Sunday, June 30, 2013

Currently July

I had great intentions of doing this post yesterday, but other things were more important. I am linking up with Farley for her Currently July a bit early.

We have had so much rain in the last week. We were behind rain fall for the year at the start of the week, but are now significantly above the norm now. I have been able to get some cleaning and organizing done inside, but would love to get outside to finish the pool deck staining, and to enjoy the pool. The rain let me work on some of those inside projects without feeling guilty. I love summer vacation because it is so much more relaxing, and easier to finish long projects. I still have so many to complete, including some Made It Monday projects.

I have also been spending time with my very ill father. We are meeting with hospice this week to help manage his care. There isn't much the doctors can do for him at this point. I am not ready to let him go. I am hoping for a miracle, but will settle for more time.

As far as tips for bloggers, leave genuine comments on blogs. Don't ask for someone to follow you back. Write from the heart so others will want to read your blog and comment back. You grow "friendships" then, not followers.

Don't forget my giveaway ends tonight. Are you following on Bloglovin' yet?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Lovin' Bloglovin' Style

We have all heard that Google Reader is going away. Since most bloggers use it to read all the blogs we follow, we'll need a new reader. Bloglovin' appears to have won over so many of us. There are still those out there that need to switch. You will need an account, which allows you to transfer your current blog list. Most bloggers have added the button, mine is there on the side, so you can "click the +" to follow.
Please be sure to leave your Bloglovin' username in the Rafflecopter entry.  Then, go to this post on Bloglovin and "like" it. I will be picking 2 winners. Each winner will get their choice of 3 items from my TpT store!  
Thanks to Collaboration Cuties, there is a blog hop to help with followers. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Go Ahead, Try It

For this week's post on Tried It Tuesday, I tried responding to some offers that were sent to me through my blog. I was hesitant at first. I  thoroughly checked several offers, and declined a few after review. One offer I did accept was to try a new game marketed by Unknown Lab. The game, "Sound It, Found It", is from Wowopolis.

It is geared to players 7 and older, and can have 3 or more players. It comes with 8 scene boards, 96 sound cards, 8 card holders (one per scene board), and instructions.

One player acts as the sounder, giving a sound associated with the item pictured on the sound card. Players secretly guess what the object is and search the scene to find the object. Once the object is sighted, the player calls out,"Found it!" If it matches, they get the card. The game can be adapted by using more than one scene at a time, and using the Super Sound Round.

My fifth graders adapted the game to fit the group playing, two groups played with four scenes. They thought it was fun, but maybe a bit young for them. They wanted to play with our reading buddies, but we were closing in on the end on the year. They also thought our speech pathologist would like the game to encourage communication skills. A couple of students thought that although it may have been easy for them, the game was great for our inclusion kids, so they didn't mind playing a second time.

My only benefit for responding to the offer, was a free game. I learned that some offers that come through blogging are good. Check the company out. You may find a freebie out there for you to try.

If you want to try a new blog design, Kimberlee, at Digital Doodle Designs and iTeach5th, is giving a new blog design away. Time is running out, so head over. The giveaway ends tomorrow morning.

Made it Monday

Now that summer has arrived I have some time to get some projects completed from my summer list. I finally have something to share with Tara's linky party.
My first project was a "No Name" sign. We are partially departmentalized in fifth grade. I teach reading to my class and one other room. I am expected to do some of the worksheets that came with our reading series. Some of the worksheets are multiple choice with no writing. Students are suppose to highlight their name when they turn in their paper, but there are always a couple of "no name" papers. I am hoping having one place to post the nameless papers will allow students to reclaim them.

I love the glittery charcoal gray paint. My clothespins are glittered to match the sign. The wooden sign is from Michaels. The clothespins, paint, glitter and glue are all left from other crafts.

My second project isn't perfect yet, but it is a new Instagram button for my blog. It was bothersome that my button didn't match the other buttons. I also made a button for following me on Facebook. I tried the pop-up window and slide-in window, but found them to be a nuisance. I hope this button will suit me better. While you take a peek, go ahead and click it to follow me, please! There isn't much there now, but there will be soon.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Throwback Thursday Linky

I am joining Cara in her summer linky party, Throwback Thursday.
As I begin my summer vacation, I have already started thinking about next year. We spent this year discussing each of the multiple intelligences and will be implementing some grade level wide initiatives to help further differentiate for students. New to  some colleagues, but not to me, differentiation can be intimidating. This is one way to start.

