Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Ahhh... the most wonderful time of the year.. that period between Christmas and before we go back to school.

Don't get me wrong-- I LOVE Christmas-- I mean who does not love Christmas?! I am certainly not a Scrooge, but Christmas is BUSY! I feel like I am running around trying to make the most of the holidays with my kids, buying my last few gifts for friends and family, and trying to go to a million holiday celebrations. The holidays are great, but the days after Christmas-- that is the BEST.

Back track to some Christmas celebrations, in my class, Christmas is a big deal. The kids are much less crazy when they are interested and invested in what we are learning, so for the third year in a row, I used Ashleigh's Christmas Around the World bundle. I love this product because it has 3 levels of text. I train my kids to know what level is best for them using the lexile and their Fountas and Pinnell reading levels. My kids this year are amazing, so many asked if they could challenge themselves and try one level harder. Obviously, I said yes! We talked about signs you might not be understanding and how to test if its too hard (things we did at the beginning of the year), but so many of them felt up for the challenge!

Since we were on fiction text this year, I set up these activities as centers and my kiddos kept the interactive notebooks in a suitcase that they took home the last day of school. I also found some Hannukah Coins, Swiss Rolls, and even had a student make some Bangledesh treats, which were rewards for completing 3, 6, and 9 centers. 

In writing, all my students picked one country and did research using centers, books, EPIC (my new obsession), and Symbaloo to learn more about one specific country. I used More Than a Worksheet's Christmas Around the World Research Project 12 Days of Christmas  template to help my kiddos design their own 12 days of Christmas song. We used garage band to actually record the songs and create a parent CD! These songs were adorable-- my kids had so much fun creating and recording. They got to pick their back up singers and help cut and create their song.

In Social Studies, we made the most adorable calendar of all the Louisiana Festivals in 2017. We researched festivals and created little blurbs about them and bound our calendars as gifts for out parents. This was a really big project, and required a lot of teaching since we were working with the binding machine and all kids had their own laptop to research so I took zero pictures. I will hopefully have the product published within the next few days and I will link it then!!

Finally in math, we have be learning all about area. I know in many classrooms teachers teach area and perimeter in conjunction, but I like to do them separate, it helps students to grasp the concept and to learn the vocabulary of each one as a unique property of shapes. To tie in some holiday fun, we create an Area Workshop for Santa's new remodel. I have included differentiated versions because if you kids are anything like mine, one size certainly doesn't fit all! I love differentiation and I find it is sometimes harder in math, but this project makes it a piece of cake.

Finally, we also had some holiday FUN.  We had a gingerbread party, a book exchange, and listened to our very own Christmas music! Best of all, this year, I didn't have to invent everything from scratch. A Traveled Teacher has the perfect notes, supply list, and templates for the Gingerbread Party and Book Exchange. Less work for me around the busiest time of the year, yes please :)

And now for some down time, hot cocoa, and relaxing around the Christmas tree!

I even had time to make this sign today! 

Happy Holidays & Enjoy your Christmas Break! 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Update-- So Long Ms. Winter

Well, friends it has been some time since I have last blogged! SOOOO much has happened for me both professionally and personally! When we last talked, I had just started at my new school and though it was terribly hard to leave my safe place and move on, I have grown so much as a teacher since then. My {new} (actually old by this point) coworkers are amazing and I love my school family. I am so excited because this year I was chosen by the teachers and staff as Teacher of the Year! Since the other teachers at my school truly are AMAZING, I am truly honored and I feel very validated in my career right now. 

However, the most exciting thing that has happened, since I last blogged is without.a.doubt this.....

Yep, thats right, less than a year left as Ms. Winter and I couldn't be happier. I am so excited to marry the greatest guy this June! Wedding planning, lesson planning, and just life in general has made me one busy girl. Any wedding planning tips would be greatly appreciated!! Comment below... I am certainly no expert at this.

