Monday, February 25, 2013

I blame it on the moon

You ever have one of those days where you go home, you have a splitting headache, you are exhausted, and you are just thinking, "What in the world got into my kids today?"  Silly questions right?  Oh boy did I have one of those days today.   Boys punching and tackling each other and getting sent to the office, out of control chattiness, extra lots of calling out, redirecting, annoying classmates, and Ms. G at 1:35 wishing the art teacher luck and I going to collapse in her room.  I'm a racking my brain thinking, "What in the world happened today?.. this is not normal.." Then it hits me.. yup... I BLAME IT ON THE MOON.. THE FULL MOON to be exact.  

I hate that full moon.  I don't really understand how it has an effect of the classroom or the kids.. and it's still even 3 days away (The day of our Seussical Performance ahhh!).. but boy was today exhausting.  I'm hoping the effects of the full moon have entered and exited my children's bodies, but a guess a girl can only hope.  

One of my kids comes up to me today & asks for a snack (We usually have some community snacks for those lovelies who forget or usually come without one).. Well, my snack cabinet is empty.  I mean cobwebs empty.  When I tell them I don't have any, one of my other loves comes up to me and says, "Well, I guess you better get yourself to the grocery store to get some.." Whaaat?  Where did my sweet little ones go? 

OK, off of my rant on the full moon... for now.  Onto some fluency chat!  How do you promote oral and silent reading fluency?  Did you know that around the age of 7 and 8, students are just gaining the ability to bring their eyes ahead in the text while reading the words they've already read?  Because I totally didn't.  Recently, my grade level team had a meeting with a woman who is head of a research study being conducted in our schools about Whole to Part instruction (info on this will come at a later date) .  She explained to us that children can read quite a significant number of words more fluently if they are doing silent reading as opposed to out loud and that constant out loud reading can have a deterred effect on their eye/reading coordination.. does that make sense?  And lets think about it... if they are reading out loud to your or someone all of the time, they are reading a significantly less number of words in just 15 minutes.  I'll have to look up the exact numbers, I can't remember.

Well, one way I promote both silent and oral reading fluency is by doing the following...

With my lowest kid who is in a group of his own, we read 1-2 passage a week that we also use to focus on word i.d. skills.  When he and I meet on the first day, I ask him to read the passage to himself silently and underline any words he doesn't know.  Most of the time, he can figure out the words after he's gone through the passage in it's entirety.  If there's one he doesn't know, we try to figure it out together.  Once we've figured it out, he reads the story again, silently to familiarize himself with it.  The third time, I ask him to read it out loud to me.  Then I ask him to illustrate the story to show his understanding.  The next day, he will read the story again, 1 time to himself, 2 times outloud to me.  The passages go in a binder with flashcards on the words we are working on and sent home each evening/ returned to school each day.  These then become part of his reading HW and he feels comfortable with it because hes already read the passages 6+ times.  Bonus: Seeing & Reading all those words over & over & over again is building his word i.d.  Now only if we could figure out his spelling....

For my other kids, we have been working on read aloud plays and oh my word do they L.O.V.E. it!  Currently we are working on Fairy tales and this has been their favorite.  When I make my groups, this is how they work.

Day 1: Give students the play, ask them to read the ENTIRE play silently to themselves 2x before we meet the next time.
Day 2: Talk about how the characters sound during each part and how they might be acting.  Practice together.
Day 3: Students read the play again to themselves, imagining how the characters sound in their head.  Maybe a whole group run through (Students are NOT assigned a part to memorize or know.. instead they are expected to know the whole play and each time we practice, they pick a character out of a hat)
Day 4: Whole group practice (Again pick out of a hat- students will most likely be a different character this time)
Day 5: Performance (Pick out of a hat for the performance- it keeps everyone accountable for reading and knowing the whole play and building their fluency for every single part!

And that's pretty much it.  Seriously  y'all, they really love these plays!  Here are some websites I've found that are great for finding and printing plays people have made from many many wonderful stories (Word of Warning- These plays are by no means "cute" but it's important that students practice with the typical 12 pt font.. this also builds their reading skills..)

Well- I guess that's all for today!  I hope you gained some ideas for building your students fluency in your room! :)  

Oh yea- What is the craziest thing that has ever happened in your room during a Full Moon?


Saturday, February 23, 2013

And the winners are... & My True Color

Thank you Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway.  There were lots of entries and I'm happy to say that some of my very favorite bloggers won a few of them!!  The winners are...

