Saturday, November 24, 2012

Insightful Games + Math = FUN!!!

Insightful Games +1 more equals MATH FUN!

While Matthew and I were creating our updated Crazy 8 game, Ethan & DH created their own game with the UNO cards.

They drew two cards and added the cards value together.  Then when DH felt E was warmed up then he added a card to have him add up three cards.  He had a great time adding up the totals. But when it came time to play "real" UNO, we were minus an Uno child. (E didn't want to play the real game!)

While I was updating the Crazy 8 game, to have numbers 3-21, Matthew asked if he could write the numbers instead of me.  **Mommy was having a silent party, because that means he created it and will have much more ownership in playing this game + he practices writing his numbers.** The Crazy 8 cards had 4 sets of the same numbers or suit.  I decided two of the same number was fine and we left the 8s alone because we needed more of those numbers because it was still CRAZY 8!  :)  We just wrote over the numbers to turn the values to a double digit number- 4 to 14 or 2 into 20 & 21.  In Texas, Kindergartners only need to recognize numbers to 0-21 & since he loves UNO, Crazy 8 & Go Fish, why not update it to meet those TEKs he needs to master. 
The winner of this game is MOMMY!!! Of course, Matthew too because we combined fun games (which he created) + math skills to equal FUN LEARNING!!!!

Insightful Games!

InSIGHTful Games!

 If you don't know already, I love to pin! At night when I can't sleep I will pin until I get sleepy.

I felt a little guilty pinning all these things for my Kindergartner but hadn't made him anything.  I decided I was going to create something that he really is into lately, sight word game.  There are plenty of wonderful ideas from Pinterest and are pinned and planned on creating them....but I used my own creativity to make this for my little guy.  I was going to cut tag cards but then I noticed I found another set of playing cards of Disney Go Fish & Snap that came in a two pack at the Dollar Store.  * I thought instead of going through the trouble of cutting the cards and then being super anal annoyed with different sizes to my cards and/or them not being laminated (a teacher's friend- but once they are laminated then you have to cut them out which may never happen...I'm speaking the truth my fellow educators.)
So I went with the cards that were already colorful and all it needed was my handy Sharpie and mommy writing the words.  Matthew's teacher sends home,on a binder clip, all the words they have studied, so I just used those words.

Only 3 easy steps to create these InSIGHTful Games:

  1. I wrote all the words down onto card stock so that we can make variations to the game at a later time.  I like using the cards because younger siblings, or children that aren't familiar with all the sight words could rely on the pictures to help with their game! :) 

  2. I matched up all the characters, which were 4 in each set. 

  3. I wrote the words twice on the matching card.

 The FUN step is making your game alive with your child, children, or students!
We were playing Sight Word Snap! 
 My favorite thing is creating something for all the LOVES in my life and them truly enjoying it!


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Multiplication Treasure!

Ahoy Mateys! I feel like I started this year, smooth sailing...but I guess I boarded the SS Minnow and instead of getting through a 4 hour trip, I ended up tossed & jolted, or bumped. At about 4 weeks, I was "bumped" or moved to another campus.  My original class number was low (I hate to mention it because I know that in other states their standard class numbers are WAY higher than our state max) 16 to be exact, but I wasn't the lowest in my "former" team.
Although, I sort of felt deserted on a stranded island, I still had lots of hope.  I had heard nothing but great things about my new school & all of those comments are very true! Although, I still left a piece of my heart with my yellow jackets, I'm loving being a Tiger!!!  In fact, my team are pirates so I guess I was taken with them (pirates) to help find the "buried treasure." ( that was my attempt to reference How Became a Pirate, by Melinda Long)

But with much ado, I did find some treasure...Multiplication Treasure!  My new campus struggles in math, which I find the hardest to teach because it comes so natural for me.  I find myself getting upset and hear my inner pirate want to tell them to "walk the plank." So now I'm on the search for anything interactive, fun, exciting to bring my little pirate-teers to be great mathematicians.  I decided to share all my "booty."  I hope you find these helpful for your students.  If you use anything that your kids love, please Pin It &/or leave comments!

Fair winds!!!!

They loved this one...Warning: Your kids will sing it all the rest of the day!

Super Teacher Worksheets has three great free activities:
I Have, Who Has? Multiplication Game
Multiplication Memory

Wheel Multiplication worksheet 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Prezentating....World Cafe Method!!

My last grad class is Ethics and the Teacher in Society.  We were all hoping for a professor that would take it easy on us due to it being our last course of our program. Although it is not as easy as we had hoped, it is really making me think.  This course is having me think of all my actions in a different way. 

