Saturday, March 30, 2013

Spring Break...Finally

Just a quick post to say my school is on Spring Break next week.  There are so many things I feel like I should be doing: weeding for example.  I am just ready for a rest.

A friend's district has two more weeks until Spring Break.

When is yours?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Enola Holmes Series by Nancy Springer

I love the original Sherlock Holmes Series by Conan Doyle.  When my stepdaughter and I went to London last summer, Baker Street was high on our list of places to visit.

This year I discovered that Sherlock Holmes had a little sister who has similar gifts.  If you love mysteries and strong teen female characters, I recommend you read this series.  I appreciated the attention to detail in the setting and characters from the original books.

Click here to get a free printable form for students to keep track of their changes in thinking.  Perfect for mysteries.


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

Monday, March 25, 2013

What Authors Read

I read Rick Riordan's blog posts about what he reads:
Rick's Recent Reads for March '13
Rick's Recent Reads

I have to confess that I read a lot.  I know that some people don't have time to read, but I make it a priority.  I was inspired by Rick Riordan's quote, "It fuels my engines and energizes me when I find new good books."  That's me.

Finding new good books inspires my teaching and my writing.  I know this is why I write weekly book reviews on Wednesdays.  I want to share my finds and my cautions with others.

This weekend I finished reading A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund.  It is not a book I would share with my fourth graders, but it is good to read just for me.  If you like Christian Historical Fiction, you probably would like this book.  I also read Jody's blog and learn much from her as a fellow reader and writer.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Quote of the Week -- March 24, 2013

Ignorance is not bliss.
Ignorance is poverty.
Ignorance is devastation.
Ignorance is tragedy and ignorance is illness.
It all stems from ignorance.

Jim Rohn

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Dishonest Groundhog

Recently my students finished Groundhog Predictions a unit where they track the weather for six weeks after making a prediction on Groundhog Day.  Many groundhogs around the country predicted early spring.  We predicted early spring.  Yesterday, we had enough snow to be two hours late.

I wrote this free unit to follow the parts of a science experiment according to Washington State standards: Question, Prediction, Materials, Procedure, Data, and Conclusion.  If you downloaded my Science Experiment Plan, you will notice it follows the same pattern.

We started Groundhog Predictions in the middle of our student designed experiments, so the students would use this format several times this year, before they take the state test in science next year.

Groundhog Predictions 2013 can be downloaded from TPT or TN.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Poetry Printable #3 -- List Poems

If you follow this blog or visit regularly, you know how much I like to read and write poetry.  I have created the April 2013 Poetry Challenge for upper elementary students.  I have created a series of freebies to build up to the April Challenge.

This is Poetry Printable #3 available as a Google Doc.

If you missed Poetry Printable #1 click here.
If you missed Poetry Printable #2 click here.

Freebie Fridays

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Airhead by Meg Cabot

The Airhead trilogy by Meg Cabot was not at all what I expected.  I knew going into the series that the main character is an intelligent teen with ordinary looks that wakes up one day in the body of a supermodel.  I didn't realize the science fiction twists that would turn this into a thriller.  Once I read the first book, I knew I needed to finish the series. 

The subject matter is too much for my fourth graders this year, but perfect for the middle school and high school girls I know.

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

Monday, March 18, 2013


Imagine that after school on February 12, you find out that you are getting a new student on February 14.  You immediately think, "Oh, that's Valentine's Day.  How do I make sure that my new student is included in our class activities?"  You decide to bring it up with your class at morning meeting.

Imagine that you have an amazing and generous class who on February 13 decide how to include the new student. She will have candy and Valentines and a box we decorated to keep them in.  Everyone is excited to meet her.

Imagine that late February 13 an IEP is faxed to your school saying your new student may need more services than what is provided by a general education classroom.  An administrator in an office far, far away makes a decision.

Imagine February 14, a little girl sits in the office with Valentine candy ready to share with her new class, and upstairs is a group of caring, empathetic fourth graders who can't wait to meet her.  She is told she can't even meet us.  We are all disappointed.  This is all on the same day that the above administrator emails the whole district that he is closing several of the small classrooms like the one my new student will attend.

It's seldom the students that make me want to quit.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Quote of the Week -- March 17, 2013

"Be absolutely clear about who you are and what you stand for. Refuse to compromise." -- Brian Tracy

Have a great week,

Friday, March 15, 2013

What's in Your Basket?

