Saturday, July 26, 2014

Fourth and Ten in the Kitchen

One of my favorite things to do outside of teaching/blogging is spending time in the kitchen. I love to cook and I especially love having more time to do it in the summer.  So I was overjoyed to find the Eating, Drinking, and Linking weekly link up hosted by Christy at Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road. What a great idea! :)




We eat most of our meals at home, which saves us a lot of money each month.  That's not to say that we don't enjoy a nice dinner out, we do.  We just limit them to once or twice a month.  Since we eat a lot at home, I have lots of recipes to share. :) 

We always seem to have extra bananas left over each week, so I've been making lots of banana breads and muffins this summer.  I often freeze the leftovers, so we can have them for breakfast throughout the week. 



These two recipes have been our favorites, this whole wheat / reduced sugar banana bread and these sour cream banana muffins.  I usually use whole wheat pastry flour or a mix of half white flour and half whole flour in all my baked goods. I also replace the oil with unsweetened apple sauce and sugar with organic honey when I can. I do this on a recipe by recipe basis, for some recipes switch seems like a good fit and some do not.  

I always love a quick, but yet delicious, dinner.  
One of our favorite quick and delicious meals is Maid-Rites.  Maid-Rites aren't quite burgers and they aren't quite sloppy joes. However, they are delicious. This recipe is from one of my favorite bloggers, Iowa Girl Eats.  Everything we make from her site is delicious and usually pretty healthy too.  

We also love pizza.  I pinned this fun deep dish pizza in a casserole dish and knew I had to try it right away.  We had it for dinner this week and loved it! 

Since it uses refrigerated pizza dough, this recipe couldn't have been easier. It came together and minutes and it's perfect for a week night dinner during the school year. 


My husband and I also do our fair share of grilling and we had beer can chicken the other night, which is my FAVORITE way to prepare chicken these days. 

There are lots of recipes and tutorials out there for beer can chicken. We watched this video the first time we made it. You can use root beer or coke as well. I do recommend using a beer can chicken stand for your grill.  We got ours here.  Sometimes the beer/soda cans don't hold up the chicken very well on their own. We also made my favorite green bean recipe to go with it. 

I also use our Crockpot a lot, especially in the 
summer. We love this easy chicken and black bean taco salad from Skinnytaste.  We buy Bolthouse Farm's Cilantro and Avocado Greek Yogurt to go with it. 


As you can see, we cook a lot and have a of great recipes to share! I hope that you found one that you'd like to try. :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Behavior Management Link Up

Every so often, I get an email or Facebook message via my blog's Facebook page on classroom management. Often these emails come from sweet teacher friends who are new to fourth grade and are wondering what works and what doesn't work with the upper elementary population.  

I don't claim to be an expert in classroom management but I AM willing to share what has worked in my third and fourth grade classrooms in the past.  Every group is different, so next year it could be possible none of these management strategies work. 

When I taught second and third grade, and even my first year in fourth, I used a clip chart.  


I actually like using a pocket chart with cut outs instead because I always found they were breaking the clips.  I always found the behavior chart to be super motivating with my students.  They loved clipping up, especially if they had a rough start to the day. I love that it really instilled the mind set that they really COULD change their behavior.  If they got to the top of the chart, they put a sticker on their star.  They loved it.  

What I didn't like was how some of my fourth graders got so moody about clipping down.  Fourth grade is when some of your students start experiencing some of those hormonal changes and it was drama city when I asked someone to clip down. It's also hard to have a clip chart when you are departmentalized.  However, I love theses ideas from Christina and Rachelle and would probably use one of them if my teaching partner and I decided to try clip charts again in the future. 

Last year, I shared how  I use the calendar below and coupons in a classroom economy type system. You can find that post here



I really love the coding on this calendar and it's a great way to communicate quickly with parents about their child's behavior.  However, kids are smart.  They purposefully loose them when they get a lot of signatures and are in danger of loosing their bigger reward, such as an extra recess.  I didn't have a backup system and that made things hard when you were figuring out who earned the reward and who didn't. 

This year I plan on binding this cute free calendar from my friend Sarah and at least try to write down which calendars I may have signed that day to have some kind of record myself. 

