Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas Break Catch Up - Part II

Still catching up! does not pay to get behind in blogging...

So many pictures to share! Let's start with our class Christmas tree.

A friend sent me a picture of something similar and recommended I try it for my class. I am sure it is a Pinterest find. This was our version. :)

I have so many favorite picture books. Well, at least that's what my kiddos tell me..."Mrs. Dunn you always say they're your favorite"...

This one is a classic, and by sharing it, I know that I am probably not sharing anything you haven't already taught with this a dozen times over.

But seriously, I just can't help myself. I LOVE Dr. Seuss! You are never too old for a good ol' life lesson wrapped up in some magical rhyming fun!

Now...around this time of year everyone pops out with their Elf on a Shelf craziness....I mean my kiddos come in every morning,"Mrs. Dunn last night my elf...."

I have never been an Elf on the Shelf kind of girl, but after reading How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, I had to pull out my Grinch.

Since my husband always calls me the Grinch of the family (long story there, probably something to do with ripping the Christmas tree out of the house each year on his birthday, the day after Christmas...;) ... I digress... since I am the Grinch of our family, I have a soft spot for the fuzzy green fellow. A couple of years ago, I picked up my very own Grinch from Kohl's. I just love the Kohl's Cares program, and if you have taken my class tour, you have no doubt seen the results all over the shelves.

Well....I pulled out our very own Grinch and mischief ensued!


The kiddos LOVED it, so I put up with the distraction for their sake. Those that know me closely know just how difficult of a task that was for me, but I have no doubt that Mr. Grinch will probably make an appearance next year. We had some great writing ideas for our notebook thanks to his crazy antics.

I have to share a couple of books for you, and then I am off to catch up on other all too often neglected tasks.

First is a throw-back to last year...

I want to revisit my ALL TIME favorite Christmas picture book, Red Ranger Came Calling by Berkeley Breathed.

Mr. Breathed has perfectly narrated the tale of his father ~ the self-proclaimed Red Ranger of Mars. This sour-faced little boy is sent to spend Christmas on the damp little island of Vashon were in the end the true meaning of Christmas and faith prevails over "promises hatched by those who weren't very good at keeping them..." and other such twaddle.

I just had to share a few more kiddos LOVED it!

Funny what belief in someone can do!


Red Ranger Came Calling, Berkeley Breathed

If you were to ask most anyone at our school what my favorite Christmas book is, I would not be surprised that they could tell you The Red Ranger Came Calling. They might even ask you a favor in tell me to stop showing them my beloved book over and over again! Again, I just can't help myself!

Now for a great chapter book....

Last night I read a great little dystopian tale...

A friend of mine posted about this book on her Instagram, and I thought I would give it a try! Only $2.99 on Amazon Kindle...whoohoo...I am so glad that I did. 

In Stung by Bethany Wiggins, we follow Fiona as she struggles to come to terms with the foreign and shattered world she awakens in...When the honeybee population collapses, bio-engineered bees cause a worldwide pandemic, and a government botched cure shows that man should be careful how much it plays with mother nature. 

You must have noticed by now my weakness for a good dystopian book. This one was different from so many others that I have read, and I love it for that!

Well...with that ladies and gents...I will say goodbye for now....just until we play catch up again. ;)

Happy Reading, friends!

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Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Break Catch Up - Part I

Hello my long, lost friends...

I hope all of you are enjoying your break and time with your family as much as I am. It has been unusual for us in that the hubby has had a week off with us. A WHOLE WEEK! That NEVER in 20 years of marriage-never-happens! So I must admit: it has been a wonderfully relaxing, aka LAZY (I am talking jammies for days lazy) and terribly fun to be home with the family.

No doubt you have noticed my lack of blogging as a result...did I mention lazy in there somewhere? However, I went back I looked at last year's posts, and I was a little off in my blogging around this time way back then, too. I guess that means I can't blame it on the hubby! LOL...I will just blame it on all the parties, and shopping, and family, and food, and more parties, and presents, and more food....and, and...well, I guess you get the idea.

Anywhooo....I was thinking.

Scary, I know... but I was thinking that if I can ever drag my jammied self to the computer, I might just try to get in a few short posts here and there to get you all caught up on our little part of the world.

Yay....decision made... short posts if at all possible!

So I will start with the positive reward cards Mrs. Whitt and I used with the kiddos in the crazy days just before our know...that super-crazy-kids-are-thinking-about-everything-but-what-I-am-trying-to-teach-days!

I found Kady at the TeacherTrap and her awesome reward cards! She called them Freebies for Peace...yes FREEBIES and PEACE! Two completely awesome things, haha!

These are so super fun and easy, and the kiddos absolutely LOVE them! If they see the coupons come is MAGIC how well behaved, and quiet, and attentive, and oh my did I say magic, they become!

If you get a moment, you might want to drag your jammied self to the computer to download them... You have to check out her blog. Lots of great goodies!

Here are a few of the kiddos enjoying the Teacher Time and Show & Tell coupons..



More of their favorites were the Specialty Seating and Stinky Feet...and of course the Crash the Computer was a total hit!

I think I may be heading out of the "short post" range, but I just have to share a couple of books that I have read. Actually, I think I have read a ton since I last posted about finishing Allegiant by Veronica Roth....but I will just mention a couple of faves until my next short post, wink wink....

