Saturday, December 31, 2011

Winter Break Reads and a Link-Up

I read and re-read a few professional books over the break that I thought I would share!

Making your Teaching Stick is a great little book, and its a quick read. It discusses how we often feel: that they are getting it for a bit but it doesn't really stick for a long time...

Lori Oczkus has written a few great books, and this one did not disappoint. I had read parts of it two years ago, but really read it this time. It has so many good ideas that fuse reading and writing together, as it should be. Reading like writers and writing like readers.

I only read the "Building a Reading Life" book. Lucy Calkin's book gives detailed descriptions of lessons that develop readers. She basically gives her script, but encourages you to put in your own words. I really loved her ideas, but I probably won't do too much with it until next year.

Also, I am linking up to Secondary Solution's Upper Grade Linky Party

Secondary Solutions

Check out some of the amazing upper-grade blogs!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


I'm linking up with A Teacher's Treasure to share my resolutions for 2012


-Drink more water and less Diet Coke! I've been doing great this year on drinking less Diet Coke because I've been subbing in tea. Now I want to focus more on water.

-Memorize a Bible verse each week.

-Take down wallpaper, paint and re-decorate our guest bathroom.

-Read more fiction books! (Now that grad school is over, there is way more time for this, and I'm very excited!)


-Reorganize my binders and files full of things collected in grad school and professional developments.

-Finish "Building a Reading Life" by Lucy Calkins.

-Improve guided reading groups by being more intentional with each book and activity planned.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

11 in '11

I'm linking up with this awesome linky party! Click the button above to join! Here are the 11 items to post:

11. Favorite movie you watched

I'm so sorry, but I HAVE to pick two!

10. Favorite TV series:

And another tie...

No show has made me cry more. ever. I love Parenthood!!!

9. Favorite restaurant:

Tillman's Roadhouse (Fort Worth and Dallas) The food is delicious and the decor is lovely! If you're ever in this part of the Lone Star State, I'd highly recommend it...

8. Favorite new thing you tried:

7. Favorite gift you got:

Hands-down, the most comfortable shoes I've ever taught in...(Besides pajama day.)

6. Favorite thing you pinned:

I love the many inspirational quotes and printable scriptures I've found on Pinterest.

5. Favorite blog post:

Mrs. Klohn's lovely Reader's Notebook Ideas.

4. Best accomplishment:

Finishing my Master's Degree!!!

3. Favorite picture:

The look on my grandmother's face really captures her sassy but sweet personality. Love her dearly.

2. Favorite memory:

Another tie:

Cheering the Mavs through the playoffs and on to becoming champions! We were at the American Airlines Center with the crowds when they won in Miami...

Being there the day one of my best friends gave birth to her first baby...Life is a miracle.

2 minutes old!

1. Goal for 2012:

Drink more water. Read more fiction. Memorize more scripture!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Top 3

I am linking up with Fern Smith's Top 3 Linky Party to share the 3 posts I've written that received the most page views.

1. Classroom Management: BLURTS!: 1,745 Pageviews

2. Primary Literature Based Smartboard Lessons: 629 Pageviews

3. Daily 5 + Smartboard = Love: 333 Pageviews

I love seeing some of the popular posts I've missed on many blogs out there! Great linky party idea.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dragons, Dreidels, Santa, and Mary

Last week, my school put on quite a little Festival. First, the students did a production about winter celebrations from around the world. Then, we set up booths for each country/holiday that was featured in the show! Each grade level studied a particular group and then created art and food. The event was really neat. The students studied this in music class and in the regular classroom, put on a show about it, created the art, and visited the different booths. I think it will be very memorable for them.

Unfortunately, I started taking some of these pics after we were starting to clean up, but I thought I'd share what I have.

My group did the Hanukkah booth...

Playing dreidel...

The Sweden booth had the cutest little girls dressed as St. Lucia to hand out sticky buns!

Winter Celebrations of Asia. I love their dragons!

Christmas in Germany!

