Monday, July 30, 2012

Made It Monday-PostersandPasta

Wow, where did summer go?
It was here, right in front of me, and now its all but disappeared.
These last few weeks I have been participating in Tara's Made It Mondays.

I can't say enough about all the ideas I have tried or pinned from this linky.  (Did I mention I am a Pinterest junkie?  Feel free to click on the link to follow myself or Antoinette on Pinterest.)

But I digress.

This week I am still painting trim.  (I know it shouldn't take that long, I am easily distracted!)

Check out this pin I found with some helpful tips.

Did you know there is such a thing as paint conditioner?
Wish I'd have known about it last summer, when I was painting my cabinets!

For my school Made It Monday, I needed to print some posters.

We have a poster printer at school.  (I know spoiled, right?)

Thanks to our building tech, I was able to print them before other teachers came back!

I made my own content headers and signs.

Apparently, I took only one pic!

I also had another Made It Monday Food Edition.

I visited the local Farmer's Market, and bought some locally made pasta.
Courtesy of Papparadelle's Pasta.

Lemon Chive pasta with asparagus

I appreciate everyone checking out what I created!

Remember, Tara is taking a break from commenting on everyones posts.  (Can you believe she made time to comment on 100+ link ups each week?!)  So comments are always appreciated.

What have you been creating this week?


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Last Minute Vacay, My New IPad, and Freebie Borders

I am SO not a Cardinals Fan (sorry to those of you who are) but I love St. Louis, MO.  It is not only full of cool sites to see, but there is so much history to this city.  I live in Kansas City (GO ROYALS!!!), so it is a quick and fairly easy getaway.  My sister planned to go last minute and asked me if I wanted to join them.  Since my plans to go on a vacay this summer did not happen, I said yes.  BOY was it a relaxing getaway and perfect timing too because I am pretty much back into school mode next week.  (Crazy, I know, but my district has a Summer Academy where we have the opportunity to take and teach professional development classes.  I opted to do both because I feel strongly that as teachers we are lifelong learners.)

We stayed at the Ameristar Hotel in St. Charles, MO which is on the outskirts of St. Louis.  I am so not into losing money, so you won't catch me gambling.  The pool and sun are another story!  This place is absolutely amazing.  I am including some screen capture pics from the Ameristar website as well as some of my own.  Click here to view the website.

Exterior view of the hotel
Outside pool where I spent most of my time
swimming, getting a tan, and reading!
Indoor pool

Here are some of my own pics from the hotel!

Window view
Another window view
TV area where I got some reading time!

Spending so many years teaching Westward Expansion, I am fascinated by the Gateway to the West and the St. Louis Arch.  These pictures are taken from my new IPad which I am still very much getting use to.  I have to say I was quite impressed with how they turned out. :)  The architecture behind this is sheer genius to me.  I am always in awe when I look at this amazing building.

I have been playing around with creating my own borders, frames, and backgrounds.  I know there is so much out there, but I am enjoying exploring my creative side.  I want to share some of these with you and see what you think.  I am fairly new to attaching documents to a blog.  I used Google Docs, but there might be a better way to do it.  Feel free to use them for personal use.  Click on the frame to download my creations.  I hope you enjoy the freebie! :)

I hope you enjoyed my pics from St. Louis.  If you are ever in Missouri, make sure you check out this great city and the Arch.  Then take about a 4 hour drive west and visit Kansas City which is the home of the recent All-Star game.  I heard we got good reviews from tourists. :)  Have you ever been to Kansas City and/or St. Louis?  If so, what places did you check out?

Being new with the IPad, I would love any helpful tips from more experienced users.  What cool things are you doing with your IPad?

Last, are any of you into creating your own borders and backgrounds?  Do you have any helpful tips for us newbies? :)

Thanks :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Made It Monday-Signs-Freebie-Babies

Thanks Tara for hosting Made It Monday.

It has really kept me on track.
I have been a productive fool this week.

For school, I have been working on some posters.  Here are a couple.

My school has a poster printer, so I am printing them 11x17, hopefully. :)
I included one of them as a freebie!

