Well I have a whole week of the 2014-2015 school year under my belt, and I am exhausted! I must say that it went much better than expected. There is a little bit of back story to that statement. You see, I looped up with my students this year from second grade math and science to third grade science and social studies. Last year we started with only two sections of second grade, but had a total of 64 students. So, until we got a third section added I had 32 students in each class. It was misery and they were awful. Really, really awful. Once we got the third section, of course it eased up some, but the kiddos were still very badly behaved. My teamie and I spent about eight to ten weeks "training and civilizing" the little angels, and all in all they came along quite nicely. All that hard work last year certainly paid off this first week of school. We actually accomplished quite a lot.
Take a peek:

We got started in our science notebooks! Here the students were drawing pictures comparing what observations look like using the "naked eye" (they love saying that!) vs. using a hand lens. Once they finished that, we brainstormed a venn-diagram comparing and contrasting the naked eye and the hand-lens. (I didn't get a picture of that one.) The picture on the right shows my notebook that I am keeping on powerpoint. I project it on my screen so the kids can follow along in setting their pages up. (Eventually they won't need as much guidance with this.) This is so much quicker than them waiting on me to hand write everything and certainly saves me from having to find a misplaced science journal. I keep one for each section, and it is turning out to be super easy. 


We also learned how to measure mass using the pan balance. My intention is for the students to work with mass, volume, and temperature throughout the year. We tested several objects (gluesticks, etc... from their supply caddies) for physical properties such as mass, ability to float, and weather they were magnetic, and the students recorded all of their data. The next day they had to design a way in which they could change the mass of a gluestick (floater) in such a way that it sank. I liked the one above. Most of the kiddos taped their gluestick to their magnet (which sank the day before). This group taped them together and then tied a piece of yarn around it so they could dip it into the water and pull it out without having to get their hands wet!

All in all it was a good, but tiring week. By Tuesday night my feet and knees were throbbing (good-bye cute little flats) and yesterday I didn't get out of my pj's. How was your week?

karen



Happy Tuesday! Today I'm joining up with Erica from A Grade 7 Heaven for a fun, quick blog hop and giveaway called Gimme 5.

It's fast, fun, and easy! All you have to do is Gimme Five! Huh? 
Just visit my TpT Store - Little Smarticle Particles and choose five of my products, but not just any five. You need to find one freebie, two science products, and two products that have task cards. Come back here and leave a comment on this post naming the 5 products you found and your e-mail. I will come back this evening and choose a winner. What's up for grabs? Any three of the five products you mentioned in your comment! So choose carefully. When you are done with my blog, head on over to the other blogs that are participating. Have fun and watch your e-mail!

P.S. All participants will receive a freebie at the end of the giveaway!


Have a great day!!
Karen
Happy Monday! It's almost that time...back to school. (no exclamation point.) I report on the 18th, so this is my last week of vacation. Is there a lack of entusiasm in my voice? I love my job, I'm just not ready. Anyway on to other things. I'm linking up with Stephanie from Falling Into First for this fun linky: Meet the Teacher Blogger!

So here is a little about me. I've been teaching about 20 years (give or take...I took a few years off when my kids were little). I've been married for 23 years to a good guy named Mike, and we have two teenagers, three cats, three pet dogs, five livestock dogs, three goats, and about one hundred twenty-five head of sheep. Yep. I live on a farm.

Q& A Session
 
 THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS...
coffee, reading, Sonic Happy Hour drinks, history, large dipped cones from the Dairy Queen, not cooking eating out, the great state of Texas, gardening, flowers, classic rock, Mexican food, stopping to read random historical markers on the side of the road, tomatoes, cheese, and noodles of any kind.

 IF YOU WEREN'T A TEACHER, WHAT WOULD YOU WANT TO BE?
Maybe a historical novelist or a historian or a time traveller (right).

THREE LITTLE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE YOU.
I'll give you two (sort of): Easy-Going, Smart@$$, 

FINISH THE SENTENCE, "I love test-data meetings!",  SAID NO TEACHER EVER!!"

Q: IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY AND YOU CAN INVITE ANYONE {DEAD OR ALIVE} TO THE PARTY. WHO ARE YOU INVITING?
Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and my brother that passed away four years ago so I could tell him good-bye.

Q: IF SOMEONE WROTE A BOOK ABOUT YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD BE THE TITLE?
If She Can Do It...So Can You!

 Q:YOU GET TO PICK ONE SUPERPOWER. WHAT IS IT?
I wish I could wiggle my nose like Elizabeth Montgomery from Bewitched (I'm showing my age) and my house would be clean, my cupboard & fridge would be stocked, and there would be a hot delicious meal ready that everyone in the house approves of.

Q: WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE OR SAYING?
"I don't have to agree with you to like and respect you."

Q: IF YOU HAD TO SING ONE SONG ON AMERICAN IDOL, WHAT WOULD IT BE? 
Maybe something by Janis Joplin?

 Q: ARE YOU A MORNING PERSON OR A NIGHT OWL?
That depends on what part of the year...School year or summer time. Right now as I type it is almost 11:00 am, and I'm still trying to get it going.

