Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Giveaway Time!!!

I'm so very excited to present a wonderful giveaway today!! 
The HearALL Assessment Recorder!! 
I know you have seen these giveaways popping up around blog land. I was so excited when Learning Resources contacted me about reviewing this product. I get to provide yet another reader with the HearALL Assessment Recorder! This awesome recorder is worth $100 buckaroos girlfriends!! So, get in on the fun!!

I've been using this handy little gadget in my classroom for well over a month now and my students and I LOVE it! What do I love about it you ask??

  • It's light weight and easy to use! 
  • The sound is very clear and high quality.
  • It allows me to be in two places at once.
  • The reluctant/shy students are motivated to read aloud to it.  
  • The kids are under it's charm and stay focused when reading to it. 
  • It doesn't need batteries.
  • You can play back recordings on the spot, save for later, send to a parent via email, upload recording to your blog, etc... (So much potential!!)
  • Wonderful way to practice fluency! They can buddy read in a fun voice (cowboy/robot/alien/etc.) then play it back and listen to themselves. Super fun!! 
Here is the HearALL in action in my classroom!

Thanks super duper 
Learning Resources 
for making this giveaway possible!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks super duper for entering my giveaway!! 
I have another one in the works so stay tuned!!
Saturday, June 2, 2012

Getting My Linky On!!

I so love a linky and now that I have a little more time on my hands, (I mean a LITTLE) I'm joining in on the fun over at ...
Sour Apple Studio
Besides the fact that her blog design is AWESOME!! She is celebrating with a giveaway. Why not type on over and show some love!?!?

Here is a list of the things I soooooo could not live without!!
For the sake of cornyness (is that a word?) I will not say my students. :) But, seriously I love those little turkeys!! Even the turkeys that are very hard to love. :) I'm off right now taking care of my little guy who had surgery. I went in today to catch up on sub plans and one of my little guys came up to me and said in a sooo very serious voice, "I missed you more than this whole room Mrs. Lutton". 
(heart melting into a puddle of goo)

1. My Library!! I have worked so very hard to build up the classroom library that I have and I love it! I know I have a book buying problem and I've slowed down tremendously but I have a passion people what can I say!!
2. Xtramath.com - Love me some xtramath!! This is a free site for math fact practice. It has made a huge difference in my classroom. It makes math fact practice fun and we do it every day.
3. This girl LOVES her some Sharpie markers!! Seriously LOVE EM'!! Enough said!
4. Pinterest is a must for me. I will same I'm a little less obsessed and I don't check it every night. Hey!! I admit I do have some small obsessions. Is it so bad?!? Pinterest has been a way for me to organize and utilize ideas and has allowed me to improve my teaching. If you don't already then jump on over and follow along!! I've have a couple people checking in on my pinning. :)
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5. Have I mentioned how very much I adore my co-workers? They make me laugh. They pick me up when I feel down. They inspire me. They make work fun and I'm so very lucky to have them!
6. Did I mention DIET COKE!?!

There are so very many more things that keep me chug a lugging through the day but hey, we just don't have enough time to cover them all!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Persuasive Writing

I made a solid effort to sneak in persuasive writing before the year ended. My kids LOVED it!! I gathered some awesome picture books to show author examples, modeled, and whipped up some snazzy charts. I think that next year I will review letter writing and then jump right into persuasive writing. They just go together so well. I'll have to say that the Common Core looks highly on persuasive writing so I want to do it up right! :)

Here were a few of my favorite books. They were great! Super funny, with beautiful illustrations, they would make wonderful additions to any classroom library. My kids were CRAZY for the I Wanna books! I think I'll put a twist on my LaRue books next year to mesh with elections. Never too soon to plan ahead!! :) Now, I just have to not forget. hehe! I have to say I get so many wonderful ideas from all the wonderful blogs and the awesome Pinteresters that I need to get better at writing all the awesome ideas down on some kind of organized map. Imagine that!! :)

I swear I'm not one big sales pitch but I purchased this Persuasive Writing unit on Teacher's Pay Teachers. It has come in super handy! If you know Jen from Runde's Room than you know she has been blogging a long while. She has some super cool stuff in her store and I can vouch that the Persuasuve Writing unit is wonderful. 
If you want to jump over and check out Runde's Room she just recently posted about a Daily 5 book study.  
You know how I LOVE Daily 5!!

Now for the charts I whipped together! I took information from the writing unit, threw in picture book examples, snazzed it all up with my sassy sharpies and......POOF!!

