Thursday, July 24, 2014

Don't Miss This Giveaway!

Nichole at The Craft of Teaching is having a huge giveaway to celebrate her new teaching position and follower milestones. Check it out - many bloggers have donated items for you to win. I have donated my Mega Sub Pack for August/September, a $9 value:

There are so many awesome prizes, as soon as I finish this post I'm hopping over to enter! Click the giveaway button at the top of the post to go directly to Nichole's blog. Good luck!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Made It: July 21st

Back from my Alaskan cruise and excited to link up again! Of course, I didn't get much done - most of my week was recovering from the time change and being up for about 40 hours straight for travel back home:)

My class shares two bathrooms with three other classes. I manage it by using passes; they hang up in the room and students place them on their desks when they use them. We go through 2 - 3 each year, because of use, so I picked up a new pack of foam doorhangers at Michael's this week plus a package of letters, and we are set for the start of the year!

Last year I saw a pin using shower caddies to organize small group things and wanted it right away. Unfortunately, the shower caddies like this are not easy to find during the school year, so I made a mental note to look when the "off to college" supplies were in the stores. Bed, Bath and Beyond advertised these last week, so I grabbed two. One will be for math and one for science. I made the tags, but of course the stuff for inside is all in my classroom at the moment; I'm trying to decide if I want to go to school this week and start pulling my tables back into place! Right before our trip I had picked up a package of zip ties at the dollar store to make sure luggage tags stayed on and they are turning out to be helpful for all kinds of things!

When I got back home last Monday I had a flyer from Walmart - with 50 cent composition books in it! I picked up 20 and took them to OfficeMax to be cut (just $4.63). These are going to be my students' math practice books (homework). This is my first year to use the half notebooks, and I'm excited to see how they work.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Saturday Savings: Scotch Expressions

We all spend lots of our own money on our classroom, so I thought I would begin a new (irregular) series with money saving ideas for classroom teachers. I'll be making it a Saturday post, and will blog whenever I know about a good deal!

I picked up a couple rolls of the Scotch Expressions washi tape in Staples a few weeks ago. I like to use tape on my white board to box off areas for different things. I'll be picking up more rolls using this $5 off a $10 purchase coupon that expires in August! Click the picture to go to the coupon and print. You can only use one coupon per day, so enlist a friend or make two trips (that's what I'm doing).

Friday, July 18, 2014

Fiction Friday: July 18th

I did quite a bit of reading while I was on vacation, but not much from my stack of children's literature. I was able to finish this one when I got home:

Rump: The True Story of Rumplestiltskin interested me more because I am a fan of Once Upon A Time (LOL) than because it is one of our Florida award winners this year! The author, Liesl Shurliff, knows what it's like to have an unusual name and really brings that out in the story. Here's the Amazon summary:

In a magic kingdom where your name is your destiny, 12-year-old Rump is the butt of everyone's joke. But when he finds an old spinning wheel, his luck seems to change. Rump discovers he has a gift for spinning straw into gold. His best friend, Red Riding Hood, warns him that magic is dangerous, and she’s right. With each thread he spins, he weaves himself deeper into a curse.

To break the spell, Rump must go on a perilous quest, fighting off pixies, trolls, poison apples, and a wickedly foolish queen. The odds are against him, but with courage and friendship—and a cheeky sense of humor—he just might triumph in the end.

With a grade 4 reading level I will definitely be talking about this one to my 3rd graders who enjoy fantasy stories.

Hopefully next week I'll get a bit further into my stack of books! I saw some intriguing books in Alaska and will be looking them up on Amazon (not that I need any more!).

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Are You A STAR? You Should Be!

One of my PD workshops this summer was about using Discovery Education in science. I was surprised that most of my colleagues in the training were not familiar with the DEN  - the Discovery Education Network - and no one knew about the STAR Educator program. I've blogged about this before, but it has been quite awhile so I want to put in a plug for it once again!

First the Den. I snipped a short description from the website:

Here is a short video to introduce the Network.

I've been a DEN Star for many years now, and I love the community! Here are some benefits of being a member:

One of my favorite things over the years has been receiving early invitations to events here in the Orlando area. I have been to some great events with other DEN members where I was able to learn about new uses for technology tools, network with other teachers, and have tours of SeaWorld, Orlando Science Center, Wonderworks. There are always great door prizes and giveaways; at my first event I received a boxed set of Planet Earth, which had just been released.

If your district subscribes to Discovery Education, please go and watch the video about becoming a DEN Star! It is well worth your time. And then apply, and join the group!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Fiction Friday: July 11th

Here it is .  . . the Alaska edition of Fiction Friday. So far this week we have visited Tracy Arm, Juneau, Sitka, and today we will see Ketchikan. After a stop in Victoria, British Columbia, on Saturday night we'll return to port Sunday morning.

The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen is the first book a a trilogy geared to ages 10 and up. It's an adventure story set in a fictional kingdom, with intrigue and twists in the plot. The main character, Sage, is an orphan recruited by a nobleman to compete to play the part of the dead younger son of the late king. With two other boys he is trained to play the role of Prince Jaron. It seems likely that the losers of the competition will be killed, so even though Sage does not want to be king the alternative puts him in a lot of danger.
I enjoyed the story and plan to request the other to books from the library when I get back from vacation. With such a low price on Amazon I will be getting a copy for my classroom library, too. It's a book that may well appeal to some of the higher level readers. I also plan to use the scholastic book trailer:

And for a different kind of book, I finished Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis. This is historical fiction, set during the Depression in Michigan. Bud is a 10-year-old African American orphan who has bounced around foster homes since his mother died. He carries all his worldly possessions in a beat-up cardboard suitcase. One of his treasures is a flyer advertising a jazz group. Bud becomes convinced that the leader must be the father he never knew. After an encounter with an abusive foster family he decides to run away and find a real family. There is a twist to the story, which I won't spoil for you! I loved this book, especially the character of Bud. It is both funny and touching. This is one that I'm considering as a read-aloud this year. I think a lot of students will relate to Bud's journey, his grit, and the fact he just never gives up. I also want to try my hand at making my own book trailer, maybe in Animoto.

I have a bunch of books on my iPad for the trip, so hopefully I'll have something to share next week -- see you then!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A beach, a bucket . . .

Here I am in Sitka, Alaska. 

Trying not to think about school, but I do want to share this game of Fraction BINGO!

Last year I posted a freebie version of Beach Bucket Bingo, with the intention of expanding the product. It only took a year! The version in my store has 8 different bingo cards.


Math bingo games are one of my favorite things to leave for a sub, along with a box of Os cereal. It's typical for my kiddos to tell me the best thing about the day was the bingo game! This one gives students practice with identifying a representation of the fraction. It includes halves, thirds, fourths,eighths and tenths. You can see it in my store here.

BTW, I really like having my things in color but I know not everyone can do that! This game is just as usable when printed with black ink only.

Fractions was one of the problem areas in my third grade class last year, so I'm making sure I have some activities ready to go this coming year. What do you do to help your kids master fractions?

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