Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunshine Award Makes My Month!

It has been "one of those" months weekends. I feel like I can't catch up at school or home...eeek...and the holiday month of madness hasn't even begun! Wah wah me :)
Blogging and Pinterest have been my ultimate downtime de-stressor. I love reading about the things people are doing and have implemented many ideas in my own classroom (more to follow, I promise). That said, waking up to the Sunshine Award has been the highlight of my month.
Thank you so much to Deb at Simply the Classroom for the honour-I am absolutely thrilled.

The Sunshine Award rules are:
1. Thank the person who gave this award and write a post about it.
2. Answer the following questions below.
3. And pass the award to 10~12 fabulous bloggers, link their blogs and let them know you awarded them.

* Favorite Color? 
My favourite colour is blue. I also like pink and orange if they are light (pastel?)

* Favorite Animal?
We have two dogs; Genie, a Golden Lab and Rascal, a Shih Tzu-Poodle, so I guess dogs are my favourite animal. Although I really like cats. My husband is allergic to them, though, so I can't get one.

* Favorite Number? 
My favourite number is 4...always has been....always will be (to quote Bridget)

* Favorite Drink? 
Tims' large double double

* Facebook or Twitter?
Facebook as I don't know how to Tweet.

* Your Passion? 
My passion has to be teaching/learning...especially researching strategies and theories. I love learning and have been involved in three action research projects (two math, one emotional literacy). I also LOVE cooking. I just don't seem to have the time to devote to it that I'd like to.

* Giving or Getting Presents?
Hmmm...tough one....Probably giving presents. It's fun to think about and then find the perfect gift. I love watching my family open their gifts.

* Favorite day? 
My most favourite day of the year is Christmas.

* Favorite flowers? 
I am trying really hard to be a gardener. This summer, I planted a perennial bed :)...every summer I plant annuals and enjoy creating pretty flower beds. My fave flower (which I have planted but hasn't bloomed yet) is the PEONY.

Choosing my favourite blogs was difficult...I love so many and get inspiration from them all! Here are some:

Blogs I Adore

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Fave Christmas Read Aloud Linky Party

I am linking up with Abby at Third Grade Bookworm for a very merry linky party.
I love, love, love Christmas! It's my most favourite holiday and time of the year. Everything about this festive time (except my Visa bill) makes me happy...even the commercials-I kid you not.
There are a number of books that I read to the kids during December, but one that I especially love is The Jolly Christmas Postman by Allan Ahlberg.
The story is about a postman who delivers gifts and packages to nursery rhyme characters. It is one of a series of Jolly Postman books, all of which are fun, whimsical and enjoyable. Of course, this one has a Christmas theme and is full of lift-the-flaps that hold the little gifts and letters for each character. So cute!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


If you haven't yet discovered ClassDojo, I strongly recommend that you give it a try. It's easy to set up and easy to use. I set it all up last night and then used it I am not YET an expert on it but I am cautiously optimistic.
In a nutshell: 1) each student is given a cute, cartoon avatar; 2) throughout the day, "points" can be given to individual students for positive behaviours; 3) points can be taken away for "negative" behaviours; 4) as often as you want, a report card is generated that outlines how well each student has done.
The kids...EVERY one of them...thought it was super cool and are excited, engaged and eager to be rewarded. Personally, I haven't set up, and don't plan on using, the negative consequence option but that is just me. I plan on using the points as individual minutes for free time on Friday afternoon...we'll see how it goes  :-)

click picture to go to the site
Did I mention that it is FREE??

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Summarizing Penguins-Nonfiction

Kids love animals. So, as we plug away with our "Summarizing" pathway, I decided to use an article that I "found" about a penguin that washed ashore in New Zealand. This poor Emperor Penguin mistook sand for snow and ended up getting quite sick.

Please click the link to go to the article. It is from a website that offers articles for kids in grades 1-8. It is the bomb-diggidey!
So, before reading the article together on the Smart board, I activated prior knowledge by using a circle map. It was fun, different and very interesting for the kids to use.

Click the picture for the document.

Then, I gave the kids a chance to share. I have been REALLY working on this-it always seems to be the step that gets left out...
After kids shared their schema, they were given a copy of the article and another chart. We had used S-W-B-S-T for fiction, but the kids didn't think this would work so well for nonfiction. Hence, the next graphic organizer...which you can click here to access.
This was done over a few days. We have also talked about the fact that a summary shouldn't include your opinion, and that it is really important to know the author's purpose before deciding how to go about writing a summary. 
As a link to IR, I gave each students a sticky note and asked them to write down what the author's purpose was, whether the text was fiction or nonfiction, and which go chart they would  use to  help organize their thinking...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Currently I Am...

This is so fun! Okay, here is my Currently list for November...

Thanks to Farley at Oh Boy Fourth Grade for another super fun linky party...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I LOVE My New Design!

Just a quick post to say that I am ABSOLUTELY in love with my new blog design. Mckenna at Project 3 Designs has created a beautiful, fun and perfect blog for me.
Thank you x 1 000 000, Mckenna!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Adding by Grouping Friendly Numbers

So I've signed up to be part of a project for Math. This time, unlike the TLT that I did a few years ago, I am the test subject. Yup, forty teachers across primary, junior and intermediate grades are coming together to see how we can improve our math teaching abilities.
Hmmmmm....I forsee Math on the Brain. 24-7.
I used this Stuart J Murphy book this week to help introduce the concept of double digit addition with regrouping. It is another great math book by Murphy and the kids LOVED it. After we read it, I displayed one of the pages on my SmartBoard and we discussed math involved in the adding. The next day, I broke the kids into like-ability pairs and gave them a problem like in the book. This way, I could differentiate the difficulty of the question, and help the kids who are struggling in reading to read the question. Wow! What a fun, engaging activity.
I asked kids to pair up with another group to explain to them how they got their answer. This worked really well and gave the kids a chance to talk about their learning.