Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Mailbox #BeTheDifference Fall Edition

Can you believe fall is here?  We just finished our first 9 week grading period of the year.  Time is passing way too quick!  Only two and half weeks before we have a week off for Thanksgiving which means just over a month until Christmas break.  Holy Holiday Break Batman!!!!It seems like I am more overwhelmed then ever but at the same so thankful for having the best job ever!    I don't know what it is this year, but I feel like I can't get it all in.  I just need an extra couple of hours to my day so I can teach everything I need to.   We are not even close to state testing yet... I can't imagine how I am going to feel then!  YIKES!
Anywho, at this time of the year not only do we celebrate the holidays but we also reflect on what we are thankful for.  One of the many things I am thankful for besides my family, friends, and having the best job in the world is the opportunities my blog and blogging friends have brought me.   The Mailbox has provided me and many of teachers the opportunity to share how we can be the difference in our students lives.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               It's time to celebrate a new season of #BeThe Difference with The Mailbox Magazine!  Once again, they sent me this box full of goodies. It included some stickers, candy corn, a couple of pencils, a notepad, a great bag, and some great ideas for fun activities.

One of the activities I tried out was this matching game.   I know, I know, matching games are for little kids and who in the world has time for games these days?   Well this game, was to help my fourth graders review Science vocabulary terms.   I made it out of index cards.  I had the vocabulary words on some cards and the definitions of those words on other cards.  I threw in a couple of cards with a turkey sticker on them and an awesome game was born. The students try to match the vocabulary word with its meaning.  If they flip a "turkey" they lose a turn.  I can use this game for any type of review and match it up to any holiday.  
Yup, I am making a difference by making learning fun and making sure my kids are not only engaged in their learning and full participants in their learning!!!!

  It's funny how easy it is to make such a game and how much the kids LOVED playing it.  It's even more pathetic funnier that I needed The Mailbox Magazine to help me think of it!  

 I get such great ideas from The Mailbox Magazine and their gold online subscription!  Here is a screenshot of just one resource.  It grade level appropriate and lined up to CCSS (even though I'm in Texas and we don't do Common Core almost all activities go along with our TEKS as well).  This particular Language Arts worksheet was a great activity for the students to do at home when I introduced the thesaurus.  

I'd love to hear what fun simple games you use in your classroom and how do you #BeTheDifference for you students?  

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Currently in November

Thank goodness for my FAB friend Farley and her just a fabulous Currently linky.   I have not been blogging like I should and I don't ever like to miss her linky parties so here I am!

I actually have a lot to blog about and I am hoping to do so regularly now that the first grading period of school is done.   It is one of my goals to be more organized with my time.... I am a horrible time manager but I just can't be any more.

Anywho, join me and a million (not much of an exaggeration) other bloggers at the Currently linky party by clicking on the button below.

Listening - I'm watching Cupcake Wars while munching on Milky Way and drinking a Diet Coke from ice in the country :)   I am really shouldn't watch this show because I now I want cupcakes!!!!  Warm, moist, sweet goodness!  

Loving - It's November!!!!  That means that my favorite season, fall, is here.  Well, living in South Texas the fall weather doesn't really come until December or so but today the weather was pretty good!  It was nice and cool.  We got a cool front in and it was 68 today.  I prefer low 60 or high 50s but 68 is way than being in the 90s!  In November is my son's birthday, our anniversary (24 years this year), and Thanksgiving... the holiday of gravy giving THANKS (but I do love my mom's turkey gravy!!!!)

Thinking - I definitely need to organize my schedule a bit more.  I waste so much time, yet I don't have enough time in my day!  Story of my life!

Wanting - see listening (and bring me a cupcake)

Needing - to start exercising because of the Milky Ways I am munching on and the darn cupcakes that I am craving. If you look back through many of my Currentlys you will see that I have needed to start exercising almost every month for the last couple of years!   Well, if I scheduled some time in my unorganized schedule, I would actually walk now the weather is getting cooler.  

Reading - Acts of Teaching - How to Teach Writing  It is like the Literacy Bible!!!!  It's amazing!  A bit pricey but worth every single penny!!!!!!!!!!!!  You need to check it out
Happy Fall Y'all

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

#BeTheDifference and win with Mailbox!

I remember when I student taught  (yes, I can remember that long ago), one thing I was most excited about was getting my first official subscription to Mailbox Magazine.... what says you're an official teacher better than a subscription to one of the most trusted name in educational publishing?   I've been using their ideas, activities, and inspiration ever since!  Well believe or not, Mailbox magazine contacted me to participate in their #BeTheDifference campaign!   So guess what I said?   HA! Of course I said yes!

Mailbox Magazine knows that teachers make a difference in their student's lives every single day!  Most of us became a teacher for the big bucks, for the fame & fortune to make a difference! I know I became a teacher for that very reason.  I wanted to change lives while sharing my love of learning.    Mailbox Magazine sent me a cute little package to start the year off having a ball!