(Thanks  Middle Grades Maven for the frame graphics.)

Also, this year I have committed to not having a teacher desk, just a teacher table. (Much smaller!  The desk in my new classroom could have doubled as a boat! My coblogger Antoinette would know, it used to be hers!)

So, the teacher toolbox will assist in my organization of "stuff."

The funniest part of this, is that my fabulous 6th grade teacher had one, back in the early 90s.
Like all things in education, I guess good storage ideas go through a cycle.

For my personal Made it, I had some baby gifts to make.

I like to make baby shower gifts as personal as possible, using iron on transfer paper.
I am not a mom, so I feel like I can give cute, not always, practical stuff.

(Moment of truth, I am NEVER buying someone, even a family member, anything related to breast feeding.  I skip that part of the registry. A little too personal!)

Idea from a previous baby gift:

For this baby shower, I created:

They were a big hit.  (A little warning, the onesies have to be washed before the baby drools on them, the ink may run.)

Also, my sister-in-law's b-day is coming up.
So, I helped my mother-in-law and 4 month old nephew make a gift for her.
She doesn't read my blog so, there is no worry that she will see it before her b-day.
FYI: Doing a craftivity with a 4 month old is so funny.  He was so good natured and loved the feeling of the cement.  It was just the first of many activities Auntie Em has planned for him!

On a personal note, this is my last officially work free week.  Our district has an "academy" of optional trainings next week.  I am opting in, and hope to share some of the info I learn.  (I am actually teaching a class too! )
After that, it's a partial week of meetings for teacher leaders and teacher techs.
Then officially back to work.
I am so NOT ready to go back to a hectic schedule.  Not yet!

Time marches on, happy creating during your last few weeks of freedom!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Get Excited... Our 100 FOLLOWER FREEBIE!!!

We are so excited to reach 100 followers.  As a thank you to all of you who have helped us get there, we have a special FREEBIE for you and any future followers.  We hope you enjoy it and are able to use these Daily Five resources.  Click on the image below to get your Daily Five Freebie.

Emily and I are fairly new to the world of blogging and are learning so much along the way.  An example would be I have never combined documents into a collection on Google Docs.  I struggled a bit at first, but thanks to the lovely internet, I quickly found my answers and have a Daily Five collection to share with all of you.

We would love any advice from you all as far as ways to attract more followers as well as keeping the interest of our current ones.  We are here to share ideas and hopefully make teachers' lives a little easier.  We feel blogging is an amazing way to accomplish that.  I always tell people that there are so many wonderful ideas out there, we just need find them.  No use reinventing the wheel right?

Antoinette and EmilyK

Must Have Picture Books Linky

Lindsey at The Teacher Wife is having a Linky party where we get to name our favorite picture books. What a fabulous idea and wonderful resource for teachers.  Picture books are a great way to model comprehension strategies with students of all ages.  Emily and I have taught 2nd-5th grade and have used picture books with each grade.  The dilemma is choosing our favorites.  The Linky party says to choose 5.  We are going to choose 3 each.  Mine will be in blue and Emily's will be in purple.

I'll start with my number 1, absolute favorite book...
This is a MUST read.  It is a story about Patricia Polacco as a child and her difficulty with reading.  What a great message for students to see that a famous author, who is dyslexic, overcame her challenges.  I always start the year with this book because my students can easily activate schema and make connections.  I have read this book to my students almost every single year.

The Royal Bee is a newly found favorite. (Debbie Miller suggested this at a training Emily and I went to.) It is a story of a boy who is not allowed to go to school because he is poor.  He has such a strong desire to learn that he hides outside the school and listens in on the daily lessons knowing he could get into serious trouble for doing so.  Another fabulous message for children to see how lucky they are to have the opportunity to be educated.
The Empty Pot has an amazing message of being awarded for honesty.  The Emperor presents a challenge to the children of his kingdom but little do they know there is more to this than simply growing the most beautiful flower.  

I LOVE picture books, so I agree with Antoinette that only choosing 3 is difficult.

All my pics are going to be books I used this past year with my 3rd graders.  I plan to use them all again this year with my 5th graders.

