Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Pocket Monsters

Did you know that the word 'Pokémon' means pocket monsters?

I remember waaaaaay back in the late 90's that these animated creatures took the world by storm.  That was the start of my teaching career and a little boy named John, in my very first class, taught himself to read in English (because I taught at a French immersion school and there was no English in our 2nd grade classroom) by studying the Pokémon poster that was hanging on a wall in his bedroom.  Then the craze faded. . . .and was back with a vengeance in the summer of 2016 with the Pokémon Go app.  This reignited the dormant passion to 'collect' all these different little creatures. It ignited my curiosity as to "what in the heck are Pokémon anyway?!"

The story behind the creation is really neat!  Creator Satoshi Hajiri was fascinated with bugs when he was a kid and turned that passion into "Pokémon".  

My students walked into the 2016-2017 school year all abuzz about Pokémon and I scrounged around for some books to satisfy their passion and curiosity.  To meet that need, I also started creating partner and trio plays based on the characters, game and app to motivate students for "Read With Someone" time during our small reading groups.

I spent a lot of time researching various Pokémon characters and how to play the game.  I added a comprehension component to each play that is part of an overall reading mission for all the plays in this set.

It took me longer than anticipated to complete this new set of partner and trio plays due to the research (which was actually really fun) and switching grade levels this past year AND renewing my National Boards.  But it's done and I'm so excited to share it!

If you do download this pack and use the plays in your classroom, I would LOVE kid suggestions for which Pokémon should be part of Series #2!

Monday, May 29, 2017

School's Out and I'm Baaaaaaaaaaack!

I am officially freeeeeeeeeeee for the summer!
I am feeling giddy that tomorrow I don't have to go to work and can do whatever I want, when I want!  I'll most likely spend it working in my gardens and yard, running to Home Depot and maybe even taking a nap. . .

This year I switched grade levels (up to 2nd), renewed my National Boards in Literacy and had the largest class ever in my 17 years 
(and 90% of my boys were 'squirrels at a rave').

The last few weeks were CrAzY, with everything winding down, putting on a triathlon for kids in our city, creating and distributing our school's yearbook and being DJ for our annual end-of-the-year DJ party. . .all while my husband was in Japan. . .thank goodness my mother-in-law flew up to help me out!

But I LOVE all the FUN things I'm involved with at my school!  Time to have fun in the classroom and at school continues to dwindle and I've had enough so I'm bringing the FUN back in any big or little way I can.

Speaking of fun, have you read the book "The Day the Crayons Quit" by Drew Daywalt?  HILARIOUS and clever!  I read it a few weeks back and as I was reading it I said out loud "This story would make a great Readers' Theater play." and everyone cheered.  So I whipped up a script and we performed it for parents in the music room with microphones and a black, velvet curtain...so awesome!

Click on the image below to get it for FREE and use it with your class, your RTI group, your summer school class, etc.

If you are not yet done with your school year, my thoughts go out to you:

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Word Nerd

In a classroom that never sleeps...
A new superhero emerges from the shadows...
To save the grammar day.

Word Nerd takes the duty of educating and informing YOUR students about the most pressing grammar concepts of day very seriously.  But he does have a sense of humor and a very catchy theme song!

So run, walk, jog or sashay over to this website to download the first episode of Word Nerd for FREE.

Nerd Out.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Breathe New Life Into Wooden Blocks

We've all played with wooden blocks as small children.
But the motivation and excitement about playing with wooden blocks fades once students enter first grade and beyond.  But simple wooden blocks can be fantastic engineering tools!  

STEM, STEM, STEM.  STEM this, STEM that, STEM is the buzz.  I have embraced STEM and love it but it's the E that excites me the most.  E is for Engineering....building.  Building means play and creativity and perseverance and imagination and reflection.  So combine wooden blocks and Engineering and you get
click to take a peek

I just added this to my small math groups and my students love it!  
The motto of the activity is: Build it tall, build it wide, but don't go outside
(the perimeter).  Students fill the gray space up and then build upwards to see what kind of structure they create.

