Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Guest Blog: A Hurried Rambling from a Happy Rambler

Good morning!  I love spring mornings when the wind ISN'T blowing, blue skies, flowers on trees, and lovely allergies.  Well, not loving the allergies these days...What I am loving is that today, I am the Featured Guest Blogger at Think, Wonder, and Teach!
She has such a great blog that has a wonderful mix of humor and practical classroom ideas!  Go check her out and of course, check out my Rambling post on her blog today.  (I'm doing the happy dance this morning! Which of course my students and family members know looks more like a person who stuck her fingers in an outlet, but I'm happy dancing nonetheless.)

Have a wonderful day!

Mrs. M

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Math Fact Tower Collapse and Dirty Socks: Ramblings of a Teacher with No Clean Laundry

   Happy Sunday!  This post is going to hopefully be a useful idea for your classroom; it will however, also be short and sweet because the sun is shining and it's warm outside....OK, actually the sun is starting to set, the wind is blowing a bit (in Wyoming just a bit means a slow 10-20mph), I have no laundry for any member of our household, and I need snuggle time with my baby boy.

Here is an activity that you can use for any subject.  Using the game where you stack wood pieces then try to pull them out until it collapses, (not sure of how to address copyright/etc...help please!), you can create a fun practice time. 
   I wrote division fact problems through 12 on each piece, except 4 which say "They're Mine!" and "Gotcha!" 
   Students can work individually, with partners, or as teams, trying to answer as many of the problems before the tower collapses. 
   If a student pulls a "They're Mine!" piece, they have 3 seconds a problem to answer the opposing team's,  or person of their choice's, wood pieces.  All correct they get to take, the wrong or too long to answer pieces the first team doesn't lose. (I know, awkward sentence, but seriously folks..no laundry means no socks and no..well,  you know.)
   "Gotcha" can mean game over or lose a turn-teacher choice.
   Game is over when tower falls or a "Gotcha" is pulled. 
I have used this game for math facts, vocabulary review, test prep, team building (getting to know you at the beginning of the year), DOL style practice, etc.  The sky is the limit on what you can do with that amazing collapsible game. 
Short, sweet, hopefully helpful, and probably filled with typos, but tonight is what it is...and it is time to log off.  Enjoy a WONDERFUL week at school!  I know I will!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Biography Bottle Buddy Pics

  NyQuil has been taken, and it is almost time to stretch out on the couch and watch the Rockies play. However, I wanted to show  you some of the AMAZING pictures of the bottle buddies my students created this year.  I posted previously about the biography presentation and bottle buddies.  I also have the directions and rubric FREE on teacherspayteachers.com  (I always feel like a used car salesman when typing that!)

   This was the first year that I added the bottle buddies as part of the project and it was a HUGE success.  I also had the students do a wax museum for the school, and I have to say, I felt like a proud momma as I watched every student do a phenominal job of it.  I did have to laugh when by the end there were some complaints about how tired they were of repeating the same information over and over.  Hmmm. Not even going to go there. :OD
Marie Curie, Helen Keller, Rosie the Riveter, and Harriet Tubman

Marie Curie has a battery pack so that the radium actually glows!  Super creativity!

Sitting Bull and Geronimo also came to visit our classroom.

We were in the presence of Paul Revere, Ponce De Leon, JFK, Abe Lincoln, and Ben Franklin
 Once again, I want to say how proud I am of my "Maylians"! You truly made this 5th grade teacher proud. Not to mention, you set the bar high for the next assignment....(insert evil laughter!)

