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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Oh, BABY! {He's here!}

After years of praying and waiting on God's perfect timing for a sweet little muffin, we have been blessed. 

On Saturday, September 6th, 2014, Noah Travis was born at 12:36 pm (before we could even get on the plane to fly to get him).

We got to meet him when we was just 9 hours old. 

Love at first sight. 

This is the first time I held him, an hour after we got off the plane. :)

He. is. perfect.


His whole story reflects God's love and mercy. From his brave tummy mommy that gave her greatest sacrifice for us to receive our greatest blessing, to his name and God's timing of this little one. 

We are blessed. 

We look forward to loving him as long as God allows us to here on this Earth, and are beyond grateful for our sweet baby Noah.



Those back rolls. *sigh*

Now, I'm off to make a bottle and change a diaper.

Until then,




Friday, September 5, 2014

How to Use Mini Offices for BIG KIDS and a GIVEAWAY!

Happy Friday, friends!

Today I am posting about how I have used "Mini Offices" in my classroom.

I have seen Mini Offices for years in lower primary and kinder classes. They are great visuals that students can reference in a *snap*.

But I needed something like that for my "big kid" students in 4th and 5th grade.

Something with "meaty" content, not "fluff". Something useful, rich with information about a specific skill or content.

So, what do we do when we need something, but can't find it? We create it. 

WHY would your students need to use these? 
If you are like me, typically, your walls are covered from ceiling to floor with anchor charts. Sometimes, it's hard for students to find the information they need quickly.

Mini offices are simple, quick references that focus on main skills, content and strategies that they use on a daily basis.

Also, during independent work, you actually want them working independently. *Novel thought, eh?!*

When students are given the resources needed, they can do this. That's where Mini Offices come into play.

Also, Mini Offices are great ways for students to study. They allow parents easy access to important skills for real readers in 3rd, 4th and 5th grade.

My students would carry them home in their backpacks before a unit test, if they were struggling with a skill, or just to use on homework help. All of the skills and strategies they need are right. there. BAM!
______________________________________
{SIDE NOTE:
Now, let me just say: my Mini Offices were not always this cute.
Isn't that a shame?
I'm almost embarrassed to admit that.
But, what office doesn't need a little renovation from time to time?
**WHAT did we do before Melonheadz?**
**---I don't...I can't...even...no - I can't even go back that far...---**
I have taken my Mini Offices from a tiny cubical mini office to a "Check out this view from my window!"  in a skyscraper-kinda-mini-office if you know what I'm sayin'.}
                                           ______________________________________

        

        


For Writer's Workshop, these are just as handy as the Reader's Workshop mini offices!

        


ALSO -- what student doesn't feel super cool with their very own "office"?

I mean, let's be real.

We spend our whole "little" lives wanting to be grown ups and do grown up things, only to realize that when you're 30, cutting and gluing and close reading is way more cool than a cluttered desk, bills and cooking supper. {I mean, can I get an AAAAAAAAAAAmen!?!}

Anywhosers...

There are a million ways students could use these...
study tool.
during independent reading.
writing a story.
writing a nonfiction article.
grammar help.
homework help.
fluency practice.
assistance with skill based activity.
organizing ideas in writing.
grammar and punctuation assistance.
small group conferences.
buddy reading.
guided reading.
parental assistance.
during tutoring sessions. 
lifelong tool they carry as they leave your classroom so they *always* remember YOU. ;)
and on and on and on...




OH! And because it's Friday (and you took time after a long week of non-stop questioning, routines, 10-minute lunches, and looooonnnnggggg meetings to read this), I'm giving away two copies of EACH of my Mini Offices!

Here's how:
1) Comment below with your e-mail address.
2) Tell me which resource you'd like the most {either Reading Mini Office or Writing Mini Office}.

Easy. Peazy. DONE!

I'll select four lucky winners later on!

Have a HAPPY weekend!

Until then,

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Thursday Throw Down: Student Led Grammar {Plus a FREEBIE!}

Howdy, ya'll! {Too much?!...ehh...I mean, ya know.}

I'm so excited to link up with Erin at Lovin' Lit for Thursday Throw Day: Interactive Learning!

                                         

Making learning "interactive" can happen in LOTS of ways in the classroom.

I always think to myself, "Self, if you were a student, what would be interesting to you!?"

Now I know that the answer to that question won't always be what is best for the students' learning. Ya know, like if the answer was, "Well what might  make this test more interesting is if I were at a spa" kinda answer - that may not work.

