Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wisdom for Wednesday - Thanksgiving

There is nothing that prompts gratitude more than remembering the grace that has been given to us through Jesus Christ our Lord.
This time of year, we are all invited to be thankful and to show gratitude...though even this Thanksgiving holiday is being pushed aside as retailers and shoppers focus on preparing for the "stuff" of Christmas. I hope you'll take time this week to reflect on the things you have to be thankful for and enjoy time with family and friends.
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:20
Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Hip Hip Hooray! I have to Celebrate!

I have to do some celebrating this week and let me tell you why....I have always had a hard time with helping kids to constantly remember to start with a capital letter when writing a sentence.  I would always talk about it and when I ask, "How do you start a sentence?"  they could always recite back to me, "with a capital letter".  But, when it came down to it, the capital letter was forgotten a lot.  

This summer I was looking for ideas to help with this and I came across these cute writing goals anchor chart posters at Made by Lucy De Nio on TPT.

I decided to attach them all together and put clothespins with the kids names on them.  I told them that they were all starting with the first goal of starting sentences with capital letters.  They knew that whenever they were writing, I would be checking to see if they started their sentences with capital letters.  The kids were so excited about this because they knew that once I saw that they were doing this often, then they would graduate from this goal and move on to the next goal.  I am happy to say that the majority of the students graduated this goal and are now working on ending sentences (without reminders).  I did tell them that they still have to remember to capitalize or they would have to move back up the chart and redo that goal.  

When they graduated from the goal, I gave them the following certificate that I found at

I have one of my students that is going to be graduating this goal this coming up week and all last week he kept saying "I am always going to remember to capitalize at the beginning of a sentence and I keep reminding myself of it every time I start a sentence because I want to graduate that goal really bad".    :-)

So, I am celebrating because I have found something that has helped my kiddos to always remember how to start a sentence and I don't have to remind them every time we write.  YAY!

On another note, I wanted to share some pics of my cat's new favorite place to lay (what a smart kitty cat!)
Laying and praying on the holy bible.  :-)

Have a great week and wonderful Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Wisdom for Wednesday-Attitude

I guess I should be calling this wisdom for Thursday since it is a day late!  I apologize for not posting it yesterday.....the days just got away from me.  So, thanks for joining for another week of:
Wisdom for Wednesday Thursday!
It is your attitude at the beginning of a task that determines success or failure” – Corrine Dewlow
This is something that I have began to think more about before teaching various lessons.  There are just some lessons that are in our math book that just aren't my favorite ones to teach and when I get to them, I sometimes sigh to myself :-) (which is not the best attitude to have).  I have learned that if I don't have a good attitude about the lesson and get excited about it, then the kids won't either.  On the other hand, if I have a good attitude about it (even though it may not be my favorite lesson to teach), then the kids will be more likely to have a good attitude about it as well and will probably be more successful at it. 
I also need to remember that everything I do, I should have a joyful heart and remember that I am doing it for the Lord.
“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. —Colossians 3:23-24
Have a great rest of the week!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Small Victories

First, I have to apologize for no pictures...again. I'm telling you, the schedule I have this year leaves me with little time to snap pictures.
I even had a great photo op planned last Friday. We have been working on fractions and reading a recipe in math, so I decided the kids and I should bake cookies. I got permission to use the kitchen (small school, remember?) and Friday afternoon for our "fun thing" we made chocolate chip cookies. I planned to take pictures ALL day and you can see it didn't happen. I made a joke later that I was finally a nice teacher and didn't even have any proof. Ha! Kristi even teased me...didn't believe I was capable of having so much "fun!" Hee hee...we both love our routine, but every once in awhile I do get a crazy idea or two.
This week I lost a student (moved away) and gained a student so I'm holding steady at 23. I'm happy to report that my newbie did a wonderful job today during Daily 5. I gave her a trusted mentor and went on with my groups as normal. The only problem I have...and it is a good that I now have 8 kids in my highest reading group and we can't fit very well around my back table! We will manage, I guess.
Hmmm...small victories...sorry I almost forgot where I was headed with this post. LOL! I'm celebrating the small victories this year. Here's a few:
Victory #1 - All of my struggling readers are showing progress...some small, others HUGE!
Victory #2 - Speaking of that, I moved one of my kiddos to a higher reading group today. I was hoping it would encourage, not frustrate. She did awesome and read so well! It really boosted her confidence.
Victory #3 - One of my kiddos who I have struggled to connect with gave me a very big hug today. :-)
Victory #4 - Math rotations are getting better. Some of my kiddos are starting to do Mountain Math and Mountain Language w/o help.
Victory #5 - All of the Kindergartners sang the first (of five - at least it was one, right?) songs we are practicing for the program. I usually have 4-5 who do not consistently participate. :-(
Here's a little freebie for you if you have stuck with me. This is a Connect Four game I'm using this week to work on the long e sound. Students play in pairs, take turns rolling the dice. They then attempt a word with that number in the corner. If correct, they can put a marker on their square. I even let my kiddos knock each other off...they love it!
Grab it here quick. It will go back to regular price of $1.00 (still a good price) soon!
Have a great week!

Sunday, November 17, 2013


This week, I looked back at Crystal's wisdom for Wednesday and saw how much it does apply to us teaching those little ones every day.  I have always told the kids at school that Friday is my sad day because I don't get to see them on the weekend and I miss them.  So, we don't say Friday, we say sad day.  They are supposed to smile extra that day.  :-)  Monday is of course my favorite day because I get to come back and see them.  I make a pretty big deal about it all year and didn't know if they really thought anything of it or not until this week.  

