Friday, March 29, 2013

My Kind of Spring Cleaning!

If you're anything like me, spring cleaning is not on your list of the "Top 10 Things to Do for Fun on the Weekend"... (or in my case, even the Top 1000...I really HATE cleaning!)

But this kind of spring cleaning, as in clean out your TPT wishlist and get great teaching resources for 20% off...well, that's the type of spring cleaning that I can get excited about! (not to mention that I can sip coffee while I am doing it and there is no scrubbing involved!)

Everything in my store will be 20% off this weekend, March 30-31. If you have a SMARTBoard, I have interactive resources for word work, fractions, government, Math Calendar, and more!

Thanks to the talented Krista Wallden at The Creative Chalkboard for the idea and this adorable graphic. Head over to her blog to see some of the sellers who are participating and to link up if you have a TPT store and want to participate! And if anyone asks you what you did this weekend, you can honestly say you did a little spring cleaning!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Happy Birthday Maine!

I don't know about other states, but in Maine, a large part of the social studies curriculum for 4th grade is focused on learning about our state. We study the geography, history, government, and economy of Maine. Today was Maine Statehood Day, because on March 15, 1820, Maine became the 23rd state to join the Union. In honor of the occasion, we had a Maine Birthday party today. It was a great way to review some of what we've learned about our state as well as just have some fun!

 This was my morning message on the SMARTBoard.  Students took turns dragging each number to the correct spot.
Students colored Maine symbols to glue onto a paper hat, (made from a template for a famous feline hat). The hats were glued onto a 6x24 inch strip of construction paper, sized to each student's head, and stapled together.
You might think 4th graders would be "too cool" to want to wear a hat like this, but they loved them!

We had a special snack of Maine foods, (or in some cases, foods meant to represent Maine products.)
Our menu consisted of blueberries, (our state berry), Goldfish crackers, pretzel logs, apples, B&M Baked Beans, potato chips, Moxie, (which was invented in Maine, apple juice, and Poland Spring water. In the past, we have had moose-shaped sugar cookies, Whoopie Pies, (our official state snack), and mini-blueberry muffins, but due to food allergies, we can no longer have any baked goods. The kids did not seem to mind at all and some even came back for thirds! There were a lot of purple teeth in the room!
We did the birthday chant that we usually do when it's someone's birthday.
Click on the picture to get your free birthday chant.
We played "Pin the Tail on the Moose"!
No, I don't have only 14 students in my class...I had one student absent and there were 5 tails that didn't even make it onto the moose paper. I had to stop one student from walking blindfolded right out of the classroom!
We also played Maine Jeopardy, boys against the girls. I adapted the rules a bit. First, I did not require them to answer in the form of a question. Second, while each team took turns choosing a category and point value, both teams had the opportunity to answer every question. We used iPads to write the answers using the free Show Me App. The kids loved this and asked if we could play again sometime. My teaching partner found a free Jeopardy template on the Smart Exchange and we just added our own questions.
The boys huddle to decide on their answer.
All in all, we had a wonderful time, but let me say that I am glad that March 15 fell on a Friday this year. I am TIRED!
  If your curriculum includes studying about your state, consider holding a state birthday party!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Bloggy Makeover!

Okay, so I know I've only had my blog for a few weeks, but right from the start, it didn't look the way I envisioned it in my mind. I couldn't get the effect I wanted and it didn't look professional. What to do... what to do?
Enter the amazing Megan from A Bird in Hand Blog Design. She came to my rescue with the most fantabulous blog design ever! Don't you love it?
I grew up on the Downeast coast of Maine, and in my tiny town, wild blueberries were, and still are, a major industry. (Did you know that 90% of the nation's wild blueberries come from Maine?) Anyway, I wanted to keep my little blueberry girl, but change everything else. Megan was super easy to work with and she made the process of choosing what I wanted soooo easy! (Well, actually, the hardest part for me was choosing which header I wanted from the 3 adorable options she came up with.
Seriously, if you are looking to start a blog, or update the look of your blog, I can't recommend Megan highly enough. You won't be sorry, and you will have a blog that you are proud to show off!
Megan also is the author of I Teach, What's Your Super Power?, and Blog, Baby, Blog, both awesome sources of information and inspiration. Be sure to check her out!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

March Currently and a Giveaway

I used to see the "Currently" posts all over the web and always enjoyed reading them. Now that I have my own blog, I get to participate in all the fun! Thanks to Farley from Oh' Boy 4th Grade!
Here is mine for March.

