Sunday, December 14, 2014

Honoring Sandy Hook {2 Years Later}

Two years ago today, 20 first graders and six school employees lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary.  This week, along with educators and students across the nation, we honor the victims with random acts of kindness.  One parent says, "Acts of kindness and efforts to promote just cause are the best way to keep the memory of victims of gun violence alive," Rousseau, clutching a photograph of his daughter.

Use #Love4SH to promote kinds and love on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook throughout this week.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Currently December

Yayyyy!! December is nearly here!!  It's such a wonderful time of year!  I love looking at Christmas lights and love decorating for Christmas!!  And my favorite part is...I live in California, so I'm not freezing...whoopeeee!!  Happy December everyone!

I have had the past week off and it has been so wonderful!!  I have been watching Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel like crazy!  They are so cheesy and predictable, but I am obsessed!  

I also bought a new mattress and bedding with my spare time.  I can NOT wait for my new bedding to come in!!  I decided to go with all white bedding.  I aas kind of worried that all white would look too boring, but I am going to spruce it up with some fun accent pillows.  So excited!!  Look how pretty it is!

I ordered my bedding from West Elm.  It is an Organic cotton pintuck duvet cover.  I am never going to want to get out of my new bed!!

Happy December!!  3 weeks until 2 weeks off!  Let's do this!!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Did You Know.....?? Bulletin Board

Let's talk about the ugly hallway for a moment.  I do not love the hallways at my school at all for one simple reason: they are ugly.  They are painted half brown and half white and scream 1970s!!  They seriously needed some color!!  Every year, I say I am going to decorate the hallway I walk through everyday.  I bought the brightest colors available: lime green, bright yellow, and hot pink.  When I started putting up the paper over the summer, the boy teachers in my hallway said, "Were those the only colors to choose from??"  I don't really care...we needed color!!!  

I rounded up some student work to put on two of the bulletin boards and decided to make a "Did You Know...??" bulletin board complete with my favorite random facts.  I looked up random facts and did you know stuff and compiled 30 posters to hang in the hallway.  Below are 9 sample posters.  

Let me just tell you...the kids LOVE these posters!!!  We are talking MIDDLE school students!!  Two months into the school year, and I still catch students staring at the hallway soaking up the random information.  And you know what...I really love it because it sparks conversation and curiosity! Ha! Double Whammy!!!

Here are what some of the posters look like...  You can have these posters for FREE!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Sale and a {yummmmmyyyyy} Recipe

It's that crazy time of year!!  Thanksgiving food prep...Black Friday shopping, holiday shopping (eek!!), and my two most favorite parts...sales and food!!  Here I am today to share with you news about the site-wide Teachers Pay Teachers cyber sale, which begins on Monday, December 1 and goes until Tuesday, December 2.  Start making your list and adding goodies to your wish list (I know I will be!!).  My entire TpT store will be marked down an additional 20%!!!  Woo Hoo!!!

Because the school year is so crazy busy, I never find the time to try new recipes.  Well, this week, I have already tried three (yes, THREE!!) new recipes compliments of Pinterest, of course!  Let me share with you quite possibly the most amazing pasta dish I have made in my life.  It is a spinach tomato tortellini in a tomato cream sauce.  I am surprised I even tried this recipe because I am usually not a fan of cream sauces...I am more of a pile on the tomatoes kind of a gal!  But I am seriously so glad I gave it a shot!!

I love to cook and usually end up modifying/adapting the recipe in some way to make it more cheesy, less buttery, more lemony, etc...  Let me tell you...I followed this recipe to a T and it NEEDS NO MODIFICATIONS!!! I can't remember the last time I didn't change something up after making it!

I found this recipe on Pinterest, but it is from a site called Damn Delicious.  And this recipe sure was Damn. Delicious.  No joke all of the commenters agree as well!  Seriously the easiest recipe and SOOOOO yummyyyyyy!!!!!  I can't wait to hear how much you love it (and I bet Damn Delicious would love to hear it as well!).  Click on the link above to view and print the recipe.  I will definitely be making this again and again!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Currently November

November is here!! November is here!! November is here!!  It's my favorite month for lots of reasons…. mainly because it's my birthday, and this is a big one, the DIRTY 30!!  I am so excitedI I can hardly wait!!  I am celebrating by going to Nashville with my bestie next weekend :)

I am a HUGE country music fan!!  In fact, I am celebrating my 30th with my besets friends and family line dancing :)

