Currently- February Edition

I love linking up with Farley for her monthly Currently- so much fun!

So I love Hallmark movies- I watch all of the Christmas ones and am currently loving the ones they are running leading up to Valentine's Day- I DVR and then binge watch them on the weekends!

I am thrilled to report that I have cut down to 1 Pibb Zero each day. I don't drink coffee, but have been a popaholic for my entire adult life. I started cutting back when we went back to school in January and for the last 3 weeks I have been down to 1! I am drinking loads of water and... (knock on wood) I haven't had a migraine since Thanksgiving. I usually have them every 4-6 weeks- don't know if there is any correlation, but I am super thankful I haven't had one!

Can't wait for spring to get here! We have had some unseasonably warm weather here in the midwest and it has given me a bad case of SPRING FEVER!

My youngest daughter's college softball season starts this week! She is a freshman and this is her first college season- something she has worked the past 10 years for. Excited and anxious to follow her season and make it to as many games as we can! BOOMER SOONER!

Ok- so many projects for my store started and not finished- but lacking some motivation right now. I need to get with the program!

Miss Homebody... I love to be at home with my pups- I could probably be a hermit! 

Happy February!


Author's Purpose- A Fun Activity with Task Cards!

Last week we took some time to learn about Author's Purpose. My kids had some background knowledge, but needed a refresher course. We also needed to go a little deeper in understanding what it meant to persuade. We created a class anchor chart together and had a good discussion of the big 3- persuade, inform, and entertain. Of course, I used the acronym P.I.E. to help them remember. Here is the chart we created...

After our great discussion I was ready to send them off with a task.

Last year I had purchased a great set of task cards from Rachel Lynette-

(If you haven't used any of her task card sets before you are missing out- they are fantastic!)

The students group work centered around the task card set- but I used this set of cards in a little different way- they lent themselves really well to a sorting activity.

I put my students in groups of three and sent each group off with: 

*a set of the 24 task cards, a marker, scissors, glue, and a large sheet of chart paper. 

The "task" was to cut out, sort, and glue each card in the appropriate column on their P.I.E. chart.


Chart created...

Chart completed...

When each group completed their chart they raised their hand for me to come over and check. After each group was finished, we discussed any cards that the students had questions about. 

The kids were really engaged in this activity and it provided them with many opportunities to discuss and justify their thinking. 

Take care-


The Boston Massacre... Reenactment In My Class!

We are learning about the Revolutionary War- such a fun, engaging unit for my third graders and one of my very favorite to teach. 

This is such a high interest topic and my kids always really get into it. Earlier this year I had read one of the Alvin Ho books and in it the kids play Revolutionary War at recess, so of course I have even had some fellas playing Revolutionary War at recess- it is pretty amusing to say the least.

So, I knew that this super simple activity would be a big hit! As we got ready for Social Studies time I asked the 4 kiddos in my classroom that were wearing red to step out into the hallway a minute. After I got them into the hallway I closed the door and told them that we were going to have a little fun and that since they had redshirts on they got to be the British soldiers that were collecting taxes from the colonists. When they came in the room I wanted one of them to shout out something like "I'm here collecting your taxes". 

Then I left the British soldiers in the hallway and went back into the classroom to prep the colonists. We had a quick refresher of why the colonists are angry with the soldiers. With the remaining kids in the room I designated some of them as the crowd that is gathered to watch what is happening and then I designated the rest to be a group of angry colonists that are to begin yelling at the soldiers.Then I reveal the interactive part... 

...the sticks and snowballs that the colonists are to begin throwing at the soldiers! The angry colonists each grabbed a few sticks or snowballs and I called the British soldiers in. 

The reenactment began and as soon as the colonists had thrown their snowballs and sticks (you should have seen the surprised looks on the soldiers' faces), I stopped the action before the soldiers could start throwing things back! 

When I stopped the action I asked them what they thought would happen next and the kids guessed that the soldiers might shoot since they would have weapons (we DID NOT act out this part) and I confirmed that was correct. We discussed how quickly the situation got out of control and how this event contributed to the tensions between the Patriots and Britain. 

The kids LOVED this activity and I hope that it made a lasting memory for them as we continue our study of the history of our country's beginnings!

If you are teaching about the American Revolution and are looking for additional materials- you might want to check these out...

Take care-


Martin Luther King, Jr. Sketch and Write

Today in class we learned about Martin Luther King, Jr. We watched a video on Discovery Education of the book Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport. The book is read aloud by Michael Clarke Duncan and is just beautiful- the illustrations, background music, and his deep voice come together to make a vivid impact on anyone who watches. After watching the video, we had a great discussion. If you don't have access to Discovery Education, then you could just read the book aloud- it is a great read aloud!

