Friday, April 20, 2012

Fab. Five for Friday

It has been awhile since my last post, I even missed last Friday's Fab Five. Please accept my dear apologies, this time of year is hectic for us all! I have been getting my kiddos geared up for state testing so I haven't had much time for blogging. We have been going over testing strategies,  practicing, and learning the last of our math concepts for the year. I'm feeling pretty confident and crossing my fingers they do well :) I'm also two weeks away from my big brother getting married! On top of testing and all the end of year responsibilities teachers have.... I'm fulfilling my bridesmaid duties. We will also be taking her out for a fun bachelorette party this weekend!! Anyways..don't want to bore you so here is my Fab Five, a combination from this week and last :) 

                                                              Source: via Courtney on Pinterest

This is such a great idea! I am loving anchor charts, especially with all of the cute ideas on pinterest. My room is getting way too crowded with my charts and I am also running out of line space. I like the idea of taking a picture of your chart, then putting those pictures into a binder. Children can refer to this binder when in need of that specific strategy they are searching for!
                                                                            Source: via Courtney on Pinterest

I'm also totally loving everything about this outfit!! It would be great with a cute pair of flats for school. Add the heels and purse for a night out with the girls or date night!! :)

                                                                    Source: Uploaded by user via Courtney on Pinterest

My goal this summer is to familiarize myself with Daily 5 and CAFE so that I can implement this for next school year. I hate to say it but I really think that I am a poor reading teacher. I know that according to state testing, reading scores are usually supposed to be significantly higher than math; but my math scores are usually higher than reading :( I need to get on it!!!

                            Source: via Courtney on Pinterest

                    Do any of you own a Keurig?? I love this organizer and need to get one for my K-cups!!

                                                           Source: via Courtney on Pinterest

                                      Last but not least, I love this cute timeline for a wedding :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Spelling Homework, Flow Map Summaries....and Can You Say FREEBIES?!

 I posted about a Summarizing Breakthrough that I had with my students awhile ago. You can go back and check that post out here! As I was going through my posts, I was wondering why I didn't share that file?! If your students are struggling with summary writing, give a try to the worksheet I created. You can find it for FREE at my TPT store The students use a flow map to draw pictures of the most important events that happened in the story. They use their flow map to write a summary. I had my students just write a simple sentence or two to describe each picture. If you do use it, please let me know how it works for your students!! My students even use this for their weekly reading responses and they draw it out on their own. I love it!! :)

Secondly, I wanted to share a Super Spelling Contract that I created. I know many of you have probably experimented with contracts and allowing your students to work on an assignment throughout the week, which means they need to manage their time and be responsible!! Of course, this will not work for every class but I make a big deal in the beginning of the year how I feel this class is Responsible enough to HANDLE having a contract and it is a privilege. I get bored with assigning the same assignments for spelling homework each work. With this contract, students are able to choose which assignment they will work on for the week. There are three different columns to choose from and one study option. Students are only allowed to pick ONE item from each column per week. The reason is because the assignments in each column vary in difficulty. Parents have seemed to really like the contract too. Since many students have practice, church, or other things going on after school, they have the flexibility throughout the week to get it done on their 'off days'.

The students really enjoy being able to choose the assignment they want to complete. I also make them check off and date the assignment once it has been completed. The catch here is that the students are only allowed to do 'abc order' once during the month. This was my tricky way of making them think they have the choice, but really they end up doing nearly all the assignments on the contract throughout the month. At the beginning of each month, I give out a new contract and they write the month on top. If you would like your own copy of this Super Spelling Contract you can pick one up at my TPT store!!

I will be giving a FREE copy of this contract to the first TWO comments who leave their email. If you REALLY want a free copy and are too a link about my blog or any of my free resources, leave a comment that you did and this contract is yours :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Quick Decimal Freebie

My kids had more difficulties than I expected with decimals greater than 1 so I needed to create a worksheet to reinforce this concept again. I stayed up last night working on this sheet, and hopefully this will help to reteach and reinforce for those who are getting confused between tenths and hundredths. 

Feel free to use this sheet! It's linked up to my TPT account, but it's a freebie! :) You can grab it here! Enjoy!! I'm off to work! 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Where in the World Am I?!

