10 Things- 1 Summer

Ok, you twisted my arm... I'm jumping on the 10 things bandwagon hosted by Mrs. Jump's Class
In no certain order...

1) Bike & Swim at least 4 days a week...

I've got a bike- we've got a pool (at our apartment, shared by others)- I've got summer vacation... no excuses, play like a champion! (anyone know what movie that last line was from? anyone?) I hope to loose a couple lbs with this exercising plan (plus with the help of #2 below... and not that kind of #2 you were thinking about)

I'm so happy my husband is also a teacher so we have the summers together. He's my biking buddy and 'swim coach.'

2) Eat better

This past year was tricky... both the hubby and I had teaching jobs for the first full year and man, it's hard to come home and cook a nice meal in the world's smallest kitchen (don't believe me- look at #3) without a dishwasher after you both are exhausted. Our goal is to eat out less during this summer and eat better.

3) Move!!

#2 above is really a big motivator for wanting to move. We have the tiniest kitchen with no dishwasher in this lil' apartment. Now, the price is right! We've saved so much this first year as hubby and wife and a lot of this is due to this lil' crackerjack box-of-an-apartment. We are hoping to look to buy our FIRST house next summer (see below why we are waiting) so we've tried to sacrifice a bit to save more.

This... is all the counter space we have. And we constantly have dishes to wash. And I'd love to have an extra bedroom for a lil' office/dumping grounds space. And a dishwasher. And a space that wasn't decorated in the 70s. If I can get at least one of those things in our next apartment, I'd be happy. Baby steps, Kelli... you've got time.

4) Enjoy Italy!!

We would have enough money to put a down payment on a house if we wanted to right now, but we've made other plans. For our "late" honeymoon, we are taking a trip to Italy! I'm trying to be really excited, but I have to be honest... I'm also a little terrified. I've never been abroad. I've never been on a plane for more than 4 hours. I've never traveled with my husband besides going up north. To help with all of these "firsts" we've decided to go on a tour through a company to help ease some of these things. I know once we get there, it'll be amazing... but the planner in me is having a mild freak attack; not to mention, I really want a house. But we'll get in one sooner than later... we may not always have this opportunity to travel together so Carpe Diem, right?

5) Redo my Classroom

I'm looking to spice it up a bit and do some changes. We'll see if this get's accomplished though- our building isn't air conditioned and it gets sweltering hot (I'm talking 100+ degrees inside... no joke... ok maybe a little... but it feels like that, no joke!)

I've bought these to help... stay tuned!
6) Create!

I'm relatively new to TpT and I have to say, it's really helped me in more ways than one. Yes, it's nice to make a little extra cha-ching each month (and actually, enough to help me decide not to get a summer job this summer- woot woot!) but it's also helped me to create things for my own classroom that are very thorough and appealing. It's a win- win! I have a lot that I want to create for my room next year, in which then, I'll share with you all! Here's my latest resource and it is a flash freebie until 8pm tonight (5/26)

 7) Facebook for this lil' blog?!

I'm scared to try this... I don't have a whole lot of followers on my blog, Instagram & TpT is slowly growing, Pinterest is booming, do I try a Facebook page?! I follow so many blogs and in turn, their Facebook pages. I love how they are more instant than a blog, but more detailed than Instragram. To be honest, I'm just scared people won't follow/like and I feel Facebook to be more 'public' than the blog. So this is a maybe... we'll see if I get brave!

8) Read!

I'm going to get real. Please don't throw things at me. I'm not an avid reader. There. I said it. Let me explain. I like to read if I've found "the right book... then I can't put it down. But for every bad book I start, it takes me a good while to give another book a go. I also like to read professional books that give me more insight so my plan is balance it out and do a little 'fun reading' and 'professional reading' this summer. I've read the first two books in the Divergent trilogy and loved them... I started the 3rd and am hating it. Any suggestions are welcomed!!

