Thirteen in '13!!


FIRST of all, let me say that this blog is undergoing some new design challenges..... my free template, background, and stuff, is gone for very good reasons....but I am now faced with redesigning on my own or paying for a custom design......it may take a few days to decide....in the meantime I have some temporary background and headers...... which I kinda like.....

HOWEVER! Here's a great Linky idea!!

Thanks to Miss KindergartenDragonflies in First, and A Teeny Tiny Teacher for this look back at 2013! 


Here are my 13 moments of 2013:

BOOTS!
I totally began wearing boots--- a lot--- last winter and I'm enjoying it now! Dresses, leggings, jeans..... Here's my favorite pair:
Click {HERE} to see the boots at DSW!


Oh my, there are several from which to choose:
Of course:
I re-read the second book before the movie and loved it! We saw it in a Big-D theater so it was spectacular!
But I also loved:
This is a must-see movie, for sure. you just gotta love Sandra Bullock and for about ten seconds George Clooney is in this movie. See it in 3-D!


Now, this is going to be hard....cause I'm a TV junkie. I loved the ending season of Breaking Bad and I did love Dexter and I really like The Walking Dead, but if I have to pick ONE---- it's:
Normally I watch every show after DVRing it, but not this one. This one I watch LIVE, people, so it must be serious business to actually sit through the commercials......I love it! I'm an Alicia/Will fan--- how about you?????

EWWWWW......this one is hard, cause really, if I am being totally honest, I think pop tarts make a perfectly good meal, but if I get to choose the restaurant we go to it would be:
I also think there is nothing wrong with ice cream for supper.... just sayin'.....

Well, this one is super easy to answer cause it's
TPT !!!!!!!!!!!!!
I love my store and working on products, using products, designing pages and covers, everything! The fact that it is somewhat successful after three months makes it even more fun, I must say!

We just returned from a 6 day ski trip to Colorado! This was my husband's gift to the family for Christmas this year! We took our son and his girlfriend and our daughter and her husband.
Copper Mountain was beautiful and it snowed daily. We had a lot of fun!

Really, how can you answer that question---  I pinned about 27 million things this year.......okay here's the favorites but with some categories:

FOOD: It's a Cheese Dip and quite wonderful. Click {HERE} for the recipe!

QUOTE: Makes me laugh every time.....

SCHOOL-RELATED: My classroom is a STEM Lab and this year has been one of total CREATION! Everyday is amazing, but it has been a ton of work! I have relied on web based sources for ideas for STEM lessons and design challenges. One of THE BEST I pieced together is the Spaghetti challenge! Here are some very interesting structures:




Click {HERE} for more about this challenge in my lab!!!


Welllllll....I flipped back through briefly and this post caught my eye: "PICTURE BOOKS FOR THE FIRST WEEK OF SCHOOL"!
Click {HERE} to see the original post!


This is easy- it's the creation of my STEM LAB!

I worked most of the summer to turn an almost empty space into a SPECTACULAR SCIENCE LAB!  Click {HERE} or {HERE} to see more of the lab!


Another easy one:
My daughter's wedding was in June!


Gotta be the wedding:


My ultimate goal is to be the facilitator of STEM labs in the remaining elementary schools in my city. I'd love to help some schools get started in the coming months and spend the summer equipping labs and collaborating on lessons!


BLESSED!



So, how about you?? What one word can you apply to your year?Merry Christmas, y'all!

CAROL
(Today is my birthday! Dec. 25)


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Some TRUTH and some Spaghetti!



Happy Weekend Friends!  I just uploaded some pictures from my camera and had some very excellent shots of a design challenge we did in the lab this week....soooo I decided to bust out a post about two things.....


TRUTH


and 


spaghetti.


Here's the truth FIRST....

I recently had to miss two days of school for workshops. I left a fabulous horrible experiment with my sub that involved GUMMY BEARS!


I thought it was GREAT! My sub told me she had fun. The kids I talked to seemed to like it. I even wrote about it on this blog and proclaimed it wonderful enough to create a TpT packet for it.

THEN I tried it with students myself.


Are you kidding me? It was a HUGE amount of preparation, the room smelled truly awful- sweetness and vinegar, yuck!- and worst of all it did practically NOTHING scientifically. It all sounded good on paper but did not prove to be.


