Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Fun Book to Share and a Giveaway

I love books. I purchase almost one book for every book my students purchase from the book club. I have a variety of books in my classroom collection, but am always looking for new ones. I recently received a copy of a book written by Ali Maier. The book, Mom Made Us Write This in the Summer, is a graphic novel. It tells the story of twins, Max and Maggie, during the summer before they enter fifth grade. Like many siblings, the two love to drive each other crazy. After an argument in the beginning of summer their mother decides they will share a writing journal. Her hope is that as they write and read entries, they will gain greater insight and understanding of their twin. Each of the siblings will take turns writing in the journal. They will respond to the other's entry after they read it. Told through their drawings and "handwritten" journal entries, they realize that although they have different interests, they really do love and support each other.
                                                      

I received the book in the mail, but made the mistake of opening it in front of my students. Two of my students argued about who could read it first. I had to wait for them to finish, so I could read it. It is a fun, quick read. It could be a great way to encourage your own students to write. The author also has a Shared Journal and Family Quiz book. I think I will use this book next year as a lead into my shared journals in my writing center.

The author, Ali Maier is lives in Cleveland, Ohio where she loves to write, read, and spend time with her family. She has a degree in Elementary Education from John Carroll University.

I was given an opportunity to give a copy of the book to one of my readers. If you would like a chance to win the book, click on the Rafflecopter. Don't want to wait to win it? You can purchase it by clicking here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 1, 2014

It is Currently Time

I cannot believe it! Today is December 1st. I have so much to get done before the last day of school for the holidays. I am joining Farley for her monthly Currently Linky. I cannot believe I am in the top twenty to get it posted.

The news was running late with football running late. I am exhausted after a long weekend. I tried to fit in too much. I loved spending time with my girls on Thursday, and to steal a few minutes with my husband. Cannot wait for his schedule to change soon. 
I really need to go to bed. This will feel like a very long week. I need to leave for school earlier in the morning, so I will not hit the snooze button. 

I find myself wanting to decorate for Christmas. I put lights on my shrubs today when the temps were in the sixties. Now I want to put the tree up, but need to rearrange some things. I work in a school where we are allowed to put up Christmas trees, although my tree usually is in our school colors. I wait to put up that tree until after we read the chapter where Father Christmas arrives in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. We are starting the novel tomorrow. It is one of my favorites.

I need to get my grades entered. Progress reports go home one day next week. I don't like them to go home so close to break, as it makes it hard to get all the late work done before vacation begins.

I am going to give three people one item from my store. Go to my store. Find an item you would like, and leave me a comment with your email. I will have my kids pick three random numbers Tuesday. In the meanwhile, happy shopping at the TpT and TN sales. I have lots of things on my wish list and a gift certificate to spend!


Friday, November 28, 2014

Cyber Monday Sale

Thanks to the 3AM Teacher for this banner.
I know many of you probably spent part of yesterday or today shopping. I did go out for some things I needed for some important projects, but spent most of the day at home. I should be working on projects. I have some ideas that I would love to finish before Cyber Monday sales begin. We will see if wishes become reality. If not, my store is still going to be on sale. Stop by and see what I have to offer.



Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Scoop

I should be finishing my lesson plans for the week, but am blog stalking instead. I found lots of wonderful freebies on the Teachers Thanking Teachers linky. So many good things. Hope I can find room to squeeze them into my plans. While I am at it, I have decided to link up with the Teaching Trio and their Sunday Scoop linky. (Seems linky parties are all I am motivated to blog about lately.)


I have most of my plans finished. Just need to tweak the video for my math lesson for tomorrow, and add math plans for Thursday. I copied all my work for the week last week, so I just need to sort it by class and day. That shouldn't take long. My laundry pile is growing, so that cannot wait. I need to throw in a load or two tonight while I watch television.

I am building co-chair for school improvement, and also serve on the district team. I am presenting Standard 3: Teaching and Assessing for Learning. I should be able to do this standard in my sleep. It is who we are as a building and a district, besides who I am as a teacher. My biggest fear is that I may not know the other buildings (Middle and High School) well enough, or that my team mate is too laid back in his part of the presentation. Those fears will probably keep this perfectionist from falling asleep at a decent hour.

I give lots of choices to students to showcase their book knowledge to go with their independent reading. One student has a sibling that recorded so many "Talk Shows" three years ago, that I couldn't upload them to my website. The talk show (think Oprah's Book Club) is also the favorite activity of the younger sibling. Lunch with the two lovely girls will be a highlight of my day. It is fun to watch them take on a new persona and to hear about the book they read. They pack so much into the 5 minute video! Then we are eating lunch, away from the cafeteria and the lounge. It makes my lunch so much more enjoyable. The only problem is it is right before my presentation. Hope my nerves don't get the best of me while I am enjoying their company.