A tried and true favorite:
I use this to teach geography.  If you haven't seen the activity ideas on Pinterest, look them up!  I use circles that fit inside each other.  It is a great reference tool for the kids.

A great non fiction (tear jerker):
This is a moving story that takes place at an elephant sanctuary.  I like the idea that it is non fiction, but more of a story.
There is a sad part in the book, but it is a true story, so these things happen.  You can also look up video clips on Youtube of news segments about them.  I actually cried in front of my students, during one of the news stories. (Darn hormones!)

A great choice for beginning story writers:
I did a post about this book a couple months ago. (Click here to read it.) I am starting to really get into wordless books like Chalk.  A must "read" for any grade level.

What are your top picture books?  Stop by The Teacher Wife's linky party to share your top picks.

Antoinette & Emily  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

We got 99 followers, are you one? (belated Daily5)

We got 99 followers, are you one? (a JayZ reference, or a Hugo reference, if you are into alternative music.)
We will be posting the freebie any day now!
We hope you had a chance to check out the PowerPoint summary of chapter 3.  

We have been reading along with

We have gotten a little behind, so we are planning to get caught up

Chapter 4: The Daily Five in Action
In this chapter, the Daily Five structure takes life through the component of Read to Self.  As the Sisters stated, "Having children read to themselves is the first step in Daily Five and is the foundation for creating independent readers and writers."
Antoinette here-  According to my Kindle we are officially halfway through this book.  I have really enjoyed all of the knowledge I have gained from my reading so far.  I am still attempting to condense my ramblings, so here's my best shot:

The chapter begins with more focus towards the gradual release of responsibility and the importance of repetition.  I completely agree with this model and attempt to practice it in my teaching.  When introducing a reading strategy, I begin by modeling my expectations for the students.  I show them how to do it verbally as well as possible ways to record these learnings in their journals.  One of my closing lines before I send the students off to practice independently is, "Today and throughout the year...".  By saying throughout the year, I am letting the students know this behavior will happen consistently.   I love the quote where the Sisters said, "We have found that this repetition is the key to success in helping students develop good literacy habits and independence."

I like that in the launching of Read to Self, the students are not only learning good reading behaviors but the ways to read a book.  I also like that when they are teaching the ways to read a book, they are also modeling the metacognitive process of thinking aloud about their reading and comprehension prior to even teaching it.  So often we think we can't talk about something until it's officially taught.  Why not expose them to it from the beginning?  Another part I really liked is that all of the charts include not just what the students will be doing, but what the teacher is doing as well.  I think this is great because like the Sisters said, "It lets the students know that both parties have jobs to do during this time.

So the part that I really like and am planning to encourage the teachers I am working with to do is the check-in piece where the students reflect on their own behaviors.  I also liked how they share successes as well as things that might have to change to do better in the next session.

So I think I'm on the path to being less long-winded.  This reflection seems shorter, or maybe it's wishful thinking. lol  I'm going to pass things on to Emily now.

Emily here!
I love Read to Self. 
My class this past year was AMAZING at Read to Self. 
I think the I charts are an essential piece to continuing the process through the school year. 
It is important that they know their job and mine, during that time.
I practice a little differently than the Sisters.
With older kids I say we will practice up to 5 minutes.
I use a timer to track our progress.  I know on the initial practices sometimes my students can't do 3 minutes.  Since the Sisters teach younger kids they just tell their students it was 3 minutes.  That doesn't work with older kids.  I think it's ok to inform them that we only made it 2 minutes.  I think it leads to better reflection.  Then I have the example/ non example demonstrations. 
My final thought is this quote from pg 57:
As Cris Tovani notes," Whenever an activity fails, it is because I haven't done enough modeling.  Modeling gives students words and ecamples to frame their thinking."

We hope you found our reflections beneficial.  We would love to hear from you all.  What are your thoughts on Read to Self?  Do you use this in your classroom?  If so, what does Read to Self look like in your classroom and what are some helpful tips you have for other readers?  Last, What does your room look like during Read to Self?  Do you let them choose where they want to sit?

Did we mention we are 1 follower away from a freebie?