Q: WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE RESOURCE THAT YOU'VE CREATED IN YOUR TPT SHOP?
Like a several other bloggers that posted on this I always really like my most recent product. But my all-time favs would have to be my math centers & task-cards:
Place Value: Ones, Tens, Hundreds - Steppin' It Up with Pl   Geoboard Task Cards - Fun with Area, Perimeter, Multiplica   Polygons: Task Cards and Activities
and these freebies:
Tangram Puzzles: Dino-Grams   Monsta-Grams Tangram Puzzles
Q: SHARE SOMETHING WE MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU!
I have had an odd fascination with old cemeteries my whole life. I love to walk through them an read the epitaphs. A few of my colleagues learned of this when we went to the NSTA conference in Boston last April. Our hotel was right downtown, and there were these really cool and really old cemeteries everywhere. My poor teamies got dragged through them with me, who knows what they said about me when we got back to school! 


Now it's your turn! Click on the image below to link up!


Y'all have a great week!
karen



I'm joining up again this month with Jasmine from Buzzing With Mrs. McClain for the August installment of:
Recently I traveled to San Diego to attend the Sally Ride Science Conference. It was really a "train the trainer" kind of workshop that was about using the Sally Ride e-books in your classroom and integrating career exploration into the science/math curriculum
Well the first day, I walked in, sat down at my assigned table, and noticed that there was the requisite box of markers and post-it chart paper. What does that mean? Group work. Some of us love it, some of us hate it. But, we all do it. So what is the first thing that I always say to any group when we have to start our first activity? I tell them that I have nice handwriting, so I'll write.
As we moved through the training modules, there were times that we would stop to reflect on our personal work habits and strengths. This got me to thinking...just like I know that I want to write (because I don't want to stand up and speak in front of a room full of strangers), our kiddos know what they are comfortable with (and uncomfortable with) as well.
So I made up this little student survey:
Students fill them out and based on their input, you can use these to help create good working groups. Now, you may have to have a good discussion beforehand with your students about "working well with" vs. "hanging out with friends", but for the most part kids want to do the right thing. Usually.
Here's an example of some surveys I filled out based on some of my real-life students. I'm lucky (I think) in that I'm moving up with my little peeps, so I know their personalities. Let's take a look.

I've grouped my three difficult personalities on the left so you can easily compare. These three students know they don't work well together. Don't make them. They will be miserable and so will you. If you look at Daija and Jaida, they are both organizers that like to speak in front of others. In other words they are Bossy Bettys, and should be put in groups with people that like a take-charge personality. You can see that Leslie is easy-going and feels that she can work with anyone. Another thing to consider is that they all know their strengths and weaknesses. Some like to draw, while others like to write. By sorting through these surveys you can create groups that take into consideration how the students feel, and group them with people that have different strengths, so that all can be successful. Some groups may have four students, some may just have two. That's okay. Whatever works for you and your kiddos.
If you would like a copy of the Student Strength Survey, click on the first image.
Y'all have a wonderful back to school.
Karen

I'm a newbie to the whole "Five for Friday" linky party hosted by Doodle Bugs Teaching, but I've been reading them forever. So I thought that now is the time to get with it. 
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I have decided to get organized!!! So I started with my "office". It's not really an office in that it is not a separate room. My entire upstairs is one big open space with the staircase in the center. I have adopted one corner (for now, ha-ha) as my area. And it was a mess.
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To help me get organized I bought this great set during the TpT Back to School Sale: Get Blorganized by Ashley Shroeder. I love it! I've already started using parts of it. You can get it by clicking on the picture.
BLOG POST, GIVEAWAY, and LINKY PARTY Organizer and Planner!
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I did a little shopping just for myself: Click on the images to shop for yourself!
Large Sterling Silver Hoop Earrings. Choose your size: 2", 1.5" or 1" LIGHTWEIGHT
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I refer to this as a missed opportunity. I live in the country, but my students are city kids. So I like to take stuff for my "nature table" for them to look at. Stuff like nests, seeds, cool rocks, and...snake skins. This was in my yard the other day. I intended to retrieve it to take to school. As I headed out the door this morning, Mr. Hester asked me where I was going. I told him I wanted to get that snakeskin for my kiddos to look at. He said, "I ran over it with the mower". Aaaaargh.

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This just cracked me up. We were all at Hastings. My husband was looking at his stuff, I was looking at my stuff, and the kids were supposed to be looking at their stuff. Instead they were walking around the store with my son wearing this stupid mask. Apparently he was also dancing. So I tried to get him to show me his moves. This is what happened.

No one was hurt, but boy did I crack up.
Y'all have a great weekend!
karen

There's going to be another sale!! This one at Teacher's Notebook, August 9th - 12th. My store will be 20% off, plus you get an extra 10% off sitewide!! I hope you will stop by.


Y'all have a great Thursday!
karen

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The sale that is. I'm alive, but I'm barely awake. Anyway check out these great resources by some of my blogging buddies! The sale is officially going: 20% off my store (I can't say what other stores' discounts are) and an extra 10% discount with the promo code BTS14 through tomorrow. Have fun shopping.

If you have a store you would like to add to the link-up:

RULES FOR PARTICIPATION: All PK-2 bloggers are welcome to join. First add the link to your TpT store with your logo and store name. Then get the InLinkz code and add it to the html of your back-to-school sale post on your blog to link up with the rest of the group. If you have any questions, feel free to email Nicole and Eliceo at NicoleAndEliceo@gmail.com. We look forward to linking-up with you.


Y'all have a great week!
karen
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