My kids focused on writing letters to people trying to "persuade" them to do, think, buy, etc. Most of them wrote letters to parents that were very similar to the ones in the picture books I read. I see taking things a step further next year when I loop to fourth. I want to see them choosing candidates or issues, then writing to persuade. How cool would that be!?!
I did have a few who wrote a few sentences and would run up to me saying they were done. Go figure!! :) We work on writing during Daily 5 time and I couldn't have my conferences/guided reading interrupted so I broke things down for them.
All in all things went well! I had two girls tag team a letter to convince me to allow them to bring in their cat. I read the letter and planned to respond but they took my not saying no, as a yes. The next day in walks a grandma with a cat. I guess we need to talk a bit more about persuasion and permission! Ha! It was a very nice cat. :) 

Please feel free to comment with other materials, books, and/or tools you use for persuasive writing. I would love to hear from you!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Little of This and A Little of That

Hey bloggy buddies!!

I hope this little post finds you all rested, suntanned, and about to begin your summer breaks!! I'm home with my little guy who had his tonsils and adenoids taken out today. He is such a little trooper!! It turns out he has sleep apnea. I'm so excited for him to start getting good sleep!! He is resting and doing great and I have a little time on my hands to take care of him, grade papers, and do a wee bit of posting. 

I'm going to try to do a bit of posting on the happening of the last few weeks. We've had so very much going on!! Up coming topics include: (in no particular order)

Persuasive Writing
Writing Diner
Common Core
NWEA Testing
Plant Activity
Looping Excitement 

Summer Incentives

Two incredible giveaways! 

You will have to stay tuned for the giveaways. They are in the works and will be coming shortly. I just have to get my posting groove back again. :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Oh Friday!! I LOVE you!

I officially survived the week back from break! The kids were a little spring feverish but good. Routines and familiar faces are nice. I finally announced to the kids that we were looping. I have to say I was really nervous. I don't know what I expected their reactions to be, but I was anxious I would see disappointment or a big "OH NOOOOO" in their eyes. It turns out they all cheered and began to yammer about how awesome the whole thing was. I had a jokester who grabbed his head and fell to the ground with a loud - "Oh no, not again!!" but he was teasing. (I think:) I sent the letters home and didn't receive any -Over my dead body!! phone calls. :) All in all things were good.

On another note I received another email from a neighboring district asking to visit and observe my classroom. I'm flattered and motivated to whip up some worthy lessons. They are coming to see my D5 in action. I hope I don't disappoint. This will be our 3rd group since Christmas break. Pretty cool. Once upon a time someone made me feel like a horrible teacher and I've been on a mission ever since to prove them wrong. Maybe I owe them a thank you! :) NOT!! hehe!

My Pinterest followers have exploded since the whole charts post. If you haven't checked it out take a look!!

Follow Me on Pinterest
I have a BIG giveaway in the works!! I haven't done one in a long time so I'm a little nervous. Expect awesome stuff to be coming soon!! I'm doing a product review and then a giveaway. I just want to really use the items a while in my room before I post.

I hope April is treating all my blogging buddies right!! 
Happy weekend everyone!!
Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Currently April!! Check It Out!!

I'm excited to link up with Oh' Boy 4th Grade for her Currently April!! I don't think I have ever done this before. I always think it looks cute but don't have the time. Well girls, it's spring break and I'm making time!!

Thanks Farley for the fun!! To link up and join the fun just click on her button below!! By the way she is having a super sassy giveaway to make it extra juicy!!

My boys love to play the Wii especially Lego Star Wars. They are CRAZY about it. My daughter hates it and insists on making them miserable by singing during their play. This all makes for super annoying arguments too early in the morning. :) 

I'm super excited to say that it is SPRING BREAK!!! Yipeeee! I'm also excited to report that I'm out of my funk and working out again! Hopefully just in time for the summer fun I expect to partake in. I will say I was motivated by a Pin on Pinterest. I often pin inspirational quotes and messages. I almost missed this one because the cool info. was on a backdrop of a too hot lookin chic. I'm glad I read it though. I'm taking the jumping jack challenge. Even if I do nothing else I will do my jacks and push ups!! :) I think I can, I think I can!! Check it out here under Workout Inspiration!