HOWEVER...

If you are bored, then the kids are bored. Period.

So each day before Writer's Workshop, my students did a simple little Interactive, Student Led Grammar Spiral Review (say that 3 times fast) to spice up their day!

Our district really pushed us to have learning student led as much as possible. I agree with this to some degree (but that's a totally different blog post).

So, I thought and thought and thought about ways to make the student learning, student led.

One day, it hit me.

Let the students teach.

They. LOVED. IT.

Cue the Magic Microphone for interactive, student led Grammar Spiral Review (Yes, I had to be very careful not to say "Magic Mic"...as in Magic Mike. Yeah.)

                                 


{Click on the picture to download your copy to edit and use all year long if you'd like!}

I have no idea where I saw this format for spiral review. (If you know whom I should credit, please, help a girl out!). Our team loved how there was just a tiny bit of "this and that" as a review each day. Also, this didn't ever take us longer than 15 minutes for the students to complete on their own and then "teach it" to the class (once we got into our "student led" groove).

Our district partnered Jeff Anderson's approach of grammar with our 3rd grade Grammar Spiral Review that I would create each week. Students were focused on one grammar skill for the week through a Jeff Anderson mini lesson, and then we did the Student Led Grammar Spiral Review each day.

So, after Jeff Anderson, this is how it would work....

HOW STUDENT LED GRAMMAR SPIRAL REVIEW WORKS:
1) Students completed each day's Spiral Review independently. They were given about 5 minutes to do so.  If students didn't finish (because some wouldn't), then they would complete the sections as the student's led the Spiral Review.

2) After the students had a chance to complete the Spiral Review, the fun would begin. I would then give the Magic Microphone (once again, not to be confused with Magic Mike) to a student. I would then have a seat and monitor the classroom from either the front or back of the room. I am there to moderate the conversation, but after a while, they get the hang of it. It flows well, and their conversations get deeper and more meaningful. 

The students then lead the class like this {reference the Spiral Review snippet in the image above so you can see why the students are saying what they are saying for their answers}:



If even ONE student disagrees with her answer, this is what she would say:

If all students agree with her answer, this is what she would say:


Not only does this learning format allow the students a chance to "be in charge" but they take this very seriously. It allows the students to practice asking and answering questions as well as listening skills which are very important for the CCSS (oh, and not to mention - important in LIFE!).

Also, you'd be surprised the conversations students will have. The deeper the skill, the more the students will interact with each other in their agree/disagree conversations. They learn how to disagree in a kind, respectful way. 

Students that literally bounce off the walls 24/7 will sit patiently, with their hand raised hoping to get chosen to "teach", super involved and super engaged during this time. It will blow you away. They will be perfect angels for 15 minutes during Student Led Spiral Review. It's insane in the membrane how motivating this actually is for students.

As mentioned above, this comes with time. Practice makes progress! 

Modeling, practicing and making expectations for each role in this Student Led Learning is critical when first implementing.

Students need to know how to hold the microphone. 
How to pass the microphone. 
How to agree politely and how to disagree respectfully. 
Students need to practice raising their hand. 
How to ask a question. 
What questions are appropriate to ask.
...And yada yada yada. 

But the good news is, is that I DID this SUCCESSFULLY with 3rd graders.

So if 3rd graders can do this, anybody can!

Don't forget to click on the sample image above to download a copy of my spiral review template {that I saw somewhere a long time ago and can't take credit for it, although I wish I could} to use with your own students. 

Have you tried something similar in YOUR classroom? 

I had a great time today linking up with Erin!

Until then, 






Monday, September 1, 2014

Currently {September}

I am SO excited to link up with Farley on Currently {September}! IT's been fo-evah, evah since I have.

So, here goes!


Listening
My husband and I are obsessed with the show "The Pitch" on Netlfix all of the sudden. It's about two major marketing companies making pitches to major businesses and corporations to win their business.

Basically, it's another reality show. However, at least after watching this one, you don't walk about feeling dumber than you did when you started. Believe me - I know. I watch plenty of dumb reality television that will suck your brains out and flush them down the toilet. Let's be honest, those are equally as awesome.

Loving
My husband and I have been waiting for 3 1/2 years to adopt a baby from Ethiopia. Because of the major slow down in international adoptions from Ethiopia the past 3 years, our social worker suggested while we wait for that sweet baby, we start a domestic adoption.

So, after waiting for 6 months, we were matched with a baby boy that will be born in 8 days...1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8...EIGHT days! Crazy exciting! We can NOT wait.



