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Five for Friday {November 13, 2015}

Good morning!  I haven't blogged since going back into the classroom exactly a month ago, so what better way to jump back into the blogging pool than by linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching and her weekly Five for Friday!?!

First up is this little peek at my new objectives board... for TWO reasons.

1) I had to share the adorable headers that I got from my amazingly talented friend Maribel at Learning in Wonderland.  I've decorated my classroom using her very cute woodland creatures goodies, and these labels add a sweet touch.

2) I was hoping to have a post ready last night about the new way I will be interpreting and sharing learning objectives with my students - but I was too pooped!  (No kidding... I was so excited to read my new Mary Higgins Clark novel, and I didn't even get through one page.  Needless to say, I couldn't stay up long enough to write my post!)  I will be writing about this over the weekend, because I'm really excited to share my thoughts about standards, objectives, and student learning.  More coming soon!

Without a doubt, my kids' favorite thing to do is STEAM!  We have a STEAMy Wednesday each week, but I try to sneak in an additional challenge when we're able.  Last week the challenge was very simple but good for lots of learning:  create a corral that could hold all members (without touching each other) within its confines using the least number of sticks.  I'm so impressed by my students' creativity as they design solutions, and the bonus is that they learn so much about working together cooperatively and purposefully through STEAM challenges!

I decided to follow the advice of SOMEBODY WONDERFUL (but I can't remember who!!!  I will have to come back and edit when I find her blog post) and switch up my classroom job assignments to be full-year responsibilities.  As part of our process, I had my students apply for three jobs they would be interested in holding all year long; the application included informal credentials, in which they tell me why this job would be a good fit for her/him.  This little sweetie wrote one of my favorites.  We'll just skim over the first, in which it looks like she is applying for classroom MASSAGER (yikes!  That is MESSENGER, I promise!).  The cute part though is what she shares about VACUUM DUTY:  she says she'd like this job because she "won't vacuum people's feet up because that's mean"!

We had our school Fall Festival last Friday!  It was a lot of fun - our fourth grade team manned the Knock Over the Milk Bottles game, which proved to be a favorite!  And when I posted this photo on Instagram, I learned that my very sweet teammate Ashley (standing next to me) student taught with my adorable bloggy buddy Caitlin of The Kinder Garden!  What a small world!

Last weekend I drove to Palm Desert to visit my amazing grandmother, who is 96 years old!  This photo of us is on our way to church.  She still goes to church each Sunday, cooks every day, plays bridge with her girlfriends, and loves to crochet and make fudge!

Have a fabulous Friday the 13th!


Five for Friday

Well I am just so darned excited that I can barely contain myself!  What is this hedgehog SO excited about?  I'll tell you...  right now as I link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching and her weekly Five for Friday!

Here's why I'm so excited:  This is me again!  (Actually, "this" is me in my Elderly Educator costume for the 100th day of school last year - I blogged about it here - but it was only photo I had on hand of me looking teacherly!)  

I retired from teaching... but I REALLY missed being in the classroom with kiddos...  So long story short, I just accepted a position teaching fourth grade!  I could not be more excited, and the timing is perfect.  I'll spend the next week setting up my classroom and planning while the students are on Fall Break, so we'll be ready to start the rest of the year together when they get back next Tuesday!

So that giant YIPPEE!!! you heard earlier today?  That was me, accepting my new principal's kind offer to join their learning community!

I just love fall!  

Last night I went to a committee meeting at a friend's house, and I wish I took photos to share!  Her house is decorated so beautifully.  She even has a tree with tiny orange fairy lights and pumpkin ornaments!  I am pretty sure I NEED to copy her :o)
And speaking of pumpkin...

I don't think I eat much of pumpkin anything during the rest of the year.  Pumpkin Pie is about it - and truth to tell, I could eat Pumpkin Pie every day!  I rarely think of pumpkin anything though other than that.  But the minute the pumpkin spice goodies start showing up, it becomes my favorite flavor!

