Thursday, November 1, 2012


Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!  And the winner is.....

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to everyone who participated!  You guys are A-MAZING! 


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Atoms Family

Right now, we're studying atoms in science. They pretty much can be as scary as the Addams Family to me a bunch of 10 and 11 year olds! Chemistry was never my favorite subject and here I am, teaching it to a bunch of fifth graders.  Good thing my co-worker is the older version of Bill Nye!  He keeps me and my other coworker straight when it comes to this stuff.  I'm so glad we don't have to teach this in depth!  Did I mention that this isn't my favorite unit??  Anyway, despite my lack of deep understanding into the tiny world of atoms, we have been doing some pretty fun activities to help me the kids understand these beyond microscopic little critters.  Here are some of the things we've done to help: (Disclaimer-I'm not as dumb as this post makes me sound!)  LOL

Number 1:  The Atoms Family Song--No idea who wrote it (if anyone knows, please share that info with me)  It's catchy, I tell ya!

The Atoms Family Song

They're tiny and they're teeny,
Much smaller than a beany,
They never can be seeny,
The Atoms Family

They are so small (snap, snap)
They're round like a ball (snap, snap)
They make up the air.
They're everywhere.
Can't see them at all.

Together they make gases,
And liquids like molasses,
And all the solid masses,
The Atoms Family


Neutrons hang around,
Where protons can be found;
Electrons circle round

The Atoms Family

Second:  We built atoms out of paper plates, mini M&Ms, and Captain Crunch's Oops!  All Berries. They looked at a periodic table and chose an atom they wanted to represent with the materials in front of them.  They had to work out the color combinations too!  There were only two colors of mini M&Ms at WalMart, so they had to use their thinking caps and work it out amongst their teammates.  Afterwards, we did a fair share lesson with the leftovers and ate those protons, neutrons, and electrons right up!  BTW, this model is NOT TO SCALE, but gives them the idea.  The important thing is that they know the protons and neutrons are in the middle, creating the nucleus (with the same number) and the electrons move around the outside (same number).  Just something fun to do!

Third:  We made a human atom.  I printed of 10 of each:  P, N, and E and photocopied them onto different colored paper.  Here is our human nitron atom: (notice the electrons are running around the outside in wild abandon).  They had a blast! 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Finally....Giveaway Time!!!

I've been working on my National Boards, working with a student teacher, organizing a DKG brunch, and trying to have a life--sad to say my blogging has been left behind!  I promised a giveaway back when I hit 400 followers, now I'm close to 500 (461 definitely rounds up in my book).  So, this is the "400, Almost 500 Follower Giveaway!"  I can't believe how far this blog has come!  It hasn't even been a year since I REALLY started blogging and there are actually people that want to hear what I have to say.  It's pretty cool...definitely humbling.  I am so thankful to all of you out there who have left me kind comments, boosted my ego, or made my head swell in some way or another.  The blogging community is amazing!  Anyway, enough of that....This giveaway is for a $25 gift certificate to Target.  I can't offer any free products--all of my TPT items are already free--so I hope that the money will suffice.  It's not much, but hopefully it will be enough for someone to buy some school supplies, books, or just treat themselves for working hard!  Truly thank you....and especially to all of you who will spread the word and have spread the word in the past via facebook, your blogs, email, or Pinterest.  If not for you, I wouldn't be where I am today!  :)

So, enter on.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Adventures to Fitness

Rainy day?  Kids need to get their wiggles out?  Forget the old days of Silent Ball and Heads Up 7 Up!  Adventures to Fitness is the way to go!!  I know many of you have heard of this.  I was introduced to it last year when I stumbled upon Josh's post over at Mr. B's Beach Brains.  I immediately signed up and then...forgot about it.  About a week later, my PE teacher sent out the link and I decided the next rainy day we would do it....then I forgot about it and got in to Wii Dance instead.  This year I promised myself we would check it out and boy, let me tell you, I am so glad I did.  My kids LOVE IT!!!  My colleagues' kids LOVE IT!!  It's like being in a video game, getting a work out,  and learning all the the while.  If you haven't been using Adventures to Fitness, check it out! You do have to sign up, but there is no cost to you.  It's worth it....100%  Below is a video of my kids enjoying their indoor recess:

Move on.

