Friday, April 27, 2012

Crisscross Goes Happily Random...

Hey Everybody!

I'm a happy girl.  Why? 

Five Very Good Reasons

My Thirty One order came today.....

I didn't have to give this today {Three days was enough this week!}

I got a happy little package from Learning Resources today...

That's all I'm saying about that....just you wait and see what I've got up my sleeve - but...

I've come to realize that Learning Resources is an amazing company selling quality products at such competative prices.  Clearly, they understand the needs of students and teachers - they have a grant opportunity going on right now hosted by We Are Teachers. 

If you want to apply, you must answer this question:  “How would you use portable interactive technology to create collaborative lessons?” At the end of the application process educators can invite colleagues to vote for their favorite lesson ideas. Each of the three top vote getters will win a set of three now!Boards and three GeoSafari TuffCams, a prize package valued at $2,000!!!!!   That's not all -  two merit-based winners selected by a panel of teachers will each win one now!Board and one GeoSafari Tuff Cam, a total value of $700. Teachers can apply for the grant online through May 22, 2012.  You've got to go check it out!!!
Click Here To Enter!!!!
I'll let this one speak for itself!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Morning Meeting *Freebie*

Happy Friday Eve!

Didn't it feel like Friday should have been three days ago?!?  Man, tuckered doesn't even BEGIN to explain how tired I am.  My forehead is numb.  Really. Does that ever happen to you? It's okay if you say no...but for real, I'm so tired the bridge of my nose and my forehead are numb.  Only happens when I'm tired. That, and my right eye sometimes twitches.  I've got issues.

I know Morning Meeting was "the thing" some years back. My teacher-friend we call "Barb" and I did a big inservice on it.  In front of LOTS of people. Hundreds.  Okay, felt like hundreds. It might have been 30 - give or take. Holy nervous.  As I remember {after the nightmares fizzled} it went very well. 

Fast forward 4 or 5 years - I still find such power in having a daily morning meeting {or whenever a person can squeeze one in}. You know that pendulum.  Seems that trends in education come and go faster than fashion trends {Gauchos anyone?}.  I love trying the latest and greatest but sometimes I have a hard time letting go of things.  Especially when I know those "things" are valuable! 

Morning Meeting is one of those "things" for me.  It's a great way to build community, set a positive tone, increase excitement about learning and improve and reinforce academic and social skills. This year I have a cutie with Down Syndrome; initiating meaningful contact was difficult for her at the beginning of the year, now she'll walk right up to a friend in our circle, greet them with a big smile on her face all while making great eye contact. So cool.

We pretty much follow the same routine:


Greetings can be as long or short, formal or informal as you'd like.  I found a lot of fun greeting ideas from Christina Bainbridge's class website {here}. I printed, laminated, hole punched and put them on an "o" ring. I did the same with her activity cards.  Lots of great ideas in this book too...

My kids' favorite greeting has remained the same throughout the year...

You've gotta get a nice rhythmic chant going as you say it...
The activities change too. As part of our math program we have something called Number Corner {think: calendar}. We usually do these activities during the activity portion of Morning Meeting, but try to squeeze in a fun one here and there too.  You can find a whole bunch of good ones on Christina's website.  One of our favorites is "Pass the Koosh Ball".  I have more koosh balls than I know what to do with.  One year my kiddos deemed me a koosh ball collector and ever since that fateful day I've been given at least a dozen each year.  It's pure koosh madness.  The kids love them though.  When playing "Pass the Koosh" I'll name a category.  We'll be studying weather next week so I might call out weather.  The person who started with the koosh passes it to the right and has to name five things that fit in that category before the koosh makes its way back to its beginning.  Great way to review.

At the end of Meeting we read our message, fix any mistakes that are there, locate any word wall words, and answer the question of the day.

I love question of the day.  At the beginning of the year it starts off as a get to know you question, then evolves into either a take a stand type question "Should kids be able to chew gum in school" or an academic question "How much money is here" {I'll put a money flash card on by the question for them to count and answer}.  Sometimes they answer with a checkmark {on my whiteboard easel} in a designated area under the question or they'll take a small sticky note and put their initials on it and sick it in the appropriate spot. 