On Thursday, one of my little boys came in and pulled out 5 pieces of paper out of his backpack and raised his hand.  I went over to him and he gave them to me and said, "Mrs. Torrey, I made you smiles so over the weekend you can look at them when you are missing us and smile!"  It brought tears to my eyes and I stopped to enjoy that moment and was once again reminded that like Crystal said,  we have influence on these students' lives.  Sometimes, I get so wrapped up in trying to get everything in during the day and get it done, that I will forget that we are influencing these little ones.  This gesture from a 7 year old boy reminded me how I need to make sure I remember every day that I am a role model to them.  Check out one page of my smiles that I got!  :-)

Have a great week and enjoy your kiddos!  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wisdom for Wednesday - A Little Mass of Possibilities

Good morning! Glad you're taking the time to join us for...

When I read this quote, I was reminded of the amazing responsibility that we as teachers have to our students! They come to us eager to learn...a mass of possibilities...and it is up to us to show them how to develop those possibilities, to encourage them on their journey of education. May we never forget the influence we have on the students in our lives or the responsibility we have to them and their futures.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Writing Like Scientists...and Catching Up!

Well, I feel like I haven't chatted with you all in forever. To be honest, I feel like I haven't chatted with anyone in forever (well, except my students). It has been crazy around here... if you don't want to hear about my life, skip to the bottom for some school stuff...LOL!
You may remember I was sick...ugh...still fighting that but finally on the mend I think.
I haven't told you that I started coaching middle school basketball (the assistant). My daughter was so excited to have me help...although she did tell me, "Just don't yell at my friends too much." HA! She knows me too well. :-)
In music, we are working hard on our Christmas program (yes, already -- remember this is my first time teaching music). I'm happy to report I think it is coming along family is sick to death of hearing me practice the songs though!
We are getting a furnace!!! Hip hip hooray! We have used only a wood burning stove the last three years for heat (we used to have a wall furnace as a back-up but it had died). It works great, but made for some late nights getting the fire going after we got home from games, etc. I'm so excited to actually walk into a warm house at the end of a long day. And, hey, it made hubby have to put in my walk-in closet I've been waiting for so I'm really happy. Well...I will be...when it is all finished. Right now it is just a messy and dusty house, but hopefully we'll be done soon.
Saturday we had family pictures on my side...that is 19 of us. We hadn't done it in 17 years!!! I can't wait to see the real thing, but here is some the kids snapped with my phone while we were waiting (FOUR hours).

Okay...on to Writing Like Scientists! I'm using Lucy Calkins' Units of Study. We started with a simple experiment to answer the question: "Will this car go farther off the ramp on carpet or a bare floor?" We did the first experiment as a class and worked on writing a lab report last week. Today we talked about how scientists use experiments to come up with more questions. I encouraged them to work with their shoulder buddies and adapt the experiment in some way. Then we headed to the gym (benefit of small school - pretty much can use it whenever we want!).

Most of the kids just tried different objects or heavier cars to send off the ramp. Some of them made steeper ramps. The picture below shows my only really inventive idea...these two decided to use the ramp and try two different objects instead of comparing distances on the carpet and bare floor. Of course they didn't really realize that is what they were doing when they started! They were just excited to use the big ramp. ;-)
One more thing...I'm loving the Grammar Flippers that I got from Teacher's Clubhouse. They gave the file away this summer and I snatched it up. I don't see that it is still listed in their store, but if you can find it, I'd highly recommend it. I use it in my small groups to review our grammar skill of the week. I'm able to differentiate with it by requiring more from some groups. Love it!
Have a great week!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Creative Musical Instruments

This past week, we read the story Beth and the Band in our Treasures reading series.  In the story, the kids wanted to play in a band so they used items that they had to make instruments.  My co-teacher had the great idea to have the kids make his/her own instrument using items around the house and bring it in on Friday.  The kids were so excited about doing this and many of them already had the instrument made the next day (we gave them the full week to work on it at home).  Let me tell you that these kids were very creative on what they made.  

On Friday, our music teacher had the kids bring their homemade instruments to music with them.  He had them play the instruments and then he had the great idea to see if they could tell which instrument group their instruments belonged.  Below you will see some of the pictures of the kids holding their instruments:

Here they are having fun playing their instruments!

They had a great time with it and were very creative!!

Hope you have a great week!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wisdom for Wednesday-Reaction

Thank you for coming back for another week of:

Life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.
-John Maxwell
I love this quote and wish I would remember it more often.  Sometimes, I find myself reacting to things too quickly when I should take time to think about it, pray about it and then take action if needed. 
Proverbs 15:1-2
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.
Have a great week!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Visualizing in Reading

This week we worked on visualizing in reading and I read the kids a big book story of The Three Little Pigs.  Although, this version had a little different ending to it than the usual story.  We talked about visualizing while reading and as I read the story to the kids, we stopped and visualized what I had read to them.  I didn't show them any of the illustrations.  At the end of the story, I had them draw one part of the story that they visualized in their head.  They did a great job with it and here is what some of them came up with:

I loved this activity because it worked not just on visualizing but it also worked on listening skills.  The kids had fun with it and they all were able to draw a picture that had something to do with what I read to them.  This is something that I think I will try to incorporate more often in reading instead of just doing it when I am teaching visualizing. 

Enjoy your week!

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