Sunday, December 30, 2012


Happy 2013 

  1. read for pleasure (not school) at least 3 nights a week
  2. travel overseas this summer
  3. wear pink every day
  4. and of course the resolution I make every January...drop a dress size! (ha HA)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Smartboard vs Promethean


I have a(n) (old) Smartboard...but found flipcharts (these are charts that go along with my reading series...Scott Foresman 2008) that work with Promethean board. Unfortunately, the flipcharts don't work with my Smarboard.

Anyone have any idea how to convert to notebook (the program my Smartboard reads)?

I hope everyone is enjoying their break.  I have one week left, but am already thinking about what I plan on doing when returning.

  • snowpeople glyphs
  • biography project
  • new rules and procedures for new building
  • RACK   Random Acts of Classroom Kindness
  • surviving!!
Happy New Year!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Merry Christmas

I'm singing for JOY... Snow Day here...and we had a canned food drive, made our goal, so no school until January 7.  We will be in our new building on January 7, but it appears after moving some 'stuff' to the new room, that I will be getting less floor space. I've always had enough room, (my old building was build in the 30's), but guess I need to blog stalk and see how other rooms are arranged. 

Merry Christmas

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Polar Express

I had pinned this site last year.  It has a lot of activities with the Polar Express.  When the movie first came out I begged the theater owner in our small town to sell me the poster...  SO every year I display the poster and we watch the movie.  This year we have a WHOLE week before our 'winter' break and this will be our focus holiday book.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


I realize that upper elementary don''t need all the 'stuff' that goes along with Thanksgiving, but I did find a great video called Plymouth Plantation on Learn 360.  Information about what it really looked like during that time of our history.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Solution to a short week...

And what do you do when you have a short week...have to follow a reading program...but a short week is looming in the future... and you're going to be gone one day during the short week?

I have found that is the answer for me.  I have a four-day program:
  • day 1-discuss genre and vocabulary
  • day 2-make connections and read
  • day 3-practice writing a summary 
  • day 4-character analysis and author's purpose and 5 if needed
  • day 5-complete the quick check provided for each story
Not only do I use this site for my 4th graders, I print off books when we buddy read with the kindergarten class, and there are a lot of nonfiction stories I use when teaching 5th grade social studies...

Thank you 

you have made teaching much easier for me.

This is one subscription I have the school buy.  I don't order workbooks, so I think it's a good trade-off.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

What a great day...really.  This is the first time that a class plans their own party.  All went well...AND for the first time in 4 years...NO ONE SPILLED THEIR SODA!

Good day...just waiting until tomorrow. Either they will be hyper from sugar or lethargic from not a lot of sleep!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Teacher Evaluation

Is there anyone in the blogosphere who lives in a state where all teachers are evaluated on the same or similar criteria?  

Is everyone evaluated at least once a year?  Are you expected to provide your own professional growth?  What about basing your pay on student achievement? 

I'm headed to a workshop this week where my state will be working on such an evaluation...bother teacher and principal.  My district will test-pilot the evaluation next year.  Let me know if you have any suggestions.  I'm wondering if we'll use Marzono's format or Danielson's?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Movie Making

I used to make a video of our first field trip.  What do you use that will let you add pictures and movies?  I've tried iMovie with not much success.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Spelling Center

Scrabble kids loved it as an assignment (only had to choose 5 words), so I thought I'd try it as a spelling center.  Is there anything else out there that your students love?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Weekly Communication

Every week I send home papers completed in class.  I include any flyers from the office and  a coversheet that parents need to sign. Biweekly I send home grades, although parents can keep updated if they have an account to the school website.  I use powerpoint to make the coversheet, so it's easy to change the information.

Also I've made a class for ScootPad.  Is there anyone out there using this website?  It's free which is one of the reason I joined.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Great Library Web Site

Here's a great librarian's web site.  I love the book trailers, recommendations, and if you look at his earlier blogs you'll see his wonderful school library.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

What a great resource

I can't express how thankful I am for free resources on the internet...and super teacher tools in one.  It helps me when grouping students and making games.

Thank you. 

Blogging was once a 'show and share', but lately it seems to be a way to showcase wares and then sell.  Maybe I'm just jealous that I don't have the time (or talent) to sit down and create.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Reading Journal

Fourth graders need to be held accountable for their reading.  In a perfect world every student would be reading a book at their 'good fit' level...but I haven't found that to be true.  SO...enter my reading journal.  I made these stickers for the front of each journal...I even managed to get my student teacher to cut 12 composition books into two...she knows how to use a saw!

Every day there's a short question they need to answer in their journal.  I don't always check their journals, but writing something down holds them accountable for reading 15-20 minutes.

Thank you for the daily 5 posters.  I just took a screenshot of the poster I wanted and placed it in PrintShop on a 4 postcard layout.  I used packaging tape and taped the postcard on the front of the journal.

Happy reading!

