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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A New Year...

I cannot believe we are ending 2014 and beginning a new year. I'm anxious, excited, nervous, scared....Freaking OUT. <-not really. 2015 is going to bring so many new changes whether I am ready for them or not, so I guess I better get ready.  

This new year will bring my baby's graduation and life as a college student. Wha?!  His heart is set on USAFA and we should hear from them in January. He is seriously marking off the days on his calendar.  He has also been offered a paid visit to West Point Academy in New York and will fly out to visit them in March.  I think the key word right now is PATIENCE.  He's put in all the work and now he has to be patient. {I have to be patient}
I obviously love pictures more than him.


I feel like that will be my mantra for the 2015 year.  {PATIENCE} 

I plan to finish my masters this spring. {patience} I have one more class and my ARP to complete. 

Oh, and there is this big test that 4th graders take...I hear it's a big deal.  I should probably be more concerned about this than I am but I'm not.  My kids are smart....work hard and we have fun while we are doing it. We will be ready for this so called STAAR test when it's time. {patience}


I'm not getting younger so it's important that I'm exercising and eating right. {patience}  I want to run more 5k's this year.  I'll start with the Hot Chocolate run in Feb.  Yes, CHOC.O.LATTE!!  I will run for chocolate. Sounds like a good plan, right?!  Running with friends really helps too. 
Meet the running crew...
Mindy has a halo.

{our reason to run....Like someone stole our chocolate}



Let me introduce you to my new running partner...
The other cute one, on the right. ;-)

He has officially retired from law enforcement and moved on to keeping his momma safe and fit....or not. ;-) 
Retired life.....sleeping with his toy.
This new year also brings a new police doggy. Meet Kaution...
Undercover K9
Caution...it's Kaution!
I didn't think I could love another dog but he changed my mind. I've had the chance to help with some of his training. It has been so fascinating watching him learn and prepare for the streets this March. 

Finally, I have this little firecracker that keeps me on my toes...
Duckface is required in all pictures with her.
She is big creative ball of sunshine and challenges me every day to be a better momma and teacher.   


This new year brings a lot of changes for me and my family but the one thing that doesn't change is my faith.

 All My Love,





   

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Conversation LINKY

Well it's here...it's here, Christmas break is here!!  It seems as though it's here too fast but I am so thrilled it is.  I've linked up with The Inspired Apple to share a little Christmas Conversation.

Stop by her blog to join the conversation.


I thought I'd share a little about our last day of school until next year.  We had a wonderful classroom Christmas party. I'm beyond thankful for an organized and caring room mom. She truly made the difference.  We did a book exchange and I will be honest.....I have NEVER had a good experience with these.
{the book that everyone wants}


{the book that no one wants}

Seriously, kids crying and upset because they want the book that their mom bought or another student's book because it pops up and their book doesn't.  After a few years of this I said "Nope, never again."  -(maybe because that was Kinder) This year my room mom suggested it.  I didn't want to be "bah-humbug" so I said okay.  She typed up the names, separated them by boys and girls, put them in baggies and typed the letter to go home to parents.

Wow!  The thought that went into the books my students picked out for their secret person was heart-warming.  My heart was thrilled to see just how well the books matched each child.  Some of the kids started reading their book right there at the party. True story.  It was beautiful and magical.  A Christmas Miracle.

Merry Christmas Ya'll from my family to yours!


All My Love, 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

What Do You Know.....Books and Snow!

Tomorrow is the last day before the break, it's a half-day, a busy day and a sugar filled day.  This year it actually snuck up on me and I almost didn't make anything for parents.  We have been completely engrossed in our novel, A Single Shard.

{check it out}

It has been the best book ever!!  I'm so happy my teamie convinced me to read it to the kids.  The kids and I have had so many wonderful conversations.  It's the kind of book that they beg you (yes, beg!) not to stop reading.  We just finished it on Wednesday and I was a crybaby mess!!  It is a tear jerker.  The sweet kids would get up and hug me and then get themselves a tissue to wipe their own eyes.  It is the kind of book that changes the way kids view reading.
When we finished the kids could not get enough.  They wanted to know more and they REALLY wanted this book to be a movie.  I think they will be emailing the author soon.  I made a thinglink for the students to watch some videos about the author and learn more about the pottery process. Stop by and visit my thinglink to learn more about pottery and how it's made.