I admit, I sat and played with this one evening last weekend while watching a show on Hulu and it was fun and relaxing!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Let's Do the Time Warp Again...

Three months. . .

That's how long it's been since I last blogged and switched grade levels.  I'm now at the end of our first quarter and can't believe how FAST time flew!  I just did my report cards and parent-teacher conferences are this week.

So let's rewind a bit:

Friday May 27th, 2016 = Hello summer and sure, I'll teach a 1/2 combo come fall. I'll spend the summer brainstorming and prepping a bit :-)

Wednesday August 17th, 2016 = A new school year and I'm excited to do the 1/2 combo and my class list looks AMAZING!

Thursday August 18th, 2016 = Um what....no more 1/2 combo?!  Someone needs to move up to 2nd grade?!....fine, I'll step up to the plate....my class list looks NOT amazing; 26 students is THE BIGGEST class I've had in all my 18 years :-(

Mid-September = crying breakdown, unfortunately in front of my 3rd grade daughter in my classroom after school. I feel SOOOO much school stress this year :-(

Beginning of October = crying breakdown, unfortunately in front of my grade-level colleagues. I feel SOOOO much school stress this year :-(

Today = It is what it is...what doesn't kill ya makes ya stronger...I'm liking the curriculum...thank goodness for the sweet, awesome kiddos (small bunch) that I have!

The entire time that this was all unfolding I would do or plan or make something that I told myself, "You should do a blog post about that!" but I just could not make the time and kept feeling guiltier and guiltier.  I also haven't run consistently since before school started and that makes me feel guiltier and guiltier as well.

Okay, I'm done spilling my guts. 

I'm going to make some time for blogging, creating/sharing teaching resources and running.

I have nothing new to share right now....that is publishable anyway.  But take a peek at this freebie compilation of Readers' Theater scripts that I posted about back in June.


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Saturday Apps #13

Apps make the world go round....well not quite, but they do make our mobile devices go.  I stumble upon apps, I find apps on Pinterest and Facebook and seek out apps on AppsGoneFree. 

Today I'd like to feature 

This app is FREE from iTunes.  I love music and stream Pandora in my classroom both when students are present (especially during Writing...the George Winston station is fantastic) and when they're not (during my preps and after school when I need to chill out (turn out the lights and put on Relaxation Radio).  Pandora is great. . .but there are commercials and it's especially annoying during quiet work time when a loud one comes on.  

But now I will use this app!  I love this app for 3 reasons:  1) You can turn the volume each individual melody/sound up or down, 2) There are no commercials and 3) It's FREE!   

I will also put this on when falling asleep or when trying to get rid of a headache.


Friday, July 29, 2016

Five For Friday

It's been a very long time but I'm so excited to link up again with 

This was our first week back from a 5-week vacation in Minnesota (yearly pilgrimage to my home state) and it was good to be home.  I'm so fortunate to have my summers off so I can be a mom and do lots of fun projects that just keep piling up in my brain.  Here are my top 5 things I was most excited about and thankful for:

A plant whose leaves store water.

This one looks like a sea anemone. 
These were too cute to pass up and will be cute in my classroom!

This beauty of a bookcase.
It is being held up by a filing cabinet but I'm still trying to figure out something better.

I label my fiction bins by first letter of the title and these are wooden placards I made.
I've admired a similar one at a local book store (except it wasn't painted this cute) and finally made my own!

Spray Paint
I'm a lazy painter so this is my best friend because it's paint & primer together and it sticks to anything!
$10 at Office Depot
I love to use a DustBuster and have one in my classroom.  I've even been known to use them on my own messy children (to clean and tickle).  But this tiny terrific tool makes me so happy!  I'm changing the lyrics of the Bobby McFerrin song to "Don't Worry Be Tidy".

Pokémon Go
 Hi, my name is Jaime and I'm addicted to Pokémon Go.  But there's a good reason: I was into GeoCaching before this came out and both have the commonality of being treasure hunting games.  Plus, I'm currently working on a series of Pokemon Partner Plays so I've been doing research on this whole Pokémon craze and it's insanely detailed!

Have a FUNtastic weekend!