Guest Blogger and a GiVeAwAy!!

Hi there!  No, this isn't Joey connecting with you today... This is Deb Hanson from Crafting Connections!
http://www.crafting-connections.blogspot.comJoey and I thought our blog followers might enjoy a change in perspective and the opportunity to meet a new teacher blogger.  What?!  you may be thinking... I follow Joey's blog to hear from JOEY, not from some other random person!  Well, just hop on over to my blog to see what Joey has to say today! 

First, for those of you not familiar with me, I'll tell you just a little about myself.  I am an ESL teacher in a school district in northeast Nebraska, and I am in the middle of my 16th year of teaching.  For the most part, I co-teach with several third, fourth, and fifth grade teachers.   I love this, as it allows me to provide support for many students and collaborate with some amazing teachers at multiple grade levels as well!
Me with husband Troy, daughters Brooke and Kayla
If you’ve visited my blog or been by my store, you’ll know that I LOVE to create “craftivity” resources … and the only thing better than creating them is seeing first-hand how students are engaged by them, enjoy them, and learn from them. (Check out a post I wrote earlier this year about the benefits I find from doing craftivities with upper elementary students.)

As I mentioned at my blog last week, I especially love doing craftivities with my students during the month of December.  Why would that be?

First, I find December to be great month to revisit topics I have already taught earlier in the year.  December can be a challenging month to keep students focused, but craftivities keep them engaged and allow them to be creative - while reviewing important concepts at the same time!

Secondly, during a particularly busy month outside of school, I appreciate the double-duty benefit of working toward mastery of standards by doing fun, holiday-based craftivities...and using them for my holiday bulletin boards and hallway displays!

I'd like to share an example with you.  Each fall, most upper elementary classes I know touch on the concept of character traits.  Not only is it an important literary concept for students to grasp, but most teachers I know agree that it's a great concept to hit early in the school year, as it affords the opportunity to talk about the character traits that students are expected to display the remainder of the year.

So, this fall a number of the classes I coteach in used this craftivity with their students.
In this craftivity, students are first tasked with reading sixteen short stories. After reading each story, they determine the character trait for each main character.  When they complete this task, they can begin the craftivity!  Students are instructed to label a frame with the name and a character trait. Then, they draw an appropriate face to match the character trait.

I find December to be a great time to review this concept!  So much is being made of "naughty and nice" during this time of year, so character traits are being reinforced at home, on television, etc.  I just recently finished the Elf & Self craftivity shown below, and I am very excited to use it with students in the next few days!
This resource is modeled after the original resource (described above), but it includes 6 short stories about Santa's elves, and also gives students the opportunity to draw their own self-portrait and choose a character trait that they feel describes them.  As soon as the projects are completed, up onto a bulletin board they will go!

Again, check out my blog to see what Joey is sharing today!  Her post includes a featured resource as well, and I'm sure you are interested to see what she's choosing to share over there!

I promised a raffle giveaway in the blog title... here it is!  One winner will receive their choice of my Character Trait craftivities - AND the resource that Joey is featuring over at my blog...  Enter at either blog!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Finally, thank you so much for reading today - even though I'm not Joey.  :)  I hope my post today will lead you to consider following my blog as well!

Best wishes to you and yours this holiday season!

Cyber Sale!

I love a good sale! Well, you're in luck if you do, too! Teachers pay Teachers is hosting a sale with up to 28% off on our products both today and tomorrow! If you decide to take advantage of this awesome opportunity to stock up for your kiddos, be sure to type in the Promo Code CYBER when you check out! Here are a few things that you will find on sale in my store!

These are just a few of the products that you'll find on sale today and tomorrow, so be sure to stop by and take a peek!  I also have some great spring packages, as we all know...that's RIGHT AROUND the corner!

Things that I LOVE, catching up...and a giveaway!

Is it REALLY November already?!  Let me just say that October flew by with work, life, and party planning!  I always throw a huge Halloween party for my girls, and this was awesome!  Sooo, even though I have had things to post about, I truly haven't had much time to sit down.  I don't know about any of you, but I'm the type of person that is a little OCD and gets lost in the details.  I can't just blog about nothing, unless it's a super quick spare of the moment giveaway!  Soooo, you're going to get caught up in this post that's sure to be filled with pictures and the business that is my life right now. :)

WHERE DO I START?!  I'll introduce you to my giant plant and animal cells I created for our hallway!  I LOVED how they turned out and they always made me smile as approached my classroom. :)  They accented my students' cell labeling projects. 