Yep, we are moving! We aren't ready just yet but I'm trying to get things around and packed. This is a real challenge with my three wild ones!! That's 3 little one ages, 4, 6, and 8, for those of you that are new to me. :0) 

I'm planning to make it to the movies before break ends. We shall see. :) I read the books over a year ago and loved them. 
It's official!! I'm looping to the 4th grade and I'm super excited about it. I send the letters home on Monday when I get back from break. I did tell a couple parents who were VERY positive and excited. One actually started jumping up and down and clapping! She just about made me cry. I taught 4th grade for four years before I started in 3rd two years ago. I like 4th but my heart will always be in 3rd. Lucky me, my principal let me know I can head right back to 3rd when my loop is done!! YIPEEE!!

I could so use an energy button to keep me going like the cute pink energizer bunny!! I would need a dose of positive to help make everything run smooth. Seriously!! Who couldn't do with a dose of positive energy?!?! Yeppers, that's what I thought!! :)

Thanks for reading along and commenting!!
Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Thoughs on Looping Anyone?

I just recently found out that I will probably be looping with my class next year. I'm excited because I love the group I have but nervous because I've never done it before. I want to keep it fresh and fun but stick with the same routines. I know it's almost spring break and we are all very ready. Will being together for two years be like that? I know it will rock to start off the year knowing their strengths and personalities. I know what books they love and what quirks they have. I know we will hit the door running when fall comes and won't have many of the routine hang ups that come with not knowing your students.

Has anyone out there looped and have advise for me? Does looping feel like a wonderful fun ride like the picture above? :)

Better yet does anyone have a parent letter for looping?
Monday, March 19, 2012

Gotta Love A Giveaway!!

Live 2 Learn is new on the block and having a giveaway!! If you have a minute run over and join in! She only has 4 entries so far and she needs her fellow bloggers to show some LOVE!! :) Besides that makes your odds of winning pretty darn good!  :) Click on the button below to go over and win something cool!

I hope Monday treated all of you a okay! I know this warm weather is giving me and mine some serious spring fever! I have 9 days until spring break and I'm super excited/nervous. We are moving, and wow, it is gonna be CRAZY!! 

Happy Tuesday everyone!
Sunday, March 18, 2012

Charts and Poster Continued

Jennifer over at Lifelong Learning asked an awesome question about what to do with charts and such when you run out of room or are done with them.

First of all, I don't display them all forever. I only display what we are currently working on. I like for people to be able to walk in my room and be able to instantly know what we are learning about at the current time. I try to avoid clutter but WOW is that a challenge! I hang the ones I love on a hanger with clips in case I need to refer back for review or something. I keep them in  my coat closet where they are kept safe and sound.
 Mine look something like this but are white.

I like to make them with the kids so I always do them over the next year. I do cheat a little and do some of the bubble letters and drawings before hand. 

You could keep pictures of charts and keeps them in mini photo albums in the kids tubs. The kids can grab them out for a reference or you can send a kid to reread one if they are struggling with something. Like - I see you are struggling with sitting in EEKK position for buddy reading. Why don't you go review the EEKK position in your photo albums. I've always said I'm going to do this but I just get too busy.

 Something cute and little like these albums would be good.

What do you do with your charts? 
How do you organize/store them 
and how long do you hang them?

 Jennifer's button is below if you want to check out her sassy blog!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Charts and Posters Everywhere!

I kinda have a thing for chart paper. No, really, I have issues! :) My co-workers tell me I spend way too much time on them. They always tell me to pass them around when I'm done. I know my co-workers are reading right now going, yep! But, since they NEVER comment and only jam to my rockin tunes you probably won't hear this from them. hehe! Love you girls!! 

I love my charts to have color and sass. I have to say I wanted to link up with Ladybugs linky party to show off all the fun charts I've made this year but I didn't know just how to do it. Should I go through  my pics and just put them all on one post to display? Should I link up several times? Hmmm.... Decisions! 

Then, I thought, duh!!!! I keep all my charts along with all the sassy ones I find already organized on Pinterest. Soooooo.... Why don't I just share my Pinterest link? Here is a preview of what you will see if you choose to go check out my charts!

 I have 100 pins just for charts on Pinterest. You should really go take a look! Some of the charts are made by me and many others were found on amazing blogs. I have copied and used many of them this year. I swear it made a huge difference in my teaching!! Remember if you click on the pin you like it will take you to that blog where you can read the entire post it went with. Which means you will not only get charts but lesson ideas and inspiration as well!! You can't beat that!!

You have to promise me you won't make fun of me for being a psycho pinner! Make sure you follow along while you are there!!

Follow Me on Pinterest
 Click on the Pinterest button above 
to check out the wonderful madness!!
Friday, March 16, 2012

New Look for the Library and Linky Party!