In our course, we have to present an activity that aligns with the chapter our professor presents to the class (everyone is assigned a different chapter). 

I love to do different activities to change it up so I created a Prezi. If you haven't used Prezi, it's a free online presentation system.  There motto is thinking outside of the powerpoint slide.  As with anything new, the more you use it the more you understand it.  You can begin by importing your PPTs and then creating something completely new. 

While on the adventure to seek a new way to present to my colleagues, I came across World Cafe Method.  I remember this method from my undergraduate days, but forgot about it.  I think this would be a fabulous way to incorporate in your classroom into a lesson.  Of course, this would be something the students would need to be modeled for awhile before letting them go to this method.  It's a great way for collaborative dialogue and their is one leader for the group,while the other students/participates rotate to another group. 

Although the ideal grouping time is 90 minutes, I plan to shorten it for my grad class & my students.

Tell me what you think, have you used this in your classroom- Prezi &/or World Cafe?


I am back!  I had taken a hiatus and a lot things have happened since then...I finished my thesis, presented my proficiency portfolio (another graduation requirement), completed my first year of teaching the STAAR 4th grade, and finished teaching GT camp.  I am officially on summer break now! (Although, I am completing my last graduate class & then I will be obnoxiously adding M.Ed to everything. LOL!)

I feel like I haven't posted (especially with all that has transpired since my last post) in 10 years, which is how long it's been since the last Spider Man movie.  I was invited to attend a press screening of the Amazing Spiderman, which I brought my sister, for her birthday, with me.  Although, both Ethan (7 yrs old) & hubby really wanted to attend.  I told Ethan that I needed to preview this movie first before we took him to see it and I am glad I did.  It is rated PG-13, which I will not be able to show at school.  Nevertheless, I think it is good teaching practices to know the popular things that your students would be talking about and bring that knowledge into teaching.  **I think by the time school comes around the kids will still be buzzing about this movie.**

Although, I was invited to attend this movie all the ratings and recommendations are my own.

I did not do any history of this movie before attending, except for watching the previews. I knew I wanted to see it, because I adore Emma Stone. She is a great actress, that always plays witty and stand out roles. Emma Stone, known as Gwen Stacy did not disappoint in Amazing Spiderman. Another one of my all time favorite actresses is Sally Fields, Aunt May. I feel this was the best time for Amazing Spiderman to be released because of the success of the blockbuster Avengers. I haven't really been a BIG comic story fan, but after Avengers I was hooked to see any superhero movie again. My sister and I were confused at the beginning of this movie, if this movie would be a continued back story of the other three previous stories. After watching this movie, I knew it couldn't be. It is the beginning of the SpiderMan story and it was amazing! I feel although only 10 years ago, the SpiderMan movies were released with Toby Maguire and Kristen Dunst, it was time to release it for the next generation.

As in any superhero, SpiderMan movie, there is a lot of action.  There were several times when I was holding my breath waiting for the scene to come to a close. I was literally on the edge of my seat in some scenes.  But I really enjoy the quietness and the back story in action movies.  The chemistry between Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) felt real and strong in their scenes.  Their relationship growing on the screen reminded me of high school sweethearts and the energy of young love. After watching the movie, I found out that Stone and Garfield relationship is a real relationship, which could be the reason for those pure bond you felt in their scenes.

Also I really enjoyed the hero, Peter Parker, evolving in this story.  As any teen going through identity issues, especially with the lack of biological parental involvement, Parker evolves from an egocentric teen to saving others and doing good. 

This is a must see to be ready for those kids in the fall. The take away from this story, which is very much awesome, is doing what you can for others.  Being a student that would not stand for wrong doing and helping others.  Another effort to spread this message is the Be Amazing, Stand Up, and Volunteer campaign. This campaign is remarkable and has me cheering for this movie even more. This is a great way to show our students that there is a deeper message in all stories.

I plan to see this movie again with my hubby and look out for Stan Lee (didn't see him the first time). I will not bring Ethan with me because the villain is too scary for him. Also stay during the credits for a teaser for the next Spiderman movie.

Read MovieExclusive, a professional critic's review of this movie.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Rock the Red Pump!

Hello ladies!

I found this site The Red Pump Project.  I love a good cause, especially for women and/or children.  This campaign's goal is to gain awareness of HIV in women.  This is an insert from the The Red Pump Project page:“Every 35 minutes, a woman tests positive for HIV in the United States.“

They launched this project to get "blogsphere" to give recognition of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD) and to create conversation of their efforts to get others aware.  This is the fourth annual Rock the Red Pump™ bloggers campaign.  You can go to their website to register and then get free badges to put on your blog. 

