Friday, June 29, 2012

Free Time Capsule Project

We just finished our school year this week.  I finished up a project I started with my students the first day of school.  I give my students the Time Capsule paper the first day of the school year.  I give it back to them to finish the last week of the school year.  This assignment helps me get to know my students and it helps them see how they change in a year's time.

I have just posted Time Capsule: from the First Day of School to the Last to my Teachers Pay Teachers store and also my Teachers Notebook store.  I know some teachers are already getting ready for next year.  I hope you enjoy this free item with your students.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My Summer Reading List

Each summer I read through a stack of books for the age group I teach (upper elementary).  This practice helps me know what to recommend to my students and some of these new finds are elevated to read aloud status.

Here are a couple of places I go for my recommendations:

The Washington Library Media Association creates a list each year and encourages fourth, fifth and sixth graders to read the books and vote for their favorites.  This year's winner was NERDS by Michael Buckley.

I enjoyed reading NERDS and was excited to see several of my boys picking it up and continuing with the rest of the series.  Michael Buckley has also written The Sister's Grimm series.
The nominees for 2013 is here as well as the list from last year. 

The Pacific Northwest Library Association also has a list of books each year.  Here is the link to the 2013 nominees called the Young Readers' Choice Awards.

The winner for last year was 11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass.

I was happy to discover this author this year.  More of my girls have read her books this year than boys.  Several of her books are set in the same mysterious small town and have the birthday theme.

What are some books you would recommend I add to my list?
For an explanation of my rating scale, click here.
Find me at Goodreads.

Monday, June 25, 2012

My Commencement Speech

Last Wednesday, we celebrated our sixth graders who will move to middle school next year.  I had the opportunity to give a speech at their moving on ceremony.  Below is a transcript of what I said:

            I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted to say to you today.  Here it is: Choose your friends wisely.  This is more important than any other advice I can give you.
George Washington once said, “Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation, for ‘tis better to be alone than in bad company.”  How do you find good company?  Pursue your passions.
            Some of you are musicians.  You play an instrument or you sing.  You’ve already signed up for music classes next year.  You are going to find that belonging to a music group, having to work together as a team will encourage you to get better at your goals.
            Some of you are athletes.  You come alive on the court or the track or the field.  You will keep your grades up, because it will keep you on the team.  You will also find like-minded people who will encourage you.
            Some of you are artists, actors, writers which may seem like solo activities, but it helps to have friends who enjoy the same interests.  You will find that you can support each other and become better at your craft.
            There are other passions you may have: math, science, technology, history, photography, medicine, animals.  Each of these passions comes with a community of people that can become good company for you, but don’t be afraid to stand alone.
            There are unhealthy interests that also have communities that may seem like a place to belong.  If you hang out with people who drink and do drugs, it is likely you will do the same.  If you hang out with people who want to be in a gang, it is likely you will adopt the same influences.  This is the time to stand apart from the crowd and avoid bad company.  In the 21 years I have been teaching, all of the students who accomplished good things, found positive people to be with.  The ones who got into serious trouble started with who they chose to be around.  Choose your associates wisely. 
            There was a man named W. Clement Stone who had a difficult childhood.  His father died when he was 3.   He started selling newspapers when he was 6.  By 13 he had his own newsstand.  When he became an adult, he became a successful business man and author.  He was able to give $275 million to others in need.  I want to close with his words:
“Be careful the environment you choose for it will shape you;
Be careful of the friends you choose for you will become like them.”
Choose wisely.  Thank you.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Quote of the Week - June 24, 2012

It doesn't matter how much you know. It matters how clearly others can understand what you know.

Simon Sinek

Friday, June 22, 2012

Funny Student Answer

Teacher: What are the two U. S. Political Parties?
Student: Fourth of July and New Years.

Monday, June 18, 2012

What are your summer plans?

This summer, I plan to travel to London and visit my brother and his family on business.  My stepdaughter and I leave in two weeks.  We definitely want to be back before the Olympics.

What are your summer plans?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Quote of the Week -- June 17, 2014


(In Memory of Tony Marks.  It’s been three years and I still miss you.)


Friday, June 15, 2012


My students (and some of their parents) love playing the games on iCivics.  Class favorites include "Do I Have a Right?" where the students play head of a law firm and learn about the Amendments to the U. S. Constitution, "Executive Command" where they get to be the President, and "Counties Work" where they learn more about local government.  I don't always feel like I have enough time to teach civics.  This resource sure helps.

Check out their teacher resources.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Favorite Read Aloud # 10 -- The Lightning Thief

To find the beginning of this series, click here.

I considered titling this post "Favorite Read Aloud # 10 -- Anything by Rick Riordan."  I abandoned that idea because even though my students are enthralled with his stories, it would be unlikely that anyone would read all of his work aloud in one school year.

I choose The Lightning Thief because it is the beginning of the first series Riordan wrote introducing the characters and the story world.  I can teach my students Greek Mythology.  We discuss character development and plot.  Just about any reading and thinking strategy I am teaching can be taught authentically in this great story line.

Here is a printable story board students can use to summarize the events in a chapter.

For an explanation of my rating scale, click here.
Find me at Goodreads.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Field Day 2012

Tomorrow is field day at my school.  The P.E. teachers organize a half day of activities for the students.  Our K-3 students will play in the morning.  The 4-6 students will have theirs in the afternoon.  Does your school have a field day?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Quote of the Week - June 10, 2012

“The secret in education lies in respecting the student.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, June 8, 2012

Picture Writing Prompt -- Superheroes

If you were a superhero, what powers would you have?  What gadgets would you have?  How would you use these tools and powers to help others?  How would they cause problems for you?

Here is a free printable called Problems and Solutions to think about how a talent could be a strength and a weakness.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Favorite Read Alouds #9 -- The Phantom Tollbooth

To find out why I read aloud to students, start here.

My fourth grade teacher read it to me and I read it to my students.  The humor isn't dated.  My class discusses idioms and other literary devices.  June 2014: I just added a free printable graphic organizer for students to collect and learn new vocabulary.

In case you have missed this book, Milo finds a toy tollbooth in his room and it transports him to another land.  He meets interesting creatures and must right a wrong, learning much about learning along the way.

For an explanation of my rating scale, click here.
To connect with me at Goodreads, click here.

Monday, June 4, 2012

When do you get out of school?

Several school districts have already finished for the year, but here in Washington State, many schools are still in session.  We get out of school three weeks from today.  I am so ready.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Quote of the Week - June 3, 2012

"A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read." ~Mark Twain


Friday, June 1, 2012

Alright, now I'm worried

I sent a group of boys to the library first thing to return our library books.  While they were gone, we had the usual morning announcements broadcast from the office.  When they returned they told me, "Don't worry Mrs. Bauer, we said the Pledge of Allegiance.  We just joined one of the second grade classes."

No one has complained to me yet.

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