Sunday, October 25, 2015

I Need a Clean House

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

I don't know about you, but a messy house stresses me out.  I often see images like this on Pinterest or Facebook and I can completely relate. 

But as I've gotten older I can no longer handle the messiness. I'm not saying I want my house to be a museum. I get the point of this picture.

But why can't I be a good mom, have a clean house, and happy kids? My kids are 11, 9, 6, and 6. They are old enough to help. I'd like my house to stay clean enough that if a friend or family member stopped by unexpectedly I wouldn't be embarrassed by the disaster that was my house. Do my kids care about this though? No. Instead they want to watch TV or play video games/iPads all day. The screen time was becoming a serious issue so after looking through Pinterest I developed this chart. 

Each kid has a box with their name next to it. After they complete a chore to my expectations they receive their points. If they want to play a video game, iPad, or any other reward they have to spend their points. 

I debated on making outside 5 points but I felt like they should at least have their bed made before they went out. 

We've been using this a week and I've been amazed! My kids have been playing and using their imaginations instead of playing video games. We've had blanket forts in the living room and bedrooms but they are quick to clean them up. Bedrooms and bathrooms are staying clean. I'm not finding shoes in random spots. Will this point system work forever? I'm sure it won't. For the time being it's teaching responsibility, expectations, and how to earn your free time. The first day took a lot of cleaning but now it only takes a few minutes and that's what the kids are FINALLY realizing. If they clean up after themselves, they won't have huge messes all the time. 

Want to know the best part? I'm not going crazy because the house is always messy. :) 
A happy Mommy makes a happy house. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Monday Made It - October 20

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

Thank you to 4th Grade Frolics for once again hosting Monday Made It.

I have been crazy busy crocheting and loom knitting these last few weeks. Loom knitting is new to me but I'm loving it.

It's so easy and you see results very quickly. Aside from loom knitting I've been crocheting baby blankets for friends.

I crocheted this blanket for a friends' sweet baby boy. It looks purple in the picture but it's actually a mixture of blue and teal. My oldest son picked out the colors saying it's okay for boys to like teal. This is a v-stitch blanket that is super easy to make. You can follow the video here for a guide.

I very quickly loom knitted this hat using this YouTube video also from Melanie Ham as a guide. I love watching Melanie's videos to figure out a project. She does a great job of explaining the steps.

My daughter has really wanted to learn to knit/crochet but her vision disability has bade that goal difficult. Loom knitting was the answer to her prayers. She's able to see what to do and hasn't gotten frustrated. I can't tell you how proud of her I am.

In my classroom I've been working on a novel study for The Sign of the Beaver. I love this book but couldn't find  resources to go with it so I started creating. It took several weeks but I finally finished it. 

For my next Monday Made It, I want to make these adorable Christmas stockings

Don't you just love them??!!! I don't know all the stitches required though so this one may take a bit. Let the fun begin! 


Monday, October 5, 2015

Novel Study

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

The beginning of the school year got away from me. One big reason for this is that I completely revamped my reading block. With changing school I suddenly had more time in day. 30+ minutes actually. It gave me the ability to move my schedule around and really teach the way I wanted.

I am not a fan of textbooks. I think the stories are boring and my students were not interested in them. I began to think about great children's literature and I wanted to use those books in my classroom. As I've mentioned before 4th grade in my district teaches in 3 week units by skill. It looks like this:

Quarter 1

Weeks 1-3: Sequence
Weeks 4-6: Compare/Contrast
Weeks 7 - 9: Main Idea

Quarter 2

Weeks 10-12: Cause/Effect
Weeks 13-15: Drawing Conclusions/ Inferring
Weeks 16-18: Story Structure/ Text Features

Quarter 3

Weeks 19-20: Fact/Opinion , Predict and Set Purpose
Weeks 22-24: Literary Elements
Weeks 25-27: Story Structure

Quarter 4

Weeks 27-30: Review, Poetry
Weeks 31-33: Fables & Myths/ Visualize / Greek Gods/Goddesses
Weeks 33-35: Graphic Sources

What I've done is attached a children't novel to these and we are doing a novel study while pulling in other resources to also hit the weekly skill. I have started creating my own novel studies but their are some great ones on TPT also.

Here is the Google Doc I've used for my planning and resources. Not only do I use TPT products, and products I've made. I also use children's literature to pull in mini lessons.

Quarter 1

Weeks 1-3: Sequence: Because of Winn-Dixie
Weeks 4-6: Compare/Contrast: Matilda 
Weeks 7 - 9: Main Idea: The Sign of the Beaver

This Novel study will be live next week. I've been delayed....see below for that explanation!
UPDATE: Now live on TPT!!! 

Quarter 2

Weeks 10-12: Cause/Effect: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 
Weeks 13-15: Drawing Conclusions/ Inferring: The One and Only Ivan
Weeks 16-18: Story Structure/ Text Features: Mr. Popper's Penguins

Quarter 3

Weeks 19-20: Fact/Opinion , Predict and Set Purpose: Bridge to Terabithia
Weeks 22-24: Literary Elements: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Weeks 25-27: Story Structure: Charlotte's Web

Quarter 4

Weeks 27-30: Review, Poetry: Love That Dog
Weeks 31-33: Fables & Myths/ Visualize / Greek Gods/Goddesses: Percy Jackson & the Lightening Thief
Weeks 33-35: Graphic Sources: Open

My students absolutely love these books. My teaching partner and I typed up the list of books we were using and explained to parents what we were doing. We stated that if any parent had a problem with the list they were to write in and let us know, otherwise we would use the books listed. We didn't have a single parent contact us so that was good.

Now did we have class sets of all these books in August? Absolutely not. But we asked around and our school librarian was able to use library funds to purchase class sets for us! Our PTO was also willing to step up and purchase books if we needed them. If you don't have a class set, then do a read aloud. Or, purchase it for your Kindle and throw it up on the screen so your class can read along with you.

I've created a novel study for The Sign of the Beaver that we are currently using in class. I'm going to add it to my TPT store ASAP but my darling son Colin derailed my progress.

Being 100% boy he decided to jump OVER the mailbox. Now mind you, I just told him a few weeks ago to stop sitting on top of the mailbox because he would jump and sit on it. Why? I have no idea. But did he listen to his Mother? Of course not. He tried to jump over the mailbox but missed the landing. He landed on the curb instead and received a nasty wrist fracture. I'll spare you THAT picture. It was disgusting. Bones shouldn't bend that way! After the ER, ambulance ride, countless xrays, and specialist he had to have surgery.

We thought they were just going to go in and move the bone back but instead he had to receive a plate and screws. His arm muscle kept moving the bone back out of place.  He will receive his cast next week. Fingers crossed.

If you've never had surgery, or never had a child that has had surgery, thank your lucky stars. The anesthesia is awful for a few days after surgery. Colin's muscles were so sore for 3 days. He could hardly walk, didn't want to eat a thing, and was just overall miserable. We finally turned a corner yesterday and he was able to go back to school today.

Now that he's on the right track I'll work on finishing my Sign of the Beaver Teacher Edition with the answer keys and I'll get that added to TPT. If you have any questions about how I implemented the changes in my Reading Block just let me know!

I've also started crocheting again and I've finished 3 baby blankets over the last few weeks. All those doctor offices really helped with my crochet!

(Follow the link for the YouTube video for these blankets)

Where is picture 3 you ask? I have no idea.....I know I took it but can't find it now. Story of my life. :)

What's going on with you? Inquiring minds want to know!