Sunday, December 1, 2013

December Currently

Linking up with Farley for December's Currently!

Listening: Love Norah Jones and finding some fun new jazzy tunes to jam to on this rainy day

Loving: I had a fabulous trip home to Ohio to visit my family. I surprised the majority of my family which I haven't ever successfully done so that was super fun! Another plus was that they were out of cars to rent so they upgraded me to a Mustang with all the fixings! That was a nice surprise for me!  It was my 10 year high school reunion and it was amazing to see my high school friends. So many showed up and not one person that I wasn't happy to see. 

Thinking: I have a list of creative gifts that I am working on for people and I feel pretty inspired! I think it would be pretty neat if I make a lot of my gifts this year. It could help me save some $$ and will be more meaningful. We'll see how it goes...

Wanting: I really just don't feel like making dinner. So if someone could go ahead and deliver something that'd be great, thanks.

Needing: to prep for my week, ehhh I think I'll just blog and work on my TPT wishlist instead.

Favorite Christmas Tradition: My family and I watch the Muppet Family Christmas after we open Christmas presents on Christmas Eve night. We know all the words and all the songs. Love it. "The dog is not the turkey, the turkey's the turkey, you turkey." and "It's the Gobbla Gobbla Humonga!"- Swedish Chef

I just updated my Green Mean One Literacy Unit! Check it out!

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Invention Unit Resources

My K-5 Gifted classes have just finished up our Great Thinkers/Invention Unit. It lasted 10 weeks and included researching inventors/great thinkers, creative projects to display their learning, learning about wacky inventions and the engineering design process, creating our own inventions and ultimately celebrating our learning at an Invention Convention Event I held at school. I used some incredible resources in this unit. They made my job so easy! This was a new job for me and creating the curriculum for kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, and fifth was a daunting task! TPT and it's wonderful sellers came to the rescue!

These are some of the wonderful resources I used (and HIGHLY recommend):

Science for Kids Electricity Unit
Electricity This electricity unit was a life saver for me. As someone who needed a major refresher in electric circuits, currents, etc. I could not have survived without this. She makes it so easy to explain to the kids. Step by step explanations and the experiments are right on! This was amazing and so worth the small price considering how much time it saved me! I used it with my 2-5th graders, it was nice because I was easily able to tailor it to meet the needs of each grade level.

Famous Inventors Activities by Jessica Travis
Famous Inventors! {Activities & Crafts for Famous Inventors!} This was great for my younger kids. I used this for my K/1 class and the activities were perfect.

Famous Inventors by and they all fell down
Famous American Inventors  {Pick 3} This was great for my 2nd/3rd graders. It gave great informational research and my kids learned so much!

American Heroes Informational Reading by Teacher to the Core 
 American Heroes Common Core Informational Reading and More I also used this for my 2nd/3rd graders! Very, very helpful!

I pulled some ideas from Where The Wild Things Learn' Famous American Nonfiction Unit
Famous American Nonfiction Project This was useful in our research projects!

Students made a choice from a project choice board I created to display their learning. 

After we studied many great thinkers and inventors, then we were ready to work on our own inventions.

This Inventors: An Engineering Unit by One Extra Degree was EVERYTHING I needed! I was also able to easily adapt it for second-fifth grade. A teacher's dream! The kids had so much fun being creative and problem solving. Inventors: An Engineering WorkshopAdd this to your wishlist folks, you'll thank me later. 

Here are some Awesome Websites I used: 
Scholastic Electric Circuits Study Jam 
 National Geographic: Quiz your Noodle Inventions Game
Inventive Kids
Invention at Play
CNBC Aricle Inventions by Kids
Amazing Kids Magazine - Found an amazing article on Jack Andraka here. This e-mag is for kids by kids! I will be using this resource a lot in the future!

These resources were incredible! Here is a freebie project choice board that can go with researching an inventor! Enjoy!