Friday, October 5, 2012

TGIF--Friday Funk Game

At the end of the day on Friday I'm either feeling two ways:  1.  I've had a fantastic day and it was a great way to start the weekend  2.  GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!!  Those days when you are feeling the like #2 (pun originally not intended, but hahaha) this is a great game for you!  First of all, most importantly, make sure you have something academic and productive for them to be doing during this time.

Here are two versions:
 Version #1
1.  Give your children something (candy, pencil, sticker, pretzels, homework pass).
2. They cannot talk until they are on the bus.
3. If you catch them talking you will take away their item.  If not, they get to take their item home with them to keep. 

Version #2--this one can be a little sketchy depending on your children.  Use your best judgement.
1. Give your children something (candy, pencil, sticker, pretzels, homework pass).
2.  They cannot talk until they are on the bus.
3.  If you catch them talking you or whomever caught them talking--could be friends in the class--will take away and keep their item. If not, they get to take the item home with them to keep.

You'd be amazed how much they love being productive and quiet!  You'll also be amazed how quickly your mood will turn around if you were originally in a #2 mood!   You also have to tell them that they are allowed to talk to you or you will have them playing charades with you, and that can sometimes be more annoying than them talking if they're not good at it!  lol  Try it next Friday.  I promise, you'll love it.  Or try it any time you need them to be quiet...just remember to make sure they have something to do!

P.S.  You have to gauge how long you can successfully keep your class quiet.  The object of the game is for everyone to take something home.  I don't recommend keeping them quiet for too long...I usually have them start at the beginning of DEAR (they should be silent during this time anyway) and go until they get on the bus --about 25 minutes.  If you have that kid that just can't stay quiet, let them be your assisstant during this time. 

Clip art from :

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

E-learning Site

Have I been living under a rock???  Do you know about e-Learning for Kids?  Holy Moly!  I was just doing a search for a cool typing program and came across this amazing site!  This site has fun video tutorials and activities/games for the children to practice.  There is such a plethora of resources for math, language arts, science, computer skills, health, and life skills.  I've been making a long list of titles I'll use in my planning:  fractional parts this week.  Just another excellent resource for the whiteboard and student computers!  Enjoy (if you don't already)!

Learn on.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Hi!  My name is Mimi and I'm a sticker-aholic!  I love stickers....still.  I remember my brightest school days being the days when my papers came back with stickers on them.  I was easily bribed for a home and at school.  I'd practice piano for a sticker. I'd do my chores for a sticker. I bet you get the idea.  Well, my kids this year love stickers!  You can't imagine the delight.  :) They, too, are easily bribed for a sticker.  So, how can we display the stickers they collect for their good work?  A big fat piece of clear packing tape!  Yep...tape.  It peels off nicely, not damaging the desk.  They feel like they are graffiting (is that even a word) their desk, all the while showing off their "good work" stickers.  It's simple.  See below.  ***sorry for the use of the word "sticker" times 10 (it has no synonyms)

Sticker on.  (oops...11)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Back to School Night

Last night was Back to School Night for my school.  Of course this time is designed to make sure our parents are "in the know" about what happens in the fifth grade.   We do a PowerPoint and go over the EXTREMELY condensed version of the curriculum, upcoming field trips, what's expected of them, etc. Blah, blah, blah.  This is also a great time for our kids to showcase their work.  I always make sure that the hallway is decked out and there is something on their desks that they are proud of to share with their parents.  Here are a couple of projects we show off:
Shades of summer: In Writer's Workshop the kids write at least two paragraphs about what they did this summer.  They publish their work and then make these awesome faces to go along with the writing.  They draw  pictures representing the writing in the shades.  Quite funny!

Mrs. Hager's Fifth Graders Are Starting Off on the Right Foot:  The right foot is traced and then they draw their foot just like they see it.  The kids do a nametag glyph to go under each of their right feet. 

