Sunday, April 28, 2013

Instagram Tuesdays

I am going to try something new. I am usually one of the first at my school to try new things. I am sure I am not the first there to do Instagram. I will be the only one joining this linky party. I am the only blogger, that I know of at my school.

So here's what you'll do:1. If you have a blog, share your instagram username on your blog and use this image to tell your followers about #teachertalktuesday {just right click on the instagram button and click "save as"}. We are hosting a linky party to kick off our "Teacher Talk Tuesday!"  Link up at the bottom: with a blog post, sharing this image,  your user name, and a couple of your favorite Instagram photos, if you want!2. If you don't have a blog, PLEASE still join us on Instagram on Tuesday for #teachertalktuesday

Here is a little Instagram 101:
*It is like Facebook, but with only pictures (used mostly on smart phones)
*You can make your profile private if you want
*You can make write a caption under your picture and comment or like photos

Follow me @learning_in_bliss

You can also click on the Instagram icon there on the right to follow me.

My pictures were added tonight when I joined Instagram. I need to add some school related pictures for Tuesday! Oh, and to do something about that profile picture.

So join the party, and link up so we can easily search each other!  See you Tuesday on #teachertalktuesday!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

My Second Home

Latoya's Let's Get Acquainted Linky topic for this week is My Classroom.

My classroom has become my second home. Most days, I spend more awake time there than at my own home. This is why it is so important to have a space I enjoy. It has taken me years to get my room "just right". I even switched rooms to get help get the room right. In the spring when the pine pollen rains in my window, I have to remind myself (through all the sneezes) that I wanted this room because of the pine tree and the courtyard. It is one of my favorite spots "in my room". I use the courtyard as an extension of my room. When the weather is warm the kids can sit in the courtyard to do math or read a book. A few or many can sit in the courtyard. They can sit on the lower branches of the tree. They know the rules and follow them, or they cannot go to the courtyard again.

Another favorite area is my display wall. Hubby rescued the plexiglass frames from his factory before they closed the doors to move to a right to work state, and two foreign countries.

I will have to figure out how to come up with a few more when my numbers climb to 26 or 28 next year from my 21 students this year. What I like is the display changes easily, and it looks nice even when work isn't on display.

The third area I love is my library. I have invested way too much money and time organizing it. I finally have what works well for me. I use a variety of ways to organize my 2000+ books. Some are by author, some by series, some are by genre. I separate fiction and non-fiction, and even have picture books and easy readers we use with our reading buddies. I am going to tweak a few crates and work on some new tags for my crates this summer. There are five other sections of the library not shown in these pictures. I have to be creative on organization, because with so many books, the storage becomes an issue. All books are available for student use throughout the year.

What is your favorite part of your classroom? Grab a camera, photograph it, and link up!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ipad apps, Grid Lines.

I love iPads and have been using them in my classroom for quite a while. I serve on the committee that chooses apps to load on the iPads. When I come across good apps, I cannot wait to try them. One of my favorites is a math game called Five Dice. It is from It is an order of operations game that is available from iTunes. It can be played with one or two players. My students prefer the two player mode using bluetooth to play against each other. They race to see who can use the numbered dice and symbols (+, - , X,...) first. has just developed a new app called Grid Lines. I learned about this app from being a follower to their site. They offered the opportunity to try their app before it went live. The only catch, was to review it on my blog. No problem!

Like Five Dice, students can play Grid Lines in single player mode, or two player mode using bluetooth. The object of the ordered pairs game is to score the highest number of points by drawing a line that passes through or touches shapes located on the coordinate grid. Positive and negative numbers use the four quadrants on the coordinate grid. Four number tiles are given by the app to make two sets of coordinates. This game is like Battleship, only you are using shapes, not ships.

 The game can be adjusted by choosing 2 shapes, and progressing to many shapes. It is ideal for upper elementary math classrooms, and middle school.

I first tried Grid Lines with two students in single player mode. We then tried the bluetooth capabilities with the two person mode. It was simple. Both students opened the game and signed in. Then they chose the two person mode. In a matter of moments, a pop-up screen told them it was looking for a player near by. The next screens explained to choose the device that they were to compete against. The connection was quick. The students were playing in about a minute.