This week we are reading The Armadillo from Amarillo. 
The Armadillo from Amarillo
This is a really cute story about an Armadillo who wants to learn about where he is in this world. As we were reading this story, it became very evident that my students didn't know the difference between city, state, country, etc. Because of this, I decided to do a mini geography (and science)  lesson by using a handy dandy foldable. I have been seeing so many great posts about how  others use foldables in their class, so I wanted to give it a try. I honestly have never used one before and the kids were REALLY excited to get the chance to choose 3 different colors of construction paper. 
With my third graders we went step by step on how to actually fold these, being sure to leave about an inch between each sheet. We then folded them all up and glued. 
Using the foldable we are working on breaking down geography terms and locating where in the world we are (just in case Armadillo wanted to know)....If you decide to use 3 pages like us, you will end up with 6 tabs. We divided them up into a title page, school and city, island and state, country, continent, and planet. You will then have something like this:

Today as a class, we looked at some maps and took notes about what we should write in each fold. Tomorrow, the students will be working on drafting their sentences about each topic. I just did a quick sample of a few of the pages to show anybody who is interested. 
This is the basic format that each child's foldable will follow. The students really enjoyed this story and it was a wonderful opportunity to brush up on some geography and science (we are also going into a big discussion about the planets tomorrow). I'm actually going to let the kids research the planets, and then we will meet back to discuss their findings!! 

Hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Math..Singapore Style!

My post about Singapore math has been put off for quite some time!! If you've never heard about Singapore math you should really look/read into it. There are wonderful workshops where the presenters teach you how math is taught/learned in Singapore! The students have a strong foundation of number sense, which sadly, many american children do not have. I remember being in school, learning how to add and subtract and just knowing that I had to carry over numbers without really knowing or understanding why I was doing that. In Singapore, the children are very proficient in math and are excellent mental mathletes!

At my first Singapore math workshop, I was blown away by some of the videos the presenter shared. There were double digit by double digit multiplication problems that these third graders were presented (in front of the camera) and they solved it all in their head...before I could solve it on paper!! These workshops are TIRING. The entire time you are actually solving problems and using the strategies that they teach you. Its a whole new way of thinking about your numbers and also the ways that you solve these problems. You are introduced to many different ways to do math.

The thing to always remember is CPA. Concrete, Pictorial, and Abstract.

Whenever introducing a new concept students, students need hands on experiences. They need a lot of time to manipulate the problems, solve them, and find multiple ways to represent the problems/answers.
As a teacher, we need to always accept multiple representations of the same thing and remember that we are teaching 21st century learners.We need to encourage them to think of many different ways to solve their problems, problem solve and most importantly...students need to be able to communicate their thinking. I spend a ton of time (sometimes it seems too long but it's never too long if it's meaningful) letting the kids explain how and why they know their answers is correct.

I've been working very hard on creating an environment where all children feel safe to share their thinking. What is wonderful to see is when the kids who don't understand are able to question why the answer is 28 when they think it should be 40. The students are very patient and EXPLAIN, go through steps, walk the student through the problem and answer that confused students questions. The students do not feel ashamed to ask questions or not understand. I make sure to always thank that student for giving us a great lesson. It's good for all kids because when they are able to know they truly understand!!

Once students have had enough experiences with the concrete, they move onto the pictorial approach. They need to draw representations of what they know about solving the problem. Model drawings are a big part of singapore math and are great for word problems!! Since I do all my math through word problems, my kids are pretty strong with model drawings.

Then comes abstract. Once students have been given the appropriate amount of time to familiarize themselves, they will be able to understand all of these abstract concepts that we try to teach everyday. I too often forget how difficult these concepts are for my teeny third graders and get frustrated when they don't understand my formulas (pre Singapore math training days) haha.

It's a totally new way of thinking, it's time consuming but it's amazing!! Once the students fully understand the concepts they are able to see relationships between other concepts. They are able to solve any type of problems because they truly understand the concept. BUT there are still those few students who I still hear..."I don't get this" when it's the exact same as the problem before :P

My grade level is planning on fully implementing Singapore math as our core curriculum next year. We've been getting a ton of training but I still have a lot to learn and read about over the summer! Anybody else use Singapore Math??

