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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday Randomness

Sundays in the summer tend to look like pretty much every other day of the week once I return home from church. I usually find something to keep myself busy. Today, I woke up and decided to conquer my laminating pile...Dun.Dun.Dun. (Hah!)
Although I LOVE laminating things, it isn't always fun to cut out the lamination. But today I tackled this (what I call a massive pile) and got my first two weeks worth of centers ready for the new school year. 

Check out my fabulous helper! Hah!

Anyways, after what seemed like an eternity,  
I finally conquered the pile. 
Check back tomorrow where I'll give a detailed descriptions of these character and setting products that I created earlier this summer. My favorite part are definitely the character and setting posters I plan on using on our focus wall.

Hope everyone is having a HAPPY Sunday.
Sundays are great when you don't have work the next day! Hah!


Oh, and I always love a good linky so I linked up with Fabulous First for her Sunday Smorgasboard! =)


Saturday, June 29, 2013

GIVEAWAY TIME! (& July Currently!) =)

Alright, friends!
I said I was going to have a giveaway once I passed 500 followers and I finally have! The thing is... in two days, those 500 followers will mean nothing anymore when they magically poof into thin air! I thought I should celebrate before they vanish! Hah! I thought it would also be the perfect time for a giveaway because of all of the Blog Lovin' giveaways going on now as well. 

We are going to make this giveaway SUPER simple. 

What is up for grabs?
1) $10 to Teachers Pay Teachers or Target (Winner's Choice)
I thought it would be fun to give away a gift card  to one of two of my most favorite places.
I spend WAY to much money at both of these places. Yikes!
Winner gets to choose which one they want!

All you need to do is follow me on Blog Lovin' and TPT. 
...Earn bonus entries for:
1) Leaving a blog post comment

Thats it! Simple as can be. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have fun entering and good luck!
Don't forget only TWO more days to make the switch to Blog Lovin'... just do it! =)

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Since I typed up and saved this post this morning Farley posted her July Currently!
I must link up today or I will be #1,345 on the link up list! Hah!
Can yall believe its already July? Summer is FLYING by.


Okay, I think thats everything for now! Check back later for a recap of the super fun Alabama Blogger meet up that happened today! =)



Friday, June 28, 2013

Five for Friday!


Today I thought it would be fun to link up for 5 for Friday. This week has been a busy busy week! Gosh! I keep waiting for summer to slow down, but it hasn't yet!
1. I FINALLY completed my text features TPT product that I mentioned in my previous post. This product consumed my life the first few days of this week so it was amazing to finally get it uploaded on Wednesday.
If you'd like a chance to win this pack, just head over to that post and leave me a comment. I'll pick a winner Sunday. 

2. I turned in the keys to my current apartment! Woohoo! 
I am moving in with two other girls in August. I am so excited to have roomies again!

3. Beach trip BOOKED. Throughout college and even the first year after college my friends have planned a yearly beach trip. With work and marriages, etc. I was wondering if it was going to happen this year. I am PUMPED that we have booked a condo and will be beaching it up this time next month!

4) Now that I have finished my nonfiction text features unit and products to go with it, I have moved on to a new standard. Does anyone else have trouble interpreting these standards sometimes? I feel like a lot of times they are pretty vague and I just fear I will teach my kiddos the wrong stuff. SO thankful for internet resources and other teachers!

5) Alabama Bloggy Meetup is tomorrow! I am excited to connect with some Alabama blogging, teacher friends! =)

I hope everyone has a GREAT weekend! 
Can you believe June is coming to an end? 
It will be time for school before we know it! Ahh!


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Text Features Galore!

Has anyone ever been working on a post, had to stop quickly and accidentally hit PUBLISH instead of save? Oh, gosh that just happened to me. Sorry if any of you read my un-edited, half complete version of this post! Yikes!

Anyways, on to Text Features...

From what I can tell, students learn the most about text features in 2nd and 3rd grades. I think text features are HUGELY important and students need to know how to use them in order to be successful as teens and grown ups. My kiddos always seem to LOVE nonfiction books so this is a fun skill to teach and they get really interested in it!

Like I've told you guys earlier, with the new standards & no new curriculum, we have been given some freedom on how we teach each standard. I  had SO much fun thinking through how I am going to introduce and teach this standard to my kiddos. We spend two weeks on each "skill" so I came up with some fun activities to get us through each day. I WISH that I had a classroom I could go into right now and implement everything so that you guys could see everything in action... but its summer. So, be expecting an update when we come across this standard in September! 

I plan on introducing all 13 text features over the course of three days. I plan to create an anchor chart, show examples, and then my students will complete their very own text feature book. There is a page for each text feature and we will fill in the blanks together as we learn about each feature. I liked the idea of this book so that my students can store it away and reference it throughout the year. (Hopefully they can keep up with it! hah!) To go along with the book, I created posters and mini-posters that I will display on our skill bulletin board.
After spending a few days looking at examples and putting together our books, we will practice finding/ the skills through a scavenger hunt and center activities to practice identifying the skills. Centers include matching games and cut and paste fun. 
To conclude our unit, I plan on letting my students create their own nonfiction  book where they will use all of the different text features they have learned about. In my packet, you will find templates for your students to use, a checklist, and a graphic organizer. I might let my students work in partners, because this is a pretty detailed project for so early in the year. Students will research an animal, and create their book based on the template I created. They will create an index, glossary and title page. They will also use illustrations, photographs, charts/graphs, and captions. I liked the thought of creating a book because it would be great for writing time as well!