Sounds lengthy and at the beginning of the school year it is but as the year progresses I tweak and streamline it so it doesn't take quite so much time and some days we just can't get to it...

Do you do morning meeting?  If not, what do you do to help build classroom unity and community throughout the year?

Switching gears...

Can you believe I haven't finished Hunger Games?  I'm on the third book and have been nursing it since spring break.  I kid you not, I read a page or two, my eyes start to droop and I'm out for the count.  All I need is a Lazy Boy...yank out my dentures and call her a day.

Happy Friday Ya'll!  {I said ya'll - I had to look up where the apostrophe goes...that's up for debate apparently. Who knew?!}

Monday, April 23, 2012

Homphones *Freebie* and Something that Rhymes With Mice

Eye would love two share sum homophone goodies with ewe.  Hoping ewe no what eye am talking about hear...

I start off our word study by reading....

Full of homophones!  Read and chart...
Here are a couple of activities we do...

A homophone book
To make the book you take sentence strips and cut them in half.  Take three halves and set them on top of eachother, then fold them in half.  Use a rubberband in the middle to hold the "book" together.

Here's a sample page...

You can grab it here..

Here's another activity...

My little "Good, Bad and Ugly" linky party was an intimate affair...who knew sharing some of the ugly would be so hard!?!  It's okay, I least you know where to come if you want to feel okay about your little imperfections. I'm your girl!!!!

While on the topic of ugly - I've got some little bugs {rhymes with mice} in my classroom.  I CANNOT stop itching.  Seriously, I have had my head checked a million times and I KNOW there's nothing there but I CANNOT convince inside of my head that I don't have those things that rhyme with rice.  My classroom is now pillow-less, cushion-less, and I'm not sure I'm going to bring them back in.  Do you have pillows in your classroom?  Are you afraid of a "rhymes with dice" outbreak?  I'm hopeful that since I never actually said the word that I've spared you of the pseudo-itchies!

Nighty night....don't let the bed bugs bite...or those things that rhyme with thrice.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

You Have Homework, Yes YOU! And a Giveaway!


This is going to be all business.  First, you've all officially been assigned homework.  You need to dust off those cameras, put aside your pride, and snap some pictures of your classrooms. I want to see it all. I want to see those pop cans you have stacked around your classroom sink {Who me?!}, I need to see those anchor charts that aren't a work of art...{Because I know I'm not the only one that will quickly write up an anchor chart on a whim and the letters are all crooked-y and cockeyed but it just has to do and then you'll RE-write them if you want them to be blog-worthy}.

Honestly, I started the linky party for all of us.  Sometimes I take a look around at what's out there in blogland, and I'll be honest, I feel like maybe I'm not doing everything that I can...maybe I can do it better, do it bigger.  That's not all bad.  As teachers we're lifelong learners - that's part of why we teach - it's in our DNA to be in a constant state of betterment.  I'm cool with that.  Buy I'm also okay with me not being perfect...I'm okay with a bulletin board that started off straight and ended up...well, not so much.  It's all kiddos are happy, I'm happy and I'll just be sure that I aim my camera juuuuuust so when taking a picture for all of you'll be none-the-wiser.  Or maybe I won't.

So link up... bring on your good, your bad and your ugly...we'll love you even more for just being YOU!
One of my best bloggy friends, Staci, over at Going Nutty is having a 250 follower giveaway!

It's a good one!  You could win two items from the other Staci's TpT store or three items from Reagan's TpT store, OR you might just win a 10 dollar gift certificate from me to TpT.  That's not all.  Do you remember my cute little coffee cozy that Staci {Nutty Staci, not the other Staci} sent me just because?  She'd like to giveaway one to each of her three winners.  They are more than adorable...

I've got my eye on the 'stache one...but now that I'm looking, I really like the one with the browns and blue flower...hmmm....

To sum it all up...

1. Do your homework, take pictures, link up!
2. Enter Staci's giveaway

That's not too bad, right?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly - A Confession Linky Party

Hey Girls,

It's a week of firsts - a new Facebook page {here} and my first Linky Party.  I hope you've come ready to boogie down and link up!

