Friday, December 30, 2011

Middle and High School Linky Party

 Secondary Solutions is having a linky party to get all of the middle and high school teachers together. If you are one, head on over and link up so others can stalk look at your page and get some ideas! I have already found a bunch of blogs that I didn't know about before.
I found Smartchickteacher's Blog and saw a great idea on Element Baby Books. I hate it when I find an awesome idea after I have already taught it! *sigh* Save it for next year.  Skedaddle on over and check out the great blogs at the linky party!

Festivus in Texas

Greetings! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. I am staying with my family in Austin, Texas and have had such a nice time. It's hard to believe I have to head back to the desert in a few days!

On Christmas Day, my family has a tradition to put gag gifts in our stockings. My dad received this bad boy in his stocking (or actually above the stocking on the mantel, the jar was so huge it wouldn't fit).  No doubt he will use this $1 jar of odorous hair gel every day for the next 542 days.

In order to test this toxic substance, my sister and I decided that it was of the utmost importance to try it on my dad's hair. After much convincing and a deal made (which I will tell you about in a little), he finally agreed to let us smear it on his hair. Needless to say, he refused politely declined a photo shoot with his new hair do, but he looked a little something like this happy fellow on the left...

The other end of the deal was that if he allowed us to give him a makeover, I had to drink a mysterious Mexican soft drink. You know, the kind in the glass bottle that has its label entirely in Spanish and has probably been sitting on the shelf in Walmart for a few too many months. I think my face sums up how much I enjoyed this concoction.

The deal was that I had to drink the whole thing, but the contents of the bottle got mysteriously dumped down the drain. Weird.
By the way, do you like my Christmas festive outfit???  Don't be surprised if you see this outfit popping up in Vogue sometime soon.
I hope everyone had a happy holiday and be sure to have a happy new year!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Liebster Award

A big thank you to Bonnie over at Living a Wonderful Life for giving me the Liebster Award! How sweet of her and be sure to check out her blog because it is a goodie!

The goal of the award is to spotlight up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers. The rules are:
  1. copy and paste the award on your blog
  2. thank the giver and link back to them
  3. reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog
  4. hope that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers
Here are some other blogs that I have noticed who deserve to get a shout out for their sheer awesomeness of blogging:

1. Sixth Grade Scene: Sandy is a new blogger who has four followers so we definitely need to show her some love! She has a great freebie about keeping her students up to date on world news and current events which she calls N.O.W. (News of the Week, get it? Get it? Very clever!)

2.   My Life as a Fifth Grade Teacher: Lindsay has a great blog that I love! There aren't a whole lot of us middle school bloggers out there in cyber space. She has 150 followers so she's getting up there! She is really enthusiastic about teaching and her blog cracks me up!

3. Fantabulous 4th Grade:  This blog is super cute and so is her classroom. I love blogs that have classroom pictures up!  Note the awesome green blow up chair that she has in her room that I am definitely going to have to get my hands on for my classroom next year. Browse on over and take a look!

4.  Classroom Ringmaster:  First of all, I love the blog name! I often feel as if I am running a circus, although some days I can't decide if I am the ringmaster or the lion tamer...  This blogger just oozes positivity and you can tell she loves her students. I love her post on organizing her classroom using her Classroom Layout Folder. If only I was that organized...

5.  Diary of a Fifth Grade Teacher:  Last, but certainly not least, is a blog that started a few months ago and is full of great ideas! I just discovered her blog and am her newest follower.  I love how she uses Frayer Vocabulary cards in her classroom and she made a super cute fabric banner that I definitely am going to need to find out how she made!

Be sure to check these blogs out, you won't regret it!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Currently December

This weekend has been filled with last minute Christmas shopping and getting prepared for festive activities next week with the kiddos.  We still have a week left (well, 3.5 days...) so I still have to figure out something for them to do that is engaging, but no new information because let's face it, at this point, their brains are not able to retain anything this close to Christmas.  Monday and Tuesday are the math benchmark, on Wednesday we are building Gingerbread houses, and then on Thursday we are going to watch a festive movie and let the merriment commence! This all sounds so educational, doesn't it??

On the plus side, we are having a "festivus" competition next week and I made a festive hat for Monday. It was a party hat from the dollar store that got converted into a tree. Thank goodness for hot glue guns, green feather boas, and sparkly pom-poms.  I'm going to dominate this competition!

Mmmhmm, that's right. You're going down 5th graders...

