Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hocus Pocus... Let's Hope We Can Focus!

I actually love class parties.  (Yes we still get to have them.)

It gives me that bit of nostalgia.  Remember the costume parades, the excitement, and the candy. :)

Though I love parties, I still find it hard to contain the excitement throughout the day.

I am hoping I have found something to help.

I saw this blogpost last year. Mentioning witches brew.  Click here to see the post at What the Teacher Wants.
Have you checked out their blog.  It's one of my faves.


She has created a cute Halloween snack. 

I am going to give it to my class as our morning snack tomorrow. 

I went ahead and mixed it, though I kept some to use for demo!

So Hocus, Pocus... let's hope they can focus!

Also, we are going to read one of my fave Halloween books.

We are going to continue to work on our argument essays.

I shared this freebie the other day, and the link didn't work. :( 
So I think I fixed it!

What special things do you do for Halloween?
Do your kids get to dress up in costumes?
Happy Halloween! 


Monday, October 29, 2012

Motivational Monday Linky Party

First, our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone exposed to the horrible storms from Hurricane Sandy.  Keep safe everyone!

So I stumbled upon this AMAZING linky party.  It is SO my kind of thing because I absolutely LOVE quotes.  Thanks to the ladies who came together to start this linky party- Sara from Smiling in Second Grade, Kimberly from The Learning Tree and Danielle from Classroom Cupcakes. 

The issue lies in that there are so many amazing quotes out there.  I will try to control myself though. lol

The first is one of my ABSOLUTE favorites!  It is so true!!!

Who doesn't love some Dr. Suess Quotes!  Especially this one.

LOVE THIS ONE!!!  I created the frame for it and one day will hang it in my office. lol

 This one is important for all students and adults to hear.  We are all where we are today because of mistakes along the way!  Ohh... That last line can be my own personal quote. lol :)  This one will one day be hanging in my office also.

Another one that will eventually hang in my office! lol  Also another FAVORITE of mine!!!  Created the background myself using Powerpoint (I think).

OKAY... I'll stop already!  Quotes are so my thing!  Would love to hear your motivational quotes.  What are some words of wisdom that help you keep you head up high?

Antoinette :)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

150 Giveaway Winner and a Freebie

We are so excited to have reached 150 followers!

Over the past year, we have been able to be part of a great community of teachers who love to share with each other.

We hope that we have positively influenced your teaching.
We know all of you have done that for us.

Now on to the give away winner!

And the winner is... (imaginary drumroll please)...

Congrats, Lori!!!!

We sent you an email, so you can receive your prize!

Now on to the freebie!

With the Common Core being implemented in our district, now 5th graders are supposed to write an argument essay.

It has gone better than expected, because we are using this document to help kids organize their thoughts.  Click the image below to download the freebie!


EmilyK & Antoinette

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tears and a Smile- I LOVE teaching

As many of you know I switched grade levels this year.  I was a 3rd grade teacher for a few years, then I switched to 5th grade.  Partly because Antoinette became a Teaching and Learning Coach, and left me... :(

Well that gave me the opportunity to teach some of my former students again.  (Yeah and eeh and the same time.)

I asked to have one student in particular again.  (For my story, I will call her A.)

The year A was in 3rd grade, the parents were very concerned about her lack of progress.

We had to break the news to them that her language skills were equivalent to a 4 year old.

By the end of the year, A was diagnosed with Autism.

Everyday of 4th grade she would stop by my room and say hello.  (Or rather stand in front of me, and wait for me to greet her.)

Fast forward to 5th grade.  Her mom cried with joy when she found out I was going to be her teacher.

A has undergone intense therapy and it shows.
She is an amazing kid.  She tries every day and has improved so much from the girl I met 2 years ago.
She made the A/B Honor Roll.  (Modified grades, but this is a huge accomplishment!)

Tonight at conferences her dad was so pleased at what the resource teacher and I shared.   When dad got a look at the report card he cried.  When A saw her A/B Honor Roll certificate she just kept repeating "I can't believe it!"

So on this Wednesday night, as I sit having worked for 12 hours the last 2 days, I have a smile.
The happy teacher smile.  The smile of someone who knows they've helped a child, my A.  (I love that kid!)

I hope you have had this moment.  I hope there is a child in your classroom that is thankful for all you have done, and will continue to support them as they grow.

Do you have a student that just melts your heart?


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Prepare for the Marathon-Conference Week

This week is the longest week of the year!

Dun...dun...dun..tada...dun  (dramatic music)

Conference week!
We have them Tuesday, Wednesday, AND Thursday 4:30-8pm.