Happy teaching moment...the other day one of my students came up and said..."Here's one of our words for the week."  Then he pointed to the word stamina in his book...BIG SMILE from me.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


vocabulary    It's what most reluctant readers need to improve.

Here's my idea...make pictures using powerpoint, save them as pictures, put them on my flickr page and show them as a slideshow.  I looked into digital photo frames...but soooo expensive.
  What are you doing?

What free application do you use for producing slideshows?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Busy First Days

I've been in school 3 days...and boy have they been busy days. I did get one project done this week...thanks to a student teacher.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

First Read Aloud

The beginning of school promises to be hot, temperature wise (even though I'm enjoying the cooler temps of the Rockies--until tomorrow), so for an afternoon break we'll drink lemonade and listen to The Lemonade War.

This is a story about Evan and his sister.  They will both be entering 4th grade in the fall.  Sibling rivalry rears its ugly head when they both start a lemonade stand to see who can raise the most money.

Family values, friendships, and a little math computation will make this a great story to enjoy at the beginning of school...and 4th grade.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


I will be frantically working tomorrow at school and then off to a family reunion in Colorado.  The high temperature here today was 102...and look  at the temps where I'm going.  Maybe I can stay until school starts...Aug. 13th.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


I will be teaching math this year (insert sad face)...I'm thinking about doing every day calendar math. But then I'm wondering..."Does anyone use Mountain Math? "  I think this might be a little more interactive than Drops in the Bucket as a daily reviewing process. But how does it compare to calendar math?  

I would get the online version, so there would be not be much preparation. 

Any thoughts?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

To Do list

ready for the welcome bags

'I'm absent' homework folders made

 ready for the 'homework completed' basket

Student checklist updated (which isn't always a good idea since there are always deletions and additions to the class list)

I am slowly coming  to the realization that school will be starting in less than a month...Action is needed...not pinning and hopping!!  I just wish it wasn't so hot (100's today and all next week).


Sunday, July 8, 2012


August 13 (first day with students) is looming on the calendar.  So I've started working on before school projects ( and not just pinning, blog stalking, and thinking).

1.  I use composition notebooks for a lot of subjects.  This year there will be a notebook for

  • spelling words
  • reading responses 
  • writing workshop
  • calendar writing 
2.  This post is about the calendar writing.  In the past I've had the weekly writing journal assignment a response from the reading series we use.  Since I don't always use a story a week (don't tell my principal), I sometimes, in the past had trouble with ideas.
  • This year I'm using Busy Teachers Cafe monthly writing ideas for this journal.
  • On the front of this journal I've made a label with specific directions.
  • With a month's worth of writing choices, I'm hoping this helps with differentiation and better responses.

Friday, July 6, 2012


Why I ordered this book...
  • author Lucy Calkins
  • Nebraska hasn't adopted common core...but it surely will and I'd like to 'hit the ground running'
  • I still have a little over one month before school starts 
AND...I will be moving into a new building in December, so I've decided that instead of getting two rooms ready this year, I'll survive in my old room and use my ideas pinned for this year until December.  This leaves me the rest of the summer for professional reading and not creative thinking (just pinning).

Anyone in the blogosphere read this for PD?  Any thoughts on the book?

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Thank you Emily at  I LOVE MY CLASSROOM  for nominating me for the
Liebster Award (for under 200 followers)..and looking up the definition of liebster...I'm hoping Emily means 'beloved'.

Here are a few other blogs that deserve the award...
Thanks again Emily!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Thank You Twitter

Found a great site thanks to twitter chatter.  I don't chatter since I only have 3 followers, but I follow over 145...some educational, family, and political.  Here's the topic that caught my eye...
What I wish I had done before deploying 735 middle schoolers ipads.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday Makeover

Tara at 4th Grade Frolics has motivated me to be crafty this past week. 
  • paper clips decorated with Martha Stewart paper tape (for the fun-of-it)
  • donut boxes decorated with duct tape (the boxes are for school supplies, students will keep in their desks).  {My husband and I own a convenience store, so these boxes are my contribution to recycling.}

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Slide Show-spelling list

If you use Scott Foresman '08 Reading Street...4th grade...I made a slide show using sliderocket.  It's an easy process (you do need to register, but it's just an email and password) and it gives you the code to imbed in a webpage or blog.

Here's my spelling list for Because of Winn-Dixie .  It's the first story in our reading series.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

library book labels

This year I'm using 2"x4" labels for all the books I either beg, borrow, or buy for my classroom.  Since I'm in 4th grade it doesn't seem I buy as many as I use to when it involved picture books.

Hopefully the bigger labels will remind students where the book belongs once the book is finished.

Here is a picture of my you can see, I don't have room for too many more books.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Nebraska State Reading Association

Nebraska State Reading Association is having a leadership meeting Monday and Tuesday.  I am in charge of community literacy grants to local reading councils.  Here is a handout I'll give to members on ideas to use with their councils in promoting literacy.