**I am not a pump kind of gal.  There are others that can Rock Pumps and even run in them, ie Carrie Bradshaw, but not this gal.  I do own a pair of red shoes, but they are TOMS.  (Another great cause!)  I am sure The Red Pump Project, would not mind my "flat" red pump.  :)

Be blessed!


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Revealing the BIGGER Picture

The life of a mother, wife, teacher, and graduate student never ends. If I could stay plugged into my computer 24/7, I would to find the answers to all my questions.
Being a lower level teacher for most of my teaching career the fundamentals are being taught and they don't know much so there isn't much of a foundation to build on. But in upper grades, those primary foundations are critical to learning the next steps in the intermediate grades. It was revealed  this week and sadden me, that students have BIG "gaps" in their education. By the upper grades those gaps become a canyon.

If we notice the gaps, the students usually see it as a boulder holding them back from achieving their potential. 
As teacher, or parent, we become frustrated and then start placing blame or get upset at the teacher, parent, or student.  Like in the blind men and the elephant fable, we need to focus on the BIGGER picture. 
 Our job as the adults in "our" childrens' lives is to educate them and raise them up from "boulders" or obstacles. It is not an easy solution, but a critical one.  As the caregivers, we need to sit back and see the whole picture to fill in the gaps.

My revelation,solution, this week is to love, care, and fill in gaps along the way.  My favorite professor says, "a good teacher (even parent) can teach their student anything with even a bunch of rocks."  So as we are approaching the state tests and we are on the downhill of the school year (Hooray for 100th day!), we need to teach the teachable moments and not stir up emotions while we teach.  When the child has reached their breaking point, or we have, no one is learning anymore.  I've exposed the "elephant in the room".... now begin to see the BIGGER picture and love those kids (even the ones that don't seem to respond to it). 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Being a Good Writer...

Ms. Calkins is AWESOME!!! Yes, I am still digging for things to present to my babies!  Watch her video, I am showing my students this video on Monday morning!

Check out my original post, Power of Reading

Power of Reading

As I am sitting by the computer, planning my lessons for next week...first checking my scope and sequence, student expectations, and what I know they still need more practice working on...I find myself puzzled by what to do for creating a rich experience in Writer's Workshop. 
Before this year, I have been teaching children to read, I taught grades third and below, but now I am in 4th grade.  They are readers, most of them are pretty fluent, but there is a missing piece, a vital piece to their reading.  They are reading for speed, they are reading for "fluency," but they are not comprehending.  At the same time, 4th graders in Texas are now suppose to be writers.  They take their first writing state test, two day process and 4 hours long.  My babies write their composition, the "whole" writing process less than the four hours, not because they can but because they feel they are done. (I try to convay to them that I even have to write and rewrite and edit my emails, I send out to parents and my peers...and it could take me 30 minutes to get my thoughts together.)

But as you can see, I have a dilemma!  I need to know how to fill in the gaps of their writing/reading deficiencies in a mere 4 months.  My wheels are spinning very slowly to make sure I meticulously devise a plan on how to tackle these issues.
I want my kids to LOVE reading and really make connections and fall into the text. Not when they read for pleasure, but every piece of text.  If my goal before with my primary readers was for them to LEARN to read, my goal is for my 4th graders to LOVE to read.  When this goal is met, their writing will show more depth.
During my search for these authentic lessons, I found this awesome slide from my district's 8 day Balanced Literacy training, in the summer...(I really am a nerd and love to learn more about my craft.)

The Power of Reading and how if effects writing...
  • Writing Style does not come from actual writing experience, but from reading.
  • Actual writing can help us solve problems and make us smarter.
  • Formal Language is too complex to be learned one rule at a time.
  • We do NOT learn to write by writing.
  • People encounter more language in reading than in writing.
  • Numerous studies show that increasing writing quantity does not affect writing quality.
  • Language acquisition comes from input, not output, from comprehension, not production.
  • Well read people write well because they have subconsciously acquired good writing style.
  • The true path to higher test scores in writing is reading.
Wow!  Powerful right?  Now, I know where to begin in my journey for successful readers and writers.  On Monday, I am planning for my students to get their new Reader Writer Notebooks together.  I am a true believer that students should understand reading and writing go hand in hand.  I don't believe in doing Writer's Workshop before Reader's Workshop or separated from each other in the day.  They need to be side by side in the day. 

