Wednesday, December 31, 2014

January Currently

You can follow Tracy at her new blog: The Knit Wit Teacher

One resolution I have this year is to stay on top of blogging. What better way to get started than to join Oh' Boy 4th Grade for the January Currently. Hop on over to Farley's blog to check it out.

Listening: Every year my husband and I have stayed up and watched The Lord of the Rings trilogy to bring in the New Year. This year we are switching it up and watching The Hobbit. We haven't watched the 3rd movie yet but will hopefully watch it on date night.

Loving: This weekend we are taking the kids to Indianapolis and staying the night and then going to the Children's Museum the next day. The kids are super excited about staying in a hotel while I'm excited to just be out of the house and eating out.

Thinking: ISTEP is freaking me out. Having never taught in an ISTEP grade before I didn't realize the pressure that is put on teachers to cram material in before the test. My kiddos this year are really struggling with long division and I worry I won't get through everything in time before the test.

Wanting: Last winter in Southern Indiana was down right awful. I think in the month of January I went to school 7 days. It was awful. The bitter cold and snow was constant it seemed. I'm praying this year we get a pass.

Needing: The next 3 weeks I will be teaching Fact / Opinion. While looking for lessons I keep finding material for lower elementary. It's proving difficult finding lessons that are on a 4th grade level.

Yes: My goal is to blog like I want to and should. I'm having a difficult time finding a balance to get everything in. I want to become a successful blogger. I just need to find my groove. :)

Maybe: Build up my savings. My husband and I really want to build up our savings by putting 10% of each check back. It seems that our family emergencies keep depleting our savings every time we start to see a gain. It's nice that we've had the savings to pull from but I really want to focus on building it up.

I Wish: Down the road I would like to transition into becoming a presenter. I've presented at conferences within my building and within my district but I want to branch out and go beyond. My district is 1:1 with devices and I truly feel my calling is helping other teachers implement technology in the classroom without taking away from instruction.

Thank you for taking the time to read. Have a fabulous New Year!


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Christmas Writing

You can follow Tracy at her new blog: The Knit Wit Teacher

I know, I know, I know. I had every intention of being a better blogger but that just didn't happen! Sorry friends.

I finished up my Christmas Writing mini-unit tonight. I think my kiddos are going to love this one.

I had a lot of fun making this one and I can't wait to use it next week with my class. I realized that I needed to take a step back after our Halloween writing so this week I'm focusing on several mini-lessons prior to our writing unit. 

My class is really struggling with being descriptive writers and giving the reader enough details to make a good mental picture with. This week I'm going to focus on re-teaching mental images and using adjectives along with "Show Don't Tell". 

What's going on in your classrooms? 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Whew! It's been Crazy! Five for Friday

You can follow Tracy at her new blog: The Knit Wit Teacher

To say the last month has been busy would be an understatement! Now that I'm on fall break I have the time to catch you up on everything that has been going on in 4th grade.

When I last blogged I told you about how my room was having mold issues. I'm happy to report that I now have tile in my classroom!!!! The old smelly carpet is gone and in it's place is this beautiful tile floor.

I can't tell you the difference it has made. I'm breathing so much easier now. I haven't had to use my inhaler once since the carpet has been taken out.

Going from carpet to tile has made my room look amazing. Check out the difference!

I've had the tile for a few weeks now and I'm still marveling at the difference. My room smells so nice now and the tile really brightens it up. I'm simply in love. 

That being said, I have now moved everything out of my classroom and back into my classroom 4 times since school started! But it was completely worth it so I don't mind a bit. 

When I haven't been moving my room I've slowly been working on Math Vocabulary Cards. I finally finished these up today. Thank goodness for Fall Break! 
192 math vocabulary cards as of today! It took many late nights to get these babies finished but I'm happy with the final product. Hopefully my kiddos love them as much as I do. 

I've also been working on making sight words flash cards for Owyn and Gavin. Now, I know these aren't 4th grade material but they turned out so cute I had to share. 

Don't you just love those fall colors! My dear friend Jena from Sew Much Music made them. I've fallen in love with all things fall at the moment. If you'd like this clipart set grab it below.  

I had my first Mommy freak out over a book my 8 year old daughter Leah was reading this week. She was reading The Summer of Moonlight Secrets by Danette Hawworth. It was a 4.0 reading level and looked to be right up her alley.

We were discussing it one night and she started telling me she didn't understand what was going on because it kept switching. I started flipping through the book and realized she meant the POV of the person speaking kept changing between characters. No biggie. I started reading and talking with her about the book and then I came across this passage:

“ She looks up at me, causing my heart to race, but I’m not nervous. A sure current pulses through my body and I feel like I’m on another planet. I reach out and smooth her hair like I’d wanted to the other day. When my hand touches her through, I feel her beating as fast as mine. 
I kiss her. Oh, my God, I kiss her. Her lips are soft and strawberry and her arms go around my neck. It’s better than I ever imagined, and it’s over way too soon. 

