Thursday, December 15, 2011

Native American Cupcakes

   My sisters and I decorate cakes as a side business.  So after finishing a cake, I sent the picture to some of my co-workers.  My friend Tracy responded back with, "Why don't we have our students decorate cupcakes with Native American dwellings on them."  I was a little hesitant, but thought it was a very creative idea.  So we decided to provide the cupcakes for our 5th grade students and they would bring in the extras for decorating their dwellings.  Overall, the project turned out well.

Isn't it cute!  Notice the tree.

I love this fire pit!

This one is a mud hut. 

I love that this student used the whole cupcake.

An interesting use of crackers for walls.
 The students thoroughly enjoyed decorating the cupcakes.  Since this was the first time, there are some things I would definitely do different.  First, I would have a model for them to see.  I know that sounds like a no-brainer, but I didn't have one for them.  Second, we brainstormed some ideas of items to bring, but I pretty much left it up to them.  Next time, I will probably provide a list of items because some things did not turn out very well (like tortillas).  I look forward to doing this again next year.  Hope you enjoyed the pictures of some of the students cupcakes.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Thankful for...

What the Teacher Wants and Oh Boy 4th Grade are hosting a Thankful Linky Parties. We are linking up.  Answers in red belong to Emily.  Answers in orange belong to Antoinette.
In the Classroom:
    I am of course going to say my students.  I have this really mellow class.  They are good-natured and great little independent workers. 
    As far as classroom supplies, it has to be the mini laptops my kids get to use.  I have been participating in the eMINTSforAll program.  The focus is on using inquiry based learning and integrating technology.  It is such a great motivator for the kids.
   I am also thankful for my students.  I was lucky enough to loop up to fifth grade with them and even luckier that my new additions are pretty wonderful as well.
   Not to copy Emily, but the technology in the classroom really takes my teaching to a higher level.  With the mini-notes, the students are able to practice skills on my website, research any questions they might have, and present projects in a variety of ways.

  I am supposed to say my husband, right?! (Seriously, I have been with this man for 10 years, I LOVE him.)
But really, I am thankful for Antoinette and all the ladies I am close with at work.  I love trading ideas with them!  They rock!
  I am thankful for my family whom are my biggest fans and are always there for me no matter what.  I am also thankful for my close group of friends/co-workers whom it would difficult to keep a smile on my face without.  Emily is not only a great friend, but inspires me to learn more and broadens my daily vocabulary lol!  Tracy inspires me to take my teaching to a higher level everyday.  Kristin motivates me to look to the positive and keeps me smiling and laughing everyday.

3 Blogs (only 3...)

Thoughts of a third grade teacher
Julie was our first follower!  She has some great ideas.

Ladybug's Teacher File
She can do amazing things with graphics!

Pitner's Potpourri
Oh the freebies!!

Guilty Pleasure:

CHOCOLATE!!!  Everyone I work with knows I have a drawer full of two things, Coke (aka The way I survive the afternoon) and CHOCOLATE!  Plus, I bring it to EVERY meeting. 
   My guilty pleasure would be caffiene.  I love my coffees from Friendly Bean or Starbucks and I love my diet vanilla cokes from Sonic.  I also love my coffee breaks with Kristin in her office.  Chocolate of course is always a guilty pleasure of mine. :)

My chocolate drawer!!!

Most thankful for:

My crazy, busy, overwhelming (at times) life.  I take on more than I should, and forget things ALL the time, but I wouldn't have it any other way!  This is why in the past 3 months I have painted my kitchen cabinets, am taking a grad school class, took 2 district seminar-type classes, started a blog with my pal Antoinette, took on the CAFE strategies and math workshop, District Math rep for my building in a year we are revamping everything for Common Core, as well as spent time with my husband and my dog!

   Having a career where I get to work with some wonderful people and awesome children.  I love getting into the classroom and teaching.  The kids, although difficult at times, have such great personalities and for the most part are eager to learn.  I love seeing the lightbulbs come on for them.  It is such a rewarding career.

Antoinette & Emily

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Anchor Chart Wrap Up

All week we have been participating in the Anchor Chart Linky Party hosted by Tales of Frogs and Cupcakes.  
Here are a couple of random charts we use in our classrooms:

This is a chart that goes along with our PBIS mission, called the "Wildcat Way." 
The kids earn a "wildcat" for each compliment they receive.

This is a Reader's Workshop chart that must have gotten "lost" in the picture abyss of this week.
Thanks Janaye for hosting this great linky party!
EmilyK & Antoinette

Friday, November 4, 2011

Management Anchor Chart

This is another post about anchor charts.  We have enjoyed sharing and looking at everyone's anchor charts this week.  A thanks to Tales of Frogs and Cupcakes for hosting this linky party. 

Here are a couple of charts for managing the students morning routine:

This is my fall anchor chart for our morning routine.

This is an example from my neighbor teacher. Thanks, Jessie!

