Book Clubs, Tug-a-War, and M&M’s


I went into this week thinking it’d be a normal week, but I forgot, normal weeks don’t exist as a teacher. We did some fun activities that I thought would be fun to share!

Tuesday our first Scholastic book orders came in the mail. I’m trying something new this year. The Scholastic Book Club has a book a month for specific grade levels that are only $1.00. Last year, a bunch of teachers in my area were asking for donations from friends and family on Facebook to sponsor a child in their class. They were asking for individuals to donate $9.00 so they could buy a student in their class 1 $1.00 book a month for the whole year. I was apprehensive because I HATE asking anyone for money so I didn’t participate. I saw how much of a success it was for the classes that participated last year and thought I would give it a try this year to see what would happen. My friends and family were AMAZING. I got a full class worth of donations within a day.

This past Tuesday our first $1.00 book set came in. Each student got the book Frindle by Andrew Clements with a note inside saying who their sponsor is for the year and how they are connected to me. It was so adorable to see how grateful they were when they found out a stranger donated enough money for them to each receive a free book every month. It was also super cute to hear, “My sponsor is Miss Nygaard’s mom!” or “My sponsor is Miss Nygaard’s favorite cousin!” It made my day! My friends and family LOVED to see this picture and LOVED to hear how excited they were!

IMG_0174
Just look at how cute they are!

Last week we had our annual grade level race (that is usually a Homecoming Friday activity but was postponed due to poor weather.) The sad part was that by the time we ran (on the makeup day), it was cold and raining so we had to cut the afternoon fun short. What we usually do as a grade level after the race is have a grade level class tug-a-war tournament. Each class plays tug-a-war against every other class in their grade. Last year, when I taught 3rd grade, my class literally lost EVERY round but one, (and they only won that round because the PE teachers joined their team) it was tragic. This year, my class DOMINATED! We won every round except for 1. We only lost to the class that got 1st place who won every round. I went from having a class that was dead last, to a class that ended up being the runners up! It was awesome! They were so into it and I LOVED it! It was just as much fun for me as it was for them!

IMG_0197

Today I wanted to end the week with something fun. It’s Friday, who doesn’t want to do something fun? For math, we had to end our first unit reviewing bar graphs. They’ve been working with bar graphs since kindergarten so I wanted to make it fun for them. I pulled an activity I did with my 3rd graders last year (when I also taught bar graphs) that was all about graphing M&M colors. They were so excited when they found out we were working with M&M’s. You’ve probably either heard of this activity, or have done this activity before but it’s fun nonetheless. Some even said they have done this activity before with M&M’s or Skittles but they were hyped to do it again!

I found this awesome (free) TPT worksheet from Thomas Teachable Moments‘ shop that guides them through everything! Once they finished the activity, they made their own bar graphs (as their assignment.)

Screen Shot 2019-10-11 at 6.41.34 PM.png

Yesterday we talked about frequency tables. Students went around and found data on a question of their choosing to create their own frequency table. Today, they took that data to make their own bar graph. They thought it was awesome. It was a little chaotic but my kiddos are resilient and did a phenomenal job. Seriously, these kids are awesome.

It was a fun week but I’m exhausted. To make it even more exhausting, it’s been raining and cloudy the past few days and then today, we saw our first snow flakes of the season. I’m now sitting on my couch (drinking some wine) with candles lit and the snow falling. It feels like it’s the middle of the winter but it’s only October….only in Minnesota.

 

For more day to day action and live videos (which got featured in the #teacherlife’s story on Instagram today) go follow my teacher Instagram page @lifeoftherookieteacher! Today I posted on my story an ADORABLE writing response one of my kiddos wrote about when the prompt was “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and he wrote he wanted to be a teacher. His response will make you smile! Go check it out!!

Hello August

Happy August everyone! Holy Hannah, how is that even possible? Now is the time of year when school starts to creep back into the mind and DIY classroom projects begin. I’ve slowly begun with a few fun projects I’ll be sharing with you soon but today I’m going to tell you all about the final trip of the summer before all of the work starts.

This past Tuesday my mom, myself, and a couple family friends hopped in a car and drove 12 hours to the Middle of Nowhere (literally.) We drove from central Minnesota to Glasgow, Montana. The part I love about this cute little town is it’s referred to as the Middle of Nowhere, you even can buy shirts with that saying and the town on it.

IMG_5404

My mom and I went with her best friend and her best friend’s daughter who are close family friends. My mom’s best friend’s son lives out there and has recently gotten engaged, so we hopped int the car to go and celebrate with them.

When we reached Glasgow Tuesday night we walked around to take in the small town and then ate dinner at a 50’s knock off Dairy Queen diner called Flip. It was an adorable small town restaurant with only 3 people on staff at a time. We had the classic burger with fries and a shake. Amazing!

