Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Segregation Simulation

So we have transitioned from Dr. King and segregation into slavery gearing up for the Civil War next week.  Good times in third grade.

However, what I wanted to share with you was our segregation simulation from last week.  It was on Wednesday. 

Tuesday we read the book The Crayon Box that Talked. Before we started I had them each write their name on a piece of paper with their favorite color on the other side of the paper.  We read the book and related it to Dr. King and segregation.  Then I grouped students together based on their chosen favorite color.  The groups had to write a persuasive essay to tell me why their chosen color was the best.  I told them it was important they did a good job, because whichever group I chose would have special privileges the next day. (Social Studies/Science time is the last 40 minutes of the day.) They didn't have a lot of time, and only 2 of the 5 groups got done with their essays, which narrowed my choices down nicely.  I of course picked purple, because that was already my favorite color. (That's what my students told me I did ;) It had nothing to do with the fact that their essay was better than the other one.)

Wednesday started as most other days, except I gave the purple group, purple stickers on their hands.  I wasn't able to do a whole lot during math time, because my kids were being pulled out 7 at a time for their midyear DIBELS math assessment.  On the way to recess, was when I really started 'segregating' them. 
Here are some of the things I did, throughout the next hour, before I had anarchy and half my class decided they would walked out rather than be segregated any more, because I was being so unfair!
  • Only purple people could use the bathroom at the same time as other purple people.  Everyone else had to wait patiently.
  • purple people got to go at the front of all the lines, even though they weren't the line leader. 
  • purple people got to choose our new read aloud chapter book. (we usually vote)
  • purple people got to sit wherever they wanted
  • purple people could tell other people to move so they could sit where they wanted
  • purple people got less work then non purple people (you know, because purple people are smarter than non purple people)
  • Purple people got credit for right answers, even if they came from a non purple person
  • and the one that made my class the MOST upset, purple people got to use the drinking fountain first, and for as long as they wanted, while everyone else, barely got a drink as i told them to "Go" as soon as they touched the water. 
IT was powerful for my 17 third graders.  It gave them the schema they needed for Wednesday afternoon when we did our "just" and "unjust" activity.  By far one of the BEST most ingenious ideas I've ever had (last year we did something similar and on a shorter scale based on dimples or no dimples, this was even better).  

Now talking about slavery and having 0 freedoms, it's amazing to watch them and see how they are still relating things back to our simulation. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Linking up with LOVE

 I am loving all of these Linky parties! So fun to have ideas to blog about and get to "meet" new bloggers, too. Today I'm linking up with Tessa from Tales from Outside the Classroom

Of course the main one that MUST be at the top of my list is John, he's the best thing that ever happened in my life. Hands down. We just celebrated the 11th anniversary of our first date, and I'm so glad he picked me!

Then of course, Tuffy. He's is the second best decision I ever made! Oh how I love this dog. Who knew one furry creature could be so loved?!?

Also, all of our family. We're so lucky to have such wonderful families!!! I mean, look at them, they're all adorable!We are lucky enough to have 1 niece on my side of the family
Our niece.  Quite possibly the cutest 18 month old on the planet!
and 4 nephews and a niece on John's side.

2 of our nephews and 1 of our nieces tickle attack Uncle John on Christmas Eve
Next, The Piano Guys. We were lucky enough to get to see them in concert 3 times last year! I've been a long time follower of Jon Schmidt (the pianist). We listen to their music every day during station time. My students know if the music gets turned up, they're too loud. We also have watched most of their music videos. They're great brain breaks, and it was a great time filler when music got cancelled a few weeks ago because we didn't have a teacher. It's also great motivation when a new video comes out for them to get cleaned up on time so we can watch it!

I'm loving the overcast weather because it is producing the most glorious sunrises and sunsets.  Proof:

Finally, I'm loving my silhouette cameo. Man I use that thing for everything. Technically, it's my moms. She bought it. But it's always lived at my house because she didn't want to take the time to figure it out. And now, she's on a mission for our church in TN and KY for the next 18 months, so it's for sure mine now!! Muhahaha!

Be sure to stop by Tessa's blog and join in the fun! 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Fabulous Finds Linky

I'm linking up with Christy and Tammy over at Fluttering through First Grade for their Fabulous Finds Linky Party.

