Thursday, April 24, 2014

I Know It's Been A While...but How About A Five 4 Friday??

Time to link up for my favorite linky: Five 4 Friday with Doodle Bugs.
I guess I have been on a small blogging hiatus.  I have no excuses.  But I'm back!!  Since it has been a few weeks, I will have to take some steps back and choose 5 things from the weeks I went MIA. So here we go.
What is this you ask?  Well, my friends, this is how TX does summer professional development.  This teacher's conference is from CAMT (Conference for the Advancement of Mathematics Teaching).  And guess who's been invited to go this summer?  THIS GIRL, that's who!!  Last week, our K-2 Curriculum Specialist popped her head in my room and asked me to join her this summer for a 3 day conference held up in Ft. Worth.  She said the district allowed her to pick someone to join her and she thought of little ole' me!!  I am so excited and can't wait to learn some great Math stuff to share with my team and probably my district.   Yikes!  Me in front of a group of adults does not work the same way me in front of 7 year olds.  Check out the video to find out why I'm so excited.

Hmmm...what are we about to do??
 Last week, Mrs. Newton & I planned another fun activity that took us out into the beautiful TX Spring weather.  We were working on telling time to the minute and the kiddos seemed to be struggling so this was just what some of them needed to create that episodic lesson.

We made a human clock!!  It was such a blast watching them really think about how to count the minutes.
Beautiful sunshine, Spring weather, outdoor activities.  What do these mean for our yearly favorite classroom visitors?  They are here!!
These 5 beauties were delivered on Wednesday.  Just in time to focus our Science lessons on the life cycle of an insect.  Now take a look at what has happened in just 1 week:
This week the yearly visitor we do NOT look forward to made it's appearance: STAAR test.  That would be the "great and powerful" way TX tests it's students.  This year, I had the wonderful opportunity to administer this beast to a very special friend that had a few modifications.  Oh-em-gee!!  I did not know how broken my heart would be when I walked out of the building that day.  I posted on FB that I would like to challenge any government official assigned to state testing to sit in that "cracker box" of a room like I did and repeat over and over and over these words: "I cannot help you with that answer, just do your best" to a screaming child that was just asking for an explanation of an unfamiliar term.  He cried and screamed and I could not do a thing!! Ugh.  Some day our schools will get away from that ugly monster.  At least I hope and dream of that day.
And finally ---- I saved the best for last!   I was asked to be the Team Leader for my grade level in the upcoming year!!  I love, love, love the ladies I work with and our current team leader is a wonderful role model.  I am so honored to have been asked to try and fill her shoes.  I have been in this position in my previous schools and am excited to work with a new team of inspirational teachers.  We are going to be so awesome!!
Unfortunately, this change means a move to another classroom so I guess I'll be spending some extra time during the summer setting up a new room.  It's still so exciting!!

Well -- that should catch ya up a little bit.  Be sure to head on over to link up and read some other great blogs.

Friday, April 4, 2014

A Bit of Spring Fever on this 5 for Friday

I'm so glad that it's Friday!  I am kind of hating that our Spring Break was so early in March because now that the nicer weather is setting in, I have SPRING FEVER!!!  Does anybody else really get this feeling around this time of year?  Anyway -- I'll take a Friday to help ease me out of it if only for a couple of days.  Let's begin with a quick Five for Friday link up with Doodle Bugs
What in world is this kid doing you ask??  Well -- she was one of my Loof-Lirpa birds.  Every year, on April 1st, my class gets a fun homework assignment of hunting for the Loof-Lirpa bird.  This year I paired it with the great printable sheet I found on Casey's blog (Second Grade Math Maniac) and requested my willing parents to snap a picture of the fun.  If you haven't figured it out yet, Loof Lirpa is April Fool spelled backwards.  It is so funny to hear "hey -- Mrs. Strang -- you tried to trick me"  the next morning.  Which usually means that I did.  And this year I have PROOF!!  If you'd like a copy of my Homework sheet click HERE.
Getting things done...[check].
I have been working on my content vocabulary card packets and have uploaded the first of them.  Yay!  I have had a content vocabulary wall for Science, Social Studies, and Math for as long as I can remember.  In the past, I would always make my own cards by drawing on a piece of cardstock.  But now!  Now that I am fully exploring the wide-world of TPT and blogging, I have decided to create my own.  This is what my charts & old cards looked like before:
I can hardly wait to print my new cards and put them up.  If you would like to take a look at this pack you can click the picture above or visit my TPT store HERE.  And be on the lookout for the upcoming units: Animal Structures, Insect Life Cycles, & Basic Needs/Inter-dependency of Living Things
Our Flat Stanley projects are coming in! It is so exciting to read about so many different communities and environments.  We even had one of our Stanleys visit Prague.  I have begun to create a bulletin board to showcase the many adventures.

