Merry Halloween

Happy post Halloween week friends. I know Halloween and teaching don’t always go hand in hand but I’ve learned that if you embrace the day for what it is, you can still have a successful day of school. I knew what standards/lessons I had to teach the day of Halloween so I did some major planning on how to make it valuable but fun. (We also had some fun activities mixed in that was just for the excitement of the day!)

Kiddos entered the room and had 2 different Halloween morning work sheets ready for them to work on. I got these 2 free morning work sheets on TPT. One sheet was a Halloween word search from Melissa Fjal – Tales of Teaching‘s store. There are a ton of free word searches to download but I thought this was the perfect one for the age of my kids. I also had a Halloween secret message sheet for them to fill out that I got from D Conway‘s store. They were both huge hits and kept my kids silent for the first 10 minutes of the day (which they’re supposed to do every other day with their morning work but it’s NEVER silent.)

 

 

We then had our daily morning meeting. We talked about the day and then went around to share what they were going to be for Halloween. I always start the day with a game so they asked if I had a Halloween game for them after they shared their costumes. I had 24 different Halloween charade cards that they got to pick from. We then played rounds of Halloween charades throughout the day. They LOVED this and it was super easy for me to set up.

Reading this week was all about finding the author’s purpose of stories and texts while also talking about similes and metaphors. We read one of my FAVORITE Halloween books, Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds and Peter Brown and found the author’s purpose of the story (which wasn’t too difficult for them but it was fun!)

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After the story we went around the room and completed some Halloween simile and metaphor task cards (that I got for FREE on Teaching with a Mountain View‘s shop ). They thought had so much fun reading all of the different themed cards and totally grasped the different between similes and metaphors.

 

 

Math this week was all about prime numbers and multiplicative comparison stories. I searched the glorious TPT and found a FREE resource that fit BOTH of what we have been working on from I HEART 4th Grade‘s store. It was perfect.

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I am currently teaching grammar to 3 different 4th grade classes and wanted to spice up our lesson on sentence fragments. This was the 3rd time I taught this lesson and wanted to do something similar that I did with my first 2 classes. The first 2 classes did some sentence fragment task cards so I found Halloween sentence fragment task cards for $3.00 on Purple Palmetto‘s store for this group. Once they were done they did a Halloween themed mad lib to practice nouns, verbs, and adjectives.

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Finally, the day ended with the Charlie Brown classic, The Great Pumpkin. I LOVE that movie and show it every year, not just for them, but for me too!

 

 

I also got the pleasure of giving them their second sponsored Scholastic book that came in the mail. They were so excited and grateful for the free gift. Like I said last month, the dollar monthly Scholastic Book Club books are amazing and a blessing. My kids get a free book every month while learning about who their sponsor is and how they are related to me. It was so sweet to see their happy faces. It was the perfect ending to the day.

 

 

I jokingly told them if they brought me candy (specifically Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups) I would give them extra credit. Then this happened today….

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I love my job!

Don’t get me wrong after yesterday I was EXHAUSTED and am so happy it’s the weekend, but I had a blast with the day. I love my class. They make everything much more enjoyable and less stressful. With the end of Halloween means the beginning of my favorite 2 months of the year!! The next couple of months will be filled with so many fun activities and lessons that I can not wait to do and share! To get you all in the mood for the most wonderful time of the year, I’d like to share my wonderful tree that, yes, I put up last night because I love Christmas so much! Happy weekend!

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For more day to day activities and lessons, go follow my class instagram account @lifeoftherookieteacher. You won’t regret it!

 

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!

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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!

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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.)

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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!!

Crazy Scheduled Week

I’m a day late but I’m here to share so many different things that happened this week. This is a week that was fast but long at the same time. The week itself went by fast but the days themselves seemed like they lasted forever.

