Monday, November 26, 2012

It's Monday...Mmm

I know, I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I love my class. This is a fun, creative group. They keep looking for things to do to have fun, without causing a whole lot of disruption. They came up with the idea (totally on their own) to have Mustache Monday. They thought it was the perfect compliment to my Fiction Friday. Their only problem was how to make sure everyone had a mustache. They decided milk and Kool-aid wouldn't be appropriate.
I found mustache stickers at Target. We wanted them to be durable/reusable, so we added some lamination and the a pipe cleaner (think old-fashioned monocle eye piece). They loved it and can't wait for the next random Mustache Monday. I will look for some eyelash glue to make it easier.

Now, I mustache you, "Have you done anything like this?" I would love to see your picture.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

No Talking!

Have you read Andrew Clements book No Talking! It tells the story of fifth graders, "The Unshushables", at Laketon Elementary School. They have a contest to see if the boys or the girls can go longer without talking.
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I had a group of students in my second reading class read it as a literature circle or "Lunch Bunch" last month. They enjoyed it so much, and drew so many parallels to our fifth grade, that I had to read it aloud to my homeroom. As soon as I started reading it, the students knew we had to try the contest. They set ground rules yesterday, and agreed to play through lunch tomorrow. Students are allowed to answer a teacher's direct question, read aloud if called on, and talk in three word sentences. "This is hard," was heard around the room. We "pause" the contest for other classes, the bus, home, etc. although the book didn't.

What we noticed, was that our room is "too quiet" at times. They agreed not to sing if I put on Songza's Top 100 (Clean Lyrics). (LOVE that app!)  All students finished the math assignment in class, the first time this year. Students went home and came up with ways to get around the rules. They have written on whiteboards, created three word phrases, used sign language for basic needs (restroom), and have finished each other's sentences. They have also held each other accountable. I let them talk in the cafeteria today for our Thanksgiving lunch. They were thinking up other things to do to show solidarity.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Mixed Reviews and freebies

Some of my students lacked a strong math background when they came to me. Their fourth grade teacher encouraged the use of a calculator, where I focus on fact recall and how to correctly solve problems mathematically. Two students actually did a happy dance the day we did a division algorithm lesson because they were finally going to learn to do division.

To strengthen math skills, I give math homework twice a week, in addition to the math lessons. My kids love math homework. One of their favorites is from a program called "Drop in the Bucket", a blackline master book from Frog Publications.  Students actually cheer when they hear that we are doing a "Drop in the Bucket" as homework. I start with Level D (4th Grade) and work through Level E, which is fifth grade. These are a great way to make sure students are proficient on a particular skill.


When we are studying for a test, I give skill review worksheets I call scrambled eggs. I have included two as freebies.

Addition/Subtraction Scrambled Egg 1
Multiplication/Division Scrambled Egg 2

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thankful and a Freebie

With November comes cooler weather, shorter days, and parent teacher conferences. It also is a time to reflect on our many blessings.

As I look around I have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season. I am joining a linky party hosted by Storie for her "Top Ten Things I Thankful for". Enter to win a chance to get a $10 gift certificate to Teachers Pay Teachers.

 I made a "Be Thankful" banner for my classroom bulletin board. I am adding it as a Made It Monday project. The Made It Monday is the linky party by Tara at 4th Grade Frolics. I am sharing it as a freebie for those of you that follow my blog.

Free Be Thankful Banner

Saturday, November 3, 2012


You know the saying, "Time always flies when you're having fun?" Well, that certainly applies to this year. I can't believe the first marking period is over, and November is here. With the new month, comes another linky party from Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade.

My grading is finished, but I have to enter comments on my cards. Spending hours at the computer has my neck and back aching. I really could use an adjustment and massage. 

I do love playing music while my students work. I couldn't do it last year because I had a very sensitive student that couldn't have background noise. Our new music teacher has students showcasing singing and musical talents weekly. We record them for our class webpage. They love to listen to the audio replays and any songs from Pandora. 

Now it's your turn. What are you doing currently? Oh, and don't forget the rule of 3!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Book vs. Movie and It's A Wrap

During our standardized testing window, my students read the book, Shiloh, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. We have been so busy, that we haven't had a chance to watch the movie to do a comparison of the book and movie. Today seemed like the perfect opportunity. It was the end of the marking period, grades are due Monday- and no time to collaborate with my co-teacher, and it was pajama-rama (fundraiser for our National Honor Society students at the high school). I came up with a quick sheet for students to use before and during the movie. We would be able to justify to administration if they popped in during the movie. While students took notes and enjoyed the movie, my co-teacher and I discussed student goals and progress.

This was the perfect way to end the marking period with a read-in and movie.

Off to finish those grade cards. Have a great weekend.

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