Friday, January 31, 2014

Five for Friday with a cranky computer

Happy Friday, friends!

After fighting with my laptop forever now, I have my fingers crossed that I will get this posted on an actual Friday, so that I can join Doodle Bugs for Five for Friday!

These are totally random and probably all out of order, but here goes....just hoping to get it posted before I have to shut down and restart this cranky laptop for the fifth time :/ ...

My kiddos love playing hangman with our word study words on our desks with dry erase markers...just look at that concentration!

I had a great dinner with friends.

We spent a bit of time shopping around the local stores, and you just have to know I fell in love with this display! Loved it! I think it would feel much more at home in my classroom! What do you think?


I love our morning meetings! It is so fun to start our day on such a positive note. I so wish I could have video taped today's activity...I smiled forever after our little dance party. Goodness, my kids have got some moves, and they even try to hold back the giggles as they watch me try to keep up. 

The messages above are perfect and quick little grammar discussions. I try to throw as much as I can into each one. 



Each week we spend a little extra time participating in a fitness lesson or activity in the classroom. I usually try to get us outside on the track in the beautiful sunshine as much as possible, but mother nature has just not been playing nice lately. After being stuck inside with these wild hooligans, I just knew I had to try something that would be great exercise and calming all at the same time. Haha....hence our yoga lesson! Well, they either LOVED it or hated it. I sure got a kick out of watching it.


Reading workshop is always my favorite time of the day. I mean...HELLO....let's all sit back and relax and read an amazing book of our choice!

In our reading workshop, I have fallen hopelessly in love with our reader's notebooks. (Yes, I know. I am a broken record, but I can't help but to share!) It has taken me years to get into the swing of using them in a way that works best for us, but no matter how much work it is, what I learn from them can never be replaced! I have been so proud of some of my kiddos and so frustrated just the same. Strengths and weaknesses both shine through, guiding each conference!

This little cutie had a question regarding exactly why an author choose to write a particular scene in her book the way she did, so we had an impromptu conference and jumped on the Chromebook to do a little research. Then she found the author's website and sent her an email. So much packed in that small amount of time, and she walked away smiling, ready to jump back into her book! 

Before I leave you for the night, I have a couple of new books to share with you!

We are finishing up our unit on Sacajawea.

Just like last year, this group of kiddos has thoroughly enjoyed this unit.

Doesn't Sacajawea look completely different on each cover!
She certainly doesn't look like the teenager she was when
she helped Lewis and Clark LOL

This year I added a couple of new titles to our Lewis and Clark/ Sacajawea collection.

Lewis and Clark for Kids by Janis Herbert is jam packed with photographs and activities! 

After discovering that Lewis took his dog on this amazing journey and having fun discussions about it, we were totally pumped to find this beautiful picture book, Seaman's Journal, by Patricia Reeder Eubank. The kiddos pounced on this as soon as it came in, and they could hardly contain themselves. Each student that read it would end up pointing out one fact or another that reminded them of all that we had learned. The illustrations in this book are beyond amazing, and I love that this is from the point of view from the dog. We had pretty much talked about everyone else's point of view; why not the dog?

With that ladies and gents...I will say goodnight. I made it through another 2 shutdowns and restarts, so I will give this old girl a rest for now. (Me and the computer, LOL)

I'm letting Derrick say goodnight to you, too! I have no real reason to add this picture but that I came across it, and it made me smile! Love my big boy...and shhhhh...don't tell him I added this. ;) He'd probably fuss at me. LOL

Don't forget to stop by  Doodle Bugs for Five for Friday and check out all the amazing bloggers out there!

Happy reading!

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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Finally Caught Up :)! It is the last day of our break!

I should not be surprised that the time has flown, and I accomplished very little on my to do list. 

However, I did spend some great time with the kids and with the hubby and read some really awesome books, and for that I am grateful!

This weekend I took baby steps to get ready to face the real world again...

Look at that clean room.... yes, I can see my desk, ladies and gents! Whoo hoo...don't the end of the day Monday it will be lost in a sea of papers and books again, but Friday it was looking clean and organized. I spent the afternoon preparing for the next week. Plans and copies are ready to go!

I headed back to school Saturday afternoon to tackle this stack of papers that have desperately needed to be graded/edited. Crazy that I have to go to school to get it done, but I have carried these same papers back and forth between school and home for weeks now. I decided I would sit in the quiet of my room - no Facebook, no Instagram, no Twitter, no T.V. - just me and these papers. Well, me and that big ol' cup of coffee...I came prepared! 

These are the last of the December pics that I have been dying to share.

Mrs. Whitt had a parent come in and take these adorable Christmas pictures of all of our kiddos! I love how they turned out! Aren't they they cutest!

