The High and Low of a crazy month!

I am linking up with Katie over at Teacher to the Core for her great new linky:

I am usually an extremely positive person, so this is going to take me a little out of my comfort zone! But I am always up and willing for a challenge and change, so here it goes :)

THE WEATHER! Oh my goodness. I seriously think mother nature is going through menopause in Ohio. Now I'm not one of those people to complain all winter long. I love snow from December through January... but it was 65 degrees here yesterday and thunderstorming. Today's weather you ask? Well take a look at the picture from my drive in this morning
{I was stopped I swear} Yes, it is a balmy 18 degrees here today. So this is definitely one of my lows. The crazy weather has my body doing crazy things. I can't stop getting sick. I just can't wait until spring!

Now I'm about to get all serious on ya'll... I apologize. My second low this month has been one of my kiddos. Now I {hate} to say one of my students is a low, but I have been having such a hard time with this student this month. I won't go into specifics, but I just feel like this is a good place to let my feelings show. It is an issue of pathologically lying, and about some serious things that would go on in the home. We are learning that it is actually the complete opposite, and I just can't imagine one of my loving fourthies could behave this way at home. I really hope we can find the truth in all of this and find a positive solution for this kiddo.

Phew.. I made it through the tough part. Now the part I'm good at, being an optimist. My first high this month is student success! We just took our practice OAA last week, and only 8/56 kids didn't pass. Considering we haven't covered at least 1/3 of what's on it, I was so excited!! YAY fourthies:) (Although I'll still be stressing big time the whole month of April. I know you all can relate!)

My second high is DEFINITELY getting this blog rolling and putting more time into it. This has become a haven for me, and I LOVE it! I also just created a Facebook page for my blog!! YAY! :) Here she is...
Click the picture to head on over to facebook and become a follower! Thanks :)

Lastly, I just have to share a tidbit from our day! We celebrated Groundhog Day today in our classroom! We read the book Substitude Groundhog by Pat Miller (props to Andrea over at Reading Towards the Stars) for the reccomendation! The kiddos loved it. We then used my Groundhog Day pack and we completed our writing prompt "Will Phil see his shadow" and my groundhog crafitiy that goes with it! We learned Facts and Opinions about Groundhogs, and wrote a sequencing story, and a Groundhogs Day Haiku. The kiddos loved it and produced such quality work! I know it's almost here, but if you wanna squeeze in a little holiady celebrating head on over to my TPT to pick up your copy! Here's what the pack includes:


We are having a Superbowl Celebrating in our classroom tomorrow! Can't wait to share our day with ya'll:) Thanks for reading!
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Show and Tell Tuesday!

I am all about the holiday of {love}... so of course we have fun with Valentines Day activities in my classroom! I am linking up with Sunny Days in Second Grade for her...
This week's theme? Valentines Day! So you can understand why I couldn't resist :)
 
One of the products on TPT I couldn't resist for Valentines Day was made by First Grade Blue Skies.
 
Seriously, how can you resist this ADORABLE craft?! My kiddos are going to absolutely LOVE making these! They love making anything that they can individualized to look like them. This will be our main craft for Valentines Day :)You can pick up your own copy by clicking on the picture!
 
All of our ELA Daily 5 stations the week of Valentines Day will obviously be mushy gushy {heart} filled loving activities! I am using the ELA activities from my Valentines Day ELA Pack! I showed my kiddos this preview yesterday:
 
 
They are SO excited for these activities. They LOVED the rolling with adjectives for Christmas, and they were pumped when they saw it was part of this pack! I love that they get as excited as I do for these fun activities:) You can hop on over to my TPT store to pick up your own copy. The pack includes 19 pages of ELA activities for grades 2-5. Activities you'll get include: Rolling with Adjectives Valentines Day, Broken Hearted Sentences, My Valentine acrostic poem, The Best Valentines Day Ever writing prompt and paper, Valentines Day Fact and Opinion, How to Make a Valentine, The ABC's of Valentines Day, Idioms with Be My Valentine, Amelia Bedelia, Friendly Letter Writing Prompt and paper, Sweet Compound Words and Word cards, Valentines Word Search, and more! I hope you're able to use it in your classroom:)
 
And in the spirit of love, the first person to leave some love on this post will receive this pack for free :) Just put your email in your comment and I'll send it on over to you!
 