I have a confession.  Sometimes my classroom isn't as pretty as it looks here on Crisscross Applesauce. When I take pictures I sometimes make the background more presentable. I might move a thing or two before snapping the picture, or I crop this or that out.  Yes I do. 

Girls, I have some deep dark secrets and I thought I should come clean and share them with you. Right here. Right now.

I bring you...
                                            If you link up - feel free to grab this cute little thing!

I'm just not perfect. I try really hard.  

The Good

My little nightstand is nice and tidy...lookin' good!

My standing bookshelf displays current reads - spring time books right now.  Daily five working with words stuff behind it.  I'm diggin' it.  Nice and organized.

Yes, this is my "table/desk" - it was a good day.  I didn't set this up for the picture. I swear.

Our desks were cleaned before spring break - and most of them are still clean.  Booya!

The Bad

How many crud collectors do I need around my room - I have mugs, containers, that just collect...crud!

We earn stickers on our Snoopy Dollars.  Look how dog-eared and icky they look.  There's a missing one. I'll get to that one day, I'm sure.  I'm reminded daily by this little guy.  I'll get to it, I promise!

Another crud collector.

They were cute when I downloaded and laminated them off of one of your blogs.  But those rascally kids keep rubbing up against them and now they are all dogged out.

Remember my trip to IKEA?  Remember these adorable stools that I was so geeked about?  One of the screws was stripped right after hubby put it together. I know I should have returned it, but that takes time - I don't have a whole lot of that.  We tried to use it anyway, and it busted.  BOO!  Now my reading table isn't so cute!

While it might look cute - it was supposed to be Reagan's Namebow Rainbows...I ran out of steam and opted for the "ditto" variety"} 

They did turn out pretty cute though, didn't they!?

The Ugly

My cabinets are not neatly organized and labeled.

I don't even know what's in here...math stuff, social studies, some science...we'll call it a hodgepodge.

My closet...there just might be a monster in there.

I store things in my bathroom. I know, gross - right?

I have a mountain of books in that green basket that need to be returned to
our book room. They hate me there. I hoard books.
I know you have some deep dark secrets you'd like to share.  Think of it as therapy. Link up and share Your Good, Your Bad and Your Ugly!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Will You Like Me Please?

Hey Chicks and Chucks,

Hope you had a great Monday - I'm not so sure "great" and "Monday" belong in the same sentence but perhaps you're a glass half full kinda person and you just LOOOOOVE yourself a Monday! 

I'm a happy teacher right now because I really like what I'm teaching in each subject.  I don't know if you're like me, but there's always one topic/concept that I'm teaching that I just don't dig 100 percent.  Right now, I'm in a total groove. We're working on geometry in math and they love all the hands on constructing and discovering that goes on with that.  In science we started our unit on air and weather and this is another hands-on unit full of lots of experiments and outdoor observations.  Who doesn't like teaching absolute location in social studies {okay, that's not exactly a personal favorite - but I do love teaching mapping}.

My most favorite of all is how nicely my nonfiction reading and writing units fit together.  If you're not familiar with Jennifer Jones you should really carve out some time in your evening {you'll need some popcorn, maybe a beverage of some sort because she has A LOT of goodness to share}to check out her blog, her original website and then her newest website.  I use her nonfiction features notebook to guide my instruction during reader's workshop.  We take one feature each day and really dissect it and talk about its purpose and importance.  Good stuff.  Here's what one of the pages looks like...

Once we have quite a few features/conventions under our belts we begin our nonfiction writing unit where we write a report on an animal of our choice.  It's cool to watch the kids put into practice, in their own writing, what they've been learning from their reading. 

On a completely different note...

So, I was wondering if I could ask you a teensy tinsy itsy bitsy little bitty favor? I started a Facebook page.  Come again?  Yeah, I started a Facebook page.  I'm sort of giggling as I type this because that seems like the "big leagues" to me...but I thought I'd give her a go. I don't have one of those fancy buttons anywhere on my blog so you'll just have to click {here} to head on over to visit and "like" me.  You DO like me, don't you?!?!  Prove it.  Prove your like for me.  Push that little button...wherever it might be.  That whole "timeline" business is REALLY throwing me off. 

Okely Dokely...

Have yourself a terrific Tuesday...

