Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Hello Everyone!  Today, I am linking up with Christina from Sugar and Spice for her fun linky, Wordless Wednesday.

What is your favorite book for drawing conclusions?

Thank you, Christina for hosting this linky.  I can't wait to check out all the other pics!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Positive Thinking Thursday

I don't always know the right thing to do or say, but I do know that it is always important to do the best I can under the current circumstances.  Often times, this means learning a lesson or two (or 100) before I "get it right".   I usually find comfort in knowing that I can learn from my mistakes and make better choices the next time.

Today, I am linking up with my friend Jennifer from Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for Positive Thinking Thursday.

Do your best - always!

This quote reminds me that it is okay to make mistakes, but it also inspires me to be better.

Make sure you check out all the other inspiring quotes!  Thank you, Jennifer, for hosting this awesome linky!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Hello Everyone!  Today I am linking up with Christina from Sugar and Spice for Wordless Wednesday.

What is the next professional book you plan on reading?

I'm off to check out all the other Wordless Wednesday pics.  Thank you, Christina for hosting this fun linky!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

My Experience with Stitch Fix... So Far

Hello Everyone!  Today, I am going to break away from educational posts to talk about my first experiences with Stitch Fix.


I am pretty sure that most of you know about Stitch Fix by now.  If not, it is an online service that provides you with a personal stylist.  First, you fill out a detailed questionnaire about your personal style.  After that, you schedule your "fix".  A fix is a set of five items (four clothing and one accessory, unless you request otherwise).  Once the items arrive, you decide what you want to keep and what you want to send back in a prepaid package.  There is a $20 styling fee, but that fee is applied to any items you wish to keep.  You can read more about Stitch Fix here.

At the time when I received my first two fixes, I just didn't have the time to blog about them.  Here is what I kept and what adjustments I made afterward.

Fix #1

In my March fix, I kept this fun infinity scarf.  I wear a lot of navy, so this was a no-brainer for me.  I only have a few scarves in my closet, so I was very excited to receive a new one.

I also kept this skirt.  At first I thought I would definitely return it because I own a couple of black and white skirts already.  However, the feel of this one is much more casual than my other ones.  I just love it with a black knit top and a denim jacket.  

What I sent back:
A pair of green pants that didn't come close to fitting.
A turquoise dress - I loved the color, but the draping made it look very old ladyish.  
A white top that was just okay and too big.

What I changed
I requested that they do not send any more pants.  I am way too hard to fit.

Fix #2

In my April fix, size was a bit of an issue.  I did keep this fun necklace.  I like how it adds to the bohemian feel of some of my tops, like this one.

What I sent back
Two dresses that I LOVED, but they were too big.
A denim jacket with some embroidery that I hated.  Plus, I already have a jean jacket.
A top that was a beautiful coral color, but it was too big and poofy.

What I changed
After my heartbreak with the dresses, I changed my size down on my profile.  I also changed my top size down since both of the tops they sent me were a little too big.

Fix #3

I am super excited to get my April fix.  After looking at other reviews, I made a few more changes to my profile, specifying what I would/would not like to see.  I also pinned quite a few things to my style board.  From what I hear, they really listen to feedback and check out your pins. 

If you are interested in trying Stitch Fix, please consider using my referral link.  I will earn a $25 credit.  I thought it might be fun to raffle off a $25 gift card or two for every four referrals I receive.

Well, it will be back to educational posts until my next fix.
Have a great week!
Thank you!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Peek at my Week

Happy Easter Everyone!  I am looking forward to spending time with my family later on today.  Before I head out, I am going to link up with my friend, Jennifer, from Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for her fun linky, A Peek at my Week.

Today will be part two of my mother's 70th birthday celebration.  Yesterday, we surprised her with three out of town guests.  Her sisters flew in from Annapolis and Houston.  One of her cousins drove down from Cleveland to join in the fun.  All her children and grandchildren showed up at once to add to the surprise.  (She is expecting us today, but not at all yesterday.)  I am looking forward to heading home tonight and being with the people who mean the most to me!


The Ohio Achievement Assessments are this week.  We have reading on Wednesday and math on Friday.  Next year, we will add social studies as well.  I am feeling... Let's just say I am feeling how every other teacher is feeling about testing.  Enough said.


As soon as testing is over, we will start our final reading and writing projects.  The students are super excited about this.  They will be writing biographies.  In addition to a formal written report, students will complete a project of their choice.  We have already brainstormed a list of projects which I will post as soon as it becomes official.  I am super excited to get back to some creative lessons and activities.

I'm off to check out what everyone else is up to this week.  Thank you, Jennifer, for hosting this linky!

Have a great week!  Wish me luck with the testing.  I know my students will do their best, and that's all I can ask.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Positive Thinking Thursday

Hell,o Everyone!  Today I am linking up with Jennifer from Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for her inspiring linky, Positive Thinking Thursday.

Here is one of my favorite, most inspiring quotes.

"I think that if I can help other people find hope in God, then that is worth losing my arm for." -- Bethany Hamilton

She is beautiful inside and out!
How can I not be inspired by this quote?!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Workshop Wednesday - Biography Hooks

Hello Everyone!  Today, I am linking up with Jivey from Ideas by Jivey for her awesome linky, Workshop Wednesday.

This week's topic is biographies.  This works out perfect for me because we will start biographies in two weeks, after our OAA testing is over.  I have found one of the more challenging things about teaching biographies is writing an engaging lead.  Students tend to begin with the date and place of birth.  This year, I am really going to push my students to hook their readers.

