Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A teacher's summer break........

Wow, I can't believe it's already week 3 of summer break for us teachers here in Michigan.  Time flies when you're having fun. So far summer has been full of music, dancing, singing, sleeping, reading, creating, and tubing!


Week one was a blur of spring summer cleaning, landscaping and house projects. And sleeping in of course!  It was also filled with music as my daughter started piano lessons, I started rehearsals for Legally Blond the Musical and my husband took me to see Guns & Roses.  We were blown away, it was an amazing show! Go see them when they come to a city near you!







Slash hasn't changed one bit!!!!!

During week two, I started my summer reading stack.  My amazing friends at #wecantputbooksdown have been recommending the best new YA lit and my pile is massive.  I can't wait to share these new books with next year's 5th graders.

(Amazon Affiliate links are used in this post)


I've already finished the whole Percy Jackson and the Olympians 5 Book Paperback Boxed Set  (definitely recommend these to your Harry Potter fans) and Booked by Kwame Alexander.

Booked is now my second favorite read this year, next to Pax - it's amazing! Your sports loving boys will actually read this novel in verse, I promise!

If you're not following our wecantputbooksdown instagram page - you need to!!!  We share anything and everything that promotes the love of reading!



During week two I also began thinking about decor for next year's classroom.  Yikes, I know.  But I can't help it!! I loooooove decorating a new classroom each year and making it a fun, exciting place to learn for my new students.

First on my list was updating my word wall cards.  I have 6 bulletin boards in my classroom and I dedicate 3 of them to word walls.  Academic vocabulary is so crucial for students to master and after we are immersed in these ELA, Math and Common Core Critical Verbs and Nouns, my kiddos constantly refer back to these words to use them in their writing and discussions.

My classroom colors are black, white (zebra print) and lime green. But I also have word wall sets available in bright chevrons and polka dots, rainbow colors, nautical colors, black & white, animal print or no backgrounds at all (great for conserving printer ink).

 







Plus, super easy bulletin boards! Just my style! Hang up a heading banner (I have tons of FREE ones available in my TPT store - just scroll down the page, they are near the bottom), post the vocabulary cards as they're taught, and that's it - a year long, interactive, useful bulletin board.

Week 3 of summer break called for a trip up north, along with most of the people in Michigan. We've been tubing ever since.

 

What has your teacher summer consisted of so far?  Enter the rafflecopter and comment below with your favorite summer activity for a chance to WIN a FREE word wall set of your choice from my store!!

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Monday, April 4, 2016

Middle Grades TBR list!

Put these books on your reading list if you teach middle grades.


It's finally spring break and I am thankful for the extra time to spend with my family, catch up on my TBR (to be read) list, sleep in and yes - even clean my house!



Today is the first official day of spring break, but I already finished the first book on my TBR list over the weekend - Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters.  I've wanted to read this series for years, but some especially persistent 5th graders finally convinced me to move it up on my list and I'm so glad I listened.  I love a good series and this one doesn't disappoint.  Click on the image to learn more about this book.  (This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.)




The rest of my TBR list includes these amazing titles.....................

1. The remainder of the Percy Jackson series - books 3-5. Click on the image to learn more about these books.  Harry Potter fans, you must read these!

2. The Key to Extraordinary - the book of the month in my Goodreads book club and written by the same author as Snicker of Magic which I loved. Click on the image below.




3.  Amulet #1 (My reluctant readers have devoured this graphic novel series this year and I HAVE to know what it's all about.) Click on the image if you LOVE graphic novels too!

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4.  Booked - the newest release by Kwame Alexander - I'm not usually a fan of novels in verse - but if you've read The Crossover (last year's Newbery contender) and put it in the hands of your sports loving boy readers, you know why I HAVE to read this title.




5.  Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead - I don't know a lot about this new release but I enjoyed Liar & Spy - it had a fun twist and a good message.  I'm hoping for the same from this new title.  Click the image below to learn more.




6.  Hired Girl - I've heard great things about this one, set in the early twentieth century and focused on women's rights - and I'm a sucker for Historical Fiction. Click the picture to learn more.




7. The Honest Truth - A student reacommended this book to me because I loved The Fault in Our Stars and Everything, Everything. He knows I love tear jerkers!  Click the picture to read more about this title.





8. Nimona - my own son came home from 6th grade one day super excited about this graphic novel because of a student book recommendation he'd heard in class that day.  So of course, I HAVE to check it out.  My son doesn't get excited about many books. Click the image to learn more.





9.  Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics - have you read the first one?  I loved all of the allusions to my favorite books and the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory feel to this mystery.  I can't wait to see if I enjoy the sequel just as much! Click the image below.




10.  Lastly, Seraphina and the Black Cloak - two girls in my class have raved about this book this year.  They showed us a book trailer that was creepy and suspenseful and hooked me on the spot.  I have to read this one fast, because there's already a list in my class for who gets it next when I'm finished. No pressure!!! LOL  Click the image to find out more.




Happy spring break teacher friends!  I hope you find time to spend with family, friends and a good book too!!  And maybe even a little time to clean house.  Or maybe not!!  :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Show & Tell Tuesday - Math Workshop Tips & Advice

It's show and tell time again!  This week I want to show you a quick peek into our math workshop centers.  




First off, I can't wait to show you this presentation I put together for a district PD session a few weeks ago.  I hope you find it useful if you're considering a math workshop instructional approach.


It's full of tips and ideas for implementing math workshop in your classroom.  For even more detailed advice, check out my How to Launch Math Workshop blog post HERE.




Secondly, here's a peek at a few of our math workshop centers.  I'm a firm believer in collaboration so we spend most of math class working with partners.  Below are a few pictures of groups of students completing problem solving tasks from the FREE online Georgia math curriculum materials. 
Two (or three) brains are better than one!











Digital centers are also a favorite of my students during math workshop.  The content of this center varies week to week. Sometimes students just need to watch a short video that connects to the daily learning target (like this cute A Cup Fills Up song found on you tube) and then write about their thinking/noticings.






Or sometimes they work on our SmartBoard, iPads or the HP computers to practice the learning target with specified math games, fact practice sites like Hooda Math or Moby Max.






Lastly, math games are always a hit with my students during workshop.  It's so much better to practice the day's learning target in a game format (and the competitiveness of games increases engagment) than from a text book.   My favorite games again come from the FREE online Georgia mathematics curriculum and our Investigations curriculum.  





I'm glad I got the chance to show and tell you just a bit about our weekly math workshop centers.  See more show and tell posts at my best bloggy buddy Stephanie Rye's page below. 
Thanks for stopping by!



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