9) Friends and Family Time

During the school year, I become a crazy hermit. I just get so tired after work and have so many things I want to prepare for the next day, or the next unit that I turn into a home body. Not to mention, none of our close family and friends live super close to us... everyone is at least a 20 minute drive (which doesn't sound awful) which then require planning. One of my best friends is getting married in August, and I'm going to the Backstreet Boys concert with another dear friend in June so I'm hoping we'll have many opportunities for hanging out. Plus, we've still got 6 weddings this year, so I know some fun will be had there. Not to mention, I want to get to home to Red Wing to spend time with my parents and find some chances to meet up with my sister (but she'll be crazy busy with work- she's a teacher also but has booked her summer up with work as they are hoping to buy their first house later in the year!!)

Backstreet's Back... ALRIGHT!!!!!
10) Spend some quality time with my husband.

Our 1st wedding anniversary is July 20th. We'll be just getting back from Italy. I hope to find some new, fun things that we can do this summer as we both are teachers and are taking the summer off. We've got camping gear from our wedding and lots of lakes here in Minnesota... maybe a little camping trip? Plus, go to the movies (we don't do that a whole lot, but I hate the heat so the cool theater is a great summer place) What do you enjoy doing with your significant other? I'm always looking for new ideas!

Well, there ya have it. Pretty similar to a lot of other teachers out there. We are so blessed to have this time off to recharge (although I know it is not all play... lots of hard work is accomplished during these summer months also). I hope you all enjoy it!



Anchors Away Monday (Plus Flash Freebie)

If it doesn't feel like summer....

Man- I'm so ready! 9 days left with the kiddos. It's been a great year, but I'm ready for the well-deserve break and for all the excitement that comes with a new year!

However, I can't forgot the importance of today. I'm so grateful for those who have served and continue to serve our country, especially those who lost their lives doing so.

Thanks to all the veterans out there and thanks and peace to the families who have lost someone fighting for our freedoms.

Onto the linky...

We have started to publish our fairy tales that we started a while ago. We read a couple original fairy tales to get an understanding of the types of features they had and then read many fractured fairy tales so we could start seeing what we authors change.

This chart isn't anything fancy, but each time we read a new fractured tale, kids noticed something different they changed, so we would add it.

When they began to write their own, they had to tell a partner which aspects they were changing. All the examples we read, plus this chart has made this unit so fun! Not to mention, it is the best writing they have done all year. Love ending on a positive!

Check out other anchor charts at Deb's linky and make sure you link up a chart as well!!

Oh, one last thing....

In honor of the 3 day weekend, summer fast approaching, and whatever else you want to celebrate, my latest project is a Flash Freebie in my store until 8 pm Monday night! Snag it while you can and don't forget to leave some love!

And... go!!



A Peek at one of my Final Weeks (3 to go...)

I'm just all about the linkys lately. I'm trying out a new one today in celebration of your "slide into summer." (I made that up... really it just means, from here on out, we've got more special events than we do normal days which will make the remainder of the school year fly). 

So here is...

I bought some papers from Krista Wallden's TpT store... I needed an excuse to use them so the backgrounds are credit to her Creative Clips!

Crystal Cave is Wisconsin's longest cave in Spring Valley. It'll be a bit if a trek (50 minute bus ride), but since the kids have been studying rocks and minerals in science, it'll be a great match! I have fond memories of going to the cave as kid when my mom ran a daycare out of our home. Crystal Cave was a trip we went on often. I'll have to put on my brave face with all the bats around though. :S

Reading A-Z has over 70 scripts in ranging levels (leveled by their own system as well as F & P levels, DRA levels, Lexiles...) The have some scripts that have 4-5 parts and others that have 8+ parts. They also have mixed level scripts to allow for readers at different levels to participate in the same script!

For more info on how we did this project click the photo below!

14 student days left! Here we go!



Anchors Away: Non-Fiction Anchor Charts

I need to do some disclosures:

1) I really should save this until next Monday, as this linky is made for Mondays and let's me honest, we're closer to the upcoming Monday as opposed to the past Monday. But... I'm not always the most logical, so we move on.

2) These 2 charts are NOT my own! They were actually done by some of our instructional coaches in the district at one of our Professional Developments on Literacy this year. One reason I am blogging about them is because these have been on my phone for months and I completely forgot about them! I figured if I blogged about them, I'd be more likely to recall them for next year, as I think they are great when you begin a non-fiction unit!

So, now that that's over, I present my anchor charts for this installment of Anchors Away!