Did you go "like" me yet?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Knock, Knock...Who's There? *Freebie*

...ME!  I'm back!  I must tell you, there's no reason other than I've been sucked into two things - the game "Draw Something" and Catching Fire.  I just can't pull myself away from either one long enough to do more than a little blog stalking and a few comments.  By the time I decide to blog I'm too tuckered to type more than a few lines...

I just can't do it all friends, I just can't do it all...

Today I was visited by three teachers from England during Daily 5.  Man did my kids knock it out of the ballpark.  I think our new British friends were quite impressed with what they saw.  One of our third grade teachers swapped classes with a teacher from England a couple of years ago.  It was before I started teaching at this school - I so wish I had been there to pick her brain about teaching-life and life in general in England.  Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to debrief with them.  I'm curious if my teaching style and classroom management seemed worlds different from what they are accustomed to? I told them about my blog so maybe we'll see them around!

This afternoon we explored 3D shapes.  For some reason the kids found great humor in the word "polyhedra" {either that or it was just the aftershock of one cutie paTOOTie's "fluffer" that was blown with perfect timing...we were in the middle of talking about "gases"...admittedly, even I giggled - I mean really, couldn't have timed a toot more perfectly}. 

We started off by talking about various 3D shapes, noticing and indentifying faces, edges and vertices.  We closed the door a few times for dramatic flair.  You know you've gotta do it when teaching your kiddos big FIFTH GRADE WORDS...a hush comes over the room whenever I tell them we've got some big kid words to learn.  Inevitably somebody offers to close the door so our principal can't hear - likewise, somebody always lets the cat out of the bag and rats us out and tells another teacher or our principal that we learned the big words, but shhhhh, don't tell.

Then the kids were given a challenge:  To see which shapes they could make using these guys...

They came with our math program, Bridges, and they are called polydrons.  LOVE these things.  The kids love them too.  It was really interesting to hear some kids excitedly predict that they were SURE they'd be able to make a sphere while others just knew it wasn't possible but here they are discovering!!!

We didn't get any spheres but we did find out that there are triangular pyramids and square pyramids thanks to some fourth grade experts that helped us figure out the difference {I sent some first grade friends on a math journey to find the answer...Mrs. W. teaches first grade for a reason, and sometimes it feels like the math I'm teaching is NOT first grade stuff!!!!}.

After we figured out which shapes we were able to make with square and triangle shaped polydrons...

We went on a shape hunt around the classroom to find every day objects that are shaped similarly...

Note: cute coffee cozy on the Starbucks coffee...Staci!

We also recorded our findings here...

Believe it or not I'm not a countdown to the last day of school kinda girl.  Not that there's anything wrong with that - I'm one of those strange birds that never knows how many days are left.  I did, however, hear through the grapevine that we have 40 some odd days left.  Are you kidding me?!?!  I still have sooooooo much to teach!!!!!!  Unbelievable!

Gotta get rid of these shakes.  Must. Read. Book.  Must. Draw. Something. Now.


Friday, April 6, 2012

Tag - A Teensy Eensy Bit Modified

Oh Boy...

Seems that one game of tag wasn't enough for some of my bloggy friends, no they just didn't get their fill the last time, so they've decided to revive this childhood bloggy favorite.  I'm so bad at this.  I was tagged a while ago by Erika and since I wasn't quick enough Kelley tagged me too. 

See, I'm so crazy verbose, this is no easy task for me.  You don't even realize how long EACH BLOG POST takes me on a good day.  I type, I erase, I type, I re-type, I re-read, I erase.  You know what I mean!?!?  So, trying to be succinct is just not something I'm very good at.  I'm actually really, really bad at it.  Try as I might, I go on and on and on and on.  Blather might be a good word to describe what I do when it comes to Q & A's.  Speaking of "blather" - great word to use in Hanging With Friends.  That, and QAT {one of the few words you can make with a "q" without needing a "u"}. 

Oh okay...

Here Are The rules:
* Post these rules
* Answer the 10 questions that the tagger posted for you
* Create 10 questions of your own to ask the people that you're about to tag
* Tag 10 people and link them with your post (and let them know they've been tagged!)