Monday and Tuesday were normal days and went by relatively fast. Wednesday was insane! On Wednesdays, teachers have to be in PLC meetings for an hour, which ends up going 15 minutes past when school starts. For those 15 minutes, students go to the gym and have a mini assembly with our school counselors. It’s a great thing in theory but students leave this assembly hyped and it usually takes another 15 minutes to get them settled in for the day. That right there takes up 30 minutes of our Wednesdays. This past Wednesday I was stressed because I was supposed to be having my 1st observation of the year with my new principal. Luckily, my class was awesome and calmed down right away (I also may have put the fear of behaving in them ahead of time but that’s beside the point.) I had this great lesson for my observation but my principal warned me he might be a little late. I waited as long as I could for him but eventually had to start teaching without him there. He ended up walking in as soon as my lesson was over and my students were doing the activity that went with the lesson.

Later that day we had our make up race that we had to postpone from last Friday due to weather. We had our races scheduled for the afternoon. The morning was beautiful but, of course, it started to rain when we went out for our race. After the running, we have a grade level tug-a-war tournament. Each class goes against every other class until we have the tug-a-war champions. This and the race take about an hour and a half. Because of this, I obviously didn’t have our afternoon planned. Because of the weather, we were only outside for the race and had to cancel the tug-a-war. That meant that when we went back inside, we had an hour to kill that wasn’t planned. We had a snack and did some cleaning. I then read to them for the remainder of our day.

**Side note: If you are a teacher, or have kiddos around the age of 10, I have the PERFECT read aloud suggestion for you!! The book series is called The Land of Stories written by Chris Colfer. It’s about these 11 year old twins who fall into their grandma’s fairy tale book (called the land of stories) and have to find their way home. They go through this crazy journey while also meeting their favorite fairy tale characters. The best part is this is a 6 book series. The past few years I’ve read the first 3 books to my classes and they have LOVED it. They get so hooked they want to read the second half of the series to themselves. Seriously, go look it up! It’s also super funny and has a lot of adult humor hidden inside so it makes it entertaining to the adult reader as well.**

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Thursday was a semi-normal day. The only change was that in the afternoon we had our annual walkathon during our kids’ specialist time. Our walkathon is our fundraiser for school activities, playground equipment, app subscriptions, etc. Students are asked to ask 5 different people to donate $5.00 to help their school (we call this “Strive for 5.”) They then spend one hour on our walkathon day walking around the track at our local high school (which is the backyard of our elementary school) as their way to make the most of the money the donated. In my opinion, it’s a fun fundraiser and gives the kids a chance to do something to help their school. They aren’t required to donate any money (which I like because I hate asking anyone for money) but they all get to participate in the walk. It’s a great class bonding activity and a great way to get everyone in the school active for a day. Teachers are asked to walk for half of the hour their students are out there. I love that part. It’s so fun to just talk to your students without worrying about teaching or meeting any standards. At the very end of the grade’s time, our phy ed teachers lead them through a couple different dances to do all together. We did the Cupid Shuffle and the Hokie Pokie. It was so fun!

Friday was an early release for the students so we could have an afternoon of staff development (focusing on our individual growth plans for the year….so much fun) so it was another crazy day. I wanted to do something fun since we didn’t have as much time for things as normal. I decided that we were going to do some major multiplication facts review.

Last year in 3rd grade, they learned all about multiplication. The only problem was that after the summer, some don’t remember their facts. We needed to review these so I thought a half day would be the perfect day to do this.

I set up 4 different multiplication stations for us to do instead of our usual new math lesson. Before we did any stations we played a multiplication “I have, who has” game (I bought the game for $2.25 from TchrBrowne’s store.) I timed them so we could have a starting point on how fast they could get through the game with their basic facts. I then split them into 4 different groups to switch between 4 15 minute stations. The stations included; multiplication bingo with me, an October multiplication packet (First Tries and Sunny Skies store), a choice between 2 different multiplication games (Multiplication Squares from Flying through Fourth‘s store and Multiplication Connect 4, also from Flying through Fourth ‘s store), and 2 different multiplication IXL assignments done on their iPad.

