Tuesday, January 31, 2012

and the geometry fun continues...

Today my kiddos and I discussed the topics of polygons. We made polygons out of toothpicks and marshmallows to reinforce the concepts. The marshmallows really reiterated the idea of vertices, which helps the kids who try to count a vertex as a side. 

Any ideas for polygons? And triangles? Triangles are always challenging for students.

Monday, January 30, 2012

A stupendous geometry filled math day!

Days like today make me fall in love more with my profession. 

We started chapter 9 in math today...geometry. The 1st lesson calls for introducing plane shapes and their attributes (line, line segment, ray, point, angle, vertex). It's not the greatest lesson in our curriculum in terms of engaging the students so I knew I had to prepare something good! We first completed a Mimio lesson which introduced all the vocabulary. Next, we used pretzels, M&M's, and Valentine's Day candy corn to make the figures. The kids had a ball and their brains were buzzing!

We are having to double up on math lessons to ensure completion of all the skills before the FCAT. I'm constantly looking for ways to review material that's exciting and fun to my kiddos. To review symmetry today we took rulers and made them our lines of symmetry. Then the students took pattern blocks and colored squares and made cool symmetrical patterns. I loved seeing their creativity shine through. You don't get to see this side of them when doing a worksheet or practice workbook page. 

Thanks kiddos for making my job so fabulous! 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Now Playing! Idiom Tales!

My students finished their idiom movies about a week and a half ago and I finally got to the editing of these movies today! They worked really hard on this project and had a ton of fun.

You guys are the first to see our class movies. Tomorrow I will show the kiddos and send copies home for family viewing. 


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Newsletters....a must!

Yes, I'm alive if anyone was wondering. I haven't posted in a week and I'm feeling like a terrible blogger. 

Of course we all know how important parent communication is. To stay in touch with my parents I send home a weekly newsletter that keeps my parents informed with what is occurring at campus and in our classroom. Naturally it's nautical themed to accompany my classroom theme. :) Sadly, not all teachers have their own newsletters/ways of staying in touch with parents. To help bridge the gap between school and home I'm posting a sample of my newsletter. 

Click on the photo for the pdf version.

To get more ideas from the fab blogging world, link up (This is my 1st linky party *cheers*) and share what you do to keep your parents informed. 

*The link up button is at the very bottom of this post.*

Off to go do the dishes. YUCK. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

When the cat's away...

...the mice will play! Mark had to work today so I went out and did what I do best...SHOP! First stop....Books-A-Million. There is something about children's books that brings me total bliss. I love children's books more than shoes....well that was a little dramatic, but you get the point. Let me give you some background information before I share what I got at BAM. We read "Cook-A-Doodle-Do" every year which is part of our reading series. It's a different version of "The Little Red Hen," or what most people call a "mixed up fairy tale." MY KIDS AND I LOVE MIXED UP FAIRY TALES. 

When we read "Cook-A-Doodle-Do" we also examine different versions of the original story. I read them the following... 
Burro's Tortillas by Terri Fields. This story gives a Southwestern twist on "The Little Red Hen." Burro wants to turn corn into tortillas, but no one will help him. 

"The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza" by Philemon Sturges. Little Red lives in the big city in this adorable tale. She tries to employ the help of her friends to make a pizza, but of course they have other "plans" and cannot help. 

Both stories are precious and big hits in my room when I read them. Well today, I found a NEW story to add to my "Little Red Hen" collection. When browsing the aisles of BAM I found "The Little Red Pen" by Janet Stevens. SCORE! I'm so excited! This book is ADORABLE!

One word sums up this story... hilarious! Little Red Pen turns to her friends for help when she has to grade papers, but no one is willing to assist. Things take a turn for the worst when Little Red Pen falls into the wastebasket. The other office supplies must work together to save her. I cannot wait to share this story with my kids. 

*Click on the picture of the book to watch a preview video on the story.* Enjoy!

Next, I went to Target. Target must be making a killing on the dollar section with us teachers around. As I'm sure most of you know, they currently have adorable Valentine's Day stuff in their dollar section. I found foam stickers for holiday crafts and noise putty for my class store. I ran out of this stuff the first day it debuted at the store and the kids have been hounding me to restock it. :) 

Then I went to the mall and shopped around. Nothing too exciting. 

Contest update: I'm currently in 1st place with 55%. I'm hopeful I can keep the lead until the 30th, which is when the contest ends. Every one I know has been super supportive and voting like crazy, even my students' parents. They are so AWESOME!