And here are a few of my own Christmas pics... 

Katie Byrd and Justin

Joshua and Katie Byrd

Christmas with my dad :)

Christmas at home :)

OK...with that I think I am all caught up on our December. here is to keeping up in January ;)

I have a few books to share with you tonight... new stack of books purchased with Christmas gift cards from my kiddos! I had entirely too much fun picking these out, hubby in tow. LOL Thank you to my generous kiddos and families...they know me so well!


I finished The Book Thief by Markus Zusak yesterday. I had been working on this sad and beautiful story for a few days, and oh how I cried. I do love a book that makes me cry! Set in 1939 just outside of Munich, Germany, we are introduced Liesel Meminger and her amazing story by none other than death himself! I love that the character of death tells this story...such a powerful narrator he turns out to be. I just had to read this for myself before I watched the movie, and I am so glad that I did. This was such a terribly moving story in so many ways.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne was one of the books I just recently purchased. After finishing The Book Thief, I figured it was fitting since they are both Holocaust related. I did enjoy The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, and although I am not sure what rock I have been living under having not already read it, I was surprised by the ending. No doubt that was exactly what Boyne was going for. After finishing it, I did a little research on this one and the reviews were as mixed as I feel. It was definitely worth the read, but for me, it certainly could not stand against The Book Thief.

Now one sweet picture book for you....

I feel in love with The Matchbox Diary by Paul Fleischman. A very beautifully illustrated book of remembrance and family. Bagram Ibatoulline works the same magic he did in Crow Call by Lois Lowry. (See a previous post about Crow Call here: Currently Loving Fall Days. I knew his illustrations immediately, and I knew I had to have it! Great little purchase for sure!

Well...I definitely need to head to bed soon...that alarm will come all too soon after all of these days of sleeping in!

See you tomorrow :)

Happy Reading, friends!

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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Currently Christmas Break Catch Up - Part III

Yes, I know....I am posting January's Currently and still catching up on my December posts...LOL.  I wouldn't be ME if I wasn't doing a mad dash catch up of some kind. Better late than never! 

So I will start this wonderfully spellbinding  ;) catch up with Farley's January Currently. Be sure to check out the biggest linky party in town...I know I say this all the time, but it bears repeating...There are so many amazing bloggers out there, and I have become a better teacher because of them. So remember the rule of three and get out there and mingle!

Most of my Currently stands on its own as usual...but this year's favorite memory is the time I spent with the hubby. My workaholic husband has spent most of our married life working the days leading up to Christmas, on Christmas, and on his birthday, the day after Christmas; however, his new position with the sheriff's department afforded him some rare and precious time off. I was a little nervous at first, LOL...having twenty years of managing the whole Christmas affair on my own, but as usual, the worry was all for naught. We had so much fun! Shopping with my crazy husband was fun and surprisingly relaxed. haha...the man still manages to surprise me!

Now on to catching up my kiddos and their families on our December fun.... it has become a tradition that our fourth grade kiddos celebrate our Christmas with a yummy breakfast party and stocking-stuffer gift exchange. We have the best parents ever! The kiddos definitely did NOT go hungry! 
Check out the fun...




Love these kiddos so much! 

Now for a quick picture book and great chapter book...

You may remember my post about the book Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano; check it out here: Turkeys and Reindeer. This year's kiddos loved it as much as last year's. Well, guess what.... Turkey is back! 
My friend, Sarah at Hungry While Teaching, shared this cute little follow up with me. Turkey Claus! Turkey managed to escape the Thanksgiving dinner table in Turkey Trouble, but will he manage to escape the Christmas dinner table? I love the repeating phrases in both books, and my kiddos always chime in as I read. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that! I know they are engaged as they read along with me, and they always giggle at Turkey's antics! So CUTE :)

As many of you know, I have challenged my kiddos to read 40 books this year. You may also remember that I told my kiddos if I expect them to read 40 books, well I would do the same. I am so glad that I made that challenge to all of us! The kiddos have opened themselves to so many great texts, and so have I! I am loving all of the reading I have done!

One of my faves this year is this beautiful story....

In Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver, we follow Liesl, a lonely girl locked in her attic by her stepmother, and Po, a ghost from the Other Side, on their journey into a new and complicated friendship with Will, the alchemist's apprentice. Will makes a very large mistake with a very important delivery and the consequences will change life (and death) as they all know it, forever! 

Such a sweet and moving fantasy! I truly loved everything about this story, and I cannot wait to share it with my kiddos.

Well...I am off to the school to get some planning and grading done...have to get ready for the real world now!

 Happy Reading, friends!

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