Saturday, February 22, 2014

It's Friday!

As I sit here working hard to get this published on an actual Friday, I have marveled at the contrast in the pictures I edited last week as opposed to this week. Last week...wintry, snowy fun! This week...sunshine and smiles...and I love them both! Only in Arkansas!

This week

Last week 

If you haven't figured it out yet, I love linking up with Doodle Bugs for her Five for Friday linky party! It is truly one of my favorites. 

I started this week under the weather. Well, more like death warmed over, but my sweet kiddos and teammates nursed me through Monday. Tuesday...I stayed home in bed to try to nurse myself. 

While I was coughing away at home, my sweet Katie Byrd dropped by school to give me a late Valentine gift. She wasn't expecting me to be home in bed, so she made her drive in from Conway to Cabot for nothing. Although, she did get to visit with Mrs. Whitt.

Good thing Vilonia is on her way home! The new addition to our Flamingo collection. :) Thank you, Katie Byrd!    

I just have to share the sweet, sweet sunshine and the warmth it brought with it this week, but I'll let the pictures do all the sharing for me!



We are a Responsive Classroom! And I LOVE that we are a Responsive Classroom!

A small piece of Responsive Classroom is our Morning Meeting. Each Morning Meeting consists of a greeting, a share, an activity, and a morning message.

Even though we were graced with sunshine and warmth, my kiddos were begging me for a snowball fight. This is one of their favorite activities!
We write our names on a blank piece of paper...wad it up....then Ready, Set, Fire! Snowballs are flying! We laugh (and control the uproar as much as possible) until I call time. 

When I call time, kiddos grab the nearest snowball and find the person to match the name written on it. Sometimes we simply greet each other, and other times I include a share. It may be something as simple as name your favorite book, or something more content driven.

Lots of movement in this activity!

We had a very rare visit by my Justin this week. He had an appointment in Cabot, so I asked him to stop by to say hello to the kiddos. Because they all hear so much about all my own kids, they usually love meeting them.

It didn't take me long to put him to work! Here he is working with a word study group!

Then later, I put him to work for me, labeling all our new books. 

How about some true randomness for you.....

These cute temporary tattoos came in our book order with the book Who Would Win? Rhino vs funny...

Fourth grade birthdays on Friday are always interesting but yummy!

Cleaning up my yard this afternoon, I found this big old girl. Boy did she startle me! I couldn't believe she was still out and about in February. She was easily the biggest black widow I have ever seen. I am sure that's not saying much since I have only personally seen a handful...three of them this year, but still she was honking huge, people!!

Now...let us get bookish!

You all know by now how much I enjoy sharing my love of all things BOOKS! 

Well...I got to thinking....why am I hogging all the book love? I mean the people I really want to share all the love are my kiddos. 

So I have decided that each week one or two of my lovely book lovers will share their own thoughts about their own reading in our very own Critic's Corner!

I know...what took so long, right?!

Here's to our first critics....

Critic's Corner

My sweet dystopian fan has much to share about The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau.

    "In City of Ember, we meet a girl named Lina Mayfleet and her friend, Doon Harrow. Both try to save their dying city, Ember. My favorite character was Lina Mayfleet, an energetic 12 year old girl who cares for and dearly loves her city. I liked this book because it is a fast paced book that keeps you turning pages as Lina and Doon keep discovering shocking and surprising things. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a fast paced, adventurous story. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars!" ~ Georgia

This horror fiction lover is a true fan of Mary Downing Hahn. She tells everyone she sees that she loves Deep and Dark and Dangerous!

"In Deep and Dark and Dangerous, we meet Ali. She is going on a trip with her aunt and her cousin, Emma. They go to a cabin to spend the summer, but when she meets Sissy, her summer changes. My favorite character in the book is Ali because she is always questioning and wanting new information, but she always seems clueless. I liked this book because it inspired me to read horror fiction, and I would definitely recommend it to my brother, Austin, just to scare him! I give this book 5 out of 5 stars" ~ Emma

Moving about some picture book love....

We celebrated President's Day with a reading of So You Want to Be President by Judith St. George. I know this is a true blue classic that has not escaped many of you, so I am sure I am not sharing anything awfully new here. But....ahem....look at the illustrator here... Yes, that would be one Mr. David Small of past posts...including last week's post, and here and here.  Hmmm....have you noticed a pattern?  I do love this illustrator, and his images and illustrations always carry the story even further! 
We read this beautiful and informative story, giggled here and there, and then wrote all about.."If I were president for the day, I would...." Very cute stuff...of course the number one thing all of our precious fourth graders would do is get rid of or close school. Not much job security for me there. :)

Since all the fourth graders want to close the school house down, maybe I should give it a shot as president and tell them school for always!

My Teacher for President by Kay Winters is a cutie patootie! Sure makes me think I have what it takes!

My latest chapter book venture has been a precious little fantasy fiction by Kathi Appelt. I actually picked this one up for a former student because I knew that Ms. Appelt was one of her favorite authors. Then I picked it up for myself and started reading... The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, and I am so glad that I did. This is the colorful story of the myths and legends of Sugar Man Swamp and its true blue scouts, raccoons Bingo and J'miah. Lots of beautiful language in this beauty!

