Saturday, December 28, 2013

Thirteen in '13 Linky Party!!

2013!! What a year it has been.  I, like you, have gone through so many trials, tribulations,treats galore, and triumphant moments! Sitting back thinking of them all is mind boggling!  I am teaming up with Miss Kindergarten's thirteen in '13 linky party. Link up, too, and share your year in review.

 Hmmm, I don't know if I really have a favorite article of clothing, but I love my blue Oakley sunglasses! They used to belong to my son but when his baseball team changed and he needed different ones to look fly with that uniform, I snagged these.  They have been my faithful companions for about 10 years! I take them everywhere and often they can be found on top of my head while I teach. My blue eyes love how dark these glasses are in the sunlight.

I love Melissa McCarthy! She is hilarious.  I wish we had known they were filming part of Bridesmaids here in Oxnard. Susie and I would have been there in a heartbeat!

 Yes, I do tune in every week to see if Alicia gives in to her senses and just leaves her skanky hubby Peter for oh so sexy, Will. 
La Pastai Italian Restaurant in the Sainte Claire Hotel in downtown San Jose, CA. We ate there this summer and went back the next night for more spumoni direct from Italy.  Best part of San Jose is our other favorite Italian restaurant is in the back of the same building, Original Joe's. Bon appetit!

 Besides this blog, it would have to be Teachers Pay Teachers. I finally took the bull by the horns, threw the nerves to the side and went out and created a few activities. I have tons more in store for this year! I have found so many wonderful activities and if anyone enjoys mine as much as I have theirs, I would be in heaven!!

 The gift of health. My husband, Art, had a serious health scare this year. We had many months of worries, concerns, fears, and prayers. We are very blessed that he is healthy and happy. Thankful doesn't even seem large enough to cover our happiness and gratitude. Don't take any day for granted!

 My oldest, Susie, is getting married in 2014! We have looked at so many boards and posts. I love scrapbooking and photography and this one just seemed a perfect blend of all 3!

 Hmm, this is tough.  I love reading everyone's and I love writing on mine. I don't have a favorite, more like a goal to include more on mine each week! 

 Hands down it would have to be my 2 wins this year as a romance writer.  I won First Place and Third Place in two separate contests.  Maybe someday soon I can say my best accomplishment for the year will be selling a book!!

Couldn't do just one! Love him more than I did 27 years ago!!

We are so blessed to live near the ocean. Hunting sea glass is one of our favorite past-times. We love traveling. This year we began with a trip back across the country from visiting family in Tennessee, continued with a trip to Virginia City, Nevada during spring break, San Jose during summer and New Mexico during Veteran's Day.  Bearizona was an amazing place to visit! Another wonderful treat we found near Thanksgiving was our new princess, Duchess.  She is a cuddly ball of fur and I will miss her when Susie takes her with Sam when they make their new life together.

 I have sooo many goals for 2014.  Continue writing, continue blogging, continue living each day to the fullest, gosh, that is a lot of continues!! Maybe I should just say... Take each day as it comes and enjoy every second of it. Spending more time with my family is one goal I will definitely accomplish.

Unbelievable! 2013 has been so unbelievable in so many different ways that I have to pinch myself often to make sure I am really living this amazing crazy life! I pray that 2014 will bring more amazing memories, experiences, and opportunities.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ready for Christmas Giveaway!

Oh my goodness, I can't take it! There are so many wonderful giveaways happening in the education blog world this season. My new friends over at Rockin Resources are hosting a really fun blog giveaway.  Just check out this photo of all of the amazing things I am going to win!  Err, I mean I hope I am going to win. :-)  Head over and get your Rafflecopter chances twirling!


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Multiplication Task Card Freebie

I finally made a freebie for you all!! My students have been tackling multiplication and division using multi digits.   For the past 2 weeks, we have been using Educreations, task cards, Scoot, partner games, and good old fashioned flash cards to practice multiplying and dividing.  

I created these task cards for one of my rotations.  Nothing too elaborate or fancy but my students loved them. I think it was the cute bug graphics personally.  I can't find the credit for these so if you know who made them, please contact me so I can credit them right away.  I had a blast making these and now I think I have caught the fever to make more fun things to share! I would appreciate any and all feedback so this rookie can move into amateur status!! Happy multiplying ya'll! You can get this free resource in my new TpT store! Do you sell? It is easier than I thought. 