Giveaway #1: Rachael Schauer
Giveaway #2: Jessica Lawler
Giveaway #3: Chirstina M.
Giveaway #4: Dinah Ely
Giveaway #5:Kirra Lehmann
Giveaway #6: Dinah Ely 

Congrats to everyone who won!! Check your e-mail tomorrow for an e-mail from me!  You should start receiving your goodies soon!  

I found this pretty interesting linky being hosted by Tori over at Toris Teacher Tips and decided to link up!

Basically, you take a short quiz, do some quick math and figure out what color best represents you.  Who knew that it would be SPOT ON?  I mean really... It basically told my personality to the tee, not kidding.  Head on over to Tori's blog to take the quiz & figure out your color.  

    I was tied between 2 colors..


And I have to say, that I would totally agree.  Here is what the quiz says about Blues & Golds!

Peaceful…Flexible…Imaginative                 Loyal…Dependable…Prepared

Idealistic…Spiritual…Sincere                     Caring…Concerned…Concrete

At Work:                                                      At Work:

I often work in the arts,                                 I provide stability and can
communications, education, and                   maintain organization.
the helping professions.

In Love...                                                       In Love...

I enjoy the symbols of romance                     I demonstrate love and affection
such as flowers, candlelight, and                  through the practical things I do
music, and I cherish the small                       for my loved ones
gestures of love.

In Childhood...                                              In Childhood...

I responded to encouragement                       I was the easiest of all types of
rather than competition.                                 children to adapt to the
                                                                      educational system.

At the things people think about me were scary spot on.. I can't wait to bring this to my PLC Monday & ask my teammates to take it!  Head on over to Tori's blog to take the quiz for yourself & link up!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Friday Funnies

It's Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friiiday! Almost! I know I know, pretty much the worst song EVER.  OK maybe not ever, but I think it's pretty close.  Tomorrow is going to be a pretty crazy day.  We have a 3 hour delay due to freezing rain & snow with the slight possibility of clsoing.  Well, the kids have a delay.  There's no such thing as a delay for me, it's called "Planning time". Ever heard of that?  I wouldn't be surprised if you haven't, it's a pretty hard thing to come by in the teaching career.. I joke I joke...except not really.  Anyway- I love a quiet classroom without children.  When everything is all in order & seems perfect.  I love it almost as much as I love the buzz of little voices trying to figure out the PERFECT voice for the 3rd wolf in "The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig" and how they should perform for us.  Alrighty, on to the reason of this post...

Friday Funnies, of course!  I've been kind of a slacker paying attention to my kids funnies & writing them down.  I'm already exhausted from this quarter with all the changes & crazy weather.  However, I will share a funny from a colleague that made me LOL, seriously.. and another heartwarming moment.  

So there is this very energetic kindergarten character.  I mean if you just watching him, you'll laugh.  The things he does.  I don't know how this teacher handles him.  Anyway- one of my 2nd grade colleagues sits with him during car rider pick up and he was showing her his super cool glasses.  She was putting them up to her face, to her eyes, and looking all around.  UNTIL he all of a sudden says, "Yea, I had to keep them in my pants so Mrs. Spence didn't know!"..  Yes, glasses thrown placed gently on the table.  When we ask Mrs. Spence if she knew about this because we were just cracking up over it she says, "Oh Yes, he showed them to me and I asked where he got them and he says, ' It's a secret, I'm not telling yoooooou'" Oh. My. Word, I don't know whether I should be scared of the possibility of teaching him in 2 years or embrace the potential funnies that could come along.. 

And for my little heartwarming moment..

I have a student who I am really struggling with.  He is bigger than all of the other kids and can get quite a bully.  He has a negative attitude, is behind, doesn't listen most of the time, and has been really mean to the kiddos in my class.  Needless to say, He and I don't have the best relationship.  I am trying and trying and trying, and I think it's starting to pay off because for the sub today, they had to write me a letter telling me about how their day was and what they learned and this is what his said...

Dear Ms. Gravelle

Today we had a grat day   it was funny to day.  We mist you fare muck we mad a pargraf for you.  I cant wat for you to cume back.


Talk about put a smile on my face!  Efforts = Not a waste of time! Yay

So there are my shares for the week (posted early so you have time to think & link- Ha Think & Link.. I'm like Dr. Seuss).  I hope you'll consider linking up to share the funny things your kids say & do!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Don't forget to enter my giveaway!