I gave my library a new look! I love my new labels! I used scrapbook paper and labels. I was SUPER frustrated when I went to laminate them and the monster ate like 6 of them!! UGH!! But alas I whipped some more up and tadaa! I now have a new look! I think it matches the rest of the room pretty nicely. 
I'm really into using beige's and blacks with 
splashes of color all around.
I used Velcro to attach the tags to my baskets.
Do you like my sassy book shelves? I made them myself! I made 4 of them and then talked my dad into making more for me. :) In the past 4 years he has made several for me and my co-workers. They love them!
I like how the labels look with my CAFE board. 
This is my anchor chart for text to self connections.
This is the back side of my classroom. The books on this shelf are all buddy reading books. I have multiple copies of all of them. Do you like my READ letters?! I made them with plain wooden letters, scrapbook paper, and magnets. 

This is also a shot of my Daily 5 buddy reading chart that covers EEKK reading position. Elbow to Elbow, Knee to Knee!

Now for the linky part!! 
Ladybug's Teacher Files is hosting an anchor chart linky party and you should so type on over there and link up!! It just started tonight so there is plenty of time to get in on the action! Click on the picture below to check it out!

Thanks for stopping by and please leave a comment! 
I would love to hear from you!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Let's Get These Blogs in Order!

I would like to point out the way I organize all the blogs that I have found. If you teach a particular grade you can go to my sidebar and click on your preferred grade level and tadaa!! I have blogs arranged by grade level.
It looks just like this!
I have so many blogs saved on there you could spend days cruising along them finding great ideas and inspiration. 
Here is the thing!! I took a break and I wasn't active for the past 5 months. I know that so many wonderful blogs have popped up and I've missed them. I would really like to have a complete list so......  
If you want your blog on here or you know of a blog I'm missing leave me a comment and I will add them pronto!
Sunday, March 11, 2012

Susie Q Came for a Visit!

We kicked off reading month with a visit from Susie Q the certified therapy dog. Our teacher of the hearing impaired students has an adorable puppy who is a certified therapy dog. Not only is Susie Q ADORABLE but she can also read sign language!! Yep, she is one smart puppy! She did tricks for us then sat and listened to each of the students read. Soooo cute!! She laid her little head on their laps while they read snippets of their stories to her. We were in Daily 5 mode so we were all over the room. I think the kids wished we had a dog. Now wouldn't that be interesting! Here are a few shots I took of the gang reading with Susie Q.
Saturday, March 10, 2012

Stepping Out of the Box

I had the opportunity to step outside of my box last week. Our local ISD asked if they could come in and video tape me during Daily 5. I was super chicken but decided I needed to step outside of my comfort zone. So permission slips were sent home, my kids got busy planning their wardrobes, and my room got a good scrub down. You should have heard my girls all fired up planning what they would wear. I was tickled the morning of the taping when my boys came in with their hair all gelled up. Too cute!

I have used the Daily 5/CAFE in my classroom for the past four years and I really do love it! My third grade co-workers started it this year and they are excited about the results they are seeing in their classrooms. The ISD plans to run some Daily 5/CAFE workshops this summer and they wanted a video showing teachers in our county using the model in their classrooms. I was SUPER nervous but I think it went well. They taped me teaching a mini lesson on text to self connections and then conferencing with students one on one. For the last bit I had to stand three feet from the camera and answer interview questions while my students worked quietly in the background on their Daily 5 choices. I got a little tongue tied but my kids in the background rocked it out!! I was sooo proud of them that day! The woman who taped us had announced that they could expect her to walk around and tap their shoulder if they needed to focus or settle down during the session. As she packed up she looked up all of the sudden and remarked on how she hadn't had to tap a single shoulder. They were so impressed with the kids behavior.

She sent me some of the pictures that she took with her camera and I have them here for you to see. I love the one of the little guy in the green chair. Sooo cute! He is so on task and it's funny how his shoe laces match the bean bag. Remember this summer when I was debating the bean bag chairs? Well they have worked out great!! I totally recommend them!

In the end, I'm super flattered that they asked to come to my room for the taping and proud of myself for conquering my fears and letting them come.
Thursday, March 8, 2012

Nonfiction Summaries

Welcome back! I'm glad you're reading along and I hope you find a thing or two that you can use in your room!

This post goes right along with my two previous ones. I've been hitting nonfiction text pretty hard since after the holidays. I started off by making sure the kids know what nonfiction text features are and how they benifit the reader. I talk all about that in the previous two posts. Here is a picture of the nonfiction text features I cover.