Once we finished the stations we played “I have, “who has” again and they dropped their time by a whole minute. They did awesome! My plan is to continue this game throughout the year so they become experts at their facts.

This week was fast but slow. The crazy days Wednesday-Friday threw it all off. It’s weird because days when the schedule is different, it should seem faster, but in reality the day is so much slower.

I am exhausted and ready to sleep in tomorrow as late as possible. I honestly can’t wait, however to be back on Monday. I love this class. They are so amazing and sweet. I have had 2 hard classes (each hard in their own way) the past 2 years, so this year, compared to that, these kids are a piece of cake. Happy weekend friends!

 

For more day to day action, pictures, and videos, go follow my teacher instagram page @lifeoftherookieteacher!

Task Cards for the Win!

Happy Friday! It’s been a fun and crazy filled week! This week was Homecoming, so that added an extra crazy twist on the week.

Monday I started a “review” of multidigit subtraction with regrouping. This is something that I taught last year to them when they were in 3rd grade. Of course I assumed that this would be an easy review math lesson and that they would be bored out of their minds because they would remember everything they learned last year. Ha. I’m laughing at my naiveté just thinking about it.

I went through correcting their assignment and wow…..they BOMBED. During my “review” lesson, they acted just how I thought they would. They were looking at me like they could fall asleep any second. I honestly thought they were so bored that they would go home and tell their parents about how math is too easy and they aren’t being challenged. I felt comfortable doing only a few practice problems together before setting them off to work alone.

When I saw how poorly they did, and how overly confident they were acting, I figured I needed to do some major and serious review. Monday after school I bought a set of multidigit subtraction with regrouping task cards on TPT (from Little Achiever‘s account) and had them spend the entire math time Tuesday going through every card.

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There were 24 total cards so, for some of my students, this took them the entire math time. I had the answer key posted (backwards on a magnet) on my board, so students who were finished ahead of time, could check their own work, followed by doing some more challenging problems on IXL (BTW if you don’t know what IXL is GO CHECK IT OUT!!! This is a teacher’s dream for math and language arts review!!)

This worked wonders!!! They thought it was super fun to spend their math time moving around the room doing problems on their mini whiteboards. It was amazing! After this small (but fun) activity, they seemed to have better memories on how to regroup when subtracting.

I was able to see how well this worked today when I had them take an adding and subtracting quiz. All but one student passed!!! That is insane when you think about a class of 25 students. If your students are struggling with anything in math as a class, go and take an extra couple days of review, it WILL pay off!! It’s okay if you fall behind your teammates or your scope and sequence. If your kiddos need more practice, give it to them!

The rest of the week was pretty relaxed, apart from our crazy dress up days. This week we also started some switching for subjects with different teachers. My students have been with me for the past few weeks learning about some basic grammar topics, like nouns, verbs, and types of sentences. Thursday, my students finished their first grammar round with me and got to begin a few weeks of science with another teacher. Because of that, I got a new group of kiddos to teach grammar to for 40 minutes. This new class made me love my own class even more. The class that I’ll be teaching grammar to for the next few weeks, has a lot of energy. 6 of my students from last year are in that class, so I knew that having them for 40 minutes a day would be interesting….I remembered quick how exhausting my year ended up being last year with some of those kiddos. Those 40 minutes yesterday and today were the most exhausting my year has been thus far. Because of that, I realized how AMAZING my students this year are. I seriously love them. They are so sweet and so calm. I am so lucky to have such a great class this year.

One month ago I found out that I’d be moving from 3rd grade to 4th grade (only a week before school started) and I was not thrilled. I was nervous, anxious, angry, and stressed. After this month, I can honestly believe that everything happens for a reason. If I didn’t have this chance to move up a grade level, I would not have had this opportunity to have the most amazing class in the world. A class I may never have the opportunity to have again. I am honestly so blessed and lucky to get the chance to be their 4th grade teacher.

 

For more day to day posts and class activities, go follow my teacher instagram account @lifeoftherookieteacher!

Testing Testing Testing

It’s that happy season again. State standardized testing has begun and I am trying to be the best cheerleader I can.