Friday, April 13, 2012

Fab. Five for Friday

I'm so excited! My mom flew in today from Maui. She's here to help celebrate my future sister-in law's bridal shower. We are taking her to Aulani, the new Disney Resort out at Ko'olina for a day at the spa tomorrow. I really need a good massage (will be my first ever), hopefully I won't be too ticklish or in too much pain!! This is what I get to look forward to :)


Here's my fab. five from pinterest this week. I'm hoping my comments show up under my pictures this week..they didn't last week :/

This HILARIOUS video of some dedicated teachers singing "Rock the Test"
Source: via Courtney on Pinterest

Love these cute wedges by jessica simpson
Source: via Courtney on Pinterest

Simple yet elegant center piece
Source: via Courtney on Pinterest

How cute and simple is this?! Daily Objectives <3
Source: Uploaded by user via Courtney on Pinterest

Last but not least, This super cute Anchor Chart for Earth Day!! I wish my charts looked like these!
Source: via Courtney on Pinterest

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Field Trip, A May Day Unit, and a Shout-out for Help!

Aloha Ahiahi (good evening) fellow bloggers!

I know I've promised a follow up post to my singapore math workshop but that will be coming up this weekend, hopefully I'll have the time on Sunday. I left my notes at school :( haha

Anyways, today we took a field trip to the Honolulu Theatre for Youth to watch an adorably awesome play:

This was an interactive play where the students were chosen to be members of the Royal Court as they shared the history and traditions of May Day! For those of you who do not know, May day is a very popular tradition and celebration here in Hawaii. There are usually celebrations throughout the entire month of May, filled with beautiful leis, music, dance and of course, gathering of Ohana! Since I work at a school that is 50% military, it was a wonderful experience for my students, as many of them are experiencing May Day for the first time!!

Almost all schools in Hawaii put on a May Day Program, where students are taught a hula dance and perform for family and friends. May Day is honestly one of my favorite events of the entire year!! Since I grew up dancing hula from the age of 4, I love being around all of the wonderful music and being able to share my dancing with my students!!They always love when I get up and dance with them too :)

After seeing this play, and talking with my kids I am inspired to do a mini-unit on May Day. I know that this celebration here in Hawaii is definitely unique to those of you not from here. I thought it would be great to be able to share with you and your classes a bit of what May Day means to us! is where I need the help. I've never created a unit before..not sure how to make things all nice and fancy. I would love if somebody would be willing to be my editor and "go to" person, should I have any questions. If anybody is willing to help this newbie out, you will get first-hand access to my unit once it is done! If you would like to help, I'll take the first two offers that leave your e-mail for me!!

PS: May day is something that I grew up with. If there is anything you would like for me to include in this unit, please let me know by leaving a comment. Any things you've ever wondered about Hawai'i, hula, or the celebration?? Things you think your kids might be interested in knowing??

I'm hoping that I will have 100 followers in the near future. If I do gain those followers by May 1, this will be my giveaway product!! :D

Thank in advance!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Singapore Math and an Inspiring Video

I am exhausted!! I spent all day at a Singapore Math Workshop. Have any of you heard of Singapore Math or are using it in your classes?? It's a different approach to math compared to the 'american' way of teaching math. The foundation is CPA=concrete, pictorial, abstract. I am pooped. This was a 7-4 workshop so my brain has been worked to the max. I sure know how the kids feel now :P 

Hopefully, tomorrow I will be able to share some things with you. Until then, I wanted to share this touching video that a friend of mine had posted on FB. This is a documentary about children writing journals and sharing their deepest emotions in school. The teacher emphasizes that the number one priority or goal is to be happy, and that sharing their feelings is part of the path to happiness. In this video you see that the students truly love and care for one another. They have a safe community where all children feel that they belong, which is so important. I feel that in many American classrooms this is lacking.
As much as I would like to deny it, I admit that my classroom isn't always the safest learning environment. I try as hard as I can to make every child feel safe and that they belong, but we all know there are those kids who will always sneak in a snicker here or there..or those kids who get impatient. This video is truly touching and brought tears to my eyes!! 

I only cringe to think of the reaction that I would get from some of my parents if this were to take place in my class?! Thats a scary thought but very sad at the same time!


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter and a Freebie to Celebrate!!

Happy Easter to Everyone out in Bloggy World!! :) I hope you are all enjoying this wonderful and beautiful day with your family and friends, and of course..Good Food!!

This will be a quick post because I need to get the chicken frying and desert baking. We are heading to my boyfriend's parents house for Easter dinner! I haven't even begun cooking yet.

Anyways, I haven't uploaded a freebie in awhile so here is more morning math work! This file will contain all sheets to be used for the entire month of April. I've uploaded this file to my TPT store so go ahead and get your free copy!! It will only be free until Monday, then it will become my first item that I will be selling! I don't know who you all do it with your units. This took me so long to format (probably because I did it in word). I usually type my math sheets up in word but think from now I will do it in powerpoint. I made my cover sheet in power point but couldn't figure out how to transfer my word document over to PPT. Any tips?!