Listening: To HGTV. I love all the design/renovation shows like Property Brothers, Love It or List It, Buying and Selling, etc. I can see a complete transformation in 30-60 minutes. Wish it were that easy in real life. We are having work done on our VERY old, (like 1850's old), house, and it seems never ending!
Loving: My SMARTBoard! Though I've now had it almost 2 years, I never take it for granted. Not every teacher at my school who wants one has one. Every year, the district gives out a few more, but you have to write a grant to qualify. I had to try 3 times before I got mine. I use it for almost everything all day long, and love to create products for it!
Thinking: How does everyone else do it? Like crank out multiple blog posts/new products on a weekly basis, while teaching full-time, and in many cases, raising a family? My kids are grown, so it's just my husband and me, (plus a neurotic cat, but she doesn't count.) I know I'm slower than I used to be, and I shouldn't compare, but it takes me a really long time to finish a product. It makes me wonder if some people just don't sleep!
Wanting: A magic wand to wave over the giant stack of papers/notebooks in my bag so they will magically correct themselves. (And as long as I have it out, I might as well use it to clean my house too!)
Needing: To exercise more. . . sigh. . . I have such great plans . . . I will leave school by 5:00 and go to my local community center, (which has an indoor track),  so I can walk for 1/2 hour and still make it home in time to cook dinner and eat at a reasonable time. (I know 30 minutes isn't much, but I've got this Achilles thing going on, so it's a start!) Anyway, the track is right on my way home, so that's not the issue. It's the leaving school at 5:00. Even though I've been there since 7:00 am, there is always JUST ONE MORE THING that I need/want to do. Can anyone else relate?
Like: Coffee. . . gotta have it first thing in the morning. . . and I'll still be sipping on it after lunch.
Love: My computer. . . I have a problem. . . seriously. . . I can get lost for hours going from Pinterest link, to awesome blogs, to TPT, back to Pinterest. . . that's probably part of why I don't feel like there are enough hours in the day. It is so amazing to see the wealth of knowledge, rich discussions, and creative ideas that are being shared online these days! I think my husband gets a little jealous sometimes!
Hate: Cockiness...always have, always will...To me, cockiness is very different from confidence. It is that sense that someone thinks they are better than everyone else and that the rules don't apply to them.
There! Now head on over to Oh' Boy 4th Grade to get in on the fun! But first...
I want to tell you about a giveaway I am participating in!
Janet from Making Waves in Second Grade is having a 100 follower giveaway.

I donated my SMARTBoard Word Work Letter Tiles. It is in the first grade bundle at Janet's blog, but is appropriate for K-3. It allows you to create customizable word work activities for your students that are interactive and fun.

Happy Weekend!
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Friday, March 1, 2013

Cool U.S. Geography Resources

I am fortunate enough to have 6 iPads in my classroom this year. One of my students' favorite apps is "Stack the States". It has all the fun of a game, while helping kids, (and maybe even some adults), learn cool facts about the 50 states. The same developer also makes a version called "Stack the Countries".

Another wonderful resource for geography is this awesome video about the 50 states and capitals. My students love to watch it on the SmartBoard when we have a few extra minutes. (Hah! Who am I kidding? We never have any EXTRA minutes, but I make time for this video a few times a week.) We're wondering how long it really took the guy to do all the drawings!

And of course, we can't forget an oldy, but goody..."Fifty Nifty United States". Every year my class learns this song, and forever more, they know all 50 states in alphabetical order.

What are your favorite quick videos or apps to use with your students?

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