In order to prepare myself, I took Sunday afternoon off.  (Not Sunday night though.)

I had a great day today with my hubby.

We took the afternoon to carve pumpkins!
Mine is the one with the dimples!
And I tried one of those cute pumpkins I have seen all over pinterest lately!

Here's the before:

Note to self, when trying this:
*Make sure there is no wind.
*Hot glue the crayons on the item.  (Thought I could just hold them.  It worked until the end.)
*Wear old clothes.
*Good call using old crayons.  The paper peeled much easier.

Here's the finished product:

It was SO much FUN!

How do you keep yourself going through a long week?
I am desperately in search of some tips.

I don't want to be the teacher showing videos most of Friday, because I am too exhausted to teach!

Plus, Antoinette and I would love it if you entered our 150 followers giveaway. 
You could win this:

Just click here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

We've Been Boo'd!! Twice :)

This is such a cute idea!  A couple of my schools have done this and it is always so much fun!  Thanks Tori for bringing this to the world of blogging.  Click the image below to link up.

Thanks Jessica from
The Polka-dotted Teacher

and Jenny from

You ladies were so kind to think of us!

So here's the rules of linking up:

If you've been booed, copy and paste the above pic and these "rules" into your post.

1.  Give a shout out to the blogger who booed you and link back to their site!
2. Share 3-5 October activities, books, products (yours or someone else),
or freebie(s) that you love!
3.  Share the Boo love with 5 bloggers- make sure you check this link to make sure you don't boo someone again:
And don't forget to tell them that they have been BOOED!

October Activities:

In the October Currently, I mentioned the book The Stranger by Chris Van Allsburg.  This is a great fall book and requires higher level thinking skills to fully comprehend.

An activity I did last year with my students was to enhance their vocabulary skills through laying to rest some tired, worn-out words.  Sorry the pic is on its side. lol

My last October activity is something I found on Pinterest.  Thought this was SUPER cute!!!  Click on the image to go to my Pinterest board.

Great ideas and resources, Antoinette!

I have 2 books that I love to use:

I love a good parody.  It is super cute!

This book is about a special day in fall, Veteran's Day.
This one of those books I insisted the librarian purchase.
It helps kids understand POWs.  
One of my best guy friends is in the Army.
He got married last year on Veteran's Day.
They had a white table, and he explained all the aspects this book mentions.  It was heart wrenching.
**This book will make you cry.

Sharing the Boo love to:

Mrs. Corbit

Learn to Teach and Teach to Learn


Monday, October 15, 2012

My World of Demo Lessons, Picture Books, and 150 Follower Give-Away

I want to first start with a shout out to Emily!  She is the best co-blogger in the world!  She is so good at posting while I struggle.  I start posts... just don't always finish them. lol

Part of my new position this year is doing demo lessons for individual teachers as well as for the entire staff.  For some strange reason, I decided to start with the younger grades and move my way up.  Considering I have always taught intermediate grades, looking back on this, I am highly amused.  It is definitely a different world with those little ones. lol

I have been able to share some great picture books through my lessons, and thought I would share them with you all also.

I used Mr. Lincoln's Way for an whole staff professional development lesson on inferring character traits.
I used The Turnip in kindergarten for a lesson on retelling. 
I used Little Cloud in kindergarten for retelling as well.

I used Thank You, Mr. Falker for a 5th grade lesson on Metacognition-  reading is thinking.
I used The Wednesday Surprise for asking questions before, during, and after reading for 2 whole group professional development lessons.
 I used National Geographic for Kids to for a 2nd grade lesson over asking questions about nonfiction.

I used Wemberly Worried for a lesson to help 1st graders use schema to better understand the characters. 

I hope you enjoyed the picture books I have been using in my demo lessons.  I will probably have many more lessons to come, so would love to hear some great ideas from you all.  What picture books have you been using in your classrooms to teach reading?

Also-  don't forget our 150 Follower Give-Away!  We are giving away a SUPER cute 31 mini-pouch.  Click here to see the give-away!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Nobel (The Peace Prize), 150 followers giveaway

Happy Friday!
One of my students came up to me yesterday and commented how time was going so quickly this week.  Boy, he was right!  Thankfully!

I wanted to share a great book with you.
Let me start by saying I LOVE my school librarian.
She and I have a similar love of books.

I book shop in the library during my class' book check out.
I saw this book on a display:

I am a CBS Sunday Morning junkie.  They have a weekly calendar on events, and they mentioned that the Nobel Peace Prize was going to awarded Oct. 12th.

