Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Scared of clowns?

Well, I'm not scared of them...you know those creepy looking painted men with big red noses?  But one of my besties is TERR.I.FIED of em'! She wouldn't really like to see this center that I created to practice soft/hard sounds of "c". 

As ya'll know, we're having some problems with the whole download thingy {I'm blaming googledocs and maybe Safari web browswer-try using a different one}, so I'm crossing my fingers that it works! 

Preview:







Click {here} to download!
And for those friends who could not download the "Going Green" unit for Earth Day...I'M SO SORRY!  This link right {here} should work. :) If not, I give up!

Hello!

I'm baaaack! I've been on a cruise to the wonderful Eastern Caribbean!  My hubby and I had a wonderful trip and are still trying to re-coop. 




Here is my problem,  our lovely blog is experiencing some technical difficulties. Some, if not all of the downloads are not working.  Ugggggghhhh. I cannot figure it out and we {Natalie and I} are trying to work it out. I can download everything on my computer with no problem. I have a MacBook Pro and I use Firefox.  I also have an updated ADOBE {click here to find out more about that}. It seems like the problem is with Safari and Googledocs, but we're still working on it! :)

Do me a favor, ok? Try to download the Spring Word Search {here} and the Earth Day Unit {here}-This one says it will not scan for viruses because the file is too big, but it will download if you click download! If it does not automatically download, please LET ME KNOW in a comment below {include what internet engine you use-firefox, safari, etc}.  If it does automatically download, please LET ME KNOW in a comment also and let me know the internet engine.

Questions:  whattheteacherwants@gmail.com

Thank you for your love and support! We love our viewers!!!!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Management Monday- Testing Tip

With testing week just around the corner, my mind is swarming with things I need to remember to do/teach before testing arrives.
One thing that I did years ago was make these cute and fun testing dividers. (I call them testing centers.)
It took me a while to get them all made, but it was definitely worth the time and effort! We use these guys all the time in our class. 
I love them for a couple of reasons:
  1. It helps students stay focused. They can't look around at their friends. They don't know when each other finish, so they don't feel the pressure of being the last one done.
  2. It helps prevent cheating. It's very hard to look off of someone else's paper when these guys are up.
  3. The motivational messages {hopefully} help boost confidence and {hopefully} helps remind them to always do their best. 
I made them so that no two are exactly alike. It's fun because students never know what theirs will say.

It you'd like to make some, here's the 'how to':
  • Take two file folders. Glue them together so that the two sides overlap about an inch. Reinforce with a staple on each end.
  • Glue down a background color. (I used black.)
  • Cut out and glue various inspirational messages and other cute embellishments (stars, smilie faces, stickers, etc.).
  • Laminate.
These guys will last quite a while. I've used mine every year for 4 years and they're still in great condition. 

Happy testing everyone!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday Management - Advice

First of all, let me apologize for not posting a Management Monday post last week. Rachelle left the country to go on a cruise (lucky!!) and I was sick in bed (on my spring break - BOO!). 

Today I wanted to share a cute/inspiring post I read over on Miss Teacher's blog. It's directed to first year teachers, but I took a lot away from it too. Some good reminders on how to avoid burnout, handle struggling students, and be a better teacher.


Click Here:

It made me reflect on my 1st year of teaching and reminded me of some of the funny things I encountered my first year of teaching. Luckily, I wrote down some of these experiences in my own personal blog.

Want to read them? Okay, for your personal enjoyment....

*  *  *  *  *
Teacher of the Year - Sept, 2006

If you are my friend then you probably know that I just began my first year of teaching.
Starting off a school year is very hard. College teaches you how to teach not about how to decorate your classroom or all that other very important stuff. I chose education as my major because I wanted to make a difference in the world. I graduated college thinking that I would be the best teacher ever. I interviewed jobs very confident in my abilities. I got hired by a very nice principal who I convined to hire me. Then a little while later I had keys to my new classroom and was forced to face the horrific reality that I had finally become a 'real teacher'.

Now, after surviving my first two and half weeks of school I look back and wonder how I even made it this far.

The kids are great! Some of the parents are scary. The school lunch is not that bad. I have a girl who picks me flowers on her way to school every day. I'm talking EVERY DAY. One boy peed his pants. Lessons are hard to plan. Math is hard to teach. Science experiments are not worth the time and effort. Apparently skateboarding is cool in 5th grade. Prep time is not nearly long enough. Lunch time is too short. Sometimes before school starts in the morning I fall asleep on my couch (okay, only once, but I was sick). My bedtime is now 9:30. I have a stash of candy that I love to eat when school's out. I have already have stacks and stacks of homework that needs to be graded. My classroom is a trailer. The janitor is nice.The secretary's son is in my class. Oh yeah, and I did I mention? I locked my keys in my classroom two days before school started and then broke my window trying to get back in.

