Monday, December 12, 2011

ReadLearnTeachLife: Tis' the Season to Cook!

ReadLearnTeachLife: Tis' the Season to Cook!: I love to cook! So, it doesn't take the holidays for me to break out the cookie sheets and skillet. It really is the time in the day I don't...

Tis' the Season to Cook!

I love to cook! So, it doesn't take the holidays for me to break out the cookie sheets and skillet. It really is the time in the day I don't think about teaching, etc. I call it therapy. The best part of cooking is sharing it with others and seeing what they think of it. My biggest family, especially my husband. He is such a trooper trying all of my experiments and attempts at recipes.

Here are a few recipes that I am excited to share.

I am always afraid trying slow cooker meals, so I tried this on a Sunday when I was home. It's a Kraft recipe, you can leave it in for 8-9 hours on low, but it was great after only 5 hours on high.
Easy Slow Cooker Stew
It was very yummy, very easy and great as left overs.

Something sweet, Surprise Cookies from Martha Stewart. Thanks to Pinterest I found these fabulous cookies that may become a yearly cookie. Lots of fun to make, and easy ingredients to have on hand. It may just look like a chocolate cookie with chocolate icing, but there is a marshmellow underneath it all. I decided to add some M&M's on top to give some holiday color. Once again, a husband favorite.
before frosting
half and half

All done!

Tired today...first day back as a full time teacher with out a student teacher teaching. Got to say though, I love teaching :) I missed it. More teaching posts to come!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Questioning - Westlandia

This is the last week of teaching for my student teacher, and she is ending strong. We started our next month's strategy last week: Questioning. This was her next lesson to introduce that we ask questions throughout reading, as well as reviewing that there can be thick and thin questions.

I have briefly read this book...but it is fabulous for many strategies:

To start off the lesson she used their knowledge on the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears to ask thick and thin questions to help students see the difference:
1. Who are the characters? (thin)
2. Do you think Goldilocks will break into another house again? (thick)
3. Where did the story take place? (thin)
4. What will happen when Goldilocks gets home? (thick)

She then had them ask some questions after looking at the cover and reading the plot description, and wrote some of them on a T-chart she had labeled Thin Questions/ Thick Questions.
Students wrote this chart in their reader's notebook.
As they read Westlandia, they wrote down questions and put it under thick or thin question. The teacher also thought aloud some questions she may have and what kind of question it could be. Students shared their questions periodically.

At the end, each student was given a post it note and wrote their favorite question  they made while reading on it, and then came up to the t chart and put it on the large chart. This was a great quick way to see if they understood the lesson. It was great! Students were very into the story as well, so it made questioning very easy.

Fun discovery! My student teacher said that she was exploring on the ALL section on Pinterest and one of my pictures from my blog on Idioms was on there!!! WOW!!! thanks to all who follow and share these ideas with others!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Winter Reader-Land!

 Quick post today..wanted to show you my newest door for the season. I love being able to decorate a door now! I wanted to do a gingerbread house front, but couldn't find brown chart paper until after the fact. Yet, I do love how this turned out.

Right now I am trying out my first slow cooker meal. I decided to try it out on a day when I would be home all day. I will post soon how it comes out.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Happy Late Thanksgiving...Macy's Parade!

My love of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is almost sickening! I haven't missed it, except for maybe once when I as in a parade myself. Therefore I was sooo excited when I found the book Balloons Over Broadway
It tells the story of the man who brought the balloons to the he went from balloons on sticks to how they became "upside down marionettes". The images are fabulous, and illustrations are a great mentor text for publishing.

Beyond that, it was a great activity for that crazy day before Thanksgiving break. I read the book and then told the students that in honor of this history, they are going to create their own balloon to be in the parade. I explained that they add balloons each year depending on what the trends are that year. Therefore, what balloon should make next years parade?

They were given a long piece of paper, on part of it they were to design their balloon..even add how the balloon will look, and then write a persuasive letter on why their balloon should be chosen (2-3 details). They were quite convincing and artistic:

Harry Potter Balloon (snitch)

Green Bay Balloon

Hugo Cabret Balloon

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Hugo Cabret

Wonderstruck Balloon

Students were silent as they hovered over their creations and couldn't wait to share not only their balloon but what they had to say about why their balloon should be picked. 
It was a great day before break! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ohio's Native Americans

In honor of Thanksgiving, I wanted to post our latest social studies lesson and project.

4th graders in Ohio need to be familiar with the Native American tribes in Ohio, how they got here, how they lived, and why they left. During my student teaching 5 years ago I created this project, and have done this in many different variations for each of the grades I have taught. Now that I teach fourth grade again, and probably will for a while now, it is a staple in my unit.

