Sunday, May 20, 2012

Pick Your Own Ending- A Graphic Organizer and A Conclusion to a Crazy Week

    Tonight's post is going to be short and sweet...but you'll have to choose the plot of this post.  If you want a happy ending, turn to page 6. For a mysterious disappearance, turn to page 12....
    Okay, so you can't actually turn my blog's pages, but you can FINALLY download your own graphic organizer to help your students create their own Choose Your Own Adventure story.  (Or as I call them: A Pick Your Own Ending story)  Yes, that is correct!  Our basement is once again a basement, not a wading pool; my laundry is done..sort of; and our yard is ground squirrel free...I wish! No matter, I had time today and just put the finishing touches on my TeachersPayTeachers store and wanted to share this graphic organizer with you today. In fact, I have it on sale just for my blog friends until Wednesday, which is the day we SHOULD be done with these adventures in my classroom!

   I have had previous classes write these stories before, but the process can be confusing and complex.  I created this graphic organizer, using color-coding to help make the process easier.  The end result is a story with a possible 6 different ending on a total of 11 pages.  Can you imagine the pride of your students as they share these masterpieces? 
    We are currently doing that in my classroom this week.  I grouped the students in teams of four based on genre preference. This year we had a range of students wanting to write sci-fi, mystery, realistic fiction, and a horror story. (The horror story involved parents and prom...oh the Horror! : D) The stories are written as a group or in teams except each student does one section individually so that I have yet another writing piece to assess the 6 Traits. 
   This week I am looking forward to reading their creative and imaginative stories, including a "realistic fiction" that has evolved into an elite team of teenage spies whom have been given the mission to invade Nazi Germany.  Can't wait to hear of the Pick Your Own Ending stories that your students create, should you choose this adventure in writing!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Baby Rodents, A Flooded Basement, and Another Linky Party: All Part of Plan B

   My goals this evening were the following...1.) Stop and Breathe 2.) Love on the toddler 3.) Blog about the AMAZING Choose Your Own Adventure stories my students are writing. (And sharing the graphic organizer for it.)
   However, life happens.  Remember my story about the mice eating all, yes ALL, the wires in my car?  Well, tonight I came home from an exec. board meeting and this is what I found on my front lawn... ground squirrels that were being born as we watched.  There were 6 babies total that were hanging out on our grass. We never did see the momma, but the babies were curious of my husband's iPhone that I had shoved near them.  Now part of me is absolutely cringing at the thought of more of these critters causing havoc in my yard and the field, but geez...they are babies!! Everybody say, "Ahhh! How cute!!" 
     I'm guessing we were a sight to see also.  I'm lying on the ground with the camera, Little Man is sitting on my back yelling at them to "Come 'ere now!", and my husband is watching with a shovel in his hands...
   Wait! A shovel you ask?  Oh yes, the other special treat that I came home to tonight...a flooded basement!  Yup, our front sprinkler box leaked and turned part of our basement into a kiddy pool.  Luckily the hubs is good with tools, and I can use a mop and carpet cleaner like a pro.  Needless to say, the Choose Your Own Adventure graphic organizer is still not done will have to wait.  However, plan B is a fun...
  Linky Party with

She is hosting her 1st linky (way to go!!)  and it is such a great idea!  The topic for tonight's linky is..
Here goes...

3 Amazing Things that Happened this School Year

1.) My students aka Maylians are A.W.E.S.O.M.E!
2.) I love Foldables! Math, Reading, Social Studies...I love Foldables!
3.) The Biography Bottle Buddies my Maylians created, along with their wax museum turned me into a proud Momma teacher!  Did I mention my students are awesome?!?
Can I do more? We had so many wonderful activities, people, and events this year!

3 Not-So-Amazing Things that Happened at School this Year

1.) I need a secretary!  I can only see the top of my desk every other week...or so...
2.) Not enough time to focus on "non-core curriculum". Sigh.
3.) Multiple new curriculum programs plus a more intensive GVC made for a stressful learning curve for myself. 
It is always amazing how trivial problems from the beginning become by the end of the school year.  I can honestly say that I will miss my Maylians, and if their parents would approve, I'd retain them in my classroom just to be selfish and keep these super kiddos! (Don't worry, I probably won't do it...)