The next blog post will show some of the kids' work on their Great Thinkers projects and Inventions! Stay tuned!

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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Currently November!

Happy November!

Linking up with Oh' Boy 4th Grade's Farley for November Currently!

Listening: Shovels and Rope! On a recent impromptu New York trip, my girlfriend clued me in about this incredible band. Her little niece is the lead in the adorable music video! I'm obsessed right now. 

Loving: Pumpkin Everything. Obviously. I'm knocking things off my Pumpkin Bucket List and #pumpkinbucketlist on Instagram. It's a hard life, but someone's gotta do it. 

Thinking: I'm so happy to be alive. I had a very close call this week and almost became teacher pizza on the highway. I'm treasuring my breath and enjoying a refreshed sense of appreciation. 

Wanting: My Scholastic News magazines to be delivered! With the help of my school's PTO and a little from my pocket, I raised enough money to order Scholastic News and Science Spin magazines for each of my classes K-5. The money was raised in September and it took a month for the order to be processed by the school. It's November and I'm antsy! 

Needing: A day or two working without the kids once (or twice) a week. My school came down with a weird gross stomach virus and we had a day off, and it's incredible how much I can get done! I feel like I need a teacher work day once a week to do the following: grading, lesson planning, and tidying the classroom. It would be make the other 4 days more fruitful if we all just had one uninterrupted day to do all these things! Am I right? Who's with me?

A Yummy Pin: I'm vegetarian-ish for almost two years now. I eat fish and only eat meat on special occasions. The thing I miss most is buffalo chicken wings, so this yummy pin really caught my eye! I'm loving anything with buffalo sauce right now and I made these. They are delicious! I was saying God bless pinterest as I munched on these yummies!

Happy November everyone! 

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Friday, October 25, 2013

My First Five for Friday Linky Party

Woohoo! Happy Friday! Linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to share 5 random things from this week!

1. Invention projects! My students are busy working on their inventions to solve a problem. I am loving this unit I purchased from One Extra Degree!This 2nd grader is working on an invention to help his sister go to sleep on time!
2. One of my 3rd graders is doing her Inventor Research project on Jack Andraka, the teenager who developed a cheap and easy test for pancreatic cancer. His story is so inspiring, check it out on his TED talk.

3. EBAY My classroom this year is smaller since I am a "resource" teacher. Therefore, I've got to get rid of a lot of my stuff. There's no room for centers and games, so I'm selling a lot of stuff on ebay. Gotta make room!
4. Cubsta Coffee from Brooklyn Water Bagel. This is one of my favorite things. If I was Oprah, I would pass them out on "Favorite Things" episode waving my arms and shouting "And you get a Cubsta Coffee... And you get a Cubsta Coffee!" The ice cubes are made out of coffee thus no more watered down ice coffee!  I tied it into my inventions lessons this week as an example of an invention that solved a problem. (See what I did there?)
5.  I'm obsessed with these pumpkin cookies. If you don't know, now you know. Link up with me on instagram with delicious pumpkinness.
Happy Friday! TGIF
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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Creative Projects and ADHD

Teaching students with ADHD requires teachers to think outside the box to find ways to accommodate their needs. Sometimes just to get students to do lower level thinking work can be a difficult task, let alone higher order! Here I want to share some strategies to help get students with ADHD to engage in higher order thinking:

1) Whispermaphones

For Reading, I highly recommend "Whisper Phones" to help them stay focused on what they are reading. I've even had these written into 504 plans to help them with testing/reading.

You can use PVC pipe from Home Depot or Lowes.

I found this works really well and is really cheap only like $2 or $3!

  Or look at this handy gadget for Guided Reading:

2) Chair Options:

Wiggle Seats give them permission to wiggle in their chair and get those wiggles out!
Ball chairs also let kids bounce around while they're working!
3) Having a place to focus.