Another reason that I love October is that it is the birthday month of my son, John.  He's 29 today, but this photo from long ago remains one of my all-time favorites.  Look at the love on his face as he nurtures his baby dinosaur!   Melt my heart!

Last but not least, we're announcing the winners of our Third Grade Tribe giveaway that we held last week in conjunction with our Fall in Love with Teaching blog hop!

Winner of the $50 gift card to Teachers Pay Teachers is Leander J.  Winner of the $25 TpT gift card is Amanda W.  Congratulations, both of you!  

And the winner of my giveaway - the Fall into Autumn Dictionary Skills packet and the $10 gift card to Amazon - is Amy from The Core of Grade 4!  Thank you so much to all who participated!

Happy October, everybody!


Fall in Love with Teaching Blog Hop

Welcome to the Third Grade Tribe Fall in Love with Teaching Blog Hop!

Right about now, you might be asking yourself, "What on Earth is a Third Grade Tribe?"  Well, we are a group of third-grade teachers (a few of us, myself included, are retired but taught third graders for a very long time before leaving the classroom) who collaborate as we blog about and create learning materials for students in this very fun age group.

We've collaborated on a few projects, but this is our first blog hop together and we are all super excited!

Each of us will be writing about fall-themed activities and ideas.  I encourage you to visit everybody during the hop, which starts today and runs through Wednesday.  Not only will you get lots of fun ideas, but you'll also have an opportunity to enter for one of TWO grand prizes!  (You can read more about that - and enter - towards the end of this post.)  And even better:  Every participating blog is offering a giveaway as well!

For my giveaway, I am offering my Fall into Autumn Dictionary Skills packet of activities (it's one of my best-selling resources!), so I thought I would write a little bit today about how I've used these activities with my third-graders.  (I'm also adding a $10 gift card to Amazon in my giveaway, because I just love to share books!)

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I absolutely love teaching dictionary skills (and that's why you'll find me constantly adding new ABC Order and Guide Words activities to my little store!).  These are skills that students need in so many different areas, and it's easy to integrate them with all seasons, holidays, and content areas.

In this packet, I start with full-color We Can posters that can be displayed in the classroom, as well as black-and-white versions that can be printed in half- or quarter-size and added to the student's language notebook.

Next are teaching slides, which I like to use under the doc cam.  These can also be displayed as posters.

And then I include six printable activity pages, three each for ABC Order and Guide Words.  (I also include answer keys for all.)

I don't have a close-up of all pages in action here, but here are a few so you can see what they look like "in real life" :o)

My first ABC Order printable is a cut-and-paste activity - because I think the ability to manipulate the words in concrete form is a great way to think using our bodily-kinesthetic intelligence.

The next activity scaffolds from the concrete to the abstract.  Students are challenged to alphabetize to the second letter, and organize them in order like this:

And on this page, students alphabetize to the third letter.  Given three words on one side of the book graphic, the student is to organize and rewrite them in ABC order:

I follow a similar progression from concrete to abstract with these Guide Words activities.  First is this activity, in which the student cuts out entry words and places each between the most likely guide words.  I encourage students to place all of them before gluing, because some of them are a bit tricky!

I love this activity, because it accesses understanding through several different portals.  Using a dictionary, the student looks up the entry word and records the guide words from its page.  Finally, the student illustrates the word.

You probably arrived here after visiting Janae Van Orman on The Sharpened Pencil.  If you've happened upon my post by accident, or if you take a wrong turn along the blog hop, you might want to pop over to the very first blog in our hop to retrace your steps:  A Tall Drink of Water.

And without further ado, here is where you enter our GRAND PRIZE giveaway for one of two gift cards to Teachers Pay Teachers :o)

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Thank you so much for stopping by my blog today.  You're in for more fall fun, continuing with Katy Engle at Teacher Tips and Tidbits.

Have fun on our blog hop, and good luck in all the giveaways!


Five for Friday

Welcome to my first foray into Five for Friday!  

I'm so happy to be linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to share five random facts about my week.  :)

Well first on my list actually happened last in order of these photos... but I can't help myself - I'm still so excited about this!   In January, the amazingly creative and super sweet Jenny Knappenberger - who also happens to be my AZ bloggy buddy! - posted the coolest linky party ever, "What's the Story Behind the Logo?" on her blog, Art with Jenny K.