This chart is excellent as it shows multiple ways you can document your thinking while reading non-ficiton. Also, it gives sentence starters and visuals as to what it might look like! 

I love a good graphic organizer, but I also think it is important to teach students how they can create their own organizer with just a given piece of paper. This is a great reference chart for this. I would also add to this chart types of skills that you might use with each of these. For example, under the venn-diagram, maybe add the words compare/contrast or boxes and bullets add the words main idea/details. I'll still use graphic organizers, especially for ELs, but I like this idea also!

Bop over to Deb's Linky for more anchor charts!



And The Award Goes To...Biography Wrap Up Craftivity

Some of our best lessons come as a 'spur of the moment' moment. This end of unit lesson/activity was the perfect way to end our biography unit with little prep on my end, sparked creativity from my students, assessed some of the major skills we had been learning, and provided a TON of engagement! That is why I...

I didn't take pictures of the process... sorry! The reason: I truly was flying by the seat of my pants! I had no slides prepared with directions, I was modeling and making my own example for them to reference, and I was helping some of my students with communicating clear thoughts. However, I took pictures of their final projects and will walk you through the steps on how we did this! I did it over 3 days during the mini-lesson portion of our day for Reader's Workshop because it allowed nice natural pauses but you could do it start to finish in a day if you really needed to.

We've done a lot of work in this unit on identifying bold choices that help us define our subject's traits. We also focused on life lessons our subjects taught us. Typically 3rd graders are pretty cliche on their life lessons (Don't give up; follow your dreams) and actually, that is pretty developmentally appropriate. I was shocked with how unique, yet accurate life lessons students were able to identify and explain (see below some of their examples).

Here's some screen shots from some of the lessons leading up to this final activity. These are all examples/me modeling with our mentor texts.

This project was design to showcase that they were able to identify bold choices and life lessons of a person they read about in their biographies and create an award to give them.

Step 1: Pick your Subject & Prep
Students picked a person they had read about in their biographies. They then brainstormed the bold choices that defined their legacy, and thus, traits to match. Then, we came up with and named an award. This was the hardest part for them. They were pretty stuck. I then started pushing trying to use alliterations to help and some came up with some clever awards.

Step 2: Assemble Awards
I got real fancy for this part. I traced a lid of a huge animal crackers container we had left over from testing to make a template of the "medal." I then traced some "ribbons" and sent them to be copied on my favorite Michael's Card Stock paper (this paper has two different colors- one on each side- so you have a lot more options for colors without buying a ton of extra paper). Students cut them out, put the name of the award and the recipient and who it was given by on the medal. They could come up with a symbol too if they wanted to. Then on one ribbon, they wrote bold choices that helped that person 'earn' that award. On the other ribbon, they wrote life lessons that person taught them.

I was really impressed with their life lessons!

(I love this friends choices and lessons)

Step 3: Present
This part was fun! Each student came up and presented the award. I have 10 ELs. Any chance at practicing speaking clearly and loudly, I take. I've seen some of my kiddos really blossom this year with using stronger speaker voices. Even some students who are not ELs struggle with speaking loud enough for others to hear. So we reviewed expectations before we presented our awards.

Here's the fun part: they could not tell who their subject was. They just had to read the award title, bold choices, and life lessons. Then, the audience had to guess who the person was. It was really fun and made the other students who were not presenting pay attention to the speaker.

It wasn't the fanciest, and yes, there are grammatical errors here and there, but it gave me good insight into their work over this unit, was fun, and allowed for some creativity! Loved it!



Double Linky: Monday Made It & Anchors Away!

What an exciting Monday. Why you may ask? Well, for one, after today we only have 3 Mondays left folks until that summer bell rings and alarm clocks go off for nearly 3 months! That alone deserves a round of a applause.

What makes it even better? Why it's Monday Made It! I can't wait for summer to participate and create in Tara's Monday Made It Linky. It's gotta be one of my favs! I started a little project for the end of the school year (it's not done so this is more like a Half-Monday Made It) that I wanted to share in case you were trying to think of an end-of-year gift for your students. Stay tuned at the end for the debut of Deb Hanson's Anchors Away Anchor Chart Linky! I love anchor charts! This linky sounds perfect!