Friday, November 29, 2013


My SLANT box buddy Gary Boo'ed me obviously in October... but somehow my gmail account decided he was spamming me instead! Today I was cleaning out my folders and saw this and literally screamed NOOOOOO!! My new kitten about jumped out of her adorable white fluffy fur and scurried under my desk.  I will make amends with her in a bit, but first let me make it up to Gary, my very cool ScrappyGuy


I love Halloween and luckily my family does, too! As a kid I remember not really liking Trick or Treating very much.  I was an only kid and the only grandchild. My mom would take me to my grandparents' house where I would show them my HOBO costume ( I swear I have no pictures of me in anything as a kid but a stinking hobo... not that I had anything against hobos or that I had seen very many at that time, but my mom didn't want to spend money on costumes or apparently had a good imagination. The neighbors near my grandparents gave out nutritious things like apples and oranges.  Sigh!!

When I had kids I knew I was going to change things up!! My kids always had costumes, whether they were homemade or store bought princess dresses and we decorated our home to the nines! Given it was a good thing my husband loves Halloween as much as I do! He enjoyed decorating with me and when the kids were older would even dress up and scare them and the bell ringers who happened to stop by to get tricks or treats!! Our kids are in their 20's but we still love Halloween as much as ever.  At school we always dress up! I have been fortunate to work with a solid team of teachers in 5th grade for several years who loved dressing up thematically to match our curriculum.  I have been a rain cloud, a native american, the element Gold, and a state flower, not to mention fun things like a pirate, baseball catcher, and a Crazy LA Dodger fan.  Halloween is the best.  I have a few kids each year who can't celebrate for religious reasons, but they are the minority. Our school has a Halloween parade where all of the kids march around in their costumes by grade level.  Parents flock in to see this year after year. 


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

K5 Blog Review Opportunity

Do you know  They are an online reading and math program for grades kindergarten through 5th grade. I've been given a 6 week free trial to test and write a review of their program. If you are a blogger, you may want to check out their open invitation to write an online learning review of their program. To learn more about this wonderful opportunity, visit

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tried It Tuesday {Twitter Exit Slips}

4th Gr Flipper

When I first saw the various Twitter bulletin board ideas, I knew I had to make one for my class this year.  This is our first year being a 1:1 iPad classroom and I kind of let the technology theme take over our room! There are so many fun things we have going on that I knew today's Tried It Tuesday link up  hosted by Fourth Grade Flipper would be the perfect spot to share. 

While I don't have an actual Twitter account for me personally or my class... YET, I loved the idea of having them respond with something they have learned or a thought.  These are my absolute favorite thing this year.  At a glance, I can easily tell if the student grasped the concept and what I need to go back to reteach and reinforce.  The majority of my class are English Language Learners and they are in various stages of development. 

I can't wait to see what you have tried and have found to be a success!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Techie Tuesday Link Up

Yes, I know it is Wednesday, but I am still linking up.  I had every intention of linking yesterday with Technology Tailgate's Techie Tuesday, but my baby boy packed up and drove back to college in Texas! True, he is not really a baby, but he is definitely this Momma's boy, so all day was spent with him! I was too emotional to even think about blogging after he left so I waited until today and I had heard from him.  He is 22 and highly capable of doing this all on his own, but a huge part of me wanted to get in on the passenger seat of his 1981 El Camino and buckle up with him.  He is well guarded and protected by a Lady of Guadalupe prayer card and charm. I'm just a typical mom today, anxious for that phone to ring letting me know he is safe and sound at Jarvis Christian College. I love you big bunches ARTIE!!

Back to my reality..... School is almost upon me! One week from today and I will have already spent 90 minutes with my new 5th graders! There are so many fun activities I can't wait to share with them.  This is our first year of having 1:1 iPads and I know we will have a fantastic learning year.  We are blessed to also have access to a computer lab, although I don't know how much time will be given to us, but I do know that my students will need time in there as well.  Typing a lot of paragraphs on an iPad is not an easy task and as of this moment, I do not believe we will have keyboards.  Plus there are a number of internet activities that would just flow more smoothly using a computer or laptop.  We will also be blessed with 6 Google Chrome books and that will be a huge asset to our classroom. 

In anticipation of our technology access and academic goals, I created a Symbaloo that I will attach to my classroom page on our school's website. I first heard about Symbaloo this summer during one of my online technology academies and boy, oh boy, is it a useful tool.  IF you haven't tried it, I suggest heading on over to the Symbaloo site and checking it out. The link below is my personal page for my 5th grade students.  I absolutely love that all of my links are easily organized and accessible to my students, both at school and at home.  The background can be any picture you want and one of my favorite tools is the fact that I can custom the background color for every clickable window. My math are all one color, science, history, spelling, etc.  If you have ever tried having students log on to a website by giving them the URL to type in and end up with misspellings, forgotten punctuation, etc. then you will truly appreciate the ease with which this little gem provides you!! All of your favorite websites in one place called a Webmix!! Fabulous!!!