You never want to single a child out and have them seated away from everyone, but sometimes the child needs to be separated from the group in order to focus! Alas, the double edged sword. Here's how I've solved that problem: I have the student regularly seated at the group table, but also have a place removed from the group where they can go when they need to focus more. I have called this place their "Office." The kids have really liked being able to go to their "office" to work. In reality, it's just a desk near my desk. You could also have the kids name it themselves, maybe "Lisa's Learning Area" or "Tessa's Think Tank" something fun to give them ownership and so it won't feel like such a drag to go there.

Also I make a point when I see the students are off task to have them make the choice to go there. I would say something like, "It looks like you're having a little trouble focusing over here, do you think you might work better in your office?" This gives them the ownership of their own learning choices. (Of course sometimes you will need to mandate it).

4) Small Chunks
If a child with ADHA has the job to create a big project, they sometimes can be overwhelmed with lots of ideas. For instance if they have the task to write a play of an updated fairytale, they might get carried away with intricate details plot twists and characters. It is important to chunk the project into manageable bites for a student with ADHD. Other students in the class may be able to get the project requirements and run with it. But it will help the child with ADHD to be successful if you work with them doing small jobs one at a time instead of looking just at the big job.

When designing your higher order thinking project assignments, be sure to include planning sheets and conference time to ensure that all of your students can be successful.

5) Redirection and Deep Breaths
Redirection is part of working with students with ADHD. It takes patience and it takes deep breaths. Remember to pick your battles. You constantly repeating a direction doesn't help the child or your stress level. Patience is essential when working with students with ADHD and to help you stay patient, remind yourself that they did not choose to have ADHD. They would probably prefer to be able to stay focused easier and not move around so much, that is how they were created, and it's your important job to help them be successful.
Here are some other ways to redirect without repeating yourself:
  • hand on the shoulder
  • play a certain sound (rainstick, bell)
  • write a note
  • assign a buddy to help 
  • eye contact
  • reward positive learning choices
The best part about doing creative projects with students with ADHD is that they are filled with great ideas! I've found that there is never a lacking of innovative ideas, but rather a surplus to choose from. Narrowing it down to one or two functional ideas is the challenging task, but it's a pretty fun one to have.

What other ideas do you use for your students with ADHD?

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Tour De Classroom!

I am in a brand new school this year, so we've had some ups and downs as we have started to get settled in. It's been rather snag-tastic and hard, but I think the long term results will be worth it. It's a brand new staff, brand new building, brand new parents. There has been a lot of growing pains but its starting to get comfortable!

I am teaching K-5 Gifted Pull-Out and I'd love to share my classroom. I am doing a "Great Thinkers" theme this year: light bulbs galore, Great Thinkers Posters (Freebie at my TPT store), even a lightbulb rug! I've infused the Great Thinkers theme into my expectations as we have learned more and more about the characteristics of great thinkers.

My Before: 
 It was bright and shiny and ready for me to decorate!

My Door:Welcome sign with Ben Franklin Flair

I found this fun poster paper at Staples.

My desk and Teacher Toolbox (so glad I made this, it has been an organizational lifesaver). I used a tutorial from Erica Bohrer's Teacher Toolbox Tutorial

The Ben Franklin bust was a gift from a lovely and inspirational woman! I love it on my desk!
This mobile I made with: old lightbulbs, a Dollar Tree hula hoop, wrapping wire, glitter, and ribbon. 

  Here is my Word Wall!
  I have two computers in my classroom. We don't have our programs set up yet! Can't wait!

Holy objectives!

Classroom Routine Flow Map (consistent across grade levels)

One of my favorite parts: My Hanging Thesaurus

Loving my new rug! It was a splurge, but I couldn't resist.

My desk with Great Thinkers pendant.

Added a little yellow splash to the cabinet to brighten it a bit. 
My Wall of Fame and Lightbulb Clock Labels!

I hope you enjoyed my Tour de Classroom! 

What do you think of my theme?

Has anyone else opened a brand new school?

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