Students are separated into 6 groups, and then assigned a tribe. After  they are assigned their tribe, I call them that tribe to help get them in the mood. I give them copies of internet pages on their tribe, as well as research books (including textbooks) that they can use to research their tribes.

I give them a list of questions to go by to make sure they have the essentials: food, clothing, shelter, famous chiefs, religious ceremonies, year they were around, why they left. They fill out their fact sheet, which takes about one to two days.

Once they finish their research, I give them a puzzle piece. They decorate this puzzle piece with pictures and captions to share their research. When they present their information we put the pieces together, which forms Ohio. But each piece is the region in Ohio where the tribe lived. The students then use this to compare the tribes:

Students love this project each year :)

A quick shout out to my husband...Happy Birthday Honey!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Life - Stay cation

My husband and I have started the tradition of staycations. We started last year in the fall with a visit to Acres of Land Winery on the Eastern Kentucky University campus, staying at a Bed and Breakfast, which I had never done! We continued with a stay in Hocking Hills near Columbus, which was fabulously funded by Mike's brother as a wedding present.

This year we started by staying even closer to home. Thanks to my parents, we were blessed with two tickets to Wicked. My husband then took it as a perfect opportunity to plan a staycation. He went onto and found a fabulous deal to stay at the Millennium Hotel downtown, where we basically stayed for two nights, for the price of one.

Before the show we devoured our favorite, and visited some places we haven't visited before such as Coffee Emporium and It's Just Crepes.
Mike had a savory crepe...egg, bacon, mushrooms, spinach, cheese.

I went sweet...yogurt, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries :)

Lunch...pesto, mozzarella (fresh), and tomato...a must make at home.

Mike's lunch, thumbs up of turkey swiss and red pepper jelly.

We went back to Coffee Emporium for breakfast the next morning. We were short on time, otherwise we would have partaken in their Sunday morning waffles. Smelled fabulous!

We loved spending the evening before the show, acting as if we were tourists, especially in Fountain Square and at McCormick and Schmicks for dinner.

And then on to the best show I have seen:

So in closing, I highly recommend taking some time to take a staycation, to rejuvenate, reconnect, and enjoy your town with new eyes.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Happy Veterans Day and Many More!

It has been awhile since my last post...but it has been a busy time. A load has been lifted with our school's levy passed, so that means job is safe for the next 5 years unless our state does something weird.

That aside...we have been busy in room 204! Especially this Veterans Day. I feel like these holidays are important to focus on with my students so they can learn to respect and honor these days early on. My students had already read the book The Wall by Eve Bunting and had several connections by having family members being I knew this would be a very important activity for them.

As I was planning I knew my main goal was to teach my students how Veterans Day came to be, and then have them create something that would honor the day as well. We had done something for 9/11, so I wanted it to be a little bigger than just our class creating a memorial quilt. Taking the idea of a memorial wall, I thought it would be great to get the whole school involved. So, I just emailed everyone telling them the idea of building a wall where each student creates a brick. On it they would reflect on what freedom and peace mean to them and then a quick thank you to Veterans. I was amazed by the is the end result:

It was great having the school come together for this :) What was great is that the students REALLY did of my students dedicated his brick to his family members that served:

Speaking of holidays we also had students prepare for the Thanksgiving season and write down what they are thankful for...surprisingly this was harder than the Veterans Day activity:

It certainly has perked up the hallway :)

In between it all we have started our opinion writing unit, and as part of their generating ideas, we had students listen to an NPR "This I Believe" broadcast, where a kindergartner wrote down 100 things he believes in. This sparked our students to then write a list of their own. They then picked one and started to write three reasons why they believe that statement they made. Here are some examples mid process:

Sorry for the sideways glance...can't get it to rotate!

Before this we looked at different opinion pieces and discovered they had things in common. So, we made a chart "toolbox" to refer to as we write our opinion pieces.

 To end my post...should be a piece of cake :) We had fun with idioms! Students watched the cartoon "Symphony of Slang" as well as saw different examples of idioms to understand what an idiom is. We then gave them their own idiom, to practice using it in a sentence and what that would look like if it was taken literally..they loved it!

Caught up for week I hope to share some of the great things we are doing with Main Idea and Details!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fireflies! Visualization Wheel

We ended our month on visualization by touching back on the point that visualization is like a movie in your head when  you read. We found graphic organizers that looked like movie reels, and decided to use a favorite book: Fireflies! This book is filled with gems...can be used for soo much in teaching.

Students listed to the story and looked at the pictures. We then put the book aside and had students summarize the book into eight major events (great preview to the summarization strategy). After writing the events on the board, we passed out the movie reel graphic organizers and instructed students to draw a scene for each of these events based on what they visualized after reading the book. Here is what we got back:

Visualization is so much fun!

This week we are starting our unit on non fiction and main idea and more to come this week!