Got to go clean and do laundry. EW. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Intense is an understatement

This Mimio Contest is CRAZY! People are going voting nuts. One second I'm losing and then within hours winning. I have employed coworkers, family, friends (including blogging ones), parents of my kids, and even my students; however, the competition is pretty stiff. 

Once again...any help with this is GREATLY appreciated!

I'm the multiple meaning words lesson.

Off to go bake brownies for my kiddos. They have an AR goal for every quarter. Those who accomplish their goal get to have lunch with me and share a special treat. Tomorrow is our AR luncheon day. 

And finally....I smell 100 followers in the near future. Already thinking of what my giveaway will be. I'm excited! Night friends. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Ok...not to over use my quota of "help support" here, but I need some assistance this one last time (lets be honest Tanya).

I have a Mimio in my classroom. No surprise there...I have mentioned that quite a few times. Not so exciting....ready for the exciting part? A few weeks ago Mimioconnect.com had a contest for a "winter" themed lesson. So I submitted two lessons and assumed that I would never make the finals, BUT I DID! Mimio choose 3 lessons as finalists and my lesson on multiple meaning words made the cut. 

Winning prize: a MimioView document camera which will let me take video and pictures of what's under my camera and import them into Mimio lessons. I WANT IT! Now I sound like my 3rd graders...

This contest is now open for voting on Mimioconnect.com. <Insert fabulous blogging friends> Will you help me? Would you mind taking out a few minutes of your insanely busy teacher lives and voting for me? It would mean the world! 

Here is the link....


I am the 1st lesson (Turn the light bulbs on with multiple meaning words.)

Here are some sample slides from lesson...

Thanks in advance! I truly appreciate everything you guys do to help out!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A day in my shoes.

Another great linky party that I have to partake in. Katie over at Adventures of a 6th Grade Teacher is hosting this party where you outline what your everyday life is like. 

This is what a typical Monday in my shoes heels is like...careful, I have fallen a few times and have also gotten my heel stuck in the cracks on the sidewalks. :) 

4:45 - Alarm goes off. Yes, I get up this early. I'm an early bird and I do my best work in the morning so I choose to get up this early and head into school to get some work done before the kiddos come in. 

4:50 - Hop in the shower or I like to call it my "think tank." I analyze and go over what the day may bring me...

5:05 - Penny is whimpering at the door. I get out of the shower, get dressed, and have a 5 minute greeting session with Penn before I continue getting ready. She lays on the floor while I rub her belly and say "Good morning" 50 million times to her. Don't ask me how we got to this point but she loves it. How do I know? Her excessive tail wagging....

5:10 - Penny crawls back into bed while I finish getting ready. I do my make-up and then quickly check my email for blog comments. :) (This is a new addition to my morning routine.) Blow dry hair...do any finishing touches and head to the kitchen.

5:50 - Mark is up by this time so we exchange brief morning conversations. He is NOT a morning person, so I do most of the talking. I fill up my Tervis Tumbler with freezing ice water, make my lunch, pack my laptop bag, kiss Penny 15 times, and hit the road!

6:00 - Drive to work. Sing a lot in the car to get myself pumped for the day! 

6:35-6:40 - Arrive at work.Getting to work at the same time every day is nearly impossible. I take several isolated, country roads to get to work and that means one thing....TRUCKS!

6:40 - Sign in at the office. Collect the items in my mailbox. 

6:43 - QUIET CLASSROOM TIME. The calm before the storm. Check email, write emails, gather sheets for production, put up my Mimio lunch count, grade papers, write more emails, talk to teachers that come, talk to students that try to sneak in before the bell, talk to parents that come in, vacuum my room, (I LOVE MY MINI SHARK VACUUM), etc., etc., etc.... 

7:28 - My room is attached to the media center which is where they house the 3rd graders before the morning bell. The bell goes off at 7:30 but I hear little knocks and whispers of "Ms. V, COME GET USSSSSS," at my media door. 

7:30 - THE STORM HAS ARRIVED! Collect parent notes, box top labels, money for fundraisers, money for field trips, money for yearbook ads, lunch money, and any other money that finds its way on my desk. I love the kids that just drop the money on my desk with no name/reason and then we play the "WHO'S MONEY IS THIS?" game. 

The kids work on morning work and complete AR quizzes in between the 26 stories they want to share with me and their friends. 

