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.