Alrighty...well there I go rambling again!! Please head to my TPT Store to grab your copy of my morning math sheets. 

This month your kids will be able to practice and review: place value, rounding, fractions, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and elapsed time word problems. YES, Definitely getting ready for state testing!! This is a great review for my kids since we never have the time to go back and review all of these things! Hope you can find this useful in your classroom. Leave me some tips and comments since I'm a major newbie to TPT :)

Have a Blessed Day!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Fab. Five for Friday and a Game of Tag!

Happy Good Friday!! Today we are off from school but unfortunately I slept the entire day away!! Didn't feel so good after a fun night out with an old friend.

So I've been seeing that a lot of bloggers share their top five pinterest finds on Fridays! This seems like a lot of fun, especially since I'm addicted to pinterest. This will be my new Friday posts!! Hopefully you'll get some new/cute ideas from me :) Here are my first five to share for this week:
Love this sparkly blingy nail polish!

This is SO COOl. Imagine how fun this would be for kids to eat?!

Source: via Courtney on Pinterest

Uhm. How true is this?! I'm one of those people who get really into shape then really out of shape :/  AND I'm always having to start over! 
Loving this quote. I need to make this cute and put it up in my class!
I'm also loving all of the new resources that are popping up for common core

Blogging is so cool, there are always so many fun and awesome "things" happening in the blog world.
Corinna at Surfin' Through Second AND Amy over at The Crazy Adventures of a University Grad have both tagged me for this fun game of TAG. Here are the rules:

Here Are The rules:
* Post these rules
* Answer the 10 questions that the tagger posted for you
* Create 10 questions of your own to ask the people that you're about to tag
* Tag 10 people and link them with your post (and let them know they've been tagged!)

Here Are The Questions I was Asked (I'm just going to pick one set to answer):

1. What is your favorite sweet treat?
Oh MY, I LOVE sweets so this is tough. BUT I would probably have to say my FAV. is ice cream!! 
2.  What other profession besides teaching did you aspire to?
Hm. Ever since I was little I always imagined I would be a teacher. I did think of getting my masters in counseling...
3.  What talent do you possess that not many people know about?
Not very many people know that I've danced hula for almost my entire life!! I started at the age of 4 and I have also danced professionally in a luau show for 5 years. I've also been hired for weddings, special events and even danced at the Maui Airport on Friday evenings.. (Have you seen me before while on vacay?! haha) 
4.  Who is a celebrity that you would love to meet?
I would LOVE to meet Rachel Bilson. I've always been a fan of hers :)
5.  What inspired you to become a teacher?
WELL. My mom is a teacher and so was her mom :) I wanted to be a teacher though so that I could help others. As I was growing up, especially in high school, I noticed the lack of parenting and neglect that so many children grew up with. Because of that, they grew up not caring about school and/or wanting to learn. I wanted to become a teacher who makes a difference in a child's life and teaches them that they can do whatever they want, despite what others may tell them. I want to let them know that I'm here to support them, love them and care for them...
6.  If you could do a Teacher Exchange program for a year, where would
you want to teach?
HM. I would love to teach in Japan!
7.  What is your favorite pair of school shoes?
My fav. pair of school shoes would have to be any comfortable flats. I would love to be one of those teachers who rock really nice heels and sandals but my feet couldn't handle :(
8.  What are your top 3 favorite places to shop?
Eden in Love, Macy's, and Forever 21
9.  What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you
while teaching?
HM. There have been so many funny things that happened but I'm pulling a blank right now...
Imagine your best student. This was about a girl who was that student. She was well behaved, always followed rules and directions, never got in trouble and was very smart! WELL I usually put on a timer and when the timer goes off all students need to be seated. The students were transitioning from a move around activity. Everyone was seated however somebody left a chair in the middle of the room. I said that somebody needed to put it away, so that girl goes to put it away but the timer goes off. She froze and looked like a deer stuck in headlights. She was so scared she was about to cry! Instead of telling her it was okay, I couldn't help myself and started busting out laughing! 
10.  How/Why did you get into  blogging?
Well I started reading teacher blogs (don't even remember how I got started) and I have learned so many new things and got so many good ideas. I decided to blog so that I can reflect on my teaching and thought it'd be cool to be able to look back on things I've done throughout my career! I am so thankful for blogging because all of the wonderful people in this community help to make me a better teacher each and every day!!