After reading, we incorporated some art with the facts that we learned. I gave each student a blank white piece of copy paper to begin. I drew one step at a time on an anchor chart, and the students drew on their papers. 

Here are the steps that I break the drawing into- but if you chose to do this project you could break it into as many steps as you wanted to. For most kids- if I asked them to draw Martin Luther King, Jr.- they would tell me they couldn't do it, or that it didn't look right, but by breaking it into pieces they all can create! Also, I chose to draw him with a large head and small body and the kids really got a kick out of that!

First steps...



It's looking like a person now...

And finally the body...

After we finish drawing, then comes the really fun part! We talk about each part of Martin and relate a fact about his life to that part. Then we write it on the chart. Here are the facts we wrote...

brain- he was very smart and he became a preacher
eyes- saw the words "White Only" and it made him feel really bad
ears- heard his mother say "You are as good as anyone"
heart- courage to stand up for all peoples' rights
hands- he used his hands for peace- not fighting
feet- walked and marched with the protesters
mouth- used his words: 
LOVE instead of hate
TOGETHER instead of separate
PEACE instead of war

At the top we also wrote: Taught people to fight with words instead of fists!

Here is our completed anchor chart...

I did want to display these, so my students used a fine-tipped black marker to go over their pencil marks and then they shaded in the drawing. I was pleased with how they turned out and the kids were proud of their work. 

Considering the recent events in our country and some of the images that our children are seeing on television, I thought this was a really important message for them to hear. 

All my best,                   


Crock Pot Recipes- Two of My Favorites!!!

This month I am linking up with Laurah J at The ESOL Odyssey for the January Recipe Round-Up. Cooking is one of my very favorite things to do- and I love to use my crock pot. 

How wonderful is it to come home from a long day at work, and when you open the door the smell of a home cooked meal greets you! That's what crock pot cooking is all about for me!
When I have something in the crock pot, I look forward to it all day... especially if it is one of the two dinners I want to share with you....

My favorite food blogger is Kristin at Iowa Girl Eats. She is actually the very first person (blog) I ever started following. I have fixed countless recipes of hers and am always pleased with the results (and so is my family!). 

First up are Crock Pot Italian Beef Sandwiches- super easy and super flavorful is how I would describe this recipe! Click on the link to get this tasty recipe.

Next is Crock Pot Ranchero Chicken- this recipe takes a smidge more time to prepare, but oh so worth it! I seriously think I could drink the sauce. This one is great because you can use the chicken for tostadas, tacos, burritos, nachos... you name it! Again- click on the link to get this recipe.

And thanks again to Laurah for this fun idea!

I really hope you will try one, or both, of these recipes! You will be glad you did!


Opinion Writing Launch Lesson

Today was the kids first day back to school after winter break. (Teachers were back for work on Monday and Tuesday this week.) 

Our third quarter writing focus is opinion writing. I LOVE to teach this unit to my kiddos. It is so fun, and I get to know them even better as I read their opinions on so many different topics.

So... to launch our learning today I had a last minute brainstorm. I have always started our unit with an anchor chat with a piece of my own opinion writing, Last year I think I wrote about the best flavor ice cream... but this year I decided to write about something with a little more punch!

I pulled the kids to the floor and told them that I wanted them to read what I was writing silently, and that we would not talk about it until I was done. I could have written it ahead of time, but I wanted to build the suspense and really get their attention...

And boy- did I get their attention!

My first sentence was...

I think kids should go to school on Saturdays and Sundays.

Now, please know- that is DEFINITELY not what I really think. But to see the looks on their faces was priceless!

Next I wrote the three reasons that supported my thinking. I know that some people like to use the O.R.E.O. (opinion, reason, example, opinion) method to teach the opinion writing format, but personally I think it is sometimes hard for third graders to write a reason and give an example to go with that reason, so maybe instead of "example" I  think I might have them give a reason and then "elaborate" on that reason. 

As I was writing the reasons to support my opinion I would pause for effect and look at them, maybe make a comment or two, and can you believe some of them were scowling at me or giving me thumb's down! 

Then I restated my opinion to wrap the piece up. 

For the anchor chart- I used the same color marker (red) for the introductory opinion sentence and for the closing opinion sentence. I wrote the supporting reason sentences all in purple. 

