Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Not So Good News...

I'm finally getting around to blogging my Friday post. I have no good excuse for not posting earlier. Worked late last night, and then just plain didn't feel like it! And it has been snowing here most of the day so I have been enjoying some relaxation time.

On Wednesday, I mentioned that I spent Tuesday running my son around for doctor's appointments and tests on his knee. He injured it on Monday during his basketball game. I had hoped it was something minor, but Thursday we got the bad news.

Ruptured ACL.
Tears in the meniscus on both sides.

Just look at this face.

Surgery is scheduled and there will be a long rehab process ahead. He is actually getting around pretty good today...the swelling and fluid finally went down so he has more range of motion.

Prayers appreciated. 

This is one active kid--running and basketball. He's going to have a hard time being on the sidelines for the next 10-12 months. 

And just when I'd given up on the idea of a snow day this year...

It started last night. 
Snowed most of the day. 
Supposed to snow again tomorrow...

As for a snow day on Monday...who knows?

P.S. I strongly dislike winter. I feel that snow is only good if it results in an occasional snow day and I had decided it would be just fine to make it through the winter without one of those this year!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wisdom for Wednesday - Forgiveness Frees

Happy Hump Day!

I was just happy to be back at work! Yesterday I spent the day taking my son to doctor's appointments and tests on his knee. He injured it Monday during a basketball game. We don't know anything yet, but I'm hoping it isn't anything too serious. For now he is wearing a brace and on crutches. Ugh! The errands and running around wore me out…I'll take teaching any day. :-)

Well, let's get to it, shall we?

I love, love, LOVE this quote! 

I know it is so true of all that we have heard before, but stated so simply it is just…well, convincing.

Many years ago, I studied forgiveness and the bitterness that comes from the lack of it. I was led to…because of things I saw. I don't want to get too personal here, so I will just say that I have seen unforgiveness and bitterness--up close and personal. It has touched the lives of many people that I love in a whole variety of ways. It has made me want to never hold onto something and allow it to take over my life…to steal my joy.

Here's just one of the verses that has stuck with me on this issue of unforgiveness and the resulting bitterness:

Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.
Hebrews 12:15 (emphasis mine)

I hope this is just a good reminder for you. But if you are struggling to forgive, maybe it can be an encouragement to "just do it." 

Have a blessed day!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sight Word Olympics and Reader's Theatre

Today we had another award ceremony for those students who were able to pass their set of sight words.  We started Sight Word Olympics where the students get a list of sight words to practice.  They have 2 1/2 minutes to say the sight words without sounding them out.  If they can do it then they earn a reward and move on to the next set of sight words.  The awards are a blue ribbon, bronze medal, silver medal and gold medal.  It was so fun to see those today that earned an award because they got so excited and proud of their accomplishment!  Their smiles are just priceless!  One of them even told me today that he had never gotten an award before and he was going to hold on to that blue ribbon for the rest of his life!  LOL!  Here they are all proud:

It is so fun to see how kids can excited over some of the littlest things.  I had a couple of groups working on a readers theatre that I got at Dr. Young's Reading Room (I love this site because it has tons of reader's theatre scripts with how many parts the script has).  The groups practiced their parts and using expression during our MTSS groups and they got to perform it in front of the 6th graders.  They were so excited and very nervous!  It was fun to watch them because they stood up proud, used their expression and did a fantastic job!  Check them out:

Isn't it fun to see kiddos get excited about learning??

Hope you have a great day!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Read All Day? What? Yes, Please!!!

This is what my classroom looked like yesterday:

Here's what was going on inside those lovely forts:

Reading, reading, and more reading!

We are working toward a goal of 100,000 Book Adventure points. Book Adventure is a free website that has teacher-created comprehension tests for students to take and earn points. It is similar to AR…not near as user friendly…but hey, it's free!

I don't give individual goals. We just work as a class toward a float party at the end of the year. I set the goal of 100,000 thinking it would be no problem since I started at the beginning of the year. 

I was getting a little nervous and the reward seemed so far away for them, so I decided to have a little celebration for making it halfway. 