There are lots of great mentor texts for biographies out there.  I am going to share three of my favorites to use for crafting leads.


I can't wait to read all of the other great ideas for biographies!  Thank you, Jivey, for hosting this linky!  

Enjoy the rest of the week and the long weekend!

Monday, April 14, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Hello, Everyone!   Today, I am linking up with Jen from Teach Mentor Texts for her addicting linky, It's Monday!  What Are You Reading?

This week, I read The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (guided reading level Q).

This is a book that has been on my reading list since the beginning of the year.  (I'm not sure how I could have possible missed it from past years.)  Some of my students insisted that I read it, and I finally did.  My only
regret - I wish I had read it sooner because it is so wonderful!

The story tells of a journey by a toy rabbit, Edward Tulane, and how he goes through a series of owners.  Some of the owners loved him dearly, but others mistreated him.  Edward ends up learning an important lesson on love.  I won't spoil the wonderful ending, but Edward ends up in an awesome home!  (You can read the Amazon summary here, if you are interested.)

I loved how this story gave perspective of a toy rabbit.  I think this book would make a great addition  to my point of view unit.  I'm sure it will make it's way in there next year.

I know we are all short on time at this point of the year, but this is a very quick read and worth your time, for sure!

I can't wait to check out what everyone else has been reading. My list of books to read is huge, but there is always room for more!

Thank you, Jen, for hosting this linky!

Have a great week!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Peek at my Week

Hello, Everyone!  Today I am linking up with Jennifer, from Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for her fun linky, A Peek at my Week.

Here are a few things I have going on this week.

This week, students will be finishing up their final copies of an opinion writing.  I really enjoyed conferring with students on this writing piece.  
Students were each randomly assigned a job to write about from a book called Odd Jobs.

As you can see from the Table of Contents,  these are definitely not your every day jobs.

I used a SMART Board generator for students to receive a random job to read about.  (In hindsight, I wish I allowed my students to select their jobs.  I did allow for trading, but that is a change I will make next year.)

I handed students a copy of their job description.  Their first assignment was to highlight specific details that made the job unusual.  They could be tasks that the students think they would enjoy or tasks that would make them not want the job.  

After the highlighting was completed, students wrote about whether or not they would like to have the job.  Their opinions had to be supported with specific evidence from the text.  Let me tell you, students had some strong opinions on both ends of the spectrum on just about every job.

I am allowing students to decide whether to type or write this final copy.  Hopefully, we will get those displayed in the hall this week.

This will be our last week with the OAA after school tutoring (which means testing is the follow week).  This has been my first year in charge of these sessions, and I learned a lot.  I would certainly volunteer to do it next year.  I had a great team of teachers helping me, and I feel that we made a difference.

On Saturday, we will throw a surprise birthday party for my mom.  She is turning 70, and she doesn't suspect a thing.  I can only hope I have half my mom's energy and look half as good as she does when I turn 70.  She is amazing!  If you ask her, she will likely credit raising 10 children and having 14 grandchildren to help keep her young.  She is my absolute role model!

Now, I am off to see what everyone else is up to this week.  Yesterday was gorgeous outside, and today it will be close to 80.  I can't wait to get out for a run this afternoon!  I hope the weather is this nice wherever you are!

Have a great week!  Thank you, Jennifer for hosting this linky.  I really enjoy checking out everyone's plans.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Spark Student Motivation Saturday - Camping Constitution

Hello, Everyone!  Today I am linking up with Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching for her inspirational linky, Spark Student Motivation Saturday.

In social studies, we are working on government.  My partner teacher and I were on the search to find some fun activities to go with this unit, and we came across a couple of great activities.  The one I'd like to share with you today is a Camping Constitution readers' theater.  (My awesome teaching partner found this one here.)

The six characters in this script work through decisions about a camping trip.  They go through the process of compromise and come up with a Camping Constitution.

My students love readers' theater, and they had a ball acting out this script.  We also had a great discussion afterward, and this script turned out to the the perfect introduction to the Constitution.  There are only six parts, but we do a lot of acting in social studies.  Students who didn't get a chance to act in this script knew they would have another chance soon! 

I'm off to check out all the other motivational ideas.  Thank you, Joanne for hosting this linky.  I just love it! 

Have a great weekend!  I think we are actually going to get some sun in Columbus, so I am planning on taking full advantage of that!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Three Homophone Freebies

Hello, Everyone!

A couple of weeks ago, I gave my students an assessment on spelling demons.  One area I found that many students needed to work on is homophones.  As far as weekly spelling lists go, I use them sporadically throughout the year, depending on our focus.  Students do have a spelling list for homophones.  I allowed my students to choose their words from a huge word bank that I found in one of my favorite resource books, Words and More Words.

For activities we completed in class, I wanted students to get their homonyms at random, so I created a random homophone generator on the SMART Board.  If you would like to try this for one of your homophone activities, you can download it here.

One of the activities I had students complete was this drawing/writing activity.  You can download it here, if you are interested.

(Font by Hello Literacy, Frame by Lovin' Lit, Border by Fabulous Firsts)
I am currently working on some additional homophone products for my TPT store (Hoppin' Homophones).  For now, I am offering homophone concentration cards for free here.

There are a total of 30 cards.
(Font by Hello Literacy, Digital Paper by Ashley Hughes, Clip Art by Graphics from the Pond, Frame by Aesthetic Addiction)

What activities do you like to use for homophones?  I'd love to hear some new ideas!

Thank you, and have a great weekend!