Lazy Day = Free Time to Work on my Blog!

29 January 2012
Hope everyone's enjoying their weekend.  We've had a very lazy weekend here ... just what we all needed!  Laundry is in the washing machine, supper is in the slow cooker, kids are playing nicely upstairs, and the hubby is watching hockey ... lazy day = happy family = free time for Mommy!!!

I decided to work a bit on my blog today.   Apart from posting, I really haven't done any tweaks since this summer.  I've noticed that my Friday Art Features and Math Journal Sundays seem to be some of my more popular posts.  I thought I'd group the posts together and make a little button for them so they're easier to find.  You'll see my new buttons on the sidebar - if you click on them you'll find all my themed posts on one page.  What do you think???

I also updated my Free Products page and my Featured Products page.  You can check these out by clicking on the tabs at the top of my page.  I have over 40 FREE products listed on my Free Products page, so if you haven't checked it in a while, be sure you do.

Lastly, I've got a great little giveaway planned for when I hit 900 followers ... I'm only 4 away, so I hope to share this with you soon.  Hint ... it has something to do with spelling ... and city ...  ;)

The washing machine and the dryer just started buzzing, the kitchen timer is ready to beep, and the girls need a bath ... I'm guessing my lazy day is about to get a little bit busier ...   Happy Sunday!!!

Accordion Books

23 January 2012
Well, it was about as close to a snow day as we get today.  Our buses were cancelled today, and because I teach at a fairly rural school, that meant I only had 6 students in my class ... yep, 6.  Don't ask me why they don't cancel school when the buses are off the road - I have no answer for this.  Anyhow, it was a GREAT day with them.  I got them started on a new art project, got my DRA testing done with 6 that were there (and got prepped for the rest of the students), worked on their orals, and got in some more practice with metric conversions.  The grade 7/8 teacher and myself paired up the classes for two full blocks, so we each got some time to ourselves in the classroom, too.  YAY!

With the extra time I had today, I was able to get a lot of marking done in their reading notebooks.  We're still studying inferring with our Chris Van Allsburg unit.   Last week we read The Garden of Abdul Gasazi.  For our weekly summative task, I decided to do a foldable - the kids love them in math, so I figured they'd love them in language, as well.  I had them make an accordion book.  They had to recreate the cover, using the same style of illustrations Chris Van Allsburg used in the book.  For the inside panels they had to cover:

  • a summary of the story
  • character traits for two characters (with supporting evidence)
  • setting (both place and time - inferred from the story)
  • a reflection based on the question, "How did the main character's feelings change throughout the story?" (they also had to include supporting evidence from the text).

This was a nice switch from the usual written summary and reflection - and I was right, the kids loved making them (well, love might be a strong word, but they definitely liked them).  ;)

Happy Monday!!!

Math Journal Sundays

22 January 2012
This post is a little later than usual, but there's a good reason for that - the hubby and I got away for a fabulous weekend together!  This is a definite RARE occasion, but something we need to do more often!  We treated ourselves to a beautiful suite (gorgeous), dined well (too well) on delicious food, shopped til we dropped (my legs are still screaming), and I even went to my first NHL game!  What a GREAT time!

So, on to the math journals.  We've been back at school for two weeks and, in keeping with my new year's resolution, I made sure to do at least one foldable a week.  The first foldable had a New Year's theme - we made a foldable of the date 2012, and I had the students write three goals (or resolutions) inside.  They needed to set one goal related to their notebooks (neatness, completeness, organization, etc.), one goal related to group work (we do a lot of paired and group activities related to problem-solving - and with my crew this year, sometimes it's not the math problem that needs solved ...), and one goal related to test preparation.  I like that the students made their goals concrete by recording them, and when  problem does arise, we can go back and discuss the goals they made.
photo of goal setting in math journals @ Runde's Room

photo of metric conversions metric staircase math journal @ Runde's RoomWith the start of our new measurement unit, and our focus on the "metric staircase" this week (see last post), I thought it was only fitting that we complete the metric staircase as a foldable in our math journals.  On the outside of the foldable we recorded the metric prefixes, and on the inside we recorded the mnemonic device, "King Henry Does Usually Drink Chocolate Milk", as well as the numerical values (when the base unit is 1).  The still seems a little plain to me - too much white space inside.  Does anyone have any great ideas on what we could add to them?  Thursday and Friday we spent a lot of time working on the actual conversions - I've got a neat conversion activity for our journals planned for Tuesday.  I can't wait to share it with you in my next math journal post!
photo of metric conversions metric staircase math journal @ Runde's Room

Happy Sunday!!!


The Queen of Measurement

18 January 2012

Today I got to wear my tiara.  Yes, I keep a tiara in my filing cabinet.  I even put it on once in a while ... you know, to remind myself I'm the Queen of my classroom.

Well, today I had a purpose for wearing my tiara.  Today, I was the Queen of Measurement.  We started our new measurement unit on Monday.  Monday I had them make Frayer models using "measurement" as the term to define.  I had the students working in groups of three to create the models, then we posted them and I had each group explain their model.  Tuesday, they were investigating linear measurement by choosing 10 items in the classroom to measure.  They then had to convert the measurements into mm, cm, dm, m, and km.

