Thursday, December 25, 2014

Hope Your Day Has Been Beautiful!

I hope your Christmas day has been full of JOY, love, laughter and great health. Blessings!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Wishing you a Relaxing Holiday Break

I know we have all been awaiting some time to rest and recharge our bodies.  Wow, it's really here.We made it!

Wishing you a safe and relaxing holiday break with your loved ones.

photo credit:

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Writing in Reading Class? Of Course!

I teach five classes of reading throughout the day - that's a little over 100 children. We read every day! I love teaching reading! However, there's something else that's just as important that I love teaching my students, and that's life lessons. This week's life lesson - have an attitude of gratitude.

We took a little side step from our usual reading activities and thanked our parents, aunts, uncles, (whomever the child wanted to write) for the kind things they do. This was NOT a letter to ask for more around the holiday season, but a moment just to say "thank you!" Too many times the little daily routines that parents do on a regular basis go unnoticed.

We went through the entire writing process. When editing with students, I loved seeing many of our great $100 vocabulary words we discuss in class on a regular basis included in the letters. For example, one child stated that he appreciated his mom sitting in the stands, cheering him on in the frigid weather. Another student thanked his mom and dad for lifting his spirits when he was melancholy. Metaphors and similes were also used. Two of my favorites were, "You are the hand that picks me up when I get down." "Life is a puzzle, and without you, I'm incomplete."

I know that parents will truly appreciate the words of kindness (I know as a parent I cherish the heartfelt, homemade gifts). Hopefully, these cards will be keepsakes for a lifetime.  More importantly, I hope my students learned an important life lesson: words of kindness make a difference and go so far!

I think I'll go and thank some of those incredible people in my life for all they do.


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Quote of the Day: Happy Sunday!

Here's a quote for the day!

Wishing you all a wonderful week (hang in there- ha) before the holiday break. We can do this!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Have you tried Go Noodle in the Classroom?

We all have our favorite programs that we use in our classrooms.  My last post was about how I use ClassDojo to manage classroom behavior. Another favorite program that I use is Go Noodle. Have you tried it? Wow! I love this! It's free brain breaks to get our students wiggling and moving. Don't they all need that?

I certainly don't have time to use it every day with only 55 minutes per class (I teach five classes of students per day). However, when we do have a little extra time, I've set each class up with their own Go Noodle character. As you complete videos, movement, etc, as a class, your character amps up, grows muscles, and you can constantly change your characters. The students visibly see progress and, as you know, this brings excitement.

Last week, we watched a silly (but catchy) video in Go Noodle titled "Kitty High Five." As the students walked out of my class, I gave them a "kitty high five." Even fifth graders thought this was fun!

If you haven't checked it out, you must. I highly recommend it. Click HERE to learn more about Go Noodle. Oh, and did I mention that it's FREE.
Photo Credit:

Too bad I was dancing right along with my fifth graders (oops, I was having a little too much fun) and didn't record them. However, to get a glimpse into how much the kiddos enjoy Go Noodle, I do happen to have a snapshot of some of my former students.
Happy Teaching,

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Persuasive Text and ClassDojo Points?

You all know we have those days when we're frustrated with how lessons go. We've all been there. Well, today was NOT one of those days (thank goodness). I teach five reading classes (about 100 kiddos), and I spotted some beautiful reading and "partner superstars" throughout the day.

This week, we are focusing on persuasive text. Our vocabulary includes words like misleading statements, counterarguments, biased, contradictory statements, exaggerated statements, and point of view. I not only wanted my students to be able to read persuasive text but to be able to extract pertinent information from the text, and give textual evidence to prove those particular opinions. The two persuasive books I choose were about organic farming (included letters to the editor: pro and con) and The School Year Needs to be Lengthened (you can imagine the vociferous objections when I said this) versus We Need Summertime, Too.

Most of my students went from not even knowing what organic meant to believing that organic fruits and vegetables are more "succulent" and "exquisite." I love the vocabulary they're learning!  On the other hand, only a handful felt like we needed more school (ha). Do you blame them? They were definitely able to give multiple reasons from the book as to the invaluable life lessons they learn during the summer.

While my students were working in pairs with their books, I told them that I was going to be looking for "Partner Superstars." I love using ClassDojo in the classroom. If you haven't checked out ClassDojo, you MUST.  It's FREE and is a phenomenal class management tool. Click here to learn more: ClassDojo

ClassDojo allows you to pick avatars for your students and assign particular behaviors. You then can add or deduct points based on student behavior.  I went in and added "Partner Superstars" to my behavior list. As students worked diligently, I used the app on my phone (free from the App Store) to add points to partners. As first, they couldn't believe that I could actually add points while walking around the room.

Note: I give PRAISE TICKETS  in my class, and students can then put those in a bucket to draw for fun surprises such as "wear a hat," "eat with the teacher," "write in ink," "choose your seat," and more. Therefore, each ClassDojo point equals 1 Praise Ticket. Should a student hit 3 points in one class period, it's the "Magic 3." This means a walk to the PRIZE BOX automatically. Woo hoo!

Again, today was one of those days when I felt like everything fell into place. Ahhhh! Don't we love those days! Look at my superstars working hard - giving opinions from the books and supporting it with text evidence and looking up words in the glossary after guessing what complex words meant from the context clues. I'm one proud teacher!

Happy Teaching!