Alright. Here are my questions to you:
1. What is the one thing that you couldn't live without in your class?
2. If you could teach any grade, what would it be and why?
3. What is your absolute favorite food?
4. What does a typical morning breakfast look like for you?
5. Nicest thing that a parent has ever said to you?
6. Most touching moment with/from a student
7. Favorite website besides blogger and pinterest.
8. Best place you've ever traveled to and why?
9. What is your favorite thing to do on the weekends?
10. About how much time, on average, would you say that you spend doing things for school?

AND here are the 10 lucky ones I'm tagging:
stickers and staples

Up Owl Night

3rd Grade Gridiron

3rd Grade Thoughts


Lessons with Laughter

Grab My Button! 

Sunny Days in Second

A Cupcake for the Teacher

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Finally Feelin' Like a REAL Blogger and a Linky!

Boy..I couldn't be any happier right now!! I just got home and poured myself a glass of wine (red, of course) to check out the big preview of my new blog home!! I am SO in LOVE with it!!! Misty and Erika at Honey Bunch Blog Design have worked SO HARD and quickly to move me in and make me feel like a real blogger! I finally have a button and all the cool stuff the veteran bloggers have!! I am happy because I feel like my blog finally doesn't shout "NEWBIE!" haha. Thank you Misty for making the search so easy for me and finding a zillion options until I found what was "me"! AND Erika is awesome with her design skills, efficient and even did all the confusing stuff for me like actually applying all the cuteness to my blog!!

YAY! Report cards are finally I have some reports to write this weekend. Hopefully I can get some more freebies up to share soon and I can get out of my lists that I'm drowning under. To celebrate the three day weekend and RC being done I'm meeting up with an old friend for some wine and truffle fries (best fries ever!) :D Can't wait!!

I'll leave you with a fun linky party that totally matches my mood!! Teresa at Confessions of a Teaching Junkie is hosting such a positive Linky party! You must think about all the things that went RIGHT in your day for you/your kids in your class.You could also win a 20$ Sb gift card!! Here are my positive vibes:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

So Much To DO, So Little Time...

Yesterday after school I get an e-mail from the principal letting all teachers now that the Complex Area Superintendent is doing a walkthrough (today!). So was not prepared. My room was a mess and I couldn't even clean it because I was off to McTeacher night!! I worked at Mcdonald's for an hour and  a half to raise funds for our school PTSO. The kids always love seeing their teachers serving their food!! Working there is MUCH tougher than I ever thought..and this is my second year doing this, I thought I'd have the hang by now :P Hopefully next time will be a breeze.

Fast forward to today..just so happens that my P and CAS walk in during math! Good thing they came in when they did because the kids were all completely SILENT and totally engaged in IXL work on their mini netbooks. They totally just missed me yelling and getting all frustrated because some kids (who weren't paying attention) couldn't understand what greater than 2 meant. UGH. The CAS starts talking to a student and I was SO glad she picked a good one to talk to. Here's how the conversation goes:

CAS: What are you working on?
Student: We are working on interpreting line plots..Some students are having trouble with the vocabulary and are not understanding. Miss M. just went over it and now we are practicing.

How good was that?! I went over to give her a high five after :D haha.

Whew. I just feel like I can't keep up with all the things that I have to do!! I still haven't done report cards and they're due tomorrow!! I'm planning on using the next hour to finish my last 7 comments :D Then I will be very relieved. I can't wait to share some pictures of my kids art projects. They are coming out wonderfully!!

Last but not least..I want to know what you all do with your kiddos for Earth Day?! Any ideas?? We usually plant something around the school but any suggestions are greatly appreciated :D

Thanks and I'm off the bang out those report cards!!

PS: I'm getting a blog makeover soon!! I just got a preview and CAN"T WAIT!!! Been checking my e-mail religiously waiting it's arrival!
Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Currently....

Phew.. Ever feel that there's not enough time to get everything done in one weekend?! That's how I'm feeling today. I gotta put the work gloves on and get busy creating worksheets for the week! I made week 1 of my April morning math but once I get the rest of the month done, I will be sure to upload and share! 

I'm linking up to Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for my very first Currently. I was wanting to do this SO badly last month, but just couldn't figure it out?! With a month more of blogging under my belt, I'm happy to say that I'm a bit wiser and was able to figure this one out!! **Pats self on back :D 

Glitter Words