Last week was a long week due to Interval testing and Thanksgiving break fast approaching. However, after testing we kept busy with numerous activities. Take a peek at our week!


1. Turkeys in Disguise

We started with a persuasive writing to convince our families why we shouldn't eat turkey for Thanksgiving. We brainstormed some ideas and then students wrote a 3 paragraph essay giving their reasons and details. Then to conclude the lesson they disguised a turkey. Here are a few of the best ones.



Here's a student's sample writing.


2. Skype Call

Next was a Skype call to a 4th grade class in Maine. The teacher from Maine @jennygr4 contacted me through Twitter asking if we would be interested in skyping with her class to compare and contrast our states. Of course we were interested! She sent over a list of questions they would be asking us, and we researched the answers to get ready for the Skype call. During the call, I had a few students volunteers who answered the questions and then we had our turn to ask them the same questions. Great way to learn about another state!



3. Our PreK Friends

On Friday we visited a PreK class to share a Thanksgiving story and help them with a turkey craft.
Fun Times!


4. Baby Shepherd

Went in last Friday for my last ultrasound. Baby Shepherd is 20 weeks along!




So happy to be able to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. 

Here's a look at our week!


1. On Monday we celebrated Veterans Day by watching a video on "Armed Forces" on Brainpop, and then created an outline of the key points mentioned. Finally, we came together as a class and created the anchor chart (Pinterest inspired)  "We Love Our Veterans" using our notes. The anchor chart was a great addition to our foldables we made last week on the Causes and Effects of the American Revolution. 



2. Wednesday we had our first Skype call with @sarahallen's 5th grade class in Missouri. They shared their vertebrae riddles with us, and we did a great job at guessing what they were. Their riddles inspired us so much that we are planning to create our own on important figures from the American Revolution next week. If you are interested in hearing our riddles leave me a comment below.




3. Last week I tweeted that I was looking for an activity for my 4th graders and @sabuller replied back to me with an awesome Thanksgiving web mix that she created. I then created a Scavenger Hunt for students to complete in centers and we finished it up today in computer lab.





4. After students completed their web mix in computer lab today they also made a post on Kidblog of what they are Thankful for. Check out their posts here! They would love you or your student's comments.


5. Finally, all this week during morning work we have been discussing parts of speech. My student teacher taught the students two songs to help them remember linking verbs and pronouns. 

Here they are- 

video


video



    Three years ago I found out about Trucker Buddy through a blog post, and for the past three years my class and I have been buddies and communicating via email with Mr. Eason.
   Today Mr. Eason visited our class and gave my students an introduction about himself, information about his profession and where he has been the last 10 weeks. The last 10 weeks he has been traveling to Alaska for his job. He shared with the students an awesome powerpoint that he put together with lots of pictures of his travels on the road, what he carried on his flatbed, and pictures of the beautiful Alaskan scenery.

Here is the Alaskan flag which he purchased for our class. 


The Alaskan newspaper....

And a mug he purchased just for me from Alaska. How thoughtful!

We love communicating with our trucker buddy, and we can't wait for his next visit. Next time he plans to bring his truck so we can take a tour. It was in the shop being repaired for this visit. 






Last school year, I wrote a grant through Donors Choose requesting a class subscription to Scholastic News and Time for Kids. Well the magazines have been coming in like crazy, that sometime it's hard to keep up with them.
  However,  we've used them in numerous ways so far such as:

  • reading the debate that is located on the back page of the Scholastic News magazine and writing our own opinion statements and posted to our Kidblog
  • reading them daily to keep up with the current events
  • we also use them on Friday to closely analyze an article and answer map related questions
  •  And this week we will be using them to learn how to write outlines.
I also plan to use them in the next month to teach students about non-fiction text features, introduce the structure of texts and finding the main idea.

How do you use these magazines in your classroom? 



I have been away from my blog for way too long. This is the first time in the last two years since I've started my blog that I haven't posted in at least a month's time.

Here's my excuse. My husband and I are expecting baby #4, and our boys are so excited! So needless to say I've been exhausted when I get home from work, which has led me to neglecting my blog. However, I am entering the second trimester so I'm hoping for my energy to soon make a come back.


My post for today is about how my students and I make connections. Making connections gives students an authentic learning experience. It allows students to have a more positive attitude towards learning, and creates opportunities for learners to collaborate and produce polished products. 