First-up: Monday Made It

(Alert: I started this project during the afternoon when I had beautiful sunshine streaming in our dirty windows. I then had to make dinner, do dishes, and laundry and didn't return to this lil' project until it was dark- thus, some photos are darker than others.)

Student Gift: Mini- Reusable Water Jugs

These are a work in progress. I'm still fancying them up and will add a little somethin' somethin' inside before I give them to the kiddos. 

What you'll need:

*Mini-Water Jugs (2 pack) from Dollar Store
*Metal tags from Office Depot (string version)
*Pens/Markers of your Choice (I'm partial to flairs... not to mention I just bought two packs on sale at Staples)
*Standard Address Labels (30 per page) from any office store
*Packing Tape

Write student names onto tags. I used my markers to add more colors.

Wrap the tag around the neck of the water jug (you can remove it to make it easier). These jugs come in a 2 pack for $1. They are BPA free and a perfect size for small hands. I'm not crazy about the color options (only green, red, and blue tops) but they'll work and with my markers and labels, it'll come hopefully turn out great! I tried to show you the size by using my flair pen.

I then created these labels. Because of font and the fact that these little boogers were tricky to maneuver and manipulate due to my super slow, dying Mac, I took just a screen shot so you can see the wording. However, you can create your own to meet your style and needs. The labels fit PERFECTLY on the front. I'll seal mine with some clear packing tape just so they hold for a little while. I know they will come off when they wash it, but if it last until they get them home, I'm a happy camper.

As much as I love to share what I'm up to, I love to see what others are doing and gain some inspiration. I'll be heading over to Tara's blog to check out the other Monday Made Its BUT first...

I love myself a good anchor chart. However, I'm always conflicted! I'm attracted to the super cute and decorated anchor charts with beautiful drawings and coloring that is perfect. As beautiful as those charts are however, they defeat the purpose of an 'anchor' chart if not created with the students. Anchor charts are supposed to be created with the students so that they take ownership of the learning. They also are more apt to correctly use the chart since they know how it was created. So I've really tried to balance. I try to prep my chart a bit ahead of time with a title, maybe some sort of structure or sentence frames and I mentally plan it out or sketch it on a post-it, but then, I work the rest with my students. Do they turn out super cute? No, not necessarily. But students reference them without me having to say anything. It's funny when we switch out charts how they still look up searching for an old chart (which reminds me- I need to take all those pictures of my charts and find a way to make a book or one of those mini-anchor chart stands to have up all year so students can reference a chart even if we have moved on.... there- I put it on my mental to-do list for next year). Because of this- I am so excited for this new linky hosted by Deb! I use all those cute charts (and those that just get to the nitty gritty of the topic) and rework them to work for my students, because let's face it; I'm still a newbie and I'm shocked at all the aha's I get when I look at how someone else thought through a process.

Ok, so now for my chart. It was hard for me to pick one. I post them on my blog all on one page and update it frequently. With that said, I don't really have any "new" ones I haven't blogged about yet. So I'm picking one that has more of a social focus because we literally see it and use it nearly every day.

Our Bully Circle Chart:

 I really love our Olweus Bully Prevention Program and how it really teaches to the bystander. We worked a lot with this structure this year. We did "Y" charts on how each role might "look like" "sound like" "feel like" so that when they are caught in a bullying situation or see it happening, they can identify their role and do something about it. I had the pictures already drawn in and this chart was created as an ending activity to see if they could correctly name each role. 

It now hangs above our door so whenever students leave the classroom, they know that even if they aren't the "bully" or a "victim," they play a role in bullying if they hear or see something and they are expected to do SOMETHING about it. (We've had other discussions on how to safely defend which ranges from just getting the victim out of the bully's line of fire or reporting to adults if you don't feel safe telling the bully to stop). I also love having this up in our room because when a bullying situation does happen, I ask those involved (one by one) to identify the role they played and what actions they need to do to move towards the defender role. It's a great reference tool and allows them to see how "close" they were to the bullying.

Now that I know about this awesome linky, I'll keep some of our newer charts a "secret" until I can reveal the here! For this week, I had to go with a throwback!

Ok. Now. You have a TON to go look at between Monday Made It and Anchors Away. I know I'll be spending my Monday evening bloggy browsing! Thanks for stopping by!


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