Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Character Analysis

NEW BLOG POST!!! Yayy.  I am so happy to be blogging again.  My computer was out of commission for awhile.  Thankfully I did not lose files but my keyboard was not working.  Then I tried to use my husbands computer and it stopped working as well.  Thankfully now we have fixed and back up keyboards! woohooo. Anyway, I have a short post for you today.

This week in reading we are focusing on character analysis.  My students have been having a hard time telling me details about the characters so we decided to focus on traits and feelings of characters.  We first defined what each meant.  One of my students was dead on with definitions while most of the others had no clue what the difference was. It was great.  He sometimes struggles with confidence so we celebrated this knowledge to the fullest.  He was very proud after that!

Anyway, then we came up with some examples.  The kids had some great ideas for character traits and feelings. I think the fact that the school focuses on virtues really helped in this area.

Then we practiced together identifying these things through our read aloud. I am currently reading Shiloh which has some dramatic events in it to really help with this.  We were at the part where Marty confronts Judd and lots of emotions are shared by each character.

During their independent reading time, I asked the kids to grab 2 different colored flags and mark the traits and feelings that they found in the books they were reading.  I was quite surprised how many of them struggled identifying these things on their own.  Good thing it is still early to keep reinforcing these ideas.

After the reading time was up we gathered back to the carpet to share our ideas and what we found in our stories.  The students then each added a trait or a feeling to our chart. Here is the finished chart.  I was quite pleased with this lesson and think the rest of the week will really make this concept stick.

Happy Hump Day!!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Currently it is September

Even though none of my calendars say September, I guess it really is. I cant believe it.  This summer and the first few weeks of school flew by for me.  But here we are with the currently.  I am not feeling well so I will keep this short.

My three things are fairly self explanatory. I want to start cooking more.  This summer my husband and I ate out a LOT, so we need to get in the habit of cooking again.  We had some great meals this weekend though so I think we are on the right track.

Grad School. Ugh. I think I need to start this soon. I want to apply this month. I will need to do it online since I am internationally located, but any advice otherwise would be awesome!

Reading: I want to keep reading this month like I did over the summer. I want to finish the book I am half way through and then finish another one in September.  Hopefully it is not too lofty a goal.

Cant wait to check out the other Currentlys! Go and enjoy.  I am in the top 50... I cant believe that.  ha.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

TPT Purchases are fun!!

I very much enjoyed the TPT sale this year.  I was worried when school was getting close to starting, and then did start, that the sale was never going to happen.  I had made my wishlist early and was ready for it, hopeful it would arrive soon!  I went to town buying things.  But of course I then saw Farley's instagram where she had a thing called Big Border Mega Bundle and I was hooked.

I quickly looked it up and decided it was totally worth it!! I have been searching for borders and attempting (and failing) to create my own.  I LOVE this product.  There are so many items in the packet. If you want only a portion she has smaller packets too.  Here is the link to the Big Border MEGA Bundle.  Seriously. Do it!

Anyway, I got to creating this weekend.  At first I attempted to put like 5 of the cutest borders, headers, page dividers in my one document.... It didnt work.  So I simplified. One maybe two things per paper! ha.  I dont know how I am going to choose each time I need a border.  A much better issue than the one I was having before.  I made a couple things but decided I should at least share one!

Here is my handout to go in the students reader's notebooks for Read to Self and Read to Someone.  It might be a little not useful for every, what is the word I am looking for. I dont know, but it might not work for everyone, but if it works for you feel free!  Reading Handout Freebie

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

First week of school

I have a love hate relationship with the first week of school.  I love meeting new students and getting to know my new class. I love seeing what they know already and areas that we will see tremendous growth.  I love seeing (most of them) excited to come back to school.

I hate how slow things move. I hate dealing with supplies.  I hate practicing over and over again procedures!
BUT I am now finished with week one and couldn't be happier.  Week 2 is going much better.  For the most part my class is settling in nicely.  We are still working on our noise levels! ha, but things are going well.

I wanted to share a couple things I did for the first time during the first week that I really enjoyed and will do again. Before that though, I was able to participate in Laura Candler's Webinar about Sowing the Seeds of Classroom Success. It was very helpful for me and had lots of great ideas.  The livebinder where you can find all the information is here.

One of those ideas was by Christi Fultz, from Ms. Fultz's Corner, was about creating a class promise.  I LOVEd that idea.  So we did.  Almost every morning we read it together to remind ourselves of what our class should be like.  It is great.