I knew I had to talk about this book with my kids on Friday.
Hello relevance! (That may only make sense to the Common Core people out there.)

Ok... back to the book!

It has beautiful illustrations.  There are bird illustrations throughout the book. The kids had fun looking for them and figuring out the symbolism of the use of a bird, like the dove.

This book does an amazing job of explaining the life of Alfred Nobel for kids.

I highly recommend it.

BTW, have you heard about our 150 follower giveaway?

If not, enter on the link below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
We are giving away a 31 gifts mini pouch to one follower.  (Its great for holding grading pens and highlighters!)

What great books have you read this week?


Thursday, October 4, 2012

October Currently

It is time for the October Currently hosted by Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade.  Gotta love a Currently!  Emily's comments will be in... black. Antoinette's comments will be in orange.

I usually go with blue, but it is October!  I love October!  It is my second favorite month of the year.  My birthday month (June) is my fav of course. lol :)  I LOVE fall and Halloween!  Orange is such an October color and I have felt for quite some time that it is an under-appreciated color; which is crazy because it is SOO cool.

So let's talk about The Stranger...

When I first read this story years ago, I didn't like it at all.  I thought this book is way to hard for kids to really understand what it is about.  Well little did I know that it was really my teaching that was the problem. I was so early in my career and wasn't teaching my students deeper comprehension skills (those poor kiddos lol).  Isn't that how all new teachers feel??  As my teaching skills grew and strengthened, so did my love for this book.  Now it is one of my fav's; especially this time of year.

If you have never read this book, YOU MUST!!!  There is little about the stranger that is stated explicitly so it is great for making inferences.  Read it to find out why it is perfect for this time of year.

Well it is 12:15 AM and as I stated in my Currently, I am NEEDING a better sleep schedule.  That being said, time for bed.

As friends and co-bloggers we have some interesting late night conversations!
I went to see the newly reunited Ben Folds Five last week- AMAZING!  (You may not know this, but my hubby and I are music freaks and go to all kinds of shows.)

I love the time of year that welcomes soups and chilis. (Hello crock pot!)

My wardrobe is in serious need of an update!  New long sleeved shirts and jeans need to get in my closet! (As Farley would say!)  

I love Goodnight Goon!  Its such a great way to talk about parody writing.  

BTW, have you checked out our 150 follower give away?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enjoy your scarves, football, and Halloween candy!

Antoinette & EmilyK

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Inference lesson & 150 Follower give away!

This week, my class is practicing using the skill of inference.
I know many of you do the lesson about the mystery trash owner. (Thanks, Tanny McGregor!)

I have to tell you, using trash kind of grosses me out.  (I know its just packaging, but the idea of modeling going through someone's trash kinds of gets to my germophobic tendencies.)

So, I found a way to fix that!

I have been hosting a 31 gifts catalog party at my school.  (This is an important detail for later in the post too!)

My consultant loaned me a bunch of bags to show people if they wanted to see them.  They have conveniently been sitting behind my teacher table.  

I pulled one out, and asked the kids to give the facts about what they could see.

They listed:
The bag said munchies.
The pattern was adult and plain.
The bag could be used for food.
The bag could be taken places, it had a shoulder strap.

Then I asked them to infer what they know about the person.  (I told them, that the bag didn't belong to me or a staff or family member of mine.)

They listed:
The person likes snacks.
The person must go to the park or zoo.

There were a few misguided inferences, like the person has kids.  They couldn't back that up with proof, so we discussed that inferring isn't randomly guessing.

Then, I pulled out another bag, with a letter S on it.  They questioned if it was some of the staff members.  I was proud of them for inferring that several teachers have names that start with that letter.

Then one of the students stumbled on to the fact that, the teacher she does tutoring with, had a similar bag and she got it from a catalog.  
This lead to another student saying she had seen a catalog on my desk.  
Finally, they inferred that the bags must be linked to the catalogs.  

We discussed that through talking with others it may help us to get a more clear inference.

In the process of displaying the bags, my neighbor teacher was returning to her classroom across the hall, she couldn't help poking her head in, and laughing.  It was an excellent chance to explain to my students that people have different schema, and the teacher knew things they didn't.

I eventually confirmed they were from a salesperson.

It was a fun take on a key lesson in inference.

Now on to the 31 gifts part of this post!

Antoinette and I are hosting a 150 followers giveaway!

The prize is:

Check out the Rafflecopter below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

We will select the winner when we get to 150 followers!