Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spring Break Fun

Spring break week has been good, and now it's about over! :(  Why must it go by so quickly?  It was great to sleep in a little, it was fun to get in some good reading time!  It was nice catching up on some shows and clearing space on my DVR.  It was special spending some extra time with mom and Bella!  And it was wonderful to get a little retail therapy in as well.  Wednesday I got the chance to catch up with my amazing friend over lunch at On the Border!  I love that place!  We chowed down on those amazing chips and salsa, then I got chicken chimichanga (yummm!), and she had a loaded nachos kinda thing...they looked amazing!  Great food and a great time of catching up with my awesome friend!
On top of all that fun, I was inspired by Kristin at Little Miss Glamour Goes to Kindergarten to glitter up my shoes!!  She had a picture on her blog from the blog We Are Not Martha, that had the cutest glitter flats!  I had to give it a try!  I followed the instructions from We Are Not Martha.  I bought a pair of flats from Walmart (I know I could have used a pair of my own, but I was afraid to ruin try it on just any pair, or maybe could have found a cheaper pair, but I couldn't wait to try it).  I got some Mod Podge, mixed it with some glitter and then started the process of layering.  It was fun, and pretty easy.

shoes from Walmart

mixing glitter with Mod Podge

First layer of mixture

finished product

I took the advice of We Are Not Martha and put on four layers of the glue/glitter mix.  I put lots of dark glitter in my mixture.  I can't wait to try it again with some lighter colors and see what that looks like.  I also want to try the glitter on the soles of a pair of heels.  I'll let you know if I do! :)
Love this picture that I got from a Just Fab shoes email, it's so's so me!

And...on top of all that fun, I came home the other day to find an envelope outside my door.
As I looked more carefully, I realized that it was the Smanimals Swag Pack that I was privileged to win!!

 I love Teacher's Market!!  I always check out this blog to see what wonderful giveaways or sweepstakes or freebies I can sign up for.  I saw the post for the Smanimal Swag Pack by Smencils and had to sign up....and then...I won!!  Yay!  If you haven't been by Teacher's Market  in a while, or at all, you need to head over there and check out all the wonderful things that you can be a part of.  I had never heard of Smencils before this blog, but I got a maple syrup and a cherry vanilla smencil, a blue raspberry colored smencil, and a creamsicle smen 2.0.  They all smell awesome!!  And it says they are made from recycled newspaper, how cool!  They are cool looking, cool feeling, and awesome smelling!  They are also trying to launch a stuffed animal line at Walmart...hence Smanimal.  They are cute stuffies that all have different scents, I love the name of the Llama...Pink Llamanade!  They are asking people to vote to get the stuffies on the shelves.  Check it out at Teacher's Market!  Hopefully the rest and fun of this week will help me be ready to get back next week!  Well...we'll see. :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Survey Says Linky

Just last night I discovered the cute blog 5th Grade Rocks, 5th Grade Rules from another linky party.  And now she's having a fun one!  I just had to join in on the fun!  Check out her cute blog and join in too...and check out the other bloggers who have linked up.  Just copy and paste the questions, fill in your answers, add one new question at the end of your blog, and then of course link back.

5thGradeRocks, 5thGradeRules
So, here they are:
1.  Are you married, do you have a bf, or are you flying free as a single lady/man?
I am one of the rare few who is flying free.

2.  Where did you grow up?
I grew up in CT, and I'm still here.

3.  Do you have any pets?  If so, what kind and what is his/her name?
Yes, I have a sweet, bad, crazy, fun, adorable diva dog named Bella!

4. What is a favorite tv show you are embarrassed to admit to watching?
The Bachelor...I know!  Then I haven't watched this in a while, but definitely hate to admit it, but Bad Girls Club.    
5.  Are you a saver or a spender?
Saver??...Saver of....what exactly??  Umm...sure...yes...I save all the wonderful things I buy! :) 
6.  What is your favorite children's book?
This is a hard one because there are so many!!   Oh'll say...Partly Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and the Christian fiction book Treasures of the Snow, and Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry.  There are more, especially since I started finding different books to read to my kids, but I'll make myself stop! Hee hee

7.  Were you the class clown, teacher's pet, or neither?
Teacher's pet, I was one of those shy, quiet kids.  But, for some reason, these days no one believes that I used to be shy and quiet...hmmm?? :)

8.  Who is your favorite athletic team?
UCONN Huskies!!!  Just finished watching them get to the Final Four for the 5th year in row!   Go Huskies!!

