Reflections of 2015

Hey everyone!

2015 was a crazy good year. 4th blogiversary, hired permanently, and so much more!

I'm linking up with these lovely ladies:

I went to Vegas this summer and got to see my blogger and TpT buddies.

My classroom was actually mine to decorate.

I looped with my 3rd grade class and have seen how much they've blossomed.

Figured out a great way to lay out my social studies/science units to match our IB ideals.

And just recently, bought a house. I get the keys in 2016 and move in.

I can't wait to see what else is in store for 2016.

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What's on Your Wishlist?

Hey everyone!

Jen from Teaching in the Tongass has a great linky where we share our top 3 wishlisted items in our stores!

I went to my store and looked at what the top wishlisted items were. I actually had a tie for number 3!

Those are my top wishlisted items! They'll be on sale, along with everything else in my store for the TpT sale!

Thanks again to Jen for hosting this linky!

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Oregon Trail: We're Hungry!

Hey everyone!

My students don't want our unit to end and thankfully we still go until January with it. We've had some wagon misfortunes, close calls, and a lot of fun!

I decided since one of the wagon's oxen died, we had a grass fire, and the whole wagon train came down with measles, we need a pioneer fun day. After all, pioneers knew how to have fun too!

Hopscotch in the class!

Cat's cradle, taught by a student expert :)

Using technology to figure out how to make an old fashioned doll. Past and present collide!

End result! 

Then we learned some more things and we kept coming back to chores from the past compared to today's chores. The kids were loving this topic, so I decided to surprise them with a fun day last week. We mad our own butter! I've seen a few variations of the recipe, but here is what I used.

 I spread a checkered cloth down, had some "hardtack" (aka saltines) and some beef jerky. My lantern added a nice touch!

Students shook for a minute, passed it to the next person, and repeat. We shook for about 20 minutes  (we did use heavy whipping cream, so it may be why it took that long).

End results :)

Kids spread some butter on their crackers and nibbled on jerky. They declared it to be the best butter ever! Then they remember Little House on The Prairie put carrots in the cream to make it orange, after one student asked why ours was so white. Though their butter was completely formed, they scraped in carrots that happened to be the school snack that day (fate?!?!?) and shook and colored their butter. So much fun! I love bringing realia into the classroom. Hands-on makes the learning more memorable. 


Oregon Trail: Our Journey Begins

Hey everyone!

We began our journey on the Oregon Trail and my kiddos have loved it from the first minute. It makes me thrilled that we expanded this unit into January and give a bigger amount of time of how our state was really developed from this big moment.

Now I love getting into character, especially at the start of any new social studies or science unit. This lent itself beautifully for me; pioneers are a topic I have been obsessed with since I was a little girl. I even dressed up as Laura Ingalls one Halloween.

I started this unit last week. We had Monday off for teacher in-service and Tuesday, the kids learned about Oregon Trail propaganda. I tried to entice them with the "land of milk and honey" poster and a "cooked pigs run free" stuff, but they wouldn't fall for it. They couldn't believe some people headed to Oregon just because of those posters!

They came in Wednesday morning to see me dressed in a bonnet and apron and my trading post ready to go. Toss in some fiddle music in the background, a southern accent (yes I know we started in Missouri and they don't have that accent, but it was about being a different character!) They called me ma'am and I called them sir and ma'am and we had fun. That was until they were told they were at my trading post to go to the Oregon Trail and they now had 20 minutes to decide in wagons (table groups) what to spend their $1,000 on and that it had to be 2,400 pounds or less. 

Intense discussion and agreements going on. Each table/wagon was so into it!
I loved the math talks I heard going on, "Six people with 30 pounds each is 180 pounds. We can afford it too."

This wagon group finished early, so they taped out an approximate size of the wagon, 4 x 10. "Hey Ms. T, that's an area of 40 sq ft.!" Oh a little more math in social studies? Oh yeah!

Sitting in the wagon is a popular thing now in the last week lol.

We're an IB school so I like having it laid all out there for them and myself to refer too. 
Our first key question actually got us talking about the migration happening in Germany right now with refugees.