My students have pen pals in New York and Iowa, whom we write to at least once a month. We just sent out our first pen-pal letters introducing ourselves and asking our pen-pals a few questions. 

We are also collaborating with a class in California on a Geography project. They are sending us information on California, and we are sending them information on Louisiana. We are just finishing up our first product, which is a map of Louisiana outlining all of our 64 parishes. We have also written in our state symbols on the side. 

We have also made a connection with a class in France, who has already sent us a letter describing their class and their country. We are still working on ours.

Last but not least, our class is still connecting with our trucker buddy who has collaborated with me for the past two years. He has already sent us pictures from his travels to Canada, and we are looking forward to seeing pictures to his next destination to Alaska. 

How do you make connections? 


A french teacher who found my blog via Pinterest is doing a project this year with her 9-10 year old students on North America. She is looking for US teachers who would be interested in exchanging postcards with her class. If you are interested leave me a comment below with your state and your email address. I'll send her the information, and she'll send you an email in reply with her school address so you can start the exchange.

Hope you'll participate! This is a great opportunity for your students.
The last two weeks I've been busy teaching students how to write an opinion paper from a single text.

To begin the lesson, I began teaching students how to turn a Weak Statement into a Strong Statement.

Here are a few examples:

Weak Statement: I love recess. I think we should have recess more often.

Strong Statement: Do you have students who can't sit still in your classroom and need to get their energy out? I have a solution! Please consider giving students 20 minutes of recess every day. Recess is beneficial because it allows for exercise, students to socialize with their friends, and for students to get their energy out.

This strong statement became our opening paragraph.

This week I began working with students to add examples, or (supporting details), and personal experiences to support our reasons for our recess topic.

Here is a look at the graphic organizer I use with students.


Then we moved on to writing our opinion paper from a single text using evidence from the passage and prompt to write our opening paragraph, gather our reasons, and supporting details. We used the Challenger Deep from Writing 2 found on Louisiana Pass which is our state practice testing site. 

Monday I will facilitate a lesson on how to write a strong ending paragraph as you can see in the last box of the graphic organizer. Tuesday we will begin publishing our papers to our class Kidblog site.

My favorite go to site for tips and best used strategies for opinion writing is Learnzillion.

How do you teach Opinion Writing? 

The day has come and gone for the students and me to return to school. Friday was our first day back and the day was filled with lots of activities, routines, and procedures. Here's an exact breakdown of what the first day entailed.

  • Upon entering the classroom students worked on a class name word search and an All About Me poster.
  • Next came Classroom rules- I began with teaching the WBT rules activating student's whole brain. They loved it!
  • Then we picked up supplies and color coded our composition notebooks. Red=Reading, English=green, Blue=Social Studies, Purple= Math, Yellow=Science. With having 5 notebooks in your school bag all looking the same, color coding helps students locate the right notebook quickly.
  • Next was the Teacher test. I gave students an 10 question test titled "How well do you know your teacher?" They chose their best answers and I followed the questions with the answers on a flip chart.
  • We visited the computer lab and explored our class website and began typing practice.
  • Lunch
  • Wrote an "I Am " Poem which will become our first blog post next week on Kidblog.
  • PE
  • Completed our "I Am" poems.
  • Dismissal
The day went by very quickly!

This coming week is our first full week back and lesson plans are finally completed for the first 2 weeks of school.

Here's a peek at next week's agenda:
  • Reading- Discussing what makes a good reader and modeling and practicing what good readers do using Folktales
  • English- Capitalization Rules and Writing Sample
  • Social Studies- Map Skills including latitude, longitude, equator, prime meridian, etc..
Anchor Charts for next week:





Wow, it's been almost two weeks since my last post! Where has time gone? Well, it has gone to lesson planning, room preparation, and spending as much time as I can with my three boys keeping them busy. Look how great they are!




Took them today to Bookoo Bounce (Inflatable Jump House) and to lunch. Tomorrow we are off to see the Smurfs 2. I think I may be more excited then them about the movie.

Today I'm linking up with Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for the August Currently linky.


Listening- There is so much going on here in southern LA- good and bad. I've also been trying to watch the Today show these last few days before I start work in 5 days to keep up and catch up on what's going on with the country.