9.  Where did you go on your last REALLY fun vacation?
I haven't really been on vacation since I was younger, but a year ago I spent a fun day in NYC and went to different places than I had been before, which was great!  We went to Little Mismatched, which I loved!!  And we got to go to Serendipity and have Frozen Hot Chocolate!!  Best stuff ever!!!
10.  Who is your favorite actor?  Actress?
My favorite actress is Sandra Bullock, and I love Ben Stiller. 

11.  Tell about the last time you cried because you were happy.
I think it was the day I got Bella about 4 years ago.  I have always, ALWAYS wanted a dog, but neither one of my parents liked animals.  When my dad passed away, I knew mom and I would benefit from having a dog in the house.  She was brought to school for me on the half day before Christmas break.  When I saw her coming down the hallway to me, I was tearing happy!

12.  What is your favorite season?
Winter is my favorite, I love snow!!  I love the holidays!  

13.  What is your biggest regret?
I always hoped to be married and have kids by now, I'm sad that I never had grandchildren for my parents.  Mom is still alive, but has moderate Alzheimer's.  I think they would have been amazing grandparents!

14.  What food do you just NOT like at all?
Broccoli!  I don't like the smell when it's cooked...bleck.  I don't like the feel of the little buds in my mouth when it's raw...eeeww!  I always say, God didn't intend for me to eat trees! 


15. Who was your most memorable teacher, and why?
My most memorable teacher was my fourth grade teacher.  It was my first year in a new school, and her first year at the school, too.  She didn't even start the year right away because she was from Canada and had to wait to get her Visa.  When she did come I thought she was the greatest!  The book Treasures of the Snow is a book she read to us.  I read it to my kids every year.  I also knew I wanted to become a teacher the year I had her.  I still have something that she made for us in my room, and because of that, she inspired me to make an ornament for my kids every Christmas.

Now my question...
16.  How long have you been teaching, and which grade(s)?
I have been teaching 3rd grade for 16 years.

Thanks for a fun linky party for me to do on my spring break! :)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Helping Words and Word Usage

We just finished going through helping words and word usage in Language.  Students learned some helping words, such as is are, have, had, etc., and then learned words that need help and words that don't need help.  Words such as knew, blew, sang, went, drank and many more don't need any helping words.  Words such as known, forgotten, forgiven, seen and others do need helping words.  I wanted to make sure my kids really understood which words need help and which did not.  I made some graphics, using that term very loosely... just not sure what else to call them...for the students to use.  They are not cute at all, I'm still working on how to do things as cute as others I have seen...{have seen!!!  That's part of the word usage we learned!}.  I'm not sure if I will ever get there, it's not quite my forte, but they do work for what I need. :)  On the days I only had one student, I had him try to quickly place the correct words under the headings Need Help or No Help.

For those days, he seemed to get a good grasp on which words did and did not need help.  When the other student came back, he was very quick putting them under the proper side.  So, the next day I put sentences on the board and they had to figure out which word would fit best in the blank.

That was definitely a challenge, but a good one.  It really made them think!  I LOVE seeing kids really work and think through things, especially when they finally figure it out.  I put my not-so-cute "graphics" in my TpT store.  They aren't very appealing to look at, but they do work to help teach words that need and don't need help.  Sorry they're not cute, but they are there. :)
And yay!!!! It's spring break for me, yippee!!  Reading, shopping, DVR-ing, blog stalking, sleeping, basketball I come!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

It's Finally Here!!!

