Saturday, June 30, 2012

Mr. B Gets "Crafty"!

Normally I stray away from "crafty" type projects because I will find some way to make it really complicated or it will look really bad. I read bagillions of blog posts with people who are showcasing materials or games they've made and I walk away jealous. Well, I'm proud to announce I tackled TWO projects I found on Pinterest and I am rather proud of them!

The first project I tackled was making my Power Tower games I first learned about on the Fabulous in Fourth blog page. I don't mean to gloat (ok, so maybe I do!), but look how good they turned out!

If you haven't seen this game, it's super fun and super easy (and seriously, if I can do this, you can too without a doubt!). Students learn their basic math facts and stack up the cups to create a tower. Students will probably have more fun knocking down their towers though. <wink> The games above are for division & multiplication. I'm on the fence on whether or not to make addition and subtraction ones, but I probably should for my lower math students.

Anyway, all you need for this project are:
  • Pringles cans
  • Fun scrapbooking paper
  • Scotch tape
  • Packing tape - I used this to act as laminate for my game labels. 
  • Small white Dixie cups
The other project I tackled was this lesson objective display from Pinterest.

I wasn't digging the ribbons, so I left those off and attached magnets (with super glue) to the back of these 8x10 photo frames so they'll stick to my magnetic whiteboard. I found some "beachy" type scrapbook paper to keep the Beach Brains theme alive. Take a look!

All in all, these projects were relatively easy and fun to do. And I can't take all the credit -- the wifey helped me out with a few pointers here and there. Thanks, honey! :)

That's all for today! Don't forget to link up your blog on my Bodacious Blogs page so I can keep up with all your blogging shenanigans! Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

So Excited!! Luna Giveaway

There is one techie-toy I've been itching to get my hands on and it's the Luna Interactive Projection Camera.

I first saw this when I was observing a teacher giving a writing lesson and I just had to have it. The only thing is it's like $199! Too rich for my blood (in the grand scheme of things, it's a bargain), but the good news is that Amanda from One Extra Degree is giving it away!! Now, I'll be honest -- I'm blogging about this because I want 2 extra entries into her drawing (hahahaha!), but it really is a nice tool to have in the classroom. You can easily project student work onto your interactive white board, model the steps to a math problem, or demonstrate a think aloud using a picture book. The possibilities are endless!

This is the part where I'm supposed to tell you to go to the One Extra Degree blog and get entered into the drawing <begin subliminal messaging>, but you really don't want to do that. You want to make sure I get as much a chance to win this bad boy as possible. You love me, so you're not going to enter. <end subliminal messaging>

Ok, so seriously... go get entered into the drawing! You'll be sorry if you don't! :)


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Happy Birthday & Fiction Friday - Chapter 2

Here is a fun fact for you -- Mr. AND Mrs. B have the same birthday! Yup, no kidding! We turned 32 today! Actually, the truth be known, the M-to-the-R-to-the-S doesn't turn 32 until late tonight where I turned 32 while I was sleeping.  We're both working today, but tonight we're headed to our favorite Japanese steakhouse to celebrate. I can't wait! I thought about doing a birthday giveaway, but I think I am going to hold out for 100 followers. I'm only 8 away! So if you're blogstalking - click the "Follow" button so you can have a chance for a fun giveaway soon! Anyhoo... on to Fiction Friday!!

The Teaching Thief just released Chapter 2 of her Fiction Friday linky party! I even found a book or two I need to add to my reading repertoire. Last week, I highlighted some historical fiction and a fantasy book, so this week I'd like to focus on a couple of my realistic fiction faves:

Jeffrey "Maniac" Magee was orphaned at age three following the tragic death of his parents. He's sent to live with his Aunt Dot and Uncle Dan who, unfortunately, do not care much for him. He runs away and later finds himself in the town of Two Mills, Pennsylvania where there is a boundary between the white West Enders and the black East Enders. Maniac meets a few new friends and encounters a few challenges along the way. Through these challenges, Maniac begins to learn more about identity and family.

There are some really heavy themes in this book: race/racism, homelessness, and individuality, just to name a few. I read this aloud to my fourth graders and sparks a lot of great conversations that lead to appreciating one another's differences and not to judging a person based on their circumstances.

Another book that's not-so-serious is...

