Monday, June 22, 2015

Online shopper!

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back 

 So I totally have an online shopping addiction...I seriously love browsing around stores from the comfort of my couch.  I found Ebates on another blog and was so intrigued.  I had seen the commercials on TV but hadn't really thought much about it.  I did a little research and realized that  this is the best site ever!  How it works: you sign up, start on Ebates,  shop at your favorite sites, and get's so simple.  They also offer some great coupon codes in addition to the cash back. Below is a screenshot of my account activity...I have so many wedding and baby showers coming up that it is seriously helping the dent in my pocket!  I mean...I'm buying the gifts anyways I might as well get some money sent back!
 Do you already have an account?  If not,  Sign up for yourself!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

April in a nutshell

I can not wait for April to be over.  It is such a busy month and May will bring some much needed stress relief.  I am taking some graduate classes for the next step in my teaching license and have to present my Capstone project later this month.  This has been an intensive project on project-based learning in science.  I am testing to see if it is better at helping students retain information.  Part of my Capstone brings back one of my favorite lessons...ECOCOLUMNS!  I blogged about this here.
This is such a fun project but it requires a ton of prep work.  A big part of it is getting tons of soda bottles.  A lot of my kids don't drink soda, which is awesome, but not for this project!  
When we finally got the bottles we marked and cut them for each group and set them aside.  We were also waiting on the supplies to be delivered.  This super heavy box showed up in my classroom which meant we were finally good to go!
Last time I did this project we used circuits and I almost vomited.  I hate bugs!  This time I went a safer (for myself) route and got pill bugs.  These guys don't jump...thank GOD!
I also ordered a variety of aquatic plants so the kids could have a diverse ecosystem.
And of course I have to mention the main attraction...the guppies and snails!

As I said, this was a long process.  We began by planting the terrarium with rye, moss, alfalfa, and mustard seeds.
Then we had to wait for them to germinate.  
I will post more about these ecocolumns in another post.

Below I wanted to share some awesome pictures from our March cereal box book reports...check them out!  The directions and rubric are posted on my TPT store.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Standardized Testing Week Dun Dun DUUUUUUNNNNN

This week we are doing standardized testing at my school.  When I was a kid it use to be my favorite week of school.  We had no homework, I liked the tests (weird, I know), and it was a break from the normal...but times have changed.  Testing week now seems to be a week full of stress and anxiety for the poor kiddos.  It stinks!  I want the kids to enjoy themselves (as much as humanly possible during testing) and relax.  Last year I gave out little motivational treats each morning of testing week for my students.  I decided I would do the same this year plus I really like puns.
Here is a shot of my week setup of treats.  I am giving out Starbursts, Tootsie Rolls, Gum, Swedish Fish, and Smarties with the punny printouts (they are from various places on TPT).  I also made up a little testing toolkit for each child.  Inside each kit was 2 sharpened number two pencils, an eraser, and a pencil sharpener.

The kids love coming in to a new treat each morning.  I'm hoping it brightens their week a little bit!

Saturday, March 14, 2015


Okay so I totally have been slacking on my blogging lately.  I have switched gears to wedding planning and grad school work.  Speaking of grad school...I have my capstone project coming up.  I am in the midst of writing the lessons and getting prepared to implement it.  I chose to do Project Based Learning in science vs. traditional teaching methods.  I am using life science for my unit.  I will definitely post more on that as I get into it.  I'm pretty excited!
Anyways...We have this thing at my school called science week.  It has now turned into STEM week.  It is a week where everything is science related.  We do science readings, math, social studies, and so on.  There is also a science fair at every grade level.  I have revamped the way I do this in the last couple years.  I switched to inquiry projects for my fourth graders.  They have to pick a testable question, follow the scientific method to experiment and collect data, then they report back to the class.  This is a really great learning experience for them!  They do everything in school aside from the actual experiment part.
We just started the project last week with our big kickoff.  I wanted a better way of keeping track which student was doing each project.  I have used in the past for other assignments and decided to set it up for all 3 of my science classes.
I had to set up an account for all the students. Below is the homepage.
I posted a question about the inquiry project and they logged on and responded with their idea.  It has been awesome!  They are super excited about using Kidblog.
I logged on to find so many comments!  It has been a great tool to engage the kids in their inquiry projects...HOWEVER they have totally hijacked it and started making their own posts about all sorts of things! 
Exhibit A: This Cinderella survey 

I have to admit I do think it is cute...for now!  Have you ever tried Kidblog out with your students?  If you did, what did you think of it?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

You Oughta Know About...Zipgrade!