Spring Time Flu and a Wonderful Blog Surprise

   It is officially 2:47pm where I live and I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I am just rolling out of bed.  Well, I am just rolling out of bed for the 2nd time today.  One of the many darlings at school, or adults at the meeting I attended all weekend, or that lovely person with dirty hands at some store shared the flu with me.  Thank you. Thank you very much.  I don't know about other teachers, but there is nothing better then feeling rotten and having the pleasure of going into work for an hour plus to get ready for a sub.  (Noooo, not one ounce of sarcasm in this post today!) 
   However, I did get an amazing nap in that didn't include a husband, toddler, or dogs kicking and stepping on me.  When I woke up, I grabbed my handy dandy Kindle Fire and found 2 wonderful blog surprises!  The first is that I was the winner of a test prep freebie from Elizabeth at Fun in 4B. 
Fun in Room 4B
That is awesome!  I am the person that could be the ONLY one in a raffle...and still not win.  I am so glad to have found her blog; we cocontribute to 3-6 Free Resources.  Check out Elizabeth's blog if  you haven't already! 
   The 2nd big surprise was that I have been tagged by Teresa at the fabulous Confessions of a Teaching Junkie.
Confessions of a Teaching Junkie

Now, I know for some of you amazing bloggers that these tag games are old news, and from your blogs you are a little out of breath from all the running during tag.  But for this fairly newbie blogger, I am excited!  I love games and I have been sitting on the sidelines thinking to myself, "Pick me! Pick me! I'll play!"  

Here are the rules:

* Post these rules
* Answer the 10 questions that the tagger posted for you
* Create 10 questions of your own to ask the people that you're about to tag
* Tag 10 people and link them with your post ( and let them know they've been tagged!)

So, here we go...
1.)    What is your biggest classroom pet peeve?
Students or adults packing up when a presenter, another student, or myself is still talking. Seriously, the bell has not rung people! :D
2.)    If you could be anywhere else right now, where would you be?
Someplace tropical…sigh…
3.)    Where is somewhere you have always wanted to go, but have never been?
Italy, France, Ireland, Scotland, Greece, Australia…should I keep going??
4.)    Who’s your HERO?
I know I should say one of the many amazing people past and present who have positively contributed to society, but I’d say my son.  He is 2 ½ years old and was born 10 weeks early.  He was only 2 pounds 12 ounces and spent the first two months of his amazing life in the NICU with machines beeping and cords and wires poked and prodded into different body parts.  He is a determined, active, and independent toddler now and I am so proud of him.  Last year he was one of the Wyoming Ambassadors for the March of Dimes.  He is my hero!
5.)    What teacher reading have you done most recently?
Currently, I am reading The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller and The End of Molasses Classes by Ron Clark.  Every day I thumb through Strategies that Work by Stephanie Harvey. (Just found out today that I’ll be attending a conference this summer where Stephanie Harvey is presenting…and just a minute ago found out that there is another summer institute to attend with Stephanie Harvey as the main presenter...can’t wait!)
6.)    What famous person would you most like to have dinner with and why?
I’m stealing this answer from another blogger, but I’d love to have dinner with my “famous” blogger buddies because if you guys are as amazing as your blogs, I’d be a better teacher from learning from all of you. 
7.)    If you could be the principal for one day at your school, what change would you make?
No way. Nope. Not happening.  I wouldn’t want her job for 1 second with the pressures coming down the pike.  Keep me in my classroom with my kiddos, my head down, and my focus of the students’ needs and educations.
8.)    What is your favorite type of cookie?
Duh…any that has sugar in them! 
9.)    What is the best gift that you have received from a student?
A former student came up to me and told me that when he graduates, I will be the teacher he asks to come to his graduation.  That made me tear up and was shared with me while I was secretly contemplating if I could truly handle and thrive in the current stresses of education.
10.) How many more days of school do you have until summer break?
Not counting because we have WWAAAYYY too many things to accomplish! Seriously; no joke.  Yikes! I need months!

   Ok, I know I need to pick 10 people and add my own questions, but I've already had stop and rest twice while writing this section.  Time for NyQuil and more sleep for this Rambling Fifth Grade Teacher.  I promise to finish and actually blog ideas instead of Linkys and Tags.  Night All!