Shopping for coupons was a little difficult this year.  My partner and I shared coupons and sometimes we ran out of good ones. Sometimes we would forget to go shopping and we found shopping every week was hard.  Luckily, Laura's coupon pack has full page coupons that we could but in a binder. I think that might be easier for us. Additionally, we may choose to go shopping once a month instead and change the value on some of the coupons. :)  If kids carried over a balance of stars/stickers, we just wrote that on the top of their new calendar. Not super pretty, but it worked. 

Now even if you find something you really like that inspires your most students to strive for good behavior, there are always outliers of students where that just doesn't work for them.  So you need to come up with a plan for them, otherwise you'll be trying to put a square peg in a round hole all year and that's no fun. 

For example, one my students used this management system instead.  One of my students really loved to clean and really struggled with his behavior. So if he didn't get his calendar signed, he wanted to sweep the floor at the end of the day. Most of ED students have a behavior plan set in place by their intervention specialist and I don't mess with it, or force them to do my system, because what she does works for them. 


As far as whole group behavior management, I've tried a lot of different whole group incentives. However, I always come back to behavior bingo. 


I found Behavior Bingo back in the day on Mrs. Gold's website.  It works for me and has worked for most of my classes.  I love it because it doesn't require much extra work for me to have two, since I teach two sections of ELA. I just have two bingo boards. One for the AM and one for the PM. 

This year, I used this one from Ms. Sanchez
I love using Behavior Bingo to reinforce things that my classes struggle with whole group, such as walking quietly in the hallway or transitioning without starting conversations, etc. :) 

I keep two bingo boards in the front of my room. I have a pouch of unearned numbers for each class.  This is where I draw the numbers when they earn numbers.  Each class also has a pouch for their earned numbers, so the numbers aren't picked twice.  

Once one of my classes earns bingo, five in a row or four corners, they earn a reward.  We brainstorm a list of possible rewards and then vote.  The brainstorming allows me to weed out things that just won't work, such as KFC lunches for the whole class, field trips, etc. 




In the past, I've send home letters asking for donations for bigger rewards, like ice cream and root beer float parties.  Typically, if you aren't asking all the time for donations, parents will help out.   

Sometimes your class might earn two bingos quickly, and that's okay.  I just stress during our brainstorming to come up with manageable/free rewards that time, especially if I'm footing the bill. An extra ten minute recess or watching a Magic School Bus while they eat lunch are two suggestions of free to me rewards.

One of my coworkers had a super challenging class this past year and she only had twenty-five numbers on her board.  This made earning a bingo very manageable for her group.  You could do twenty-five squares to start out and then increase the number of squares on their bingo board if you feel 100 off the bat is overwhelming. 

Like I mentioned earlier, this is simply what works for me.  What works for me, might not work for you and your class.  However, the important thing to remember with behavior is that consistency is key. If you want a clip chart to work, make it a point to use it every day! If you don't use it or don't put an emphasis on whatever you are using, your kiddos won't be motivated by it.  I found this to be true on the weeks we would go without coupon shopping.  They weren't motivated to keep clean calendars because we weren't using the coupons to reward them. 

I'm linking up with Miss V's Busy Bees and Ms. D's Corner today.  If you are in need of some behavior management ideas, I highly suggest you check their linky out. I clicked around and found some good ones myself. 

Check out the linky by clicking {here}

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Two for One Tuesday and Wishlist Wednesday

Hi friends! Thanks for your sweet comments on yesterday's post.  I'm heading to school again today to finish sorting my last two tubs of books.  
Then the fun of shopping for new bins/painting my existing library shelving happens. :) 

I wanted to pop in and let you know of some special deals I have going on in my Teachers Pay Teachers store this week. 

Today I am running a special Two for One Deal. 

If you purchase Cooking Up a Great Year 
Together TODAY, you automatically get my School Year Time Capsule file for FREE.  I have edited the product listing for today only to include a zip file that contains both of these products.  Meaning it is VERY important that you not only download but save this purchase to your computer/portable storage drives because tomorrow I will edit the listing again to only have Cooking Up a Great Year.  