The other thing we did was the "Me Bag", 5 things about you in a bag.  This really helped some of my students feel comfortable sharing in our class, since they started by sharing things about themselves. I hope to do a lot more sharing and speaking in front of the class this year, so this activity helped to set the tone for that!

The last thing I wanted to share was something I did do last year and did again with equal amounts of success.  I call it the Human Knot.  First I separate the boys and the girls and each gender makes a standing circle.  They put their hands in the center and find a different person's hand to hold, without it being the person beside them.  They then try to untangle the knot, without letting go.  They might have to turn, or crawl over or under another person.  This helps them get to know each other quickly on a personal level, having to be so close to each other.  As well as problem solve as a team to figure out how to untangle themselves. I love it.  Once they can do it in same gender groups and become more comfortable with each other, we do it in gender mixed groups. It is somehow more challenging for them :)

Anyway, I hope those of you just starting school have a great time! OH! Also, I saw this floating around and wanted to share it toooo!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Monday Made It classroom edition

I made so many fun things for my classroom this year.  Some from scratch and some 'made' as in put together.  My classroom makes me happy this year and I am so so SO pleased about that.  Last year I was unhappy about the room arrangement and decorations and everything!

Here are some of my favorite projects.

I made these adorable Tissue Paper pom poms. I know they have been the craze, but living in Thailand I did not think it was an option.  Then the other day I was shopping and realized we do have tissue paper.  So I loaded up and made them. SUPER easy and very cute.  Everyone that sees them loves them!

I finally printed out my word wall (I dont remember who I got this from, but it was a freebie!!) It is so cute. I used ribbon as stems sort of and will add words after we complete our first writing assignment.  I have a feeling I have some bad spellers this year!

Lastly, I made this objectives/homework board. I really wanted to have a space to place objectives this year and keep us all on track.  I used ribbon instead of tape on my white board.  The ribbon is just loose enough that erasing will not be a problem! I still need to make signs saying Homework and Objectives though.


Lets just pretend that I have been blogging for months.  I have been thinking of all the posts that I want to do but never got around to.

Lets also just say that last year, my first year as a teacher, was a little more overwhelming than I thought it was going to be.

Lets also say that this is a new year, a fresh start for everything.  Including my blog!! I hope to be much better at this thing this year than last. I am doing a blog for my class as well, so hopefully that will keep me motivated.

Saturday, March 2, 2013


It is already March.  Wow.  I keep saying that every month but every month seems to fly faster than the one before.  Today is full of downloading and printing tedious wonderful centers. Ugh. I hate doing that. But it is for the good of the cause right?  Maybe tomorrow I can get a manicure or do a little shopping!

Well I am linking up with the beloved Farley and this month's Currently:

My puppy, Chico, got neutered Thursday.  He was so depressed and drugged. But since then he has been as happy and hyper as before.  This is the best picture we have ever taken together.  Plus, my new hairs.  I say new even though it was just a trim. But sometimes just a little change does a whole lot of good!

Recently, I have decided to get some clothes made, especially because finding clothes to fit me here in Thailand is not happening... Asians do not have hips... and I DO!! So tomorrow hopefully I will be out to find some fabric.

Report Cards ugh.  Enough said

Bowling - I like it.  I am generally quite the embarrasment though, skipping, sliding, and being silly.
Bananas - I LOVE bananas. I eat them all the time. In smoothies are now my favorite.
Bees - GROSS!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Simile and Metaphor Lesson and Freebie

We have been working on similes and metaphors this week.  With the vast majority of my class ESL, this has been extra difficult for them.  But we have not given up.  The goal was to focus on them as tools in writing.  We began by reading some stories to see how "real" authors use similes.  These books really helped us look at similes and metaphors.


The first two are quite simply simile books with a simple story.  The last two were much more fun for my kids to try to find the similes and metaphors as we read aloud.

After reading so many stories we made an anchor chart together.  Each student had to come up with a simile or metaphor to place on the chart.  I asked the class for the definition of each and wrote that very poorly at the bottom.  Some did not get the idea of it very well, so I knew we needed a little more practice.

As a wrap up to the lesson/concept we turned our thinking to writing and how we can use similes and metaphors to better our writing.  I had them describe a character or something that was happening using similes and metaphors.  The rules/expectations:  3-6 sentences,  a simile and/or a metaphor, neatness, color picture.  Most of them did really well.  Here are some samples.

EDIT:  Here is my sample and the chart we made together.  Overall I thought the lesson went great.  It was actually part of my formal observation so I was very pleased.

It was only after beginning this post that I realized I could have made the project cuter! So I whipped this up.  One of my first 'products'. Any feedback would be much appreciated!!  Thanks

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