To check out my Symbaloo, click here.  I tried forever to embed the code so the image would appear, I obviously need more practice on that!!  

Another great feature is that you can search other premade Symbaloo webmixes for activities geared towards your grade level or needs. Trust me, this is a great time saver!!

You will soon be asking your colleagues, HOW DO YOU SYMBALOO?  

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Worksheets Don't Build Dendrites!

I am back from a jam packed week spent at UCLA participating in Diving Deep into the Common Core sponsored by CTA's IPD department.  (Acronyms...ugh.. California Teachers Association's Instruction & Professional Development Department!! How is that for a mouthful!)

The keynote was Dr. Marcia Tate, from the Worksheets Don't Build Dendrites books.  She was FABULOUS!  Motivating, loud, positive, energetic, engaging, and on point!!  Many of her 20 Instructional Strategies for Teaching the Common Core Standards were not knew to me, but as a 16 year educator, I recognize that we all need a little bit of reminders, improvements, and exposure to strategies that are tried and true and fit any learner at any age.  Enter Dr. Marcia Tate!  

One of her strategies that I intend on working on right away is the increased incorporation of music in my classroom.  I always use music, but honestly, more for brain breaks where we might stand and dance our jiggles away to a YouTube hit like the Sid Shuffle or my students loved Adventure to Fitness last year.  Great for indoor PE on super hot or rainy days. 

1. Research still shows that things stick to the human brain when WRITING them down, not typing them as on an iPad or computer.  Being in a 1:1 classroom this year, I recognize to maintain important student learning tools like their Math and Language Arts Toolboxes because my students write down notes, examples, and it is very interactive.  This resource is something they often referred back to and while their iPads will eventually go home, their toolboxes can be put in to use immediately.  It was great to hear a few adults sitting around my table comment the next morning that they went back to their rooms and wrote their notes down because they had typed them in a note app on their ipads but really wanted to remember to use them so they went and wrote them down and how they could clearly hear the whole presentation in their heads when they were writing them!! 

2. Your first opportunity daily to interact with your students is to meet them at the door and greet them by name. Nothing new here, but a poignant reminder of just how important those relationships we build with our students become.  Studies have shown that schools who use this method with incorporating a student greeting their classmates daily with their teacher have reduced bullying.  It is hard to bully someone when they welcomed you to class earlier in the day and commented on how your new shirt looked really cool.  

3. The brain never forgets what it sings! Marcia shared a great app Songify that turns lyrics into a song for you. She also shared Warren Phillips, a science teacher, who sings academic content to his students in hit songs. Marcia shared that 30% of your day should have music involved in your classroom in one way or another.  Several teachers at my table disagreed saying they use it more than that and what a difference their class has become.  I am going to test this out for myself! 

4. Brain Breaks.. turn the class clown into the official joke reader or riddle teller.  We all have one, sometimes more than one.  Marcia shared stories of how empowering students who are often the one who needs the attention from his/her classmates provides them with the needed push to become more academic.  Don't forget to have their jokes or riddles pre-approved by you for content and appropriateness but I see this happening.  One of her stories featured around a student from her hometown who was in trouble daily for making comments when he shouldn't. In high school he was so used to being in trouble, he would just check in at the office daily. The principal wagged his finger in the kid's face one day and said paraphrasing here, "Ain't no one paying you to be funny."   Years later the kid returned to encourage other kids at his alma mater to listen and learn while they are in school.  And the kid told the teacher, "Now they are paying me to be funny."  Who was the kid?  Chris Tucker    You may have the next Chris Tucker in your room.  Give that kid a well-defined role.  

5. Don't be the teacher in Ferris Bueller!  We all laughed at that movie, but we don't want to become the teacher who stands at the front of the room saying "Anyone? Anyone?" and then answering for the students. Be the teacher who builds dendrites! Especially in this generation of students who never move and spend most of their time on social media and as a result are losing their interpersonal and social skills. 

6. The value of placing knowledge in students' procedural memory by using movement and mnemonic devices. SMILE... my personal favorite! Show Me I'm Loved Everday! I absolutely do love my students, all of them, even the rowdy ones and the ones who don't want to be loved.  I need to remind them daily just how much! 