Have a great day! :)
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TGFFREEBIES!!

Yes, some crazy acronyming going on there. Thank Gosh For Freebies! And Friday's of course:) I'm linking up with Teaching Blog Addict for their usual Friday Freebies linky party. Which I {love} and get SO many great freebies from. Seriously, it's great! Head on over and link up:)

We have had practice OAA testing this week, so I haven't made a ton of new lessons, but just a few little things to share about testing!

We all know how a good portion of the test can be how well students understand what they are being asked to do.  My teaching partner and I teach the kiddos all year to "code the question." On every assessment they have to do this. We spend the first few times practicing with them, and then they are expected to do it on all of their tests. We do this to prepare them for the OAA. They love it, and always say how much it helps! And we see the difference. While the kiddos were testing this week, I made these cute little posters to hang in my room to remind them of what to do! Pick a copy up at my TPT shop for free by clicking on the preview picture below :)

 
The next thing I made were some cutesy "Quiet, We're Testing" signs. Because I know you all agree that a quick hand written one just won't cut it :) Click on the picture to download one to print for your own room! Hopefully one matches your color scheme :)
 
And my last freebie is a first for me! When I was putting together my Nonfiction Text Features Pack, I couldn't find any frames that I liked for my anchor chart frames. So, I decided to make my own! I was pretty darn proud of myself (although I am no Ashley Hughes clipart queen.. LOVE her!) So you can pick up the frames and a couple other page borders I made by clicking the preview picture below for free :) Feel free to use them however you'd like! Enjoy!
 
Hope you enjoyed these freebies! Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy the wonderful weekend :)
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Can you feel... the love tonight!

 


Sung in my best Elton John-esque voice...ahha yeah right, singing is not my strong point! But linky parties certainly are! Today in my blog stalking I came across a FABULOUS blog Tales from Outside the Classroom! Of course, I spent over an hour getting lost in her blog.. {love} it! So I am linking up for her lovey dovey wonderful linky party...
Peeps I'm loving
Of course if I'm going to talk about people I love, I have to talk about all you fab teachers out there that I have LOVED getting to know through this wonderful blogging experience:) There are SO many so it's hard to choose a few. Blogs I'm feeling extra warm and fuzzy right now about:
Teaching Maddeness
I have gotten SO many wonderful teaching ideas and inspirations from Amanda lately, and I am seriously addicted to reading all of her old blog posts and getting caught up. If you haven't checked her blog out already, do it!
4th Grade Frolics
With Tara and I teaching the same grade, I am a frequent flyer on her blog. I use so many of her suggestions in my classroom!
 
Websites I love
Who doesn't love Pinterest?! For teaching, home projects, crafts, fashion, you name it.. this is my go to site! There's always something!

Those of you that know what this icon means, know my other obsessino... Wanelo! If you haven't heard of it, it's like Pinterest, but with direct links to buy the products. AH-MAZING! Like seriously, look now  and you'll be addicted:)
 
This site has changed my life, fo' real! It may take time to make products, but it is so worth it to share your creations. I love the teacher collaboration this site brings!
 
Fonts & Graphics

A Cupcake for the Teacher
I'm sure many of you follow Teri's blog and download her teaching products, but did you know she makes saaaweeet fonts?! I think my last 10 products have included her fonts.. I LOVE them. She has become a regular name in my classroom. My students will see a font and say "Is this one of those cupcake ladies fonts again?!" They love them as much as I do:)
 

I love Ashley's graphics. Click on the button to go to her TPT store.. you will love them too! She has a great Valentine's Day paper pack which I will definitely be purchasing for some lessons :)
 
My Creations
My newest creation is also my FAV one right now. We just started a nonfiction study, and my students are loving the nonfiction flipbooks we are completing and the fun activities. And when they love it, I'm happy :) Click on the picture to pick up your own pack!
 