When we come back on Monday, my students will start the MCA (Minnesota’s standardized test) reading test and I have tried as hard as I can to prep them for what’s in store. We spent the whole week this week prepping for what the test is going to look and be like. We went online and watched tutorials on how to use the test and did practice tests all together as a class. By the end of today my kids were shot, and we haven’t even started the official test yet!

The past few weeks we have practiced with different new passages and taking comprehension test questions on them. We’ve gone over test taking strategies and have watched motivational videos but I don’t think I’ve done enough.

My students are 3rd graders, so in Minnesota, this is the first official year they take the MCA standardized test. I’ve done my best to prep them the best I can and explain how serious this test is but after today, I’m not sure they really understand. We’ve talked about how it’s important to do our best and to stay focused, but these are 3rd graders. Needless to say, I’m very nervous.

I know being a teacher, we are supposed to be positive and motivational but there is only so much I can do. I wish I could tell my students how I really feel about the test but we all know that isn’t possible. We are all set to “teach towards the test” in any state we’re in and we are seen as bad teachers if we don’t. I’m ready for the next few weeks to be over.

That being said, we have to give out the tests and they have to take it, it’s part of the job. I try to make testing days as low key and as exciting as possible. For our tests, we are given a total of 4 school days to work on them (2 for reading and 2 for math.) We get about half of every day to test and the other half to have classroom time. I try to utilize my classroom time to get them in the mood for the test and to relax and destress after the test.

When they come in every morning, I have a treat on their desk with a motivational note. I downloaded these FREE notes on TPT last year from Math Mojo‘s shop and I LOVE them.

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The students come in each morning of testing excited to go! I usually put on a few GoNoodles before we head to our designated testing room so they can move and get their blood flowing. After the test, the rest of the day is for relaxation! Depending on the weather, (again, love Minnesota…) we will either go outside or play games in the classroom. The test takes out SO MUCH that I want them to decompress as much as they can. Once the 4 test days are over, I spend the rest of the next week doing fun art projects and team building activities.

I wish all of you luck as we head into testing season. Hang in there and be the best teacher/cheerleader/counselor you can be for you students! All I can think about is when I had to take these wonderful tests in 3rd grade. I want my students to have better memories than I have, that’s for sure!

My fellow teachers, we got this!

Multiplication Can Be Fun

Happy Wednesday! It’s another day which also means another snow day. Yes, this is officially the 5th snow day so far this year. It’s insane but I’m starting to accept that this is beginning to be the norm. Since I have the whole day off I figured I would share with you some of my favorite multiplication games that are helping my students memorize and learn their facts in a fun entertaining way.

As most of you know, one of the main things that you learn in 3rd grade is your multiplication facts. We’ve been working HARD on this since November and we’re slowly making progress. In one of my older posts I shared our multiplication sundae incentive and that is working great but I still have half of my class stuck on similar facts.

Last year I taught 4th grade and I was shocked that at the beginning of the year less than half of my students knew their facts. I found all of these games last year and it helped them remember their facts by October. I don’t want my 3rd graders going into 4th grade in the same boat so I took out all of these games (and found more) to use daily in my room.

The first game is a HUGE hit with my students! It’s multiplication connect 4. I found this on Grace Hartman‘s store on TPT. It’s as easy as it sounds, students have 2 dice, role them and then multiply the 2 numbers. Whatever the answer is they cover up that number. Their goal is to get 4 in a row before their partner. It is SUPER easy and SUPER fun. One of my students yesterday told me it was her favorite game that we’ve learned so far.

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The next game that was a hit last year with my 4th graders as well as my 3rd graders this year is multiplication squares. It’s just like the normal squares game that most kids play at restaurants on their kids meal mats. I found this activity on Flying Through Fourth‘s page. All you need is 2 dice and 2 colored pencils. It is similar to connect 4 because students role and multiply their dice. They find that number and make a line by that number. The person who completes a square around that number gets to color it in. At the end of the game, the student with the most colored squares wins. Super easy!

