Sunday, July 17, 2016

Getting Back to Your Classroom

Anyone else ever felt like this?  


Every year, about this time, I was headed back to my classroom to start organizing, picking through what I didn't need, and begin labeling all sorts of wonderful things with students names.  The floors were freshly waxed, the rooms were quiet, and the supplies were new.  I felt like a kid in a candy store.

What do you do first when getting ready for back to school?





Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Homework Questions

I would like to gather some information about homework, and I know you all can help.

1.)  Do you assign homework?  Please tell me what state you live in, grade you teach, and the kind of homework you send.

2.)  Do you assign a grade for that homework?

Thank you!!!




Monday, January 11, 2016

5 for Friday!!

EVERY Friday in January come check out 5 for Friday!  I will put together 5 products from my TpT store for the LUCKY price of $7.77!
Click the picture to find 
5 for Friday!!






Saturday, March 29, 2014

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SALE!!


Come join the birthday fun with 20% off of my ENTIRE store!!!  Click the picture below for great deals!






Thursday, March 13, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Sale

Are you preparing for Monday?  I have just the thing for you...SALE!!!  10% off of all 23 of my St. Patrick's Day products.  Come take a look and save yourself some time and money.






Monday, March 3, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Giveaway!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you ready for St. Patrick's Day??

I have just the thing to help you get ready!  Come check this product out, enter my giveaway, and have  A LOT OF FREE TIME WITHOUT PLANNING!!! 


 Happy St. Patrick's Day!






Friday, February 28, 2014

Student Learning! Student Learning!

If you've seen my posts about plagiarism then you know that I've had a little bit of trouble with my students using the internet to write their entire papers.  After diagnosing what the true problem was, I planned several lessons to help them learn the steps to using passages and research to write their own paper.  Here are the pictures that led to them finally writing a paper on their own!!!


This was the chart that I made for them after they decided on the three main points of a passage about Abraham Lincoln.

 I then divided my students into 3 groups.  I gave them sticky notes and told them to find details from the passage that would back up their main idea.  I also explained that at this stage they did not need to write sentences on the sticky notes, but simply use phrases that would help them remember the passage.


When they finished with this they had to go through their sticky notes to analyze which 3 for each main idea would be the best at helping them remember the passage. 



This is what they ended up with.  I then gave them a sheet to take these main ideas and notes and write about the passage about Abraham Lincoln.  It was great.  I could hear their voices in the papers.  I knew they understood what they were writing about, and the best part...NOT ONE BIT OF PLAGIARISM!!







Getting Ready for St. Patrick's Day

I thought I would try something new with my kiddos over the next couple of weeks.  I picked up this t-shirt and hat at Wal-Mart the other day for less than $10. I used magnets and put it on my board with a message that said "Details on Monday."  Of course I did this on Tuesday so they have been driving me crazy all week, and I've loved EVERY minute.
Over the next couple of weeks the students who don't get a "check mark" (our discipline system) will have a chance at winning either the shirt or the hat. I'm excited because there will be 2 winners, and I'll have some of the best behavior for at least 2 weeks.  :)
This is not the only part of this surprise for my students, but you will have to come back later to see what it is.






Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentine's Day Fun!!

My first "BIG KIDS" Valentine's Day Party and it was SO very much fun.  I wanted to share some pictures of what we did.  Our party lasted 3 hours!!!


Here my students are sitting at the "Paper Heart Chain" station making heart chains and gossiping away.  

 Here they are using dollar stickers I bought at Dollar Tree as well as red paint to make a Valentine picture.  What a mess!!  :)

They LOVED playing Tic-Tac-Toe with M&M's!  Who wouldn't when you know you get to eat them when you are done???


Here they are playing balloon ping pong.  Boy, this got wild, but they were having so much fun!!







Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Getting beyond plagiarism to summarizing

We've all seen papers that look and sound so wonderful until we realize that there is NO WAY that student wrote that paper.  As a new middle school teacher who loves to get her students to write I am faced with this problem all the time. 
After talking with my students I realized that they are NOT committing plagiarism in an intentional manner.  After a quick discussion with them I saw that they simply don't know how to look at information and summarize what they've read.  
With that knowledge, I've decided to systematically teach them how to best summarize information to put into a paper so that they won't be accused of plagiarism.  