With this one, I have well passed my goal to read the forty books I asked my kiddos to read this year, and honestly, so are many of them. But we all continue to spend our days surrounded by amazing books and the sweet students that love to share them! That makes for one happy teacher!

With that....I will say goodnight, friends. I am oh so tired and up way past my bedtime, and I am thinking I am really not sure that I can consider this published on Friday since it is just after 12... oh well

Happy Reading, friends!

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Five for Friday ~ Valentine's Day

Yes...yes...I know! I am even later than usual, but you know I wouldn't be me if I weren't waiting until the last minute with an incredibly LONG post for you.

Believe it or not, I started this post on Friday night. Hence the Five for Friday linky, but somewhere in the middle of editing pictures and the contemplation of the direction of said blog post, I passed out. I am talking sudden loud snore wakes me with computer sliding down my lap passed out! Surely it wasn't the festivities of Valentine's Day in a room of sugared up fourth graders that did me in. Haha...such an exciting life I lead.

Well...with no further ado.... 


Thank you, thank you, thank you.... I have such a generous and thoughtful group of kiddos and parents. If doing what I love, with people I love, everyday was not enough to make me feel blessed, the smiles, hugs, and thoughtfulness of those I teach truly reminds me of how lucky I am!

The love continued at home with my own kiddos this weekend... 


I woke up Saturday morning to find a card, flowers, and candy from Justin, and if that wasn't pleasant and surprising enough, Derrick took his dad and I to lunch at our favorite restaurant, KanPai. Yumm....he then presented me with my new Jawbone Up! I hope to use this to help me get myself back on track to a healthier me. 




True and random happiness is watching a kid play in the snow! We were gently kissed by snow during a recent school day, and ohhs and ahhhs prevailed. Mrs. Whitt and I thought we could try, and probably fail, to keep our excited kiddos focused, or we could let them run wild and free for a few minutes. In the end, we ALL had fun and created cherished memories! Just look at all those tongues. ;)



Have I mentioned how awesome our parents are? Mr. Chris Brown from Entergy brought his friend, Mr. Marty, to do a demonstration about electricity with our fourth graders!

Our kiddos wrote thank you letters afterwards. Some of them totally cracked me up!





Goodness...we have some creative kiddos parents! Hehe...I know that some parents love this part of school Valentines while others would rather skip it, but the kiddos sure smile ear to ear as they walk in with their decorated boxes!



We sent some sugared up kiddos home Friday night, but we all had a blast sharing the love!



My sweet friend, Sarah, from Hungry While Teaching works with our school's K-Kids. She was sort of volunteered for the job, but she has taken off with this group of precious kiddos. I was lucky enough to tag along with her on their latest service project. The kiddos gave Valentine treats and cards to local nursing home residents. It was certainly a touching experience! There were a couple of us with tears in our eyes as we watched these kiddos interact with the senior the end, all involved were smiling. 

Technically that should be the end of my rambling since I hit the 5 in Five for Friday, but I do have a bit randomness to share...but don't forget to visit Doodle Bugs to find even more fun school randomness!

I love when my Katie Byrd stops by out of the blue for a does Mr. Dunn!


 It makes me smile to see my kiddos successfully working together!

These girlies escaped from the wild that is indoor recess to the quiet calm of the hallway to make bracelets.

Rewards come to those that work hard...this little man enjoyed his deep dish pizza after working hard to reach a goal...hopefully more pizza will be in our future...soon!

Responses like this make my heart sing! True growth in reading right there, people! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, it!

This is what our extra fitness looks like on an overwhelming and cold, rainy day...meditation does the body (and mind ;) good!

Sometimes my girlies make the best lunch dates!

Now...time for some BOOK LOVE!

Guess what came in this week? orders!

Found this cutie on Facebook a while back...
would love to give credit where credit is due...

So of course that is just what I looked may very well be correct if you think I need an intervention! But oh how I love to open that box of new heavenly!

In honor of our One School One Book Program with Mr. Popper's Penguins, I picked up quite a few penguin picture books...two of my faves are...

One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo and illustrated by David Small is so stinking cute! It is a Caldecott Honor book for 2012, and there is no question as to why it deserves to be! 

If you have followed me for long, you know my love for Mr. David Small! You can read posts about him here, and here.  

I just loved little gentleman, Eliot! He and his father have a very unique way of sharing their passions! And no doubt many of our kiddos will recognize some familiar names in this one if they have been reading Popper's Penguins.

Penguin in Love by Salina Yoon is perfectly timely with Valentine's Day upon us! Such a lovely story of perseverance, kindness, and friendship! What a cute way to revisit common themes in literacy!
I just finished up Kate DiCamillo's Newberry Award winning book Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures! I must say that it was precious cute! There were many things I loved about it, but most of all I loved how the sweet and quirky Flora will connect with so many of my kiddos. I actually connected with her! Watching her struggle with and sort out her family relationships made me giggle...her mom is something doubt my very own lovelies think of me much the same.  And I know that my kiddos are going to totally dig the illustrations by K.G. Cambell. Perfect mix of text and graphics... so fun! I can't wait to put this in my kiddos' hands!

Goodness....has this been a ridiculously long post or what? Thanks for sticking with me and my dramatically long pauses in blogging! 

I am off to make dinner for the hubby, and then take a walk to rack up some steps on this new Jawbone Up of mine. ;)

Happy Reading, friends!

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