Antoinette and EmilyK

Liebster Blog :)

We are so excited to receive another award!  Thank you Marissa from WILD About First Grade! for the Liebster Blog award.  This award is great way to recognize teachers who are fairly new to the blogging world.

This award highlights blogs that have under 200 followers.  Here are the rules for it:
1.  Copy and paste this award on your blog.
2.  Thank the giver and link back to them. (Thanks again, Marissa!)
3.  Reveal 5 other bloggers and let them know by commenting on their blog.

So here are the amazing blogs we are nominating for this award:

Monday, July 16, 2012

Made It Monday-The power of PowerPoint

For the past few weeks, I have been participating in

This week's home project has been to finish painting my kitchen.  (4 coats!!)
No new pics, since it looks mostly the same. :)
Next I have to paint trim.  (Yeah!)

On the school front, I have been like a Crazy (Mac) Computer Lady.
If you missed it, our district has switched over to Mac!
I have been creating signs for my Patriotic Theme classroom.
Here are a few:
My writing board headers.
Thanks to Ladybug Teacher Files for the inspiration.

Book bin labels.
I am changing grade levels, so my class library is getting revamped, which gives me a great opportunity to make new labels.

In my new classroom, wall space is at a premium.  My store bought pledge of allegiance sign was way too big.  Thanks Farley at Oh boy 4th grade for the inspiration to solve this problem.
My pledge of allegiance sign.

I am contemplating offering the above items as freebies in the future.  I just have to make sure I know all the term of use rules before I commit.  (Antoinette and I are both neurotic about following rules like that!)

Thanks for stopping by!  Happy creating!


100 Follower Freebie Sneak Preview!!

We are so excited to be only 6 followers away from 100.  As promised in an earlier post, we have a special 100 Follower Freebie.  We decided to give you all a sneak peak.  SO... get excited because here it is. :)

Our freebie will include many other Daily Five signs similar to this.  Thank you to all of our followers and continue to check back because this freebie will be coming soon! :)

Antoinette and EmilyK

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Daily Five, a Power Point (freebie!), New Job

This week has been super busy for me, but wow has it flown by.  We are hoping to have our reflections posted for chapter 4, but aren't quite there yet!  They will be soon... PROMISE!

I stated in my reflections on chapter 3 that I was working on a PowerPoint in hopes to not be so long-winded on my blog. lol  Yes, I know, I still wrote a lot.  I just can't help it; I'm a talker. :)

Anyway...  I am finally posting the PowerPoint of chapter 3.  I hope you all like it and are able to use it.  Click the linked words above.  (This is Emily, interrupting a great post to say: I LOVE Google docs, and this really is a useful freebie!)

Today is a big day for me...  I have orientation for my Teaching and Learning Coach position.  I am excited and nervous, but I know it will all be just fine.  At least that's what Emily keeps telling me. lol :)

So I'm off to get ready!  Be looking for our reflections on Chapter 4 soon. :)


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Two Awards in one Day! YEAH!!!

We are so excited to receive the One Lovely Blog award from Mrs. Slocum at Teachers Don't Steal- They Share.  The world of blogging is so exciting and all of the resources I am finding from these amazing teachers are incredible.  Thank you everyone! :)

There are only 3 rules to follow once you've received this award :)
1.  Follow the person who gave you the award
2.  Link back to the person that gave you the award
3.  Pass the award on to 15 new bloggers

We are passing this award on to the following 15 blogs:
1)  A First Grade Fairy Tale
2)  Tales of a 4th Grade Dual Language Diva
3)  A Teacher and a Blog
4)  Free Fallin' into First!
5)  1st Grade Hip Hip Hooray
6)  The New Teacher Noggin
7)  From the Mixed Up Files
8)  Run Teacher Run
9)  Reading With Mrs. Riddle
10) Third Grade Teacher Files
11) Teach On.
12) Every New Beginning
13) Plant, Grow, Bloom
14) That's So Second Grade
15) Down the Learning Road

Our second award of the day comes from Markeeta from A Teacher and a Blog.  Thank you so much Markeeta for honoring us with The Versatile Blogger award.