My spring break has officially started!!  I had planned much earlier than this to write a post about my excitement and to share a little about what we have been doing in Language class.  But things went a little differently lot differently than planned.  We only had a half day today, then it was time to finish grades and get our rooms ready for spring, and later on we had a meeting.  My third graders and I tried to focus and get things done, we played games to help out with the growing excitement and energy.  We got through the things we needed, until it came to Reading time.  We were going to be finishing one of our readers, and I was excited to finish reading the story with them.  They were excited to finish it as well.  We left off at an exciting point and they were ready to find out what happened.  I love reading the last stories in the readers with them, it's fun to see them get excited as we finish that book.  Just as we were getting ready to read, though, I got a phone call from Keep Me Home, which is the company that provides care for my mom three times a week.  They called to tell me she didn't answer the door when the companion came over.  They had called the house and didn't get an answer either.  Well, that changed the end of my day...the start of my spring break.  It came a bit sooner than I expected, but definitely not the way I would have liked.  I didn't want to alarm the kids, though I was quite nervous.  I just told them they could go back to their room to finish reading and I wished them a great spring break week.  I let the secretary know I was leaving and why, and headed home.  It seemed to take forever!  I got home and saw mom, she was OK, sitting on the edge of her bed.  The thing is she was in the same spot this morning when I left her about 7:15.  It was now after 11.  She said she was hurting all over, so she couldn't  move.  I helped her get up and to the bathroom, changed her bed, helped her get to the living room where she wanted to sit for a while.  I was just so thankful she was OK.  Some of the thoughts that were going through my mind weren't pretty.  She is still hurting and not feeling great, but she has been getting around a little better tonight.  So after a busy day with her and some house things, I am finally ready for bed, and for my spring break.  Looking forward to a good, restful week!!  So glad it's finally here!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Teacher Tips Linky Party

Another great linky party that I just had to get in on is being hosted by Michelle at Teach 123.  She is encouraging us to write teacher tips for new teachers or for teachers who are switching grade levels.  You know, those things you know now, that you wish you knew when you first started!  Isn't that a great idea??  So, I thought of a few tips I would like to share.

Sometimes as new teachers we are not as confident, and sometimes make the mistake of acting that way or saying it.  Or is that just me??  I cringe every time I think of a meeting I had with a little boy's parents my first year...he wouldn't sit still or focus, and I think maybe he told them that he was bored or didn't like school or something to that affect.  So, after talking for a few minutes, and with my confidence waning, I actually said, "Maybe it's me!  Maybe I'm not doing a good enough job to keep him focused."  (*Gasp* What did I just say??)  Now, I'm not saying that it wasn't me, it very well could have been, but don't let them think that!  How are they going to have confidence in me then?  Remember as teachers we have spent countless hours student teaching, observing, learning and preparing to be in our classrooms.  You may not know everything and may not be great at executing everything that first year, but you know what you are doing.  If you believe that this is your calling and you were meant to be in that classroom, then be confident, not obnoxious, just confident.  Don't allow parents to make you feel down because of mistakes and issues that may occur, remind them that we are all working together for the same common help children learn.
This may seem like a funny one, but what I mean by "Do you", is be yourself!  I guess I could have just put that, but I really like Do you better! :)  That was something I struggled with especially during student teaching, trying to be like others and not feeling like I could keep up with them and their creativity.  When I got in my own classroom, though, I just became comfortable in my own skin.  I may not have been as creative or as great at some things as others, but just doing my best to teach the way I was comfortable, and being myself allowed me to really enjoy that first year in my classroom!  Some creativity and fun ideas came later, but in my own way and my own time.  Even now I struggle with wanting to be like other bloggers, they are so funny, they are popular, they have such great ideas, they have so many cute, amazing items for their teacher's stores!  But then I have to remember we are all different.  That's why there can be so many blogs and we can get so much from each of them.  I just have to be me, and do the best I can.  Maybe I will get better at some of those things and maybe I won't, but I gotta be me!  Get ideas, use them...get advice, use it...get help, follow it, but adapt it to your style and what you are comfortable with..."Do you!"
I wish I would have had this book my first year, but some of it I had already incorporated into my classroom. He is an amazing teacher with so many great thoughts and ideas and ways to keep students always performing at their best.  I try to read it at the beginning of each school year.
Giving them numbers that correspond  to their last names alphabetically helps make it easier to collect papers...they just come up in number order.  It makes it easier to keep track of students, especially during fire drills, just call out numbers quickly.  It also helps to keep those numbers on popsicle sticks or some other type of manipulative, this way you can keep track of students you have already called on, or which ones have already read, or which ones have been at which centers, etc.
Some students may say or think that they are not able to fulfill the expectations that you have set for them.  They may convince their parents of this, too.  But when we set our expectations high, and challenge them to meet those expectations and encourage them along the way, you'll be surprised (and so will they...and their parents) at what they can really do.  I have had to express that to parents before..."I know they can meet my expectations, when I challenge them and encourage them in the classroom they do what I expect, they can do it."  I don't allow the word can't in my classroom.  They are only allowed to say, "I'm having trouble." :)  And you can make rules like that fun.  I make a big deal if I hear the forbidden word...*gasp*, "Now tell me 10 things you can do!"
And then because this post is long enough, I didn't put the last one on the cute design, but I do think this one is very important!  Love on them!      Sometimes that may be the only time they get loved on.  Plus, discipline seems to come across much easier if you have already established that you love them.  They realize the discipline is because of that love and your desire to see them be the best they can be.  This also helps them to work hard for you, because they want to please the ones they love.  Sorry this is so long, but I hope it will be an encouragement and help!  We have the most wonderful job ever!!! 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

