Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Giveaways and Updates

Hey Bloggy Friends-
 I wanted to tell you about two great giveaways going on right now.  Erica over at Erica's Elementary Excitement is kicking off her new blogging adventure with an amazing giveaway. You could win a gift card to Target and to Lakeshore!
Mrs. Farley over at Oh'Boy 4th Grade is have a linky party giveaway and a traditional giveaway.  If you join in her Trash to Treasure linky party, you are entered to win over $50 in Vera Bradley goodies an a surprise.  Her other giveaway is for three Target gift cards!
  Several people left comments and questions about my library center project.  I have responded in my own comment on the Pictures! blog entry with answers.  Thank you so much for your support and interest.  I am at my mom's house this week but I have been busy cutting out things I laminated.  By the way, I heart Velcro dots!!  I am using them on my new calendar set!  Today we bought the fabric to make new curtains for my classroom.  Be on the look out for pictures of my wonderful Mom sewing in my classroom!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Running For Lucy

I have been blessed with two older sisters that support and inspire me on a daily basis.  My sister Sara has an incredibly big (and tender) heart.  She came across a family's blog a few months ago that has deeply affected her.  This blog follows a family's fight to help their daughter Lucy battle brain cancer and maintain a happy home for their other two children.  My sister has two young (and amazingly cute and sweet) kids of her own and this has made Lucy's story even more powerful for her.  Sara  and her awesome hubby have decided to run in the St. Jude Memphis Marathon in December to raise money and support for Lucy.  If you are interested in donating money through the St. Jude Memphis Marathon then click here to see my sister's site for this.  If you want to read more about Lucy and her family check out their blog.  Please keep Lucy in your hearts and prayers!

This is what my beautiful sister wrote about running for Lucy:

"I am running for all the children battling cancer and life threatening diseases. I am running for all the families in which hospital stays and sickness have become a part of their daily lives and medical terminology a part of their vocabulary. I am running for the nurses, doctors, and researchers who dedicate their lives to care and treat for these children and search endlessly for ways to defeat cancer.

I am running for Lucy. A five year old girl battling medullablastoma, and aggressive form of brain cancer. I am running and praying for God to heal Sweet Lucy."

Monday, June 27, 2011

Giveaway and Book Whisperer Read Along Starts Today!

Third Grade Gridiron reached 100 followers and is having a giveaway to celebrate! Check it out!

Don't forget that to Book Whisperer Read Along starts today! Check out Thinking of Teaching to see links for discussion.

I worked at my school today.  The library center is slowly coming along.  I now have all the books sorted in their baskets and about half of them totally completed with their pockets and index cards in them.  I am going to see my family for the next week but I am laminated a bunch of stuff (it is great to do it early in the summer before everyone starts laminating!) and I am taking it home to cut out and put Velcro dots on.  I will also be making some things for my classroom such as Classroom Helper labels and Genre Wall labels.  If anyone is interested I will post them as a PDF freebie on my TpT store.  I will keep blogging updates and ideas! Thanks for all your continued support and sharing of ideas!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I felt so frustrated that I did not get much accomplished last time I went to school! So I took yesterday to think and regroup.  Yesterday I went and bought library pockets to attach inside the back covers of all my books.  Today I started gluing them in and writing the titles on index cards.  That way when a student wants to check out a book, he or she will simply take the index card from the book and place it in a pocket chart with their name on in.  I got a few baskets done before I ran out of glue!  Then I sorted through most of my books and relabeled the baskets by author and genre.  I added stickers to the front of the basket and to each book so kids can replace books easily.  Here are some pictures of my work (and all the work I have left to do!)

These are the baskets I completely finished

The baskets that still need their pockets and cards

Close Up!

Books I still need to sort

My closet- I still need to figure out how to organize my paper.  Any ideas?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Target Giveaway and Classroom Makeover Update

Thought of a Third Grade Teacher is having a 200 follower giveaway!  You could win a $25 Target gift card.  It ends soon so check it out.

I went out to the school for the first time in two weeks.  Sadly, I did not get much accomplished.  I feel like I spend the majority of my summer workdays standing in my classroom and just looking around. Does anyone else do this?  I did put some more organizer units in my room so my kids can have access to supplies and I got those labeled.  My next goal is reorganize my classroom library and label all my books.  I am open to any and all suggestions about making my classroom library kid friendly!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

HUGE Giveaway!

