!  
She was KIKI from the Fresh Beat Band!  I sent "The Queen Bee" a DBQ of her choice for being the first to try and guess:)

This picture reminds me of how I feel I need to act as a teacher sometimes to get my students' attention!!  Haha!  Aren't we quite the performers?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

November Currently and DBQs!!

What a week!  I was home Monday with a sick daughter, Tuesday we had no school due to Sandy (some lost power and downed trees but no real damage, thank you Lord!), Wednesday was a crazy, rainy Halloween, Thursday was busy preparing for a substitute before a workshop all day Friday!  I'm telling you...I really do need that retail therapy next weekend and today to get my thoughts in order.  Here is the November Currently from the A.MA.ZING! Farley at Oh' Boy Fourth Grade:

I spent most of my free time yesterday updating my DBQs (Document Based Questions) that I created years ago for ancient civilizations when I taught sixth grade.  They just looked so "blah" on TPT so I jazzed them up some:)  It took a long time but I am happy how they turned out (and I LOVE the screenshot tool on my Mac).  Here is a sampler of the Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome DBQs.

The Common Core is really stressing the reading of informational text and drawing from primary and secondary sources.  When I updated these to include the CCSS, I was amazed at how well they aligned.  If you teach ancient civilizations, I have six DBQs (Egypt, Jerusalem, China, Greece, Rome, Middle Ages) for sale here at my TPT or here on TN.  Our state has the drafts out for our "modules" for ELA and math.  They are like units to guide your yearlong instruction to align with the Common Core.  All the modules are social studies content except one science module.  Does your state have modules (units) for the CCSS as well and are they mostly social studies or science content?

I love to have my students listen to music during free time.  They love popular songs that they can sing to and it is great to see this happy, free side of them.  We have dance parties all the time and sometimes the students who you thought would never dance are the best dancers!!  

I will leave you with one pic of my little loves on Halloween:)  Charlie is a fire chief of course (with a rescue truck in hand).  Can anyone guess what Lilly is supposed to be?  The first person to tell me who she is dressed as can have one DBQ of their choice for free!  If you don't teach ancient civilizations, share with a colleague:)