My school has a new initiative this year.  We have been working on data-driven instruction with scheduled interim testing.  Throughout the year we are taking cumulative tests on what we have completed thus far.  We use the data from these tests to guide our teaching.  We figure out who needs reteaching or what concepts the whole class could use a refresher on!
This is a great initiative because it gives us concrete proof of what we need to work on.  The only downfall is that tests can take forever to grade.  I have 55 students that I see on a daily basis including my own homeroom.  I found this awesome application that we use to quickly grade our testing.  It's called Zipgrade.  
There is a free version, but the one I use costs 6.99 a year with unlimited tests.  You print out the answer sheets from and have the students answer the tests on these sheets.  Once the students have finished you can take pictures of the answer sheets to grade. 
It is super easy to use.  You create an account and add a new quiz.

Once you have your quiz created you can upload the answer document by taking a picture or by manually entering each answer into the app.  The best thing about Zipgrade is that it breaks the testing down into useful data.  You can look at each question individually to see where your students went wrong and break it down even further so that you can see what percentage of students picked each answer.

Has anyone used Zipgrade or something similar in their teaching?

I just have to share something I am super excited about...We wrote letters to celebrities again this year as part of our friendly letter writing unit and we are starting to get responses.  So. Much. Fun!!!!!  This one is from Tom Brady.  He sent an awesome fan pack for one of my students.
We are starting our newest literature circle this week and I am super excited!  Do you use literature circles during your reading block?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Five for FRIDAY

I am so happy Friday is finally here and even more happy for the long weekend!  This has been a loooooong week!

I have been busy creating away this week!  I created two new products to share.  When you're on a creating kick you go with it...

My class just finished up physical science with our unit on motion.  I had an extra day because of other testing so I decided we would watch my favorite guy...Bill Nye.  I do find movies valuable in the classroom, but I feel that students need to have questions to focus on.  I created this question and activity pack to go along with the movie.  Did I mention that I love Bill Nye???

While on my creating kick I figured I would create something to help my kiddos review for their unit test.  My students happen to love games...especially games they can win.  I created a Bingo board game to review key vocabulary in physical science.  The students will use the blank Bingo board to create their own unique board.

I will be using this little gem next week.  I brought the word cards home to laminate because I am sure I will be using this again!

My wedding is 6 months out from Sunday.  I can't believe it!  Time is sure flying!  It is actually seeming real.  This week I got my save the dates.  My mom and I stuffed them into envelopes and sent them off.  I am obsessed with how they turned out.

We are having our reception at the Boston Public Library and are obsessing with the book theme!

That little sticker there is supposed to go on the calendar.  I love stickers!

In other wedding news we also had our tasting this past week.  The food was delicious!  I don't think I have ever been more full in my entire life.  I can't wait for the actual wedding!

I have been prepping my students all year long for literature circles.  We have done a few whole class literature circles and the students completed group literature circles before break, but they all read the same novel.  This week they were able to choose their own novels.  They were so excited and so was I!  I love getting kids excited about reading!

How was your week?  You do anything good?

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas has come and gone, but my blog post has not...

So I meant to post this BEFORE Christmas...but time totally got away from me.  The time leading up to Christmas was crazy, as always, and we went to school right up to the 23rd.  The kids were so restless, but we definitely did A LOT!  We had Shoeless Jeff from "Smart Songs" come in to visit the fourth grade.  He is actually the uncle of a fourth grader, but it was an amazing presentation and the kids (*cough* and teachers) had a blast.  If you haven't heard of them check out their Youtube channel.  They do educational raps based on history.
He taught the kids some of his songs, rapped for them, had a dance off, and passed out CDs when kids answered history questions.
Here are a few brave kiddos beat boxing while Shoeless Jeff rapped.

We finished up a science unit with only 4 days until vacation.  Instead of starting a new unit I decided to revisit our STEM work from the beginning of the year.  We got our creative juices flowing by creating gingerbread traps.  Below are a few of the awesome traps my class created.

This one had a trapdoor that shut once the gingerbread man was inside.  They lured him in with sweet treats.
This next one used a covered door.  The gingerbread man walked the red his demise!
Below are a few other examples.  They were all so creative and well thought out.  I was one impressed teacher!

Do you give your kids presents for the holidays?  I got these books for 1$ each through Scholastic and snagged some pencils, erasers, and treats to throw in the bag.  I have to admit that giving the books was a riot!  Half of the kids thought it was assigned for their next literature circle...I guess reading for pleasure is something we haven't developed yet.
I can't believe it's New Year's Eve already!  Time is definitely flying over vacation!

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