We wore pajamas, built forts, and read all day (except for recess, lunch, and specials). My para and I were right there with them reading* and taking tests for our class. I also bought them all a book from Scholastic and gave them a free pizza certificate. 

*We both read Esio Trot by Roald Dahl and were disappointed…seemed to promote lying and trickery with no consequences. It was in my pile for kids to pick their free book from, but after reading it I pulled it out. Anyone else have thoughts about it? I don't think I've read that author before...

One student said, "This is the best day of my life!" 
Hee hee! I just love to hear that about a day of reading. :-)

And I'm happy to report that after our day of reading, we are up to 58,000 points! My class usually earns about 5,000 points a week.

And since I have so many K-State fans in my class, I just had to sport my KU pajamas!

No comment on how many times my husband had to take this picture before I thought it was acceptable for public viewing. Ha!
 Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wisdom for Wednesday-Energy

Welcome to this week's:

I love this because I often find myself worrying about things.  I thought if every time instead of worrying about something, I, I would be quite the believer.  Just think how much energy and exhausting it is to worry.  If I used my energy on believing instead, I would have more energy and be a lot more happier!  

Matthew 6:34-Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Day Off!

We had President's Day off of work and I was so very glad because my mom had shoulder surgery on Friday.  I took off Friday to be with her and was able to spend the weekend with her.  I was so glad that we had President's Day off because it gave me an extra day to spend with her and try to help her some.  

I don't know about you, but as a daughter, it is so hard for me to watch my mom be in pain.  It just brings tears to my eyes.  This weekend, I was just wishing that I could take the pain for her.  My mom has a very high tolerance for pain so when she is in pain, I know it must be really bad.  Just wish I could take it for her! 

I hope all of you had a restful day if you had President's Day off!  

Have a great day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Wisdom for Wednesday - Doing What is Right

Good morning!

I hope you're having a wonderful week. 

I'm hanging in there…last week of coaching basketball. We play tomorrow in the semi-finals and then Saturday for 1st or 3rd. I will miss coaching, but I'm excited not to have to rush out of my classroom each day again. Although I've told myself I shouldn't be staying too late either! 

My son will still have games in high school, but having the middle school season end will definitely calm things down around here.

Thanks for stopping by for another:

Take a look:

How true this is!

Doing right is definitely not always easy. There are times when the "wrong" thing seems so much easier. Maybe because it requires less time, less confrontation, or less risk.

And, oh, the sacrifice! 

We may have to sacrifice many things in order to do right - our time, our desires, our relationship with others.
Sometimes we may even have to sacrifice our pride and admit our wrongdoing in order to right. Ouch! 

 Doing right may not be easy, and it may require sacrifice. But I'm going to continue striving to do right and try to teach my children (at home and at school) to do the same.

My verse for this year is Psalm 19:14.
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

If my mouth--and the meditation of my heart--are acceptable to the Lord, I think I will be on my way to doing right (even when it isn't easy and requires some sacrifices).

What about you?

Monday, February 9, 2015

February Currently Finally!

I finally linked up with Oh Boy Fourth Grade for the February Currently!  I'm a little late at it, but I did get it done.  :-)

Listening-I'm sitting here listening to a lot of kids playing outside because we are having some beautiful weather here in Kansas!
Loving-Over the weekend, the weather was over 70 degrees!  I love this weather!
Thinking-It is so nice to sit out in the sun and grade some papers!
Wanting-I want this weather to last!
Needing-I've been under the weather due to some health issues for almost 30 days now and I am now starting to feel a little better-YAY!  Unfortunately, my house has suffered and it needs a big time cleaning!
Pageant Title-Mrs. Shy Gal-I am not one that likes to be up in front of people!

Make sure you link up!  

Have a great day!

Friday, February 6, 2015

The BEST Change I Made for this Year

Happy Friday! I'm actually home--hubby went to watch our boy play basketball without me (sad face). I couldn't miss practice because our daughter's team (and the team I coach) has first round of league tournament tomorrow. We have to win tomorrow if we want to keep playing another week. We have had two really good practices and "shot the lights out" so I hope we have saved some of that for tomorrow! :-)

Anyway, today I thought I'd share the one change I made in my classroom for this year that I absolutely love.

