Wednesday, December 3, 2014

I am thankful...

The week before Thanksgiving, I asked my students to write down 10 things that they were thankful for. I was really surprised at some of the answers.

A couple of them said that they were thankful for me, their teacher. That was really sweet.

More than a handful said that they were thankful for Army Math - my little math facts program in my classroom that only takes 5 minutes a day. I was so shocked.

One of my students wrote, "I am thankful for this class because we do Army Math and it helped me learn my multiplication facts super duper fast now I know facts up to 2-12."

It just made me smile...SO big.

Now let me tell ya....there were some things that they were thankful for that literally had me rolling on the floor. I could not stop laughing.

Here is one of them:

To read the rest of my favorites, go check out my blog post on Syllabuy HERE. I get the privilege of being a guest blogger. I am so excited to be a part of it!

Have you checked out Syllabuy before? It's a new website that is from the same site as Funding Factory, which helps schools raise money. Go check it out!

Sunday, November 30, 2014


So I'm going to be really honest here. Maybe, just maybe, my story can help someone else. Maybe my story will resonate with someone else.

Since I moved home from Korea, I have been struggling. Struggling pretty bad. I haven't opened up about it to a lot of people. But I feel the need to open up to my cyber friends, my blogging buddies. Maybe it's easier since I've never met you.

I have been lonely. Not just regular plain ole loneliness. But an aching loneliness that's deep in my heart. The other day while sitting in the parking lot of a grocery store, I just sat there and cried.

Don't get me wrong. I've been lonely before but never anything like this. I have friends, but I don't have many friends that I hang out with on a regular basis. I did before I left Korea, but for whatever reason I don't now as much. There are days when I come home from school and don't talk to anyone until the next morning at school again. I miss my friends from Korea. There was a camaraderie among us that I have never ever had before. I desperately miss my closest friend who is still in Korea. We loved to do the same things. We hung out at least once a week. It gave me something to look forward to every single week.

I miss that. I miss having someone who can make me laugh. I miss having someone in my life who understood what I was going through. I miss friendship.

It's hard. It's not like I'm in college any more and have a plethora of ways to meet people. Church singles groups are sometimes a little lame. Online dating doesn't entice me in the least. Going to bars or clubs is just not my thing.

Most people my age are married with kids. I'm 41 years old. Yes, I thought I'd be married with kids by now, but that hasn't happened.

And the holidays are rough for someone who is single but aches to have their own family. Actually, let's be real. Often the holidays are just plain torture.

I believe that God has a plan for my life and that He knows what's going on.

I'm sure I'm not the only one out there who struggles or has struggled with loneliness.

I know this hasn't been a "normal" post, but I felt like I was supposed to share it. Who knows why.

I'm trusting God. I don't understand it. But I'm trusting him.

I apologize for going outside the norm and opening up like that. Hopefully, you didn't mind too much.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Cyber Sale

2 Thanksgivings down, 1 more to go. Thankfully I only hosted one of them.

Did you guys venture out for Black Friday? Not this chick! I went years ago at about 8:30 in the morning to Kohl's and came out from the store only to find that someone had hit my car. And no, they didn't leave a note. It was a HUGE dent, a big enough dent that they obviously had to know that they hit me. I had to call the police and everything. So to me, Black Friday is just not worth it.

Instead, I slept late and then took my newest dog, Georgia, to the vet for a wellness check. Good news! She is not 13 1/2 years old like the shelter said. She is only about 5 years old. Woo-hoo!

Oh, and since all my friends were posting pictures of their kids and saying, "These are 2 reasons why I'm thankful", I felt like I had to join in even though I'm single and don't have any human children. I do, however, have furry children. So here are my 3 reasons why I'm thankful this year.

Have you heard about the big sale coming in a couple of days?

Special thanks to 3am Teacher for the adorable graphics!

Be sure to use the code TPTCYBER when you check out!

