Friday, March 30, 2012

 Spring Break Recap

The same person that steals my weekends has done it again and stolen spring break!  I cannot believe how fast the week went.  I work with the junior highers at church and will be on a junior high event, Friday and Saturday, (Sunday will be spent recuperating from this event:-)  so this really is the last few hours of my break....
1)  I went to Canada...just Vancouver but it was beautiful and sunny and entertaining.
2)  Started volleyball practice with my 4th/5th grade team.  (The 6th/7th/8th grade practices start next week)  Yes, I might be a little crazy....

3)  Of course, I read...a lot.  My school is in the middle of, Books & Beyond.  For every five hours of reading students progress through 10 levels.  Adults participate too, but they have to read seven hours to complete a level.  I have challenged my class to read more levels than I can.  So I loved spending time reading, so they don't get too far ahead of me!

I read, The Chaos Code by Justin Thomas, Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson, Wither by Lauren DeStefano, The Order of the Odd Fish by James Kennedy, and The Magnolia League by Katie Crouch.

4)  Finished making bows for previously mentioned 4/5 team.
Orange shirts and a pile of finished hair bows.

To those who are finishing spring break, enjoy your last few days.  To those who are just starting, have a great week!  I'm off to the land of junior high craziness!
Happy Friday,

 Library Love and a Giveaway to Check Out

Amy@ Literacy and Laughter is having a Library Linky Party.  I think my classroom library will always be a work in progress. How fun and now we can see everyone else's libraries too!

I recently divided my library into three sections, non-fiction, picture books, and chapter books.  
chapter books
reading charts above books

picture books

non fiction books

I always go back and forth about how to sort them, but ultimately end up going by author in the hopes that it will help students navigate in a public library, where none of the books are leveled.  All of the books have a colored dot on the spine, that correlates to a lexile range.  The tub label and lexile number is also written inside the cover of the book.  I have found that my struggling readers have a hard time picking appropriate books (they are always filling their book bags with difficult chapter books), so I do pull out all the books that are at their level and have them in separate baskets.
The books in the chapter and picture book sections of the library are sorted, almost primarily, by author.  Sometimes a series pops up, where multiple authors are present, but the books still need to go in the same bin.  Non-fiction books are in drawers with a number labeling each drawer. 
non-fiction labels
A then Abbot, then Adler, the American Girls

Underneath the chapter books, I have baskets of a random assortment of genres.  We have a class made books, student authors, graphic novels (a very popular basket), and magazines. 

There is a table in the middle of the library.  I took the legs out, so it is only about a foot from the floor.  It has the, "I Don't Know" basket (Students put books here, if they can't figure out where to put them...instead of randomly tossing them wherever they land.) and Monster Food.
on risers with pillows
Students read all over the place, but they may refer to our anchor chart about how to make appropriate choices for where they read.
on exercise balls. 

Okay, I think that is a summary of our classroom library.

And finally a giveaway is going on over at Oopsey Daisy.  The decorative ideas that come from her blog are so cute and if you have not seen her "mommy school" packets, go check them out now!
Happy Friday,

Thursday, March 29, 2012

 Lunch Bag LInky

Lunchbox Linky Party...check it out at 4th Grade Frolics.  I am joining in the fun and sharing my lunch (although this week I am thankfully not worrying about lunch..thank you Spring Break)  Here is my lunch bag:
I love the polka dot and turquoise!  Pretty sure I found it at TJ Maxx, before school started.  I often take things in tupperware, and it is big enough to hold everything.
I bring a banana, but I usually eat it for snack, before lunch.  I have a water bottle and usually left overs from the night before.  My dinner is often chosen based on what it creates as lunch for the next day!
I also have a mini-fridge hidden in my room.  It is generally stocked string cheese, yogurt, and lots of diet cherry pepsi and dark chocolate hershey kisses!

Lunch Schedule:
My class goes to lunch at 11:10.  I wait in the cafeteria until they are all through the lunch line, then I am free to leave and head for the staff room.  Students eat lunch until 11:35 and then are dismissed to recess until 11:55.  We have a staff room and it is a fun group of teachers during the 1st and 2nd grade lunch.  I usually eat there 3-4 days of the week.  I try and eat in the cafeteria once a learn so much more about some of your students than you do just in the classroom.  Usually, once a week one of my chickadees has earned "friendly lunch."  They get to pick two friends and eat in the classroom instead of the cafeteria.  