Today was the day to teach the metric staircase.  I was looking for new ideas online last night, and I found a fabulous lesson called "Make it Metric".  This lesson uses the mnemonic devide:  "King Henry Does Usually Drink Chocolate Milk" to help the students remember the metric prefixes.  So, I donned my tiara, and became Queen Henry (afterall, isn't it the queen who comes up with all the great ideas???).  We read a short story about King Henry (included on the site above).  We discussed the metric staircase, and students created their own copies in their math notebooks.  Tomorrow we will make a foldable of the staircase.  The students will also have a short quiz where they will label the staircase.  We will then move on to the other ideas included in the lesson ... and I'll get to wear my tiara again!!!  
Happy Wednesday!  

I'll leave you with a picture of my youngest and me after school.  She goes to daycare at my school.  When I picked her up at the end of the day (still wearing my tiara), she insisted that she needed one, too.  Thank goodness for the kindergarten teacher and her birthday crowns.  Problem solved!  


It's SWEET in Candyland!

15 January 2012
My youngest daughter turned 4 this weekend!!!  Happy Birthday, sweet Allison!  A few weeks ago I asked her want kind of party she wanted.  After giving it some thought, she answered me, "Ummmm ... a singing party with a new swimming pool and a giraffe that spits out water."  Hmmmmmm ...

Well, giraffes that spit out water are hard to find this time of year, so we settled on a Candyland theme.  A perfectly sweet party for my perfectly sweet girl.  I spent the whole weekend preparing, but she is so absolutely worth it!  Here's a pic from our sweet day today.

Happy Sunday!!!  We're on a sugar high here - fun times!

Friday Art Feature

13 January 2012
Well, it's definitely feeling like winter this week!  And with our newest art project proudly displayed, it's looking like winter in the classroom, too.  I LOVE how these turned out!  I found the idea on Artsonia - a virtual museum for kids' artwork.  What a fabulous idea!  I think I'm going to upload pics from one of our upcoming art projects on this site - how cool would the students think it is to have their artwork in a museum!!!

I've been wanting to try out the "bleeding tissue paper" for a while, so I decided to use the technique for our backgrounds for this project.  We wet our page with water first, then tore up little pieces of blue and purple tissue paper which we laid on our wet paper.  We then wet the page again.  We let the pages dry for the rest of the day.  The next morning we peeled off the tissue paper and were left this ... (the colours are a little more muted than I thought they would be - apparently the tissue paper in our supply room doesn't bleed as much as other types).

We then sketched our picture - they were to draw a close-up of tree branches with two to four cardinals sitting on the main branch.  I encouraged the students to make the branches as realistic as possible.  We used brown oil pastels to colour in the branches (paint would work well, but we were all out of brown paint).  We also did some shading with a black oil pastel.

We used acrylic paint for our cardinals and the snow.  For the snow, students dipped the end of the handle of their paint brush into the paint and dotted the page.  They added snow on the branches, as well as snowflakes falling from the sky.


Happy Friday!!!  It's my youngest daughter's 4th birthday tomorrow, so I'm in party prep mode.  Can't wait to share some pictures of our "Candyland" party!!!  Have a FANTASTIC weekend!


Making Inferences

11 January 2012
Well, I survived my first days back.  Actually, Monday and Tuesday went extremely well.  Today felt a little ... long ... (to be diplomatic) ;).  Sticking to my motto - kill 'em with kindness and routine ... wow - sounds  little harsh, but you know what I mean.

I'm VERY excited to start our new reading unit for the month - it's one of my absolute favourites!!!  We're going to spend the next five weeks making inferences using Chris Van Allsburg books.  LOVE!  We've just started The Wretched Stone, and we will spend a full week on each book in this unit.  I made this unit in my pre-document camera days, so I had scanned all the pages from the book and made a slideshow of the book for our shared reading.  The kids really enjoyed the slideshow - just that little bit of extra technology hooked them.  And, boy are they hooked.  Today they were supposed to find out what "the rock" really is ... but I wasn't a fan of their behaviour by the end of the day (again, being diplomatic), so I left them hanging and we went on to another subject.  Their disappointment was palpable, and their behaviour improved drastically.  Can't wait for tomorrow!

When we are studying inferences, I use a chart very similar to the K-W-L chart.  This is our O-Q-I chart (I call it our "okee" chart).  When we are reading a text for the first time, I hand out three stickies to each student.  They must make an observation (I know that ...), a question (I wonder what/why ...), and an inference (I think ...).  We then post the stickies on the chart at the end of the lesson (kind of like their exit slip, only they don't get to 'exit'), and then we revisit the chart the next day before we start our new lesson.

If  you are interested in previewing this unit, click here.  I also have a little freebie for The Sweetest Fig, which I have used as a diagnostic, or summative assessment for this unit.  Click here to download a copy.

Be sure to check back on Friday - I've got a FANTASTIC Friday Art Feature to share with you - we're just about finished and I can't wait to show them off!

Happy Wednesday!!!

A Year in Pictures - Yes, It's Another Linky Party!

01 January 2012
Happy New Year!  To celebrate, I made a photo collage from some of my favourite posts of the year.  Although my little blog isn't quite one year-old yet, it has been a GREAT year!  Thank-you to all of you for sharing in my journey - I treasure each one of your comments and ideas.  Blogging has made me a better teacher, and more creative mom, and I can't wait to see what this year will bring!

Let's make it a "Year in Pictures" linky party! (Thank-you for your suggestion, Hadar).  Make a collage of your favourite blog pics from the year and link up.  Grab this picture button on the right, link it back to this post, and enjoy!  I created this collage in photoshop, but there are many free online options to make a collage.  I can't wait to see all of your pics - such a great reminder of the AWESOME work all of you share!

I can't wait to see what you create!