Heather Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade is having a linky party. Link up if you want to join in the festivities! 


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dreaded Benchmark Tests

My email had decided to play this mean little trick on me. Every time I log in, I get greeted with a countdown (much similar for the doomsday countdowns in action movies) ticking down the days until the next.... be prepared!... Math Benchmark!  (enter dun dun dun background noise)  My email is indicating to me that this blessed event will occur next week so the time has come to prepare.

Our district's math benchmark rolls around every few months and it always seems like it is such a source of stress. For the kids, you may ask? Oh no, please, the teachers! I know this is no new information to you all as none of us are able to escape progress monitoring.

I decided to create this goal setting sheet for my students to complete to get them a little more involved and help hold themselves more accountable.  With this, the students will average their past few previous test scores (the units that will be mainly tested on the benchmark) and then create a realistic goal for themselves based off of it.

I hope some of you all can use this in your classrooms and I will let you all know if I feel like it made a difference in my student's testing attitudes.  Happy testing!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


The title says it all! I haven't posted in quite a while!
The past few days I have been at Outdoor Ed with my 5th graders. Nothing like spending 36 straight hours with your students for a little bonding time. I actually really enjoyed being able to spend time with my students outside of the classroom.  And I learned several things along the way that I would like to share with you...

1. 5th graders can eat 3 hot dogs, a bag of chips, carrot sticks, applesauce, an exorbitant amount of mustard, ketchup, and ranch, and will still be hungry.

2. At least 4 students will insist that they don't need a coat while star gazing at freezing temperatures. Meanwhile, I was wrapped like a mummy and am pretty sure I could have chipped my ear off with a chisel and hammer.

3. Even though you know a little girl wants to go home all day, she won't decide until 10:30 at night that her time has come.

4. While waiting for the little girl's father to come, there are very scary noises in the middle of the night in the dark. The student will comfort her teacher and let her know that those "scary noises" are just a part of nature and that everything is going to be okay. This is shamefully true.

5. Sleep? Yeah, there's none of that. Many cups of coffee are the cure.

Outdoor Ed at a lake = priceless.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

What I'm Thankful For Linky Party

 I'm linking up to What the Teacher Wants' "What I'm Thankful For" linky party!

1.  What are you thankful for in your classroom?
I am thankful for my Smartboard! I really don't know what I would do with out it. I use it for practically every lesson every day. 

2. What person are you most thankful for?
I don't think I can pick one person! I am equally thankful for every member of my family. My sister is someone who makes me laugh and who is always very understanding of my strange, quirky behaviors. My mom is very special to me and is the best mom that there is (sorry, to you all who think your mom is the best, mine is). ;) My dad is someone who I admire because he always takes chances to follow his dreams and no one makes me laugh like him!  My dad (whose age shall not be mentioned) is skydiving on Christmas Eve with my brother in law.  Yeah, he's kind of a big deal.

3. What 3 blogs are you most thankful for?
I am most thankful for Tales of Frogs and Cupcakes (who always gives me great ideas for math), Fourth Grade Frolics, and What the Teacher Wants!.  There are so many more that I love too, it was so hard to pick out just three!

4. What guilty pleasure are you most thankful for?
Lazy Sundays reading my nook, drinking coffee, in my pajamas. The house is a mess, no groceries in the house, laundry isn't done... 

5. What are you most thankful for?
I am most thankful for my friends, family, and my G this year. This year has been a little rough for me and without the help and support from these incredible people, I could never get through it! I also am so thankful for the people that I work with at my school. They are an incredible and hardworking staff and I am amazed by their grace and compassion everyday. They make me smile everyday. :-) 

What are you thankful for? Link up!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Joy Ride through the City

My friend and I took a ride into inner Phoenix on Friday morning and these are the things we saw...

  • A man wearing a tutu. 'Nough said.
  • A man wearing a surgeon's operating garb waiting for the bus. Little scrub cap and everything - I had so many questions to ask him...
  • A man wearing reindeer antlers
  • A broken bank window (I would question the ballerina, the reindeer, and the surgeon if I were the authorities)
  • A pushy lady in Starbucks who insisted on squeezing herself in between two people on the small Starbucks couch. Comfy cozy! No one moved and it was sardine packed for the longest two minutes I have ever witnessed. I love awkward moments, it's my favorite spectator sport.
Have you ever had those moments when you wished someone was with you to witness something obscure? Those "Why is NO ONE here with me?!?!" moments?
I was so grateful to have my friend with me on that special special joy ride.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Holy cow! It's been a while since I have posted. Things have been crazy at school and I feel like I am constantly swimming upstream trying to catch up. I will be doing some upcoming posts on Guided Math that I do in my classroom, but here's a little something to tie you over in the meantime.