There is a HUGE giveaway going on at Little Miss Kindergarten's blog.  There are 7 ways to enter and 7 prizes being given away!  Check it out soon!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Book Whisperer Read Along

 So Amanda over at Third Grade Meanderings got me curious about this book called The Book Whisperer.  So while I was playing in Barnes and Noble (as I often do) I picked it up to look through it.  Twenty minutes later, I realized that I was sitting on the floor in the middle of Barnes and Noble and still reading it! I knew then that I needed to make a copy mine.  A day or two later, I saw on Thinking of Teaching that there is going to be a blog read along on The Book Whisperer!  I am so excited to be a part of this!  I highly recommend picking up a copy of the book and joining in!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Candymakers and Giveaway

I read a really good children's novel written by Wendy Mass called The Candymakers.  It is a about four kids in a contest to create the next big candy.  It is told from the perspective of all for kids and using beautiful descriptive language.  I hope to use this book with my class next year so I have started creating a teaching unit on it.  It would be a  great text for teaching writing as well as connecting to math and science.  The only item I have created so far is a Candymakers Board game.  You can get this on my TpT store. 

  In other news, Mrs. Owens has reached 50 followers! She is having a giveaway for a Target gift card. Head on over and check it out! Her blog has great ideas for 4th grade.

It is stormy outside so I am going to cuddle up with a book! Have a great night.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

And The Winner Is....

Thank you all for the amazing response to my first giveaway! It started out as a 50 followers giveaway and turned in to a 100 followers giveaway! You guys rock!

The winner of a $25 Target gift card is...lucky number 66 Lori!

Enter a lower limit:
Enter an upper limit:

Random Number:

Lori-email me your information so I can get your Target gift card in the mail to you.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Ordering Numbers

As some of you know,  I am taking a two week math workshop (only three days left!) and I have a few ideas to share with you.  Today I played a game on ordering fractions and decimals.  On small cards (I would cut index cards in half) write decimals, fractions, or both.  When the students play, the first thing they will do is draw a 3 by 3 grid.  You might want to make some on the computer and laminate them to save time and make them last longer.

When it is their turn, the student will pick a card from the stack.  They will place their number somewhere on the grid.  The goal is to have the numbers in order on each row (from left to right) and in each column (from top to bottom).  If the card they draw can not be played, they lose a turn.

The student that fills up their grid first (with their rows and columns in order) wins.  You could do this with any grade level and any skill.  You can use whole numbers, decimals, fractions, percents, mixed numbers, improper fractions, multiplication facts, division name it!  If you were going to use multiplication or division facts, I would not put the answer on the card.  For example, one card might say 6x5= and another might say 4x3=. 
  You can practice this same concept using number necklaces.  Write a variety of whole numbers (or fractions, percents, facts, etc) on index cards and with a hole punch and some yarn make necklaces.  Hand each kid a necklace and tell them that they are to get in order from least to greatest.  I did that with my kids this past year and it was a lot of fun.  Once they are in order, ask a few kids how they knew where to get or how they know they are in the right place.
If you have any questions about these activities let me know.  These activities came from the Mathematics Education Collaborative.

Don't forget the giveway ends at midnight!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

50 Followers Giveaway!

 Well I did it! I reached 50 followers (thanks Amanda for posting!)!  As a thank you to all my followers and readers I am hosting my very first giveaway!

You can earn up to FOUR entries
1. Follow my blog- Leave a comment telling me you follow!
2. Blog about my giveaway and leave a comment with a link to your blog
3. Add my grab button to your blog and leave a comment linking to your blog (let me know if my button does not work)
4. Leave a comment telling me which gift card you would want and what you would use it for!

The contest is now open and will close at midnight on June 14th! I will post the winner on June 15th!

Now for the prize- you could win a $25 gift card to your choice of...


Thank you to all of you who helped me get my comments numbers.  I think I actually had them numbered and just did not see it!  If you knew me, you would understand that I do that kind of thing all the time! So now they are numbered twice.  Oh well, I am going to keep playing with it.  Thanks again!