See....what happened?  Yea, well the same thing happened in the classroom.  We became so wrapped up in this book I almost forgot to make a gift for the parents.  So today I frantically went through the cabinets for the perfect craft supplies to make the perfect parent gift.  Here's what I found:
...because every teacher has Q-tips in her cabinet.  Right?!

Oh....and my camera.  Now, what can I have them make in a short amount of time.  Well, a picture is a MUST HAVE. I've decided that teachers should always do a Christmas picture. So with these supplies we came up with..........
I Love You "Snow" Much!  



I think they turned out super cute!  A little lamination and they last year after year.  Put a magnet on the back and they make your fridge "snow" cute!  

Okay, bring on tomorrow because I am no longer Freaking Out.  I hope you have a beautiful and magical last day before your Christmas break.

All My Love,






Saturday, December 13, 2014

All Things Techy...and FREE

Well ya'll, I have so many wonderful things going on in the classroom and it's all things techy.  I cannot wait to share a few of them with you.  

If you haven't stopped by our class blog then you should.    

These authentic pieces of writing just make me so stinkin' happy.  I constantly check my email throughout the weekend to see if they have written anything.  Not because I told them to but because they want to. (insert happy teacher dance right here) 

I took my very first student bloggers to the school board and they told our school board what a blog is and why they think it's important.  I gave each one of the kids that presented a small journal, sticky notes and pens to write their ideas about things they'd like to blog about.  This is what their journals look like 2 days later....
These kids cannot get enough!!  Look at all their THOUGHTS...

BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE!  

Look at this fantastic free site for kids to create their own digital books...

Yes, it's FREE!  Kids can create their OWN digital storybooks and then leave them on a digital shelf for other kids OR parents to read.  {squealing!!!}  Ya'll I get really excited over stuff like this......

Oh and you can leave them feedback.  The days of a big smiley face are over my friends.  They need feedback!  They love feedback!  We all do....let me know what you think :-)

Okay, last little techy share and tell for today.  Have you ever tried a thing link?  It's also FREE. 

I actually made this for my students to use when we get back from the break.  This image has several links to biographies and tools for students to learn about historical figures. {click here to check it out}

This fun little tool provides students with sites that the teacher wants them to visit BUT the students are making a choice about which one to visit and what they are interested in learning.

Okay friends, I am off to eat meat pies at an Australian food truck, watch A Christmas Story at the Dallas Theater and then participate in our small town Christmas parade.  BEST. DAY. EVER.

All My Love,  


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Kid Bloggers

This year I wanted to get more TECHY. <-it's a word.  And as soon as I decided I wanted to do this, my school district offered a Digital Fluency course.  Funny story though, I couldn't even figure out how to sign up for it because it was TOO TECHY.  Yes, I'm that person.  But let me tell you.....I have learned so much!!  

The biggest thing that I have learned and implemented in my classroom is a kid blog.  The kids LOVE it!!  The best thing about it is they are writing.....because they want to write.  They have an authentic audience to write for and they want to share their opinions and thoughts with the world.  
 Oh, and it's FREE!  There is a paid version that allows the students to choose their own backgrounds and a few other other things.  But while were are just starting out the free one is perfect.  

{link to our blog

Just recently we have finished reading biographies in my guided reading groups and some of the kids have shared about the person they learned about.  

They have shared their opinions about our novels that we are reading.  Book reviews about the books they check out from the library and sometimes they just blog about what is on their mind.  (kinda like we do)

Here's the best part......anyone that has the link can leave a comment.  Isn't that great?!?!  I have parents that are responding to their child's posts.  Even the superintendent has responded to some kids.  Wouldn't this make you want to write?  My kids are even writing from home over the break!!  This makes my teacher heart happy!! 

If your kids are not blogging.........they should be.  Seriously, if I can do it, anybody can do it.  I put the link to Kidblog and the link to our class blog.  You should check us out and leave us some comments.  

