Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015 New Years Resolutions!

Hey there!

Oh my.

I know.

It's been soooooo long since we've talked.

I feel terrible about it.  Honestly.

I've been such a bad blogger.

So, I thought it would be a good idea to link up to The Third Wheel for her New Year's Resolution linky.
It was really perfect timing.  I haven't read blogs hardly at all (I'm a horrible bloggy friend) so since this was one of the first posts I saw when I actually started to read blogs today, I thought it was fate.  Because I need to blog more often!!!!!

And, you know what?  It really feels good to talk to you again!!  :O)

So, here are my resolutions for 2015.

Wow.  My house was a mess.  I have spent the majority of our Christmas break cleaning.  Seriously.  This is the first day that I haven't organized something, packed something away, or cleaned.  But I need to clean up the kitchen.  But I'm not because I wanted to blog.  I'll get it later.  But that was the problem.  There are so many things going on, housework always got pushed to the side.  I try to stay very organized at school and unfortunately, although I'd like to be organized at home, I just have a really hard time.  The three little people in my life are one reason it's hard.  There are toys everywhere.  Everywhere.  And socks.  Holy wow, kids' socks are the bane of my existence.  My husband is not very organized.  So that's another person I find myself picking up after.  And then I just get tired.  Too tired to run around behind everyone cleaning up after them.  So I don't.  But then the cluttering begins.  So, it's my plan to pick up a LITTLE every day and try to get my two oldest to help a little.    And I'm going to get my husband to help.  I'll let you know how it goes.  ;O)

In order to be able to handle so many things at home, I need to get my schoolwork done at school.  Namely, grading papers, emails, and things that are just mundane paperwork.  I generally get distracted during my planning time and it doesn't seem long enough to get anything accomplished.  Then, I stay too long after school and my son, who is in kindergarten, goes berserk because he has behaved all day and he just has to let go.  So, I spend my after school time trying to corral him.  It's just not a good use of time.  So, I'd love to use my planning time better.  However, I think there will be some changes to our planning time (more meetings) when we get back in January, so I'm not sure how that will affect this resolution.  We shall see...

I did really well going to the gym over the summer.  I did sort of okay continuing the first few months back to school.  But, by November, I got sick.  My sinuses were giving me a bad time and I had a horrible cough.  It hung on with me until about a week ago.  So, for about 6 weeks, I just wasn't feeling well.  Then my son got the flu at the end of Thanksgiving Break, and my youngest son has had ear infections off and on.  Anyway, there was a lot going on and I just wasn't able to get to the gym.  I wanted to go over this break but with all the cleaning I've been doing and then my husband's truck needing repairs (so he's using my car), I just didn't get there.  But, I will be taking my gym bag to school and going there after school again.  I have to.  I need to.  I will.

Well, obviously we just need to blog more.  Period.  But, part of my issue is I haven't been taking pictures in the classroom.  I did so well with it last year and I just got out of the habit.  So, I never have any proof of what's going on in my room.  But, I will do better, I promise!
When we first started on TpT, we didn't really have a brand.  If that makes sense?  Like, I can see a product, just a picture of it, and there are times when I KNOW who made the product.  Just based on the cover.  That's branding.  We need to go back through the products we first uploaded to TpT, update them, and make sure all of our products look like they are ours.  That way, people will know from first look that we created it.  Really, there is so much more.  We need to add a promotion page that links to other products that are similar.  We need to update the TpT product descriptions.  I can go on and on.  I need to finish the products in my head before I can go backwards, though.  Because I want all of them to turn out RIGHT and I'm afraid they won't if I'm distracted.

So, those are my resolutions.  If you decided to read them, I appreciate it, especially since I've been gone so long.  I hope you'll leave me a comment.  I know I don't deserve it, but I'd love to hear from you and reconnect!!  Can you forgive me???

I do hope that you have a blessed 2015!!  Happy New Year's Eve!!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Cyber Monday Sale- What's on our Wishlist!

Hi there!!

We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and was able to spend time with their family!

We are SUPER excited about the Cyber Monday sale coming up on TpT!!  Hopefully you have heard about it and have been wish listing some things you've been eyeing!  I know that I have!  Although there were a few things that I almost just bought anyway because I wanted to plan with them but I've tried to be patient.  ;O)

Have you entered to win one of the five $25 TPT gift cards yet? Today is the last day to enter. If you win, that extra cash will come to your inbox just in time for the sale! Click the image below to enter if you haven't already... winners will be announced tomorrow!

So, what's on your wish list?
It's always interesting to see what people have wish listed from our store.  Here are 2 of our top wish listed items.

Our top wishlisted item is our Causes of the American Revolution Nonfiction Articles.