My whole year writing prompts have been a huge hit in my classroom. My kiddos enjoy writing this year. They can't wait to get to the writing station for Daily 5! I love seeing this joy in them... girls and boys alike! My writing prompts for each month has been a huge hit and the kids love using them:)
 
Here's some of the January and February ones! Click on the picture to purchase in my TPT shop.
 
 
I can't wait to see what everyone links up with! I love, love :)

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I'm in a circus.. and it's FREEZING!

Yes, I live in Ohio. Yes, I know I have signed up for the crazy weather that the 4 different seasons we have brings. Yes, I know winter is unexpected, long, and depressing here. And yes, I understand that we go days at a time without seeing the sun. But come on mother nature, we had 60 degree weather a week ago and it was -14 here yesterday with the wind chill! (Which by the way, -15 means no school... REALLY MOTHER NATURE!?! You can't give us one measly more degree so we at least get something out of this bitter cold?!) And of course, since it's cold outside, our school just has to be freezing. So today I am dressed in lots of layers and staying bundled! All of you out there in blogland that live in nice warm places, give that sun a little extra love today. BASK in the glory of sunshine. And while you're at it, send a little my way please :)

Anywho, that's my vent for the day! I had a really good day though, promise.. despite that little vent :) Did everyone else have a good day? Well when I popped into Katie's blog over at Little Warriors, I couldn't help but see that her post was PERFECT for how I've been feeling! So I'm linking up with her for the "Juggling Life" linky party! You should head on over and link up too :)

Little Warriors
By the way, HOW CUTE is her button? :)

So where to start? Well, I think you all know by now that I like {LOVE} my job! When I say I enjoy work, I mean it. But every teacher out there knows what it's like to be overwhelmed and feel like you're always putting on a juggling act! So, I'm in a circus :) What am I juggling? Not apples or oranges, but school, coachingX2, being a wife, family, blogging, and a new house.

How do I make it all work. One word: HUSBAND. Yes, he is that awesome. I am in awe of him every. single. day. I don't mean to get all lovey dovey gushy on ya'll, but he's that great! And what's more, he works long hours, so he's busy too!

I LOVE to coach, but it is really hard being a highschool Varsity coach and coaching JO (Travel volleyball.) I love it, but boy does it take A LOT out of me. This past weekend we were in Maumee, Ohio (near Toledo.) Hubby made the overnight trip with me and was incredibly supportive to drive all of that way, and give up two days watching 15 and 16 year olds play 9 volleyball matches. But, I have to say, my girls are AH-MAZING and make it totally worth it. Here are the cuties themselves:


Juggling family and friends with all of this can be hard. In fact, I had to miss one of my closest friends baby shower this weekend for our tournament.. {super sad face.} Yes, volleyball comes in the way of life MANY times. So hubs came to the rescue once again as he helped me prepare 150 of these ham sliders, decorations for tables, cakes, and presents for the shower before we left for our tournmanent. Did I mention he's amazing?

And of course, there is school. The never ending business! School has been crazy lately. With OAA's fastly approaching, we are ALL feeling the pressure of preparing our kiddos for these statewide tests.  We are doing practice OAA's this week, so on top of all of the grading I have to do, there's these puppies to add to the list:
Gotta love this huge stack of tests to grade! Although I am very SUPER proud of myself for getting half of them already graded last night! YAY anti-procrastination!
Blogging is something that I thoroughly enjoy doing. So although it does keep me busy, I can't imagine my life without it! I have met so many great teacher-friends on here, and gotten so many great ideas, I love to do it :) So I just gotta keep squeezing time in my schedule to blog!

Thank goodness my husband is so understanding, because many times I have practice till 10 or later and we don't see too much of each other some weeks. He gets the supporter of the year award, for sho'!

And there's our new house. Whew, I love it.. but it overwhelms me when I look at Pinterest or other craft ideas I have saved. I have so many fun things I want to do, but so little time!

How do I keep this all organized? Many of you I'm sure have better systems, but I stick to my handy dandy desk calendar, and my iphone/Macbook. Those daily reminders of what I have going on keep me sane, maybe not uber organized, but definitely doable! I have my calendar color coded so I can quickly glance at the things I have going on.
I am also going to the store right now to get myself fun colored file folders to get all of my copies for the week, lesson plans, and activities organized! I have been meaning to do this for a while, but of course procrastinated. Organization, HERE I COME!