Bio Poems and Silouettes:  The students create their Bio Poems and then make thier own silouettes.  We did this activity when I was younger.  This is when I realized that I had no chin from the profile view!  lol

Paper Class: My favorite part of Back to School Night is the fake class. You let the kids trace each other onto bulletin board paper (or you trace them yourself), then you let them design themselves. When finished you tape them up in their seats so that when the parents walk in they see a class full of fake kids. It cracks me up every year!! The parents love it, but even more...the kids love it. Here are a couple of my faves from the 5th grade:

What great ideas do you have for Back to School Night??? 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Meet the Teacher

Open House Week

I'm linking up over at TBA to introduce my self and tell you a little about my teaching style.  :)

Every year, we are required to make a poster to hang outside of our door with things that we love on it. We go over it in morning meeting and it just lets our kids, and others in the building, get to know a little about us. I figured, what better way for you to get to know me, than to share the pics from the poster.  Here is my poster from last year:
My poster got curled up last year from all the students traveling by it as they walk down the hall, so I'm having to make another one this year.  It's my weekend homework.  Have I started it?  Um, no.  But, below are some of the pictures that will be featured on the new 2012-2013 Mrs. Hager poster!

1.  Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year!
  2.  I love Busch Gardens.  I live 15 minutes away and frequent the place.  We have season passes and this is a picture of us at Christmastown last Christmas. 

3.  I love my friends.  I have some of the best friends in the world!  This is obviously a picture from my wedding.  This group of girls is amazing!
4.  I absolutely love flamingos.  I think it's because my mother hates them!  I grew up hearing how tacky they were.  Seven years ago I experienced Key West for the first time: my happy place.  Ever since then, I have loved flamingos!!!  Weird.  I know.

   5.   I love to travel.  This past summer, my favorite trip was to Las Vegas (for the third time).  That place never gets old to me! This is me, my husband, and my two favorite teacher friends.
 6.  I'm a die hard Virginia Tech football fan.  This is a picture of me and my two besties at the game.
7.  Back in the day, I used to be a ballet dancer.  That's me...the Lion!  :)
8.  This is Bailey the Super Dog.  She is the best dog...EVER!  Look at that sweet face!
 9.  This is a pic of the Star on top of Mill Mountain in Roanoke, hometown.
 10.  This is me, sporting my Teacher of the Year plaque.  I am the teacher of the year at my school for 2012-2013. 
11.  This is me and my friend Jenna.  We love to dress up and be silly at school.  This is our field day outfit.  YOLO (You Only Live Once), why not have a little fun! 
So there you have it...a tid bit on me. As for my teaching style?  I think the picture above says it loud and clear.  I'm goofy and we have a lot of fun!  Don't get me wrong, the kids don't want to cross me; I'm plenty strict.  But, as a general rule, we laugh and learn!

I hope everyone has had a great Labor Day weekend.  I, myself, went to the Jimmy Buffet concert in Northern VA Saturday and have been laying low ever since.  Had a blast!  I guess I'm off to get started on that new poster!

Teach on.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Inspire Me

PhotobucketRight before heading to bed tonight, the night before I head back to school, I stopped off to check my Facebook.  I am so glad that I did.  I was feeling a little uninspired, having just left the beach early to return to pre-service week.  My classroom is completely in boxes (we got a new air condition system, paint, and who knows what else).  I found out that I'm not getting a student teacher this year (the first time in five years).  I was feeling just totally a little BLAH.  Then I read this story (click here) that one of my dear friends posted, along with the comment "This is awesome. :) sometimes I forget how much I love my job, especially the beginning of the year." This story totally turned my back to school frown upside down.  Yep!  It's that easy. 

This is another one of my favorite inspiring videos:

 The truth is that we are teachers for a reason.  Many, many obstacles come along with teaching, but it is the most rewarding career a person can have!   Sometimes, as humans, we forget what teaching is all about.  It's not about us.  It's about the Merediths and the Daltons.  Plus, what other job do you get a do over, every 180 days?  Here's to my 14th do over; may it be the best yet!  (and if not, well at least I'll have this linky party to get me through until next year!!)  :)  I hope to be Ms. Miner to the 22 fifth graders I have this year!  Happy 2012-2013 School Year!! 