I would love it if you follow along as I take this journey.  I will blog each night about how my lessons are going and which direction my plan will go next.  

It is my hope that I can help someone to help their students write their thoughts rather than copying and pasting from the internet.



Day #1


This is how I started. 

 I supplied my 8th grade students with a passage.  They got into groups and read the passage.  

After reading the passage they were told to highlight 6 important facts in the passage.  

After they did that I had each group share what they highlighted.  We had a quick discussion of why they chose what they did.  
Then I told them to go back and take out 3 of the 6 so that all that was left is what they felt were the 3 main points of the passage.
When they completed this we discussed that they could use those 3 points in a thesis statement if assigned a paper.

I will be doing this lesson with my 5th-7th grade tomorrow as well as extending the lesson from today with my 8th graders.  

I'll be back tomorrow with more information on how this is going.  
I'd LOVE any ideas that you have on this skill.


Day #2
Today went so well!!  
All my classes really began understanding how to read a passage and look for what is important.  
When they first began they were choosing details rather than looking for 6 important details.  I also heard them saying things like "that's interesting."  When I heard that I knew I'd need to deal with that.  
Through discussion with the groups as they worked they came to the conclusion that interesting facts may not always be important.
I plan to continue this practice for the rest of the week and then show them another method and then move on to our next step.  
I hope you come back tomorrow to see how it's going.  
Day #3
Day 3 was more of the same practice.  They are getting so much better at this.  
Day #4
Today my 8th graders took this a step further and one of my special education kids said, "This is so much easier."  This thrilled me!!


I had my students go back to a passage that we had already found the 3 major points to.  I showed them this anchor chart and we discussed what part of the passage would go in each section.

We took the three points and put them on the board in a chart like the one above, they found details in the passage, and then in groups wrote 1 paragraph each.  I took the paragraph from each group and read them in order and one of my kids said, "Cool!  We wrote a paper in 10 minutes and we didn't cheat!"  

I love it!!  They will continue to practice this tomorrow, and my 5-7th grade is going to work a couple more days on finding the 3 major points of a passage.

I hope you come back to find out how we're doing.




Friday, February 7, 2014

From TEACHING to STUDENT LEARNING




When I began my new journey into teaching middle school (5th -8th grade) social studies I was scared out of my mind.  After 14 years of only teaching 1st grade I just knew I would fail miserably.  After some crying and eating I decided to make lemonade.
I began studying for hours and hours to refresh my mind on topics that I hadn't seen in more than 20 years or in some cases not at all.  I spent hours preparing for lessons in which I would do most of the talking.  That had to be the right way to do this, right?  I mean after all that is how I was taught.
Well, it didn't take long for me to get bored with this and I realized that if I was bored then HOLY MOLY they must be VERY bored.
So, what did I do???
I changed my method of delivery.  People, in general, only get out what they put in.  They are only responsible when they are made to be responsible.  
With this in mind, I put the learning in their laps.  Here are some example of what I did and some great WEBSITES that are my NEW BEST FRIENDS.

 My 7th graders needed to know about some of the majors rivers in the world.  They had to know why they are important to people and the growth of the people in the area of the river.  
 Rather than stand at the front of the room and tell them why or create a in depth power point to show them why I did a couple of simple things.

1.  I Googled each river and found the MOST WONDERFUL website.  http://www.ducksters.com
2.  I printed information from Ducksters that I knew my students would be able to use.  I also printed information from other sites, but Ducksters has by far been the most helpful.
3.  I copied the information and made packets for students so that I could put students into groups and let them "research" the rivers. Each group studied one river.  I had 4 groups.

That is the ONLY WORK I did!!!  They got into groups, found what was important to answer the questions of what they needed to learn, and then shared it with the class.  I provided a flippable for them to complete to help them study and they worked on that in their groups too.  

ALL I DID WAS walk around the room, sit and talk to the groups one at a time about what they were learning and laugh at some of their discoveries.  THE LEARNING WAS AMAZING!!



 My 5th graders needed to know about some of the contributors to the Revolutionary War.  They had to know why they were important to war.

 Rather than stand at the front of the room and tell them why or create a in depth power point to show them why I did a couple of simple things.