I hope this gives you inspiration for your goals and plans for your RW students!!!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy Birthday Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr!

I love Google's artwork everyday.  I wanted to post this image and link back to my previous post, I Have a Dream..., about MLK.  Check out the reader's theatre, it would be a great center idea for this week.  Enjoy Dr. MLK's Birthday!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Share the Love....

Share the love of reading to your child or students! 

This is a great resource from Tim Rasinski to give to your parents, so that they understand their role as a partner in reading with their child.

Paired Reading: HOW TO DO IT

Reading Together

1. Both you and your child read the words out loud together. Read at the child’s

speed. You are modeling good reading for your child.

2. As you read together, read every word. To make sure your child

is looking at the words, one of you points to the word you are

reading with a finger or card. It’s best if your child do the pointing.

3. When a word is read incorrectly, you say the word correctly, and then have your

child immediately repeat the word.

4. Show interest in the book your child has chosen. Talk about the pictures. Talk

about what’s in the book as you go through it. It is best if you talk at the end of a

page or section, or your child might lose track of the story. Ask what things might

happen next. Listen to your child – don’t do all the talking.


1. Try very hard to do Paired Reading every day for 5 minutes. If your child wants

to read longer, a total of 15 minutes is long enough.

2. Select a time that is good for both you and your child. Don’t make him do Paired

Reading when he really wants to do something else.

3. For days when you are not available, train someone else to be a substitute.

Grandparents, older brothers and sisters, aunts, and baby-sitters can be

excellent reading role models, too.


1. Find a place that’s quiet. Children are easily distracted by noise. Turn off the

T.V., radio, and stereo.

2. Find a place that is private. No one else should be in the room. Many families

find this a great opportunity for one parent to spend time with just one child.

3. Find a place that is comfortable so both of you can concentrate on the story

without having to shift around. This will associate warm and snuggly feelings

with reading.

Reading Alone

1. When you are reading together, allow your child to read alone when he feels

confident and wants to. Agree on a way for him/her to signal you to stop reading

along. This could be a knock, squeeze, or tap with the elbow. (Saying “be quiet”

or similar words might make your child lose track of the meaning of the story.)

When signaled, you immediately stop reading aloud and feel glad that your child

wants to be an independent reader.

2. When your child comes to an unknown word, wait five seconds to allow time for

him to use word attack skills. If he reads the word correctly, praise the

accomplishment. However, if your child is unable to work it out after five

seconds, you say the correct word. Then the child repeats the word and both of

you read together out loud until the next signal to read alone.

If your child misreads a word, you say the word correctly and have him repeat the

word correctly. Then continue with both of you reading out loud together until the

child signals again.

3. You may not be able to finish a book or chapter in one sitting. When you start

the next day, briefly discuss what happened so far in the story and start reading

where you left off.

4. If you finish a book before the end of the time, read the book again. Repeated

reading is very good practice. It builds confidence and comprehension.

5. If the book has not been completed by the end of the week, it’s O.K. The child is

not expected to read every book alone. The focus of Paired Reading is

enjoyment of reading together.

Points to Remember




Waiting 5 seconds

Child repeating words correctly

Signaling to read alone


 Come check out my Page for other ideas for Home- Literacy Connection.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

I Have A Dream...

Actually my dream has come true... I get to talk with other fabulous teachers in bloggie world and cities, states, grade levels don't seperate us. 

This is a fun little "Belly Up" from  The Free Video of the week is Martin Luther King, Jr..  I also found another free resource from Teacher Created Materials.  It is a MLK Reader's Theatre.

I hope you have a BLESSED three day weekend!

Thank you Dr. Martin Luther King for all you did for change in this country!

Sharing Words With My Friends

While reading Assessment for Reading Instruction (for grad school),  I start making plans for my Friends on how to improve with their Words.  My tutee, for my case study, and my tutees for extended day, starting on Tuesday, need more support in their word work skills .  When I was a primary grade teacher, Word Work for those babies was a necessity for their reading development. But now as an upper grade teacher, it is hard to think of how to incorporate this necessary skill into daily practice.  I was advised by my blogging buddy, Stephanie at Teaching in Room 6, that Making Big Words and Words Their Way, are both excellent resources.  Also, I was told by my professor that Words Their Way is an excellent resource.  Since I didn't have either of these resource books, I Google'd these resources.  Then, I discovered that these resources have updated versions that are very popular for adults and older kids now.