STAR Homework

I take NO credit for this idea. Click here to see the blog post by Amanda Madden that inspired me.

In the past, I sent home homework three nights a week. On Mondays students were required to read a decodable and get a parent signature. Tuesdays/Thursdays were "traditional" math homework nights.

I was never really happy with the system, but I wanted parents to see the kinds of things we were working on. I wanted the kids to get practice at home and learn a little responsibility.

After reading Amanda's blog post, I knew it was time for a change.  I abandoned the idea of "traditional" homework and I am so happy with the results.

Here's how homework "works" in my room this year.

Every Monday, I send home the class newsletter. Here's a picture of the corner that is devoted to our STAR homework. 

This one belongs to our school secretary's daughter.
She is an over-achiever and loves homework. Ha!
Here's how it works:

1. It is completely optional (but strongly encouraged). Here's how I encourage…I eat with my Homework Club kids once a month in the classroom. All students start each month in the club, but they must earn 4 stars a week to stay in the club. I also give 5 extra Dojo points for anyone with 5 or more stars. And if that doesn't work, we might have a one on one chat about helping your class earn stars.
2. Reading - Any and all reading counts, no time limits or reading logs.
3. The math is all games. My students love to play them and so do most of my parents! See Dealing With Math Homework by Teacher's Clubhouse. The cards and instruction ring are kept in their GO Books.
4. Spelling Practice - I gave them a page of ideas on how to practice and they keep it in their GO Books.
5. Extras - Reading response options are also kept in their GO Books. Math Timed Test sheets are also kept in a plastic sleeve in their GO Books so they can use dry erase and keep practicing. Seuss Club is really Mastery Club where students complete challenges of their choice.

This picture shows a more "normal" student's stars for the week (average is 8-9 stars).

Now what about those stars?

We add them all up on Friday mornings. This could also contribute to the encouragement. I call each student's name and their number of stars. They come to the front of the room and write their number of stars on the board. We all clap for our star earners. I give the extra Dojo points.

Then we start searching for "friendly numbers." I truly believe that this weekly activity has made this class the best at finding those 10s, 20s, and even 30s. Even my lowest kids are spotting them and volunteering to come up and show us what they see.

Take a look:

At the beginning of the year, I set the goal of 80 stars for my class to earn 10 minutes of educational game time. I only have 15 students, so I thought that would be a reasonable goal. As their stars increase, the game time does as well. 12 minutes for 100 stars. 15 minutes for 120 stars. We have exceeded 80 stars all but the first week after Christmas break…I think it took a bit to get back in the routine. Most of the time we get over 100 stars.

Why do I love it so much?

1. They love it!

2. I no longer have kids having to "make up" homework during recess.

2. No papers to grade. I mean, really.

3. The stars are tracked on my newsletter, so parents have several opportunities to actually read it!

4. Adding up the stars has turned into one of our favorite parts of Fun Friday.

I'm sure there are more reasons, but that is all I can think of right now. 

How do you handle homework in your class?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Wisdom for Wednesday-For I am with thee

Thanks for joining us for:

A good friend gave me this verse this week.  I had forgotten about this verse, but after reading it, I remembered how strong and powerful it was!  What a great verse!  First, God is showing us that he is with us at all times no matter what.  Second, when we give God a rightful place in our hearts, he will become our protector and provider.  Third, even when we feel like we have so many things going on we can't handle, God knows these things and has a plan for all of them.  Finally, God will see to it that we come out on top in every situation or struggle we may face in life.  Wow, that is pretty powerful!

Have a great day!

Monday, February 2, 2015

100th Day

Last week, we celebrated the 100th day of school!  The kids were so excited because we were dressing up like we were 100 years old!  They looked so cute and it was so funny how they got into playing the role of a 100 year old.  They even were walking like they were 100 years old.  During math they were working as a group and one said, "Oh, this is going to be a hard one, I better get my glasses for this one so I can see the problem better."  LOL!  We usually do some Go noodle during the day but I told them that we wouldn't be able to handle it but would do something else.  My co-teacher found some silver shoes exercises on YouTube that we did in our chairs.  We had so much fun and they looked so cute!  Check them out!

Here they were acting like they were 100 years old.

Have a great day!

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