Check out my product HERE! 

As always, I will give one person this new product for FREE! Just leave me a comment and I'll pick one person to send it to! Happy Tuesday!

P.S. I'll be sending my journal prompts to Melissa for commenting on my last post! =)


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Journaling in the Classroom, Bloglovin, & a Giveaway!

Hey, friends! Remember how I promised you guys a school related post sometime soon? Well, here it is! Yes!

First off, I joined Bloglovin... Have you guys? I'm still not 100% sure what's going on with Google, but since everyone else in joining... I thought I should too! Hah!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Okay, on to the educational part! Hah!I have been working on weekly common core reading plan, but decided to take a break for a day or two to work on some writing fun.

This year we have been asked to teaching reading block and then immediately follow it with our writing time. During my first two years of teaching I taught reading block first thing in the morning, and then taught writing very late in the afternoon. I am excited to give this new way a try because, to me, it only makes sense to teach them close together when we are working on things during writing time that relates back to reading block. 

On a somewhat unrelated note...
Last year I had a HUGE... let me tell ya HUGE problem with fast test finishers. During our weekly Storytown tests I had to set a timer to force kids to S.L.O.W down during their test. Not only did students sometimes skip questions, but I felt like the slower test takers felt rushed because everyone else was done and asking me to go to the library, etc.

I put those two thoughts together...
1) Writing after reading block
2) Fast test finishers
...and came up with an idea I really think my kiddos will enjoy. 

I created 36 weekly journal prompts for my students to complete. They will be in charge of completing ONE prompt each week once they finish their weekly test each Friday. I placed 9 prompts on each page, which made four pages... one for each of our nine weeks. Students will have the freedom (they LOVE freedom! hah!) to choose one of the nine prompts each week until all 9 are complete. This will keep my fast finishers busy once they finish taking their test so that students who aren't done won't be distracted by students moving around the room. 

Students will glue these prompts into their reading journals and complete the nine responses on the pages directly behind the prompt page. They will keep these journals in their desks so that if they don't get a chance to work on their response after testing, they can easily pull it out and complete it later. 

I went ahead and made two versions of the journal prompts. I made a smaller version (that my class will use) that can be glued into journals. I also made a full page version that can be whole punched and placed in a binder or folder. 
How do you guys journal in your classrooms?
I am really excited to give this new way a shot! I really think my kiddos will enjoy getting to pick which prompt they respond to each week. I love that even though students get to choose... it is still structured! 

Think this is something you can use? 
Leave me a comment telling me something you do in your classroom during writing time. I am always in need of new ideas! I'll choose one person who comments to send this pack to via email! 

ONE MORE THING!
Check it out... 500 followers. OHH my gosh!
I feel a giveaway coming on! Want to donate? 
Email me at adventuresofmssmith@gmail.com =)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tried-It (& Now Obsessed with It) Tuesday! Hah!


First off I need to apologize for the lack of educational posts. I promise I have been working on some fun activities and units that I hope to share very soon! =)

Today for Tried-it Tuesday, I found the COOLEST thing ever to share with you guys. It's not educational, but based on all the teacher fashion posts/instagram pictures I've seen floating around, I think a bunch of you guys might LOVE this! 

Have any of you heard of Stitch Fix? One of my favorite non-educational bloggers talks about it all the time. Basically its a fashion website where you have your own personal stylist. You sign up for a "fix" and your personal stylist sends you 5 unique pieces of clothing and accessories based on a detailed style report you fill out. You have three days to check out the clothes, and then you send back (free shipping) the ones you don't want. The only commitment is a $20 styling fee that you can put towards any item you purchase. 

I got my first "fix" yesterday and I am already addicted! 
I REALLY want order another fix, but I decided to purchase two of the five items I received yesterday, so I need to save up some more spending money first. 

Check out my first fix:
Items I got in my fix:
1) Super cute blue and white dress... sad news though... 
it is much too short for me.
2) Maxi-skirt... I love this skirt so much that I actually already have it. 
3) Ombre tank...OBSESSED. This one was a definite keeper.
4) White tank... This one looks much cuter on... It was also a keeper.
5) Necklace... This was cute, but I decided to send it back. 

Another super-fun thing about Stitch Fix is that now that I've seen and tried on these five items, I go back to the website and report what I thought about each item. This way my "stylist" can try to make some changes before my next fix. 