Making Big Words is just like BananaGrams.  
(Watch this video to see how to play BananaGrams.)
Unlike BananaGrams in it's open ended possibilities of word choices, Making Big Words the teacher generates the letters being used. The teacher then tells the students to build a two letter word from the given letters, then three letter word, and so on. Although, Words with Friends is for older players, it is like Making Big Words.

Words Their Way is like word ladders.  I plan to use this activity as a focus to word ladders.  The students that I will be tutoring in ELAR, have poor spelling and this activity will reteach those fundamental skills which will hopeful strengthen their spelling and writing skills.  Don't have Words Their Way (WTW) don't worry; I found this awesome resource online (here) on how to use WTW and assess your students using this tool.

Also, a few more words for my Friends... I have been slacking in my word wall. I got the best looking cursive letter cards from Scholastic (check it out here), nevertheless I am not utilizing it like I'd like to. So...I got a great idea, while reading through my books, I plan on posting mostly misspelled words and commonly used words with a circle map of their synonyms.  YAY!  I am so excited to get this up on my Word Wall.

Hope these words were a little helpful to my Friends!

Always Live Laugh & Teach,


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Calling All 21st Century Teachers

This morning I was trying to stay away from Blog World, because I need to read 6 chapters for my Literacy class for Tuesday. But of course, (in true Christina or blogger or teacher fashion) I didn't get far because I started reading about the 21st Century Learner and I had a great idea!

I was wondering if anyone would be interested in having their class or small group participate in a virtual book club.  We have gaggle accounts for our students in our district and is monitored by the district, administrators, and teachers.  This could keep the excitement and love of reading and writing even after the state testing. I would like to incorporate this virtual book club in late April.  We would need to collaborate to find the appropriate books for our classes and post book talks in a chat room.  I am fortunate enough to have 9 accessible computers in my classroom.  Most of my students do not have access to computers at home, so I would prefer to keep the chats or interaction during school hours.

  • Small group literature circles
  • Whole Group Read Aloud, with individual responses on Gaggle board
  • Read Aloud of chapter book, with mixed whole group responses, small groups, and/or individual responses

Please let me know if you are interested in raising the relevance and real world application for a virtual literature circle.


Versatile Blogger Award

I was awarded this fabulous award by three four blogging friends.
These FAB 4, have made their way into my posts at one point. I adore them and their posts. Check them all out!

Teaching in Room 6

A Class Act

A Class Act

Crisscross Applesauce in First

Crisscross Applesauce

Learn, Laugh, Grow
Learn, Laugh, Grow Button "/>

Recipients for The Versatile Blogger Award

"They should be very versatile. Versatility is what`s going to give them the longevity. The world is opening up and a lot more stories and a lot more interesting scenes to portray in film. Versatility will help them. They must be able to see the world, learn the world, and bring it to their craft. - His advice to aspiring actors."
- Wesley Snipes
These next bloggers really are Versatile bloggers. They are real, educators that are making a difference.  With their blog they are letting the world see, learn, into our craft. Congrats on your hard work!
Go by and check these ladies out!

Soaring through Second
The Corner on Character
The Diary of Not So Wimpy Teacher
Teach with a Smile
Polka Dot Owl
Sweet Times in First
The rules for this reward are as follows:

1. Thank those that presented the award to you and link back to them.
Thanks again Fab 4!
2. Tell seven things about yourself.

   1.  I married my high school sweetheart, we were best friends for a year before we started dating Jr year. Then we dated for 6 years before getting married. Now we have been married for 9 years, or will be in March. So we literally are an "old married" couple.  He really is my best friend, but he can still drive me crazy.
   2. I have two sons, Ethan- 6- in 1st grade and Matthew-4- in Pre-K.  Ethan was suppose to be born on Devon and I's high school anniversary, but in true Ethan spirit he was born on HIS day the next day at 2:27 am.  We also have two dogs, Dusty, cocker spaniel & Zoe, boxer. Even with a girl dog (BIG girl dog), I have a house FULL of boys.
  3.  My favorite food is sushi. If I could afford and/or eat it every day I would.
  4.  I love hands on, foldables. I am pretty creative, but I can't sew a thing and I don't draw. Thank God for clipart.  My Ethan is an artist and I hope he never looses that desire.
  5.  I am a devoted Christian. I was baptized on Good Friday 2011.  I loved professing my love for God in front of my boys and family.
  6.  In my 7 years of teaching, I have taught every grade I am certified in, but 2nd . Texas certified Pre-K through 4th.
  7.  I am really new to all this blogging stuff. I got the final bite from Pinterest, but I had the itch to start since the summer.  My lovely, SIL, is a BIG blogger and has been my rock through this.  I didn't even really know this Ed blog world was out there until Thanksgiving break. CRAZY, huh?!?!