Loving- I am loving my classroom! My classroom colors this year are black and red. I used red chevron border with black fadeless paper for the background and also incorporated my star border. You can see what it looks like here.

Thinking- I have way too many things on my To-Do list. My hope is to get through most of them next Monday.

Wanting- Yes, I want one more month of summer. So I can really relax!

Needing- I need a back massage. I really don't care for massages and have only had a handful of massages in my life time, but my back has been hurting a lot lately. So, bad I can't even sleep at night. I think it is my mattress. So, maybe I need a new mattress!

B2s-
1. I have completed my ELA lesson plans for the first 5 weeks of school, however I changed them completely yesterday upon finding the site Learnzillion. Great site if you need guidance on how to approach the CCSS. I now have 2 weeks of lesson plans complete, but I keep finding great ideas all over the web from blogs, pinterest, twitter and Facebook. I need to stop looking!

2. I need a good night's sleep between my new puppy whining and my back aching I don't get much sleep at night.

3. When school begins officially for students on Friday, August 9th I need students who are ready to learn.






It's Monday again and I'm linking up with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics.




This Monday I would like to spotlight my bulletin boards that I made for my classroom. 

Behold the behavior board! I have a little space at the bottom that will hold my classroom jobs.

                               


Traits of good writing board and my class calendar. I love this dry erase calendar that I picked up at Target. I write upcoming school events, birthdays, assessments and school holidays all on this little board. My students like checking it out, and like knowing what is coming up.






Homework Board


                

  Super improver Wall- I still need to cut out about 50 white stars with student's names to display on the board.



Last, another shot of my classroom from the door. I hung three red Pom Pom balls today. Love the way it looks! 









Do your students need reminders? 

Of course they do, and even us teachers need reminders every day or like me sometimes every hour. 

That is why this pin caught my attention that was created by Kelly at Kelly's Knack.


To  match my classroom decor I created this 1 minute dismissal checklist that you can grab for free here.




So, if you like what you see you can download it for FREE.





Cara at The First Grade Parade is hosting a Favorite Pins Friday linky. Pinterest is definitely one of my everyday go to sites. I have tons of pins 2,176 pins to be exact. You can check them out and follow my many boards here








Here are a few of my favorites pins..............

#1


This pin was created by Think Share Teach and leads you to151 leading sites for Elementary Educators. 


#2


Christy Whitehair has created 4th grade CCSS ELA labels as a FREE download. I have already downloaded these labels and made file folders to hold all of my lessons, assessments and other resources that pertain to that standard that I will collect throughout the year. 


#3


Love this simple and easy to make teacher gift by Lisa Storms. She also has the tags available as a free download. I've made this gift for my teacher friends and for my boys' teachers.


#4


Love this Data board by Angie at Two Things in Common. We were asked to create a Data wall this year for our classrooms and I have found the look I want with this pin. I really like how Angie has a mission statement and ground rules posted on the wall. 


#5


This is the best and simplest recipe for pot roast. I make this at least every two weeks and my family loves it. I've even made it over the stove cooking it for about an hour and a half instead of in the crockpot, which takes many hours. The only thing I changed when cooking it over the stove was the type of meat I purchased, which was grilling meat instead of a round roast.  


Having a classroom website is an essential part of building a home-school connection. That is why I'm linking up with Kristin at iTeach 1:1  to share an idea for managing your classroom website.


My classroom website which you can view here is built for my students and parents. You can find various pages on my class website such as an all about the teacher page, homework, reading websites, and more. 
My favorite part of my class website is being able to embed a google calendar. I can add events and homework to the calendar on any device such as my school laptop or even my iPhone and the calendar is updated instantly. 

Here's a video on how to embed a google calendar here




Hope you found this information useful and will hop over to the linky to check out how other teachers are utilizing their classroom websites. 

It was my third day back working in my classroom. I can definitely say I'm making some progress, but still have lots to do. 

This is the wall on the left of my room. You can see my super improver wall for both of my 4th grade classes. Next is the homework board, which I purchased because there wasn't a dry erase board in the classroom. I think I'm going to make the bare board in the middle the writing board for the stages of writing. The last board is my class rules and will hold behavior cards.