Wednesday we met up with the son and fiance and went golfing in the desert like grounds of Montana. It was beautiful but HOT. It was a nice 100 degrees that day. I had never been golfing ever so it was quite the experience but super fun. The scenery was incredible. We were surrounded by rolling hills and mountains with little to no civilization. We then all went to another small family owned restaurant and had fresh deli sandwiches for dinner.

That night we also went to get some groceries and I found the BEST homemade soap ever! I had to take a picture because they were so great!
IMG_5407

On Thursday we took a 20 minute drive out to Fort Peck, Montana. We walked over a bridge that has a dam right underneath. At the time, they had 2 “doors” open from the Fort Peck lake to the opening of the Missouri River. It was crazy watching the flow of the water rush through the gates and into the river. The bridge was pretty but SUPER high off the ground. There’s something about bridges and height that don’t mix well for me. The 4 of us were having fun trying to make a joke out of our actual fear.

We also went hiking around the area to take in more scenery that leads into the Fort Peck Reservation. A few years ago I traveled down to volunteer in the Dominican Republic and there was something about that scenery and this one that looked almost identical.

We then drove back to Glasgow and went to all of the local shops. I love a good family owned home store. Looking for little trinkets are my favorite. I found the best magnet that really seemed to resonate with me!

img_5427.jpg

Coming home we luckily got to chunk it into a 2 day trip instead of all in one night. (I seriously hate car rides.) We got back into the state yesterday and then had to rush right to a wedding of an old friend of mine who also happens to be a daughter of another one of my mom’s close friends.

It was a fun filled mother daughter week. My mom and I never get alone time together so it was awesome to get to experience so many new and fun things with her. I know I’ve said this before but my mom is my best friend and role model in life. She’s the reason I became a teacher and a coach, I wanted to be just like her. It was one of the best weeks of my life and for sure the best week of the summer.

Happy August again friends. For some of us that means we’re a month out from the start of school, for others you might be starting this week, and for some you might be in the middle of your years right now. No matter what August means to you, enjoy it and live it up. I know I’m going to make the most of my last 30 days of freedom!

 

With the school year around the corner, I’ll be back updating my instagram account more frequently with back to school projects, hacks, and classroom decor. Go follow me @lifeoftherookieteacher to be apart of my back to school journey.

Lorax Day

IMG_4629

Oh my goodness you guys, yesterday was such a fun day and one of my favorites so far this year!!! We got to read one of my favorite books, do one of my favorite projects, and watch one of my favorite movies. The best part was we could spend the day celebrating and talking about Earth Day, which my class was super mature about.

We started the day by reading The Lorax. Oh my goodness, I love that story so much! I told my class that while I read, their job was to find different comparisons Dr. Seuss was trying to make with the characters and situations in the story to the real world. Once I was done reading, we had a 25 minute conversation all about what happens in the story and how they are seeing it portrayed today on Earth. They talked about different ways to help our planet, which was incredible because these are 3rd graders and they had such a deep conversation going on with so many great ideas. It was refreshing to hear them talk about and question why people still don’t take care of our planet. They couldn’t see how others don’t want to protect mother Earth and how they aren’t noticing the consequences of our actions so far.

This lead into our project. I found a mix of this idea on Pinterest and on Teachers Pay Teachers. There was a free writing prompt on a truffula tuft on TPT that said, “If I had the last truffula tree I would….” I found this FREE item on Valerie Garrison‘s shop.

Screen Shot 2019-04-19 at 5.38.07 PM

The first step was they had to answer the prompt. I made copies of these on multiple colored pieces of paper so they would be multicolored like actual truffula trees.

Once they had finished their writing, they used it to make the project. I found the project idea on Pinterest (and I think on TPT but that item was like $6.99 so I made my own free version.)

 

 

 

They made their own Lorax to hold the tuft. They each got an orange piece of construction paper to outline their own Lorax head and Lorax hands so each one looked the same but different at the same time. I made copies of the classic Lorax mustache that they colored to finish off the look.

 

 

We worked on the project while enjoying the 2012 version of The Lorax. Seriously, I love that movie (and having Taylor Swift in it is definitely and added plus!) It was such a relaxing and fun day. We had some extra time at the end of the day so, to continue the theme, we went on YouTube to the Art for Kids Hub channel (which is AMAZING and my kids love and is a PERFECT time filler on a Friday afternoon) and did a step by step drawing on The Lorax.

Screen Shot 2019-04-19 at 5.48.25 PM

It was such a fun day. My favorite part was how serious my kiddos were when we talked about Earth Day and why we celebrate it. They have so many ideas and it makes me have faith that our future will be better and our Earth has a chance to be saved.

For more day to day live action in our classroom, go follow me on instagram @lifeoftherookieteacher!

(PS…Sorry about the dark pictures, I used movie time wisely so the light was pretty minimal!)