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Here Linky Linky! Here Linky Linky!: A "Positive and Currently" type of Post

Managed to finish lesson plans, create neccesary documents for said lesson plans, cleaned Little Man's chicken coop   bedroom, watching some Rockies baseball..all this means is that I have time to do a little Linky-Uppy.   (Two posts in one day; and both before dark-WOW!)
Linky Party 1 is such a great idea!  Let's share the positives that happen in our classroom.  We know that there are lots of them...despite the negativity of outside sources!  I'm cheating a bit because we are just finishing up spring break so I'm sharing a pre during and post spring break positive.  What positives have been happening in your classroom?
Confessions of a Teaching Junkie Go check it out!

BTW:  Wondering where I got the idea for my blog title today?  My Little Man is currently outside looking for the Easter "Rabbit".  I was watching him wander the yard, hitting his leg to get the bunny that was in the yard to come to him.  In his own words, "Eas'er Dambit! Come 'ere Dambit!"

Linky 2 is Just as Positive, and one I've started to look forward to each month!  Farley's blog at Oh' Boy 4th Grade  is always a fun blog that I enjoy everytime she posts.  She is funny, and I can only aspire to her wit! 

"Sometimes You're the Windshield, Sometimes You're the Bug": An Unitentional Linky Party Miss and A Geometry Clubhouse

    Does anyone remember the country song with the line, "Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes your the bug...sometimes you're the Louisville Slugger, sometimes you're the ball..."  Well, last week I was not the windshield, nor was I the Louisville Slugger.  (Tammy- that quote is for you!)  My Maylians are always top notch, however, it was a rough and crazy week.  Let's just say that the staff knows there was a record set! Now though, after a week off I am ready to inspire, facilitate, and enrich my students' knowledge.  (This usually involves some amazing seizure like dance moves, not so funny jokes, and lots of coffee-on my part, not the kids! Don't worry parents; no caffeine was used in the enriching of your child's education!)  I am sad to say that I missed out on several fun linky parties, but I really needed to step away from the computer for the week. 
    I don't know about everyone else, but in our district we finished the state assessment, however we have our district assessment looming closer.  Add to the mix that we have massive amounts of curriculum still to follow, and that leaves me with...renewed energy that this last quarter the students are going to use the skills we have learned in a variety of real life type situations.  (Ok, so it really leaves me with a bit of a stress headache, but I needed a lead-in...work with me people!)
    I grew up with parents that are both master teachers, plus my dad does a variety of construction projects as his teacher stress relief.  This week I am channeling my dad's skills (and I'm not too shabby with a hammer and power tools myself)  and the students will be creating 3D clubhouses out of cardboard.  My Maylians have to create a floor plan, get it approved, then they can build from their plans.  Geometry, number operations, and problem solving will be afoot in my afternoon math group!

Here is a quick example of a floor plan for a clubhouse. (Yes, this is my clubhouse and yes, my students will do a MUCH better job on theirs!)
Notice I did not include any measurements...haha I am the teacher...haha I am on Spring Break...haha I threw this picture together quickly...oh, um.. I worked really hard on the floor plan...

  We only have a week, but with more time the students would also have to use local ads to figure cost to place a bid on the construction of their clubhouse.  (Everyone sing from the tune from "Wizard of Oz".. "If I only had more time...) I am including a link to the NCTM resource page that is similar to what I do in my classroom because I do not have access to my files at this moment.   They have included lesson plans, printouts, etc.  I'll post our examples next weekend.  I am excited to see what the kids plan.
    Well, my little darling is taking his "my chickies" to their permanent home at his grandpa's house.  Which means, I need to get off the computer and pick up the toddler tornadoes path of destruction that I call our home.  Have a great Saturday; and I hope to be on tomorrow to share my fun Vista Print Order and a Choose Your Own Adventure How to.. 
(Sometimes You're The Bug: Written by Mark Knopfler, Sung by Mary Chapin Carpenter)