Oh, the joys of teaching.

Maybe someday I will make a difference in the world...

Just not this year.
*  *  *  *  *
TEACHER OF THE YEAR PART II - OCTOBER, 2006

I HAVE BEEN A TEACHER FOR 2 1/2 MONTHS NOW. JUST LET ME TELL YOU.... I LOVE BEING A TEACHER!!! OF COURSE, THERE ARE GOOD DAYS AND BAD DAYS, BUT OVERALL I LOVE IT!

HERE'S AN UPDATE ON HOW IT'S GOING:

-I HAVE SUCCESSFULLY IMPLEMENTED READING GROUPS IN MY CLASSROOM. IT'S THE BEST THING EVER- THIS WEEK WE READ A COOL STORY ABOUT AMELIA EARHART AND AS I CIRCULATED THE ROOM I HEARD MY LITTLE 5TH GRADERS REALLY DISCUSSING SOME AMAZING THINGS.
-I HAVE THIS COOL CD THAT HAS A SONG THAT TEACHES THE NAMES OF THE PRESIDENTS IN ORDER. I ALSO PASSED OUT A PAPER THAT HAD ALL THEIR NAMES ON IT AND TOLD MY STUDENTS THAT WHOEVER MEMORIZED IT FIRST COULD CHOOSE A KING SIZED CANDY BAR OF THEIR CHOICE.... TODAY I HAD A CUTE LITTLE GIRL PASS THEM OFF. I WAS AMAZED!
-I ALSO TAUGHT THEM HOW TO SAY THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE IN SPANISH.
-I WAS ASKED TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS GRANT/RESEARCH PROJECT THING, DON'T WORRY, I GET TO FLY TO DC THIS SUMMER TO VISIT AND LEARN ABOUT CIVIL WAR SITES! IT'S CALLED THE 'TEACHERS OF AMERICAN HISTORY GRANT". IT'S A MILLION DOLLAR GRANT WHERE WE DO COOL FIELD TRIPS (LIKE DC) AND GET ALL SORTS OF COOL TEACHING MATERIALS. SO EXCITED!!!
-I GET TO BE IN A HALLOWEEN PARADE (I'M DRESSING UP AS A PURPLE FAIRY).
-I HAVE ONE STUDENT WHO'S READING AT A VERY LOW LEVEL, I'VE BEEN WORKING REALLY HARD WITH HIM AND I CAN ALREADY SEE A HUGE IMPROVEMENT. THAT'S GOT TO BE THE FEELING EVER; KNOWING I AM REALLY IMPACTING LIVES.

TEACHING IS DEFINITELY A HARD JOB. HARDER THAN I EVER IMAGINED IT BEING. HOWEVER, I COULDN'T IMAGINE MYSELF IN A BETTER JOB!

*  *  *  *  *
Embarrassing Moment - November, 2006

Does anyone remember the time the I fell FLAT on my face playing leap frog??? Remember that? Remember the big carpet burn I had on my face after that?

Well, up until today that has been my most embarrassing moment... Let's see... Where do I begin???

Alright. I went to school today, no big deal right?! Well, today our class was going to the computer lab to type up our Halloween mystery stories. (Keep in mind my classroom is in the trailer.) On the way in to the school I notice three little 3rd grade boys messing around outside. I turn to them and say, "Boys, get back to class." They didn't listen so I got a little more fierce, "Boys! Get to class now!" When all of a sudden...

BAM!!!

I had walked straight into the teatherball pole!!! My nose went completely numb. My eyes filled up with water. And all I heard was gasps. My poor students didn't know what to do. I had a good laugh at myself, my kids started laughing and joking, and were kinda being funny about it. I went into the office and joked around with the office ladies and principal. They offered me some ice to put on it but I assured them I was okay and no ice was needed.

I've been a big klutz my entire life, but I thought I had ended that phase of my life. Guess not. Guess I will always be known as the brand new teacher who ran into the tether ball pole.

*  *  *  *  *
Do you have any funny, inspiring, or embarrassing teacher stories? If so, please share it with us or post a link. I'd love to read!!

Mock Trial Resources

I love doing mock trials with my students! I guess that should say mock trial - because I always do the same mock trial with my students called B.B. Wolf v. Curly Pig


After learning about the constitution and the three branches of government, I enjoy having my students do this to learn more about the judicial branch. Because my students loved it so much, I wanted to try to find some more free resources. 