Thinking
So in order to keep myself from going coo-coo crazy waiting for these 8 days to pass by quickly, I need to finish these next 5 things. More close reading, Patriot Day resource, History Mysteries, writing mini-offices...I may have carpal tunnel. Already.

Wanting
My husband and I live in New Orleans and I am obsessed with Cafe Au Laits from Cafe Du Monde. They magical deliciousness in each cup. Holy moly. Delish.

                                         

Needing
A GIANT chill pill.
(This may or may NOT need to be explained.)
New baby - 8 days.
Adoption.
Waiting.
Paperwork.
Court.
Life changing.
Love.
Excitement.
Anxiety.
Packing.
Flying.
Family.
BABY. <3

Last night, I LITERALLY was drinking chamomile tea will applying lavender essential oil to the back of my ears and my temple. Nothing.

Hence - giant chill pill.

Suggestions?

3 Trips
Utah - That's where we will go and get our sweet baby boy.
Ireland - I've been obsessed with Ireland since I was in 8th grade. I will go one day. I MUST go one day.
The house in "The Holiday" in Surrey, England - That sounds like a magical place to be right. about. now.
            The Holiday movie cottage

So, that's all. I'm off to finish one of the 5 TpT packets. And drink more chamomile tea. ;)

Until then,








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Friday, August 29, 2014

Blogger {Unofficial} Rule #1

In order to be considered a blogger, you must blog.

Yes, this may sound like a DUH! remark. However, I write this to remind myself.

You see, the last time I blogged, was nearly 19 months ago. Do you know what can happen to a "blogger" in between 19 months of non-blogging? Well, a lot.

In the last 19 months {since February 2013}:
- I have taken a break from teaching. This is my second {yes, second} school year to not be in the classroom. It's weird. At first, I was way weirded out. Like, I didn't have an identity anymore "weirded out". In August 2013 when I didn't step into a classroom for the first time IN.MY.LIFE (well, since 4 years oldish), I was all kinds of emotions. However, the break from the classroom has been much needed and much appreciated. However, this August, my heart longed to wear a lanyard, take attendance and eat bad lunchroom food in 20 13ish minutes, all while going to the restroom, checking my cell phone and grading 3 tests.
- I've focused a lot of time on TpT. Because of my extra time, I've been able to devote more time to my TpT resources. It's a super fun blast making stuff for ya'll!
- I work for a Christian radio station. I currently work as the Development Director of a radio station. I enjoy it a lot. It's very different than teaching {i.e. - you can use the restroom when you wish, there are other adults to interact with during that day that aren't crazy parents or administrators, your cell phone can ring and you can answer it, you can drink more than one cup of coffee a day because of fact #1 about the whole bathroom thing, lunch lasts longer than above mentioned 13 minutes, etc. etc.}.
- I will go back to the classroom. One day. Just for this season, I am enjoying being "Lindsay" instead of "Mrs. F".
- We are adopting a baby. My husband and I have been in the process of an international adoption for 3 1/2 years. We are still on that wait list and we will continue to stay on that wait list until that sweet baby comes home. However, we are also adopting a baby boy domestically in 11 - count it - 1, 2, 3....11! - days! Crazy excited.

So a lot happens in 19 months. Who knew?!

Anyways, I decided it was time to join the blogging world again. AND give away one of my newest items on TpT!


Just leave a COMMENT with your EMAIL below to enter to win a copy of this pack!! I'll be giving away three copies!

Well, it's been great being among the bloggers of this world again after 19 months.

Until then,


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine...Smalentine...LURVE Sale!

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope you all survived the children and the parties. If you did, then you definitely deserve a large box of chocolate and a foot rub. Anyone that has lived through pink and red and glitter and love and red Kool-Aid mustaches and sugar-induced craziness from small children should win a medal of honor. I'm just saying.

With that being said, I would like to share with you some of my favorite Valentine's I've seen today. I hope you enjoy...


Totally posted this on my husband's FB wall. That's true love, people! True love. 


Have you seen this video?! HA-larious!


Oh, Dwight. He is just so romantic. 


Funny Valentine's Day Ecard: I would even do the thing Meat Loaf wouldn't do for love for you.


 
And since it is this magical day of love mush, I leave you with some pictures of me and my little love muffin from our wedding day nearly 4 years ago...and in honor of this love muffin day, I am putting everything in my store 20% today off just for you, the ones that I love and adore for reading all of this nonsense that entertains my life rich, educational truth.





LOVES,



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