Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Future.

Today we had the chance to watch Barak Obama's back to school speech.  You can watch it here.  Now whenever we watch something in fifth grade, it becomes second nature to scan the audience and move around the room to startle kids who are playing with their shoelaces, or who have their heads down, or who might be drawing cartoons in their notebooks.  But today as I scanned the room, I noticed that every set of eyeballs was glued to the SMARTboard.  And more than half of the fifth graders were taking notes.  Not because they had to, or were asked, but because they felt it was important.  In a country that is full of controversy, bias and debate, it was refreshing for me to see and hear their feelings about the speech...even at a young age. 

 "[Teachers] don’t do it for a fancy office.  They don’t -- they sure don’t do it for the big salary.  They do it for you.  They do it because nothing gives them more satisfaction than seeing you learn.  They live for those moments when something clicks; when you amaze them with your intellect or your vocabulary, or they see what kind of person you’re becoming.  And they’re proud of you."

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


So, if you have been reading my blog at all, you know that I am mildly obsessed with crayons and all things crayola.  I currently have four large coloring books that I turn to religiously as a stress reliever.  (Just purchased The Lion King one.)  Anyways, I have been DYING to try the craft on Pinterest where you melt crayons using a hair dryer on canvas.  See below: 

Magical.  Anyways, I decided tonight to give it a try.  After purchasing my supplies (and new box of 64 crayons) my roomie and I arranged the crayons.  Actually, she did this whole process.. mathematically calculating the ratios of color.  (I do not have the patience for that.)

Then we got the blow dryer. Note: Make sure you lay out newspaper or plastic bags.  Wax splatters EVERYWHERE. 

As soon as you start blowing, the crayon starts to melt.  The instant gratification is overwhelming.  The wrapper gets a little darker, but still looks sweet.  And if you know me, you can get a chuckle out of the fact that halfway through I realized the blow dryer was sucking my hair into the other end and I had to rip it out.  But besides that, LOOK! 

Awesome, huh? Now I thought about going the whole flower route like the one above, but I think this looks great as is.  Who knew I was such an artist?  Not I!   

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

One of those days...

Student:  "Ms. K, is that your real hair?"
Me:  "Sure is."
Student:   "Well, is that it's real color?"
Me:  "Well, I dye it every once an awhile."
Long pause.....
Student:  "Is that cause it's all grey underneath cause you are so old?" 

:)  Never a dull moment. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Beautiful Oops...

Happy Sunday!  I found this book this summer and think it is awesome.  Appropriate for all ages to remember.  :)

Also, if you haven't gotten to check this out, there are some clever articles about non-fiction in Choice Literacy's Big Fresh.  Some awesome things about wonderopolis too!  

In other news, I got to travel around a corn maze today.  Although, I didn't get through it all before Mason and I got bored and had to find an exit out.  Whoops! 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Better luck next time.

So, it's been a goal of mine, that one day... I will learn to cook. I decided this year to take baby steps with this project.  Every so often, we have faculty food day at school.  Everyone brings some sort of themed food to put in the lounge and we get to snack all day.  Genius idea, really.  So it was my goal that this year, instead of supplying a bag of chips or box of cookies, I'd actually make something to bring to the offering table.  This Friday the theme is "tailgating treats".  Holla! 

So... I tried to make a mango jalapeno dip.. a fairly easy recipe.  Well, I'll apologize to my colleagues in advance who are reading this, because what I just put in the fridge does not look edible.  But it's the thought that counts.  For all my cooking friends, here is the recipe: 

15oz black beans
8oz cream cheese
Mango jalapeno jam
Green Onion
Shredded cheese

Rinse and drain the beans.  Blend cream cheeese and green onion and layer over beans.  Right before serving, layer on the mango jalapeno jam.  Add shredded cheese to the top.  Serve with chips.

If someone makes it correctly, I'd love to help you eat it! 

Monday, September 19, 2011


Check this out! 

Books, books, books!

I just finished writing a grant for some non-fiction and hisotircal fiction books for our classroom.  In the process, I got to do one of my favorite things, book shop.  Here are some books I stumbled upon that I must have: 

One World One Day
This reminds me of this weird documentary Mason made me watch called Babies.  The book is all pictures of kids throughout their day doing simillar tasks, but in totally different ways and different places.  It's one of those books I just want to hold. 

The Chronicles of Harris Burdick
Ohhhh Chris Van Allsburg, the author of The Polar Express to all my friends who are reading this.  Anyways, Chris Van Allsburg wrote the book, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.  Which is a baller book of mysterious pictures with short little phrases.  It has always been a fun writing activity to have students write their own stories to go along with the pictures.  In this book, well known authors such as Lois Lowry, Louis Sachar, Kate DiCamillo and Stephen King have written their own stories to go along with the pictures.   Finally!  One more month till this one comes out! 

Team Moon:  How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon

I love outer space, seriously.. I could probably think about it for hours..  It's amazing.  Team Moon tells the story of the people who made the Apollo 11 possible, which is an interesting perpsective.  This book is filled with tons of photographs that document the journey to the moon. 

Now there are plenty of other books, but all my new TV shows started tonight.  I'm off to go park myself on the couch for another hour till bedtime.  Whew! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bad Blogger

I have been a bad blogger lately.. and I apologize.  I am currently not even able to pinterest.  GASP! I'm currently buried under worksheets, reading assessments, word study books, a new literacy program and writing assessment.  I promise I'll find my way out soon.  Until then:  Could someone please pack this for my lunch tomorrow?  But, minus the carrots.  WOOF!


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What makes you sneeze?

In an earlier post, I talked about one of my new favorite reads:  A Place for Wonder.  If you haven't checked it out, Georgia Heard talks about the importance of questioning in the classroom.  It is geared for "primary" grades, but much of it can be applied to the upper elementary grades as well.  Here are a few things I've been trying:

The Wonder Square:  At the beginning of the year, when we were first starting our science notebooks, I had each child cut out a paper square.  Like this: 

Each child took their sqaure outside and placed it on the ground.  Their job, was to make observations and describe everything they saw in the box.  Most started by describing the grass, or the flowers.. but then they started noticing a small ant crawl across the frame, or a tiny spiderweb.  After they recorded their observations, they traded notebooks with a peer, and got to draw what was inside their partners square, based on their partners descriptions.  This led to a great conversation about our descriptions as scientists, and what kind of descriptions benefit others. 

Wonder of the Week:  Through the world of teaching blogs, I have stumbled upon an awesome website: Wonderopolis.  Seriously, go check it out.  It asks some of the worlds biggest wonders.  Like,
"Why doesn't glue stick to the inside of the bottle?" "What makes invisible ink invisible?" and my favorite, "How did dinosaurs get their names?"  Then the website answers them in a kid-friendly way, using technology and videos when possible.  It's awesome.  Anyways, using some of these wonders, we created our own "Wonder of the Week" board.  Anytime throughout the week, students can put their predictions to the question up, then on Friday we check Wonderopolis to find out what the answer is.  Last week, we took a look at the question, "Why do people sneeze?"  I'm sure you can predict their predictions.  :)

Now off to bed, exhausted after a long great weekend!