The first week of school we do a lot of FABULOUS team building activities.  I want my students to feel like they are a part of a family... a frog family, with me being Queen Frog! LOL!  I make my classroom a safe, warm, and inviting place where my students feel comfortable taking risks and being the best they can be.  This year on the Friday of the first week I played the "name game" with the beach ball that was sent to me, but it was the name game with a twist.   This time we played the name game with partners and in order to be dismissed at the students had to call out their classmates names.  I was a great way to review student names and they left my classroom with a smile!

*smiley faces were used to protect the innocent
Mailbox Magazine would like to give 10 of my FABULOUS froggy followers a  free year's Mailbox Gold subscription! Told ya they are awesome!  Learn more about Mailbox GOLD by watching this short video.

Enter here for your chance to win!  Good Luck!

Stay Fabulous!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Currently in September!

As usual, I am linking up with one of my favorite peeps, Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade, to one of my favorite linky par-tays, Currently!

My doctor recently told me to only drink water and milk and to cut down my coffee intake........WHAT???? Cut down my coffee intake? That's like telling the Pope no more praying!  I am down to about 4-5 cups a day but my goal is to get it down to one cup a day (and not a real measured cup but my insulated Starbucks mug instead).  I'm on #3 today but I will try not to have any this afternoon.... It's Labor day, holidays don't count, do they?

Today was the official launch to the new Jamberry Nails Designs.  I LOVE them all, especially the Fashionably Festive section which has the holiday wraps!  Here is a short video about some of the new designs.  You can also visit my website ,LorrainesFABnails, and check out all the new designs.

I don't know about you but for me, the people I work with (including students) makes a world of difference.  We just finished up our first week of school and I think its going to be an AWESOME year! I love my new team and my new students!

Of course, I left everything to do for today but I will eventually get it done.... maybe.  One major thing is to look at our new math curriculum and figure out my guided math this year!

Vegas, Hawaii, and Alaska.... all places I have never been but NEED to go!  We are planning on bringing in the new year at Disney World this year and that is probably one of the biggest reasons I have never been to the other places.... we keep going back to Disney! We went on our honeymoon and have been back at least 10 times in our 24 years of marriage.  No matter how old we get the kids love it and so do we!

Happy Labor Day my friends!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Bright Ideas for Back to School Fun!

OMG! Summer is over!!!! Time to head back to school and hit the books!  Students start on August 25th in my school district and teachers officially start on August 18th, however, as you already know,  many of us have been busy attending staff development and making things for our for months now.

Today I thought I would share with you some of my tried and true first day of school activities.  They are favorites of mine and my students and a great way to start off the year.....  Puzzle Races and Saving Fred.

First the puzzle races.  All you need to do is to divide your class into groups of 4-5 students and you need some puzzles.  I set up my student desks in in groups of 4-5 students so that is how I decide my groups. You can find inexpensive puzzles at the dollar store and even Target's dollar spot.  Of course you should pick a puzzle size that is appropriate to the age of students you have. I buy 100 piece puzzles and its perfect for my 4th graders.  I always buy the same puzzle for each group so no one can claim that their group's puzzle was harder or easier. :)  The puzzles I am using this year are pictured to the left.  I bought them for a dollar each at Target a couple of years ago and they are still good to use. No lost pieces!
 I give each "team" a puzzle and tell them they must work together to complete the puzzle before the other teams finish theirs.  The conversations that go on are priceless.  You will learn a lot from your students by just watching and listening.   Once every group has completed their puzzles we have a talk about what some of the groups good strategies were.  I've heard everything from "we did the border of the puzzle first" to "we didn't get bossy with each other".

Now for the Saving Fred.  For this fun activity you will need: a gummy worm, a gummy ring, a plastic cup, and paper clips per group.  You can do this activity in partners but I prefer to do it in small groups.  In fact, I like to use the same groups that did the puzzles together.  I also usually do this activity the second day of school and do the puzzle race on the first day.

To set this up you will need to but a ring on the desk with the plastic cup upside down over the gummy ring and put a gummy worm on top of the cup.   The story is that Fred (the gummy worm) can't swim so he always has to wear a life preserver (the ring). However, his boat (the cup) capsized/flipped over before he put on his life preserver.  It is the students job to work together to get the life preserver on Fred and the only rule is you cannot touch the Fred, his boat, or the life preserver with your hands. Hence, the paper clips... the only "tool" the students can use is the paper clips. Talk about team work and strategies!  This is a great activity for both!

I hope you enjoyed the bright back to school fun ideas and even try them with your class!  I would love for you to join me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as well.

For more bright ideas from more than 100 bloggers, please browse through the link up below.  Just find an idea or grade level that interest you!

Happy First Week of School!