If you ever get the opportunity to build your dendrites by attending an event with Marcia Tate, go!! You will leave re-energized and ready for an amazing school year! In 2 short weeks, I will be putting her 20 strategies and my 6 favorite tips in action!! How is your school year going so far? Are you building dendrites? 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I am lucky that I am not starting school this week, or next week, or even the week after that!! August 27th is our first required day back for a district meet up with students arriving the following day. Yes,  I know a late start, but then again we didn't end until late June.  Such a trade off, I am happy to work with considering the June Gloom in Southern California during June.  Even though, I am not heading back to school just yet, I am excited to link up with iheartrecess for her back to school goals linky party! My very first one and I pray that I make all the links work and the images show up.  

This summer I have spent many an hour working at being blogger savvy along with 1:1 technology ready for my 5th grade class this year.  There are still so many little things that trip me up, like forgetting to add a > to the end of a link, or forgetting to switch to html! Hang in there, I promise that like a fine wine, I will improve with some blogging age! 

Personal: I have been writing for several years and have finally worked up the courage to submit a manuscript to contests. I was blown away when I won one of them this summer.  Now the hard work begins, shopping the manuscript, once the rest of the edits are finished that is!! I have always written with my students to whatever prompt they are writing to. I believe in modeling and showing them the writing process of what happens when an adult writer gets stuck? I believe that this is my year, I just have to believe and keep writing! As my husband reminds me daily, all writing is rewriting! 

Organization: Somehow I start off with a clean slate.  Papers accounted for, everything in its place. Then somehow, a paper bomb explodes and there are things to check, review, and grade sticking out of every square inch in my room. This year, I believe will be different though as my classroom is now a 1:1 iPad room.  I have been learning quite a bit about going paperless via Edmodo, Evernote, and GoogleDocs.  I know this will be my learning curve year, but I believe the feedback to the students will be much faster and more meaningful. 

Planning: My 5th grade team has definitely been a TEAM when it comes to planning our curriculum.  The 4 of us have met weekly to review what we are teaching, the materials we are incorporating, (GLAD, technology, Common Core, etc.) and sharing resources and examples. This year my team split up!! One became the district GLAD resource teacher (the perfect person for the job!), one decided to switch grade levels to grow professionally (personally I think going to K from 5th is torture, but she will be an amazing Kinder teacher!), and the third is taking part of the year off to stay with and provide care for her miracle, baby Rose.  I am not panicking though as I know both of the new additions to my team.  One of them was with our team for years, but had to move school sites, and because of reducing class size, he is back!! YEAH!! A male to teach the Boy/Girl talk in the spring.. can I get a woot woot?!! And the sub who is taking baby Rose's mom's classroom was there last year and she is amazing!! Planning will go on, just this year we get to stop and really think on how to effectively get our students to utilize our technology for their learning benefit!  Great times are ahead for us all!! 

Professional: I am not going to beat a dead horse into the ground, (I have to remember to look up where that idiom came from! My students will definitely want to know!) but I have really immersed my summer in learning ways to educate my students, provide them the tools they need to research, find answers, start conversations, while they search for different ways to solve problems and cite evidence. I am excited about this new adventure. 

Students: I have always believed that if students are not engaged or an active part of their learning, then they will shut down and just cruise through the day. Lopez Land is an active, fun, engaging environment and each student will find the opportunity to grow, question, interact, and demonstrate. 

Motto: You snooze, you lose isn't really a motto you might think of in terms of being crucial to learning. But, I believe it is.  There is no time like the present for our, MY, students to take the bull by the horns and wrestle Common Core, 21st century learning skills, and technology than the present.  Many of my students do not have access to technology at home and I have seen them leave behavior issues at the door when technology is being included in the instruction.  They don't have a minute to lose in their day by snoozing and it will be up to me to make sure no catnaps take place! 

Longwinded, but when ya give a girl a chance to tell you her goals, what do you expect?  As a matter of fact, I am going to have my students create one of these little goodies. I am currently working on how to edit this... like I say, I have learned a lot, but not every thing!! Suggestions?   

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

National Geographic for Kids Magazine 1 year $9.60!!

I saw this deal on Miss R's Room page and couldn't resist!! 10 issues of National Geographic for only $9.60!! IT is more than a FABULOUS steal!! Just follow the link below and then type in code BACK2SCHOOL20 to receive your discount.


Lakeshore is offering a free interactive game by providing them your email and school information. You can only download one per email address.