Evan is a money-minded fourth grader and brainstorms a plan to make money over the summer by opening a lemonade stand. While he is people-smart, his sister, Jessie, is the math-brain of the family and decides to open up shop for herself. And so the lemonade war begins! This book is chock full of economic concepts and is the perfect supplement to your economics unit! Better yet, this book is a series (which I didn't know until today!). This book is the first, followed by The Lemonade Crime and The Bell Bandit. Check them out soon!

Allrighty, it's time I get off here and make a call to the lovely (note the sarcasm here) student loan people. I was denied loan forgiveness and I want to know why! Sigh... teachers should just get all their debt forgiven. Amen?!

Don't forget to link up your blog on my Bodacious Blogs page if you haven't already! All are welcome! Have a great day!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Notebook Know How: Chapter 1

Every year I pick an area of instruction that I want to strengthen and develop as a teacher. This happens to be the year for writing. I recently purchased Notebook Know-How by Aimee Buckner and started reading the first chapter tonight. After each chapter I am going to spend time reflecting on what I've learned and some of the "ah-ha" moments I encountered in my reading.

The first chapter focuses on why Aimee believes notebooks are crucial for budding writers. She begins the book by painting this picture of students bringing in their personal notebooks to store their words and thoughts, but simultaneously gets bombarded with questions about size of the notebooks, how much needs to be written, what exactly is an "entry," and a myriad of other notebook requirements. I so relate to this because my students gave me the same grief and I really couldn't adequately answer them. Aimee also goes on to attempt a remedy by providing the notebooks for her students, but comes to the conclusion that she does too much for her students. The writing does not belong to the students, it belongs to the teacher. Again, this was my classroom to a "T". 

Aimee goes on write about the true purpose of the writing notebook - "to practice living like a writer." Wow! The writer has become more than just a school subject, but it is now a way of life. It is something intentionally done on a daily basis. My questions now are... What does the life of a writer look like and sound like in the classroom? What if I don't have anything significant to write about? I struggled with this a little bit because there are times where I don't blog because I don't feel like I have anything "blog worthy," especially when there are so many talented authors out there in the blogosphere. Aimee addresses this directly in her book! We don't write because we always have something significant to share, but we find significance later as we revisit and reflect on our writing. We find significance and meaning in our writing when we make it a daily habit and we put that writing in our notebook. 

In summary, keeping a notebook is a process. There's no right or wrong way to keep a notebook, but remember the true purpose behind the notebook. It's to simply practice the act of writing. It's the act of writing that leads the author to significance. 

I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the book. I think I'm going to learn a lot and model a love of writing to inspire my students to live like a writer. 

Thanks for reading my ramblings! Come back soon to read about Chapter 2 - Launching the Notebook. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

New Page: Bodacious Blogs!

My blog roll is pretty redonkulous right now. Every time I find a new blog I want to follow, I list it on my blog roll so I can see when they are updated. The only problem is.... I have like 50 something blogs I'm trying to follow! I guess that's a good problem to have, but I digress. I've noticed these inLinkz widgets and decided to set up my own account. So if you want me to read your blog and/or you want your blog to attract some traffic, surf up to my Bodacious Blog page and link up your blog! Right now I have two categories set up, but if I need to break them up in the future, I can do that. Anyhoot... as I said, this is prime time for self-promotion! Don't delay! Link up on my Bodacious Blog page.

It's ok... do it! 

Why are you still reading this?!

Do it now! :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fiction Friday... on Tuesday?!

Howdy, friends!

Summer and life, in general, has been way crazy here lately. Can anyone else relate? Anyhoot... I am seizing the opportunity to blog during my lunch break here at work to update my blog. My new bloggy friend, Amanda, has a fun linky going right now called Fiction Friday. Yeah, I know it's Tuesday, but... who cares?!?! You can click her graphic below to link up!

Without further ado... here are a couple of my Fiction Friday picks!

One of the grade level expectations in Missouri is to understand Missouri's role in the Civil War as well as an overview on what it was fought, slavery, African American contributions to Missouri's history, etc. This book does just that! The Story of Jonas is written by Maurine Dahlberg and is about a slave boy who accompanies his master's brutal son on a gold expedition in the Kansas Territory. Jonas meets many interesting characters and begins to learn he was way bigger dreams than being another man's slave. This would be a great read for grades 4-6, maybe even 3rd. 