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The next few are more activities that I do with my whole class at once. The first activity is a free multiplication scoot game that is just as it sounds. I’m using this tomorrow in my room as a full review. The other activity I will be trying (that I did last year twice a week) is a free multiplication “I have/who has” game. Again, just as it sounds. It helps with concentration and knowing facts fast! I found the free scoot game on Teaching with Heart in Texas‘s page and I found this version of I have who has on Erica Castillo‘s page. The last activity I will use as a “homework assignment” that is all about multiplication/division fact families. I got this from Alissa Manning-Telisak’s store and I am so excited to use it! They role their dice and practice their facts while also understanding the relation between multiplication and division.

The next few games I have never tried before but I plan to use them in the next week or so. I found all again on Teachers Pay Teachers and they are all FREE as well! From Light Bulb’s and Laughter‘s page I found a fun Penguin Multiplication dice game which is exactly like the connect 4 game except that it has a fun penguin theme and is super cute! The second game I’ll be trying is a 7s facts game. This was found on Games 4 Learning‘s page. Like most of the other games, you need 2 dice. The twist on this game is that when the 2 dice are rolled the student adds the numbers together and THEN multiplies the sum by 7. 7s are tricky for my students so I plan on using this multiple times over the next few months.

A final game that I love to use isn’t something I found on Teachers Pay Teachers because it’s a game most of us grew up playing with a twist. I love to have my students play multiplication war. All you need is a deck of cards and groups of 2 (you can have larger groups but that takes some more planning.) Just like normal war, the students each have half the deck and flip over a card at the same time. The first person to multiply the 2 cards and say the answer gets the pair of cards. The person who ends up with all of the cards wins the game. I have my students take out the Jokers and tell them that all of the face cards equal 10. That’s because we only have to memorize facts up to 10, but if you want to go higher you can make the Jack an 11 or the Queen a 12. This game is the easiest by far and can get pretty intense. Last year my 4th graders got into some heated arguments over who said the answer first.

The best way for students to learn is by having them not know they are learning! By playing these games, they get to practice their facts while having fun. They get so caught up in the games that they don’t even realize they’re doing math. I LOVE all of these activities and plan to use them every day for as long as we can! The best part about all of these is that they’re all FREE!! Who doesn’t love that!?

For more of my day to day school life and the activities we do, go follow me on instagram @lifeoftherookieteacher!

Valentine’s Day Craziness

Hello fellow readers, and if you’re still awake after Valentine’s Day week, teachers! This was a super fun week (but yes, very exhausting.) On Valentine’s Day we went all out all day long while still incorporating our daily curriculum. I had the best day but I am tired!!

We started the day off with a Valentine’s Day surprise. I put a donut on each student’s desk for them to see and eat when they walked in. We also were celebrating our great behavior in the past few weeks by having a pajama day! They walked in and were so excited it made my day!!

To calm the craziness and chaos, they started the morning laying in a cozy spot with a book and their donut. It calmed them down from the excitement of what was to come that day and they thought it was so cool because they were wearing cozy clothes, had their blankets, and were eating donuts on the ground while reading.

For reading we did a fun creative writing project. My mom is a teacher and I got the best activity from her (I actually did the activity with her and her class 3 years ago while I was volunteering one day so the example below is mine! Haha sorry for the lame writing.) They each got a box of conversation hearts and a piece of pink paper. They had to come up with their own creative story using the conversation hearts as they wrote. They found it so silly because they had to use hearts that said “I love you” and “kiss me.” They had so much fun and I loved watching them and reading what they wrote.

During math I had my observation (of course on Valentine’s Day) with my principal so I needed to find a quality lesson but also something fun because it was V-Day and they weren’t going to focus on anything serious lesson. We are currently learning fractions (and struggling) so I went on the trusty Teachers Pay Teachers and found another conversational heart activity that related to fractions. They had a blast with this as well! I found the activity on Miss B and Grade 3‘s store. I actually did this exact same activity last year with my 4th graders but my 3rd graders did just as well with it.

