Saturday, December 8, 2012

Magnolia Leaves Santa Ornaments

This is a really neat idea that lasts and lasts!

Well, I just finished decorating my house for the holidays!  I live in the country on a small farm with 5 horses and a donkey and a variety of other animals. Every year I put up our Christmas tree and decorate it with ornaments we have mostly made through the years.  As I placed a painted Santa my daughter made on the tree I thought……” this is something I think other teachers or moms would love to do!”   Katie painted a live leaf from a Magnolia tree  with me when she was 10 years old…She is now 21.  Yep! That’s right! This live (or used to be live) magnolia leaf ornament has lasted for 11 years so far!  It is simple to paint and takes 4 acrylic paint colors. The hardest thing is waiting 10 minutes for the leaf to dry.  
Emily and her creations! 
Jonah and his ornaments.....he is only 4! 
Caleb and his masterpieces!

Monday, December 3, 2012

3-D Social Studies!

Our class has been studying about the Native Americans in Alabama, or the 4 C’s (Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek). We studied where they lived and their trading routes.  The students chose a tribe and era and made a 3-D picture with a short summary of how they lived.  The students all had to draw their own pictures and cut them out.  They folded about ¼ inch down on the bottom of each picture to glue it to the background. 

To make the background…
  1. Fold a sheet of construction paper into a triangle, so that you can cut off the extra so that you turn an 8 x 11 sheet into a square.
  2. Fold the square so that your fold creases make an X across the paper.
  3. Cut from one corner to the center.
  4. Gently overlap the cut pieces so that the paper makes a 3-D triangle.  

fold paper to make a square
Cut off the extra so you have a square

Fold square in half so that you have fold creases to form an X

I drew a line on the creases so you could see them easier

Cut from one corner to the center. 

What it looks like if you cut it correctly.  :)

Overlap the corners and pull

continue to pull until the corner points meet

Staple or tape in place. 
Our Native Alabama Wall
Daisy's 3-D 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Center/Stations Assignment Sheet

Hey there!

As I was typing up my plans for next week and getting ready to email them to my teammates, I thought……”hummmmm since several teachers like the Center Assignment sheet I do I should share it on my blog!”  
So, since I like to listen to good advice ….( lol ) I decided to do just that!

Here is a picture, but if you click below you can download a printed one to edit. 
Here is a picture of this week's assignments

       CLICK HERE -->  Center Assignment sheet for this week

Of course our class is digital, so my centers or stations, are set up to include using laptops on some days…..but not all the time.
I place a “Center Assignment” on every student’s desk on Monday morning.  Yes, I have to copy them, but I have found they are worth it. It makes the students accountable for their center work, as well as guides them.
After I have completed my whole group instruction, we read the Center Assignment sheet together and go over any details. After that the students rotate to the centers (using a rotation chart). Students √ check off each center as they complete it. They work in cooperative groups and help each other. It works really good!
I hope you find it helpful too!

Mayree !
....”Creativity is intelligence having fun” A. Einstein 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Spirit Sticks !


There are many different ways we can monitor our students’ growth. I’m sure we all can share horror stories about the different tests and hoops our kids are made to go through.  But, alas it is a fact of life so we may as well make it 
F U N !

There are three 4th grade classrooms in my school.  We use STAR Enterprises for benchmark testing and progress monitoring.  Many of you I am sure are familiar with Accelerated Reading and Accelerated Math which are both components of STAR.  Anywho,  we decided to challenge our classes.  We made SPIRIT STICKS for math and reading.  The classes compete for the most GROWTH, not the highest scores.  The class that shows the most growth gets to keep the spirit stick until the next testing cycle (usually 2 weeks). 

The winning class gets to do a “samba line” through the other classrooms cheering and shaking the Spirit Stick. 

“Creativity is intelligence having fun” …..Albert Einstein

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Whew! What a ride it has been!  Working with students in a classroom in a low income school can be very challenging. I am sure that many of you can guess that going digital has its myths and truths. So let’s take a look at what I have experienced so far.  

            The “Pros and Cons” of going all Digital in the Classroom

What I thought it would be like --> What it turned out to be like

 Students would be distracted -->      With good management,
students are attentive. "Close your laptop to a 'finger width'.

Students will upload or look at inappropriate content.
 -->The District has blocks in place that controls most of the content. 
An observant teacher can control browsing at school. At home,
 It is the parent's responsibility.

Students will not grow as fast as they did without the technology.
-->    STAR testing shows my students are at or slightly above what
they were without computers.

The teacher will have nothing to do. -->     A good teacher will facilitate and guide her students acquisition of 
knowledge and skills. She will help her students take ownership of their education.

Teachers will not teach anymore. -->    There is a "pause" button,
use it.Good teachers use modeling, grand discussions, higher level questioning and manipulatives.

Students will not participate in cooperative learning groups. -->
 Centers (stations) are set up to encourage cooperative learning
groups with or without the aid of laptops.

Students will not read fluently. -->    Actually, students reading
fluency improves through choral reading and listening to fluent

Overall, I am glad we are digital.  A teacher wears many hats and I’ve had to add the “Technology Cap” to my wardrobe……..but didn’t I agree to be a lifelong learner when I became a teacher??    