All My LOVE, 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

It's Begininng to Look A Lot Like Christmas

We only have 3 full weeks of school before our Christmas break. Can you BELIEVE it?? Neither can I.  Look who has dropped in to the 4th grade pod.
  
Yes, it's Steve and Snowflake from the North Pole.  {squealing}  I'm sure every 4th grade student will be on their very best behavior for the next 3 weeks and I cannot wait to see the shenanigans from these two.

Really, there is so much to do and so much to enjoy I just want time to slow down.  I spent a little time this weekend getting the classroom in the spirit.  I found 8 hours of Instrumental Christmas music on youtube.  I think that it would be so wonderful to have this quietly planning in the background as the students were working.  {squeal} 
Click on the link below if you need some wonderful mellow music to play in  your room too. ;-)

8 hours of Instrumental Christmas Music 

I also have some wonderful activities planned for stations for the next 3 weeks.  Of course, I'm not quite ready to make activities for 4th graders, so that's why I'm using activities from these lovely teachers: 

Click on any of the pictures to go directly to their tpt store.

Text Features Holiday Match
Comprehension Strategy Snowmen - A December Literacy Craftivity




Plot, Theme, Characters, Setting Craftivity (includes origHoliday Cause and Effect Task Cards  { Winter and Christmas }Literary Lights Holiday Craftivity
Gifts Wrapped Within Us {Holiday Craftivity}

Friday, November 28, 2014

Good News....I'm No Longer Freaking Out

Okay, I'm a little embarrassed by my lack of communication with the world.  I told you that I was FREAKING OUT, then I went silent.  Scary Larry!!--Sorry about that.  It's been waaay too long for one blog to go back and share everything that has taken place since August BUT you should know that I'm LOVIN' 4th grade.  They are precious and independent and we are having an amazing time learning from each other.  

This week has been our Thanksgiving break from school and time to spend with our families.  I love this time of year.  It. is. my. FAVORITE!  I love the coziness, the smells, the movies, the warm fires and the cuddles.  During this break my little sass, aspiring photographer, planned a photo shoot for me and the Mr.  This is the text that we received the night before our photo shoot...

Did I mention she is 10??  This is serious business but we had a fun time playing with her.  Here's a sneak peek from our session:








 


She came up with all of this on her own.  She does have an eye for a good shot but she doesn't get that from me.  I usually cut heads off in our family photos.  We play "guess who that is"?--with the pictures I take.

In between my photo shoots, pinning exciting lessons for 4th graders and writing papers for grad school, I also help the Mr. train his new K9.  I like to think that I am part trainer.  In reality, I just go on a run and he tracks to find me.  He finds me...EVERY TIME.  It amazes me what these dogs can do but not without a lot of praise, reward and the building of their confidence.  I can't help think about children when they are learning something new and the importance that praise and building of their confidence can make all the difference in their success while they navigate and explore new skills.


  

I'm leaving you with this but I promise to be back.  I'm looking forward to sharing all my latest techy adventures and happenings in the classroom.  

All My Love,





 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Year's Worth of Think Tanks {FREE}

Tomorrow I will be taking my ESL supplemental test, so in order to prepare myself properly I am allowing myself to get easily distracted.  Not good!--Although, if you're looking for think tank ideas this could be good for you.  :-)  Yay for ADD!!

Last year we implemented think tanks during an intervention time, which was an hour long.  The students were placed in groups of 2 and were responsible for reading a book, responding to the story, creating an activity, and then reviewing a skill.  Each week the students went through 2 books with this same format during this hour of intervention.  They eventually became independent through many weeks of practicing and lots of modeling. 

Now that I have a year of these under my belt and have a better grasp of what I'd like to do I am moving to 4th grade.(did I mention a little bit of a freak out)  As with anything new you learn and grow.  There are lots of things I would change BUT..........RIGHT NOW I'M FREAKING OUT IN 4TH. :-)  

I DO NOT have the time to tweak these or go back through them so I am sharing A Year's Worth of Think Tanks with you.  Please feel free to use them any way you wish, tweak them, change them, or just use them.  If I could make things easier for someone else that would make my heart happy.

{click here}
Now, I'm off to study....until I think of something else that doesn't need to be done.

