Thursday, December 20, 2012

Apple Nails, Birthday Wishes, and Measuring Wreaths...

One more day of school left before a MUCH NEEDED Christmas break!  The thought of flying through Chicago, aka delay flight central, tomorrow is not exciting, but remembering this week and anticipating some quality family time next week all makes up for it. :)
Let's begin with my nails...not just any nails, APPLE NAILS!  Cute pinterest idea...

Next up...birthday wishes from the fiance.  He surprised me with a homemade cake when I got home from school.  It was yummy!  After that, I got gorgeous Tiffany earrings.  Last, we had dinner at a great Sushi place.  Wonderful night, thank you Jessie! 


Last up, a little school Christmas fun.  A parent made our class the cute!  In class we made factor/measuring wreaths.  The students had to first find all the factors pairs of 18 and then decide which pair to use to make their wreath.  For example, if they picked 2 and 9, then they would measure nine slits exactly 2 inches apart.  Here's what our final wreaths looked like.  For exact directions on how to make the wreaths, click on this link. :)

Happy Holidays everyone!  Stay warm!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Division Strategies

Just like blogging, I am also new to fourth grade. There have been many ups and downs this year, but I have definitely grown as an educator. A couple weeks ago, it was time to start division. I knew I needed to make sure that my students understood the concept of division before jumping into the standard algorithm, but how to do this?  I wasn't quite sure. I started by having my students experiment with hands-on manipulatives and grid paper. Their strategies amazed me!

Here is the problem I posted...
Here are some of the strategies they used:



Letting my students explore division on their own really got them excited to learn more!  Over the next week, we explored other division strategies that we could use.  Together we made this poster for our classroom...

My students also liked using another strategy we called simpler parts (not yet shown on our poster). Below is an example of this strategy:
132/4 =
100/4 = 25
32/4 = 8
25 + 8 = 33
Therefore, 132/4 = 33
With a little more practice of these strategies, I feel that my students have build a strong division foundation.  Parents...the standard algorithm can wait!  :)
P.S. - If you haven't seen my multiplication strategies FREEBIE...check it out by clicking below.  Enjoy :)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cheese Curds...

I had an exciting weekend last week traveling all the way to Wisconsin!  I got to visit my future in-laws and go to my first PACKER game!  While the flight was not at all fun and my luggage got lost coming home, it was worth it for the wonderful memories that were created.  It was nice to take a couple personal days after getting all my report cards for trimester one successfully finished.  Yeah :)  I can't believe I ever complained when I had to write 20 comments for first graders.  Writing 32 comments for fourth graders was a lot more challenging!  Yet, I managed to get through it and so began my non-stop weekend in the land of the cheeseheads. 

What I remember most is eating lots of cheese curds!  Almost every meal included them...the fiance even had them once on a burger.  I guess that is why Wisconsin is know for cheese!  Hmmm...they are good though.

The packer game was an unforgettable experience!  Tailgating at 9am and then being squeezed in with 70,567 (see score board below) other football fanatics...priceless. Yes, priceless!

The Packers did pull off a win!  Final score...
Green Bay 23, Vikings, 14
 P.S. - My luggage was recovered and delievered to my house the next day. Packers souvenirs all is good :)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Liebster Award Time!


First of all...Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!  I appreciate everyone who is taking time to read this :)  I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with the fiance and out of town friends.  I am now enjoying my long weekend while I dive back into the blogging world.

Yeah, I was nominated for the Liebster Award!  As always, at first, I was a little skeptical, but this is a great way for me to meet other new bloggers, so yeah again!  This award is given to new bloggers with 200 followers or less (that's me). I was nominated by Rae at Minful Rambles...thank you! You should check out her blog - lots of great tips and ideas.  I'm already loving it!

And the rules are:
1. Post 11 random things about yourself.
2. Answer the questions the nominator set for you.
3. Create 11 questions for your nominees.
4. Choose 11 other blogs with fewer than 200 followers to nominate and link them to your post.
5. Leave a comment on this post if you were nominated so I can learn more about you and see who you nominate.

My 11 randoms:
1. I am getting married in April 2013...can't wait!

2. We own an adorable Jack Russel Terrier named Woodson (I'm not joking, he is adorable...see the pics under About the Teacher)

3. I'm in the process of completing my National Boards Certification this year!

4. I have traveled to over 20 countries in the last 5 years with high school students. This has been a true blessing!

5. Everyone always asks, my favorite country next...and honestly, I cannot say. I loved every country equally for different reasons.