This is an anchor chart from Antoinette's neighbor teacher.  Thanks, Tracy!
Also, our PBIS team designed beginning of the year establishing routines lessons, complete with anchor chart ideas.  (Thanks to my co-blogger Antoinette, who is a member of that team.) They really help with the consistency of expectations in our building!  Here is one of them: 

Thanks for visiting our blog!
EmilyK & Antoinette

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Math Anchor Charts

We have been so excited to participate in the Tales of Frogs and Cupcakes anchor chart linky party.
Antoinette and I, both enjoy teaching math.  We both struggled at one point with learning math as kids, so it is so rewarding to help those struggling students "get it."  Here are just a couple of anchor chart examples:

Antoinette, a fellow teacher, and I wrote this graphing song.
I am also a fan of a math vocab wall.  Check back on our blog for that post.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Language Arts Anchor Charts

We are so excited to be a part of the Anchor Chart linky party hosted by Tales of Frogs and Cupcakes
Today's focus is on Reading anchor charts.  My co-blogger Antoinette is great with anchor charts for reading!  She inspires me!  Here are a few of her charts:

Hope you enjoyed them!
Antoinette & Emily

Monday, October 31, 2011

Social Studies Anchor Chart

We are so excited about joining the Anchor Chart Linky party hosted by Tales of Frogs and Cupcakes.
Do your students ever have trouble keeping track of names of cities, states, and countries?  My 3rd graders definitely do!  I started this anchor chart at the beginning of our geography unit.  I plan to add to it throughout the year whenever we read about another place. 

The red stars mark the state we live in, and the cities in our state.

Monday, October 24, 2011

RIP Tired Worn Out Words

A fun activity to do around this time of year is to encourage students to broaden their vocabulary and let those overused boring words RIP.  I began by discussing the importance of learning new words and increasing our day-to-day vocabulary.  I put the word good on the smart board and asked the students to brainstorm some synonyms which could be used in its place.  After the students shared as many synonyms as they could think of for the word good, I pulled out the thesaurus to see if we could add anymore.   Following this whole group activity, I partnered the students up and had them chose one word from a given list.  These could be any commonly used words which you would like to let RIP.  Some examples are: sad, said, happy, angry, friend, etc.  Together, the partners brainstormed synonyms for their word as well as using a thesaurus.  Next, they traced a tombstone onto construction paper and wrote in their retired word along with its replacements.  I hung the tombstones out in the hall for a very cute fall/Halloween display.

Monday, October 17, 2011

We're Going On a Field Trip!

With the beautiful weather in full swing, it was time to go on a field trip!  We have been learning about different types of communities in Social Studies.  We live in a suburban area, a (reasonable) driving distance between a larger city and a rural area.  We spend part of our time talking about our dependence on people in other communities.  This gave us the awesome opportunity to visit a dairy!
The day began with that joyous (ha!) bus ride.  Then the shocking announcement that their noses could smell the country.  (This part always makes me laugh, since my grandma lived across from a livestock sale barn and I know that smell all to well!)  We watched them bottle milk and make cheese.  We tasted all their flavored milks.  Root beer milk is always their favorite, followed by chocolate.  (Did I mention this dairy wins awards for how great the milk is?!)  Then, the best part, the kids got to milk a cow and pet a calf!  The trip ends with another fabulous bus ride. 
So where do you take your class for a field trip?


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Social Studies Journals

As a school, we are incorporating Social Studies into our Communication Arts.  I think this is a great idea and decided to use journals as way for the students to reflect on what they learn.  I am not a huge fan of text books as a sole resource to teach, so I am always on the internet looking for ideas/resources to use.  We also have USA Weekly papers which are a wonderful tool.  What I have been doing so far (which is tentative as this is new for me) is teaching the lesson either whole group or through partner reading of the USA Weekly.  After the lesson, the students write a reflection as to what they learned.  I give them questions to guide their reflections.  When they are finished with the written part of the journal, they include an illustration that goes along with what they learned.  Depending on the concept being taught, I plan to include maps, timelines, etc as well as the written reflection and illustration.  I would love to hear how other people use Social Studies journals in their classrooms or any suggestions/ideas.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Words Their Way

With every new school year comes changes to curriculum.  This year that change comes to our school in the form of Words Their Way.  From what I have learned so far, this program is primarily used for spelling, but can also benefit younger students with phonics.  Most teachers from my school have administered the spelling inventory and have graded them.  Thanks to the expertise of my fellow blogger, Emily, some of us are ready to move on to the next step; lists and word work.  We are beginning with sorting practice and developing a menu in which the students can choose various spelling activities. This is where we would like to ask for suggestions and ideas from other experts.  How do you organize your word work and lists?  What are some ways you use Words Their Way in your classrooms?
Here are the links to the spelling menu:

Antoinette & Emily

Friday, September 16, 2011

Organizing student log-ins

      I was just visiting Thoughts of a Third Grade Teacher .  She inspired me to share my way of organizing student log ins and passwords.  I like using a Computer License. 
      At my school we have mini laptops in each classroom. (Nice I know!)  It is imperative that kids follow internet safety rules and be able to log in on their own.  The computer license is "issued" to each student.  They must follow the rules or their license can be suspended.  I am yet to do it, but I did tell the kids it could be revoked. I also have them sign it.  Then it is laminated, so hopefully it will last all year!

I keep trying to attach it and GoogleDocs, I hope it works!!
Click here
If not email me and I will send it to you @


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

4321...Blast off with a good read aloud book

As the school year begins, we find ourselves hunting for great books to share with our students.  For fifth grade, it might be a book with a catchy title like Niagra Falls, or does it? by Henry Winkler. For third grade it might be something like Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Hanks or The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes.  No matter the title these books are meant to inspire our students to read and establish a learning community.  What are some great books you have started out the year reading to your students?