Seriously, we used the scientific method and that is about it. We used forceps so that was a little bit sciencey...but in the end, it was not WORTH the prep it took to make all those little cups of salt water, and vinegar, and baking soda water, and soak the bears overnight. After doing it with TWO classes I had a serious rethink and went to my files for a quick one session idea for the rest of the week:


Tadaaaaaaaaaa..... It's the Spaghetti Challenge!!

Here's how it works:

Kids get a bag with 20 spaghetti sticks and a few other supplies. They are challenged to build the largest tower possible with those supplies with one item that must be on the top!

OK, I knew this was going to be fun, but ya'll it is one of THE best things we have done all year. I paid $12 to buy all those blasted Gummy Bears and a box of spaghetti and Wal- Mart brand jumbo marshmallows worked better! Really!


Lots of groups did this- one tiny strand of spaghetti to make a really tall tower- but it doesn't support the marshmallow!

This group worked on adding a cross beam!







It was quite a competition to see who could build the tallest one!



I cannot say this enough! STEM is the greatest KID HEAVEN EVER! After we finished with these structures we had the best talk. Why were we successful? Why not? One group said these words, "Well, we built a great tower but then we realized the mass of the marshmallow needed a much sturdier foundation." What????? Did you hear all that science and design in there?

So, then, I said, "What if you came in tomorrow and had all these supplies again. What would you do?" Oh my, goodness. Well, the room buzzed as they began to plan how they would change the designs based on their epic failures. (We love to use the term epic failure!) Then I added this, "What if you could double one of the supplies and rebuild? What supply would you double?" This is when they started begging to repeat this activity.


And we will.....!


AWESOME STUFF people....... and it was a box of spaghetti and a bag of marshmallows. Learning=PRICELESS!
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Science Mentor Texts


After linking for the past two weeks with Collaboration Cuties and learning so much, I decided to try again this week. The mentor text subject area this week is SCIENCE! I really had to think hard to produce a text that I use that I felt would have value or usefulness with most any state's curriculum. Here in Alabama our third grade Course of Study has objectives in Science and Social Studies that address natural disasters, storm safety, and relief/recovery efforts following a disaster. So, I settled on a chapter book I use every year when we are studying about natural disasters.

But, first let me give credit to the blog that began this great linky event: 
Thanks to the two teachers that collaborate on this blog for the mentor text link up!







My Book!


Night of the Twisters is a chapter book about Dan Hatch, a 12 year old with a small baby brother. As a storm system moves across their community Dan must help his little brother and his friend Arthur into the basement of his home hoping to find shelter from a tornado that passes right over their house. When they emerge from the storm they find the neighborhood completely destroyed.  They team with Arthur's sisters to look for Dan's parents and an elderly neighbor, Mrs. Smiley. The book describes their efforts to stay safe, the actual tornado event (as it passes over them), and the scenes of destruction after the storm. It is quite dramatic!

This book is particularly difficult in my community as all of the students remember the tornado events of April 27, 2011. The storm system that day damaged and destroyed many of our surrounding Alabama counties and left us all without electricity for about 5 days. This year, as I read this book aloud, I had to stop periodically and assure the children that everything in the book would be alright.  They really were sitting on the edge of their seats as I read.

I use this book when we study natural disasters in my classroom. Our focus of the study is on relief and recovery efforts and we research the many ways people can help out after a disaster. This is especially poignant here because so many of our boys and girls did go to our neighboring counties and help with clean up and delivery of food and water.

The book is based on a real life event! The tornado in the book happened in Grand Island, Nebraska in 1980. Click on the tornado below to find a link to photos of the real damage done by that storm. 
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Mentor Text

I found the best little idea from a blog I follow. It's a link up with other teachers who blog about texts being used in the classroom, including how these are used. Since we read picture books, non fiction, and fiction constantly this is right up my alley. Here's the link:
This is from a blog called Collaboration Cuties. The text I am recommending is our current read aloud. It's actually two books by Sharon Creech. The first is Love That Dog. 

This is the story of Jack, a fifth grader, and his teacher Miss Stretchberry. She begins to read poems to her class and has the students write poems in a journal style. At first Jack is VERY reluctant to write- in fact he says "I can't do it. Only girls write poems"! Or he says, "Can't do it, brain is dead."! However, as more and more poems are read, Jack begins to take on the writing styles of the poets and consequently begins to crank out some really good poems himself. It's called Love That Dog because Jack does focus on his dog throughout the book and finally writes a spectacular poem about his dog.