This game was great to review ordered pairs and the four quadrants. My students are very competitive in games. They liked being able to adjust the game to their skill level. With my inclusion class, this game made it easy to adjust. Most students chose to play the 1-4 shapes, but two loved the challenge of 1-8 shapes.

It took a couple of students a few tries to understand the concept of locating points so the line connecting them would go through each shape when possible. They were frustrated by the lack of negative numbers at times, and with the negative numbers at other times. Then they realized the point didn't have to touch the shape, just the line had to touch.
They loved that they could keep track of wins and losses, and that they could email me the results. They want a winner's board in the classroom to show their results.
If you teach math in the upper elementary grades, you will want to check out for these and other math game apps like Four Dice Fractions game and Ordered Fractions game. These apps will make a great addition to a math center. At $1.99 per app, they are worth it.

Monday, April 15, 2013


I have enjoyed getting to know some of my favorite bloggers through Latoya's Linky Party. 

This week's installment is a Skittles Game. 

Here is the code:
Red - Favorite ice cream flavor

Orange - Favorite memory from college
Yellow - Favorite sports team
Green - Favorite fast food place
Purple - Wild card (tell anything about yourself)

Well, there you have it. Me, according to the rainbow! 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Monday's Made It

 I am joining Tara from 4th Grade Frolic's Monday Made It Linky.

My first project was to make tags to add to our Reading Olympian recording chains. (You can learn about our experience here and even gather more ideas on the Pass the Torch Linky organized by Michelle, Krista, and Julie.)

I purchased clipart from Michelle, The 3 AM Teacher, to use on the tags. I wanted something for the students to keep track of the root words, prefixes, and suffixes they have mastered. You can purchase really nice "Brag Tags" from the Reading Olympians, but I had used all of my expendable classroom cash this year. With it being so late in the year, I thought this was a good alternative.

My layout allowed for 3 rows of 7 tags that are about 1.25 X 2.3 inches. I printed the design on a thick card stock so they are opaque. I laminated with a thick laminate, and used my Crop-o-dile to punch the hole and crimp the eyelet. I had everything I needed for this project already except the ball chain and connectors. I was lucky to find the spool on SALE at Hobby Lobby. At 50% off, I got the two spools I needed for 24" necklaces (only used part of the second one) for $7.99 + tax. A student gave me a giftcard for Christmas, so this was a "free" project except for the clipart. The clipart will be used again for a bulletin board and some Greek Mythology work in the future. The beads are the mini pony beads. I still need to make a "name tag" for each student chain. See Diane's post to see how she made hers.

My second project was to make some task cards for reviewing math concepts. Like Tara, I often forget to print my own projects for my classroom. This time they get to use it before I offer it. Adding and Subtracting Unlike Denominators and Please, Feed the Animals! Problem Solving (which features Michelle, The 3 AM Teacher, Animal Safari and Pudgies sets) will be in my store soon.

I don't know about you, but this was a busy day for me. The first day back from break, and I am already thinking summer! The 70 degree temperature certainly helped. I am making my list of things to make for future Monday Made It projects. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Pass the Torch Linky

Get Ready for Bloggy Olympics!!!

Photobucket Photobucket

Join The 3AM Teacher, the Reading Olympians, and over 80 SUPREME education bloggers as we take you through a tour of the Reading Olympians Root Study Program!!

Reading Olympians 
I was so excited to read about the Reading Olympians Pass the Torch Linky opportunity. I have been wanting to use their fantastic program since I read about it while blog stalking.

I used the introduction as a mini-lesson embedded in a language arts lesson for a formal observation. My kids that were doing word work at centers, stopped to listen when they heard the small group react. So many of them have become huge Greek mythology followers with the Percy Jackson series. They rattled off the Greek gods and goddesses when I said each unit of study is named after one.

I didn't get pictures of the actual lesson with the kids, but I should have asked the assistant principal to snap some. He stayed well beyond the scheduled visit because he was hooked.

The program comes with everything you need to implement the root word study, minus copies of course. Included in the program are posters for each unit. I printed these in color (but forgot to take a picture) along with other clipart I will explain later.) The program has word cards that are kept on a key ring for students to study. They also complete a journal to record words that have the root word. They use the root word in a sentence, and draw a picture to help them understand the root. They use their knowledge of the ten roots from the unit to complete a worksheet. Some of the students liked the chants. I printed them for students just in case. The chants are great for auditory learners.

