Tuesday, December 31, 2013


New Year's Resolutions are a funny business...  I actually love them.  The idea that next year I will be better- at eating right, saving money, being more present.  But they're so tricky to stick to, and often just cause us to feel guilty.

Last year I wrote about a resolution to use the library more.  It wasn't too hard to do, considering I had been avoiding the library for a while due to a large fine I had accumulated.  Whoopsie.  Anyway, I liked this resolution because it was fun and productive and also attainable!

So this year I have resolved to perfect making macarons!  It does seem like somewhat of a culinary challenge as I have heard far more stories of macaron failures than successes.  Anyone have any tips?  I'm mostly excited for this resolution because it will be a fun one to share! 

Any great resolution ideas your considering?

While you ponder it, here is a wish for you, reader, for 2014 from author Neil Gaiman!  May it be a blessed one.

Raise the glass to 2014!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Gift Ideas

Christmas is right around the corner!!  I am thrilled.  I hope you are blessed this season and also have a change to be a blessing.

If you're stumped for gift ideas for your favorite teacher in your life, here are two I'm gifting this year.  (Which is also why I couldn't put up this post sooner!  Can't ruin the surprise!)

Sweet student teacher's time with me finished with a bang!  We honored her at our poetry reading and gave her a bag of new and gently used books.  This was early in the day... a few hours later this bad boy was overflowing!

To make it, I ordered my favorite teacher bag from Land's End.  Then I asked students to donate books for her future library.  They were so excited for her!


For my very special ATPs, I gifted these personalized note paper holders from the one and only Michelle at Monkey See Boutique.  Man, I love that girl.  She did a great job with these...and even did a free reprint when Mrs. Mathai's was sent to me with the wrong spelling.

If you still need ideas, I highly recommend these other fun gifts from Monkey See Boutique (just check under the 'Back 2 School' tab).  Tell her I sent you!

Monogrammed Basket Weave Lunch Totes
Yep, that one is mine!  :)

Personalized Jumbo 40 ounce Hand Sanitizer 

personalized monogrammed SILVER water bottle - perfect for team gifts 

teacher gift set featuring a personalized jumbo hand sanitizer and a monogrammed acrylic notepad holder

Friday, December 20, 2013

Welcome to the Midwest!

Sweet Student Teacher (SST) did a great project with my students a few weeks ago.  They were given several options to present their learning about the Midwest region, including a brochure, poem, poster, or song.  Of course, I am biased to the songs.

Anyone else a TOTAL sucker for a kid singing to you?  Especially a witty parody?  Like "What Does the Midwest Say?"  Yep.  Here are the lyrics:

And Kansas
Nebraska and Ohio
North and South

Minnesota and Wisconsin

Those are the states
In the Midwest
What amusement park
Ce-ce-ce-ce-cedar point
Ki-ki-ki-ki-Kings Island
Si-si-si-si-Six Flags
What crops are there
So-so-so-so-so-soy beans

Some monuments
Jewely-jewely-Jewel Cave
Pipy-pipy-Pipe Stone
There are others
Scotts-Scotts-scootts-Scott Bluff
George-George-George-George Carver
Effi-effi-effi-effigy Mounds

The Soo-locks
Carrying barges
Up and down
The greatest lakes
Chicago Cubs
Play at the
Wrigley Field

Wright brothers made
The first airplane
They lived in Ohio
But Henry Ford
Made the motor
And was from Michigan

And Edwin E. made the

Epic!  Try it out.  You won't be sorry.

And check out this video of "Welcome to the Midwest" to the tune of "Radioactive."  I totally sing this chorus when I hear it on the radio now!

Love seeing kids get this creative about their learning!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Fluency Coaching

Check out this SWEET video from ATP with her adorable daughter Malia.  Even Malia gets it that fluency is SO important to comprehension!

Love it!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Jot It Down

We're gearing up to practice watching a video as a form of text (what, what PARCC tests coming!?!!) and wouldn't you know ATP found this catchy video, Jot It Down, to help students take more effective notes.  I dare you not to get it stuck in your head!

I promise I'll post her version as soon as I can talk her into rapping for our classes!

Any other good tips or resources for teaching note-taking?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Western Treasure Hunt

Did I tell you how much my student teacher rocks?  Well, she does.  A lot.  She has been so professional, dedicated, and creative.  It's so fun to watch her grow and take on each challenge I throw her way. 

Like this one.

Sweet student teacher (henceforth SST) created a rockin' treasure hunt to help my students learn about the western region of the United States.  The premise was they had to find No Beard the Pirate's treasure in the West by following clues around the school.

Not only was it fun an exciting, but they learned a ton! 
Here are some pics of the hunt in progress.  I loved that she had everyone dress in their team colors!
The Green Team Working on their first clue


Blue Team is almost ready to look for clue #2!

One of the stops included our school secretary showing the students how to hula!  And SST provided leis as a souvenir of their stop before getting another clue.

Our secretary went above and beyond by dressing up and playing hula music in her office! It was the total highlight!

At the end, the clues led right back to our own classroom where No Beard's (chocolate) gold treasure was waiting! 

The Pink Team tells one fact they learned before getting their gold!

I am so grateful to SST for working so hard on this lesson and can't WAIT to use it again next year!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

New Classroom Quotes

We're on snow day numero dos!   Big news for this girl who has only had one in the last two years.
And what a snow days for if not catching up on sleep, blogging, and pinterest :)
Enjoy some of these quotes I found today.  Can't wait to incorporate them in my room somewhere.  Any ideas?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Reader's Theatre

Right before Thanksgiving we practiced reading fluency in an exciting way.  Using scripts from Fabulously Funny Fairy Tale Plays, students worked in small groups to perfect their reading fluency in these areas: pace, volume, phrasing, and most of all, expression.
It was such a fun way to show off out learning!  And we got to share our final show with a fourth grade classroom!
Check out these pics from last year's group performing Spiderella, Goldilocks and the Three Bullfrogs, the Emperor's New Hair and more.


New this year....we performed in my room using my sweet new stage (more on it here and here):

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

20 Things in the Classroom

Last week I shared the latest vid from Kid President. 
This week, I found this awesome classroom application of one of his sweet quotes.  Thanks to 4th grade teacher Ms. Revesz in MI for the idea of creating a "compliment wall."  I LOVE it and am totally stealing it soon!