Here's what I found:
Have you used mock trials in your classroom? Which is your favorite? What tips do you have for teachers who've never done it? 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Surface Area and Volume

There are not many resources on the internet for teaching surface area and volume (at least as far as I can see) for upper grade elementary students. So I thought I'd share the lesson I use to introduce the concept to my students.

This lesson comes from UEN.org (Utah Education Network), but I was introduced to it at a summer seminar (Utah Core Academy) that I went to a couple years ago.

Download the lesson: HERE

The lesson is called Candies R Us and students get to explore the concepts of surface area and volume as they try to make boxes for a candy store. Each candy = one unit and each box needs to fit 12 candies. Read the lesson for more more information.

*  *  *  *  * 

While you're here, you might want to download these little posters I made today:




Download posters: HERE

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Things I Want/Need

It's that time of the year when my classroom budget is sitting very close to $0. But something about spring break makes me want to spend some $$$! Instead of spending real money, I thought I'd just share some of my dream purchases.

#1: Apple iPad2
I would love to get my hands on one of these babies! I'd like to look at all those awesome educational apps I keep hearing about. I would also L-O-V-E to get 5 or so of these guys to put in a center or use during reading groups or help struggling students or challenge my advanced students. The possibilities seem endless.

Oh. My. Gosh. I am dying over this little machine! I think I could play on this thing all day. I'm thinking of all sorts of fun Mother's Day presents! My classroom needs one of these in the near future! 

3. More Self-Inking Stamps
I bought a set of stamps like these 4 years ago, and I'm down to my last few. I use them everyday to stamp my students' homework folders.

4. Post-its 
I love Post-its. Every shape and size! I especially love the easel pads and I use the regular size {pretty much} daily. But the thing I love the MOST are these little divider tabs!

 They're great for students' notebooks and I use mine in my teacher binder(s).

5. Class Sets of WWII Books
 I'm reading this book right now as a read aloud and my students love it. It has some great teaching points and really illustrates what life was like in America during WWII. I want a class set so ALL students can have their eyes in the book.
 One of my favorite WWII books. Boys especially love it because it talks a lot about the battles in the Pacific. I love how it integrates Native American studies and tells how important the Navajos were in helping to win the war.
Another great WWII book.

I love the idea of using these three books to help teach my World War Two unit. It will help students understand three very different parts of the war.

I'm sure there are hundreds of more things I'd like to buy for my classroom, if I really sat and thought about it... but I'll stop here. I'm thinking about writing some Donorschoose.org grants in the near future for some of these things. I'll add that to my never-ending 'to do' list! :)

Oh, and one thing I'm going to need: Dr. Pepper. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mother's Day

We make a poster for our mom's for mother's day.  We start by reading this book:

Then, we do this writing activity:





Then, we draw a self-portrait of our moms!





Then, we decorate our posters with these {I let the kiddos pick 3 or 4 to use. They decorate them and glue them on}




On one side we glue the "Top Ten" list, and the other side, the portrait. I also like to laminate them!


Click {here} to download!
Please just go to the GoogleDocs "file" {not your web browser} and click "download". Don't click "share".


Check out the Mother's Day Linky Party at 
{In the Teacher's Lounge}!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Helping others!

You know the site, Teachers Pay Teachers, right? I want to promote that site for a very special reason. One of our favorite {2nd grade blogs} is donating all her profit sales to help her friend fight cancer. 


Mrs. Durning has a wonderful blog and she is such a great person! How inspiring and thoughtful? Visit her Teachers Pay Teachers site and pick a lesson to buy!  You can help someone in need.

Thank you!
-Natalie {and Rachelle}

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The wonderful world of writing!

 These are writing prompts and paper that I use throughout the whole year. There are over 25 of them...all for you! :)  I put them in writing centers, sometimes use them in whole group lessons, and even use them as "fast finishers". The kiddos love them!  I ALWAYS do an example page for them. Some of the writing papers don't have specific things that they have to write about....For instance, the "Spring Fun" page.  The students can really write about anything that has to do with spring. They can write about the first signs of spring, their favorite activity or why they enjoy the spring weather. Basically it's up to you as a teacher how you direct them.

Here are some of my favorites {and the kiddos too}!













 I've also included a writing rubric for you!

Obsessed with fonts? I LOVE dafont.com for all of my cartoon/themed fonts {FREE}! :) Clipart by Scrappin' Doodles and DJ Inkers {copyright Diane J. Hook, used with permission}.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Teaching Civil Rights

I received a copy of this book today from my Teacher's of American History class. I love the way it teaches about the brave people in the south who stood up against racial segregation.