Another Day, Another Snowstorm

Well it’s been almost another full week of school and guess what, we’ve had barely any school once again! I’m not kidding, this is NOT REAL!

The week started off Monday when we got the call at 5:30 in the morning saying we were going to have a 2 hour late start. I figured I would use the time to sleep in an extra hour but then get to school and have an extra hour of prep time. Just when I was about to start getting ready, my phone rang again saying that they called it and school was closed again. Honestly, this one wasn’t too devastating. We did have school last Monday (and then pretty much nothing all week) so I figured I could just pretend last Monday was this Monday and I would just continue on Tuesday like the last few weeks never happened.

Tuesday started and luckily it was a normal day, but I was so thrown off from the not having school that actually having school was weird. I was so NOT in the teaching zone. I made it through the day and then had to head to out to a gymnastics meet. We had a conference dual meet against a team that was an hour away. I was so excited for it but then I left school and noticed we were in a full blown snow storm. It took us over 2 1/2 hours to make an hour long drive. Because of that, we then had to push everything back later than normal. Long story short, a meet that should’ve been done by 9 and had me in bed by 10, ended later than normal and had me in bed past midnight. (Not my normal school night.)

I woke up only a few hours later early Wednesday morning sick….of course! Of all the days and weeks I could get sick, it had to be after having a week off from school. I had the plan to get to school super early this morning (Thursday) because I wanted to get caught up from yesterday, but guess what!? We were in the middle of another snow storm again! Even though I left early, I still made it to school around the same time because the roads were so bad.

The morning was going so smoothly until at about 10:30 I got the email. The email informed us that we would be getting out at noon because it was so bad outside. They made the announcement to the school a few minutes later and I pretty much lost control of my class. At noon, instead of staying later to work, I had to leave with my kiddos because the roads were SO bad they were encouraging all staff members to leave as soon as possible as well.

As soon as I got home I got an email saying that we are already 2 hours late tomorrow morning because the snow isn’t supposed to let up until early tomorrow morning, which means that tomorrow is going to be a wash of a day too.

I JUST WANT TO TEACH!!!! I have NEVER experienced anything like this before! When I was in school, the most consecutive days we ever had off was 2! Some years, we never had a snow day. My mom has been teaching for over 25 years and she cannot believe what has been happening. This is killing me.

I feel like I am letting my kids down, which yes I know is dumb since I have no control over the weather, but they will be so behind! Next week WILL be a full week and a better week! I’m just looking at the last 2 weeks as an extended vacation and going to move forward! Ugh, oh Minnesota!

 

For more day to day in the moment activities and projects, go follow my instagram account and watch my stories on: @lifeoftherookieteacher 

Snow Day Valentine’s

You can’t make this stuff up but we had ANOTHER DAY OFF today from school! That makes 4 1/2 days off in a week, which NEVER happens! With the extra free time I figured I would use my time wisely and make my Valentine’s for my class.

The reason we didn’t have school today was because the roads were so icy they were too dangerous to drive on. I got pretty antsy shut up in my apartment so I waited until the roads cleared up a little bit and ventured out to the one and only Target.

I went back into their seasonal section and found some amazing Spritz Valentine’s party favors to create a fun little goodie bag for each student. The first thing I found was a pack of heart shaped putty packs with cute little goggly eyes. My kids are OBSESSED with putty and slime so I thought this was perfect!

IMG_3841

The second thing I purchased for them was this pack of eraser toppers. The package has a variety of different characters to choose from. The pack I bought had mermaids, hedgehogs, sloths, and dinosaurs. (You can also buy an all dinosaur pack which is also super cute!)
IMG_3842

The last thing I included were some Utz “x” and “o” shaped pretzels. I know Valentine’s Day is ALL about candy and sweets but with 23 students all bringing sweets for each other, they end up with plenty of candy by the time the day is over. I thought that pretzels would be a fun snack they could have that day or save for another time. (I also found that the fact they were “x” and “o” shaped was pretty adorable!)

IMG_3843

I wanted to attach a fun and cute card to my goodie bags but I also didn’t really want to make one. I looked on Teachers Pay Teachers and found these cute cards for my kids free on Erica Bohrer’s shop.

Screen Shot 2019-02-04 at 3.46.45 PM

I LOVE putting together little goodie bags for my kids so I had a blast making these today. It also felt good to do something productive today since I couldn’t go to school once again. I really miss my kids!

I have 2 super fun activities that I’ll be sharing with everyone next week that involves candy hearts, math, and creative writing to make for a fun and educational Valentine’s Day morning.

Signing off once again from the frozen tundra that is Minnesota! I am keeping every finger and toe crossed that we will have a full next 4 days of school!

For more fun activities and day to day life, go follow my instagram account @lifeoftherookieteacher to see all of my daily stories and posts!