A little over a year ago, I joined a Picture Writing Prompt Pinterest Board.  It inspired me to create graphics that would go with some of my favorite writing prompts.

One of the most popular was a Wanted Poster of the Easter Bunny.  I went back recently and updated that post with a printable wanted poster template.

My freebie this week is stationery that a student could use to write the answer to my prompt: What's in your basket?  I also made it available with a cat in a laundry basket so the prompt would work for those who do not celebrate Easter.

Freebie Fridays

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls by Meg Cabot

At a recent parent conference, I recommended this series for one of my fourth grade girls.  After reading several books by Meg Cabot, I notice she has a knack for illustrating the issues that girls in particular face.  This series is most appropriate for the nine to eleven-year-old crowd.

Allie has a good set of friends in the series, but they have the typical conflicts friends have.  In each book another girl is the antagonist to Allie's protagonist.  Bullying can look different depending upon the individuals involved.  In each book the conflict is settled in a satisfying and realistic way.

Here is a free printable form for seeing an event from different points of view.

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

Monday, March 11, 2013

Endurance and Encouragement

If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you know that I find March a difficult month to teach.  This year when I saw attitudes fade, I decided to try something new.
We had a class meeting and talked about endurance.  Most students associate this attribute with sports.  We defined it as a class as sticking with a task for a long time even when it is hard.
Next I introduced the slips and talked about the importance of encouraging others to work hard and keep going.  My students have already worked with Acts of Kindness slips, so this was a procedure I had in place.
The first day, I had people notice others who showed endurance at the end of a couple of workshop sessions.  Now I read the slips at our class meeting each morning.
I glue them to a butcher paper "track" which is simply a brown oval on a green background. I am not making a big deal about filling the track or reaching a goal.  I am hoping they value endurance for its own sake.
Click here to download the Endurance Slips as a Google Doc.

Update: to see a related bulletin board, click here.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
Do you have inspiration on a Monday?  Link up with Fun in 1st Grade.
Freebie Fridays

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Quote of the Week -- March 10, 2013

"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."
Mark Twain

Have a great week,

Saturday, March 9, 2013

All Things Upper Elementary -- Fun 4 All

All Things Upper Elementary is having Fun 4 All Linky.  You can link up free and paid items.  You can see what sellers listed as their favorite items.  All items are clearly listed paid or free in the descriptions.

Here are the paid items I linked:

Fractions, Decimals, and Percents

Poetry with Synonyms and Antonyms

Spring Vocabulary Builders

Friday, March 8, 2013

Beginning Rhymes -- Poetry Printable #2


In anticipation of National Poetry Writing Month in April, I have created a series of free printable lessons.  Poetry Printable #2 includes two short poetry forms: the couplet and the terse verse.  Enjoy!
You can find more poetry at my poetry blog Poems of Silliness.
Freebie Fridays

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Fatty Legs by Christy Jordan-Fenton

Fatty Legs is the true account of the author's mother-in-law who lived in Northern Canada.  As an 8-year-old Inuit, she begs her father to go to the residential school.  Run by nuns, this school stripped the children of their native clothes and habits.  Olemaun returns home after two years isolated from her culture.

Click here for a free printable character sketch form. Students write a character trait and collect actions and words from that character that show this trait.

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

Monday, March 4, 2013

Oldest Marathon Runner (Unofficially)

Last week I heard a blurb on the local news about a 101-year-old man who had just completed his last competitive race.  I had to find out more.

Fauja Singh was born before WWI, but because he doesn't have a birth certificate, Guinness Book of Records won't grant him the title of oldest marathon runner.  He started running competitively at age 89 after the death of his wife and son.  He turns 102 April 1.

Singh runs to raise money for others.  He just completed the Hong Kong Marathon and ran the 10K in 32 minutes 28 seconds. He raised over $20,000.

He plans to keep running.  "I will not lose confidence. I have been running for four to five hours every day and I will keep on doing so. This is why I am still alive. If I stop working, my life would no longer be a success and I would fail. I would lose my charm then," Singh said.

Singh attributes his success to the joy he gets from running. "It's because of the happiness I get out of it. If something makes you happy, you'll do it well."


I linked up with Fun in 1st Grade for Inspiration Monday.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...