Have I convinced you to give this a shot? 
Go to the Stitch Fix website and sign up. You give them your email and then in the next day or two you will get an invite where you can fill out your style profile and get your first fix. Give it a one time try or you can even sign up for monthly fixes! If you sign up let me know! I want to see what fabulous fixes you receive! =)

** Just a side note... Stitch fix didn't ask me to write this post! Hah! I just think they have come up with the coolest idea and I had to share it with all of my fashionable teacher friends! =)

Go check out other things everyone else has tried! 
Thanks for the fun linky Fourth Grade Flipper!





Thursday, June 13, 2013

Beach on my Brain!


So I must say that I have been MAJORLY "slack-a-lackin" in the school department. I have let summer sweep me off my feet! Hah! ... And it's been very hard to be motivated to get moving on school work. 
This is BAD. BAD. BAD. 
...because with the new common core standards and with no textbook series I have MUCH to do. I have been working on some school stuff this morning but my mind keeps wondering and my mouse keeps clicking on non-teaching related things. Anyone else having this problem? I said this a few posts ago, but I need to map out my teacher related necessities on a calendar so I can make sure I get them all done!

Being beach OBSESSED, I knew I had to link up with Across the Hall in 2nd for her favorite things (beach edition) linky. Man... just thinking about the things I take to the beach makes me want to pack up and hit the road... its only a 4 hour drive. I could be there by early afternoon! 

Okay... on to my must haves...

1) Beach chair.
I like the kind of chair that sits you nice and close to the sand. It also needs to recline and have a cup holder. Hah! It also needs a strap to make it easy to carry back and forth to the beach. Gosh, I didn't realize how picky I am with my beach chairs! hah!
2) Sunscreen.
As much as a I wish I could tan, I can't. This means I am constantly applying sunscreen out of fear of getting burnt to a crisp.

3) A Cooler... Oh, and a koozie is a definite must have!

4) Jams and a good read.
No beach trip is complete without some fun tunes to listen to and a good book to read. I won a cute little radio at my 5th grade class auction that still accompanies me to the beach every summer. This radio  15 years old and is still going strong! Hah!
(This is my actual radio... isn't it cute? Hah!)

5) FRIENDS.
I know I am stating the obvious, but friends really are a beach necessity!

My beach necessity list could go on and on!
Other honorable mentions include:
A hat, an umbrella, a paddleball set, a super cute cover-up, and of course you need sunglasses!

What are your beach must-haves? I know I had to miss something important!

Okay, now that I've got beach on the brain, it is back to my school work. I am determined to get something accomplished today... unless I decide to load up and head to the beach (oh, so tempting!)! hah!



Monday, June 10, 2013

Year Two...CHECK!

Last Several Friday's ago (I started this post and then summer happened and I forgot about it... yikes!) I finished my second year of teaching. I can't believe how fast time has been flying since I graduated college in May 2011. I have two years of adult world under my belt and I must say... its not too shabby. I think it helps that I found a job that I really enjoy. I don't always enjoy the big girl expenses and decisions... haha. But overall, my life of a grown up isn't too shabby.

What I learned in year two of teaching.

From day one, be consistent. 
This is in regards to decisions and behavior. 

Smile, EVERYDAY. 
We have been implementing the 7 Habits at my school and they use the phrase...
"You carry your own weather." This is so true. No matter what is going on, I need to always choose to be happy for my kiddos.

It is impossible to stay organized. (In my world anyway! Hah!) 
We get SO many papers, students turn in so many papers... what do I do with it all? This is one of my goals for the summer.. come up with a system to stay organized.

You don't always have to re-create the wheel.
In an internet world where there are SO many resources,
I am learning that I don't always have to come up with ideas myself.

Have a life OUTSIDE of school.
I tend to stay in school mode long after the kids have gone home for the day. I need to know when to leave everything school related alone so I can go have some fun.

Never wait until the last minute... or at least try not to.
No matter how hard I work to try to get ahead, I always seem to be running to the copier right when I get to school in the morning to make that extra set of copies. I don't know how this happens because I try to be prepared for my whole week.

Always have a plan B.
You never know when the copier might break, the power might go out (this for real happened to us several times the year.. yikes!), or when the technology won't cooperate. Always have a back up plan in mind. How can you teach this technology driven lesson without technology? How can students complete a worksheet without an individual copy of their own? Several times this year I wouldn't have survived without a back up plan. 

Well, there ya have it... just a few things I learned/realized during year 2 of teaching. It is hard for me to believe that I have been teaching for two whole years! Craziness. Now I need to get back in the grind and start working on things for next year... I have not been very good at that so far this summer.
Happy Monday... aren't Monday's so great during the summer months? =)
Have a fabulous, relaxing week!





Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sweet Summertime...

I will never get tired of having my summers off.
Don't get me wrong, I LOVE LOVE LOVE my job,
but it's nice to have a month or two to relax 
and rejuvenate for another fabulous school year. 

This weekend I was beach bound.
Toes in the sand, waves crashing in, sun beating down...
that's one of my favorite spots. 
It officially feels like summer. 
Pumped to link up with Farley like we ALL do every month!
Here's to a fun, slow moving June that doesn't get too too hot! 
Hope you are all enjoying your last few days of school 
or your first few days of summer... I know I sure am!