Also, so my blog doesn't seem like one long commercial for my TpT store all week, I'm letting you know about this week's Wish List Wednesday deal today. :) 



Starting tomorrow, my Similes and Metaphors Activity Pack with be 30% off.  Similes and Metaphors can be so tricky and this pack really helped my kiddos, and I hope it can help yours too. :)  

Make sure you follow me on Instagram and/or Facebook to be notified of deals like these and some fun giveaways! :)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Classroom in Chaos Day One of Organizing My Classroom Library

Today I went to my classroom for a few hours before a doctor's appointment.  This was the view that greeted me from the door. 


Since my school has tile floors and little built in storage, we have to pack up everything that sits on the floor during the school year.  Which means unpacking/getting ready for the new school year takes longer for me than it did at my previous school that had built in cubbies and storage. When it comes to getting my room ready, I like to go in for a few hours at a time in July and get it done, because my husband usually takes a few days off in early August for our anniversary. :) 

Today my objective was to start organizing and purging my classroom library.   Most of my classroom library is in these six blue totes. 

When I first started teaching, I focused more on quantity of books rather than quality.  I'd go to thrift stores every payday and buy any book I thought might have a Reading Counts test. I'd also ask for gift cards to book stores at Christmas, went to a used bookstore after church each week, and sent home book orders. This certainly allowed me to accumulate A LOT of books throughout the years.  However, there are also A LOT of books that my students just simply aren't reading. 

 Donalyn Miller points out in Reading in the Wild that we should discard of books in our libraries that are:  MUSTIE;" Misleading, Ugly,Superseded, Trivial, Irrelevant or Elsewhere.

That's what I focused on today.  I started looking through my books as I was unpacking them today with MUSTIE in mind.  

This summer I want to totally revamp how my classroom library is set up.  Previously, it was by level with a separate section for popular chapter books.  Which made it really difficult for my avid readers last year to find books that interest them.
I polled last years students on how I should organize my library and they overwhelmingly chose by genre/book series.  

With my new organization method in mind, I started creating piles of related books/genre piles around my room.  I put all MUSTIE books in a big pile as well.  For me, MUSTIE books are any books I've NEVER seen a child read since I bought it, books that aren't relevant to my age group (Clifford, Franklin, Easy Readers, etc.), or in need of serious repair.  I plan on donating all MUSTIE books to a teacher who could use them. :)



Since I have so many books, it was a bit of an overwhelming task.  I was able to unpack three of my totes before I had to leave to go to the eye doctor. 



As you can see, it's quite a mess BUT this messy process is helping me weed out those MUSTIE books and giving me a good idea of what categories and genres to use when organizing my library for my students. 

After my eye doctor's appointment, I headed to Dollar Tree and Big Lots to look for possible book bins.  

Previously, I used these GLES boxes from Ikea. Which I really liked but all mine are blue and red and really don't go with my classroom color scheme, which is bright pink, blue, and green with black accents. They do come in bright green now, which could work. 



The clear bin is from Big Lots and the green and pink ones are from Dollar Tree.  I only bought one of each and will try them out in my classroom the next time I head in to see which one will work best. :)

I'll continue to check in as my room starts to come together.  

Before I go, let's chat! How do you organize your classroom library? Is it easy for you to part with books from your classroom library?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Encouraging Shy/Reluctant Students to Share: A Bright Idea

Hello! I am so excited to be part of another Bright Ideas link up.  I missed out on the last few few, but I'm so excited to be linking up with again this month.  I got a sneak peak at few of the topics and boy are you guys in for a treat! :)





My bright idea is something that worked for me this year when it came to getting my more shy, reserved, and more introverted students to share in class.  Since I'm more introverted in nature myself and would have hated my teacher to call on me without my hand up when I was in fourth grade. So naturally, I'm not a huge fan of pulling sticks to call on students or calling on them randomly if they haven't volunteered to share something. So often my shy, reserved, and introverted friends just sit politely and smile in class, but they rarely volunteer to contribute to whole class discussions. 