Good Night!!  

Friday, July 18, 2014

Freaking Out in 4th

Yes, it's true.  I'm moving to 4th grade.  Wha?!  After 13 years of teaching K-2 I'm moving to 4th......and I'm freaking out A LITTLE.  This grade has never been on my radar.  I've never been curious about it, never really wanted to move up any higher AND I definitely DID NOT WANT A TESTING GRADE.  Soooo......here I am a fourth grade teacher and I am determined to make it the VERY BEST.  I feel lost and a lot like a first year teacher.  I used to joke about stalking other teacher's blogs BUT y'all if you teach 4th and have a blog YOU ARE BEING STALKED and studied!  I want to learn everything I possibly can.  

First things first, I needed to change the blog name.  I quite possibly spent more time changing the name than I actually blog.  This is sad but true.  Originally, I didn't want the name of my blog to be FREAKING OUT IN 4TH, although this is exactly how I feel, it just seemed too over the top.  I don't really plan on freaking out for long.  So I went with Just FOUR Fun.  Actually, that's what my husband came up with but guess what??!!  I didn't secure the url address for that name and if you were to look me up you would get a Brazilian guy named Anderson but he'd like for you to call him "Just".  Serious.

So welcome to my new blog Freaking Out in 4th.  My plan is to share my adventures as a new fourth grade teacher.  Hopefully, I'll share something that will help someone else but right now I just need a way to network with others that know what they are doing.   
 
Let me give a HUGE SHOUT OUT to Alicia at Dreamlike Magic.  She is responsible for my cute blog and she is great to work with.  Check out her cute blog templates here.


 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Another Week of Measurement {Capacity}

We wrapped up another week of measurement.  This past week was a lot of experimenting with different containers.  We filled them with beans, popcorn seeds, rice and water.


Water day was a little crazy......we pretty much swam out of the classroom.  They loved it and there is no other way to truly understand capacity without a lot of pouring, dumping, filling and spilling.

Next week we will learn about weight.  We will experiment with scales and different items to weigh (everything except the teacher is okay).  We will be making our very own balance scale.  I can't think of a better way for a kid to understand weight than by creating their own scale.
I made a little unit to go along with our learning about weight.  Stop by my TPT store to pick it up if you need a little something extra.  




Well, I have truly enjoyed my Mother's Day.  My little sweeties and my honey have made this day super special.  The kids got up at early and made me a wonderful breakfast in bed.  The oldest child saved the microwave from blowing up when my little sassy tried to microwave some oatmeal for me with the spoon.  It was yummy!  My son got me some flip flop house shoes!!!  I LOVE them......they are just what my little old lady feet needed.

The love of my life filled the garden bed with a bird bath and beautiful flowers.  I keep checking for the birdies but they haven't stopped by to bathe yet.  I must be patient....  Then he took me to get an old lady chair.  It's perfect and I cannot wait to blog in it.  

I hope all of you have had a wonderful Mother's day!!




    

Friday, May 2, 2014

All About AREA!!

I think teaching area is my favorite!!  We have traveled around the room on Area Hunts, Raced to Cover an Area and designed the AREA of our bedroom.  <-This is a favorite of the kids.  They are so talented and CREATIVE!!


  One of my sweet parents sent Cheez Its for a class snack......which turned into a fun and yummy area math lesson.  
You can stop by TPT to pick up My Area unit.  I think your kiddos will LOVE it.  

   {click here}
I hope ya'll have a SUPER SWEET day!!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Egg Hunting for a Little Review {FREEBIE}

I'm not sure if I ever mentioned how excited I was for that SNOW(ice) DAY many months ago but guess what?!---I'm not excited anymore.  Wanna know why?....because we have to make up the missed day.  Snow days are fun, making up days are not.  

So what's a teacher to do??  I guess I'll have to make our make-up day FUN.  Tomorrow we will be doing a little review BUT the review questions will be hidden in eggs around the room.  Ummm....that sounds fun to me and I'm pretty positive I know 21 little kiddos that will think so too.


 {click here}

I'm not sure what ya'll have planned for Good Friday but if you're going to school like me then plan to make it FUN!