Thursday, January 30, 2014

Giveaways, Giveaways, and GIVEAWAYS!! YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS THIS!!

I am full of blog giveaway news!! Do you like winning amazing, FREE, fantastic, FREE, high quality, FREE, curricular and graphic gifts??? Sure you do!!!! Below are 3 out of this world giveaways that have INCREDIBLE PRODUCTS you can win!! I have donated my Common Core Base Ten Scoot and/or Task Card Set for Carol's Garden.  She has reached a great big milestone on Facebook and has put together a fabulous package of goodies!! Enter the Rafflecopter below to throw your name into the hat for these prizes!

 Just LOOK at the LOOT!! As an added bonus, there are so many blogs and very talented people I have met as a result of this giveaway.  Take a look around at the entries, I think you will be pleasantly surprised!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A bunch of intermediate grade level bloggers have gotten together to throw a Product Swap Giveaway Partttyyyyyy!! I couldn't believe the quality of products that are up for grabs!! I am keeping my fingers crossed... and maybe my toes, too, wouldn't hurt!! You can click on the link above for the first stop on the Giveaway Trail!! Good luck to you!!!

WAIT... That is not all of the amazing giveaways happening this weekend!! Hold your horses!!

MissMathDork hit 2,000 followers on Facebook (I know right? I wanna be her when I grow up!!)!! So she is throwing a HUGE, I mean GINORMOUSLY HUGE giveaway with so many products I realllly need to win! My students are counting on my for awesome activities and there are more than I count that I am drooling over. Head on over and throw your name into that pot as well. Follow my blog with Bloglovin


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Crafting Connections: Perspectives Craftivity

I don't think I know how to teach without providing my students hands on activities to go with what we are learning. I am so stoked that I found Deb from Crafting Connections! She has an amazing assortment of craftivity projects you and your students will just LOVE!

We have read numerous books this year, but none of the characters really lent themselves to seeing what was happening through another character's point of view quite like Valley of the Moon.
If you haven't read this Dear America diary book, put it on your to do list!! My students only receive an excerpt in our basal reader, Treasures, by Macmillan McGraw Hill.  Our librarian always knows when we are reading it because my students run in like a flock to see if it is available. Maria Rosalia is an orphaned American Indian who, along with her brother Domingo, lives on a Mexican rancho in 1846. 

First we created our anchor chart and notes in our Language Arts interactive notebook for Point of View: Different Perspectives.  Then I read one of Deb's mini-stories to my students and we highlighted one person's point of view, their thoughts, feelings, dialogue, and actions in one color. Then we did the same for the second character. Together we role played how the two characters saw the one event.

I cut out Deb's other story slips and handed them randomly to my students. They then found a partner that had the exact same story they had and together they sat down and read the paragraph.  Each partner chose a color and a character and highlighted that person's thoughts, feelings, dialogue, and actions. Then together they had to create a poster of the 1 scene from the two characters' points of view.

Of course, one group had to use the excuse that they needed to see a roller coaster up close so they could make their poster look authentic! Anything to take the iPad out!  I love the picture of the two boys collaborating on the paragraph to make sure they portrayed the perspectives correctly.

The second day we took this same concept, but students worked independently. They had to choose Maria Rosalia and then one other character from our story. What made this challenging for my 5th graders was that not every character in the story actually spoke. They had to rely on textual evidence from the author to determine the other character's perspective.  They really enjoyed this and I could tell right away who understood perspective and who needed more guidance.


 Once they had found their evidence, then they cut out their sunglasses, decorated them and glued them to their paper. They labeled the title, notes and the two different characters their scene featured.  Some students were careful about writing their evidence under the glasses so you would have to lift them to see what was under, while others just wrote! I was impressed with their understanding as 90% of them chose a character that never spoke in our excerpt. They had to truly get into the character's mind and thinking.

I am not sure why some of the pictures rotated. In my computer they are correct. I apologize for those! You can see that yes, we had to play with our glasses for a bit before we were able to finish this very practical craftivity. Even I got in on the action! I love how kids are soooo imaginative and creative! Check out Itzy's "Eyes in the back of her head" glasses! Why didn't I think of that?!

My students did an amazing job and I know that they understand Perspective. Thank you Deb! This was definitely a hit and they want to know when they can do it again.  I have book reports now planned centered around this theme!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

NEA Leadership Summit, Bowhead Whale, and Dan Thurmon Motivational Speaker

Remember what it is like your first day back after a fabulous professional development day and you are energized, full of ideas, and excitement? Well, I feel like that after attending the National Education Association's Western Region Leadership Summit.  I was told in November by CTA, California Teachers Association, that they had recommended me to attend the summit. I was totally jazzed but really being a doubting Thomas as to why I was chosen? Me? What does little old me have to offer? I am the President of my local association and in our area where I serve as the Women's Issue Chair for a tri-county, and I sit on a legislative body at our state council for Early Childhood Education. But there are sooo many people who are just as active in other ways so why me was still running in my head.

I am so thankful I was chosen!! I had a blast.  It was just the right amount of moving around, listening to inspiring and amazing speakers, and meeting educators from Alaska, Hawaii, and everywhere from the West Coast to Oklahoma.  I was so impressed by all of the teachers who shared their stories with me during our breakout sessions or in small groups.  I am still in awe of my Alaska native American Beverly who shared her people's concerns about Common Core and where indigenous tribes are to fit while managing their own curriculum so that the next generation doesn't forget who they are and where they come from.  Did you know her tribe still rely heavily on the bowhead whale for their meat? 