One more thing....because I just discovered this bit of inspiration...and I still kinda miss Simon, from American Idol...and I loved Paul Potts shocking Britain's Got Talent audition....
Gives me goosebumps! 
Happy Thursday,

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

 Oh Canada.....

Spring Break is halfway done!  How did that happen?  My brother and I spent four days in and around Vancouver, British Columbia.  He really really wanted a passport stamp (I tried telling him they don't do that anymore).  I really really didn't want to give up a weekend of spring break.  Did I mention that next weekend is a junior high overnight retreat, so I am losing both weekends of spring break sleeping?  Anyhow, because I am such a wonderful sister, I went along with this crazy plan.  
Here are some discoveries...
1. I have an addiction to diet bubbly pop.  Canada does not do bubbly pop, everywhere I went the pop was always flat, my current theory has to do with the kind of sugar.
2.  High School is known as Secondary School.
3.  Hockey Game Concessions...Potato Chips=French Fries.
4.  Everyone in downtown Vancouver was wearing boots or running gear...I kid you not!
5.  At Stanley Park at least as many people were rollerblading as biking.  I can't even remember the last time I saw a pair of rollerblades!

6.  During previously mentioned Hockey Game, everyone sings along with the singing of Canada's National Anthem.  It was pretty cool...I have been to a LOT of baseball games and I have never heard anyone sing along.
7.  They have a coin called a loonie.  How fun is that!?
8. Smarties are a candy I do not like...however in Canada Smarties look like this and are chocolate!
9.  It is beautiful beautiful country, sunny and warm, green, mountain-y.
10.  Flipping my car from mph to kph was pretty exciting.  (yes I am that easily amused)
11.  Unfortunately I did not see Shawn or Gus (for you Pysch fans) or any of the Fringe cast, but I did keep my eyes peeled for them.

Someday I will actually make it to Victoria B.C (I could not convince my brother to get there) and Prince Edward Island...the Anne Shirley tourist trap.  

But for now am glad I am back home with my nook, a blanket, and a warm fire!

Also, I think (hope) I fixed my blog button....please let me know if it is still not functioning.
Happy Wednesday,

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

 214 Oh My!

214...yes 214 blog posts to catch up on just from 4 days of traveling!  Oh my word...I have been reading everyone's posts for a couple days to catch up.  It was a bit overwhelming.  I found out that Tammy@ Forever in First gave a shout out to our "Read My Shirt" day.  She made an adorable class book, you can check it out here.  Also, a few of you wonderful bloggy friends want to use my blog button, but apparently it doesn't work.  Trial and error is my computer friend, so I will work on getting it functioning.  If any of you know of a good "blog button" tutorial or are an expert already, please send advice my way:-)

Next up....10 things I learned about Canada.

Happy Tuesday,

Friday, March 23, 2012

 Book Swap

Sorry in advance...this post is about 99% non-educational related. First of all, every time I say book swap, I immediately think of Jimmy Fallon's "head-swap" shorts.  YouTube it, they crack me up.  Second, one of the very first things I pinned to my pinterest account was this:

Being an avid reader, I thought this would be a great way to get great ideas for new books to read, and you would end the party with at least one to start on!  I figured right before spring break would be a great time to get some new reading material, so last Tuesday my roommates and I hosted a book swap party.
So I started with invitations.  I used a book from The Dollar Tree and traced the letter B for the front of the invitation.
 Printed and added the details to the inside.
Paper clipped a book insert for attendees to put in the book they planned on bringing.
Then we worked on the house....I have a whole pinterest board just for book pictures and quotes.  I printed them and put them clothesline like on the wall.

I used a page from a falling apart picture book and made pinwheels to cover the tack that help the "clothesline" up.
One of my roommates made a paper book tree,  (the branches are a brown paper sack and the leaves are book pages)

and she rolled up strips of books and added them to the mantel, and a bunting made of more book pages

and a bunting made of more re-purposed book pages.
For the door, I hot glued leaf shaped book pages to a wreath.  And the rosettes are rolled up picture book squares.

Books wrapped and ready to be chosen for their new homes.....
 The food table had some book quotes.  I used a piece of notebook paper and a frame from the Dollar Tree.  I wrote the quote on the paper, made some mini-books, and attached them to the bottom.

Are you ready for the 1% educational relevancy......I thought, this would be a great thing for students to do to.  So I invited them to a book swap party.  Here is what their invitation looked like (minus the color)
So there you go, not completely un-educational, and who knows, if it is successful, students could repeat the book swap and swap the book they got!

Happy Friday,