Friday, July 25, 2014

Bluebonnet Books: The Day The Crayons Quit

I am back for another Bluebonnet Book review. This week's book is The Day The Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt.

Oh my goodness this book is precious. The gist of the story is that a box of crayons is feeling used and abused by their boy. Each crayon writes letter to explain their feelings. 

This book would be great for teaching friendly letters, emotions, colors, problem solution, or character traits.  I can see this book being used from kinder all the way through intermediate grade levels. 

The letters range from heartfelt to hilarious. I would highly recommend this quick read for any age range!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Recycling

Does your school participate in a recycling program?

I would love to hear from you in the comments!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bluebonnet Books:Face Bug and Pickle

I am back to report in on two more Bluebonnet nominees that I have read. Ready for my completely unsolicited thoughts on them?

I cheated a little on this one and read it with my class before the school year ended back in June. Another wonderful Bluebonnet nominee down, and this one is a combination of nonfiction and poetry. Face Bug has an amazing mix of real photographs of insects along with quirky illustrations.
The poems are factual, and funny! We will definitely be revisiting this book when it is time to study metamorphosis. 

Each poem gives the common and scientific name of an insect, as well as some facts! My whole class LOVED this one and asked to read it over again, which is always a good sign!

This past weekend though I read Pickle: The (Formerly) Anonymous Prank Club of Fountain Point Middle school
I know that my students are going to eat this one right up this fall. First of all, my students have a weird obsession with pickles, so the title alone is going to draw them in. Then, the book is about pranks. What 4th grader doesn't love pranks? Finally, within the first couple of pages it talks about how anyone over the age of 20 loses their sense of humor. I just know that will seal the deal.

Even though (spoiler alert) I am over the age of 20, I still found this book to be absolutely delightful, and can't wait to share it with my students!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Made It Monday: Customizing a Planner

Hey Race Fans! I am linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for another edition of Monday Made It!
This week, I less made something, and more adapted it to fit my needs. I prefer to say customized, it just sounds better in my head somehow. Anyway, I was caught up last week when all of a sudden I was on the last page of my planner without even realizing it. I live and die by my planner, so this caused some major heart palpitations on my part. How did I let it get this far? Why did I just flip past the reorder page that came up several months ago? I was in for it now. 

I knew I didn't have time to order a planner. I played around for a little while trying to make one. That didn't go well at all being that I was already frazzled, so off to the store I went! 
 I got myself an At-A-Glance Planner, five rolls of Scotch Washi Tape, some clickable Sharpies, and my FAVORITE Frixion erasable pens.

**On a side note, I L.O.V.E. the Frixion pens for my planner because I hate pencil, but love to be able to change things up!
Here is a before shot, right before I doctored it up to what I needed it to be. 
 I got five designs of washi tape to represent the five areas that I needed in my planner.
 AND I started taping. I am not going to lie, this took a lot longer than I thought it would. It may have taken hours, but that is okay, because it was a bit mindless. I just taped and listened to the television. I can't really complain about that.
In the end, I got through it! Now I have a planner that allows me to have a section for each area that I needed and I can stop hyperventilating!

I can't wait to click over and see what everyone else is up to this week!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Bright Ideas Linky: Math Center Bags!

Another month has come and gone, and it is time for another Bright Idea Link Up! Are you ready for some more fabulous ideas from a ton of different bloggers?
This month I am concentrating on little things that I can do to make my life easier during the school year. One thing I did last year that helped out tremendously was to make math station bags.

I do math centers or stations every single day. I have 10 stations in the rotation at a time, and change the stations each month. Changing out the stations is no biggie, but finding the right manipulatives to match each station is something that does me in every. single. time.

I got to thinking, and thought why not put all the manipulatives that students would need for ANY station into ten sets to go with the ten stations? I was feeling pretty much like a genius at this point and dug right in.
 I started with the bags. I found these brightly colored bags at Dollar Tree for, you guessed it, a dollar a piece which was an absolute steal, because they are really sturdy. They have vinyl pockets surrounded with rip-stop style fabric and a good zipper.
Next I filled them up. I took an inventory of what most stations needed which included number cards, dice, (I put one die in die, one six sided, and one ten sided die in each) a dry erase marker, game pieces, and a paperclip to use as a spinner.  
This way students grab their station and any station bag and are ready to work! As a bonus, I discovered that the bag itself could actually be used as a mini dry erase board. I mean really, how much better could this get?
I used these math station bags throughout all of last year and they were awesome! They stood up throughout the year and I have had to replace very minimal amounts of the contents which is much better than what was happening when I changed out the manipulatives along with the stations. 

If you liked this post, please consider following me with Bloglovin', on Facebook, or on Teachers Pay Teachers for more great ideas! 

For more amazing ideas, from fantastic bloggers check out the linky below. Items are listed by topic and grade level to make your search a little easier! 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Bluebonnet Books-Twice as Nice

This past week I have been traveling, so I had a little extra reading time and was able to complete two of the 2014-15 Bluebonnet nominated books.

First on the list was Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead. Georges, the main character, is a relatable middle schooler who is going through some changes, as most middle schoolers do. This book has a couple of twists in it, that are sure to keep your students thinking!
Click on the book to check it out!

Next I dug into Athlete vs. Mathlete by W.C. Mack. This quick read about twins that could not be more different reminded me a lot of books I read as a kiddo like the Sweet Valley High series, but from what I can remember probably more age appropriate. This book is written from the point of view of each of the twins, Owen and Russell, in alternating chapters. While I think that structure may make it hard for some of my lower readers to keep up with, it would make a great read aloud! 
  Click on the cover to take a look!

I just checked out three more nominees to read this week. I look forward to sharing my thoughts as I complete them! So far I have read 12/20 of the nominees, so hopefully I am on a good pace to finish up before we head back to school in a month!

If you have read any of the Bluebonnet Nominees, I would love to hear that you thought about them!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Reading in the Wild: Reading Conferences

Welcome back for another week of book study on Reading in the Wild. Donalynn Miller is becoming more and more of an idol of mine as I keep reading. Enough of me being starstruck though, let's get down to business! 

This week's hosts are yours truly, Jennifer from Teaching to Inspire in 5th, and Sara from Miss V's Busy Bees
 Miss V's Busy Bees
This week's topic is is "Wild Readers Share Book and Reading with Other Readers" as well as Reading Conferences. I am all about sharing reading, but reading conferences have been something that has been a hardcore struggle and point of personal shame for me as a teacher. 

Our class talks a lot about our reading. I start every morning by telling my students about what I have been reading. Sometimes it is a book, a poem, a newspaper article, but MOST of the time it is something interesting that I read on the internet. This always opens up a new conversation within the class of what everyone has been reading. I really treasure these few minutes, because I love to hear what my students are reading AND I want my students to know that reading a book is not the only kind of reading. 

Next up are the reading conferences. These might just be the biggest sore point within my classroom. In my five years in fourth grade I have never felt like I was doing enough, but never fear, my hero Donalynn Miller felt the same way! Can you believe it????

She tells about her friend Jim, and the idea that the workers on the Golden Gate Bridge never stop painting. They realize that there will be days that due to things like weather they won't get as much done, but just keep plugging away to get as much done as they can. 
This is how I have to think about reading conferences. I have to back away from the rigid, "I will get five conferences done each and every day," and move towards the, "I will have as many MEANINGFUL conversations about reading with my students as the day allows." 

This new mentality will hopefully help me to stress a little less in addition to add quality to the conferences. 

For more incredible ideas and others' take on this chapter, check out the linky below!