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!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

An awesome find at Goodwill!

First I willingly and excitedly spent my money at Lakeshore Learning for my classroom.
Then I started willingly and excitedly spending my money at Target and Dollar Stores for my classroom.
Now I'm willingly and excitedly searching for treasures and spend little money at local Goodwill and thrift stores!

The other day I found a new building treasure that I've never seen before and my kids have been happily testing out.

The box is old and the copyright is 2006 but upon Googling it, I'm happy to say they are still for sale and look like this:
You can order them online from Amazon, Walmart and Fat Brain Toys (my new favorite online spot for classroom building things, toys, etc.) for anywhere from $12 to $30.

This video is great and shows some more (math) ideas for how to incorporate it into your classroom.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Readers' Theater Article

Sitting here on a beautifully sunny day, watching my little guy play, drinking a Mint Condition and surfing Pinterest.  Life is good!

Ain't that the truth!!

I came across a good article on Pinterest about Readers' Theater.  It's not a how-to but rather a just-do-it article about the hesitations and doubts one might have trying to incorporate RT into an already busy schedule.  The author is Sarah Wiggins and her blog is called More Than a Worksheet.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

What's the Difference?

Here's a little quiz.  Write down or remember your answers and then scroll down to see how you did.

Are these pairs of animals the same?

                   A)  cougar & puma
               B)  turtle & tortoise
               C)  crow & raven
               D)  jackrabbit & hare
               E)  crocodile & alligator
               F)  firefly & lightning bug
               G) butterfly & moth

               A)  yes
               B)  no
               C)  no
               D)  yes
               E)  no
               F)  yes
               G) no

How did you do?  If you're wondering why B, C, E and G are NOT the same then I've got the thing for you. . . actually it's for your students.

Click to get
Click to get
I remember wondering, about a year ago, "Are ravens and crows the same thing?", as I watched a raven (revered by certain Native Alaskan groups) caw at me from a light post at my school one morning.  Right then and there I got the idea for yet another Readers' Theater pack and my brain started racing to think of more animals that were similar but not the same.

Each play comes with 2 different comprehension checks: a Venn diagram fact sort and a 6 question opened ended response sheet.

I came up with so many animal pairs that I'm going to start working on pack #2, followed by pack #3!  

Next week I'll be at a cabin in the woods, on a lake, in the middle of no where and I'm excited to churn out some more writing!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

DIY Classroom Decoration

I saw the coolest DIY decoration in a cute little boutique yesterday and my first thought was, "I have to have this in my classroom!"

It's a curtain rod attached to the wall and from it hang random strips of ripped fabric that are tied together.  The left half shows how it can be long and the right half shows how it can be short.   This is a no-sew project and you can either do the random fabric colors and patterns or do a specific color.

I already have a moveable, stage-like curtain in front of my main whiteboard, so I think this will fit right in.

Not the best picture, but you get the idea.
The walls of my classroom library are bare (hate to admit that) except for a medium-sized, framed, magnetic black board on which I post reading posters.  So this was my first thought when I saw this DIY.  My library is in a corner, so I'm thinking of doing 2 curtain rods and maybe putting the blackboard on an easel right in the corner.  

Setting up my classroom each year is my FAVORITE thing because I love to decorate and use my space wisely and efficiently!

My son and I were strolling around downtown Bemidji, Minnesota (where I am for the week as my daughter goes to Spanish camp), just going in and out of stores and I'm so glad I had my camera!  Now I want to do some more strolling and looking tomorrow :-)