These articles also come in a bundle with our Important Events of the American Revolution Articles.  If you are interested in both sets of the articles, you can find the BUNDLE HERE.  These articles are great for close reading!!
Our second top wish listed item is our Westward Expansion Articles with Interactive Notebook Activities and Flipbooks.  It makes me so happy that all of these articles are wish listed because they take a lot of time to research and write and it does my heart good to know that they are useful to others!

For those of you who really like using these articles, whether to help teaching your Social Studies units or for close reading, I just want you to know that I've been working on articles for The Thirteen Colonies!  I'm hoping they will be finished in the next week or so, but I'm waiting on some clipart to go with them from the wonderful Sarah at Educlips!  Once I have it, they will be uploaded!

Here is something that we have on our wishlist!  We used Michele's Fall Hundreds Board activity as a math center and our kids loved it!  So, of course we wanted to get the Christmas themed center as well!

Make sure that you don't forget to use the TpT code when you check out on Monday!!!

What's your most wish listed items?  And what's on your wish list?  Why don't you link up?  :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Gift Card Giveaways- Enter to Win one of 5 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Cards! Happy Thanksgiving!

Hi Friends!!!  :)


We are so excited for the holiday season that we couldn't help but spread some love! Lots of your favorite TPT Teacher-Authors and I have teamed up to give YOU some TPT spending money. We love you and appreciate you (and we wish we could give all of our fabulous followers some money)!

Enter the Rafflecopter below by simply following our TPT stores, and you will have a chance to win one of five $25 TPT gift cards! Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Teachers helping teachers!

Hi friends!

I know that we haven't been the best bloggers lately!

And, it makes us sad that we haven't been able to blog in a while!  We love our followers and we love our fellow bloggers!

And, this post is a testament to how much we love teachers!

Our friend, Nick, from Sweet Rhyme and Pure Reason is trying to adopt.  As a mama to three adorable kids (if I do say so myself), this is very near and dear to my heart.  I was blessed to be able to have three children.  However, I know that this is not the case for so many wanting and deserving parents.  I was also blessed to become blogging friends, and then real friends with Nick over the course of our blogging journeys.  When a few of Nick's blogging friends heard about his new endeavor, we got together in hopes we could help Nick and his wife with this incredible journey!  If you'd like to read more about his journey, please read more HERE!

A bunch of us have put together a bundle of PURE awesome resources!  These products are perfect for the fall, and some haven't even been released in our stores!  Please take a minute to check them out and possibly help a good friend of ours!

This is 19 products for only $25!!  And, since I'm so late, you only have until Friday to purchase them!

I'm sure you'll recognize some of your favorite bloggers within this bundle!

Elementary AMC 
Ideas by Jivey 
Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans 
Fifth in the Middle 
Head Over Heels for Teaching 
Pinkadots Elementary 
I Love My Classroom 
Fourth Grade Flipper 
I {heart} Recess 
Teaching with a Touch of Twang 
Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road 
Where the Wild Things Learn 

We love all of our fellow bloggers and all of our fellow teachers!  If we can help out in any way, we are glad to do so, especially in this situation!  We hope you'll take the time to check out this bundle!  It's got great resources, and it will probably warm your heart to know you're helping out at the same time!

We hope to be back to regular blogging soon!!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Five for Friday- Math Facts, Constructed Response Tasks, Stellaluna and Bats, Scarecrows and a Halloween Sale

Happy Friday, y'all!

We are linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for the "Five for Friday Weekly Linky Party."  Make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom! We have a Halloween Sale this weekend in our store!
Stellaluna and Bats galore! I know I already talked about Stellaluna on Tuesday's post- (click here to read it), but my kids and I just had such a great time with it! I have really been working on annotating with my students because I want them close reading and truly THINKING while they are reading. They have LOVED it! Check out how we have been analyzing text-

One of my students' favorite parts of fourth grade is spending time with our kindergarten buddies. We try to get together with them every other week to read, write, and help them with their fun projects! 

We reviewed multiplication and division fact families by making Halloween posters. I gave each student a colored sheet of copy paper. We folded it into fourths, and then they pasted the title, and bats in each box. Students chose their fact families and added some spooky decor! The adorable bat clipart is available from Krista Wallden. :)

Each student  worked on their own "Spider Facts" booklet. It is great practice for morning work, classwork, and homework! We ALWAYS need to review our facts! Click here to see it! 

We've been working on math constructed response problems. I want my kids to really be able to read a math story problem, analyze it, and then explain how they solved it. I started off doing these problems whole group so I could model my thinking. Then, I had the kids try them working in pairs. Now, we've been using them for homework. My students are enjoying them, and they are gaining confidence solving these tasks. If you want to use these in your classroom, please check them out here

I hope you have a great weekend, and don't forget to check out all the blogs linked up to Five For Friday!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Stellaluna and Bats! Article to Annotate and Storyline Online

Hi, Friends!