The Cuckoos Calling by Robert Galbraith (also known as J.K. Rowling) was a wonderful mystery. I am not usually a huge fan of the genre, but I loved this one. As I read, it was difficult to not sit and marvel (or be blindingly jealous) at the limitless talent of J.K. Rowling. Such amazingly descriptive storytelling; I was captivated until the end. I truly could not wait to find out "who did it!" I don't know if their will be more with this new P.I. Cormoran Strike, but I will be watching and waiting for the next case!

And oh my....The Scorpio Races! I have become a big fan of Maggie Stiefvater this year having read Shiver, The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, and The Scorpio Races

Let me start by saying I had to dig in deep when I started this wild ride of a book...I can tell you at first I wasn't so sure where I sat with this one. It was all a bit much for me, these magical water horses and their riders, Puck and Sean. But by the end, I was chomping at the bit (no pun intended ;) to find out just how Stiefvater would resolve who wins in a world where she made me desperately want them both to win....sooooo good and so completely different! LOVED it!

Neither one of these amazing books are books that I would recommend for my kiddos. It totally drives them nuts when I share tidbits of my home reading, and they know they won't get to pick it up for years. Hehehe... I love sharing my own love of reading, and driving them all crazy at the same time. Win/win! :) 

I truly have so many more great reads to share, but I will stop there for the moment as I am sure I have slipped well past that ever elusive short post!

Happy Reading, friends!

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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Currently December

Oh my goodness...December is upon us! Just yesterday I was blogging about back-to-school, and now we are gearing up for some pretty intense learning, despite Christmas Break looming ahead. I am sure each and every kiddo will be completely focused in the upcoming weeks....wink, wink.

It seems forever since I have sat down to post, but I have no excuses really, just life.....I have enjoyed some seriously fun and silly time with my family. It is not often that I can wrangle grown kids into "family time," so when I do, I take full advantage!

Because it has been so long between posts, I want to catch you up through pictures....

Let's start with December's Currently...

Most of my Currently is self-explanatory. hubby is not feeling himself, so I have spent much of today trying to nurse him back to health...and my favorite tradition...well, as my kids grow up, become more independent, and move out, I realize how important it is for me to have them all together on Christmas morning. I don't know how much longer I will have that wonderful gift, but I will certainly treasure it while I do.

Oh' boy fourth gradeBe sure to stop by Farley's Oh' Boy 4th Grade to see what everyone else is Currently up to!

We wrapped up our November with our pumpkin projects. Mrs. Whitt and Mrs. Barnhill had some amazingly creative founding fathers projects turned in. More than once, I heard kiddos and teachers alike share how fun this project was. 

Mrs. Whitt arranged for a local Native American enthusiast to come and speak to the kiddos just before Thanksgiving Break. He brought some of his own locally found artifacts, and Mrs. Whitt even shared some of her own. 


The wood duck carving was an artifact found and treasured by her father, and it was even featured on the cover of the book, The History of McRae, Arkansas. 

Some of our kiddos have enjoyed sharing picture book read alouds with their classmates. I love seeing how excited they are to share.

Yay! Our Sunny D books came in. :)

We've had some awesome new additions to our classroom library. Our first box of books from the Sunny D came in! It was like an early Christmas! Then not too long later, a sweet kiddo cleaned off his book shelf and donated even more great titles. You can NEVER have too many books!

Both my class and Mrs. Whitt's class brought in tons of goodies for our annual food drive!

We are wrapping up our unit of Reading Like a Scientist, and although along the way we have learned much about Mars and our solar system in general, our true growth has been in reading nonfiction texts and really picking them apart, like a scientist!

The Dollar Word chart comes from our reading of  Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea.  We are really enjoying so many different points of view as each chapter is narrated by a different character. One of the projects Mr. Terupt does with his class is searching for dollar words. What are $1 words....assign a cent value to each letter...A=.01 B=.02 C=.03 and so one...up to Z=.26. For any word, add up the values of each letter, and if the sum is $1, it's a $1 word. 

The kiddos have had tons of fun finding $1 words... this little book has been a lot of fun in our search as well.

Here are some random happenings around the classroom the past couple of weeks...

I was very excited to have a former kiddo come
back to job shadow me. My current kiddos enjoyed
her visit as much as I did. She was a great help!

The kiddos pick the craziest places
to call a comfy book nook.

Sometimes kiddos earn extra computer time during
their reading workshop...this sweetie is checking
out our blog!

Mrs. Hanna was our "stuffed turkey" just
before break. The three classes with the
highest food donations got to stuff her!

A little randomness from the house....

My sweet babies look bionic with their glowing eyes!

After stuffing ourselves on Thanksgiving, my sisters
and I headed out for our annual Black Friday craziness...
Here's my mom and little sister setting up a plan of attack!
Such a crazy thing to do - Black Friday - but we make it fun
and light-hearted. 

Alright...I truly have more to share, but then this post would be forever long! I will try to touch base soon with some great book recommendations and share what I have been reading in my goal to read as much as my kiddos do. 

I had a great friend express how much she misses our Picture Book a Day, so I will make that a goal to get back to real soon.

With that I will say good night and happy reading...I am off to recover from tonight's Walking Dead.

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