1.  I Googled each contributor and found the MOST WONDERFUL website.  http://www.ducksters.com
2.  I printed information from Ducksters that I knew my students would be able to use.  I also printed information from other sites, but Ducksters has by far been the most helpful.  I really love biography.com and historychannel.com

3.  I copied the information and made packets for students so that I could put students into groups and let them "research" the Revolutionary War Contributors.  Each group studied one contributor.  I had 5 groups.

That is the ONLY WORK I did!!!  They got into groups, found what was important to answer the questions of what they needed to learn, and then shared it with the class.  I provided a flippable for them to complete to help them study and they worked on that in their groups too.  

ALL I DID WAS walk around the room, sit and talk to the groups one at a time about what they were learning and laugh at some of their discoveries.  THE LEARNING WAS AMAZING!!


As you can see, I did the SAME thing for both grades.  I've done this with all of my students.  Of course, I read the information and gain the knowledge for myself.  The only thing different is that I've put the learning on them and therefore made it more meaningful.  I am in love with this method of delivery of information and will try variations of it to keep them from getting bored.  As I find variations that I have tried I'll share them with all of you.

If you teach Social Studies or Science you MUST go to 
www.ducksters.com
























Saturday, February 1, 2014

Timed Tests or No Timed Tests...Yes or No?

I've used math fact practice sheets and tests for a decade to help my students become more fluent with their math facts.  I believe that used correctly they can be the very thing that help your students be more confident with their math.

What is your opinion on this?  What do you do with your students to help them with math fact fluency?

I have also made my math fact practice sheets available for you at a discounted price.  I know they will help your students with their math fact fluency.







Thursday, January 23, 2014

Throwback Thursday!

Another Thursday is here!!  

I was thinking back to my little firsties and thought about what they loved to do and what I loved to watch them do.  I can still picture looking at their little faces when we played BINGO. Oh my they LOVED it!  They were all engaged and happy.  It was so much fun that they didn't even know they were learning.  Here's your "Throwback Thursday" FREEBIE!!  

Please come back and let me know how your students like it.







Saturday, January 11, 2014

Woo Hoo! I'm SO excited!

I am SO VERY EXCITED about this!!! 

I spent FOREVER making task cards and loved the look, but 



was kind of down about the fact that my border wasn't as 



"Valentiney" as I wanted. Necessity bread invention here 



because I spent a little money, took a little time, and created 



something that I love. I've never done this before so I'll see 



how it goes, but I love these TASK CARD TEMPLATES. I'd 



love for you to come take a look at the examples and you'll 



see that these are something you can't live without. 








Thursday, January 9, 2014

Throwback Thursday!

44 people were able to take advantage of my "Throwback Thursday" FREEBIE!!  I'm very happy to know that 44 classrooms will be having a little more fun with that free game that I gave away.
I was thinking about what I could tell you about this week for my "Throwback Thursday" story and the first thing that came to mind was my students playing "Math Musical Chairs."  They BEGGED me to play this game and I wish I would've played it more often.  My favorite part of this game was watching them dance around the room while the music played.  They were such characters.  I've played "Musical Chairs" with my older kids and they LOVE it too.  For my "Throwback Thursday" FREEBIE I want to give you a "Musical Chairs" game so you can watch your little kiddos. 

 Please come back here and let me know how much fun you have with them while playing this game.





Saturday, January 4, 2014

Are you kidding?


We've all had those days in which we wonder "Are you kidding me?"  We hear something from a student, get a note from a parent, or get a directive from our boss that causes us to ask that question.  
As someone who has had a year of MANY changes in my career, I'm curious to hear from you what makes you ask the "are you kidding me" question and what you do or will do about it.  
It is my hope that through a little venting with a LOT of support and advice here we can rise above those moments.
Please share your rants here if you'd like, but PLEASE leave how you will handle it positively.  Leaving advice for a fellow teacher will be one step to healing.  





Thursday, January 2, 2014

Throwback Thursday!

After teaching 1st grade for 14 years it has been a difficult transition moving to 5th-8th.  There are many good things to both grades, and I'm enjoying my time with my big kiddos.  As much as I'm enjoying mt time with my big kiddos I sometimes miss those times with my little ones.  To remember my time with them with a smile I'm going to do a "Throwback Thursday" in which I'll tell a story about my "FIRSTIE" days and give away something from my TpT store.  