The follow up book is called Hate That Cat:
The same Jack and Miss Stretchberry continue their poetry journey. This time the focus is on Jack's hatred of a neighborhood cat.

Both books are quite profound, funny, touching, and best of all- both books are written as poems! Each book also contains the poems Miss Stretchberry uses as inspiration in the book's classroom .


In my classroom I use these when we begin a study of poetry. Each day we read a little and then go to our Writer's Notebook and write a poem. Our first efforts are just like Jack's- reluctant and not very meanngful. After about a week, though, I do notice that kids begin to take it more seriously and they begin to write some really amazing things.

Here is a sample written by a student last week:
Midnight Hour
Blackbirds flying
around in the 
yard,
the rain making
their feathers
sleek and
shiny.
A huge
clash
of thunder
that should have
scared them
away
does 
not.

Since Love That Dog and Hate That Cat are both written in poem form it's best if the kids can see the book as it is read aloud. I have enough copies of each so we can do this! 

Some Writer's Craft that is a focus in each book: alliteration, onomatopoeia, similes, metaphors, repetitive phrases, and more! ENJOY!


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Book in a Bag Project- A Great Alternative to a Book Report

Just a note: This post was written when I still had a regular classroom!

Our Book in a Bag Projects were due today and, oh my, look at the table in our room!
Book Report Idea: It's called Book in a Bag- Students decorate a paper bag with a scene from the book and fill the bag with 5 items that represent something from the book! Fabulous way to do a book report!
 The bags are all so different and so well done! Splendid work, great books, great time for sharing and recommending books!
This is a  perfect alternative to normal book reports!

Book Report Idea: It's called Book in a Bag- Students decorate a paper bag with a scene from the book and fill the bag with 5 items that represent something from the book! Fabulous way to do a book report!
Here's the gist (our new favorite word) of the project. Read a book, write a summary, decorate a bag with a scene from the book, place five items in the bag that represent something from the book, bring it to school, and present it to the rest of us! Awesome!
Keep reading for samples and more directions for this project!


Book Report Idea: It's called Book in a Bag- Students decorate a paper bag with a scene from the book and fill the bag with 5 items that represent something from the book! Fabulous way to do a book report!
The front of the bag should show an original kid-made scene from the book. This can be hand drawn and colored with markers or crayons, or have cut outs or other embellishments to decorate the front. It cannot be images that are printed from a computer!

Book Report Idea: It's called Book in a Bag- Students decorate a paper bag with a scene from the book and fill the bag with 5 items that represent something from the book! Fabulous way to do a book report!
On the back of the bag is a one page summary of the book. We worked on how to write this in class and then kids wrote their own. The lessons I taught about this included samples from books I had read and mostly I just wanted the kids to know that a summary does NOT tell every little tiny event, but also covers the entire book! Hint, hint, you should not read a 400 page book. That's hard to summarize on one piece of paper!

Book Report Idea: It's called Book in a Bag- Students decorate a paper bag with a scene from the book and fill the bag with 5 items that represent something from the book! Fabulous way to do a book report!
The sides of the bag can also be decorated if the kids wanted to do that.
Don't you love that yarn ball the cat is playing with in the above photo!

Book Report Idea: It's called Book in a Bag- Students decorate a paper bag with a scene from the book and fill the bag with 5 items that represent something from the book! Fabulous way to do a book report!
Now, here's where it gets really fun. Inside the bag kids should have five items that show something from the book. Like in the book above the student could have included a plastic lizard. Or in the book called Socks the student could have brought in a stuffed toy cat. 

Book Report Idea: It's called Book in a Bag- Students decorate a paper bag with a scene from the book and fill the bag with 5 items that represent something from the book! Fabulous way to do a book report!
The student that did the report on deer hunting brought in a deer antler!

Book Report Idea: It's called Book in a Bag- Students decorate a paper bag with a scene from the book and fill the bag with 5 items that represent something from the book! Fabulous way to do a book report!
Finally, each item should have an explanation card that tells why the item represents something from the book.

The presentations are so fun! Each student shares the bag and a little of the summary, but the most fun is sharing the five items in the bag.
Now, you cannot do all these presentations in one day! It just takes too long. We spread these out over a full week!

Easy idea, wonderful way to share books, and it beats a regular book report, hands down! Try it!

If you are looking for more great ideas from teachers that have tried things that actually worked, take a look at my Pinterest board about Classroom Organization!














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