Photo Credits: Brian Jarreau
Well that is all for now, but I promise I won't go M.I.A. again! Until next time, enjoy your break! 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Made It Monday

After a way too short summer, I have not been able to link up with Fourth Grade Frolics for Made It Monday!

Ok, so last week a posted a picture of the bare walls of my classroom. Well, ladies and gents probably more lades, I have started the room make over! My new focus wall is well under way!

Excuse the large amounts of furniture in the way, I am not sure where is all going at this point! 

 So, I don't think anyone I know would call me handy. I mean I can throw together some cutesy stuff, but building things- especially sturdy things is not my forte. So today when I decided to build 3 bookshelves I thought I may be crazy, but turns out being a little crazy can work in your favor and I finished these bad boys before lunch!

Hopefully my cousin doesn't read this blog, because maybe this is supposed to be a surprise, but I made one of the decorations for her shower. It is super simple and will be on a table with the gifts and some other decorations that I did not make! {She is marrying a Blish- I know it doesn't say Bliss}

And last but not least today I made DRA/ Fountas and Pinnell/ Lexile Individual Book Labels. You can click the link to get your own for FREE! They are for Avery 8160 labels, which will then need to be cut it half! I wanted to print them out but my printer decided to hate me today, so hopefully I can get all the labels stuck to the inside of it out tomorrow {Uh Oh!}

They are color coded by grade level as well as having DRA Level, Fountas and Pinnell Level, and Lexile Level! So Enjoy!

Alright, well I am off to win a beach volleyball game.. what a productive Monday!

Monday, July 13, 2015

New Classroom Woes!

So today was my first real day in my new classroom-- for those of you who don't know I am switching schools. I will still be teaching 3rd grade gifted, but now I get to teach at the same school with my best friend {EEEK!} The School Belle. Even though she teaching K and I teach 3rd I am super excited to spend time doing what we both love! In fact, Haley already found the most precious T-shirts for us to wear our first day back!

For those of you who don't remember my old classroom.. it looked a little something like this..

However, these last few days I remember it like this..

I LOVED all the natural light that a whole wall of windows gave. I also loved the white walls, since they match any classroom decor. And don't even get my started on my carpet. I may cry if I think about my beautiful carpet. Also, the storage was AMAZING. I didn't think it was amazing at the time, but now I know.

Anyway, I have started moving in to my new classroom, which will in its dreams be as beautiful as my old classroom-- but it has a LOONNNGGG way to go!

My goal is to reveal my classroom on August 1st, so I have some work to do, but so I can get myself jazzed about this.. were gonna go through the positives.

My entire back/ side wall is made up of these movable panels, which are HUGE! Some are bulletin board (ohhhhh yeeahhhh..) but others are pale yellow and I want to be a primary color but I'm actually not in this shade blue. Also I had about 40 foldable chairs, which the custodian moved for me today :) Don't forget to look at that adorable window. 

I have another huge bulletin board at what is going to be the front of my room and some pretty stellar cubbies that are currently filled, but will not be tomorrow! 

Then there is the storage. Ok, I am exaggerating, I have two of these, so I can make it work, but Ms. Winter is going to NEED to stay super organized this year! 

And finally a panorama (it looks weird because I can not follow that line)! And let me just say this makes my classroom look HUUUUGGEE!

I am up for the challenge to make this place my cozy classroom home! All my instagram followers will be getting sneak peaks as I go through the process, so follow me @mswinterswildwest! 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Currently July 2015!

I am so excited to linking up with Oh' Boy 4th Grade to share what I have been up to lately!

After a wonderful weekend with our friends at the beach I am wishing I had more pictures to show you! I was too nervous to bring my phone out to the beach because I am NOT good with phones.. so that explains the lack of pictures!

But back to the point of this blog post…

Those of you who follow me on instagram know I have been attending a massive, intense math workshop put on my the Math and Science Partnership. The instructors were mostly from LSU and East Baton Rouge Parish, but the focus was on implementing best practices, knowing the standards, and making math meaningful for students. Long gone are the days where we teach an algorithm, do a hundred practice problems, and that is "learning math". 