Do you have stories, co-worker's stories, videos, blogs, books, movies, etc. that inspire you?  We'd love to hear about them.  Comment below!  :)

Inspire on.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Text Parents With No Trace of Your Number

I keep wanting to post my own ideas, but then I find someone that has an even cooler idea that is way more 21st century then my old tricks and I feel like I need to get the info out, ASAP!  I found this post on Pinterest, from Mrs. Standford's Blog,  and she introduced this AMAZING thing to me (and all 960 of her readers).  REMIND101!!!!!  It allows you to invite parents to subscribe to your text message updates.  The coolest part?  You don't have to give them your number!  Also, you can send out bulk text messages/emails to your entire class or multiple classes. Oh, and you can even schedule the texts!  You can do it from your phone or computer.  If you have an iPhone, there is an app for that!  Droid is coming soon.  This is going to rock my world this year!   Head on over there and try it out! It's super simple. 


Text on.

Friday, August 10, 2012

I WONDER....Freebie

Wonderopolis has been buzzing all over Pinterest lately, so I finally went and checked it out.  It's pretty cool.  To put it in their words, "It’s a place where wonder and learning are nurtured through the power of discovery, creativity and imagination."  You go to the site, they have a "wonder of the day".  All you have to do is click on the picture and it leads you right to information on the topic.  It's easy!  There is also an index with previous wonders that they could explore.  I'm going to be using this in my classroom this coming year.  I plan to dedicate an entire bulletin board to it.  In the beginning of the year, I am going to have them simply go to the site and fill out this sheet.  Then later in the year, I'll encourage them to come up with their own "wonders" and research them on their own.  I'm even planning on having them have a page in their writing journal dedicated to I wonder topics.  They can build on it all year and when they have time, they can research their own wonders. I think I'll use it for early finishers sometimes, and stations or a choice board others.  Here's a freebie preview:

"Wonder is the beginning of wisdom." ~Socrates

Wonder on.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Freeze! With a little twist!

Need your kids attention?  Here is one of the many ways to grab their attention:

  I remember when I was a little kid, I used to love it when my teacher told us to freeze!  I always hoped secretly that I would be in one of those weird positions that made everyone laugh (yes, I was one of those students).  I might have even thrown myself into a position thinking no one would know that I wasn't naturally in that position when the teacher yelled that famous word!  A couple of years ago I had a class that just wouldn't freeze when I requested.  It used to get on my nerves sooooooo bad! I remember thinking I'd like to make this one child look up the definition to freeze and practice writing it 1,000,000 times just to spite him for spiting me (OF COURSE I DIDN'T).  Anyway, I remember complaining to a veteran teacher who gave me simple advice to cure the problem.  "Make it a contest!"  She told me that any time you want them to do something they don't really enjoy, make it a contest.  Simple enough!  I went back the next day and gave it a try.  I told them we were going to try something new (you always have to pump them up).  I was going to yell freeze and start counting.  We were going to see how long it took everyone to freeze.  We put the number of seconds it took the WHOLE class to freeze on the board.  Then we tried to beat our own record the next time I needed them to freeze!  HOLY COW!  IT WORKED!  After about 3 times I didn't even count past two.  The rest of the year they were planning the Freeze 123 game and I was just getting their attention.  Try it, they love it!

Freeze on.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Fake Texts in the Classroom

I was over at Honey Bunch Blog Design checking out their latest Blog Makeovers and I came across Charlotte, a promising new blogger, at Fabulous 5th Grade Fun.  Her latest post is about fake texts and how to use them in the classroom.  How cute?  I can see myself using this in the classroom as a quick formative assessment for their independent reading.  I could also see myself handing out review questions and having the kids create a conversation answering the questions.  Oh, or I might pair the kids up and let them make a fake text about whatever they want (appropriate, of course) and then have them write it using dialogue.  Hmmmmm.  There are endless possibilities!  Head over to Fabulous 5th Grade Fun to see how she might implement "fake texts" in her classroom.  Do any of you out in blogger land have any suggestions on how to use this educationally?  Leave a comment and share!

Text on.