My First Fabulous find is this coat from Old Navy. $20 for a pea coat that is PLAID!!! It is SO me and It makes me happy!! So yes, technically I bought it in 2012... but it was practically on the last day, and I'm getting the compliments on it all in 2013, so it counts, right? I'd link to it, but it says its sold out, now.  Sorry! (However, my local store has them for $14.99 now, in a variety of colors, still)

My next fabulous find is a HUGE purchase for John and I.  It also, was in fact, purchased on the last day of 2012, but we didn't start using it until this new year.  They are fabulous!! And who wouldn't want to do laundry when your washer and dryer sing to you when they're done.  Plus, they're SO pretty! They are the top of the line, LG Top Load Washer and Steam Dryer.  They are a huge upgrade from what we had and I puffy heart love them!

Finally, my must have fabulous find for my classroom this year, are these pens... (I happen to have a pen addiction.) I just got them last Saturday and they are already my new favorite!  They are super bold and write smoothly and perfect for grading all those papers! Plus, they're in super fun colors!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

National Board Certification

I went through the process last year with the big blue monster (yes that's what I called National Board with its blue box).  I didn't achieve my national board certification by 21 points.  So, I'm redoing one entry and one assessment center.  I've chosen to redo my Social Studies entry (#2) and my Science Assessment. I guess my biggest thing is that I passed 2 of my entries with flying colors, but bombed the other 2 and with the assessment center i rocked 2 of the assessments, did alright on 2 others, but miserably failed 2 of them.  Any tips for me going forward??

I'm lucky enough to live in Arizona and we have this great resource, the AZ K-12 Center, who awarded me a full scholarship for pursuing National Board in the first place and is also providing me a scholarship to do both of my chosen retakes this year.  They provide a preview course, an introductory summer week-long session, monthly meetings while going through the process (mine were done virtually), as well as coaching Saturday sessions, and retreats.  They've got support for National Board Certification down to a science. 

How did you find support?  Where did you get ideas?  Did they just come to you?

So, how many of you are National Board Certified teachers?  What does it do for you in your district?  How many tries did it take you?

Sunday, January 20, 2013


I'm a firm believer in "if you don't enter, you can't win".  All my co-workers think I'm SO lucky because I win a lot of great products.  When I asked them if they ever entered, they say no.  I always reply with, "That's why people like me win, I enter EVERYTHING I see that I would want to win!"  

I know I used to think I was SO unlucky... until I realized I wasn't entering anything, so how could I win?   So now I enter EVERYTHING!

Lately, I have been the fortunate winner of some FABULOUS products! 

I wanted to feature the products, the geniuses behind them, and their blogs.  Reading teacher blogs has changed my life as a teacher for the better.  In fact, I think almost my entire $200 I get for my classroom next year will be spent on things from Teachers Notebook and/or Teachers Pay Teachers.  (Ok, so logically half will be spent on products and the other half on ink to print them out!)

Just tonight, I won this Line Plot with Fractions unit from Fourth Grade Flipper.  This is going to help SO much when we get to fractions next month! Plus its all about PIZZA, what more could my third grade class want!?!?

From The Schroder Page I won her Prize Coupons.  I can't wait to add these into our prize picks (or maybe even replace my box with coupons only) for returning homework all month long! 

From Hillary, at Rockin Teacher Materials I won her Reading Genre Posters.  So excited to hang these up in my classroom!  We have our writing genres posted, Reading Genres will be a fabulous addition!

From RUN! Miss Nelson's got the Camera I won both her Spelling and Word Work 101 and 102! I am SO excited to add these to our station time!  101 has a lot of activities that don't require many extra materials besides the words you want them to use.  102 is much more hands on, manipulative, needing extra materials (like play dough, newspapers, etc). I plan on using both in my classroom soon!  My kids will LOVE these!

From Rachel, at The Tattooed Teacher I won her Sweet Summarizing Literacy Pack.  I think I'm MOST excited about this product, because my third graders this year, just DON'T get summarizing.  So hopefully this will help!

From Nancy, at Third Grade All Stars I won her Shared Writing Journals.  My kids LOVE these and her pack had been sitting in my wishlist waiting to be purchased.  So thankful for winning this one!

From the Collaboration Cuties, I won their  Subjects and Predicates pack.  They broke their own rules to give this pack to me.  SO nice of them!  My kids are getting some excellent practice with this resource!