My next pick is a classic... The Witches by Roald Dahl! I read this every year to my students and it's a class favorite. I don't think I've ever had a class that didn't like this book. After the death of his parents, a boy and his grandmother decide to go on holiday in England. During their vacation, they meet the most gruesome witches known to mankind and create a plan to foil their evil schemes. Read this to your kids and make sure you read this with your best witch voice. This was a big motivator and inspiration for students to work on inflection and fluency in reading - not to mention it shows them reading is fun!

Well, lunch is over and I guess I should go back to "work" (if you can even call it that!). Make sure you link up at The Teaching Thief's blog! I can't wait to read your Fiction Friday posts!


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pinteresting Finds!

I've been experiencing a little blogger's block here lately, so I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out what I can write about. While playing around on Pinterest tonight, I was inspired to write about some pins I am very excited about trying next school year.

Character Facebook Status: What a great idea for a reading response! Prompt your students to use as few words as possible to make sure they make their main idea clear and concise.

Anchor Chart Hangers: Another great idea to help store all your anchor charts. Who actually uses their coat closet anyway? <wink>

Must Do/May Do: Another great idea being implemented in the new school year. Actually, a lot of the teachers in my new school use these, so I'm interested in seeing how this affects classroom management. 

Source: via Josh on Pinterest

Coordinate Pairs & Nerf Guns: This looks like so much fun! I don't have a coordinate grid board in my classroom, but I can easily put one up on my SMART Board and have my students shoot away.

Do you have any Pinteresting finds I need to know about? Post your cowabunga below! 

Friday, June 8, 2012


Hey, folks! Here's my currently for June, and really, that's all I have for this blog post. I'm going to be honest... I've been enjoying my summer and working my part-time job, and haven't really thought about my next blog post. I promise to work up something to post in the not-so-distant future. :) I hope you guys are enjoying your summer break! <drumroll> And now... my Currently!!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Show Me Sunday Linky!

My friends at the 3-6 Free Resources have started a great linky party focusing on great instructional websites. You can grab their badge and participate in the fun!

Check out 3-6 Free Resources!!

 I love having my kids blog on this website. It's safe, easy, and KidBlog accounts are completely free. I'm especially excited to use KidBlogs in the fall because MANY of my bloggy friends also use this. I can't wait to get a collaborative project started!!

 This is relatively new to me as one of my new co-workers recently introduced me to this site. Students can go on and play games that reinforce classroom learning. As students complete the activities and games, they earn points for prizes you set up on your class's Scootpad page. It's going to be fun exploring this site with my students in the fall!

 I love ClassDojo as a part of my classroom management. I've blogged on it before, so you can check out my post here.

  FreeRice is a great way to help your students boost their vocabulary. Students are given a word and they guess the meaning. If they get it right, grains of rice are donated to families who do not have enough food to eat. You can also play using math facts, geography, and other subjects!

 This site allows students to create word clouds to provide a fun and unique way to practice spelling, vocabulary, or even a way to discuss theme or characterization in reading. 

There so many more that I could write about, but I'll go ahead and end it here. I want to go read and see what others have put up. :) Have a wonderful Sunday!

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Little "Light" Reading

One of my favorite blogs to stalk, the Clutter-Free Classroom, is hosting a linky party about our summer reading plans, plus there's a contest for a $15 gift certificate. Woot! I just gotta link up!

Click the pic to go directly to the Linky Party & Contest!
Here's what I'm reading currently:

I am a huge Rick Riordan fan and have read the other Kane Chronicle books, so I had to get this downloaded to my Kindle. This is a great read for upper elementary grades and is FULL of Egyptian history and myth!

I plan on re-reading these two books and begin to map out what Daily 5 is going to look like in my classroom. I'm very excited because I'm going to a district where everyone does D5! It's going to be a great learning experience!

Here are a few I plan on reading this summer:

I really want to beef up my writing instruction next year, and this is a book
I keep seeing in the "blogosphere". It's got to be good!

This is another one I've heard buzz about. I've heard excellent things about Debbie Diller, so I look
forward to learning more about doing small groups more effectively. 

Ok, now it's your turn to link up and share your summer reading plans! Have a faboo Friday!!