The next breath I take is pure satisfaction. My eyelids feel heavy. I look at her and smile. “You’re so pretty.” I want to stroke her hair, touch her cheek. I want to kiss her again." (p.144)

Now, I have no problem reading romance books. I actually read them all the time. The wording of this passage was a bit much for my 8 year old though. I stopped her reading the book because I was unsure of what was to come.  I then questioned if that was the right choice. What do you think? It that appropriate for an 8 year old? 

After I stopped her reading of The Summer of Moonlight Secrets I had Leah start reading The Doll People by Ann M. Martin. If you don't have this series in your classroom you must add it to your collection. Such a cute read. It grabbed Leah's interest from the start and she read it in 3 days. She's now on book 2 and loving it as well. 

I just finished up my first quarter in 4th grade and I have to say it's been an eye opening experience. Stay tuned for my thoughts...

Friday, September 5, 2014

Five for Friday - September 5th

You can follow Tracy at her new blog: The Knit Wit Teacher

It's been awhile friends. Sorry!!! Today I've finally remembered to blog on Friday!! Thank you to Doodle Bugs Teaching for hosting Five for Friday. What would I do without you? 

Have you ever been so pumped up and then had something ruin it? That was the start to my year. Mold/Moisture are running my vibe. 

 This would be my classroom on Saturdays. Our A/C keeps kicking off and it's wrecking havoc in my room. Even during the week the humidity inside has reached 76%. Three weeks into my school year and we are still trying to get this sorted out. My room is smelly at the moment due to the dampness but hopefully my carpet will be taken out soon and replaced with tile. Fingers crossed. Send up some prayers teacher friends. My students and I NEED tile over carpet. Trust me on this.
One morning I actually I had to actually go home and change clothes. Nothing beats sitting down in your teacher chair and then having a wet rear end. Luckily I live close, had an earlyish morning special, and my principal let me run home and change clothes. 

My classroom is having some serious moisture issues. sigh....

I'm a girl that HATES winter. I despise it with ever fiber of my being. But, I love fall. Candy corn is my favorite and my current go-to treat. I'm thankful these bad boys showed up in my local grocery this week. 

This week I started making flip books. They turned out so cute and I can't wait to start using them. So far I've made my first Authors flip book set. I have another author set and then I'm working on inventors.

Edu-Clips has the cutest clip art. Anyone else have clip art buying addictions? "Hi, my name is Tracy and I need to stop buying clip art." Maybe we should form a club.

 I am finally admitting defeat and buying a new washer and dryer. This is a tad bit stressful for me because there are so many choices. This is a huge expense and I don't want to make a wrong choice.

 Front loader, top loader, steam clean, HE, or regular?

After going to my local mom and pop store I was introduced to the brand Speed Queen. They actually talked me AWAY from LG and Whirlpool.

Speed Queens are USA made, used in laundry mats, and have excellent reviews. I sat down and really thought about what I wanted in a washer and dryer and I realized it was simple.

Great smelling. Clean clothes. I don't need my washer to be beautiful and I don't need it to play a song when it's done. I need it to hold up to a family of 6. If they are used in laundry mats then surely it can handle my demands. I will hopefully be purchasing a new set this weekend. Anyone else heard of Speed Queen?

A few years ago my district adopted enVision Math. WE. HATE. IT. It has huge gaps in the curriculum and the order is insane. It jumps around all over the place and my students and parents don't understand it. The examples are poor and they don't give a lot of practice. Three weeks into the year and I've had parents emailing/texting/calling me like crazy because they hate the math. I realized I had to make some changes. I already us Accelerated Math but I went back and found our old Math series. Harcourt. 

I'm lucky enough to be able to scan in the math pages from the 1 student edition I have. I can then send them to my students using and they can save the pages as PDF's. Students and parents now how good examples to refer back to and the order makes sense. I will still be using enVision when I have too. But for now Harcourt is saving me. 

I'm finding out that going from 3rd to 4th is a big jump for my students and parents. They are realizing that 4th grade is more challenging and we have to move at a faster pace. What are your tips for helping your students and parents make this transition? 

Thanks for stopping by! See you next week.

Monday, September 1, 2014

September Currently

You can follow Tracy at her new blog: The Knit Wit Teacher

I say this every month but how in the world is it already September 1st!?!?!

That being said....I am linking up with Oh' Boy 4th Grade for the September currently.

Listening: A few weeks ago I was watching the new show "Night Shift" and  during one of the last episodes they played "There's a Rumor" and I fell in love with this song. It's not on my Spotify and I listen to it all the time. 

Loving: I love how simple my Kindle has made getting new books. I've spent the last few days in bed and my kindle has saved me. I've been saving "The Collector" by Nora Roberts. Today is going to be the day I finally read it. I can't wait! 