We did a lot of work with models mentioned in the CCSS Progression Documents. This was my first time to study these documents and it really solidified that teaching math is so clearly laid out. If we teach our students math through concrete manipulatives and pictorial representations the gaps will not be as large! I plan on making a whole post on math models, but for now lets just say it was soooo enlightening and I feel like a math all star. 

Here is just one example of using concrete, pictorial, and abstract models to teach the distributive property.
  1. Students should have lots of practice actually splitting arrays using counters to build and split the arrays. They can see how the facts come apart and fit back together, giving them a visual and tactile reminder of exactly how this property works. 
  2. Then, students can build pictorial models using graph paper. This allows students who still need to count to have the ability to use that reinforcement. 
  3. Finally, students can use white or patty paper to draw area models and write equations. 
  I also learned more about using an area model and place value chart to divide. {More to come on that later}

Well my mouse has been freaking out this whole post, so let me go fix this issue…. UGHHHGHGH! I am not a computer all star today!

Happy Teaching

Monday, June 29, 2015

Louisiana Teacher Bloggers Meet-Up In Review

As I mentioned in Saturday's post, this weekend was a very exciting one for me! The day had finally arrived for the 1st Annual Louisiana Teacher Blogger Meet Up. I couldn't wait to meet some other Louisiana Bloggers and let me just say the experience was 100 times 1000 times better than I had even expected. Jasmine {Buzzing with Mrs. McClain}, Jessica {Pride and Primary}, and Kristi {Pelicans and Pipsqueaks} did an awesome job of making sure the day was not only amazing, but also jam packed with useful information. 

I was so nervous and excited to meet everyone. I may or may not have changed my outfit about 5 times that morning. And of course I had to get a morning PJs, so I was ready to go, which resulted in this somewhat embarrassing necessary car selfie!

When I walked in everything was adorable! The Mayfair Library had been decked out with KG Fonts {my personal fav}, awesome giveaways, adorably decorated tables, and was ready for a Teacher Blogger takeover! 

It was awesome to have the opportunity to have Jessica {Pride and Primary} discuss how to improve your blogging game and Mia {Putting Words In Your Mouth}, the 2nd Top Seller in Louisiana,  talk about improving your Teachers Pay Teachers Store. My to do list is now miles long, but luckily that is what summers are for, right?! We also got the chance to talk in grade level groups, I loved having the opportunity to meet these ladies and share some new ideas. I am not sure what Missy {The Kennedy Korral} was telling us here, but obviously it was keeping our attention, which in a room full of ladies who love to talk, that is saying A LOT! 

I was so excited to participate in the teacher gift swap. I was so excited to win Jessica's gift!! I got this ADORABLE pencil scarf and a gift card to TpT- that I already have spent in my mind. Am I the only one with a wish list a mile long?! I also got an awesome Go Noodle Tshirt that I CANT NOT WAIT to wear to school the first week, possibly the day I introduce Go Noodle! to my students. 

We had such a great time at this event, thanks to so many people who made it special. From the decorations to the swag bag, I definitely left one happy girl! 

But now, for the best part of this blog post-- The Swag Bag Giveaway! We will be giving away TWO swag bags. Trust me, they do not disappoint! Enter the Rafflecopter below to win everything we received! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Don't forget to check out all the other Louisiana Bloggers! 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Beach Countdown!

After a lot of working this summer, it is almost time for my summer vacation. Though this will be just a weekend trip, I am ready to spend the fourth of July enjoying a weekend with some amazing friends! Since we will be soaking up the sun at the beach, I decided to host a little giveaway of one of my summer related products!

I will be giving away my Fraction Go Fish and Fraction Ordering Centers on the Fourth of July. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment and follow my blog. (I consider that a win-win!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway Good Luck!