Don't forget to enter my 100 Follower Giveaway! It ends Saturday.  I'll be back after that to talk about some great fluency strategies and ask some questions about your small group reading instruction! :)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

100 Followers Giveaway!

It's hard to believe that in just 5 short months, I have gained over 100 followers!  You bloggy gals and guys are so wonderful.  To say "Thank You" I'm hosting a big giveaway (Finally!) I'm sorry it took so long, technical difficulties follow by decreasing time.  I think it took me an entire week to put this together, in small chunks of course! :)

(Graphics from The 3AM Teacher )

54 Lovely people have donated items and I've split them up into 6 different giveaways :)  Enter them all, or pick and choose.  Be sure to check out their blogs & stores.  All of the participating are just amazingly wonderful and it would be a shame for you to miss out on a chance to really get to know them!  

In addition to these lovely prizes.  Each winner gets their choice of 2 Products from my TPT store!

Ok Here we go...

Graphing Solids by Christine 
English Hot Cold Vocabulary Cards by Doodles & Creations
Bear Fun! Kindergarten Unit-Common Core Aligned by Kourtney @ Mrs Payton's Precious Kindergarteners
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Practical Patterns Practice by Sarah @ Love, Laugh, Teach
Let's Learn About Quotation Marks by Catherine @ The Brown-Bag Teacher
There Was an Old Lady That Swallowed a Rose by Lindsey @ Lovin' Kindergarten with Mrs. Lindsey
January Calendar & Writing Prompts (CC Aligned) by Jillian
Seasonal Antonym, Synonym, and Homophone Fun by Reading and Writing Redhead
Short A super Pack of Activities by Teacher Lisa @ Happy Happy First Grade
B if for Bright Alphabet Posters by Teacher's Toolkit
 Charades of Meaning by Alyssha @ Teaching and Tapas
Money Bingo by MrsMC @ Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!
Coin Combo Shopping by 2nd Grade Glance
Word Family Puzzles by Christina @ Krazy in Love with Kindergarten
a Rafflecopter giveaway r />

Scramble! A fun mixed up word game by Rachel @ Pencils and Chalk
Scoopin Up Fact Families: A Fact Family Craftivity by Marcy @ Saddle up for Second Grade
Place Value- I'm thinking of a Number set 1 by Math Coach
Number Sequencing Activities by Tama @ Across the Pond
Lucky Ladybug Math Game by Janet @ Making Waves in 2nd Grade
Clipart and Ten Frames by Johnston's Kindergarden Corner
Valentine's Day Reading and Math Activities by Shari
Cupid Art Project by A Clever Fox
Context Clues Unit by Jennifer @ Love Teaching Kids
Deliciously Sweet- Valentine Math Games and Activities by Terry
Super Idioms by Beverly @ Creative Preceptor
Valentines Day Party MegaPack by Adriel @ Mrs. Nutter's Ready Readers
Roll & Read Sight Word Game by Elle @ Over the Hills
Mastering Money by CindyT
Valentine's Day Activities by The Teachers' Aide
Colorful Dice Set- Clip Art by Dots of Fun!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Talent Inventory by Ellen @ Brain Leaders and Learners
Product of Choice from Krystal @ Lessons from the Middle
Heat Transfer Practice Worksheet by Jeff @ Remember Middle School?
Medieval China Mini-Research by Erin
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Creative Writing Cards by Margaret @ iHeartLiteracy
Fry Word List Games by Mary @ Pitner's Potpourri
Winners Choice from The Reinspired Teacher
Predictions Party by Jessica
Snow Day Activity Pack by Lynn
Sweet Sentences Sort by Amy @ Common Core Teacher' Toolbox
Black and White Doodle Frames by My Journey to 5th Grade
March Writing Prompts by Stephanie @ Mrs D's Corner
Mentor Texts for Writing Workshop by Jenifer @ All Four Reading
Poetry Unit by Mrs. O's Rockin Resources
a Rafflecopter giveaway

How to Eat Fried Worms Book Study & Activity Pack by Patti @ A Series of 3rd Grade Events
Word Problem Operation Sort Bundle by Elena
Narrative Writing Unit for the Common Core by Brenda @ Teaching, Dreaming, Learning
Monkey Mania & Jumping Giraffes - Equivalent Fraction Games & Task Cards Bundle by Dennis
MathBall Multiplication & Division Football by Jillian
I Love You Friends Doodle Clip Art by Dinah @ The Traveling Classroom
Pictographs Graphing Unit by Melissa @ More Time 2 Teach
Spanish Valentine's Day by Night-Light Lessons

Good Luck  Y'all!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Friday Funnies (On Saturday!)

Ok totally had this ready to go, but just saved, didn't schedule.. so here it is a day late.  Friday Funnies (On Saturday!)  Link up with the funny things your kids say & do throughout the week and share if some laughter.

Mine for this week.. 