And a take away, I know we are corresponding through the computer but I want to make real lasting relationships on here. I want to get us all connected and accountable. I want for this village (blogging) to really help us stay united in working with these kids and showing them that it does take a village to raise a child.

Ok, I hear the music playing in the background and I think I see people coming to rush through to take my computer. I really appreciate this award and it means more when you get it from your peers!

3. Pass this on to 15 newly discovered blogs and let them know they've received the award.

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Vision for 21st Century Learners...

Hot off the Pin Board Press!!!! I just saw Pinterest and had to post it here. While we think about our plans for next week, I hope this video makes you add more technology to your plans.
It's a great video to end my video week!

Amazing Giveaway..OLW

I am totally in love with this idea of paying it forward, but to do it as a giveaway...amazing.  She started this giveaway when she hit 250 followers in 3 months. I am hoping to hit three digits in 3 months.

Come check out Holly's blog at Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade.  Us,teachers, give back to kids and the world everyday in our profession. As teachers, we love free things, but let's try to get her comments on the giveaway to three digits to symbolize the three months she has had this giveaway available.

The blogger I recognized for this giveaway is Stephanie at>Teaching in Room 6. She has been so supportive, helpful, and encouraging to me.

Kisses from Katie is the organization that I posted about.  She is a remarkable young lady. Katie is known for a modern day Mother Teresa.

Please go to Holly's page to add to this great giveaway!

Keeping the Faith (OLW) for 2012!


Friday, Writing, and Testing, Oh My!

Happy 1st Friday of 2012!

Today did not feel like Friday, because of the shortened week.  It always feels long and short altogether.  We came back to school to do our district semester testing.  My poor babies were falling asleep and one in full snore within 30 minutes of the test. (Oh My!)  All upper level teachers know, this semester is the crack down semester because of the state testing. So what am I doing on this misplaced Friday, creating documents for writing prompts so my students will be wonderful writers.

I was stumped on how to word a writing prompt: think of a time when you were really angry about something.  Then I remembered I had these  Top 12 Video Writing Prompts, one in particular about Angry Birds.  I wanted to share these awesome resources for writing. 

I hope everyone has had a great week back with EXCITED kids ready to learn!

BTW- I think my theme for this week was videos, but I didn't realize it until now. LOL!

Enjoy your weekend!


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Because I love you....

I love my followers so much that, I had to share my....
Cause and Effect lesson from my PDAS.

PDAS- Texas Professional Development and Appraisal System; this our annual formal observation.

I have always disliked teaching Cause and Effect.  I understood the concept but I had a difficult time explaining it. I did a lot of research and made sure I understood it fully before attempting to do it for my PDAS.  So now I have mastered it, Bloom was right, I needed to synthesis Cause and Effect to really understand it to teach it.

I began with my Powerpoint, which I have included in this post.  There are instructor notes added to it.  If you want to use this lesson, I suggest you print it out in Notes form.  I have Teacher Talk points, I need those so I don't lose my thoughts. (LOL!)

I did a brief turn and talk as my focus and connect them with the day before's lesson. Then my main HOOK/Focus was this video from Ok Go- This Too Shall Pass. (Last year, I used this video for Science in for our Forces of Motion Lesson)  ***I love this group!!***
Ok, I apologize for my new-ness in blogging. I can't figure out how to put my powerpoint (PPT) on the post. If you are an interested follower, leave me a message at the bottom with your email address and I will send it.  This interactive PPT has moving graphics and has lots of teacher talking points.

Included in the PPT, I have talking points for the Read Aloud, I used on the book, One Hen by Katie Milway.
This book and this organization is FABULOUS!  (Read the reviews on Amazon.)
It is an amazing tale that depicts how one boy was able to reach a goal  that later helped his whole village.
If you are an interested,devoted follower,  leave me a comment with your email address to receive this PPT.

Happy Friday-Eve!


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My Go-To Book--Linky Party

My first LINKY PARTY and the best one because it involves BOOKS!  Above that an educational resource book. I love children's books, but I may love professional books just as much. I am a non-fiction reader and love to learn, so this is my favorite genre. *If you don't already know, I am a graduate student, an Advanced Literacy grad student, so professional reading is kind of my thing.*

I was excited when Stephanie at Teaching in Room 6 invited me to my first linky party! My list of go-to books could be very extensive, if I allowed it but I am going to post a few for different reasons.