We all know our kiddos are going to be crazy wackadoo during these weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Have you seen my Fun Ready-to-Go Game Boards? You can review a concept in any subject and have fun while you're doing it! You can use questions that you make up, task cards, textbook questions, and so much more. You can have them work in small groups, with partners, or as a whole class answering one question at a time.

Here are a couple of examples:

Hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Favorite Thanksgiving Recipe

Let's do a fun Thanksgiving link up party! I don't know about you, but I LOVE getting new recipes...especially recipes that are tried and true and tested by people that I know. Nothing is worse than trying a recipe, and it turns out crummy.

So link up and share your favorite Thanksgiving recipe!

I will start this party and share two of my favorite recipes.

This one became famous in a round about kind of way. Years ago at school, a fellow teacher asked if I knew any great vegetable side dishes. I shared my Meme's (grandma) corn recipe. On the card next to the corn, she wrote "Angela's Grandma's Famous Corn Recipe". So it became famous. It's that good. And now I'm sharing it with you!

Angela's Grandma's Famous Corn Recipe

2 bags corn (Green Giant)                                           
1-2 sticks butter (I use just 1 but stir it often)
8 oz. cream cheese                                                      
jalapeno peppers to taste, chopped

Cook all ingredients for 3 hours on low in crock pot.

Earthquake Cake

1 box German chocolate cake mix                               
1 cup chopped pecans                                                            
1 cup coconut  
1 large pkg cream cheese (8 oz)                                                           
16 oz powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 stick butter

Sprinkle pecans and coconut on bottom of 9x13 pan (don’t use a low pan because it will run over the edge). Mix cake mix according to box directions and pour over pecans and coconut. Mix in bowl: melted butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla (I find it easier to melt butter and cream cheese and then gradually add powdered sugar). Bake in oven at 350˚ for about 45 minutes. The cake mix and icing will mix all together and therefore look like an “earthquake” hit it. Easy to make and always a hit!

Link up and join the party! I can't wait to get some new recipes!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Five for FRIDAY!

It's Friday before Thanksgiving. And yes, I'm actually posting my Five for Friday on FRIDAY!

Miracle, right?

Well, I am so excited that I just can't hide it. I have ALL next week OFF!!!!!

Can I get a big 'ole WOO-HOO?

You might be asking, "Angela, what are your plans?"

Well, my plans are simple. My plan is to stay in my pajamas as much as possible. And sleep in of course.

Head on over to Doodle Bugs and read up on what everyone is up to.

Let's get this party started!

Last weekend I went to College Station for the Texas A&M football game with my uncle. It was cold. SO cold. And it rained. Which made it colder. I wore my Korean thermals, and I was still cold. But it sure was awesome to be surrounded by other Aggies. I always feel home when I go there. There's just something about it. Do you have a place like that?

I have a student in my classroom who is quite a few grade levels behind 3rd grade. It's a struggle to keep him reading silently during silent reading time. My principal shared this idea with me, and I thought it was fantastic. It actually works! Now he can read silently for 10 minutes, which I am greatly pleased.

You get a file folder and label it like the following. The student puts all their books on the "Time to Read" side. He reads each book and puts it on the "Time to Reread" side afterward. Then when all the books are on the "Time to Reread" side, he rereads them. This continues back and forth until time is up. Now my students read silently for 30 minutes. That's a bit too long for my friend, so we focus on 10 minutes.

It's such a simple idea, but it sure does work!

We did a little Thanksgiving writing today today. If I was a turkey for Thanksgiving, I would say "Don't eat me!" because...

This was my all-time favorite one. I literally laughed out loud at this one.

You can pick this little diddy up for free in my TpT store!

Today we reviewed for math with my Thanksgiving Solve the Room. I went a little off the grid for our lesson plans (shh...don't tell), and I didn't have a whole lot of time to do all the problems. So instead of putting the problem cards up all over the room and having the kids walk around, I decided to change it up. I put one question up at a time up on the projector. Each partner pair had one game board, two game pieces, and a dice. 