Friday, June 10, 2011


Hey bloggy friends!  I want to have a contest when I reach 50 follower (almost there!) so I have been trying to figure out how to number my comments.  I tried a few things and no luck! If anyone can help me out I would greatly appreciate it!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Number Talks

I am currently taking a two week math workshop called Numerical Reasoning.  It is put on it part by the Great Birmingham Mathematics Partnership and the Mathematics Education Collaborative.  The emphasis of the workshop and the other ones given by these groups is for children to learn mathematical skills through meaningful experiences such as menus, investigations, etc.  I could write forever about this type of learning and how I want to use and how I have used it but...I won't! Today I want to focus on one aspect of it called a Number Talk.  A Number Talk is a ten to fifteen minute math routine in which students are asked to solve problems mentally.  Students are encouraged to use a variety of strategies (counting up, decomposing numbers, constant difference, etc) to solve a math problem (fractions, addition, subtraction, time, multiplication, division, you name it).  When a student has an answer, he or she will give a thumbs up sign and hold their hand close to their chest so other kids won't panic when they think everyone is finished.  After students have had time to think, the teacher asks if someone wants to share their answer.  The teacher writes all answers students come up with on the board but does not tell which is correct.  Then the teacher will ask who wants to share their thinking and record how different students thought through the problem.  The goal is to increase fluency, allow students to create new strategies besides the traditional algorithms, and be exposed to different ways of thinking.  Number talks can do done with kids of all ages with a varying degree of difficulty. Number talks are a great way for you to peek into the minds of your kids and learn about them and from them.
 For more info on number talks check out the following:

Number Talk PDF
Number Talks PDF 2
I will be more than happy to answer any questions or help you get started using Number Talks!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Literature Links Website

I found a great website to share with all of you!  It is called Literature Links and is a great resource for teachers.  This website allows you to access links for lesson plans, activities, and more for different children's books.  There is a page for each letter of the alphabet so it is easy to find what you need.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Common Core Standards

I have been seeing a lot about the Common Core Standards out here in blog world.  On our last day of school, one of my co-workers did a small presentation on it since we are adopting them for the 2012-2013 school year.  I know many of you are using these standards or will start using them this fall.  So  wondering how you like them and how you feel they about them?  Are they a lot different from your state course of study? Do your kids seem to benefit from these?  Can't wait to learn more from all of you!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

ANOTHER (woo hoo!) Giveaway

Amanda from Third Grade Meanderings is having a giveaway to celebrate 100 followers.  You could win a $25 gift card to Barnes and Noble and a picture book that looks super cute!  Amanda's blog is awesome so you should def. head on over and check it out!

Friday, June 3, 2011


1st Grade With Miss Snowden is having a super great giveaway to celebrate 300 followers!  You could win a $30 gift card to your choice of Target, Wal-Mart, or Staples.  I heart giveaways! I will be having my own when I reach 50 followers!

What a Difference A Day (or two) Makes!

My classroom makeover continues! I was able to put all my furniture back in my classroom Wednesday morning.  I gave away a big table that was taking up too much room and gathering stacks of stuff.  I had already decided where my green cubbies where going as well as my computer table. My amazing 4th grade team mate, Brooke, helped me place all the student desks in groups.  For some reason I can never get these angled in the right way!  I have started cleaning and organizing. I got rid of a whole cart of stuff that I was not using and pulled down most of the old fabric that I am replacing this summer.  I will not be back out to the school for another two weeks (eek!!) because I am going to an amazing math workshop with my friend Michelle.  Here are some pictures of the updates.  It looks kind of cluttered because the chairs are up on the desks.  I am going to hunt for low priced storage containers this weekend.
I will be putting fabric after some of the storage units in the back of the room.

My computers will go on this table and desk.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

New Blog and Giveaway

I love when I find a "new" blog.  It is like discovering a box full of wonderful teaching hints and ideas that has been stashed away on that high shelf you have to stand on a desk to get to.  This morning,  while checking out my blogs I follow, I found a 4th grade blog that looks amazing.  It is called the Creative Apple and I can not wait to explore it!  The Creative Apple is also have a giveaway for a $10 Amazon gift card.  Head on over and check it out.