Hope your week is fast and fun! 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Veterans Day

November 11 is Veterans Day. In the past my teammate did a wonderful program with our fifth graders at the area cemeteries. She invited parents, past and present members of the Armed Forces. The older veterans looked forward to every year. They came to participate with playing Taps and giving the Twenty-one Gun Salute. She retired last spring. The tradition has ended.

I don't teach Social Studies, and haven't for five years, but do teach writing. I decided I needed to do something special for my students to show their appreciation for all those who have fought for our freedom, and continue to fight our fight.

I created this freebie. Students are going to listen to the song "In Flanders Fields" and read the poem by John McCrae. We will look at photographs of the Tomb of the Unknown,


and Arlington Cemetery, among others.
(Photos from Wikimedia)

Then, they will write a thank you to a veteran or member of the Armed Forces. We will display a copy of the letters, a copy of the poem, and a Poppy Craftivity. The original letters will be sent to veterans in our community, or family members.

Click on the link if you would like a copy of the Freebie.



Saturday, November 8, 2014

If you don't have anything good to say...

It has been forever since I posted with any regularity. When I look at my posts since school started, I have barely posted anything. My only "regular" posts were part of a linky. Not good! My mother used to tell me that if I didn't have anything good to say, then I should say nothing at all. I guess I may have taken her words literally as of late. It was a rough start.

My mother has been on my mind a lot lately. Tomorrow, my siblings and I are dividing the antiques and valuables that she painstakingly cleaned, repaired, and refinished. She has been gone for twenty-nine years, but my father had maintained the house with her treasures in place for these many years. He has been in a nursing home for almost two years. He needed daily care that we could not guarantee would be given at home. He is still in relatively good health. He still goes out to some sporting events, dinners, and outings with the nursing home. It is time to close out the house and settle some estate issues. It won't be easy.

Lately, most things haven't been easy. My class had two students added at the beginning of the year that put me over contract. I wrote about it here and here. One of those extras left the state a couple of weeks ago, Thursday was M's was a sweetheart. She worked every day with my aide, as she needed directions restated, and information given in other ways because of a language issue. M and another student had been in unique situations in other schools. My aide was a true advocate for them in my room and the other classes.

I will be without an aide beginning Monday, as I am no longer over contract. It will be a difficult transition. My students and I have grown to depend on DE. She integrated herself into our routine, helped with students without needing prompting from me, and became a friend. She would read me, and knew just what to say to lighten my darkening mood. She regularly issued me theme songs for the day.

I know she read this blog, by a comment she made in her email to me Friday night, after receiving notice from the principal that her position was over. (She was suppose to have had Monday to tie up loose ends, and to give us time to talk with the kids.) I misjudged her. I know my comments in the post hurt her. I regret that I did not make it easier for her. It must be hard to take on a role of aide, when you can be a substitute making more money. As a Christian, I think she has a true desire to make a difference in the lives of students. She did just that, daily, hourly, and by the minute in my room. I will miss her laughter, her friendship, and her songs, but know "I will survive."


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Currently November

It's November. Time for Farley's linky.


I know living in southeast Michigan means cold weather and November go hand in hand. It was relatively warm Wednesday and Thursday. Friday brought colder air and some snow flurries. Today was cold and windy. My furnace is cranking out the heat. A register is by my feet. Toasty!

It was the coldest Cross Country State Meet I can remember in 13 years. We have had 4 girls teams, many individuals, and today our second boys team ran at Michigan International Speedway. The CC State Meet is held there every year. It is one of the few places that can accommodate all divisions of competitors, the spectators and parking. It isn't very spectator friendly, I watch the start and wait at the finish for the runners. I can always pick out our runners. Funny, because it is usually through a camera lens that I watch them run. Today was no different. We had four of our seven boys finish in the top half of the 3.1 mile race. They are All-State Academic recipients. So proud of them, and my hubby, the head coach.

I should be working on grades. We were told we had until November 9th for grades to be submitted. Friday afternoon that directive was changed to Monday morning. After reconsideration, I now have until 3 PM Tuesday. Think I can procrastinate a little longer. I have to finish a few sets of papers and projects first. I don't "quit" taking grades until the last day of the quarter. 

I am looking forward to that extra hour of sleep tonight with the time change. My only regret is that the change throws off my body clock. I also hate that it is almost dark by the time I get home most nights. Yuck!

I always read Andrew Clements' No Talking to my kids in November. We even try the contest between boys and girls to see which group can go the longest without talking. It gets them thinking about rules and they hold each other accountable. I hope it helps with this group of talkative kids.

Well, time to wrap up. What is happening in your life Currently?


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