Kelley's questions from Buggy for Second Grade:

1. If you could travel to any place where would you go?
I don't have any one place I'd like to travel to.  Our family goal is to visit each state in the good 'ol US of state each summer {both hubby and I are teachers} and show our boys as much as we can of our wonderful country.

2. What current fashion trend are you loving right now?
Fashion?  What's that?  I'm comfort queen.  I wish I were more fashion forward, but I'm not.  I'm not an old ninny...but "trendy" is another word {along with succinct} that just isn't in my vocabulary.

3. What current education trend are you currently loving right now?
Hmmm, I'm having a literacy coach come into my classroom right after break to help me with reading clubs using this book...

4. What is your go to food or snack?
Chocolate if I'm in that kind of mood...but I love sugar snap peas too!

5. Are you a flats or heels girl?
Ha - think you can guess?  FLATS! {That closely resemble slippers}

6. If you could change anything about yourself what would you change?
I would workout more consistently

7. What is your favorite sport to watch or play?
Probably baseball - but I honestly don't watch many sports.  I love GOING to a Tiger's game though...LOVE it!!!!!

8. What are you looking forward to doing this summer?
We are renting a cottage up on Lake Leelanau {Michigan} for a week and I cannot wait!!!!

9. What is your favorite piece of technology?
My iPad!!!!!!!

10. What is the best movie you have seen recently?
The Hunger Games!

And Erika from The Honey Bunch tagged me too!  Here are her questions...

1. If you could be any animal what would you be and why?
LOL - Ummm....none.  I think I lack imagination. Maybe a well loved dog...but I'd have to be really spoiled, like my own.

2. What is your favorite drink?
An ice cold glass of milk

3. What is the best book you've ever read and why?
I don't have a best book I've ever read - although I was really pushed to think when I read The Shack...

4. What are your top 5 teacher blogs?
I plead the fifth...

Love you ALL!
5. What is your favorite non-teaching blog?
Clemsongirl and the Coach - although she's been MIA

6. What is the name of your favorite font?
courier?!?  Helvetica?  Trebuchet?  Ha - just kidding!!!!!  {does anybody use those?!?}  I remember when all I knew was Comic Sans...oh how I loved that font.  Probably smiley monster ?!?! {Kevin and Amanda}

7. Do you wear a watch or not? If so which wrist?
No, but if I did it would be on my left wrist

8. Gold or silver?

9. What is your favorite TV show to watch?
Modern Family but mostly Reality T.V.

10. Dog, cat or other?
I'm supposed to tag 10 others.  You know I'm a teacher, right?  You know that when I do a job I want to do it right? Right?  To do this job correctly, I'm probably supposed to check to see if the people I choose have already been chosen.  I'm not going to do that.  I'm going to choose all willy nilly.  Do you mind?  So if I tag you, and you've already been tagged, no worries - I won't take it an eensy bit personally that you don't answer my questions.  Totally cool with that. 
Kimberley @ First In Maine
Tanya @ A Class Act
Okay, I just modified my curriculum.  Ten was more than I could handle. I tried really hard.  But I wasn't able to perform with success and a modification was a must.  Or is it an accommodation?  I can't remember...
I think I can handle ten questions....
1.  Do you have any bad habits?  Care to share?
2.  Outdoors or Indoors?

3.  Books:  Real deal, Kindle, Nook, iPad, other?

4.  Night owl or early riser?

5.  Do you have a best friend?

6.  Favorite room in your house?

7.  What do you pride yourself on as a teacher?

8.  Where do you blog?

9.  Your home alone, somebody rings the doorbell, you don't know them, do you answer the door?

10.  When telemarketers call do you listen, tell them you're not interested politely, hang up on them?

Phew...that was a workout.  I did it though. And I feel good.  Accomplished.

Slowing Down Time...

...Here I thought if I put it on my Currently, that would make it real...guess not, because I'm trying SO dang hard to slow down time - this spring break is FLYING by...  Rats.

We had such a simple and sweet week.  My favorite part, by far, is each morning my boys crawl into bed with me making a "Momma Sandwich".  We lay there chatting, snuggling, and acting silly.  Those are the moments I will hold onto forever.

