Did you know that Louisiana is the only state with parishes? Well, we are, and we have 64 parishes!

My students learned this week all about the regions of Louisiana in which these parishes are found.  Students worked in collaborative groups, 2 days this week to explore a region of Louisiana. They used information sheets in their groups to locate their region's location, characteristics, notable landmarks and even drew a few pictures to represent their characteristics. Then they combined their answers to complete a group sheet on their region. Student's learned a lot about their region and even found out that Brittney Spears is from the Crossroads region and that Duck Dynasty is filmed in Sportsman's Paradise.

My 4th grade classroom is ready, and tomorrow is the 1st day of school for students. Yesterday and today I had time to get my classroom ready and get activities planned for the first day. Also, today from 1-3pm we had a Meet & Greet for parents and students to come drop off their supplies.

So here's a look into my classroom.

This is the view from the front of the room. I am trying out a new desk arrangement. I will see how it works with students tomorrow. I think the two groups of desks in the middle may be too close once students are seated. I may go back to having 6 groups of desks.  Tomorrow will tell!

Here's another view from the front of my room. Here you can see students have a goody bag on each of their desks. It is filled with a rice krispie treat, goldfish, an eraser, and gummies. They also have a pencil, water bottle and a first day of school packet on their desk. 

Here's a closer look at some of the bulletin boards in my room. This is my Focus Wall where the anchor charts the students and I create will be placed. To the left of the board is where the objectives will be placed and the Essential Question will be written. To the right of the board is our writing pencil to remind us of the Writing process and next to that is the garbage can. The garbage can is where we throw away overused words.

Here's the homework board. Their first assignment which isn't written yet will be to write down and learn their home address. They will use it next week when we begin learning Map Skills in Social Studies. They will get to enter their address in Google Earth and locate their home.

 This is the class behavior board. Students get 3 chances or card pulls util their first step is followed. Our class rules which are from WBT (Whole Brain Teaching) are on the left, and the class jobs are at the bottom of the board. The class jobs rotate weekly.

This is the Homework Board which is derived from the Super Improver Wall from WBT. All students start off with a white star. Once they get 10 punches on their index cards for completing all homework for 10 days straight they move up stars. They are rewarded a prize at each level. Whoever makes it to the top star at the end of the year gets a snowball or a Happy Meal.
 Here's a look at the front left side of the classroom. You can see my library genre bulletin board on the left, mentor texts below, my workstation and the class promethean board.

One of the things I'm doing this summer to get ready for the new school year is pinning. I visit Pinterest every day looking for new and innovative ideas to implement into my 4th grade ELA & Social Studies classroom. Here are a few of the many anchor charts that I have pinned which I plan to implement into my class this upcoming school year. To see more of my pins and to follow me click here.

I like this Close Reading anchor chart because it is easy for students to read, and the expectations are clear. Close Reading is still new to me. This past year I tried out Close Reading with my students really focusing on the 2nd Reading and 3rd. By the end of the year my students learned how to annotate the text and look for evidence within the text to use in their constructed response. However, this year I want students to do the 1st Reading and discuss. This way I will be able to walk around the room to listen to their thinking and scaffold if needed.

My students are so use to using the term "because" in their answer. They know "because" is my favorite word for them to use because what follows is their evidence. So, finding this anchor chart made me happy because look at all the different ways students can answer a question citing text. Love this!

This is a great anchor chart to use the first week of school. I sent it to my partner teacher who teaches Math. She used it this summer during extended year and said the students loved this activity and even created one of their own.

I really like this anchor chart because it defines students letter grades. They not only see their grade on their paper as a letter, but now understand what their grade means. I hope by using this anchor chart that when my students see a "C" on their paper they don't just think they did ok, but now know they need to work harder by asking more questions or putting forth more effort.

We do a lot of Opinion/Argumentative Writing in my 4th grade classroom. So, I loved this anchor chart when I came across it. I really like the counter claim and the rebuttal. 

Here's another CCSS that I teach in my classroom. This anchor chart is very clear and specific.  I also love the strategies that are suggested to determine the POV.

This is a great anchor chart to help students with varying their sentences. I always have a few students who have writer's block, so hopefully this anchor chart will help in freeing their words.
     Wow, it has been 5 months since my last blog post. It has definitely been too long and I am hoping to get back into blogging over the summer and continue throughout this upcoming school year.

One reason that I have put blogging on hold is because I just had a beautiful baby boy in late March.

So, now that I am back I would like to start by linking up with the Teaching Tribune for the Monday Meet Me Linky.

I am going on my 12th year of teaching in Louisiana and am still passionate about my job as I was my first year of teaching. I live about 5 miles from my work and my boys attend the school right next door. 

I have 4 handsome boys. Patrick is 7, Evan & Bryce are my 6 year old twins and Jack is 2 months. I also have an amazing husband who is dedicated to his family and loves to spend time with his boys. 

I can't get enough of talk shows this summer. Some of my favorites are the Today Show, Queen Latifah, The Chew & Ellen. I feel like I am so caught up in what's going on in our country. I get so behind during the school year. 

My summers consist of me spending a lot of time with my boys. So, I am constantly watching and listening to them run around the house playing and chatting it up. Also, we have "school time" each day where I facilitate short mini lessons to get them ready for the upcoming grade. 

I am wanting to read The One and Only by Emily Giffin, but I am hoping the library will have it tomorrow on our daily library stop. If not, I will be purchasing on my iPad to read. I am also searching for a good professional read. Recommendations are needed! 

Yes, you read that right. I love to clean the house. It is the first thing I do besides drink my coffee in the morning. I am always cleaning something. I guess I kind of have to with 4 boys! 

Click here or on the link above to join this linky and learn about other bloggers. 

State testing is soon approaching! My 4th graders will take the Writing portion of the Louisiana Educational Assessment Program (LEAP), which is a series of annual assessments in English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. These test determine whether a student has mastered the content of the academic standards.

So, in preparation for our upcoming tests I would like to share a few testing resources that I have found and created myself.

Here is a Testing Strategies anchor chart I created for my students, hanging on our anchor wall. 

Here are some products I created for testing!

Last here are some resources I collected on Pinterest

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