And Finally, (I think, if I won something from you and you're not listed PLEASE let me know.  It was an oversight on my part... I tried to go through all of my e-mails to double check but I may have deleted ones I was done with.)

way back in November  I won Jen's 600 follower giveaway at Hello Mrs Sykes! and she let us choose $20 worth of products from her TPT store!  I choose Cause and Effect Safari, Prefix and Suffix Game Collection, Author's Purpose Task Cards, Character Trait Task Cards, and her Out of this World Fact and Opinion Poster, Task Cards, and Game. These are all printed, laminated, and in use in my classroom already. 

I'm going to use a lot of the scoot games/task cards for whole group review as we get closer to test time.  My kids LOVE "playing games" because they're fun and don't feel like work! Ha! If only they realized how hard they were having to think.

As you can see I've been very blessed!  Thanks ladies for all of the wonderful giveaways and products! To all of you wishing you could win, DON'T FORGET TO ENTER!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Five for Friday Linky Party #2 for me

fiveforfridayLinking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching again for Five for Friday

1. Proud moment today as my kiddos spread out in random groups to work on various math concepts.  All thanks to bloggers like you that make and share your stuff with people like me!  They're all SO into it!

2. Cutest stinkin' MLK Art project I've ever seen!  I mean, seriously, could they be any more different if we tried!  LOVE THEM!

3. We have now ALL finished our autobiographies.  We revised, Mr. Hogg style, and they turned our FABULOUS!  Mr. Hogg was exactly what I was needing.

4. Icon Pop Quiz app on my iPhone.  Not gonna lie... It's taken up some serious hours of my life.  Beware, you must spell things correctly!  This Megamind Icon is my fave!

5. I LOVE to crochet.  I taught myself how to do it via you tube, after an older lady showed me at an activity.  But I'm pretty good, most days!  Love how this little hat turned out for the newborn it was being given to! For those that speak crochet: its half double crochets alternating front post back post done in the round.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January Bulletin Board

I LOVE this craftivity from fellow blogger Ms. C at Just Wild About Teaching

This packet has turned out to be a SUPER resource for me.  We used the New Year's acrostic poem as the writing piece for the bulletin board, All the pieces so they could make themselves, some of the other activities for 'work with words' during station time, and some of her stationary for final copy paper for their autobiographies (which are priceless!). 

I'm one of those lucky girls and my mom always comes in and does my bulletin board (ok so for 4 months she came in and did my board while she lived in the area before my siblings moved in)... but my mom is gone for the next 18 months to the Nashville area.  So you get no title and no background, but these are so cute they don't need any "fluff"!

I still have 2 kids not done, but i had to get them up and this posted before January was over!  It turned out super cute and my kiddos had so much fun doing it! Seriously, LOOK at all the personalities in these faces! There aren't enough words for how much I LOVE these!

I'm so thankful for talented teacher bloggers that share their ideas with the rest of us! I hope to contribute too, eventually. (When I stop using all of your ideas and make up some of my own!)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tell Me Something Good

I'm linking up with Jennifer from Rowdy in First Grade for her Tell me Something Good linky party.

Something good at home: My something good at home is that we finally started organizing our desk in our office.  It was a disaster.  Now at least the "to shred" pile isn't gathering dust for yet another month and our "to file" pile is organized into where it needs to be filed. 

How long do you guys keep old bills, bank/credit statements?  I'm thinking we have WAY too much paperwork!

Something good at school: My presentation to the school board not only got them excited about Study Island, but also the other teachers that were there to present and parents that were in the audience.  Plus my staff development group presentation where I worked in talking about TPT and TN copyright laws (one line, in 15 mins, but it totally worked!) went fabulously!  Yay for collaboration and sharing! 

Friday, January 11, 2013


I'm struggling with this little blog already. I feel like I don't have much to add to the teacher blogging world because most of what I'm doing in my classroom I get from you all. So I'm sharing something I've done in my classroom all 9 years I've been teaching.

I'm sure you ALL do this in your classes, but then again maybe not (teachers in my building comment lots about how it was such a great idea so there's that evidence).

My kids love art and coloring/drawing especially. So several weeks ago, when we were studying homophones we happened to have on the board exactly the right number of pairs of homophones as we had students in class so, like every other year we made posters of homophone pairs.

They got a piece of construction paper, folded it in half "taco" style, wrote one homophone on one side and the other in the pair, on the other half. Then they had to use each homophone correctly in a sentence and illustrate their sentence. Super easy!

They did such a great job with them I hung them out in the hall. We've gotten lots of great comments about them from teachers and students walking down the hall.