The students cut the key ring cards apart that first day. They worked on the journal on Tuesday and Wednesday. They did their root word application worksheet on Wednesday. All students took the test on Thursday. One student scored an 80%, another one earned a 90%, but the rest had 100%. Students volunteered to draw a picture on our word wall card. (I still need to mount them.) They proudly displayed their award certificates (below).

I decided to reward students that pass the test with color coordinating beads on a chain. I made my own "Brag Tag" using the clipart available from the fabulous Michelle's (The 3AM teacher) store. The Reading Olympians have some real brag tags you can order from their store. I used a gift card to purchase the rings and necklaces from Hobby Lobby.  (The spools of chain with connectors was 50% off. I needed one and a half spools for 24" chains.) I had the mini pony beads already. The students proudly wore their Nike necklace the rest of the day. I forgot to take a close up of the necklace. They hang them on hooks in the room over night and vacations.
They were only too eager to explain to the curious what the necklace meant. They didn't want to wait to start the next unit. I assured them the unit would be ready upon our return from break. Now they just have to wait to see for which god it is named.

 BTW we usually aren't this casually dressed. It was pajama day and the last day of our "March is Reading Month"

activities. They thought the real wrap up was the Pass the Torch activities!

Discover the program IN ACTION in more K-6th grade classrooms as you Pass the Torch!! Get ideas, discover the progression of the program, and enter the Raffle for a chance to win ONE of the three prizes listed below!!

First Place Winner : Gold Medal

  Prizes: Complete Reading Olympians Program
            $50.00 Amazon Gift Card
            50% off Discount Code for a 1-Day shopping spree at The 3AM Teacher's Etsy store!

Second Place Winner: Silver Medal

   Prizes: $25.00 Amazon Gift Card
              40% off Discount Code for a 1-Day shopping spree at The 3AM Teacher's Etsy store!

Third Place Winner: Bronze Medal

    Prizes: 30% off Discount Code for a 1-Day shopping spree at The 3AM Teacher's Etsy store!

Pass the Torch!!!
Click the image below to visit the next blog


Grade 1 & 2

Grade 3 & 4

Grade 5 & 6

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Few of My Favorites

I am a little late in linking up with Latoya's Let's Get Acquainted Linky. This week's topic is a Favorites Survey.

My Favorite Store

Love their sales. Something is always on sale at Kohl's

My Favorite TV Show

 Scandal has become a guilty pleasure. If I forget to record on the DVR, I watch it on my iPad. 

My Favorite Sweet Treat

I fell in love with Blue Bunny Sweet Freedom ice cream this past summer. The taste without the guilt of the sugar.

My Favorite Food

I love a good salad. One of my favorites is Betty's Salad. It started in Toledo, Ohio. Betty Timko was its creator at Timko's. I love that I can get the dressing at the grocery store.

My Favorite Restaurant

A semi-regular Sunday afternoon routine includes a soup and salad lunch from Olive Garden before errands or a trip to school to finish copies for the week.

Have you linked up? I would love to read more about you.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April and a Linky

I had a wonderful time in North Carolina visiting #2 child, his girl friend, and her family. They were very gracious hosts. We had so much fun. We visited, played board games, watched videos, talked, and laughed until my sides hurt. His girl friend is perfect for him. I think we will have to make more trips south, because I don't see him returning to Michigan any time soon.

I am linking up with Farley's Currently for April.

I am home alone at the moment. I did errands earlier, but #3 is restless (best friend is on a cruise and cannot text). Hubby took her to get hula hoop supplies. She makes them for friends and to sell. She is an expert hula hooper herself! We only get the same spring break about every four years. Since this is her junior year, this will likely be our last. So sad. 

I should be doing taxes, but cannot bring myself to get that serious. Maybe it will rain later in the week and help me get the urge. In the meantime, I am using the computer for more creative endeavors (projects) and blogging.

The taste of warmer weather this weekend has me anxious for the sun and more warmth. 

My blogging advice is to not get discouraged. If you are doing this for you, use it as a way to connect to others. Don't worry about the numbers. 

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