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Monday, August 12, 2013

Hello Good Books!

This summer I have been trying to read some books that have been student favorites (that I hadn't previously read) and some new books that I thought looked interesting.  Here is a summary of some of the books I have read:

1.  Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Divergent (Divergent Series #1) (B&N Exclusive Edition)Insurgent (Divergent Series #2)
     I really enjoyed both of these books and am excited to read the third book in the series when it comes out. It is a dystopian story about citizens being split into communities based on a certain skill, with some being "factionless" which means they don't belong to any group.  I was hoping to purchase these for my classroom, but there is some mature content that I don't think would be good for a 5th grade room.

2.  Boys Without Names by Kashmira Sheth
Boys without Names
     This story takes place in India, where the main character is kidnapped and forced into working for a man keeping him locked up in a warehouse making picture frames for his "boss".  He is joined by several other boys who remain "nameless" (hence the title) because the boss doesn't let them speak.  It is sad to know that things like this really happen in other parts of the world, and it is a really good book for kids (gr 5 and up) to get a view of how kids in other parts of the world live.

3.  The Fault in Our Stars by Johns Green
The Fault in Our Stars
     Super book!  However, not age appropriate for my 5th grade classroom.  I heard a lot about this book, and heard the movie was coming out, so I wanted to read it first.  Two teenage cancer survivors find each other and fall in love.  They go through many ups and downs with their cancer throughout the book, but are always there for each other.  Have the kleenex close by, this one is a tear jerker!

4.  Jefferson's Sons by Kimberly Bradley
Jefferson's Sons: A Founding Father's Secret Children
     I love finding good historical fiction that ties in with U.S. History and what I teach in my classroom.  This book is about Jefferson's sons that he had with one of his slaves.  Very interesting account of how the different groups, kids, races interacted at that time, and how the sons were viewed.

Happy Reading!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Hello Math

I love math!

When I was in elementary school, I loved math!  I understood it, and thought it was fun.

Then Jr. High happened, and I no longer loved math.  Why?  Because my teachers were impatient, assumed that teaching concepts one way would work for everyone, and got frustrated with ME when I didn't understand something. I went through Jr. High and High School with a strong dislike of math.  It wasn't until a Statistics class in college that I learned to love math again.

I think that is part of what makes me a good math teacher.  I know what it felt like for me to not understand something, and what I disliked about how teachers treated my questions.  I feel like I make an extra effort to teach concepts in multiple ways and have the patience to answer kids questions.

I am excited to teach math this year!  I teach 6th grade math to 5th graders who have advanced math skills.  I have been working on some fun ideas that I am looking forward to incorporating into my math class this year.

Stay tuned!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Hello August

Hello August-  is it really August already?  I feel like it was just a couple weeks ago when I still had the whole summer ahead of me.

It is about this time every year that I start to think about school- projects, ideas, decorating, picking up glue sticks, notebooks, random miscellaneous at the Target Dollar Spot (I can't get past that section without grabbing something!).

Today I worked on making a "teacher sample" of the word root cards I have my students make to go along with our Greek and Latin word root spelling.  I love to draw/doodle, so it was a fun project for me!  Here is a picture of four of the completed cards.
The kids always love making these cards (some of my girls could decorate these cards for hours!).  I then have the kids write the word root meaning on the back of the card along with a list of words containing that root.

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Power, Flooding and a Garage Sale

Wow, what a week!

This Thurs, Fri, Sat I had my annual garage sale with my friend Jeff.  Thursday at the sale went great.  Great people watching, relaxing in the sun, warm and humid, got rid of a lot of stuff.
Then, it stormed Thursday night.  I lost power, and so did the majority of my city.  But, the sale must go on!

Friday night, some even more serious storms came through.  60+ mph winds, almost 3 inches of rain in about an hour, I couldn't even see my grass because the water was piling up so quick.

I have never seen damage in my neighborhood like this!  Trees are down everywhere, my neighbors tree was struck by lightning, our basement flooded, a giant tree branch fell on our roof and water is leaking into my kitchen cupboards, stop lights are out, so roads are backed up.  It is crazy!

Today we cancelled the garage sale, since no one had power, and there were so many trees down people probably couldn't get to us if they wanted to.  We were just about to bring 6 huge bags of clothes to the thrift store to donate when some neighbors came over and took them all to send to a charity in Africa.  We didn't have to haul the bags of clothes, and other people will benefit from it.  Good news for everyone.

Now that we finally have power again, I need to start making so fun items for Teachers Pay Teachers.  I am trying to build up my store before the Back-to-School rush!

I think I have had enough rain for a while...........


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

New Header

I figured out how to make a header for my blog!  A quick Google search brought me to several tutorials, and then I used Power Point and PicMonkey to make the new header. I like how it looks so far. (much better than the boring grey letters!)
I would like to fill some more of the white space below the "Hello Learning" graphic, but I am not sure how to add something more......  time for another Google search!

Monday, June 17, 2013


Hello summer!

The weather has finally warmed up, and the rain has finally stopped (for now) and I could not be happier that summer is finally here!
This week is our 7th annual garage sale- always a fun time!  It is always good people watching!
Of course, I have some school projects I hope to get done over the summer, including:

  • work on finishing my Greek and Latin word study and spelling lists
  • create some fun math projects for my accelerated math class
  • read some of the books my students are always talking about, but I have not had the time to read yet
  • think of a way to better decorate my room so it is more colorful, but not too cutesy (I teach 5th)
Happy Summer!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

4 More Days!

We are down to the last 4 days of school!  The next four days will be full of wrapping up projects, reflecting on the school year, sharing memories, returning textbooks, signing yearbooks and cleaning the classroom.
On Thursday my 5th graders will graduate from elementary school.  Some of them are excited to start a new adventure in learning, but some are a little scared!  Being the youngest in the school isn't something they have experienced for 5 years!  

I am REALLY excited for summer break to officially start!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Summer Reading

I love to send my students off with a great list of books for summer reading.  
Here are some fun "summery" book list forms for the students to use.  
Each sheet has spots for 10 books recommended by their teacher and 10 books recommended by their peers.
Summer Reading List

Saturday, May 25, 2013


For the past few weeks my 5th graders have been working on an inventions unit. They read about famous inventors, created a timeline of important inventions (the wheel, printing press, compass etc...), did many creative thinking exercises, and learned the S.C.A.M.P.E.R. method.   Then, they  brainstormed problems and things in their lives that could be improved, learned about patents and trademarks, and learned how to do research to see if their idea has already been created.  They have all chosen an invention to create and are working hard to make a prototype and a display board for our big "Invention Convention" next week.  This is always such an exciting unit for the kids that keeps them motivated during the last few weeks of school.  It really gives them a chance to incorporate so many of the skills they have learned into one fun project.  I can't wait to see all of their final products!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Blog Set Up

While I should be correcting a stack of essays, or making my Smart Board slides for tomorrows math lesson, I am instead messing around with all the settings and configurations for this blog.  It is so fun! So many choices- colors, patterns, designs, fonts....I don't even want to look and see how much time has elapsed since I first logged on!  
23 days left until summer break!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Hello World!

Hello World!
I am excited to share my adventures in teaching with you!