I also use this same strategy for synonyms and antonyms. Really anything would work. In have idiom posters to put up next :)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Author Visit

Today, we have had the amazing privilege to have author Gary Hogg speak to us.You can check out his website where he has some video and audio clips or his facebook page.

He did a training for the teachers before school started and he was SO interesting and informative! It was exactly what I was needing to get me back on the "write" track!

Then, he did a whole school assembly and I'm SO SAD I didn't have my camera in there. It was awesome. He shares excerpts from several of his books and involved some of my favorite students, now fifth graders, to help him out.

Finally, he did writing workshops for all the grade levels. He got the students to think like authors. And told them if they could think it, they could write it. See them all scratching their chins and looking at the ceiling? He also taught them how to revise their own work. He modeled how to revise with one of my students. The look she's giving him in this picture... Priceless! It was awesome!!! They loved him and were so excited to write; its all they wanted to do the rest of the day!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Five for Friday Linky Party

[fiveforfriday%255B7%255D.jpg]I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday linky party. 

We've had SO much happen this week it will be hard to pick just 5 things to write about it. So here we go :)

  1. On Sunday it was SNOWING!  (in the mountains) That's a big deal here in the southwest.  So my loving husband drove the scenic route home so we could go over the mountains home and find the snow.  It was freezing cold.  And GLORIOUS! 
  2. On Monday we got our new washer and dryer.  A BRAND new LG best in its class, top rated, expensive, exciting washer and STEAM dryer.  Yup! I decided go big or go home!  On Tuesday I did 9 loads of laundry.  Laundry day is more fun when your washer and dryer sing songs to you when its time to switch clothes! 
  3. Wednesday was back to school.  I LOVE my kiddos and it was SO good to see them again.  We had a fabulous day, although the terribles are starting to come out of a couple of my angels.  I really am not a fan of the next 4-6 weeks of third grade.  Such attitudes.  This too, we will survive! 
  4. One of my besties (she was my student teacher 4 years ago, we now carpool to school everyday, she lives down the street, and we make jewelry together) just got the best news!  Her husband, whose only 30, found out today that the first cycle of chemo he was going through, got rid of ALL the cancer (Hodgkin's lymphoma stage 3).  They're going to do chemo still just to be sure.  But SUCH great news! 
  5. Today was 100% lunch bunch.  Kids that earn 10, 100%s, on any tests get to eat lunch in my room with myself and another bestie (my grade level partner).  As you can see, we had a BLAST!  Lots of laughing and for sure the BIGGEST personalities I have in my class room this year were at this lunch bunch.  2 of these 4 have caught a case of the third grade terribles already.  I still love them, though.  

     Ready for a relaxing weekend that started this evening by catching up on all of my e-mails.  I've won/received SO many amazing products in the last 2 months.  I will have to share them with all of you, soon!

    Thursday, January 3, 2013

    Books I Want to Read Linky Party

    Mary over at Pitner's Potpourri, one of my FAVORITES, is hosting a linky party.  I decided I needed to join in.  I love to read!So of course, I've altered her rules to add a few more of my favorites. 

    1 Professional Book I'd like to read: I feel like I'm an AWFUL writing teacher this year.  We just don't have the time to dedicate to writing lessons more than a couple times a week.  Although they are writing almost every day during our stations/daily 5 time and we write in all subjects, too.  I think this book would really help!
    Mentor Texts: Teaching Writing Through Children's Literature, K-6

    1 series I've read that I think EVERYONE should read:
    I LOVED this series, more than Hunger Games or Twilight.  So yes, its another 'young adult' fiction.  But the main character and I share the same last name and the author grew up playing with my sister in law.  I'd love to hear what you think of it, if you've read it.  All my friends that read it moved away.  
     Matched Trilogy box set

    1 Personal Book I'd like to read: I downloaded this book to my kindle app.  Melissa is a blogger whom I've admired for a long time.  This is her second published book and the sequels are coming out over this year.  I've heard great things about it and can't wait to make time to sit down and read it!
     Life From Scratch

    1 Children's Series I've read that I think EVERYONE should read: Maybe the best books I've ever listened to on audio, EVER.  And I've listened to a lot of books.  Suspenseful, great for boys, action filled, excellent!
    Serpent Tide, Widows Revenge, Diamond Cave (3 Book Set)

    1 Book to teach a skill: I'm sure you're all aware of this book, but it has SO many homophones in it!  My third graders always love it and ask for me to read it multiple times.  However, this year, I can't find my copy.  Might be time to order a new one!