   Ok, time to go check on how the carpet is drying, and possibly get a few minutes sleep before the start of another exciting day.  Stay tuned for the CYOAs I keep promising!  I will get them between the ground squirrels, swimming basements, and end-of-the-school-year excitment!  Good night!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

School Children vs. Family Children: A Teacher's Responsibilities

    Just like the many other dedicated teachers around the country, I spend many hours planning, plotting, and creating a wide variety of lessons and activities that are geared to engage, teach, and inspire students to want to learn.  (And I'm always thrilled when at least 1 or 2 of those ideas meet that goal! LOL!) Well, this weekend I wanted to show you the amazing classroom idea I had...

I am loving my purple and salmony orange wreath that I made today!   Sometimes I even impress myself! (Note: the adult male in my household was NOT as impressed with said wreath, nor was he as impressed
with his wife's super hero powers to craft, chat, and child watch at the same time.  Hmmm.)

Can you believe that Mrs. Anderson
wasn't super happy with this wreath?
 Really?? It is absolutely ADORABLE
and feminine with paper flowers. Just what
the 4th grade teacher and mom of 4,
yes 4!! boys needs at her house!
  OK, OK, you caught me!  No classroom idea on today's post. After spending every Sunday since September in my classroom: then coming home and working longer, I played hooky from my no-pay Sunday job to create monogram wreaths with two of my favorite people! Brandie and Tammy are both amazing teachers in our district, and I had a great time creating with them. 
We call it our Pinterest Day and we try to do it once a month...and in the year that we've tried we've managed...twice.  Did I mention spending Sundays at school?


Mrs. BBG aka the Softball Diva's
AMAZING Black, White,
and Hot Pink Wreath! WOW!
Now, you may be wondering why I titled my post the way that I did.  I felt that it was an important reflection that while I may joke about the extra hours I spend devoted to my classroom children, and I do consider them a gift that their parents have shared with me for the year, those school related extra hours are my choice.  I want to be the best teacher possible, and that means putting in the time.  However this weekend, I also made the important choice to make all daylight hours about family and friends. Home projects with the hubby, playing " 'atter up" with the toddler, snuggling,  family time, and crafting with friends came first this weekend.  As we become overwhelmed with end of the year testing, projects, and the thoughts of having to let go of our school children, remember to enjoy your springtime with both classroom families and home families! 

Well, it is time to "Close the door" on tonight's post.  My weekend of family is over, and the night of prepping for a wonderful week at school is about to commence. (I am creating a version of the Hungry Games, aka the Maylian Games, that doesn't involve killing but does involve reading strategies....I could make SO many sarcastic comments right now, but I won't... I know that as I am finishing blogging and starting to do school work, both crafty teacher friends: along with many other teachers, are also hard at work creating, reflecting, and agonizing over how to help their classroom children.  Good luck and have a GREAT week!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Coffee, and Gift Cards, and Lessons Plans: Oh My!

    I just finished a great day today! (OK, who am I kidding? I have hours of grading, house stuff, important Pinterest pins to repin...)  Each month I have a pizza night at one of our local Pizza Huts for my students and parents.  It has been such a WONDERFUL opportunity to get to know the families without the pressure of school issues, projects, grades, etc.  Tonight we had our largest turn out, and I am sad that we only have 1 left!    Does anyone else do a non school activity? I'd love to hear about it!

This post isn't to talk pizza though.  I am typing to share that as a contributor to 3-6 Free Resources, I am participating in a HUGE, did I mention HUGE, MayDay Giveaway!

 My contribution?  Starbucks of course!    Ten smackaroos to purchase your favorite coffee beverage!!
  Ahh!  Liquid Heaven! 
 I was talking to one of my favorite Starbucks Baristas today, and I came up with the idea that we need to create a tab of Starbucks that dissolves under your tongue for those morning...ummm today...where the caffeine can't kick in soon enough.  What do you think? I'd buy it! (I'm picturing it packaged like a roll of mints...hmmm...I might be on to something....)
   Well, tonight's ramble wasn't about any of the AMAZING things we are doing in my classroom,  but it was a SUPER supper evening with students and families, and ended with an ENORMOUS giveaway.  So what are you waiting for?  Go register right now!