OK Here I go... At a party, we need music. So enjoy this first or play in the background. (LOL!)
(Love this one- Baby Got Book!)
My first Go-To Book for everything, especially when I need to refocus and get myself back to my OLW, Faith, I read my Bible. He always knows where to direct me to redirect me!

A great book about how to treat children and to have a brain smart classroom is Conscious Discipline by Dr. Becky A. Bailey.  To find out more about the Seven Powers for Self Control that empowers teachers with the Conscious Discipline model, visit

I love to read now as an adult, but I struggled as a kid.  I want my children to live in the stories and really understand the depth of the story. I want them to make connections and feel the character's struggles and victories. So my next book gives great mini lessons-focus lessons- to building bridges for strategic reading. This fabulous book is called Comprehension Connections by Tanny McGregor.

These next few books from my favorite people. I am a BIG, HANDS-On Kinesthetic learner. I love foldables and anything I can get the kids to create on their own. I try to stay away from photocopy sheets as much as possible.  I teach foldable workshops in my district and it is so much fun to work with teachers in an all day make and take session. These resources I use are:

A Bookbag of the Bag Ladies' Best- They have numerous of books and I think I have three of their books. These activities are interactive and creative.
Big Book of Books and Activities by Dinah Zike's- She has a ton of books out there. She has this book as her first main book, which I own. She also has books that are subject specific. I also came across one for the holidays, which I used with my students to create a pretty awesome, pyramid tree ornament this past Christmas. Dinah Zike's Big Book of Holiday Activities

I think I can limit to those, but it was really hard...Because Baby I am a BIG BOOK lover! :)

If you want to link up to this Go-To Book Party. Come link up on Teaching in Room 6!!!

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Liebster Award

I have been nominated for the Liebster Blog Award. YAY! YAY! *Happy Dancing!*

The rules of this award are as follows:

1. Show your appreciation to the blogger who nominated you by linking back to their blog. Thank you, Susan at Kindergarten Basics.  

2. Nominate five happy little blogs (200 followers or less) by posting a comment on their blogs.

3. Post the award on your blog.

4. Check out what the other up-and-coming blogs have to offer.

Polka Dot Owl
Live Laugh and Love to Learn
The Diary of a Not So Wimpy Teacher
A Class Act
Soaring through Second

My husband and I are teachers for the same district, so we were able to have one more family day before we go back to school tomorrow. We took the boys to the zoo, which we rode the train and then walked around the zoo. My SIL, Heather Shaw at Family Friendly Frugality and new bloggie buddy, Stephanie at Teaching in Room 6, were giving me pointers on all this blogging stuff. I am so appreciative of their support!

Then I came home for a bit before I had to head to class. I start my practicum course and research for reading programs. It's going to be a tough, busy, and rewarding semester. We have the best professor and she just recently retired, which means we have her attention 24/7. We love you, Dr. Perrin!

But before I could get to my first class of the semester, which you cannot miss or you will be dropped from the program, my tire needed to be pumped and my battery died. I frantically yelled at my husband, because I have wanted a new car for a while and this added to my fiery...of course, you have to displace the frustrations on someone else, right. Well that didn't go over well and my husband was not going to help this raging damsel in distress. We jumped my car and I was able to get to class, a little late. Once my car was running, I heard a Your Hands by JJ Heller on our local Christian radio station.

And then I took a deep breathe and remembered my OLW, Faith. I called my husband to apologize. Then when I got home I saw this award. 
I am sure this isn't the normal, standard award speech, but I wanted to blog this day already and this video. Enjoy & be blessed!
Thanks again Susan at Kindergarten Basics!

Updated OLW + Portfolio= Perfect!

I needed to update my recent post. After reading my awesome teacher blogging pages, I was inspired by Ms. Wainwright and Holly. This is why I am super excited about blogging, because of all the different ideas we can create for our students. Some upper level teachers don't believe in working with the lower grade teachers because their ideas are too watered down for them. But that is not the case here my Blogging friends. :) Holly is a fabulous first grade teacher and Ms. Wainwright is a fantastic fourth grade teacher, by putting their two ideas together makes PERFECTION! (yes, I am shouting via this board while everyone else is sleeping at my house. I am just so excited and I can't hide it!)

As I posted earlier about my One Little Word, also known around the blogging world (I found out that after I wrote it) OLW. I will be having my students do this first thing Wednesday morning. We are in our poetry unit, so how perfect will this be to get their one word for the new year. I will get some pictures together like from my previous post, One Little Word, to have them work cooperatively thinking of one word to describe the picture. The groups will do a Gallery Walk to each picture and come up with new words to describe the picture. Then I will have them picture this year as being their best year and illustrate it, then write their OLW.