I loved the whole idea of reading everybody's backstory, so I excitedly wrote up my own story behind Hedgehog Reader.  Here is a link to my original post.

This morning, Jenny left a message telling me that I was one of five sellers Teachers Pay Teachers included in a post they wrote about the linkup!  Yippee!  I still can't believe it!  

I love books of all shapes, sizes, and genres...  but if I HAD to pick a favorite genre that I read for pleasure, the winner is no doubt YA dystopian.  I enjoyed James Dashner's Maze Runner series, and the movie franchise is proving to be enjoyable as well.  I went to The Scorch Trials with my son on Monday, and we agreed that it's better than the first Maze Runner movie.  There were a couple spots where, much to my son's amusement, I nearly jumped out of my skin!!!  It's a very fun movie, and if you enjoyed the book, I think you'll like the movie too.  :)

This photo is not good at all - sorry! - but I wanted to share my blogging schedule board that I finished up earlier this week.  I use a magnetic board to put up my own blog posts that I want to write, as well as collaborative blog posts and linky parties.  It's hard to see the cutest thing in that corner - a sweet little chandelier!  I think I will have to do a little tour of my home office in a future blog post.

I work out pretty much every day - it's that whole I-love-food-AND-I-love-fashion thing - and I just can't do it without music.  My daughter texted me a link to this song because she knew I'd love it - and I do!  Have you heard it?  "Downtown" by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis is super funky and backspin hip-hoppy with some fun surprise elements thrown in for good measure - perfect to distract me through my cardio!

I love volunteering as a member of East Valley Women's League, and one of my very favorite projects is STIP - Supporting Teens In Parenting.  I co-chair this project with my friend Laurie, and the organization that we work with is TAPP - our Tempe Unified High School District comprehensive program for pregnant and parenting teens.

We are helping to set up a home reading program - yay! - and above is the bulletin board that we put up this week.

We also set up this incentive wall.
As each student reads aloud a book to her baby, she will create a segment for the caterpillar's body.
It'll be fun to see how long this guy gets!


We've been organizing all of the books with library cards and pockets.  It's especially heartwarming to see how excited all of the girls are as they see these stacks of books!

Have a fabulous Friday!


Teacher Wisdom: Classroom Management

Welcome to this month's Teacher Wisdom linky!  I'm so happy to join up with Sarah at More than a Worksheet to bring you tips and ideas that I hope you will find to be helpful in your classroom!

This month's topic is Classroom Management:
Here are a few Pinterest finds that I thought I would share with you this morning!

Have you seen these photos and articles that illustrate the types of behaviors expected of teachers way back when?  These always make me laugh!    I won't say we have it easy these days, but we've sure come a long way!

I love this little round-up of attention-getters from jivey.  She wrote a post about how these types of interactions between teacher and students provide a Whole Brain Teaching way of getting students' attention.  I did have to chuckle at part of her post in which she said she will need to re-do the graphic, because the incorrect spelling of COLLABORATE is driving her nuts!

I truly believe in my heart that most if not all students want to behave appropriately.  Quite often, all they need is a reminder to get back on track - and that's why I love this fun idea from Mrs. Karen's Preschool Ideas.  It's an empty old spray bottle that's been cleaned out, and she uses it as needed to "spritz" on students who need a little reminder to quiet down!

I love this quote that I found on Pinterest.  It reminds me that it's not what we've been doled out, but what we do with it that counts.  I find this reminder to be very empowering.  Through purposeful implementation of effective classroom management practices, we can make this a phenomenally productive year for all students.

And remember:  You've got this!
Thanks so much for stopping by, and before you leave - please consider linking up with us!  This is a brand new linky, and the more educators that participate, the more awesome the quantity of ideas and tips that will be shared amongst as all!  It's very easy - and as you can see from my post here - super quick.  Just write a little post with Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, and Something True, and then link up below!

Have an awesome year! xo