8:00 - Go over morning work and start our 90 minute reading block. Centers, weekly reading story, grammar, mimio lessons, vocabulary, FCAT review.... and anything else I can squeeze in!

9:45 - Snack time. We all inhale a quick snack and take a breather. I usually work on minor issues that have arisen. (Examples: "Ms. V I logged myself out of AR." "Ms. V my stomach hurts." "I have a knot in my shoelace.") 

9:55 - My students grab their whiteboards, expo markers, and erasers and find seats on the floor for math time. 

10:00 - Math time, our favorite time of the day! 

11:00 - Specials. I drop the kids off, check my mailbox again, and use the restroom. I don't have a bathroom in my room, so by 11:00 I am doing the "bathroom dance." Afterwards us 3rd grade teachers chat in the office...bathroom...gate... where ever and catch up on gossip, stories, etc. 

11:15 - Back in my room if I don't have a meeting. Check math workbooks, push in 5 chairs, pick up 9 pencils on the floor, and any other odds and ends. Usually someone comes in to chat.

11:50 - I go and pick up the kiddos. If it's a P.E. day, I tackle bruises, cuts, student arguments, and the list goes on and on....

11:55 - If a student didn't finish their independent math pages, this is their time to do so. I go around and help out. Those who finished before specials quietly read. 

12:08 - Lunch time. I drop the kids off (sometimes I stay and eat with them). Most days, I eat while reorganizing my desk and sorting the materials that were left on it from the morning chaos. 

12:38 - I pick the kids up and we do science, social studies, or writing. Sometimes a combo of 2 subjects.

1:45 - Pack up time. Copy in agendas, pass out homework, empty out mailboxes, etc.

2:00 - Bell rings. Walk the kids out. 

2:00 - 3:15 - I tutor Monday - Thursday. Monday is my enrichment group and Tuesday - Thursday is for students who need help with various skills. 

3:15 - Walk the tutoring kids out to their parents' cars. Wave goodbye. 

3:18 - Go back to room. HEELS COME OFF. I walk around my room barefoot and pray that I don't step into something too gross. I work on anything and everything related to school.

4:45 - 5:00 - Time to call it a day. 

5:00 - Drive home.

5:30 - Arrive home. I greet Penny outside because she's too excited to control herself. We exchanges kisses and she whimpers in delight. I tell Mark about my day, while he or I cooks dinner...usually he can't get a word in because my mouth is going a mile a minute (OH IMAGINE THAT). 

6:00 - 6:30 - Dinner time. Afterwards, Mark and I argue about who is going to do the dishes.

6:40-9:00 - Blog stalk, watch TV, eBay surf, watch new movies on Comcast Direct, work on teacher stuff...relax!

9:00 - 9:15 - This is the time where Mark says "Come watch this with me." Sometimes I make it pass the opening credits but usually NOT. I fall asleep and drift into a teacher coma.

10:00-10:30 - Mark yells at me to go to the bedroom.  Penny squeezes herself next to me and finds herself a tiny part of my pillow and we fall fast asleep. 

GEEZ! Is anyone still with me? That was long, but that's my day! 

Finally, a BIG THANKS to those who responded to my desperate post yesterday for clip art and digital images. You guys are so awesome. I got so much great advice and spent last night purchasing a ton of stuff. Thanks again! 

Saturday, January 14, 2012


I am feeling so lost right now. I want to buy graphics/clip art software so I can start making my own activities and sheets for TpT. Problem is, I don't know which one to buy! I've been searching and reading reviews for the past 2 hours and I'm still feeling unsure.

Any suggestions? Advice? What do you all use to make your adorable units and activities?

Thanks for the help! 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

And learn them and learn them and learn them...

...please excuse the title....I have a song stuck in my head that I used for instructional purposes today, but now I am paying the price. 

Of course as you know, it's idiom week in my class. I had made a Mimio lesson for idioms over the summer. While putting that lesson together and doing "Google searches," I found a song on animal idioms posted on YouTube. THIS VIDEO IS AMAZING!! 

My kids were singing the words all day! Our movies on idioms are coming together nicely. I plan on doing a post on everything we have done this week for our movies. It's been such a delightful experience. 

Off to go snuggle my puppy. :) 

Monday, January 9, 2012

It's a good thing you don't need a voice to blog

Teaching and talking all day + being sick = NO VOICE. I sound terrible, but feel okay. The show must go on! No sick days for me. 

Farley over at 
is hosting a Currently linky party. Please check out her site. Here is my contribution to the party!