Then they will write synonyms for their OLW to use in a free verse poem. PERFECT! I can't wait to post pictures.

Then I will introduce Ms. Wainwright created Student Portfolio. These portfolios will be a place where they reflect on their progress on assignments. Ms. Wainwright posted that she plans to use this for parent conferences with the student present to discuss their portfolios to their parents. LOVE IT! The best part is the OLW will tie into this perfectly is the accountability on the student. As the teacher, you can redirect or conference with the student to get them back on track because of their OLW.

Again, I'm totally in love with this blogging thing! I am totally digging it!

As Always

Christina Shaw

Monday, January 2, 2012

One Little Word for 2012

I came across this post from Third Grade Bookworm first and this really got me thinking. I am a true fan of my husband bringing home ONE perfect flower than a dozen or two of them. I love one soft tender kiss or smile from my boys or husband. One of my wedding songs was Alison Krauss - When You Say Nothing At All.  I think if you take in the small things it'll make the biggest impact, because if you can cherish the small you can cherish anything. Maybe that is another reason I love the smallest of people, children.

If you have read, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, you know she is thankful for the smallest things. She is very poetic in her writings.

So when I reflect on 2012 and think about what one word I can choose to describe this year, Faith. From it defines faith as one with confidence; belief without proof. It's a feeling, it's the ONE, and it’s the knowing in your heart.

I want 2012 Faith in all forms of it, selfless faith, taking a leap of faith. By choosing faith it encompasses everything but most of all, loving God and knowing that He will bring what is needed of me in 2012. He has given me so much and I rarely sit back and let Him truly take over. I also need to be still (I have a hard time doing that, but I am sure I am not the only one out there in Blog World).

What is your ONE word for 2012? Like Ali posted, "The main thing to remember is that this is your word. It’s not for your child, parent, partner, spouse, sister, etc."

Comment back, I'd love to hear your One Word for 2012!

Always Live.Laugh.Teach

Christina Shaw

A Wise Owl Told Me

As I was "walking" around my new blogging block, I came across a wise Polka Dot Owl that told me to skip on over to Net Galley. Wow! I am glad I listened to that owl, because I am in reader's heaven. I adore, borderline obsessed, with children's lit. As a child, I drooled over Scholastic book club flyers that was sent home from school, but knew my parents wouldn't buy the books for me. We didn't have a lot of money growing and I didn't have a lot of books. So when I started college, I found out about Children's Book of the Month Club, and as a good education major with no kids, I joined the club and started my new obsession. Needless to say, seven years of teaching, grades K to 4th grade, and two boys later, I have enough books to create our own library. (I would love to own a room where I could organize and put all the books I own in the perfect order.) I own over hundreds of children's literature in my classroom and even got a comment from one of my kids (when I opened the cabinet to book boxes filled of books but don't have enough shelves to display around the room), "Mrs. Shaw are those all your books!" My reply with a big smile, "I love books and reading and these are all for you all to use."

I have to stay away from Barnes and Noble, because I can spend money very quickly there. My teaching friends and I go to eat at a nearby sushi restaurant, which is the same center as Half Price Books. So of course, we have a great meal eating expensive sushi and then head over to the bookstore. First, I run to the clearance section where I find great books for $1. Recently, I found a ton of How to draw books for my boys for Christmas. **Most of the things they get for Christmas are books, where my oldest, Ethan said, "books again." Which again with a big smile I reply, "sorry son, but you have teachers as parents. You are always going to have books galore in your life." He will never understand how mommy had few books as a child because he could have a whole room filled with them.
After all that, you can see, I love books, but mainly children's books. I went to Net Galley and registered very quickly and received an email instantly. You can even get the books sent to you on your Kindle. I was able to search through the children's books and then read my first book, The House on Dirty-Third Street by Jo S. Kittinger. It is a picture book, but I would suggest it be read to older kids or small group or one on one. The House on Dirty-Third Street brought me to tears! As we think about New Year's Resolutions and starting things over and what we want to do better for 2012. This is the perfect story about starting over, between a mother and daughter. It doesn't give a lot of background, so it would be great for inferencing. The little girl is narrates the story and the book is themed around having faith and working together as a community. I will definitely be buying this book when it comes out and I plan to read it to my kids. This book would be a great connection piece for my students, because I have a lot of kids that move around several times in a year and they can relate to this mother and daughter.

If you are a lover of children's literature, sign up and check out Net Galley!

Always Live.Laugh.Teach

Christina Shaw