Thinking: We moved into our house 2 years ago this weekend. In that 2 years my dryer has never been the same. I wanted to blame it on the vent system in the new house but we just had all that cleaned out and my dryer still isn't working. Now my washer is smelling funny. It's time to break down and buy a new set. I can't decide if I want a front loader or top loader. Suggestions? 

Wanting: Lemon Bars. I am not a lemon person. Well, I thought I wasn't. Then I had these lemon bars and fell in love. Added bonus: they are so easy to make. As soon as I can breathe again I am making these babies. They are so yummy. 

Needing: To breathe again. I live in the Ohio Valley and lately the humidity has been awful. Humidity and mold go hand in hand and it's kicking my butt at the moment. I'm allergic to mold and I can't seem to escape it! I'm hoping that my new inhaler will kick in soon and I can breathe again. 

3 Trips: My husband and I went to Brugge, Belgium years ago and had a fantastic time. It's such a beautiful city that is under appreciated. I can't wait to go back. Germany is actually where we are considering teaching next. They have some of the top notch eye doctors in the world that are making amazing gains with Aniridia research. We are contemplating moving so that our daughter can get new treatments. New Zealand has always been a dream of mine. I'm hopefully I will be able to go in the next 5 years. That's my goal anyways.

Have an amazing September friends!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Tying Shoes

You can follow Tracy at her new blog: The Knit Wit Teacher

I know I don't teach primary anymore but I still remember the never ending task of tying shoes. The bunny ears just weren't easy for some kids.

Tonight I came across this video on Facebook and it's GENIUS. I only wish I had this when I taught kindergarten.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Cruisin' Classrooms Linky

It's finally finished!!!! I love my new classroom. 

If you remember this is what my classroom looked like before:

After weeks of paining and working in my room nonstop I'm finally finished! I can't tell you how relieved I was when I realized the painting was finished. Remember that post about my painting? It's downright embarrassing how bad I am. Take a second to read it and then have sympathy for all the klutzes out there. 

Now that the painting is behind me I can appreciate how open and clean my room looks now. 

I have many favorite parts of this room but I must say I love how the READ acrostic poem turned out. I also love my book quotes. Inspiring my students through book quotes has such a neat appeal to me. Nothing like turning to Dumbledore for a bit of advice. 

Take a look! 

This is the view of the front of my room. The library pocket charts and hand signal circles were such a genius idea from Miss Sammi. Did you notice the MacCart? I'm so EXCITED to be working in a school that is 1:1. Not only do all of my students have iPads but we share a MacCart at 4th grade. It's such a blessing!!! 

I just love this....Before You Speak Think Is it.....and then each letter has a word:

I really want to stress to be kiddos the importance of this message. 

Just look at those cubbies!!! I love them now. They were worth every bruise! 

Classroom rule signs are hanging from the front of my air unit. They are from KinderCraze and are so fitting! I just love the design. They match my room perfectly! I added to her idea and created Book Quotes to hang above. 

I created the READ acrostic poem using my dear friend Jena's Cricut. Have you ever used one??? If not, find a friend with one and be prepared to fall in love. I'm really hoping I can convince our PTO to purchase one for staff to use. 

Don't you just love these purple curtains?! Michelle and I made them! Gotta love hem tape. We actually took bedroom curtains from Wal-Mart, cut them in half, and hemmed them. It was so easy! 

I can't tell you how pumped I am to use this Word Warriors Spelling Unit. Reading Street spelling just wasn't working for my kids. I wanted something that was meaningful and that would help them be better word detectives. This unit looks like it will fit the bill perfectly! 

Getting routine established at the beginning of the year can be so frustrating. This year I'm using these hand signals so my kiddos never have to leave their seats and yet I can tell what they need from across the room.

Ignore the wrinkled paper. My room had some moisture issues so all my boards wrinkled. :( 

I love the little glass jars. They were perfect! Thank goodness for Gordmans. 

Mr. Coffee, Fridge, Microwave, Toaster, and Tea Kettle....I don't even need to leave my room! 

I love this cabinet. It turned out so perfect. 

I'm not a fan of my teacher desk so until my new one arrives this is what I'm using. I covered the old ugly top with this fantastic contact paper and VOILA it fits my room perfectly. 

This classroom is so me and so far my kiddos are loving it! They have taken such pride in our room and are keeping it clean and tidy. It makes this OCD teacher proud! 

Now, it's your turn! 

Join us as we cruise through teachers classrooms. Each year is new and exciting and I can't wait to see what everyone is doing in their rooms this year. If you would like to link up just follow these steps: 

* Grab the linky image above and link back to this blog post. 
* Blog about your room this year and share your favorite part of your room. 
* Click below and add your image. 
* Please comment on the blog post before and after yours. Share the love friends. Share the love! 

This link will stay open for several weeks so don't stress if your room isn't ready yet! Just come back when you are finished and join in on the fun. 

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