3rd -5th Grade Linky Party!

So many much fun!!  There have been so many awesome linky parties going on lately, I can barely keep track.  I start to link up to one, then find another almost every time.  I participated in a couple already, and hope I'm not missing a bunch more!  They are so much fun!
Lorraine at Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies is having a 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade linky party!  What a great opportunity to find other blogs in these age groups!  So I definitely wanted to link up with her!  "Hop" on over to her blog to check it out! :)

 Sorry, I don't know how to link the picture back to her blog, so don't click the picture, but you can click her name and blog title above to link back to her cute blog! :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Oatmeal, Weawwy?!?!

Sorry, I just had to post this quickly, it was too cute!  Yesterday (there goes that word again, oh well) I had to sub for K-4 and K-5.  That always makes for an interesting day!  First thing when I walked into the room, one of the little girls welcomed me saying, "Come on in Mrs.Wo!" It was the sweetest thing, definitely put a smile on my face.  :D  We had lots of fun in the morning, then it was time for snack.  I hadn't been able to eat my breakfast earlier, so I figured I would eat it while they had their snack.  I brought in my coffee cup with oatmeal and my toast.  As I sat minding my own business... eating at the desk while they were eating at theirs, the same little girl came over to see what I was eating.  She saw the oatmeal packet sitting on the desk, looked at me and said, "Oatmeal, weawwy (really, just in case you didn't speak kinder:)?!"  That brought over a couple of the other girls over with,  "Oatmeal, Miss Monwoe, sewiously?!"...and "Whyyyy are you eating oatmeal out of a coffee cup??"  All I could do was crack up!  I never knew my eating choices, or style of eating could be that intriguing more like offensive to the standards of kindergarten girls!  Haha!  We enjoyed the rest of the time together, fun songs and lessons and stories, it was great!  But no, no, they haven't forgotten...first thing when they saw me this morning was asking me about my oatmeal. :)  I'm starting to feel I seriously need to reconsider my morning eating standards...hmmm. :)

Teachers Taking Care of Teachers

Crystal at Kreative in Kinder is asking teachers to link up to help the teachers who have been devastated by the recent tornadoes.  I can't imagine how difficult this must be, we all know the time, money, and energy that we spend on our classrooms.  To have it all gone in one moment must be devastating!  I'm sure their desire is to be back with their kids as soon as possible, and doing their best to give them the best education despite the circumstances.  Who wouldn't want to be a part of this special opportunity?  I am very excited to link up and adopt a teacher to help.  Head on over to her blog to be apart of this wonderful chance to make a difference!