Are there other bloggers who belong to state and local reading councils?

The IRA has wonderful resources for reading teachers along with blogs.

ReadWriteThink is a resource I plan to use more often in my 4th grade room next school year. This site is partially funded by the International Reading Association.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Early Bird Jobs

My school has students coming from 2 different towns.  So some students are in the building 30 minutes before others arrive.  Here's my list of jobs for students to complete before we start the day.  I have a large banner posted in my room (from VistaPrint).  Other suggestions?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday Fiction


In Nebraska we have chosen great literature for students to read.  Our list is called Golden Sower (there is a sower on our state capitol)
The link I made is for grades 4-6.  Enjoy!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Vocabulary (AGAIN)

Projects by Jen has a daily wordle.  You guess the word that is related to all the words incorporated into the idea.  Another way to include technology and Bloom's synthesizing  into classroom instruction.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Vocabulary Fun

Click on the above and check out a new word cloud.  You do need to sign in to make the cloud.

Web Site at Tagul

I really like Jennifer's idea  of using a digital photo frame to display vocabulary words. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Make it Monday...

OK, I know it's Tuesday, but I was so motivated by Tara, her blog, and all the other bloggers who were so creative last week.

My creativeness was spurred on by the progress monitoring themes from Primary Graffiti.  THANK YOU ladies.

My school uses Reading Street '08 and I teach 4th grade.   (I only have 2 done...but what better excuse to stay inside when it's hot (92) outside.)

Friday, June 1, 2012

What Are You Reading?

I decided that the first 3 weeks out of school would be devoted to ME.  Well, not really but I am enjoying the following book,
The Dovekeepers.

Alice Hoffman weaves fiction and fact in The Dovekeepers, a thrilling, passionate story of four women who come together to tend the doves in Masada. While I was in Israel 2 summers ago, my group talked about going to Masada, but our guide said there wasn't really much to see...and it was a day trip there and back from Jerusalem.  After reading Dovekeepers I'm thinking it would be very interesting. 

So, what are you reading for your summer, recreational reading?  If it gets hot ( and it will), I need good books to keep me inside and near the air conditioner.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Now What?...summer

Now that summer break is upon me, what can I do for professional growth? The Teaching Channel offers teachers many choices.  Check it out.  Become a friend on Facebook and stay updated.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Gotta LOVE Pintrest

I always take pictures on the first thank you Pintrest for this idea.  Made it using Printshop and the sign mode.


I use composition notebooks for a lot of my classes.  I've tried spiral and steno notebooks, but it seems that the pages rip out.  My students use a red composition notebook for reading, green for writing, and this year a black speckled for spelling.  Here's the sticker for the front.  I made them postcard size using printshop.  Throughout the summer I'll make a writing, reading, & take-home labels. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Less Than 3 Months

August 13 is our starting date with students this fall.  As soon as I check out, I'm taking a 3 week hiatus from school...then each week following I'll focus on this fall and the various classes I teach.  It looks like a challenging class because of behaviors.  But until then I'm becoming a beach bum!

Our PBiS theme this next school year will be "Wild About Rules".  I think I'll focus on a rainforest theme.  Any ideas or suggestions...just leave me a note.

Happy Summer.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


3.5 school days...but who's counting.  I must say, these are the hardest.  Our routine goes down the tube and what kind of project can you start with 2 days left (one is a field trip).

Friday, May 4, 2012

Word Clouds

What a way to end the didn't work in the computer lab...I'm supposing it's a Java issue.  Tagxedo didn't have the right 'stuff' YEA for Word Clouds at!!

Good thing it's Friday!!  AND 9 days until school's out.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

End of the Year

The end of the year finds me wondering what we're doing here.  State testing is over, there is no normal week (field trips, music programs...I could go on).

I have always been skeptical of literature circles with fourth graders...but not this year.  I'm going to try partner reading.  Thanks to Lindsay at My Life as a Fifth Grade Teacher, she has posted some easy ways to keep track of novel reading.  THANKS!

 I have a selection of books that have partners in the school library, so TWO is the max to read a book together.  I'll report back in a week. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Jeopardy online

I know I've mentioned teacher super tools before...but their jeopardy game is sooooo easy to complete.  I had 3 of my 5th grade girls make questions and answers from the constitution book we just finished reading and wa-laaa..I typed in the answers, questions, and point value...tomorrow's social studies lesson is complete.

I have a fifth grade blog where I keep all the websites I want the fifth graders to use.  I made a post with a link to the game!!  The students can go there any time and play.  I feel so SMART...and that's not always a true comment this time of year...17 days, but who's counting?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Parent Communication

Every Friday I send papers home with a coversheet stapled to the top.  The coversheet has reminders for events concerning our class. I tried the newsletter format, but found it took too much time.  The students are to bring the coversheet back signed.

    Link-up your parent communication with