The one thing I am proud of myself for getting done on time, is my teaching Nonfiction Text Features pack! We began our nonfiction unit this week using my MLK pack, and the kiddos are loving reading nonfiction books and learning about MLK. Next, In this pack I have the directions on how I teach it, the materials to build a nonfiction text features anchor chart, a printable nonfiction features flipbook for each individual student to have and take notes in, many other nonfiction book activities. I cannot wait to use it in my classroom, I hope you can get use out of it in yours! Click here to download it at my TPT store. Here's a preview to what you'll be getting:

Sorry, I know this was a long post! Thanks for listening :) Link up and share how you juggle everything you have going on!  I get so much inspiration from this little blog world. I would love to hear from all you amazing teacher in your comments on how you stay organized :)

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Fantstic Fun Friday and Fabulicous Freebies!

Can you tell I am in alliteration mode? I feel that I have been speaking in Figurative Language for weeks now!! We just finished up our Figurative Language Unit with an assessment today, and let me tell you, I LOVE Fig. Lang., but I am plum tuckered out from it all! On a positive note though, my kiddos LOVED FigLang. They had an absolute BLAST with all of our activities and making up their own funny and fun FigLang! I think their favorites were Hyperbole and Idioms. They loved that they got to exaggerate for fun in school and make up silly things that weren't taking literally! The best part, they TOTALLY UNDERSTOOD IT!!!!!!! Now that is what I'm talking about. Of my 56 kids, only ONE, I repeat, ONE got lower than a 2 on the assesment! 80% of my kiddos got 3's!! (We do a 3, 2, 1, grading scale.) I was one proud teacher when I was grading them! Now I plan on putting together an entire Figurative Language pack for TPT of ALL of the activities I use to teach this, but in the meantime, I thought I'd link up with Teaching Blog Addict's Friday Freebie link!
You can click here to download a bunch of Figurative Language activites I use in my classroom. My favorite and my kiddos favorite of these is the FigLang in songs. They loved listening to the music and trying to find all the examples! They were coming up to me for days and telling me about songs they heard with examples of FigLang! They also loved the Figurative Language card game we played! Included in this pack is also an "Alluring Alliteration activity" using letter tiles, a Figurative Language Hunt you can use for any book, and a quick assessment! Another one of their favorite things was to listen to silly poems and pick out FigLang. I used two of my fav poem books for this, and let the kids choral and echo read them during buddy reading this week. They loved it! Here's a few pictures of what we were doing.
 
I also saw this linky party and couldn't resist. One of my favorite things about blogging is the wonderful advice you get from other teachers and examples you see of teaching! It's such a warm and fuzzy place :) So I'm linking up with Rowdy in First Grade for her tell me something good linky!!
 
Something good from school: The staff I work with, ROCKS!! We just have so much fun together, it should be illegal. Like seriously. Throughout college and my first years of teaching I have been in many schools, and the dynamic of these teachers is THE BEST. We all got each others back's, and everyone collaborates, shares, and loves! Seriously.. I'M LUCKY!
 
Something good from home: We started booking our summer trip out to Las Vegas!!! I cannot wait!! I have never been to Vegas and I've always wanted to go! Hubs and I decided there's no better time than now. We are going with MIL and FIL, as well as sissy in law and her boy, and brother in law. Did I mention I was excited?!?! We're going to spend 4 days/nights on the strip, 3 days/nights out at a resort just outside of Vegas, and 2 days at Sequoia National Park.. so fun!
 
Don't you just LOVE positive thinking?!?! I know.. I'm a ridiculous optimist and glass half full kinda gal, but I like it that way. Happy Friday everyone! Don't forget to stop my my TPT and pick up my MLK pack for next week! My kiddos can't wait to start it! Enjoy this long weekend :) I'll be spending most of mine in a gym coaching volleyball! Hopefully getting some grading done in between games :)
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Just another manic Monday...FREEBIE!

