Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sunday Scoop

It's time for The Sunday Scoop! Head over to The Teaching Trio to join in.

I have a bag full of writing to grade. Once I start, I'll enjoy it. I love reading my students' writing. Getting started is the hard part!

Our school is having an evening read-in with a rainforest theme this Thursday night. I'm planning, prepping, and supervising the rainforest layers rooms! I need to get poster board and make some posters!

I've been crocheting a blanket. It is EXTREMELY simple and far from perfect, but I'm having fun.

Brooke at Countless Smart Cookies is having a HUGE giveaway starting this Thursday, March 3rd.  Be sure to check it out!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Five for Friday

Happy Friday evening! Welcome to the weekend. I'm linking up with Kacey at Doodlebugs Teaching for Five for Friday. I encourage you to visit her blog and join in the fun. 


This week, my class has been reading Rosie: A Visiting Dog's Story with a focus on main ideas and details. To mix things up a bit, we created main idea headbands. We used a light bulb for the main idea and paw prints for the details. The original idea came from a unit by Kelly Dolling. I just adapted it to fit my theme. My students were so thrilled about their headbands that many of them wore them while writing their opinion pieces and when going to lunch. 

For more "dog themed" literacy, check out Dog Days Literacy Part One (informational text) and Dog Days Literacy Part Two (poetry and figurative language).  Both posts include links to freebies. 

In social studies, we've started to learn about colonial Connecticut. We started by comparing some colonial maps to a modern-day map. The students were so engaged while discussing the differences and similarities.


My husband surprised me with a rocker/recliner! I'm loving it. The cats and the kids keep trying to hog it. I feel like Archie Bunker saying, "Get out of my chair!" I'm just kidding. I share. Most of the time.

My husband also surprised us with new Bibles.  We read together as a family every night, and it was complicated to have different versions. Gabrielle is SO thrilled to have a PURPLE  Bible with a RIBBON and HER NAME on it! Seth's is camo, which is just about his favorite thing right now. 


We started working on fractions this week. I had the students folding different shapes into equal parts. I even gave students a 9-inch long rectangle and asked them to discuss how it could be partitioned into thirds.  I was SO PROUD when they came up with the idea to use division to determine how long each section needed to be.

When I got to work Thursday morning I noticed THIS! It's not even March, but flowers are starting to sprout. 

Have a wonderful week, and thank you for visiting!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Dog Days Part 2: Poetry & Figurative Language

Add Photo by Z is for Zebra; Digital Papers by Connie Prince & Trixie Scraps.

Welcome back for part two of Dog Days Literacy. If you missed my previous post full of nonfiction resources, you can see it here.

Today's focus? Poetry and figurative language

First, I'm sharing bits of some of my favorite dog poems!  

My Dog, He Is An Ugly Dog by Jack Prelutsky (from his book The New Kid On The Block).

An excerpt:
"My Dog, He Is An Ugly Dog"
By: Jack Prelutsky

My dog, he is an ugly dog,
he's put together wrong,
his legs are much too short for him,
his ears are much too long.
My dog, he is a scruffy dog,
he's missing clumps of hair,
his face is quite ridiculous,
his tail is scarcely there.

The twist at the end is that the dog owner loves the dog despite its many flaws! The last line states, "He is the dog for me."
Prelutsky, J. (1984). The New Kid on the Block (pp. 62-63). New York, NY: Greenwillow Books

Mother Doesn't Want a Dog! by Judith Viorst (from her book If I Were in Charge of the World and Other Worries). Click here to find the poem at
An excerpt:
"Mother Doesn't Want a Dog"
By: Judith Viorst

Mother doesn't want a dog.
Mother says they shed,
And always let the strangers in
And bark at friends instead,
And do disgraceful things on rugs,
And track mud on the floor,
And flop upon your bed at night
And snore their doggy snore.

Poetry can be used in many ways in the classroom.

I use the poems by Prelutsky and Viorst to review point of view. You can grab the sheets I created for this here

Every time I introduce a poem, I start by reading it aloud while students make a mind movie (mental image).  I read it aloud again as students follow along. Then, we search for new vocabulary and annotate the poem with kid-friendly definitions. You can also have students color code parts of speech or highlight phonics patterns and prefixes.

To review figurative language, the students choose a dog idiom or saying and illustrate it's true meaning. You can grab a free list of dog phrases and a recording sheet by clicking here

For even MORE fun, students can illustrate the true meaning along with what the saying would look like if it literally meant what it said!