They solved the problem in their math notebooks. Then if they got it right, they got to roll the dice and move their game piece. They LOVED it! It made me so happy to see them having so much fun while learning. Love moments such as these.
Can you see the excitement? He even did a little dance in his chair.

Now for the biggest news in my life this week...

I got a new foster dog...Georgia. And she's wonderful. And beautiful. And sweet. And loving. I'm not sure I'll be able to let her go. She even gets along well with my two dogs.

Seriously. Could you give her up?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Five for Fraturday!

How was your week? Besides the fact that my students didn't get outdoor recess for 3 days because of the rain (and there was a full moon), it was a pretty great week.

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs to share about it. Head on over and check out what everyone's week looked like!

Let's get it started!

I used to have a swimming pool, an above ground pool that was set two feet into the ground. I also had a deck pretty much all around the pool. I put it in 7 years ago. A couple of weeks ago, we took it out. The pool was becoming too much of a hassle instead of a joy. Things were starting to fall apart...the pool liner, the deck, etc. So I just decided to stop putting money into it and take it out.

We filled in the hole with dirt and just laid sod this week. This is what it looks like now. In the next couple of months, I plan to plant a couple of trees to block the neighbors behind me. Strange that they never put up curtains or anything in the upstairs windows. I used to be able to see their daughter run around without any clothes on when she was little. Talk about awkward.

I'll post some more pics when I have updated it more.
We learned about complete sentences this week. To help them understand it I taught them them to answer these two questions...Who? and Did what? and put them into a Who/Did What chart. Then the students looked in the books that they were reading for complete sentences, putting them in the correct spots in their chart.

Let's be real here. I don't know about you, but I am so tired of all the little tattling that my students do. We have implemented the Tattling Book. We have talked about the difference between a tattle and a report. But one thing I have discovered is that they just do not know how to handle it themselves. It's up to us, the adults, to teach them. So I taught them how to say this. I modeled it. They practiced saying it to their partners. I am pretty sure I learned about it years ago, but I don't remember where. Now when they tell me how another student is bothering them, I ask them if they tried this first. It has really been helping.

What do you use as behavior incentives in your classroom? We use STAR bucks in my classroom. They are "bucks" in different denominations, with each one having a different Star Wars character. Instead of printing them out in color (I don't want to use that much ink), I just print each denomination on a different color paper.

On Fridays, the bank is open for them to exchange their bucks. They can also buy prizes on Fridays. Most of my prizes don't involve me spending any money. You can check out our prize list on Google Drive HERE. Feel free to download it and use it in your classroom!

I just love to see them counting their bucks and figuring out how they can exchange it for bigger bucks. They are working on number sense, place value, counting money, and critical thinking skills, and they don't even know it!

classroom management

My students are always telling me how many STAR bucks they have. They LOVE them! They can earn STAR bucks for of course their behavior, but they also receive them for doing great on summative assessments. If they make an 80 or above, they earn 50 bucks and come to the front of the classroom while everyone gives them a "10-finger woo". If they make a 100, they earn 100 bucks and come to the front of the classroom and get a "10-finger woo" from everyone. I think that's their favorite part...having their classmates congratulate them.

If you want to check out STAR bucks for your classroom, click HERE.

We started our multiplication unit this week. Some of my students are picking up on it so quickly! To help differentiate and challenge my higher learners, I am having them create their own multiplication problems. This is one of the problems that my students came up with. Guess we'll need to work on run-on sentences...

I have a student in my class that is not quite on third grade level, so I printed out a multiplication chart and put it in a sheet protector page for him. I taught him how to use his dry erase marker to multiply the two numbers together and find the product. He did so great that I was so excited. He was even thinking of his own problems to try. This actually came out of his mouth, "I'm going to multiply 12 times 12. Look, it's 144!" Made me a proud teacher.

I have more than 5 things to share. Hope you're OK with that!