These were super simple and quick to make.  I just drew them and painted them.  The eyes were created from paper plates, at the suggestion of one of my coworkers...great idea!  I made the arms, legs, and mouth from black construction paper, and the shoes were a group effort between myself and the same coworker that gave me the idea for the eyes. :)  It's nice to have another creative mind around!

Here are some samples of the student work that was around my super cell figures!

Okay, let's see..what can I show you next?  Let's look at what we are doing during our Daily 5 time!  Which, I have to be honest...this is the first year that I started implementing Daily 5 into my classroom and I know the "sisters" would not approve!  I am still ironing out the details...but for me, it's a GREAT option to incorporate into my weekly Reading routine AND the kids LOVE it!!!

This is our small group time.  I call up my students in groups of four and five and work with them on various Reading and Language Arts skills.  I have even done this for Math, and I have to be's wonderful!  Our classes are typically somewhere between 23-26 students, so to break that down and focus on individual needed skills...goooooood stuff!

We also work on our Interactive Reading Journals, thanks to Nicole Shelby. :) LOVE them!

Here's a look at our Daily 5 centers...

You'll see that we get quite comfortable in my room.  Pretty much anything goes as far as where they want to sit to work on what they're doing.  These girls are PARTNER READING under my front table.  I make sure that they are checking for comprehension after each page.  Their discussions are really wonderful...very proud of them!

Read to Self...enough said, lol.  Tooo cute!!  I PROMISE that I didn't make any of them pose for this...I found them like this and of course they wanted to giggle when they saw me with my camera! Love my kids.

My girls are a little more serious. :)

Word Work...this is done using my Interactive Writing Center.  I WILL NEVER not use this!  It's working out so well and has really created a great way for my kids to experiment and create so many different kinds of writing!  Here's a super small sample of what comes with my center!

Word Work...
I use our weekly spelling words for this part of the Daily 5.  My kids do SOOO much with this one!  Three things that we do are use the magnetic letters to spell the words.  Another thing that we do is use ABC letter beads to string the letters and create words onto pipe cleaners (this is their favorite...)!!  They also have dry erase packs to write one and wipe off their words, while their partner quizzes them.

I don't have my Listen to Reading center up and running yet.  I'm still working on this one!  (I told you it wasn't perfect. oh well!  We make it work!!)  I'm waiting for my students' stories to be loaded onto a disc and my classroom computers just got fixed this week.  This will be coming soon!!

Let's interrupt school time with a weekend at the lake...

I love my family.  I loved my time at the lake...we all know that as teachers, we all need a little R&R!

Okay, back to work!! 

Let's just start by saying that I LOVE technology!  There are a couple of things that I can't get enough Smart Board AND my Hovercam!  My kids use the Smart Board all the time to do interactive academic games.  Learning has become so much fun!!  No child should ever say "I don't want to go to school."  School is are a couple of my kiddos "playing."

Here are some anchor charts that I created during a mean, median, mode, and range lesson.  I will be loading a great freebie activity this week that you guys can grab that went along with this.  It's SO MUCH FUN!!  I also have a great interactive PPT that I did, as well.  

Tepee TiMe!!!! 

During our time studying Native American tribes, my kiddos learned about Plains Indians.  We talked about the nomadic Plains Indians and their use of tepees for shelter.  I create a tepee each year and teach my students about Native American symbols and sign language and how these were forms of communication for each of the tribes.  They get to choose a Native American symbol that they feel best represents themselves and then paint it onto the side of the tepee.  They LOVE it!  I use this as a reward in my classroom.  They can't wait to see who gets to go into the tepee each day!

We are also working on Native American calendar robes.  Here's a peek at my students working on those...


I spent some time seeing two of my students doing something that they LOVE!  One is an avid dirt bike racer and the other is fabulous at 4-H!  It was so much fun spending time with them outside of school.  I also had a girl from my class travel all the way to the Alamo in Texas to compete in a national shooting competition!  Way to go, kids!

I think that will be all for now!  Be sure to follow me for future posts on what's going on in my classroom. :)  I hope you liked my fall "catch up" post!

Goodbye for now!!

ONE MORE LITTLE THING FOR.....YOU!!!  STOP OVER TO MY FRIEND MEG'S BLOG!  You can enter an UNBELIEVABLE giveaway that I am thrilled to be a part of!  It's five days of amazing opportunities to win some 
great prizes!