I enjoyed running into Princess Moss from the great state of Virginia. She is on the Executive Board and is running for NEA Secretary-Treasurer. I should have worn my power suit to go with her! Dan Thurmon opened up the event with juggling acts while reinforcing the message that we need to be off balance on purpose.  He spent some time cycling around the room on a unicycle while driving home the message that you won't ever get to where you are supposed to go if you don't stick your neck out a little bit.  He compared it to riding the unicycle. In order to stay balanced, he had to stick his upper body and head out in front a little bit while the back end pedaled and caught up. That is just like us. Unless you lean forward in uncertainty, you won't go forward. 

I was able to catch up with my friend George Sheridan, from northern California, who is running for NEA Executive Board this summer. We will see him again at NEA RA Delegate Assembly in Denver in July.  If you have the opportunity to serve as a delegate, do it! The only place I know where educators from all over the country sit together and work on what's right for kids... it must be important if every year the Vice President of the US addresses the assembled folks. 
Energized better than the bunny!! Hope everyone has a great week! Remember to lean forward!!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Five For Friday Fun-ness: Prime Numbers, Elvis Presley, Makeup and More!!

Yes, yes, I know. Fun-ness isn't a word. But I am not sure how else to describe this week that was supposedly short because we didn't start until Tuesday, but honestly felt super duper long!!  Maybe it was because I had three union meetings this week after school that took me out of my routine! Whatever it was, I am extremely excited that today is FRIDAY and that I have absolutely nothing planned on my calendar for the weekend!!

I am also jazzed about linking up with Doodlebug's Five for Friday! My New Year's YEARLONG Resolution is to really be active in the blogging world, reach out to teachers I have met via Blogger, TpT, and TN.   I have been posting on the TpT forum and have met some amazing people this week alone! Tonight I was rewarded with love from Theresa and Robyn from Pinkadots Elementary! They allowed me to use their super cute polka dotted numbers for my five for Friday!! If you could see me, you would see  me jumping up and down in my seat!! Thank you gals soooo much!!
We jumped back into Math this week by reviewing Prime and Composite Numbers. It was a perfect chance for me to try out my new Prime and Composite Scoot Game I had made during winter break. My kids loved it!! They love being able to get up and move around and were challenged by several of my questions. I am always enthralled at seeing all 30 of my students engaged and excited about what we are doing. 

We followed this up the second day with Kristin Kennedy's Prime Mates QR Code Sorting Activity.  My students are bonkers over anything technological since we are so blessed to have a 1:1 classroom. I love seeing the 4C's in action! My boys really worked hard and showed true collaboration during this activity!

I would be so remiss if didn't give a shout out to the KING of  Rock n Roll... ELVIS PRESLEY!! Fans gathered in throngs this week to celebrate the late Icon's birthday. I am blessed to be a fan, not a fanatic. Art and I have made many friends in the Elvis World and are more than happy to share our Vernon Presley home on Dolan Drive with Elvis fans all over the world.  Here we are with some of our favorite people, Andrew Hearn from Essential Elvis in England, our friend Andy from Wales, and the ever beautiful Linda Thompson, Elvis' longtime girlfriend, and Elvis' stepbrother, Billy Stanley. May the music and spirit of Elvis rock on forever!

My oldest daughter is a makeup artist.  She works independently and gets most of her clients through word of mouth. We are very proud of her and her work even though we know it is a dog eat dog world in her field.  It is extremely difficult to get an agent so everything she does she has to hustle for.  She did the makeup for these pictures last fall and they just recently came out. Her work made the front cover of the digital magazine GIRLYS. Don't let the name fool you! It is a magazine with all kinds of models in different outfits, styles, locations.  Susie Lynn's work has its own section, not to mention this super hot cover.  We saw the pics she took from her cell phone months ago and I knew they were powerful. But to see them up close like this gives me chills.  She amazes me with her talent.

Since my students were a bit slow getting in to the groove this week, we glued in some of our past projects into their 5th Grade Portfolios.  They were so excited to review their past art and writing projects.  It really helped motivate them for the things we began this week.  I used to pass out great pieces like these below as soon as I took them off our wall. But after seeing so many end up in the trash or stuffed in backpacks, I began making portfolios.  We cut construction paper in half, bind them with the binding machine and place all finished projects inside.  The parents are so appreciative when it goes home either at our Art and Author's Fair or the last day of school.

It's finally Friday!! There is a country song that says "It's Finally Friday. I'm free again. I got my motor running for a wild weekend." Wellllllll, if you look at our house tonight, you could see that definitely is not the case.

Do you use Adventure to Fitness?  We started using it last year for indoor PE whenever the Santa Ana winds were too dry and hot, when it was raining or when we just simply wanted a break from our regular PE.  Let me tell you, 5th graders love it!! They never seem to get tired of running in "mega mode" or jumping from log to log.  Some of the lower grades use it, too, and they report similar craziness when the kids are enjoying it!! I really like how they throw in real facts and information throughout their episode so that the kids can learn a bit about whichever country the adventure is in that day.This program is free, but they do have programs for parents to buy to use during vacations and at home.

TGIF!! Thanks for checking in and come back soon now, ya hear!!