Monday, March 12, 2012

12 on the 12th!

When I saw this linky party over at Doodle Bugs Teaching, I just had to get in on it!  I am a photography lover!  I love taking pictures and I love looking at pictures, so this was the perfect linky party for me.  12 pictures of my day.  Although I had good intentions of taking pictures all day, I kept forgetting!
So, I missed my crazy morning, which started off subbing in the 1st and 2nd grade classroom for a few minutes while the teacher took her son home because he was feeling sick.  Then I had my students for about a half hour, when the 4th grade teacher asked me to come sub for her.  So, I think I was a little distracted, but then I got it together. :)  So here are my 12 on the 12th!
Some of the 4th grade classroom where I was subbing today.
My btf (best teacher friend), the 1st and 2nd grade teacher and myself, enjoying the beautiful 70 degree weather at recess! 70 degrees....on March New England!
The kids enjoying the beautiful weather on the playground!
Some of the amazing High School artwork on display in the hallway!  These pieces were brought up to a regional competition in New Hampshire.
I gave a flute lesson after school with one of the 4th graders.  She did a great job, she learned triplets and we started looking at trills.  I love helping kids find a love for music!
The Finance secretary at our school who is like a second mom to me is celebrating her birthday tomorrow.  She has mentioned wanting to try some chunky jewelry.  If you have seen my A Day in My Shoes Linky Party post, you will see that I have a thing for chunky jewelry.  This is a great store for fun, chunky jewelry that is not super expensive.  Of course, I also had to do a little clothes shopping as well!
After my lesson and mini shopping spree, was finally on my way home!  Hartford skyline...:)

I love coming home and being mauled by this little girl, my sweet (most of the time) Bella!  She loves her mommy, and misses me so much during the day that I can barely get into the house!  But it's great to be so loved!

I know you may be thinking this picture is in the wrong order, that it should have been first for  Every day after school, my afternoon snack is cereal!  I could truly eat it for every meal!
After being mauled loved on, and taking my girl out, we came in for a little snuggle time and reading....which actually ends up looking like this:

Ah yes, I try to be good, but this is what ends up happening after a long day of class hopping, flute teaching, and fun shopping!
Then, mom and I had yummy Bertucci's leftovers to look forward to for dinner!  She had the chicken parm, and I had the chicken piccata...YUM!!!  We also of course had the rolls with olive oil, and then yummy goat cheese and tomato...."stuff" with flatbread!  Oh so delicious!  That's my 12 on the 12th, hope you enjoyed.  Head over to Doodle Bugs Teaching to check out more of the fun! :)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Mouse Deer

My posts have been a day or so off lately, I feel like I keep saying, "Yesterday, we...".   Thankfully it's Friday and maybe I'll feel more caught up with the weekend being here.  Yesterday was quite an interesting day!  First thing in the morning one of my parent friends came to my room to ask me to come down to chapel.  The 10th grade Reader's Theater group that she has been working with was going to perform for the Elementary students.  A couple of months ago she had asked me to read the script and help her figure out which students would be good for which parts.  I hadn't had a chance to hear them practice at all, so I was looking forward to hearing them perform it. Their piece was "The Adventures of Mouse Deer".  They are tales of Indonesia and Malaysia.  I had never heard of it before reading through it, but it is an actual book...and.....apparently an actual animal as well.    