Here's the front of the room with my library of genres bulletin board, a reading center with rug in the corner and a bookshelf holding a plethora of mentor texts. The easel is on the reading carpet for now. To the left of the board are reading strategy posters and the WBT scoreboard. To the right of the board is a pocket chart to hold the learning goals and to the right of that is my data wall.

Here's the side of my room that still needs lots of work. On the far left are leap readers which were left in the room. Anyone use these? To the right of the cabinet are the leveled readers that go with our basal treasure series. I plan to have students use these as take home readers to practice class skill. I purchased red chevron fabric yesterday and brought it to my mom who is making me curtains to cover the cubbies at the bottom and two valences for the windows. Can't wait to hang those up. The two file cabinets you see by the bottom right will go by front door. 

Here's the back of the room another uncompleted area. I'm getting another kidney table to put in the back left corner in front of my mobile lab. The rest of the wall contains my classroom library.

This is a view from my door looking in.

I'm making progress! 

I'm linking up with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics again for her Monday Made it. 

I was inspired by a few pins on Pinterest and Julie's library checkout system at Lighting a Fire. You can see from my past post here that I orignally made my stars with a gray chevron. However, due to the colors of the walls in my new classroom I changed my class colors this year to red and black. So, I remade the stars, had them printed and went to our local teacher store The Educator to get them laminated. Finally, I put them together.

How does this work? I teach two 4th grade classes ELA and Social Studies. One class will have the red stars and the other the black. Each student will be assigned a class number which will correspond to their star stick. When it is their turn to check out a book they will simply grab their number star and place the stick into the book basket from which they picked their book. That way they will know where to return their book when they are done and I will know who has a book checked out. I used this system last year and it worked great in my classroom. Although, last year I used clothespins with the student's names and the clothespins broke. I am hoping the sticks stay together longer.


I am so honored to receive a nomination for the Liebster Award, which is an nomination given to acknowledge bloggers with fewer than 200 followers, by Susan at Middle School OCD.  She had some very kind words to say about me that you can check out on her blog. You will also find out when you head over to her blog what a great educator she is sharing lots of lessons and activities in the middle school classroom.

I am so happy to have connected with Susan and with so many other educators over the past three years through blogging.  I have been inspired, encouraged, challenged and my passion for teaching and learning has gone to a new level.

There are a few requirements with accepting this nomination such as:

  1. Link back to the blog that nominated me
  2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers (Sorry, I only nominated 3!)
  3. Answer the questions posted for me by my nominator 
  4. Share 11 random facts about myself (only 7, this was difficult)
  5. Create 11 questions for my nominees
  6. Contact my nominees and let them know I nominated them!


So, here it goes............

1. What is your favorite movie? Sweet Home Alabama

2. What is your favorite book? Anything by the author Emily Giffin. I have read all her books.

3. Do you have any pets? I have a black cat named Luna. We are currently looking to adopt a dog. Our dog Bella of 10 years passed away two weeks ago.

4. If you have a day all to your self, what is your favorite way to spend it? My favorite way to spend a day would be getting a pedicure and manicure and then heading to the mall to do some shopping.

5. In what store could you spend hours and hours? I could spend hours in Ann Taylor Loft, the Limited, Gap, and Banana Republic.

6. If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go? I would visit France where I am hoping to visit next summer for my 10th wedding anniversary.

7. If you could take your class on a field trip anywhere in the world, where would you go? Of course we would go to Disneyworld.

8. What is your favorite part about teaching?  My favorite part about teaching is when I see my students succeed.

9. If you weren't a teacher what would you be? I would be a stay at home mom.

10. Who is your hero? My hero is my husband.

11. Blogging makes me feel........inspired, connected, and current.

Random Facts....

1. I was a cheerleader in middle school, high school, college, and even competed on a competitive squad.

2. I worked at a skating rink.

3. I waited tables.

4. I taught summer cheerleading camps all over Louisiana.

5. I'm allergic to bananas and avocados.

6. I'm 4'll.

7. I had twin boys who both weighed 7lbs at birth.

Here are a few bloggers I am nominating and you should check out.

1. Allison  at Eberopolis: Teaching Reading and Writing with Technology: I found Allison's blog just recently and she has some amazing ideas!  She shares practical ways to teach 4th graders reading and writing while incorporating technology. I always look forward to reading her blog posts to check out the ways she uses technology with her students.