One Last Resource

I've never actually used this book with my class, but I've read it more than once for pleasure! This book is written as a series of free verse poems. Classic dog poems are included as well. Click here or on the cover to find it.
My next Dog Days Literacy post will focus on literature. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Dog Days Part 1: Informational Text

Photo by Z is for Zebra; Digital Papers by Connie Prince & Trixie Scraps.

Picture a dog with a wagging tail, a smiling mouth, and animated eyes. Dogs are a hit with kids. So, each year, I teach a reading unit about dogs using a WIDE variety of texts. 

I thought I'd share some favorite resources with you. I'll be doing a series of four blog posts over the next four weeks to share ideas, resources, links, and freebies.

What to expect:
Part 1:  Informational Text
Part 2:  Poetry and Figurative Language
Part 3:  Literature 
Part 4:  Opinion Writing Using Source Material

Photographs of real service dogs and therapy dogs spark interest at the start of the unit.  

Tatyana and her service dog, Bugsbie... Click here to see license for photo sharing.

Mr. Mohr and a 3-year-old therapy dog named Molly... This image is in the public domain. 

To find more images, click here to visit my Dogs Pinterest board

National Geographic has a 4-minute video explaining how guide dogs are trained. Click here to go to the correct page. 

One of my favorite nonfiction resources is this booklet about service dogs created by Green Grubs Garden Club.
Since 3rd graders always seem to need practice generating questions, I created this simple sheet to help them ask questions as a prediction strategy. It does not include the title, so it could be used with any informational text about dogs. You can grab it by clicking here or on the image below.

We follow up by reading Rosie: A Visiting Dog's Story by Stephanie Calmenson. This photo essay documents the puppyhood and early training of Rosie, a visiting dog.  

You can visit the author's website:
She has additional photos of Rosie and Harry (another of her dogs). has several free informational passages at various Lexile levels. 

Other titles: Click on the book covers to find them.

Mary Pitner of Pitner's Potpourri has created a freebie to go along with the book. You can grab it by visiting her blog

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is held each year. The official Iditarod website has a wealth of information.
Each year, the Iditarod has a "Teacher on the Trail". The Teacher on the Trail website has videos and kid-friendly information about the Iditarod. For free! Click on the image above to go to my favorite video.

The next Dog Days Literacy post will focus on poetry and figurative language.  

If you have other suggestions for fabulous resources, I'd love to read about them in the comments! Please share.  

Monday, February 15, 2016

Flying Cough Drops: Show Me The Funny

Laugh whenever you can! That's good advice. Karen at Smarticle Particles has started a new linky to help us see the humor in our classrooms! Each month, teachers will have the chance to link up with their funny classroom stories.

Now, sick kids aren't funny. Not at all.  Before Christmas break, however, I had an experience that made me giggle.

One of my students had a cough, and it was persistent. I felt really badly for him.  I finally sent him to the nurse to get a cough drop. 

He entered the room with the cough drop in his mouth. As he came to join the rest of us on the carpet, he coughed an enormous cough. The cough drop came flying violently out of his mouth and landed on the carpet.  

The poor kid! With an incredulous and defeated look on his face, he shrugged his shoulders mightily and with his eyes shouted, "YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!"

Next, I had a not-so-hot teacher moment. Please don't think I'm horrible, but I told him to wash the cough drop really well with water and stick it back in his mouth. I know. That wasn't a good idea. It's what I would've told my own kids to do, though. At least I didn't quote the five-second rule.

He proceeded to wash off his cough drop while I tried to keep teaching. Then, he got a fresh paper towel and PATTED IT DRY. Nope. I'm not kidding. 

He stuck it back in his mouth, coughed another ENORMOUS COUGH, and THE COUGH DROP FLEW OUT OF HIS MOUTH AGAIN! This time, it landed in one of my book bins. 

Thankfully my unfortunate, coughing student is much better! I'm sure he did NOT find any of these events funny at all. 

I had to laugh. Otherwise, I might have cried! 

Thanks for stopping by. Head over to Smarticle Particles to link up with your funny stories and read other bits of silliness.

Valentine's Day 2016

Happy belated Valentine's Day! I thought I'd share what I did for my husband and kids this year.

For my kids, I left gift bags on the table with toy minions, minion fruit snacks, and Extra gum.  Their cards read, "You're one in a MINION, and I think you're EXTRA special."

For my husband, I always leave small items around the house that are mushy and TOTALLY corny. (He bought us something more practical--a new memory-foam mattress.)

Here are some of the surprises I left in odd places!

In the refrigerator...

On the counter near his phone...

On the bathroom counter...

This was my daughter's Valentine's Day outfit. How do you like the yellow polka-dots layered with Valentine's Day pink?

To see past Valentine's Day surprises (for my family and my students), click here and here. Thanks for visiting!