The book is called, Freedom on the Menu.
Luckily for everyone, this book has been made into a Reader's Theater script that is available for a free download.


Also, PLEASE check out the Teaching Tolerance website for some great resources for teaching civil rights. They offer FREE teaching kits for educators, which are incredible! This kit includes classroom sets of books, CDs and music, videos, and lots more. 

Here is the form to order your free kit.

Book in a Day!

I have been attending a history class through my district for about 3 years. I learn lots of fun, engaging strategies to teach social studies each time I attend. One strategy that I love is called: 

Book in a Day.

This is simple. Choose a book that you want students to read. This would be a book that has important information, but something that you wouldn't be able to spend reading aloud for weeks. (You would need to have multiple copies of the same book for this to work.)

I'm using this book with my sub tomorrow.  

Just assign each group one chapter and have them fill out this form as they go

I love this form for a couple of reasons. First, because I designed and created it from scratch (hehe!) and second, because it helps students increase their vocabulary and work on their reading comprehension skills (summarizing, determining importance and synthesizing).

After everyone's done, have each group present to the class so each student gets to hear the important parts of the whole book. 

Like it?

:)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Management Monday - Caught Ya's

Another school-wide behavior system is:

Caught Ya's

We give them out when we catch kids being good students. My school's 'Caught Ya' tickets are just plain, so I made some cute ones to share with you. It's a very simple way to acknowledge good behaviors. You can do this as a whole school or individually. 

In the past I have had my own 'Caught Ya' drawings on Friday and given away small prizes. (I have to admit, the sodas are the most popular. My students love taking them to lunch with them.) Our school also has a weekly drawing where they give out small prizes. 

The real fun comes at the end of the year when ALL the 'Caught Ya' tickets for the WHOLE year get dumped on the  stage and we have a huge drawing for bikes, iPod Nano's, gift certificates, etc. 
(Just make sure students write their first and last names, as well as teacher's name on the backs of their tickets)

We usually get businesses to donate these items. Our students love it!!


Management Monday - Principal's 200 Club

After I posted THIS, lots of people wanted to know more about the Principal's 200 Club. 


I personally don't know every detail, but I found this link that has all of the important information. 


Principal's 200 Club:
(Click picture for link)

This explanation of the Principal's 200 Club says that there are 4 things you'll need to implement this program.
If you decide to implement this program in your school, you might want to use an award or certificate to give to students. I believe you can order official looking copies from somewhere, but you could also use this template.



Does your school do a school-wide behavior plan? 
If so, what is it?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I need a little spring...

Yesterday is was a beau.ti.ful 67 degrees. I woke up this morning afternoon {whoops!} to 6+ inches of SNOW! This is my life in Utah. So here's a little spring....from me, to you!

{Click on the picture for the *free* download}
Clipart and/or fonts from djinkers.com

Friday, April 1, 2011

Giveaway Winners are here!

Winners, please contact us (email us {whattheteacherwants@gmail.com} within 48 hours) to claim your prize! :) CONGRATS! And thank you to the ladies at Lesson Plan SOS Blog for the great giveaway to your great website!

Sorry!! (April Fools' Day)

SO SORRY!


This is super last minute, but if you need something quick, here you go:
(For upper grades)

April Fool's Day Test

(Or save it in your file for next year.)


* * * * * * * * *

Directions: This is a timed test. You will only have 2 minutes to complete this test, so you must work quickly. All work must be done on this paper. Make sure to read everything before you do anything.

1.      Read everything on this page.
2.    Write your name in cursive in the top right corner of this test.
3.    Write your name in print in the top left corner of this test.
4.     Answer this question: 3 x 5 x 2 = _____
5.    Where does the President live? _____________________
6.    What is the capital of Utah? ______________________
7.    What is ¾ of 100? ___________
8.    Name the 3 branches of government:
a.    ___________     b. ___________   c. ___________
9.    Turn your paper over and draw a giant smiley face.
10. Turn it back over and write your grade level in the bottom left corner.
11.   Write today’s date under your grade level.
12.  Draw a circle around your name.
13. Say, “Oh no!” out loud.
14.  Write your teacher’s name right here: ________________
15.  Stand up and then sit back down.
16. Fold this paper in half (like a hot dog).
17. Whisper, “I don’t get it.”
18.  Write your birthday: ________________
19.   Stand up and fake sneeze. Say, “Excuse me!”
20. What school do you go to? ______________________

Now that you have finished reading everything (as directed in number one), sit back and watch everyone else. 
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