Look how cutesy and fun these restaurants look in Nashville!  Have you been to Nashville?? I would love to hear some places I should check out!  We don't really have a plan or itinerary, but we are for sure going to the Grand Ole Opry!!  YEEEEE HAAWWWWWWW

Thursday, October 2, 2014

October Currently

Wow!  It's October!! Time certainly does fly :)

Trick AND a treat!!!
My TRICK.....
When having students work in cooperative groups, assign each student a ROLE.  This keeps students engaged, keeps them more on-task, and gives them a sense of belonging :)
I have four classroom jobs: facilitator, resource manager, recorder, and reporter.  Here are table tents for each role (includes 4 pages).  I print each role on a different colored sheet of paper and each student receives a role.  I color code them so that when I am standing in the front of the classroom, I know who is responsible for keeping the group on task, who should be making sure everyone is writing, etc..

I also give each student a team roles mat with all of the team roles.  I do change roles about every 2-3 weeks, so they are familiar with the job!

Lastly, at the end of the week, I have student evaluate their group members AND themselves!  This keeps them even more accountable.  If there are ever any issues, I may speak with problematic students individually or keep a close eye on them during cooperative learning.
 I hope you {LOVE} the team roles freebies and find them to be useful in your classroom :)  I teach 6th and 7th grade math and these work wonders in my middle school classroom!
Happy October :)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Flying Paper Airplanes {STEM Activity}

At the end of last year, my principal asked me if I wanted to be part of a STEM grant, written specifically for Title I schools in my area.  Of course, I said yes!  I went to several days of training over the summer.  I have already implemented STEM activities into my instruction three times!  The kids and I are LOVING it!  It is a really nice break and allows the students to work together and discover on their own...without me telling them!!

 Today, we made these paper airplanes.  I watched several YouTube videos and this was the best and the easiest!  I wasn't sure if the kids knew how to make a paper airplane, so we all made the same one.  One student made and flew his own style airplane!  It was so fast!!

The goal of the lesson was to first, fly the airplane eight times, measure, then record the data.  The hardest part for the students was the measuring part, but since I was doing this with my 6th graders during math class, I made a big deal about being accurate (attend to precision, right!?).  

The second goal of the lesson was to make some sort of modification.  I showed students samples of weight (paper clips or tape) added to the nose or the wings.  I also said they could cut off part of the nose to modify the length.  The point was to make a modification, then predict whether their experiment would make their airplane fly a longer or shorter distance.  After their prediction, they flew the airplanes eight more times, measured, and recorded the results.

Let me tell you, ALL of my students were engaged and so into it!  Even my kids that never participate were helping out!  It was really nice to see and so much fun for all of us!

Here is the write up we used… you can download it for FREE below!

If you tried this in your classroom, I would LOVE to hear how it went :)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Building Academic Vocabulary

Yikes! Vocabulary!  What a scary word!  Students hate it and teachers don't love to teach it, but the truth is…it's one of the most important parts of learning!  With the Common Core in FULL force, it is crucial that we teach our students how to decode text and words so they can put them into meaning!

My school site does A LOT of vocabulary training…we are a Title I school, which means lots of English Learners.  As if learning English weren't difficult enough, now we have to throw multiple meaning words at them!!  Ahhh!!

We also talk a lot about our friend, Marzano, guru of all things vocab!!  I am sharing with you today Marzano's six-step process for teaching and building academic vocabulary FOR ALL GRADE LEVELS AND ABILITIES!!

Here are some posters I made for the Critical Words for the CCSS (according to Marilee Sprenger).  I made these posters to hang throughout my classroom, so I have easy access to reference when I need it.    It is very crucial to teach these critical nouns and verbs to our students…these are the most common words they will get hung up on when they go to take a standardized test!  The posters include 49 printer-friendly, easy-to-read vocabulary terms in KID-FRIENDLY LANGUAGE!  I used the awesome Learner's Dictionary for most definitions.

As a BONUS, I have included 51 of the most common Tier II vocabulary terms.  These are mainly for grades 6-8, but below I have included a K- 8 monthly vocab lists for free!  Tier II words are words that are not domain (or subject) specific.  For example, take the word origin.  In all subject areas, the word means the point or place where something begins or is created.  In math, when graphing, this is the point we always begin, called the origin.  In social science, it may refer to where a particular group of people came from.  Either way, the definition does not change.  Because of this, it is super easy to use these Tier II words across the curriculum.  More exposure + multiple contexts = learned vocabulary!

Here is an up-close view of what the posters look like.  To spruce it up, simply print on bright colored paper.  You can even color code :)

Yay!!  Free stuff!!  Here are some materials I found to be particularly useful :)