Well, these kids did an awesome job!!!  And their parts were so perfect for them!  They did two of the stories, "Mouse Deer and the Tiger" and "Mouse Deer and the Crocodile".  The guy who was Mouse Deer somehow made his voice sound as if he had sucked in helium, it was awesome!  He did such a great job, and the kids loved him.  The guy who played the tiger also played the crocodile, and had two different voices that he came up with for them, which worked out so nicely for each part.  There were 4 narrator parts and they all did such a great job with their parts, keeping the stories interesting and tons of fun.  Mouse Deer even has a song, "I'm quick and smart as I can be.  Try and try, but you can't catch me."  It was sung a few times throughout the piece.  The stories show how Mouse Deer uses his wit to outsmart the animals that want to eat him.  If you haven't read the stories, I highly recommend checking them out!  The kids really enjoyed hearing them!  The students got back in the classroom and started spouting off some of the lines, and then singing Mouse Deer's song!  Even today, my little girl started singing the song during class.  So, Mouse Deer made quite an impression.
Afterward they heard a 10th grade girl sing, then a boy preached.  For High School chapel the Reader's Theater performed again, another couple of people did speeches and then a small group sang.  They were all getting the last practice in before today, where they, along with many other singing, handbell, and speech groups from our school headed up to New Hampshire for a competition with several other schools.  I haven't heard results yet, but when I find out how they did, I will share!
Also, I'm so excited, Target had several Dr.Seuss books for sale, so...I had to get some!!  So glad to have them to add to our classroom!
Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Y9a9y f9o9r Y9e9s9t9e9r9d9a9y!!

Oh sorry, did my 9's distract you??  Well, now you have some idea what it was like to be one of my students yesterday.  Except I don't think they were quite that distracted.  But they did come in with wonder and amazement at seeing all the 9's everywhere in the classroom!  OK, actually they came in and my little girl asked about one random 9 in the middle of the white board, and while she was asking that, my tough cookie little boy just looks at her and says, "Ummm, hello, do you not see them all around the room??!?"  Oh the sweetness from that one!  After his comment she looked around and noticed all of the others.

Can you find all of them in this picture?  There is one that the kids still haven't found yet!

Yes, even I had a 9 on!
These are just a few of them.  I think I had about 50 around the room.  Did you find them all in the pictures?  I also had more in the hallway and office.  I had other teachers tell me that their kids were getting excited finding the 9's in the hallway. :)
After seeing them all over the room my students started trying to figure out what they were for.  My little girl did figure it out, but of course I wasn't going to let her know that yet!  At the appointed time...after some Math review, I gave a little shout and cheer for 9!  I told the students that we were going to be learning our 9 Multiplication table!  I told them this is one amazing table and that they needed to put on and tighten their seat belts because they were going to be blown away by all of the awesomeness!  First, when looking at the answers, the tens place counts in order from 1-9!  Second, the ones place counts backwards from 9-0!  Third, and I love this one...the answers switch number places!  For example, 2x9=18 and 9x9=81, 3x9=27 and 8x9=72, 4x9=36 and 7x9=63, etc.  How cool is that??  Fourth, another fun fact is that if you add the answer numbers together they all equal 9 (1+8, 2+7, 3+6, 4+5, etc.), even when you get down to 11x9=99, add the 9+9 together and it equals 18, which when you add those together, again they equal 9!  Even 12x9=108, 1+0+8=9!  How I love that!  Then, I saved the best for last!!!  Hold on, you will be even more blown away!  Hold your hands out in front of you, with the back side of your hands facing you.  Let's say the problem is 9x4, count over 4 fingers on your left hand, put that 4th finger down, the fingers to the left of that finger are counted by tens, and to the right of it are counted by ones.  So, you will end up with 3 fingers to the left (30), and 6 fingers to the right (6), so it ends up being 36!  That can be done up to 9x10, the pinky on your right hand would be put down, then their are 9 fingers to the left of it, when you count by tens, it is 90!  I hope that made sense, because that is such a cool tool to use for the 9 table!!  Well, it did blow my students away!  Here's the proof:

They were very excited about what they learned!  Then because of the 9's in the hallway and office, when people asked what the 9's were for, they could share and review all of the fun things that they learned!  I love 9 day!!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Currently March

I know, I know, I just posted, but I just had to link up with Farley's linky party!  It's always so much fun to link up with her!  It's also so much fun to read the posts from other teachers who have linked up!  So here is mine:

I know, I kinda cheated on the last of my 3 words (hee hee), but I think those are the words my kids, friends, and then family would say about me. :)
Again, have a great night!