Making Spelling Fun, and a Freebie Apr 10, 2012

I teach spelling to all of the fifth graders. I have differentiated spelling for many years. What does this look like? Of my 79 students (we are a small group this year), I have two or three separate lists. I give six separate spelling tests, two tests in each of my classes. To make spelling fun, we use activities on Spelling City to help differentiate instruction. I use a spelling contract to also differentiate. Students choose 50-100 points worth of activities to do. I also give a pretest on Mondays. Students that score 100% or better on the previous week's list are eligible for the pretest. Students must score 100% or more on the pretest to be exempt from the spelling contract and other spelling tests during the week. I give a practice test and final test. Some students score 90% or higher on the practice test and are exempt from the final test. Most students will retake to get the highly sought after 100% for the exemptions for next week.

An all time favorite activity for spelling practice are our spelling games we play on Thursdays. Bubble or Sparkle was the favorite game until this year. Boggle (found on Pinterest and many blogs), has become a favorite. I choose my letters carefully to guarantee students can find at least a couple of spelling words. They earn bonus points for spelling words and word longer than six letters.
I also have a Word Yahtzee game that we play. For the Yahtzee game, you need to choose a Mystery Word. Students then try to make as many 3, 4, and 5 letter words from the letters in the word. We play this game when we have really long challenge words that can be the Mystery word.
I am working on a Scramble/Words with Friends type game. The kids like playing it on our iPads, but I can't get everyone through in a week, so I am trying to get a game board/center activity completed to try out yet this spring. I have a class set of Scrabble Games, but this isn't my most reliable group, so I am hesitant to use the real games. I find game pieces after every inside recess.

Freebies: Word Yahtzee
              Spelling Contract

I remade my contract this year when I subscribed to Spelling City. I added all Premium subscription options. I only had to grade spelling tests when we couldn't get to the computer lab. Students loved the online options and spelling improved in daily writing.

Do you have an earlier post that might spark interests in other bloggers? Link up!

An Apology and Randomness

I have been really bad about blogging lately. I apologize for my absence. The end of the year is always busy for every teacher. This year seemed worse than usual for me. Since I don't count down days, I often run out of time to complete all that I plan. This year was no different. It only took me a week to get to this post.
We finished our year with a trip to a Toledo Mudhens game with our Little leaders, our safety/mentoring group. Image fifty plus fifth graders sitting in the first four rows by the home bullpen. Lots of lefties kept us on our toes, or ducking. Then came the mayflies. My daughter, who went with us, hates bugs. It "rained" bugs for two innings.

We finish our year with two half student days. We weren't able to do a year end picnic, but we did get to do a big breakfast. Hubby made pancakes. We had so much food, we ate leftovers on Tuesday. We also had an All School Singalong. It gives our exiting fifth graders one last chance to see former teachers. It was especially meaningful with our principal moving into a district position. At 11:00, all adults in our building gather in front to wave goodbye to the departing students.

Last Tuesday was my last day of class, but I finally finished cleaning, purging, and packing this Monday. That included cleaning up my computer. (I took time yesterday, and late last week to spend with family.) So when I showed up to turn in my keys and to finish my grade level requisitions this morning, I was thankful for the time I spent removing files from the computer. My computer was gone, it is getting upgraded with new windows and office. I had to go to the computer lab to work. After a couple of hours, I grabbed my plants and headed out the door. 
I have great plans for my break, including some leisure reading, three in-services, including Daily 5 for Math next week. I also hear a pool calling my name.

One last thing, if you are following on Google Reader, click the Follow on Blog Lovin' button on the right or click the link here.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Currently June

This is a quick post. It has been a couple of  crazy, busy days.  I am joining Farley's Current Linky for May before heading off to bed.

Hubby is a Pacer's fan. Since the Red Wings bowed out of the hockey post season, we are on to the NBA for now. It helps distract him from his coaching anxiety. Our girls' performance at the State Meet today has left him hoarse, happy, and hyped up just a little. "Our" girl was the state champ in the long jump, setting a new state record, won the 200 meter dash, and took second in the 100 meter dash. We also had six other girls perform very well. Coach Hoj and the girls put together our best finish in our school's history.

After a three hour trip home, and a long day in the sun, I need some sleep and to fit a haircut into my crazy year-end schedule. A day in the sun and wind has me wanting to chop, chop, chop!

We have a week and two half days left. I need about three weeks to get in all the fun things I'd love to do. One thing I hate doing is inventorying books and packing the library. I have some sweet volunteers that have just started the job.

Although my vacation may not be starting for a few days, being in the sun made me think about importance of sunscreen. I was glad I had comfy shoes and my camera today. We made so many trips between events to catch the girls in action. Now I just need to print lots of pictures. One of the girl's graduation parties is tomorrow. I want her to have a big picture for her display table.

How crazy has your life been? Don't forget to join up with Farley's Linky.

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