    Product Details

    Wednesday, January 2, 2013


    So here's the situation...
    I won a file of a New years activity on TN. I downloaded it at school and printed it out at recess time. (We have 2 communal printers, which are actually our copy machines.) Someone came in and started talking to me when I was on my way down the hall to pick it up.  So then,  I had to get my kiddos from recess.  At lunch, I was finally able to go down to pick up and make my copies and grab my lunch from the fridge. 

    On my way in another teacher was on her way out with a stack of my booklet copied for her class and said, "I borrowed your file. At least I think it was yours, you're the one whose into getting all of those cute Teachers Pay Teachers materials. Hope you don't mind."

    As a matter of fact, I wanted to say, I do mind.  I mind you stealing this activity rather than asking me where I got it so you could go get it yourself.  What do I do, or say?  I'm all for sharing... I share things all of the time!  **but not when its something I paid for/won that another teacher should be making money from someone else using it. ** 

    And I realize I'm mostly at fault because I shouldn't have left it at the printer.  So I'm at a loss.  What can be said/done?  I'm presenting a PD next Friday and I'm sharing some technology sites including TPT and TN.  I plan on working some discussion about how it works and copyrights.  Is that enough? 

    Should I now not use the file I won? 

    Should I go buy the file I won so the owner gets proper credit? 

    Where is the line and how do I educate others/help others care as much as I do about robbing these fellow teacher-creators of their proper dues?

    I feel AWFUL and like I did something wrong here, besides not picking it up as soon as I printed it. How many other times has this happened?  How mad will I be and what will I say when its a file I paid a lot of money for? 

    Help? Advice?  Guidance? Ideas? 

    I clearly need it all!

    Tuesday, January 1, 2013

    January Currently

    For my second post I'm linking up with one of my FAVORITE things to do in my classroom from
    Thanks Farley for the great linky party each month!

     I chose leap for my OLW because I'm planning to take some big chances and push myself this year.  Ones that are going to take a leap of faith to jump into.  SO to prepare myself for said pushes... I'm choosing leap as my word.  Leaping takes faith and courage.  Two things that are hard to have, but building them every day will allow me to be ready to leap when the time comes. 

    Brand New Year, Brand New Blog

    Hey, Everyone!  Welcome to my little corner of the teacher blogging world!  I've been a blogger for a long time.  Almost 6 years now.  But after a year of reading teacher blogs and getting to 'know' so many of you, My personal google reader is overflowing and so is my brain!  I can't wait to get to know you more and make lasting friends with other teachers around the globe.  Here's the top 13 things you should know about me!
    1. This is my 9th class of students.  5 years in first grade, 1 year 1st/2nd SEI split class (with a student teacher), and 2.5 years and counting of 3rd grade. 
    2. I live and teach in rural AZ, but shop in NV or UT. It's an odd little place to live, but I'm growing to love it!
    3. I've been married for 9.5 years and my husband, John, is the brightest part of my life!  He makes everyday better. And he's an excellent cook...(sorry to make you jealous)!
    4. We have no children. I have PCOS and Endometriosis, which means without spending tens of thousands of dollars for IVF or adoption we will remain childless at home.  Lucky for us, we both have hundreds of children who we've grown to love being in education, family, and friends. 
    5. We own our home, we of course bought right before the big economic crash.  Luckily we have mostly stable jobs. 
    6. We have a dog, Tuffy, he's a westie (west highland white terrier). 
    7. I'm a big city girl! Most days can't believe I've ended up in someplace so rural, but Vegas is only an hour or so away therefore I can get my big city kicks when I need to. 
    8. I am the oldest of 5 kids which means I'm a little bossy and controlling (so I've been told).
    9. I love purple, chile rellenos, salsa, and my BRAND new LG washer and dryer. 
    10. I'm too loyal for my own good sometimes and like to look for the best in everyone.
    11. I'm in charge of the 12-18 year old girls at church.  Whoa nelly!!! I thought High School was bad while I was in it...The drama these girls bring into my life is almost psychotic!
    12. I love good music and I love to dance every morning after flag ceremony to get excited for the day. 
    13. I LOVE teaching, especially with my current grade level partner and carpooling buddy.  They make going to work worth it each day! 
    Hope you stick around!  I can't wait to get rolling!