2. Ms. W at UpperGrades are Awesome- Here is a 5th grade blog with tons of great ideas for use in the upper grades classroom. Ms. W not only shares resources to use in the upper grades, but also has a TPT store where you can purchase her products.

3. Julie at Southern Teacher WBT- Julie is a WBT (Whole Brain Teacher). She shares with others how she is using WBT in her classroom and how she is using WBT techniques. I am inspired by Julie's posts on her blog and her posts on the Whole Brain Teaching bookclub.





Before I share two amazing resources that I've found in the past two days, I'd like to share with you what I decided on my teacher desk.

I decided to get rid of it and turn it into a tech/ small group station. Thanks to all those who left me comments with suggestions. I truly have been happy without having a teacher's desk the last two years and really just don't see the need for it. I'm always on my feet and moving around to monitor the students' work and their conversations. Can't wait to post pictures soon of the end result of my classroom! I still have so much to do!

So, these past few days we've had a lot of rain here in New Orleans and with that I've been on the computer a lot searching for ideas, activities and lessons for next year. I found two amazing resources that I plan to use this coming year and I want to share them with all my blog followers.

The first is Brenda Kovich's blog Teaching Seriously, which you can see below in the pic. Her blog is amazing in that she has broken down every CCSS discussing in detail what is expected and gives examples of lessons to use in teaching the standard. This is just what I've been looking for!



The next amazing resource is a teacher created product by Nicole Shelby. She has created Reading and Language Interactive notebooks that are CC aligned. You must download the preview to get a glimpse of how amazing her product is. I'm really looking forward to using these interactive notebooks with my 4th graders this year. These interactive notebooks will greatly benefit all of my students.



A Desk or not a desk? That is the question!

The last two years I've been without a desk in my 4th grade classroom. I never really felt a need for a desk since I am always on my feet. The desk also always ended up with stacks of papers piled high. I have been much better organized without it. However, this year due to having to move buildings to a new classroom, I've gained a teacher's desk. So, I'm thinking of keeping the desk and maybe making it a special place for students to sit, or maybe I'll just use it again to stack papers. Ahh! I could even change it into a tech station for my technology which is housed in the lab you see by the wall. What are your thoughts?

Here it is, excuse the mess!


As you can see from the pic above I have lots of decorating to do with those tan walls. I'm hoping my red chevron border will help brighten up the place a bit.


I can't believe it is almost July! So much to read and do before school begins on August 6th. When do you return?


So, of course to start off July, Farley at Oh' Boy Fourth Grade is at it again with her monthly currently.


* Listening to my 3 boys run around the house- They are really into Indiana Jones movies and dressing up pretending they are on adventures. It is so cute, but my house ends up looking like a disaster after they get worn out.

*Loving that it is Saturday-I've been up since 7am, went to the gym, and came home to cook lunch. I'm   catching up on my blog reading and commenting, and then hoping to watch some TV and relax.

*Thinking of all the things I need to get printed & laminated- I have so many items on my wish list over at TPT and a few items that I have created myself. I need to get them printed, laminated and then hung up in my classroom. I am switching classrooms this year and moving into an entire new building. I am hoping I can get my things moved in the next two weeks with the help of my hubby.

*Wanting granite countertops and roman shades- I sent my hubby to Home Depot this morning to order roman shades for our 4 kitchen windows, but then he called me and talked me out of it because he thought the price was too high. So, now we are thinking of getting granite countertops. I am hoping we get one or the other before the summer ends. One house project a summer.

*Needing to catch up on my reading of WBT and Teach Like a Pirate- I am participating in the WBT book study and am currently on chapter 7. I can't wait to get started on implementing more of WBT in my 4th grade classroom this coming year. I am also reading Teach Like a Pirate, but am only about 1/4 of the way through. However, I am participating or sometimes lurking on the #tlap Twitter chat. You can check out the archives here

* My Tip is to bring enthusiasm and passion into your classroom!



I have a freebie for you!





A poster to be displayed in your classroom with 11 variations of the WBT (Whole Brain Teaching) Class- Yes! 

I am participating in the WBT book study and chapter 6's assignment was to create 10-15 variations of the Class-Yes! There were so many wonderful and creative variations of the Class Yes by other educators participating in the book study that I decided to pick 11 variations that  I would use with my 4th graders this coming year. If you like it too, just click on the picture to get your free copy.


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