For my students that finished their assignments early, I was just having them read silently at their desk. But I wanted to challenge them. So I used my Choice Boards to create a different kind of Choice Board for my classroom. Instead of having several reading activities to choose from or several math activities, I just chose one activity from each subject. Students can choose which activity they want to do. I told them that the best ones would be hung up. I was not getting quality work, so I modeled an example for them.

These are two of the anchor charts I got after I modeled my example. I think they did pretty well!

Here are my two little "helpers" this morning as I work on my laptop. I love it when they "help" me and keep me company.

Oh, and here's a little funny for ya this week! I just HAD to share it because it's so darn hysterical. One of my good friends shared it with me on Facebook.

Hope you had a fabulous week! Say "HOWDY" and leave a comment. I LOVE comments!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Five for Fraturday

I am working on blogging more during the week, but lately I come home and just want to veg in front of the couch. Please tell me that I'm not the only one who feels like that!

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs to share some tidbits from my week. Head on over and join the party!

Well it didn't take long for me to rearrange some things around my room. You know how it think something will work out in a particular spot, but lo and behold, it doesn't. My awesome word wall that I spent SO much time making is now no longer. I needed the wall space, so now my word wall is on the cabinets. I quite like it. And since I am self-contained and teach all subjects I wanted to be able to identify which subject the words came from. So I came up with the nifty idea of drawing a colored dot in the right-hand corner of each card. The students enjoy helping me come up with vocabulary words that should be on the word wall. I just love my students!

We started a new unit in math this week....multiplication. I introduced "____ groups of ____", and I had the students come up with some pictures and write "____ groups of ____", writing in the correct numbers. We also talked about how we need to label the pictures. They did such a good job and just loved sharing them with their partners.

The next day we took it a little further, and they had to come up with the story problem, the picture, the labels, the "____ groups of ____" statements, and the multiplication sentence. I walked around the room and chose several students to go to the front of the room and share theirs with the class. The students got SO upset if I didn't pick them!

I think they did a fabulous job. How do you teach multiplication?
We had a test on Communities and Explorers on Friday. On Wednesday, I passed out a study sheet for the test and taught the students how to create questions and answers from the study sheet. I passed out little slips of paper and had them put the question on the front and the answer on the back. They did such a great job! Then I let them work with their partners to ask each other their questions. They loved it!

On Thursday, we played a review game based on some review questions that I had made. I made up this game and call it Snake Eyes, based on Bunco (which I play once a month with my Bunco group). I put the question up under the document camera and had them answer the question with their partner. They had to discuss and agree on an answer beforehand. On the count of 3, I had them hold up their boards. If they got it right, they got to roll the dice.

Each partner pair had two dice to roll. If they rolled a 3 and a 6, they added them together to make 9. Then they multiplied by 10 to make 90 and wrote 90 on their board in the points box. If they roll two 1's, then they rolled Snake Eyes and lose ALL their points. They loved, loved, loved it! I had one partner pair get Snake Eyes twice. They were laughing as it happened. It's such an easy game to set up and play, and the kids don't realize that they are learning and reviewing. It's a win-win!
I use Whole Brain Teaching in my classroom, and I absolutely love it. One of the aspects of Whole Brain Teaching is the scoreboard. The scoreboard is between the teacher and the students. Either you get a point or they get a point. How do they earn a point? Following directions quickly, everyone working quietly, everyone on task, etc.

Well, this week they beat me one day. Of course, I was very dramatic and played it up. They loved it, especially when I acted so hurt and sad that I had lost.

Because they won, they got a one-minute party. Yep, just one minute. I chose to introduce them to the Crazy Frog Song that my girls, Mina and Seora, in Korea had loved. I still remember them dancing to it this day.

Well, it was a HUGE hit. I have never seen such big smiles. I was dancing too!

And here it is....the Crazy Frog Song. Have you seen it?

How was your week? Aren't you glad it's the weekend? And am I the only one who is already looking forward to Thanksgiving?