After I finished writing the piece- I did not give them any time to talk about the topic- we only looked at the chart to see what we noticed- the first and last sentences were the same color- both opinions. Then I asked them what the other sentences were for and they told me it was "why" I thought that kids should go to school on Saturdays and Sundays. So we underlined each reason and labeled those. Notice- I still have not given them an opportunity to discuss the actual topic.

Here is the anchor chart we made...

I then sent them back to their seats and gave them an opinion writing organizer (I have a simple one for free, if you are interested in using it). 

I then asked their opinion about kids going to school on Saturdays and Sundays and told them to write their opinion statement in the first box on the organizer. 

Then I went around the room and let the kids share their opinions aloud. This is where I got quite a surprise! My class was split almost 50/50 on the subject. I was shocked!!!!

We proceeded to go one box at a time, and I tried to let each kid share at least one reason to support their opinion. 

Again- shocked- twice in one day!!! Their reasons were fantastic and well thought out. Here were a few of their responses:

Those for kids going to school on Saturdays and Sundays- 
*you will be smarter and have a better chance of getting into college
*you get a good, healthy meal when you are at school

Those against kids going to school on Saturdays and Sundays-
*you wouldn't be able to go to church on Sunday
*you might not be able to play sports, because a lot of games are on the weekends
*you wouldn't have as much time to spend with family and friends 

We then finished up our organizers with the restatement of our opinions. I did not publish these- since they were our first attempts with opinion writing, but I easily could have- they were very well done!

Only at the very end did I tell them that I really DO NOT think kids should go to school on Saturdays and Sundays- I had 2 different kids come up to me at recess and tell me they were so glad that wasn't what I really thought- one girl told me she was worried that I had gone bananas!!! 

I do have a few Opinion Writing resources available in my TpT Store if you are looking for 
additional practice prompts:


The Grannyman- Have You Read This Sweet Book?

I love books! Loved them as a kid, loved reading them to my own children, and I love sharing my favorites and discovering new ones with my class. My goal this year is to try to share as many of my favorites through this blog as I can. 

I have been a fan of the Skippijon Jones books for several years. I am always excited to see a new one come out- and my class loves to listen to them. Of course, they clap and chant along to the familiar parts!

When I ran across another book by Judy Schachner, I couldn't wait to read it. This is The Grannyman!

Oh, my! While Skippijon tickles the funny bone, this book tugs at your heart strings. What a warm and tender lesson your students can learn from this book!

I forgot to mention how beautiful the illustrations are, too!

Simon is a very old cat who is nearing the end of his days...  

...and then his family brings home a little kitten and gives Simon a purpose- he has to teach the kitten how to be a good cat.

My students were so in love with this book and I hope that you will read it and love it, too!

Happy Reading!


Currently January- A Fresh Start

Happy New Year! I am not usually one to get too excited over New Year's Day, but this year I was really ready to turn the page on 2014 and start fresh in 2015. We had a very rough 2014- so bring on 2015!

I am linking up with Farley at Oh' Boy Fourth Grade for her monthly Currently Linky Party!

Here goes...

1.) I am "currently" obsessed with HGTV. Love, love, love Fixer Upper, the Property Brothers, and all versions of House Hunters. 

2.) Boy, did I get a surprise on Christmas morning... my family- mom and dad, husband, and my two girls got me the farmhouse table I have been wanting from IKEA. Then my husband and I used a gift card my mom and uncle gave us to purchase the chairs to go with it! I love it so much!!!! Here's a pic of my pretty new table!

3.) I have really enjoyed my winter break- my youngest daughter has been home from college since December 12th- she goes back on January 6th- and my oldest daughter and her fiancĂ© were here for five days over Christmas, so I haven't spent much time on anything school or TpT related. I have 5 projects in various states of completion sitting on my desktop staring at me each time I open my computer. I need to put them in a folder so they will stop staring!

4.) Number 3 above is the reason I need another few weeks of vacation! Maybe we will have some snow days...

5.) Ok- this one is serious- I really must drink more water. I am a diet soda-aholic. I am going to make myself drink water, water, water.

6.) *Yes- as I mentioned at the beginning of my post- 2014 was rough and because of this my husband and I have not eaten well or exercised. Too much fast food and no exercise makes you feel pretty crummy! That is a top priority for us both. 

*Maybe- my goal is to blog more. I actually really enjoy writing and love to blog, but just haven't had the time. My goal is to plan out my blog topics and make it happen this year!

*I Wish- oh how I would love to write a children's book. I have ideas swirling in my brain- I just need to start and see where it goes... 

I hope that your 2015 is off to a wonderful start!

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