When I'm sure the kids are all settled in and feel comfortable with the text features I move into nonfiction summaries. We covered fiction summarization in the beginning of the year and I knew that nonfiction was going to look a lot different and be much more challenging for them. I made this sassy graphic organizer to help with that. I only have a picture here because I can't seem to located it in my files. UGH! I will find it though and put it up for all of you to use if you wish! (Promise)
I explain to the students that we focus on the title, pictures, and the first section to get our opening sentence. We then divide the article by sections using the headings. We give one sentence summarizing each section and add it to our organizer.
After we finish up the chart organizer we wrap it up and put in into a neat nice paragraph. I take this time to talk about grammar. I also talk about not wording our summary sentences the same as the author did in the original article. I tossed it all together and threw it on our bulliten board.

The kids are really getting good at summarizing. I think this skill will be a great resource to them as they get into the upper grade where they have to read and pick information out of text books on a regular basis.
Sunday, March 4, 2012

National Geographic Explorer/Pathfinder

On my last post I mentioned a student magazine that I use to teach nonfiction. Well, I failed to mention what magazine that was. Oops! I've been getting this amazing magazine for the past two years and I use it for all kinds of things. It has awesome eye catching articles that go right with many science/social studies GLCEs. The magazine comes in different reading levels. The articles essentially stay the same. Both levels have an article about rock climbing with the same pictures. The lower level has larger print and easier to read text. I can then differentiate and have higher readers being challenged while my lower readers are not threatened. Click on the picture below to see what they offer online for students and teachers.

I was in no way solicited to push this magazine. I just really find it that valuable.
Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Little Nonfiction

I've been so very busy with lots of fun projects and I thought I would get myself in gear and start sharing!! I've hit nonfiction text features pretty hard since Jan. I used these adorable posters which I found on TpT!! Go Lesson Plan SOS! I've been MIA but I love you two and all your sassy lessons!! These posters are colorful and the kids stayed engaged with the lesson.

Click here to get these super sassy posters!!
 I introduced 3-4 features a day using these posters. We were holding our snazzy magazines (Which I love!!) and we went on a little scavenger hunt. I would introduce captions and the kids would hunt for one and then we would discuss captions and so on. As the kids became more independent and familiar with nonfiction features I introduced this sassy graphic organizer!

Guess where I got this??! YEP! Lesson Plan SOS Those girls just have it going on! For the link to purchase this from TpT click HERE.  To go see their sassy blog click on the button below.

I took this organizer and put my own words in. I put things like find 3 captions and tell what page, find 2 pictures and tell their purpose, find 1 bold word and tell its definition etc. I then set the kids loose with their magazines to hunt for nonfiction text features. We would gather back and share.

I hope you enjoyed this little segment of nonfiction text features!! I have more to come so stay tuned!
Leave a comment if you have any ideas to add, suggestions, thoughts, etc..
Monday, January 16, 2012

Check Out These Cool Sites!!

I hope you are all enjoying this beautiful Martin Luther King Day!!  I can't believe I haven't said hi in over a month. Life has just taken over and wow time is flying. At school we are hitting procedures and delving into mid year assessments. YUCK!  :) I'm trying to evaluate what I have covered and what I haven't. It feels like summer will be here before you know it and I'm feeling the pressure.

I have my personal evaluation next week. YIKES!! I get so stinkin nervous! Next Friday in will walk my princiPAL along with the lower elem. princiPAL. :) They will sit for an hour and observe my little ol self preforming. I plan to introduce my littles to non fiction summarization. I think I'm set but I just get soooo nervous!!!

So, I'm sitting here at training this morning. Yep, that's right. I'm not all comfy at home in my pjs. I'm at training learning about technology in the 21st century. Not as good as pjs but it will do.

I thought I would take the next several days to show you the cool sites we talked about today.

Are any of you up for re certification any time soon? I have to renew this June so I'm giving this shout out to all of you to check out your personal time frame for renewal. I got a little confused about the dates of my masters and the date of my last renewal and was in a bit of a panic about sb-ceus. Turns out I have credits from my masters that have me sitting pretty. Big sigh!!!
Go here to check your time frame for renewal.

 Michigan Department of Education

This site is very helpful if you are a teacher in Michigan and you need sb-ceu's. If you don't live in Michigan I'm sure there is a site in your state that could help.
You can take these courses from your kitchen in your pjs.  :)

I'm sorry I've been gone so long and I promise to be much more on the ball with my posts! :)

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