With Halloween only a few days away, my students and I have been getting into the spooky spirit by studying bats. We've read one of my favorites, Stellaluna, and are completing some reading activities from our Fiction and Nonfiction Stellaluna and Bats unit to go along with the story.

Yesterday we made inferences as I read aloud the story, and today we completed a cause and effect chart. These are two important skills that always need review! :)

One cool thing (that y'all probably already know about) is that you can actually watch a reading of the book Stellaluna on the website Storyline Online.

My kids and I really enjoyed this! It's awesome because they add music in the background, and zoom in on the amazing illustrations. And, for my kids that wanted to hear the story again or share it with a family member, all they have to do is go to the website at home because it's FREE! There are tons of great books on this website! Another Halloween favorite available there- I Need My Monster- please check that one out if you haven't :)

Tomorrow, we are going to start reading some nonfiction books and articles about bats, and we are going to compare what we learn to Stellaluna. Bats by Gail Gibbons is one I always use, but there are many other great informational bat resources available.

I found an article about vampire bats on National Geographic Kids website. I printed it out so that each of my students can annotate on the text.

We are going to read the article together and keep track of our thinking- what we learn, what we wonder, connections, etc. It's a fun way to close read such an interesting topic! Here's a link to the article: Vampire Bats

If you are interested in our Stellaluna resource, it's available in our TPT store here: Stellaluna Pack

Have a great rest of your week! Happy (early) Halloween! :)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Winners of the NEW Constructed and Extended Response Math Performance Tasks!

Happy Sunday! I hope you've had a great week! :)

Here are our winners from the Pin It to Win It for the NEW Constructed and Extended Response Math Performance Tasks!!! If you won, we've emailed you!

Our 2 WINNERS are-

Thanks to everyone who participated! :)  

Hope you have a great week!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Tackling Constructed Response Math Performance Tasks {How to and a Pin It to Win It!}

Happy Sunday, Everyone! :)

I am so excited to share how Amanda and I have been "TACKLING" math problem solving lately! 

We created a resource to help prepare our students for solving constructed and extended response math problems. Problem solving has always been an important part of our math instruction, but the Common Core Standards and new state and national assessments have changed how we present these problems. Students are still required to think critically, but now they are also responsible for explaining their thinking in words. Writing an explanation of how you solved the problem is just as important as solving it correctly. - AND THIS IS TOUGH for our kids!!!

Since this is a new way of thinking for students (and teachers!), we knew that we needed a way to simplify the process. When our students first saw the examples of constructed and extended response performance tasks from our state, many panicked or cried or shut down. They were overwhelmed, and so were we! That’s why we decided to create a plan for teaching our kids how to think like mathematicians and solve these performance tasks.

We created a little "PLAYBOOK" to explain...Can you tell I have football on the mind!?  :)

We’ve set up 5 weeks of instruction for each unit- you don’t have to use all 5 weeks- just pick what works for you! For each week, you are given a lesson plan of daily “Math Performance Prompts”, a “Weekly Work” activity, and a culminating “Performance Task.”

Students prepare Monday through Thursday for the Performance Task on Friday. The “Math Performance Prompts” are designed to be a 5-10 minute quick lesson to prepare your students for Friday’s “Performance Task.” We use it as part of our Calendar time at the beginning of Math class. Here's an example below.

Okay, on to Play 2!

The “Weekly Work” activities can be used as daily work, homework, or even part of a center rotation. These activities give students practice with the skills needed to solve the “Performance Task” on Friday. We love the structure of Monday-Thursday!

And Play 3!

Finally, on Friday, you can complete the “Performance Task” with students or use it as an independent assessment. There is a detailed rubric and scoring guide included for each task.

What I love most about this is that my kids are becoming more CONFIDENT in their math thinking and their willingness and ability to solve these constructed response problems. This type of problem solving isn't easy, and I hope that by scaffolding their learning, we can enable our kids to be successful. 

We hope this system helps you and your students tackle Constructed and Extended Response Performance Tasks. We will be creating tasks for each unit of study in fourth grade. Check out the first unit here- Place Value. It's aligned to the 4th Grade Common Core Standards, but can definitely be used as a review with 5th grade as well. 

We are almost done with our Addition, Subtraction, and Estimation Unit, as well as our Multiplication Unit and will be posting them in our store soon! 

If you would like a FREE copy of the Place Value Unit, please PIN IT TO WIN IT! Yes, we will email this unit to 2 WINNERS!

Please Pin this Image:

Click on the image above and pin it. Then, copy the URL of your pin and paste it in the comments.  Also, leave your email address so if you win, I know where to send it!  I'll choose two winners!!  

***Here is a FREEBIE Addition Performance Task if you would like to try it out!  :)

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading this LOOOOOOOOONG post!
I hope you have a Wonderful Rest of your Weekend! :)

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