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They each got another box of hearts and then had to sort out 10 hearts into their colors. They had to then create fractions of a color out of the 10 total pieces they had. They did well! (Better than my 4th graders actually!) Luckily for me as well, they were on their BEST behavior! When the principal walked in my students were talking and one of my boys, WHO ALWAYS IS TALKING, goes “shhhhhhhhhhhh guys, Mr. G**** is here.” Man, kids are so weird and unpredictable during observations. Overall, it went super well.

After lunch we braved our “party.” (Which consisted of opening boxes and listening to music for 20 minutes.) With not having school for almost 2 weeks total, we never had time to make any boxes, so they had to create their own at home. Holy cow, I want to do this next year again because they were SO CREATIVE!!! I attached my favorites below but I was impressed. When I was in school, we NEVER had boxes as cute as the ones they made.

To end the day, I turned on the Berenstain Bear’s Valentine’s Day episode (free on Youtube) and enjoyed the silence of my student’s as they intently watched this cute 25 minute video.

It was a crazy day, and a fun day, but I’m glad it’s over and that it’s officially the weekend because I’m tired! My mom said something to me yesterday that really stuck. She told me that she believes Valentine’s Day is probably most students’ favorite day of the year. That really hit me because after seeing their excitement and happiness opening their Valentine’s and doing all of our activities throughout the day, I think she might be right. Watching them and all of their reactions had to have been my favorite part of the whole thing!

I hope you had a good Valentine’s Day!  I hope that if you’re a teacher, you had fun and aren’t too exhausted from the craziness. In my personal life, Valentine’s Day is just another day, but seeing Valentine’s Day through their eyes made me see how great the holiday can be when you’re surrounded by those who love and care about you.

To see more of my day to day experiences and the live activities we do in class, go follow me on instagram @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!

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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!)
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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!)

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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.

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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!

 

Thanks Minnesota

Oh my goodness last week was a whirlwind!

Like I said in my last post, it was SO COLD here in Minnesota that we had 2 cold days off on Tuesday and Wednesday. To make it even better, we had ANOTHER cold day on Thursday. That made 3 DAYS OFF because it was too cold to go outside! I also mentioned that last Monday, we had a late start because there was a snowstorm the night before and the roads were too bad right away in the morning to make it safely to school.

So once Friday morning came around, we had only been to school for half of a day. To make it even better, we had a scheduled early release scheduled Friday afternoon for self development. That meant that by the time my students left Friday afternoon, I had seen them for a total of 1 school day….I basically lost an entire week of school.

On the bright side, because we had no school, I didn’t have to make any new lesson plans because I just get to use exactly what I had planned to do last week. The down side is that I’ve been behind my colleagues by almost 2 weeks in both math and reading (and probably a month behind in science) and last week was my week to catch up while they used the week to review. We’re now jumping into this week and they’re moving forward skipping review so I’m pretty sure I’ll be 3 weeks behind. Go me!

It’ll all work out I just get paranoid being the new teacher in my grade level (and school) and not being on track with my team at all!

On a complete separate note, because of the cold, all sports were cancelled and rescheduled last week so my gymnastics schedule is going to be INSANE this week! We had 2 meets scheduled last week (Tuesday and Thursday) that we couldn’t have because we didn’t have school so we had a make up meet Friday, and now this week, we have a meet scheduled for Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. I love coaching and meets are a blast, but most nights I don’t get home until at least past 10 (when I usually get to bed by 8 on a school night…..) and then have to be up the next morning at 6. It’s exhausting to have 1 meet in a week but 3….it’s going to be rough! Thanks Minnesota!

My plan for this week is to get caught up as much as I can in reading, math, and science while also starting to plan our Valentine’s Day party/activities. Things were so messed up last week that I honestly can’t wrap my head around the fact that Valentine’s Day is next week. I’m usually more planned and on top of school things like this but this one totally through me off! I’m just going to make it day by day and keep my eyes on Saturday morning when I’ll get to sleep again!