However, one day I did something simple while my students were working on an independent task that got my shy/introverted students eager and willing to share their thinking/answers AND it also let me give ALL my students some immediate feedback about their work.  Plus, it didn't require any materials or resources that I didn't have in my classroom already. All I needed was a marker! 

One day, as my students were working, I randomly picked up a marker and put a smiley face next to answers that were correct or on partially completed answers that were on the right track. 


Since I was using the sheet above as a review for state testing, we checked our answers together. When I asked my students to share their answers, I was surprised when some of my quiet, more reserved students eagerly raised their hand to share.  It was if that smiley face sent the message to them subconsciously that it was okay to raise their hand and share their answer.  They knew they were on the right track and it was safe to share. 

I continued taking a marker around with me whenever my students were working on their independent work.  When I saw any of my students, especially my shy friends, had a correct answer or were on their way to getting there, I put a smiley face on their paper to let them know they were on the right track.  

As  time passed, I noticed not only where my quiet/reserved students sharing answers in class more, so were my ED students.  For those of you who don't know, I teach students with emotional and behavioral disorders.  Often if they are called on and their answer is wrong, they shut down and will go weeks without volunteering to share again.  

I used this smiley system throughout the last quarter of school and it really made a huge difference with my class.  Towards the end of the year, many of my sweet more reserved/unsure of themselves students were volunteering to share more often, even when there wasn't a smiley face on their paper.  Plus I was able to get lots of immediate feedback to my students on their independent work.  

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider 
following me me on FacebookInstagram, or Teachers Pay Teachers for more great ideas. 

To keep searching for even more bright ideas from lots of great bloggers, please browse through the link-up below. 



Friday, July 18, 2014

Five for Friday: 7/18

I'm so excited to have time to link up with Kacey for Five for Friday! :) 



Last time I had a chance to post on the ole blog, I was talking about my summer plans/goals. Sadly, summer is quickly dwindling down to about a month left. :( I'm not quite sure what happened, this summer has gone by faster than any other summer I can remember. 


One of the reasons this summer has flown by is graduate school.  I took an education administration class this summer, which is a core requirement for my masters degrees in reading. The only grades in the course were two tests and four outside readings on leadership. So, I really need to stay on top of course material since the tests were 90% of our final grade. The class ended yesterday, so I spent a lot of time studying this week. 



I don't particularly enjoy being a graduate student, I've only had one class that I truly feel helped me grow as an educator.  So even though I don't enjoy graduate school, I know getting my masters degree is important, so enrolled in another class for the fall yesterday.  


I'm an avid menu planner. Having a plan for the week keeps us away from take out/eating out and thus saves us a lot of money.  However, lately I've been in a menu planning rut.  Even though I have hundreds of food related pins, it would take forever for me pick out recipes for our weekly menu. Last week, I stumbled on a new to me blog, Peanut Blossom.  The author, Tiffany, shared that she gives each day of the week a theme and it allowed her to come up with a meal plan for the week in minutes.  

I tried it this week and loved it.  I gave each week a theme and creating this week's menu was a breeze! :)



Certainly I have more time to cook in the summer, but I do feel that this system is easy enough for me keep going during the school year.  If you are looking for recipe ideas, I'd love for you to follow me on Pinterest.  


This summer I've been doing weekly Wish List Wednesday deals.  Every Wednesday, I put one of the most wish listed products in my store on sale.  :) This week my spelling contracts are 30% off. :)  I announce the deals on Facebook and Instagram mostly, so make sure you follow Fourth and Ten on Facebook and Instagram. :) 



You can see how I use these contracts with my class, here

I've been sneaking away a few minutes here and there to work on a new project that I'm so excited about, warm ups for my guided reading groups.

 These quick warm ups are short activities that spiral review CCSS standards, or skills like PQA that I feel are important for success with the CCSS. They are perfect for the first few minutes of guided reading, while I'm scanning the room to make sure everyone else is doing what they are supposed to be doing.  

I've mapped out the first set of warm ups and hope to have them ready for you next week.  