I miss playing this game with my kids.  They loved it!  We got to the point in which I became the shark during this game and if they got the answer incorrect I "chomped" them back to their seats.  I can still hear the giggles.

I'm going to leave this FREE for the next week just for you!

After you play this with your students, I'd love to hear what they thought.






Wednesday, January 1, 2014

First FREEBIE of 2014!!

I've made this FREE in my TpT store for a little bit if you'd like to stop over there and pick this up.  I'd love to hear your feedback on this item too!  
Happy New Year!






Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Resolutions for the Classroom




After moving from so many years of my little firsties into the world of middle school with my 5th-8th graders I honestly had no idea what I was doing or what to expect.  With an entire semester under my belt I can look back and reflect on my time so that I can improve my teaching to ensure student learning.  Here are some resolutions that I have for my classroom that I hope help my students.

1.  Laugh, laugh, and laugh some more with my students.  
        I want to include more humor in my lessons.  I'm going to strive for my kids to come into the room with a laugh and leave with a laugh.

2.  Get my students up and moving more.  
        I used a lot of movement with my firsties when I taught them and have included some movement in lessons with my older students but it is my goal to include more so they are more engaged in their learning.

3.  Communicate with my students' parents more.  
        One of the biggest challenges I've faced is going from an average of 20 students to 75.  I need to include a lot more communication with all of my parents and will strive to do a better job with that.

What are your New Year's Resolutions?




Monday, December 30, 2013

Just for you!!!


Hey Owl About Us followers!!! 


I have extended the sale because it is 

going so well so

 come on by and grab a great deal!!


I have some great 

news for you. I am offering a gift for all of my 

followers tomorrow in my TpT store. 

Between 10 and 10:30 am CST 

I will slash SEVERAL products 

down to $1.00 and many down by 50%!!!!!! 

Come by tomorrow morning and 

grab some great deals.







Saturday, December 28, 2013

Psst!

I sent the email out to my TpT followers today!!  I can't wait to give you your presents!


I have a gift for my followers.  
This is my Christmas and New Year's Gift wrapped up in one.  
Follow my TpT store to receive a special email with the date and time that I'll be giving away products and lowering SEVERAL products to only $1.00!!!!  
Talk to you soon!  
Click the picture and hit the red "Follow Me" button to receive your special email.  
You will need to follow my store by 12/29/13 to receive the special email.





Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Fun!

These are the treats I made for the staff at my school for their Christmas presents.  It was so much fun.  What will you do for Christmas presents?  
I'd love to hear from you!







Sunday, December 1, 2013

Cyber Monday Sale!!

Click on the picture below to see what all the buzz is all about!






Sunday, November 24, 2013

Handy Dandy Anchor Charts

Here are some various anchor charts I've been using with my kiddos.  I hope you find one or two that might help you out or give you some inspiration.

I researched and found different text that my students read and gathered information from about the relationship between colonists and Native Americans.  From that research they got into groups and discussed what would be benefits and conflicts.  From there they put into charts what was a benefit for both groups and a conflict for both groups.  This was a great eye opening lesson for them.


This is the chart we made back at the beginning of the year that they use every time they get into groups or present information.


I researched and found information on the three types of government shown below.  I put the students into groups and allowed them to read the research to find out the characteristics of each kind of government.  They then put those characteristics onto sticky notes and then this chart.



My school district requires teachers to give students bell ringers for each class coming through the door.  I also require a reflection.  This is what I use to make sure they understood what I just taught them.  This is the chart I had hanging up so the students could see what they needed to do in order to receive the points for each day.





Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Shout Out

If you have not been to this TpT store then you have to go check it out!  Her clip art is amazing and her customer service is above and beyond the call of duty.  Go take a look and pin something for her!






Thursday, November 14, 2013

Arkansas History Projects!!

I'm nervous and excited!  Tomorrow my 7th graders will be presenting their Arkansas History projects to the students in our school.  This is the first type of project presentation like this I've ever done so I'm nervous.  I took some pictures to share with you all.

Each group was given a topic to research, create a brochure as a handout, and a board to spark someone's attention.











They had so much fun painting these!