This one is the one that traveled the farthest: Prague!!
Mrs. Newton has been busily teaching within her take-over.  She has had the wonderful experience of working on our Expository Writing unit entailing research and report writing.  We decided to take a "team" approach to teaching this content.  These 2nd Graders LOVE researching animals!!  Last year, I randomly picked a book out of my browsing box and ended up learning about a sloth.  Those are truly some fascinating creatures.  Here is a pic of my big-notebook version of our sharing the pen time:
We are planning to have them publish their reports using our Google Chromebooks and then creating a Google Presentation to share with the class.  This unit will cover oh -so many TEKS in reading, writing, speaking, technology, and science!  Woohoo!  That's a way to kill LOTS of birds with one stone.
Last but not least was a super fun idea Mrs. Newton had our Science kiddos do.  It was such a hoot to see them engage in this activity.  We are currently focusing on Animal Structures and how an animal has certain characteristics to help it function in it's environment.  She opened the activity with an outdoor activity that they LOVED!!  They were divided into 3 teams for a relay.  The object was for them to be chickens.  They had to squat low to the ground and put one hand behind their back and the other on their face like a beak.  She then spread some colorful pasta noodles on the ground.  They had to chicken-walk over to the noodles, and pick up what they could find with their beak as a chicken would.  Then they had to bring it back to their team captain and drop them into the cup.  The team with the most noodles would win.  Then they talked about how their short legs & beak worked.  She also discussed the different colored noodles and which ones were easier to spot and find in the grass.  This led to a discussion about camouflage.   It was such a successful way to engage them.  I love learning from my Student Teacher!!
Here's a picture of some of our little chickens.  Ha!
 Be sure to stop by and link up with the weekly fun!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Currently

Wahoo!  Spring is here and so is April so I'm linking up with Farley for this month's CURRENTLY.
Listening - I think I have seen every episode there is.  I also love that ion television plays reruns over and over and over again.  My hubby wonders why I keep watching if I know every episode all the time.  He doesn't get it.   Plus, 'm not the only one in my house that loves Criminal Minds.

Loving - Our kids rotate cooking dinner every M-Th.  At the beginning of each month, they fill in a dry-erase calendar with what they are cooking and on which day.  All we have to do is make sure the ingredients they list for us are available.  We also rotate chores (kitchen, bathrooms, floors, and dogs).  They are in charge of that chore for the week.  So, for example, tonight Elijah cooked and Destiny has kitchen duty for the week.  So all I have to do is sit at the table and eat.  Of course, some of the meals are not that great.  And we have to encourage them to change it up a bit.  And of course since they are teenagers we have to be on them to get their chores done all the time!!  But for the most works!!

Thinking - I love Advocare Spark!!  It gives me so much focus and energy at the end of the day that I actually can get a run in in the evening instead of a nap! Ha!!  I have been an advocate for it since 2003!!  Best stuff out there and no jittery feeling.

Wanting - Unfortunately, Elijah likes cooking heavy things like steak and so that is what is on the grill. I really want something light and yummy.  I just can't figure out what.

Needing - A second request for you mentor teachers out there.  What-oh-what did you do while your student teacher has full take-over in the classroom?  I am running out of things to do!!  I need to come up with a list of things to accomplish.  I still have 2 1/2 weeks.  Ugh!!  [suggestions...suggestions]  Please comment below!!

Hours & Last Day - Yes!  Ugh!  It's such a super late day!!  I have never been in a school with such a late start time.  The kid's time is 8:50-3:50.  The day is gone by the time we leave the parking lot!!  

Stop by and link up with us!