This past week, I finally tried Jamberry for the first time.  I would not consider myself to be super girly and never do anything with my nails because when I paint them, it looks like a two year old did it.  I tried Jamberry because even though I'm awful at painting my nails, I do how nice they look when I get the occasional manicure. 
I will be the first to admit that your first application is a true learning experience, but I was so happy with the final product that I decided to join Jamberry as a consultant.  My blog will always remain dedicated to my teaching adventures but if you see a picture of a manicure here or there on Instagram, that's why.  If you've never tried Jamberry, you can check out my consultant page here.  

Thursday, June 12, 2014

10 Things I Want To Do This Summer

Hello friends! Oh how I have missed this space on the internet.  Like most of you, the end of the school year was extremely busy for me.  Filled with EOY assessments, field trips, field days, awards days, and a party to send our fourth graders on to fifth grade in style. 

We have been out of school for about a week now and I am finally ready to plan out my summer to do list.  I always take the first week of summer vacation off from anything teaching related. My summer classes haven't started yet, and I've enjoyed just relaxing this week.  We had a big cookout for my 30th birthday, I've taken the dogs on big walks every day, and we've tackled some home improvement projects. It's been great for recharging my batteries!

Since I've had time to clear of my head of all things teaching related, I thought I'd link up with Deanna Jump for my Summer Top Ten List. :) I've really enjoyed reading everyone's lists!



One: READ
One of my favorite things about summer is the chance to read.  I have a mix of professional and fun books that I am excited to read this summer. :)  Below is a list of books I plan on reading:
The One and Only
Word Nerds
The MatchMaker
Daily Five: Second Edition

Two: COOK
I certainly do my fair share of cooking during the school year, it's a great stress relief for me.  However, this summer I hope to cook more than I have in previous summers.  My husband works in restaurant management and can have crazy hours.  So sometimes, I just feel it's easier to pick up something rather than cook dinner for myself.  My goal is two is try to only eat out twice each month.  Cooking at home is typically better for me, and it's cheaper too! 




Three: DWELL 
My one little word spiritually this summer is DWELL.  I yearn to just spend sweet time with the Lord.  Whether it be doing a bible study, praying, or journaling.  I just want to dwell in his presence this summer. 

Four: SERVE
My husband and I recently started attending a new church together. We both hope to get more involved by serving our church community this summer.

Five: FOLLOW A SCHEDULE
While I certainly love the flexibility of summer, I have a hard time with it as well.  If I don't follow some type of schedule; I end up doing things like wasting the day on Instagram, watching the entire series of The Little Couple on Netflix, or napping the day away.  Which are all good things, in moderation. I try to get all my school/blog/TpT work done by five, so I can enjoy the rest of the evening with my husband and pups.  This also helps me to be more balanced, as I'm not doing school stuff all day, every day. 

Six: BE ACTIVE
A few summers ago, I fell prey to the blogger but. I sat on my but and blogged and created for TpT.  It was fun BUT it created a lot of bad habits.  This summer, I just want to to be active every day. Whether that be a walk with the dogs, a run, or a workout I have saved on Pinterest, I just want to get moving. 


Seven: CREATE
This summer, I have a new product line up my sleeve that I'm excited about. :) Something I really struggle with is getting in all the language usage CCSS standards in during my writing block.  So let's just say it addresses that need and hopefully it will help you out too! :)

Eight: PLAN 
This summer, I really want to look at our curriculum map and unit assessments and be purposeful with my preplanning of the school year and really make sure to dig deep in our standards.  I have lots of resources that I have created or purchased and I want to make sure to fill them purposefully in my curriculum map.  I also want to strengthen my writing calendar/map this year as well. :)

Nine: DECORATE
This is our second summer in our house and things are finally really coming together.  Which makes my wallet really happy! We really just need to finish up our gallery wall in our loft, add some personal touches to our master bedroom, and fill an awkward space in our kitchen at the moment.  :) Then it's on to finishing our basement....the list never stops with my handy hubs!


Our gallery wall will go behind the couch! :)

Ten: LOVE
This summer marks five years that I've been with my hubby and four years since we've been married.  We've been through a lot during that time and I'm so blessed to have him by my side.  We are hopeful that our family will grow soon and so I hope to cherish our time together, just the two of us, this summer. 


What are you up to this summer? :)  
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