Thursday, January 31, 2013

Do You Need A Pep Talk?

It's that time of the year:  Christmas is over, the weather is crazy, testing is looming.  Do you need a pep talk?  We had a professional development day on Monday and our reading specialist shared this video with us.  Kid President's Pep Talk:

He's right; we all have work to do.  Will you cry about it or dance about it?  YOU, teachers, were made to be awesome!  What Will Be Your Space Jam?

Dance on.

P.S. Check out some of Kid President's other messages...quite funny. My favorites:  #choosefun and diabetes vs. diabeetus

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Dreams, Snow, and the Beach

New Year's Resolution...FAIL!  I missed my post last week.  First of all, I forgot to take pictures of my Martin's (below). Friday was a two hour delay and I was working diligently to fit everything in before the long weekend.  To the left, a pic of the snow that got us a two hour delay: 34, chilly. Secondly, I took MLK weekend and enjoyed myself; I thought nothing of school. To the right, a picture of what I did the very next day: 60, beautiful.  I figure I'll do two this week and that will make up for it? 

To celebrate Martin Luther King Day, before we left for the break, we wrote essays.  These essays weren't about MLK, but we used him as our inspiration.  We watched some Brainpops, read some stories, and had some discussions about what Dr. King did to make our world a different place.  We talked about his dream.  THEN, we talked about our dreams.  Where did we see the world in five years...ten....twenty?  How could they help make a difference?  They wrote about the dreams they had for the community, the country, and the world.  My kids are going to stop bullying, feed the hungry, run football camps, be role models to younger children, help refugees, teach adults how to read, etc.  The list goes on and on.  They have some big dreams, and MLK left some pretty big shoes to fill.  (Literally and figuratively...supposedly he wore a 10.5, according to ChaCha) :)  Not only did they write essays, but my favorite part....the MLK portraits.  Gotta love some 5th grade art!!!  Here are some of our final products:

If you didn't get a chance to do something to honor MLK, it's not too late. Black history month is coming up next month.  Tie this activity to anyone who helped change our world. Make sure your students know they can make a change, no matter how big or small! Happy MLK! 

Write on.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Show! Don't Tell!

Fifth grade writing is a bear!  It generally has not been a focus previously and we struggle all year to get our kids excited about writing!  Show, Don't Tell is always something that our kids have a hard time with in the beginning, but then just excel once they get the hang of it.  Last year, I found a lesson online added some different images from google images, put them in a word document and wrote one "telling" sentence.  The kids paired up to turn those "telling" sentences into "showing" paragraphs.  They wrote some really great paragraphs this year!  Check out these two examples (these are not edited by me, this is their original work):

Picture 1: 
Telling sentence:  The girls were shopping.
Showing:  I walked in the store with happiness and excitement, thinking of all the things I was going to buy today.  I was so fascinated by all the cute designer pumps and the beautiful expensive dresses.  I couldn't wait to get my hands on the latest designer purse that hadn't even come out yet.  It has a nice black strap with leopard print and a splash of red on it.  It is so unique.  This is my favorite forever store!

Picture 2: 
Telling sentence:  They danced.
Showing:  Our faces were sweating as we glanced across the stage trying to impress the judges.  I can see the judges smiling and people clapping after my first dance.  As I went home I thought about the second day of the competition.  I can't wait until the judges see my next dance.  I stepped on the stage and got ready for my brand new dance.  We twisted and twirled.  We did everything we could to impress the judges.  When we were finished we saw a faint smirk on the judges.  Then we finally heard..."You're going to Hollywood!" 

The students really enjoyed this activity and really showed what was in the pictures!  Try this works....and it's fun!  **You could also have your students bring in pictures and do the activity from his/her own pictures, or you bring in pictures from your childhood, your children, your family gatherings, etc. 

Write on.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Is your grammar up to par?

I just had to share! I make lots of silly grammatical errors all the time. It's not because I don't know the difference, but because I type fast and am careless. (You probably already know this if you are a regular reader) :) My biggest pet peeve is number 11. So few people use these two words correctly, and it's one of the easiest rules in the book! Do you make any of these mistakes? Upper grade teachers, this might be something good to share with your kids! 15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly
Like this infographic? Get more content marketing tips from Copyblogger. Write on.

Friday, January 4, 2013


So, with the new year brings healing for this girl!  On December 23rd, I took a little spill and created the ugly monster to the right--severly sprained ankle.  I'd like to tell you the story of how I carried a dog out of a burning building....but the truth is that I was heading to the bathroom and missed the step down (in my defense I was at a new friend's house and wasn't familiar with the step down).  Oh, did I mention that I was in Georgia visiting my husband's family and friends?  So, $250 dollars, an air cast , a pair of crutches, and a new set of arm muscles later I'm hanging out on the couch, healing.  This lull means....BLOG TIME! 

Along with this new found blog time comes the infamous sub plans.  The first day back in January is usually my "GAME ON" time.  The kids are ready to get back to school, I'm rejuvinated, and the count down to the writing test begins.  This year it meant limping all around, explaining my non-climatic story to everyone, and getting sub plans and supplies together.  So what will the sub be covering?

Order of Operations (OoO) is coming up in math.  Easy enough to teach!  Actually one of my favorite math topics. We teach them that there are three levels to OoO: Level 1-Parentheses (or any type of grouping symbol) and then exponents, Level 2-multiplication or division (left to right), Level 3-addition or subtraction (left to right). In fifth grade we don't cover exponents, so our tests don't include them, BUT I usually explain them and the kids catch on pretty quickly.

 I thought I'd share with you some of the things I do to cover this topic:

First of all, have you ever seen this video?  My kids this year already knew about it from my kids from last year. I <3 Mr. Q-U-E! Head over to his website to find more math topics.

Head over to TPT to download Mike's cute OoO poster.

Here is a pretty fun BINGO game. 

The Virginia Department of Education has provided the lessons Order Out of Chaos. I, personally, like the 4s activity.  It's a brain buster for some.  One of the acitivities requires number tiles.  Make your own with shower tiles from your local hardware store.  Cheap and easy.  Plus, the magic eraser can take off the permanent marker so you can use the tiles again for letters, words, etc. 

Anyhoo, if you teach OoO, feel free to add these things to your plans...and also share with me links or ideas you use! 

Teach on.