Pinterest has given me a few new fantastic ideas as always!  This week I made a "Kiss Your Brain" jar.  I used a container from the Dollar Store and used stick on scrapbooking letters for the title.  I love rewarding kids for out of the box thinking and putting forth extra effort. (Sorry the picture is not the best quality.)

I also made a little something for my G because it was our 4 year anniversary the other day.  I thought these were cute.  They are also on Pinterest and free to download here!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Place Value Word Wall Vocabulary Cards

Whew, that was a long title, haha!

I try to make vocabulary cards for our classroom word wall for every unit. Unit A focused on place value so I am sharing the vocab cards that I made for that unit.  Feel free to use them in your classroom if you can! Click on the example to download on Google Docs.

At the end of the lesson, I have the kids fill out a Frayer Model vocabulary card for each new vocabulary word that we learn.  This is something that I started this year and I really feel like it is helping my students develop a deeper understanding of whatever concept we are working on.  If you go to Tales of Frogs and Cupcakes, Janaye has a great freebie of the Frayer Model vocabulary card. She was able to fit two on one page which helps save paper and fits nicely into math notebooks if you do those in your classroom.
I hope you will be able to try these in your classroom!  Is it too early to go to bed if it's only 8:00???

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Last night, G and I went to a Halloween party.  I sported my usual costume of being a giant whoopee cushion and G was, well G, but with vision limitations due to his day old laser eye surgery so we will count that as a costume.

I made these cookies for the party.  If I were productive I would make these for my students on Monday, but lazying around in my sweatpants sounds way more appealing today.
All you need is sugar cookie dough, raspberry jam, and slivered almonds.

 Keep the dough cold and roll it into a finger like shapes as fast as you can.  Put the almonds on the tips for nails and use a knife to cut creases for knuckles.  Cook them in a 325 degree oven for 12-15 minutes. 

When they are cool, dip the ends in warmed raspberry jam a couple of times.  And VOILA, bloody severed fingers! Appetizing...

If you want to make these, this is where I got the recipe from ~ Click Here.  Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

My New Little Friend

I get excited about little things.  And I also spend too much money on stupid things that nobody needs.  So without further ado, let me introduce you to my new wee little purchase.
Hello there...  Just a Yoda?  Or...
A USB flash drive!!   You know you're jealous...  Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


My blog has just reached 400 hits!  Hooray!

And to boot I had so many light bulbs go off in my classroom today!  I love it when I teach a lesson and literally I can just see their faces light up in this "Ah, so that's how you do it.." moment of realization. AND after all of our hard work, I finally have the kids at a point where they can help each other on their work.  I always tell the kids, there's 32 of you and 1 of me so you need to help each other out if you see someone at your table struggling with a problem.  And they are doing it!  Finally, without my prompting ~ it's amazing!

Now I am going to drink a glass of wine because I deserve it and hang out with this little sugar pie.   My little chihuahua, she's kind of a big deal.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Halloween Activity

Halloween is right around the corner and the hyper children are also! I am not even going to pretend that we are going to get anything accomplished on Halloween so I created an alternate activity for us to do. I've been getting all of these candy/costume ads in the paper and so I am putting them to use!  I am going to give each student a budget and have them share the ads to buy Halloween goodies.  Clip art is from Lettering Delights.

Now if only I could figure out something to do for the day after Halloween amidst all of the sugar comas after 24 hours of fructose corn syrup and artificial flavorings.  I was supposed to have a test scheduled for that day, but I am thinking that may be a mistake. Nap time? Any ideas?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Simple Machines

In science, we are learning about force and motion and with that comes simple machines.  I learned so much when creating my lesson for simple machines.  Did you know that a broom is a simple machine?  It's a lever!  Ah the wonders of 5th grade... Feel free to use this if you ever have the inkling to do a little simple machines hunt at home yourself.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Blog Giveaway

Some of my favorite teacher bloggers are having a giveaway!

These bloggers have teamed up to do a super giveaway!
Follow all 5 blogs and that's one chance to win. Follow their respective TPT/Teacher Notebook stores and that's another chance to win!  And then, if you blog about it, that's just one more chance to win! Blog away my friends, blog away.