Back to Normal (Kind of)

This week has been a normal and solid week. We came back to school on Tuesday after having Monday night and it was a nice refresher. It was hard to wake up Tuesday but once I got my butt to school everything was fine!

We had winter testing this week and OH MY GOODNESS it takes forever! We take the NWEA reading and math tests twice a year and then our standardized grade level tests in the spring. The NWEA test is supposed to show what level each kid is at based on the questions they get. If they get things wrong the questions get easier and if they get them right they get harder.

We tested reading Tuesday morning and math Wednesday morning. I wanted to get them done with as soon as possible so I didn’t have to think about it. I did feel bad giving them these tests right after a 3 day weekend but they did great! Everyone in my class did better in reading! Most of them did better in math which I’ll take since my class really struggles with putting in their best effort when it comes to anything math related.

On top of those tests I had to retest their fluency levels. Once again, most of my class improved by at least 10 words per minute (which doesn’t sound like a lot but when your class is as low as mine that’s a huge win!)

Because of a 4 day week and testing, we had pretty much no reading time this week. We tested during our reading block and then jumped right into math right after. I know I probably could have switched my math test to be during our math block but because my kids aren’t the biggest fans of math, I needed to use the time on that!

Today we started our persuasive writing unit and I am SO EXCITED to share with you what we did! I won’t post anything now but let me just tell you that the activity I did was a complete success and my students are putting their bests efforts into making the best persuasive essay they possibly can! (I may or may not have bribed them with donuts if they do well……..oops.) I wish I could take credit for this awesome TPT resource. Today we did prewriting and rough draft writing so tomorrow we can dive into the final product.

The other great thing about this week is my kiddos are FINALLY back to getting along! I think they just needed some time apart because I don’t have any of the same issues I had last week! (It might help that a few of my instigators have been absent but I’m going to pretend that’s not the reason.)

On top of school, my gymnastics coaching schedule has been crazy! We’ve had at least 2 meets a week which gets pretty draining coming from a full day of school. Things are starting to wind down though and I’m pretty sad about that. This weekend we get to go compete at the Minnesota True Team State competition which will be super fun! Only the top 10 teams in the state are invited and we managed to squeak our way into it! It’s all day Saturday but it’s totally worth it!

I have had a week with some interesting medical issues going on. 2 years ago (around this time of the year) I got this weird rash/allergic reaction on my hands. It lasted for about a week and then disappeared. Last year, the same thing happened but it lasted almost a month before I finally went to see my dermatologist and got some heavy duty ointment to go on my hands. Then, what do you know, Sunday it shows back up again when I wake up. The weirdest part is it showed up on the SAME day it showed up last year! It’s super painful and keeps me up at night because it itches so bad! Last year, my doctor came to the conclusion that I had touched something I was allergic to while my body was fighting off something so the reaction was intense and didn’t go away. I believed her until it showed up for the 3rd year in a row. Luckily, it’s not as severe as it was last year and I’m able to function without putting lotion on my hands every 5 minutes but I’m still at a loss for what it might be. This might be a little gross to some of you but I do have these 2 pictures I took of them on Monday morning if anyone has any idea what my problem is.

 

The weirdest part is that I’ve tracked what I’ve eaten, the weather, cleaning supplies that I’ve used, and anything else I could think of and nothing has related to just these incidences. I’ve eaten the same as I do any other time of the year, it hasn’t been super cold like it can be, I’ve been using the same cleaning supplies and laundry detergent for my entire life…..ugh it just makes no sense to me! I went to urgent care twice last year before I saw my dermatologist and they were convinced I ate or touched something different but I hadn’t. I’m just a medical mystery I guess!

Apart from my hands, it’s been a good week and I have a good feeling the week will end just as great! (My kids will have inside recess for the next week though so you might need to pray for me for the next 5 school days! Next Thursday our HIGH is supposed to be -10 degrees….yeah people that’s not including wind chill……..)