There are seven rules for this award.

1)  Thank the blogger who nominated you!  Thanks again Markeeta :)
2)  Include a link to their site.  See above...
3)  Include the award image in your post.

4)  Give 7 random facts about yourself.
Antoinette's randoms facts:
- I have taught for 13 years in either 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade.
- I will be leaving the classroom next year to be a Teaching and Learning Coach.
- I come from an enormous family (a baker's dozen if you include my parents lol).
- Yes we are Italian and Catholic.  Get that question almost every time I tell how many siblings I have. lol :)
- My sisters and I decorate cakes from time-to-time.

- I have a pet fish named fish. lol (I got the idea from Breakfast at Tiffany's. Audrey Hepburn's cat was named cat.)

- I am a Pinterest and Blogging addict!!!

Emily's random facts:
-I LOVE having pets.  I have had cats and dogs since I was a kid.  I LOVE my dog, Clapton. (Yes, my husband is a fan of Eric Clapton.)
-I LOVE my hubby.  We have known each other since high school, and dated 8 years before getting married.  (Yes he gets second billing after my dog! :)  The dog never leaves dirty dishes in the sink!)
-I am totally a DIY/ craft person.  I am loving 4th Grade Frolics Made It Monday.
-I enjoy gardening.  My plants have survived so far, despite 100 degree temps!

-I became a teacher, in part, because my dad is a professor.  He teaches Accounting.  I love comparing elementary school behavior to college freshman behavior, so many parallels.
-I am OBSESSED with music.  My parents took me to my first concert when I was 4 years old, Richard Marx.  When my hubby and I got married instead of table numbers, we named every table after a band/ artist we had seen together. 
-I am known for my extensive vocabulary.  (This one is just for you, Antoinette!  She always comments on my crazy vocab.)  I love words and try not to use the "plain" words as much as possible.  I am always explaining word meanings to my students, you know when they give you that confused look.

5)  Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award.

An Apple for the Teacher
Enriching Kinders
Adventures in Third Grade
Ms. G in Grade 3
Tadpole Tidbits
Read and Black and Learning All Over
A Work of Heart
When I Grow Up
Mrs. Shelton's Kindergarten
Just Diving In
Trail 4 Success
Oh "fish" ally Learning with Mrs. May
Life and Times of a Third Grade Teacher
Classroom Snapshots
More Time 2 Teach

6)  When nominating, include a link to their site.

7)  Let other bloggers know they've been nominated.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Made It Monday-Duct Tape and Yellow Paint

I am so excited to have the time to participate in Made It Monday again!

Last year my district bought 3 sets of non-fiction books.  (Yeah!)
They all came in these displays:
Not only do they take up a bunch of space, also they aren't visually appealing!
At the end of the year, we got the go ahead to let the displays go, as long as the books were accessible to the kids, of course.
So I am keeping one.  But it will not be acceptable for it to look like that!
My hubby suggested spray painting it.
That's a no go, since it is 100+ degrees outside.
So, duct tape, Duck tape brand, is the solution!  (I can totally do that in the air conditioning.)
My supplies
I put on one layer of white tape, and realized it didn't look quite right.
Too see through.
So after I covered it with 2 layers of white tape, then it was time for an accent.
I think it will look so much better in my classroom!

I am still in the process of making some signs and things for my classroom.  (Hopefully next week I will share those!)

For my home Made It. 
I am waging a war on beige!  (I know some of you love this color, but I do not!)
I painted my cabinets last summer.
So I finally had time to paint the walls.
We are putting a chair rail and moulding similar to the cabinets above in as well.
When I say "we," I really mean my hubby.  (He is a picky engineer, so he must do it himself!)
I still have a couple coats of paint to go, because I took the weekend off to go on a short vaca to Atchison, KS with my hubby.
We stayed here:
Glick Mansion
Where I they make this as a part of every breakfast:
Spiced Bacon Twists
It is on my Made It (Food Edition). (Definitely making this as soon as possible!)  Click on the pic to get the recipe.

Are you a DIY person?  What recipes have you tried lately?
Can't wait to see what everyone else is busy making!