Hi ya'll. On this dreary day in Ohio, and a Monday to boot, I thought there could be nothing better than a little freebie linky party! So I'm linking up with Classroom Freebies for their Manic Monday linky party!


My first freebie I actually just went over with my kiddos this past week. We have been talking about all the different comma rules. Commas can be CONFUSING for 4th graders. Honestly, I was just happy when I got them to stop calling apostrophes commas! I know ya'll can relate :) Now, we're on to learning 6 basic comma rules. I know I know, there are PLENTY more! But these are the ones that I am requiring my little yahoo's brains to wrap around and master for now. Before we started this lesson, I actually had my students do a mini "comma hunt." I had them look through their book they are reading with me during Daily 5, and make up 3 comma rules on their own. They had to use evidence from their book to support this, and give 3 examples of this rule being used in their book. Ex: If they saw that their author used a comma after all LY words, their rule would be "Use a comma after an ly word in the beginning of a sentence." Then they would have to give me 3 examples of this from their text. The next day I went through the first 3 rules with the kiddos. We took notes, and I displayed the rules on the border. I printed these out, laminated them, and they now hang in our writing center. They are part of this freebie pack! The second day we went through the next 3 rules. I had the kids have their own rules out, and we checked to see how many of them got some of the rules correct. I was surprised how many did! I then made one of their stations the 4-5 pages in the freebie document, where they had to practice each rule using editing marks. They did a WONDERFUL job with this! Lastly, I did a quick mini-review today, and they had to complete the quick check. 90% of my students got 5/6 or higher on it, so I was happy! We will keep working on these, but I'm happy with how they're doing so far. Here is a preview to this freebie and you can click here to download it for FREE from my TPT store.


My next freebie is for idioms. We have been working on Figurative Language like crazy over here and my kiddos LOVE it! As a quick review, I read my favorite namesake to my students, Amelia Bedelia! We read Good Work, Amelia Bedelia and completed an Idiom worksheet to practice Idioms. You can pick up this for free here at my TPT store. Enjoy!

I hope you liked these freebies. Head on over to Classroom Freebies and link up yourself! Please leave comments if you have any questions.. or just want leave some warm and fuzzies. I {heart} reading your comments :)

I hope you all had a GREAT weekend. My hubby and I sure did! We had some pretty awesome purchases! We got a new Macbook Pro----YIPPPEEE!!!!!!! I can't wait to create so many fun and cute teacher stuff on this amazing new machine :) And I picked up my new FAV make-up item.. NAKED 2 eyeshadow pallet by Urban Decay. SO worth the money (I usually don't spend much on make-up.) How was your weekend? Love to hear about all the Bloggers around the world and learn about each other's lives :) Later now!


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Monday Made It!

As you all know, Monday Made It with Tara over at Fourth Grade Frolics is one of my FAVVY linky parties! My room has been dubbed "the Pinterest room" by teachers and administrators alike in my district, so we know I love crafts. I have to say, my last Monday Made It was a little more craft filled, but I do have some to share!
My first made it is a classroom one! I had so much fun making this unit. I absolutely LOVE integrating Language Arts and Social Studies. In fourth grade, with the Common Core Standards, it makes total sense, it's easy to do, and the kids get some really meaningful lessons. So, for MLK Day, it is perfect! Here is a preview for my MLK unit. I am starting this at the end of next week with my kiddos, and we will be finishing it up the week of MLK day. There are enough activities in this unit to last you for 2 weeks, and you can use them for different things such as stations, homework, small-group, and whole class lessons.
Included in this unit is: All About Martin Fact sheet, All About Martin web, Fact or Opinion organizer, Martin's Life timeline, Geography of Martin activity, "I Have a Dream" writing, MLK vocabulary, I Have Who Has with MLK vocabulary, My Brother Martin reading response questions, Mini-Biography trading cards, MLK KWL, writing paper, and MANY more! You can click here to pick this up at my TPT store!
 
 
Here was my next fun household craft. My husband and I wanted a large picture for above our fireplace, but we didn't want to spend a ton of money on a canvas. So where do I look? DUH, Pinterest of course! Good ol' Pinterest came through for me... and now this beaut hangs above our fireplace. And how much did it cost me you ask? Why ONLY $7... pretty {awesome} fantastic, wonderful, bombtastic, huh?!?