6. I teach Fourth grade currently.

7. I hope to become a principal someday.

8. I was born 2 months premature.

9. I have one sister (who is my maid of honor). :)

10. Favorite food, hands down, Grandma's scalloped potatoes!

11. I've started a new love for football...GO PACKERS!

Rae's Questions:
1. If you could have any super power, what would it be and why? I would want to be able to teleport.  I hate flying to visit family!
2. If you weren't a teacher/educator/your current occupation, what would you be? In 4th grade I wanted to be President of the United States.  Since that probably is not going to happen, I would love to be a wedding planner.  Planning my own has been so much fun! :)
3. You had to choose: sense of smell or sense of taste. I would want sense of smell definitely...having no sense of taste would be like an instant diet! 
4. What is your favorite genre of book? Romance usually, I love Nicholas Sparks books.
5. What is your favorite genre of music? Toughie...I usually listen to pop music.
6. If you could visit any place in the world, and money was no object, where would it be? I would travel across seas with my fiance.  I have traveled without him, but would love to experience some of the places I have been to with him like Amsterdam, Australia, and Greece.
7. What was your favorite subject in school? What was your least favorite? Favorite = Math, Least = Reading  (Still the same way teaching!)
8. What is one way that you do to ensure a healthy lifestyle? Zumba!
9. How many hours of sleep do you get a night? Usually 7
10. What is your favorite drink, alcoholic or not? Tea, I drink it everyday the British way!
11. Do you have any hidden talents? If so, what? I can make a mean balloon animal!  (I used to be a clown in high school...long story.)  LOL

For my nominees -- My questions:
1. How did you get started in the blogging world?
2. If you weren't a teacher/educator/your current occupation, what would you be?
3. You had to choose: sense of smell or sense of taste.
4. From the TPT store, what is your favorite freebie that you created?
5. From the TPT store, what is your favorite freebie that someone else created?
6. If you could visit any place in the world, and money was no object, where would it be?
7. What was your favorite subject in school? What was your least favorite?
8. Who is your role model?
9. What time do you go to bed?
10. What is your favorite reality TV show?
11. What do you want for Christmas?

For all my nominees, copy and paste the above instructions, questions, and such to your blog. Don't forget to comment on my post when you are done, so I can check out some new interesting info about you!  Can't wait...
Now, for my nominations:

1. Teaching with a Mountain View
2. 1st Grade Fireworks
3. Perspective Is Everything
4. Mrs. McLaren's Little Super Heroes
5. Life in the Middle
6. Remember Middle School?
7. Mrs. Jones's Kindergarten
8. Teaching Fourth with Ms. B.
9. Out of This World Literacy
10. Sunshine and Stars
11. Mrs. Nutter's Ready Readers

WOOHOO! Make sure you check out these great blogs! They all have something unique that has inspired me.  :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

TPT Newsletter

The unexpected happened this weekend...
 I was featured in the Teachers Pay Teachers Newsletter! 
 I feel very blessed on this Thanksgiving week to be given this opportunity!  Thank you so much to the TPT community for picking me this week so that I can better share with others.  If you missed it, click on the link below. :)
Me + TPT = love
(Okay, maybe that is a little extreme.  Although, I have been spending a lot of time on Teachers Pay Teachers lately.  Sorry, fiance! :)
Lastly, I want to give a little shout out to my awesome fourth grade class!  They collected 190 cans last week in a school can drive to help a neighboring school in need.  They worked so hard bringing in items to put in our over-flowing box.  I loved seeing the smiles everyday as more and more cans came in.  They are so giving...thank you!  Your popcorn party reward is well deserved!


Saturday, November 17, 2012


Fourth graders and multiplication don't always mix easily.  I've recently found that adding a little football in can help to make the mixture smoother.  A few weeks ago, my friend Alyssa suggested we start playing multiplication football as a grade level to help our students with their multiplication facts.  We set up a schedule where each week we either travel to other fourth grade classrooms for away games or host other classes in our room for home games. This highly engaging game has been so fun for my students whole group, that I created a version that the students could play in small groups of 3 (two students play against each other and one student is the referee)!

Check out the gameboard: 

Here are the directions for small group play...

My favorite part of this activity is having some students create "begin with" multiplication flash cards beforehand.  This strategy gives struggling students the extra help they need in understanding their facts.
Don't want to reinvent the wheel?  You can purchase this entire packet at my store.  Here is everything that is included.

I highly recommend trying multiplication football in your classroom.  Soon you will have your students begging to practice their multiplication facts like mine!  Touchdown!
Have a relaxing Saturday,

Monday, November 12, 2012

And so it begins...

I feel it's appropriate to begin my first blog on a perfectly pleasant November Monday morning! I know Monday mornings are usually frantic and nerve racking as teachers run around preparing the last minute to-dos for the week ahead of them.  I am usually part of this crowd, but this Monday morning is different...there is no school today.

Today is Veteran's Day observed.  Let's take a moment to recognize and appreciate all the people who serve and have served in the military for our country.  I honor you.

So as I sit here with my cup of tea and still in my PJs (secretly loving every moment), I'm hoping that through this blog I can inspire others in the same way others have inspired me.  So here's a look at some of the freebies I have posted on If you find something you love, don't forget to leave a comment.

This activity is a supplement for Lucy Calkins Reading grades 3-5. After students finish reading a book, have them create a book buzz where they create a book summary, write a excerpt, and explain why the book mattered to them. This gets other students excited to read the same book!

Including in this download are 3 different sets of DRA book box labels for grades 3-5. The sets start at level 18 and go in DRA increments to level 70. The designs included are doghouses, owls, and apples. All levels are written in cute fonts! Also included are blank templates to label other book boxes you might desire.

Last, but not least, vocabulary tic-tac-know! Included in this set are a four different versions of vocabulary tic-tac-know boards to use along with a blank template to create your own. I also included tips on how I use the boards in the classroom and a sample vocabulary list that could be used.

Click on the link above to find these freebies and more!  If you find something you love, don't forget to leave a comment.

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