We started our movie making process today. The kids are EXCITED! I will do another post tonight after dinner to share what we did today. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

New Mimio Files

Hello bloggers. Sunday night already? How did that happen? 

I have added two new files on MimioConnect.com for those who are Mimio users. 
Please check them out. :)

One is a gallery pack, which contains different shaded shapes to display fractions. Just click and drag into your lesson for quick, already made examples of fractions! 

The 2nd file is for teaching fractions/equal shares. My students ALWAYS struggle with concept, so I wanted to create a lesson that was student friendly and relatable for them. Isn't food always intriguing for them? Enjoy!

I'm feeling so much better. Thank goodness because I can't miss any school with our "big test" coming up. Unfortunately to get to this point, I have slept the weekend away, but oh well. It worked. :) I did find the time to blog over at The Best Endings. I just finished the book "32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny." If you haven't read this book, please do! It's hilarious! Going to watch the rest of the football game. :)

One last thought...I HAVE REACHED 50 FOLLOWERS! Is that a milestone in blogging world? I doubt it, but I'm certainly happy! 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Sick as a dog and movie making

I haven't posted in 3 days and that kills me, but in my defense, I'm sick with a sinus infection. This happens every year when Florida drops down to 20 degrees one night but then back up to 80 the next day. My poor little sinus friends can't handle it. Now I'm paying the price...

Apart from not being able to breathe through my nose, I had a great week with the kiddos. Idioms is our skill for next week, so I have decided to make a class movie with the kids. I divided them into groups of 4. Each group has been given "themed" idioms. (sayings about food, weather, feelings, animals). 

I bought this fabulous idiom set from Scholastic a few months ago and I'm so ready to put it to good use. 
ReallyGoodStuff.com also offers this product. If you click on the photo, it will take you to their website. 

This will be out first class movie. I'm excited! I wrote a grant earlier in the year for $800 worth of video equipment and my class got it, so we need to start with the movie making process. I have a very lively group and they should have NO trouble being in front of the camera. :) 

I need to start working on sheets and activities that will help us in the completion of our movie, especially in the script writing step. Stay tuned for future posts about this.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A day full of bucket filling

I checked my email this morning before I went to work and got a full dose of feel good "bucket filling."

Christina over at Live.Laugh.Teach nominated me for the Liebster Award. I am so shocked and absolutely honored! I was on Cloud 9 all day. Please check her blog out. She's a doll and her blog is even more delightful. She just started and she's off to a fabulous start! Thanks Christina. :)

The bucket filling continued... Elisabeth at Twins, Teaching and Tacos nominated me for the Versatile Award. Two awards in one day...I'm so excited. Please also check out Elisabeth's blog. She's a 3rd grade teacher and a mother of twins. I don't know how she does it. Snaps for Elisabeth!

Ok...now I must do some nominating myself. Fun! Here we go..

Recipients for the Liebster Award
The rules of this award are as follows:1. Show your appreciation to the blogger who nominated you by linking back to their blog. Thanks again Christina! Live.Laugh.Teach

2. Nominate five happy little blogs (200 followers or less) by posting a comment on their blogs.

3. Post the award on your blog.

4. Check out what the other up-and-coming blogs have to offer.

Twins Teaching and Tacos

Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher

Fun in Room 4B

Recipients for The Versatile Blogger Award

The rules for this reward are as follows:

1. Thank the person who presented the award to you and link back to them. Thanks again Elisabeth!

Twins Teaching and Tacos

2. Tell seven things about yourself.
1. I have been teaching 3rd grade for 2 years.
2. I did high school and community theatre for 4 years.
3. I absolutely love football (NFL)! Mark loves this fact.
4. I like love to shop. My favorite stores are Macy's and Ann Taylor.
5. I have the smallest shoe size ever. I "pretend" to be a size 5, but I'm actually a size 4 (which is a kids' size). I can only wear shoes from Nine West. Their shoes actually fit my feet. :)
6. I am super short. 4'9 to be exact... hence my small shoe size. :) Half of my 3rd graders are taller than me.
7. I have seen the musical "Wicked" 3 times, and I'm about to see it for the 4th time in April.

3. Pass this on to 15 newly discovered blogs and let them know they've received the award.



Buggy for 2nd Grade

Tales of Frogs & Cupcakes

Crisscross Applesauce

Heather's Heart

ENJOY AWESOME BLOGGERS! Off to go make dinner...