“Creativity is intelligence having fun” …..Albert Einstein


Saturday, September 1, 2012


Well, we are through the first two weeks of school and I have survived our school going to 100% digital curriculum.  The system purchased a laptop for each student 4th grade and up and a net-book for all 3rd graders.  It has definitely been a learning experience for all of us…….teachers and students! I teach at a Title One school so most of my students do not have internet at home. My teammates and I have had to teach an all new vocabulary such as:  “file”  “save”  “save as”  “upload”  “download”  “desktop” hahahahaha.  They have really made great strides though and I’m excited about the future.

We are using Pearson Success for all the subjects and Edmodo as the platform for each class.  The kids are really getting the feel for uploading assignments through Edmodo and submitting them for grading.

I have an extensive Library on Edmodo if anyone is using this and would like to join the 4th Grade Teachers group the number is mb8psk  If you join this you will have access to the library.

As I learn and grow on the ALL DIGITAL HIGHWAY Ill share the ride with all of you, and I’m sure you will share with me.
Not everything is digital!

The Reading Nook is a success!

 A little help from my friend....

Friday, August 10, 2012

My Classroom for 2012-2013

Well, I finished fixing up the classroom for this year.  I took several ideas I found on blogs and Pinterest.  I’m sure you may recognize some of them.  I am really looking forward to this year and using the interactive math and reading journals with the foldables! 

The Reading Nook came out really nice!  Thanks to my hubby!  I was able to set up my room for 25 students (4 groupings) and 6 rotation centers.  I love for my kids to be able to leave their desk and rotate around the room. 

Here are the pictures! J

Classroom library ....all leveled out for reading levels

Group supplies so everyone can work

My door, but it isn't quite finished yet

A list of 8 things to do if students finish early to earn treats

this is where the students will keep their binders with their interactive math and reading journals with foldables

My weekly objectives. The glass can be wiped off and used over and over.

The reading nook. I worked all summer on the pillows, covers and quilt

Tired words center.  

This is the Vocabulary/Grammar center. It is on the backside of the classroom library shelves


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Reading Journal

Fact and Opinion foldable for “Letters Home” from Reading Street 4th grade.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Reading Journal
I’ve been working on reading journals today. Many of my students have trouble identifying the Main Idea of a story.

So here are a few journal ideas to help solidify locating the “Main Idea”

This flip book shows the students the steps they need to do, to identify the main idea. 

 This “Pocket Full of Main Ideas” Uses the story “The Great Kapok Tree”.  Students write 2 facts and 2 opinions about the story.  Remember the opinions should be the author’s opinion.
The final pocket contains the main idea in the student’s own words formed by reading the facts and opinions.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Classroom Décor

I decided to make a “Reading Nook” for my students in my classroom.  I have an old unused classroom heater under my window in the room.  The past few years I’ve used it as a really nice size shelf….but now, I want a Reading Nook.  

So….here it is sitting in my garage ready to be assembled!

The heater is about 18 inches deep and 3 foot tall.

The tall pieces of wood that I painted green and covered the tops with striped denim (to avoid splinters on the portion the kids will lean against) will be screwed into the sides of the heater.  The students will sit on the heater and lean their back against the wood.

The bench I painted and recovered is an old piano bench I found. My husband cut off about 5 inches from the legs.  Students (2 small ones) can sit on here and lean against the front of the heater and read.  Students will also use the bench to access the top of the heater. The top of the heater will hold 2 students.  Each student will lean against one of the boards. I embroidered the pillows I made.  The students will use them while in the Reading Nook

Friday, July 27, 2012

Teacher Interview: 1st day of school

Make up index cards with only the answers to the questions on them.  Pass out the index cards to students.  Play “Who Has? I Have.”  Ask the class…..”Who thinks they have the card with the answer to this question: What is my favorite color?”  As each student answers, open up the conversation and discuss this part of your life.
When a student gives you the correct answer, take their card, but ask them a similar question and let them share with the class.

These are the questions I’ve decided to use.  Be sure you have a question for every student.

1.    Name of my horse…..Gracie
2.   Name of my daughter’s horse….Lady
3.   My youngest daughter’s name….Katie
4.   What I live on….farm
5.   My house cat’s name….Lily
6.   Another profession I have…..Artist
7.   One of my favorite hobbies….quilting
8.   My favorite subject in school…..Reading
9.   My least favorite subject in school…Math
10.  The subject I think is easiest to teach…..Math
11.   The hardest subject I think it is to teach….Grammar
12.  My favorite author….Lois Lowry
13.  My favorite chapter book…The Giver
14.  My favorite picture book…The other side of the fence
15.  My favorite color….green
16.  My daughter’s and Mrs. Hereford’s favorite color…..Purple
17.  How many children have I raised? …7
18.  How many total animals do I have?   11
19.  How long have I taught 4th grade? …..5 years
20.  What irritates me the most from students?........ Not trying
21.  Do we have homework on the weekends?  ……No.
22.  How much homework do we have?..... Depends on how you do in class
23.  What is the most important award in my classroom? …..Citizenship!
24.  What is my favorite food?.....  chocolate

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Math Journal

I Love this journal page!  The clip art is PERFECT!!!