The kids sang a song in the show called "Pickle in the Tannenbaum"..Really cute, and I LOVE this little pickle jar! And of course, they handed out pickles.

Christmas in Mexico! Got there too late to take many pics.

But I made it just in time to eat the last homemade bunuelo...Holy cow. SO GOOD. Like fry bread with cinnamon and sugar.

So yes, Dragons, Dreidels, Santa, Mary and even Baby Jesus made an appearance at my school this year. I know how the world is, and I understand that doing much of this in a school could be considered taboo. But, for the sake of our students, I am so glad we were able to have this event. They learned so much, and I feel that it will help them develop appreciation and respect for others. Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Liebster Blog Award

Kristy at Teachin' First awarded me the Liebster Award! Thank you Kristy!

This is a very sweet award. The goal of the Liebster Award is to spotlight up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers. I love the idea, because I'm hoping that as it goes around that I will discover more new blogs!

The rules are:

{1} Copy and paste the award on your blog.
{2} Thank the giver and link back to them.
{3} Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.

1. My Life as a Fifth Grade Teacher

Lindsay is a 5th grade teacher in Texas, like myself! Love having someone in my boat! She has great ideas, and I can just tell we have very similar tastes in things! :)

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2. The Art of Learning

The Art of Learning is written by a 5th grade teacher in Michigan. She does REALLY cool stuff with her class, and loves costumes.

3. Jasztalville: Where Creativity and Inquiry Rule

Mrs. Jasztal is a wonderful and creative teacher. She has some especially great writing ideas on her blog!

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4.Finding Joy in 6th

Kim is such a sweet encouragement to everyone, and she just oozes positive energy, even through the internet!

5. Colorful Teaching

Colorful teaching is a fun blog name, and a wonderful blog full of cute things!

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Encouraged, Finished and Blessed

Friends, I FINISHED MY MASTER'S DEGREE!!! I presented last week, and my work is complete!!

That morning Mason left before I did, when I went to get dressed, I realized I couldn't zip it up by myself because it hit a snag. Thank goodness for my dear, retired neighbor who was at home and willing to help. Love having good neighbors.

I arrived very early to my presentation time, so I checked my email while I waited. I had an encouraging email or text from over half of the people on staff at my school. It was an amazing encouragement before I presented.
After I was finished, my dear mother-in-law treated me to a massage and facial. My sweet mother also bought me a new dining room table as a graduation present. I'm not sure if I'm blessed or spoiled rotten. Definitely both.

Now I feel like I can really enjoy my holidays, and I'm definitely more relaxed in the classroom with that weight off my shoulders. Thank you for all of your encouragement!

And last, but certainly not least, Sweet Miss Katie Klohn is hosting a giveaway. She is giving away her interactive reading resources and a Polar Express Unit! Fun fun!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Stockings, Poetry, and Happy Thoughts

Last week, we worked on our persuasive letters to Santa. OHMYWORD, they were hilarious!!

While trying to persuade Santa to stop by his house, one of my kids wrote "Santa, those cookies you eat are so so filled with calories...This year, I will leave you a salad, an apple and a good ole yoga mat..." So creative!!

Then, I let the kids create their own stockings and glitter them. Yep. Glitter. They aren't perfect, but the kids designed them all by themselves, and they sure cheer up the hallway!

We have also been working with "'Twas the Night Before Christmas." If you teach 3rd on up in Texas, you've probably seen that poetry can be added to the new STAAR starting in 3rd grade. They need to know all these type of features. "Twas the Night Before Christmas" was a really fun way to incorporate some of our poetry elements! We also practice reading/rereading the poem for fluency practice. The kids loved it.

We also illustrated our favorite stanzas and analyzed those. Very fun!

Okay blog friends, send me some prayers and happy thoughts: Tomorrow I present for my Master's Degree!!! I'm nervous, but I'm very excited to finish! Here I go!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway!

has teamed up with others to host a big giveaway. Don't miss out on the fun...Check out her blog for all the details! :)