 The next day they came into class and we had this map and wagon ready to go.

Then on Friday we picked pioneer names and got journals/diaries ready to go. They were so excited!

They loved my pioneer name and journal.

 Yesterday was the best though. We had a wagon council meeting, because on Monday, fates hit them hard. We had sick oxen, fire problems, and some food issues already. I rolled some construction paper, cute flames, threw in some electric tealights and my assistant wrapped tissue boxes in paper for rocks/bricks.

Turn off the lights, put on fiddle music, and project the prairie and it was a fabulous meeting. The pic above has the kids warming their hands :)   We discussed our wagon train business, decided to set up camp for the night, I read by lantern a few pages from an Oregon Trail book, and our time was up already!

I can't wait for the rest of journey to unfold and will definitely keep you posted as we travel along the Oregon Trail!


Bringing Science Back With KitHub

Hey everyone!

My kiddos love science and they love creating things, so enter KitHub. KitHub has several kits that you can get and then let the kids have fun (while being safe and follow instructions).

My creative Electronics kit came in the red toolbox.

 Loving the photo directions and step by step. Even my lower readers would be able to follow this.
 Here is what was in my kit. Safety goggle too! In the green bag was stuff for building the bots.
One activity is taking apart the solar flower to see what makes it work.  Kids enjoy seeing how things work and being able to take it apart and put it back together helps them make sense of their world.

 Here are I have the bot bot pieces.
Simple motor attached and ready to test!

My dad actually made this, because why should science be limited to just kids, right?

KitHub has lesson plans that come with these kits, several kit choices and different grade levels, and are a great company! These kits are electronic kits for children, designed by STEM experts. 

**I was sent this kit by KitHub for a review. All opinions are my own>**

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You Are That Difference

Hey everyone!

I had the complete intent of writing a different blog post today, but felt compelled to write another one.

There's a little kinder kiddo that I've noticed at school. Cute little guy, full of energy, yet quiet at times. I've noticed him spend lunch several times in the office. I jumped to the conclusion that this kiddo must be quite the character if he has spent so much time in the office.

Today as I was finishing up lesson plans for next week, I saw a streak of red run past my portable window, accompanying the thuds up the ramp. I peered outside to see our little friend run and hide by the bushes of my portable, a quick glance at me as he ducked further. I first thought he was part of after school club, but nope, no one was looking for him. Except then came my assistant principal and I pointed in my little friend's direction.

She went to one side of the bush and I the other. After a "You can't catch me!" and then him deciding he'd go in the school after all, I just went back to my business. I later found out that he did not want to leave the school. Home life...well... School is his sanctuary. His teacher, the specialists, the admin, they are his lifesavers. You may not know the impact you make in a child's life, but believe me, you are making a difference to someone. You may not know their background, or understand why they behave certain ways. I shouldn't have judged so quickly, not knowing his full story.

I can tell you for sure, that any time I ever see him in the hallway or anywhere at school, I will say hi and smile. I will look him in the eyes and let him know that he is cared for, even if he isn't my student yet. My school believes that we are all in this together, a team no matter what grade you are. I want him to know that there are many people that are here for him if he needs us.  Just a smile can make the difference. YOU are the difference.


Learning Targets and Essential Questions

Hey everyone!

Today I'm sharing about math and language arts learning targets from Carson- Dellosa.

I received a box for grade 4 and love that I can switch to essential questions or "I can" statements (which I'm required to use). Sometimes I can't think of the exact math or reading standard I want to write, so these are helpful in this case. 

On one side are the I can statements and the standard written in the corner.

 On the other side, there is an essential question, also the standard written in the corner.

 I really love that you can organize the standards with tabs, it's already come in handy!
You can fit the cards in pocket charts, or if you have a whiteboard spot like me, I like clipping the targets to a magnet.

These learning targets have already made my life easier and saved me time from writing them out!

Review Disclaimer: I participate in the Brand Ambassador Program for Carson-Dellosa and have received this product for free to review.

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