One of my kids was sitting in the back of the room on our chair and I asked her whats wrong, she replies, "I can't feel anything!! Except my head.." Ahh yes of course, everything except your head.  I guess I should be glad she realized that she must be able to feel her head if she can talk so to make it {more} believable, she had to add that in there.  Funnier thing is she knew I wouldn't fall for it.  I replied with, "Oh man, that's rough.. guess you won't be able to join our math activity using Cheese-its!"

And of course, 5 minutes later, (Yes, she held out that long) she was completely fine and could feel again! Yay.

What are your funnies from the week?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Giveaway goes live on Sunday!

It's about time right? Even though I had some technical difficulties and it took 10 days longer than I expected, my giveaway is all set up and ready to go live on Sunday at 8am!!

Each winner gets the choice of 2 products from my store & all the goodies donated by so many lovely bloggers/TPTers.  Thank to you all of my followers & everyone who donated.  I hope it was worth the wait for you guys! :) Spread the word and let your bloggy buds know to stop on over next week.  The giveaway will run until the following Saturday! :)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Flash Sale!

Justin & I are throwing a 15% sale in our store for Valentines Day!  Head on over to our store & grab some goodies! :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Valentine Freebie for you!

I know Valentines day is tomorrow, but I found this super adorable idea online {Here's the original pin from Domesticated Lady}

 Little valentine treats for my kiddos.  The only problem was that all the ones I could find said, "Friends" or something along those lines, so I decided to make my own and offer them to you for free!! Click on the first pictures below to download! If you want a "friends" one for your coworkers- head on up to the link above to download those! :)

 It's super simple.. Just put 1 graham cracker split into the two halves, a small Hershey candy bar, and a {heart} marshmallow into a sandwich baggie.  Print out enough copies of the "smores" sheet, fold over the zip part, staple, and viola- a cute little Valentine treat for your students! :) Hope you enjoy, and Happy Love Day!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Why can't be just call it "borrow"?

OK, OK I get it, when you borrow something, you usually give it back..and technically the one that is doing the "borrowing" is not giving anything back.. but do we really have to consider technicalities here??  I mean, that's how I learned it and I'm a math whiz.. so obviously it didn't damage me..

These new methods, while I think they are great- they also drive me crazy.  I constantly have parents complaining that they can't help their kid with HW because "That's now how Ms. G taught us." Do you have the problem too?  Talk about h.e.a.d.a.c.h.e!!  Well- we recently started subtracting with UNGROUPING.. and I had one of those parents come to me, so I made these to send to her over e-mail.. literally in like 5 minutes so they are not super cute... But they get the point across, I think.  

Please feel free to use these as you wish.  I sent them through an e-mail attachment to all my kiddos parents and hopefully they will help.

How do you ensure the parents aren't frustrated with their child's hw because we learned how to to very differently and all of a sudden that's the wrong way?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

RAK Week

Random Acts of Kindness week snuck up on me real quick!  Since this week is all about celebrating kindness, I wanted to share this freebie I made to begin the week in my room.

First- when my kiddos walk in tomorrow, they are going to have a little note on their desk that says, "You are a STAR BURSTing with brightness!" with a starburst attached :).  Next, we will start the day by talking about what a Random Act of kindness is, watching this "Pay It Forward" clip...

...and brainstorming different things we can do for people.  Then, we will all take this random acts of kindness pledge.. (Click on the picture to save,download, and print)

Fonts by Kevin & Amanda
Frame by The 3AM Teacher

Throughout the week, we will keep track of our RAKs by making a class paper chain.  We will perform RAKs as a class and as individuals.  We will end our week by making an ABC's of kindness book.  What do you do in your class to promote RAKs?  I would LOVE to hear your ideas!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

What's your Space Jam?

Have you seen this video?  If not, it is a must see!  Seriously... before going any farther, WATCH!

So what would be your space jam?  I just love this kid.  I showed it to my second graders on Friday.  Obviously they didn't get the "Robert Frost" and "Space Jam" references like I did, but they still got it.  It's time to stop being boring, and start being awesome.  They also came up with the fact that it's going to be a hard, bumpy road- but that you can't succeed without a few cuts and bruises.  This video was a great reminder of why I became a teacher in the first place.. to helps kids through those bumps and bruises, to help them along the way, to be fun & innovative, and to inspire them to believe they can do whatever they long as they put in some hard work.  I encourage you to share this video with your teacher colleagues and maybe even share with your kids.. maybe ask them what their space jam is.  What are they going to do to make the world awesome? :)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Common Core Math

Y'all are NOT going to believe this!  I am so mad.  I went to go set up my Rafflecopter giveaways and my internet access to Rafflecopter is BLOCKED!  What? See, if I was at school, I would have zero problem, but it blocks ridiculous stuff at home.  Why, Oh Why? I don't understand!! It never did this to me until I updated, it just baffles my mind.  And since my personal computer broke- This is the only one I have.  I wonder if Rafflecopter will work on my Ipad?? It would take probably 5x as long, but at least it would get  done.  I'm soo sorry that it might take me a little longer to get up my giveaway than planned, but it will be up, I promise!  Since I can't start putting together the Rafflecopters for my giveaway, I'll tell you a little bit about some problem solving we are doing in Math.