Another highlight?  I finished The Hunger Games and am in the middle of Catching Fire. Oh my gosh...why didn't you tell me to read these sooner?  Holy awesome!!!!!  You know that friend I sometimes talk about?  Barb?  She's into them too {I think I might of guilted her into it} so she and I are...GOING TO THE MOVIE TONIGHT!!!!!! We're meeting up with some other friends afterward for drinks.  Can you think of a better way to spend an evening!?!  So far, the characters remain in my mental images. I haven't paid attention to any commercials or anything, so I can't wait to see what everybody looks like! {ETA: I was supposed to post this yesterday - but a little snafu prevented that from happening.  You'll read about that later...}

Which leads to my freebie...we wrapped up our unit on mental images in reader's workshop right before break.  We have had such a wild and crazy month I just didn't have it in me to have much of a to-do so the kids all brought a flashlight.  Here's the note I sent has my classroom information on it, but you could always just use the idea and tweak it for your classroom by making your own.

Here's another mental image poem paper.

I hope you can use one or both.  I took pictures of our celebration on my iPad, but I guess I need a cord or something to get them onto my computer {Since I don't have a Mac}.  It was a lot of fun and I got some really great pictures of the kids snuggled up with friends, in the dark, with a cool glow of the flashlight, reading}...I'll have to leave that to your OWN mental images!

Yesterday was a fun day - we went to the library, then off to an arcade with my oldest's good friend.  The boys had a blast and begged to have their friend {our neighbor} come back over to play because they won a disco ball and wanted to have a disco party in the basement. 

You would have gotten a chuckle out of their imaginations. Disco ball was all set up, 70's station turned on the t.v. and silly kids dancing their little hearts out.  Innocent enough.  <enter laser tag guns>. Somehow this sweet disco party turned ALL BOY. 

My oldest comes upstairs, relatively calm, not bawling or anything {which is SO not like him when he gets hurt} so I thought his disco ball was broken {said friend tends to break things...never on purpose...he's just a rough and tumble boy}.  So I say "Don't tell me - it broke".  He slowly nods his head no and opens his mouth.

HIS TOOTH WAS BROKEN IN HALF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh my goodness.  Not what I expected.  Apparently, those laser tag guns are hard and heavy and should never come in contact with a tooth.  I felt so bad, in a bit of a huff, I sent our neighbor home {poor guy felt SOOOOO bad}...found the other half of the tooth on the carpeted stair, got a baggy, filled it with milk, and stuck his tooth in there.  Where did I learn that?!?  I'm not sure, but it turns out it was the right thing to do because it made it possible to reattach it to his tooth that was still intact.

Yeah, would have been possible had I found all the pieces.

Turns out, I had the largest chunk of the tooth, but was missing several small pieces.  Darn.

The whole process was a bit traumatic for my man {and his momma - because it's so true that when our kids are hurting we, the parents, hurt TWICE as much}.  After a few shots, some grinding down, and bonding later he was as good as new.  It really does look very nice...but I'm still really bummed.  No more biting into apples for him...

And Hunger Games?  Soooooooooooo good!  If you haven't hopped on that bandwagon, you should!

Have a great weekend!!!!!!!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Currently {I'm on Spring Break...}

It's Spring Break!!!!!!!!

Let's see....

1. Didn't roll out of bed until 7:30
2. Drank my coffee out of a cup, not a travel mug
3. Drank my coffee slowly while reading
4. Cleaned my house leisurely/while gabbing away on the phone
5. Showered and dressed, hmmm, right around noon, then took the boys bowling

I'd say it's been a great first day of vacation.  The cherry on top?  Farley's Currently...

Jenn over at Finally in First is having a countdown to spring break giveaway...

I'm really crossing my fingers on this one...Day #1 is a little personal laminator.  Funny thing is, before blogging, I had no idea I needed one of those.  Now, it's on my top ten list of must haves.  I don't know what to make of that!?!

I'd like to say I've got something teacher-y brewing and that you'll need to just hang on tight - but I don't.  I didn't bring anything home with me.  I'm going in to work one of these days boys LOVE playing in the gym, running around the halls, acting wild and crazy withOUT being send to the principal's office.  Maybe I'll find some inspiration then.  In the meantime..

It's tubby time for the puppers...wish me luck!


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