If you want detailed instructions on how to do it, email me and I will send them to you. But basically what I did was go to Office Max and have our wedding picture printed on a 2 x 3' engineer print. This was only $3. Then, I took my crazy self over to Lowes and picked up some spray adhesive and foam insulation board. One of the kind workers helped me out when he saw my frantic look of crafting craziness at the smallest insulation board. 10 foot long board was certainly not going to fit into Pearl (my car.) Handy craftsman got out his cutting blade, and we set to work cutting the board down to size! I had him cut the board 2 inches shorter than the picture on each side (so like 22x34). Then I took all the pieces home where my hubs looked at my like I was crazy, of course! I then spread the picture out on the board how I wanted it, leaving about an inch on each side overhang. I lifted up half the picture, sprayed adhesive, then smoothed out and did with the other half. I stapled the hangover onto the back of the foam board... and WALAAAH! (spelling on that one haha) I call it a masterpiece :)

Lastly, I had to share a yummy dinner I made. It was so simple and just something I decided to whip up. I was craving alfredo, but didn't want the calories. So I boiled whole wheat spaghetti in 3 cups of chicken broth. I carmelized about 4 garlic cloves in olive oil on the stove, and added it to the noodles. Then I melted about 1 1/2 cups of parmesean cheese into the noodles, added salt and pepper and garlic salt. I put in about 1/2 cup of skim milk, and 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream. The result... a DELICIOUS pasta that is now a fan fav of both my husband and I's! Yummy leftovers too :)
Happy Monday, ya'll! Thanks for reading! And of course, happy crafting, too :)
4

The Teacher Heart <3

This is not going to be a post about freebies, or give-a-ways, or linky parties, or even products that I made. This is just a heart-felt post from one teacher to another (or others.)

We are all just coming back or getting ready to come back from wonderful holiday breaks with family (we started back Wednesday.) And while I won't deny that I completely needed the stress-free time away from school, I also thoroughly missed my kiddos.. Honestly! It really hit me on Christmas Eve. As I sat there watching my husband and I's young cousins open present ever present (which they are very appreciative of and well-deserved) I couldn't help but think of a few of my fourth grade friends. You know the ones. The ones who as you're hugging them you think this may be the only hug they get all day, so you squeeze extra tight. Or the ones who you casually offer extra words of encouragement, love, and appreciation of who they are because you know they don't get it as much as the need. And of course the ones who come to school without clean clothes. All of these kids and all of the others you do your best to give them the safe haven of your class room and hope that the love and support you give them will be enough for them to grow into the wonderful person you know they can be.

These are the kids that came to my mind as I sat there on Christmas Eve, surrounded by all of the people who helped guide, nourish, and mold my husband and I into who we are today. How impactful is it to think that you may be the ONLY person who is those things for some of your students?

On our first day back, one of my students approached my desk with the look on his face (you all know the one) that told me he just needed some extra love and attention. So I asked him about his Christmas, and with a sad face he told me of the one gift he did receive, and the sad looks told me of how his Christmas was not what it should be for any kid. I responded to him what a great co-worker of mine had told me, something he said to one of his students. I told him that one day he can change all of this. That he is a bright, loving, and promising young boy, and if he wants it, and works hard, he will have his own family one day. One that he can make his Christmas the way it should be, and give his family the love and nourishment he may not have been given. He proceeded to hug me and return to his seat. He may not fully understand what I was saying to him yet, but I know by the look in his eye it made him think.

And boy, did it make me think. As teachers, we have the opportunity to give the true meaning of Christmas to our kids every single day in our classroom. To teach them to love, care, and to respect. To show them what responsibility is, and what working hard truly means. To show them the meaning of perseverance, dedication, and persistence. To help them realize that they can take the best of themselves, and flourish.

I thank God everyday for this job that allows me to do this (even on the rough days) because not every person gets the same meaningful opportunities.

Happy New Year everyone! Thanks for reading. Let's make this year a great one!
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