Recently, a few coworkers and myself were leading professional development on the 8 Common Core Mathematical Practices.

One of the people on our team found this video of a third grade math class in action from the Teaching site.  I thought it was totally awesome.  I love the idea of "Wrestling" with the problem and then asking the kids to put their "Heads together, Butts Up" to discuss the problem and how they arrived at their answer.   So I tried it, and I love it!  We do it everyday, right after specials when our math time starts.  It definitely takes up a little bit of time (about 10 minutes of your math block) but  I think its well worth it.  It helps students get their Math Brains ready & they love the challenge. has the Choose 3 Ways sheet the teacher uses, but since I teach 2nd grade, I tweaked it a tiny bit.  I added a number line on the bottom, and changed a few of the strategies that students can use since we don't know multiplication or division.

Here is the sheet I give to my kids to show their work. Definitely check out the video and see how this teacher incorporates the "Choose 3 Ways" into her everyday plans.   It's a great tool for the common core!!!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

February Currently!

I always love the beginning of a new month so I can link up with Farley at Oh' Boy Fourth Grade for the currently!

I love How I Met your Mother!! They are moving onto their last season so we are FINALLY going to figure out how!  Wohoo

I got an IPAD mini from school because of the new NC legislation for K-3 reading assessments.  My school has used Fountas and Pinnell only since last year and we spent A LOT of money on those assessments so it really sucks that we had to spend all this money for the new assessment guidelines {Where's my raise?- Oh yes, it's going to support the ridiculous legislation...I should stop before I begin rambling. I'll just leave it with this...


Anywho- now everyone in the state has to use Reading 3D & mClass for reading assessments.  I know most schools use this so only about 40% of the state has to jump on board, but what we were doing was working so I don't understand why we have to change it.  The only good thing that came out of this is my new IPAD mini which is pretty awesome.

I really need to run!! I just have so much to do and it's been so darn cold that I've been slacking

My girl scout cookies are in the cabinet, but if I get up then I'd have to uncover myself and then I'd be sooo cold.  I can't decide whether it would be worth it. Oh by the way, THANK YOU Puxatawney Phil for NOT seeing your shadow. Hooray Spring!!

I don't really *Need* anything right now, though there are a lots of things I want! :)

And dirty tabletops!! They drive me N-U-T-S.  My kids know that if they have stuff all over their table, I'm going to make them clean it up so they may as well just keep it clean.  I'm not talking about the work their doing, just that clutter of papers not being used, pencils not in a box, snack crumbs.  One of my darlings is quite messy and her desk drives me Ca-razy... It's hard to even go over to her desk :\

It's not only messy/dirty tabletops at school that drive me up the wall.  It's anywhere!  If there are crumbs on the dinner table (especially when we are eating), I'm wiping them up an cleaning the table.  I don't know why, but I just can't stand it.  Weird, I know!

Well- that is all for now folks!  Don't forget to head on over to my store and take advantage of the Super Sunday Sale!  My store is on sale Today-Monday but you can only get the 28% discount on Sunday with the code "Super."

Friday, February 1, 2013

Friday Funnies Linky!!

It's that time of the week again! It's time for sharing all of our Funnies from the week!!

I have to admit that I slacked off a bit this week on keeping track, and when I was trying to I had nothing to write it down.  When I got back to my room, I COULDN'T remember no matter how hard I tried! Rawr, don't you hate when that happens?  Well I'll add more as I think of them because I laugh so much because of the funny things my kids say or do throughout the week.

The one funny I got written down was when one of my little ones (who has a very difficult time concentrating/ getting her work done) comes up to me in the morning and says in a distressed voice "So, Ms G.. we are LITERALLY reading this magazine about Martin Luther King Jr?"

"Why, yes, we are...thanks for noticing that we are doing it literally!"  Laugh*out*loud!

So what funny things did your kids say or do throughout the week? Link up & share in the fun & laughter

*Sorry, don't know what happened but linking is now available! :)