Literature Circles

This was such a crazy week.  I have NO pics due to the craziness.

I went to a class today about Literature Circles.  I loved, loved, loved it!!!  I can find a million and one reasons not to do it, but I really love the idea of Book Clubs.  My biggest obstacle is "the books".  We don't have collections on our campus.  This year I would like to read Charlotte's Web, but it will entail me purchasing it or asking parents to purchase them.

I tried it once...it didn't work out at all.  I had no training, I didn't really have a huge plan other than to create clubs based on interests and find short stories about those interests.  Then, I would develop Q's based on the stories.  Not a good plan, not a good follow through.  My students were psyched and it wasn't their fault it didn't work.  It was mine.  I wasn't prepared and I hadn't set out with a clear plan.  Can I put together a plan this year?  Yes I can.  I did it for Stations.  My stations have gone really well.  I still don't feel like I get to see my RTI students as much as I need to, but many of them are showing improvement!!


I'm in with the cool kids!

This morning while I was blog-stalking freebie-stalking, I just happened to stop by my own blog and guess what?  Not 1, but 2 "cool kids" nominated me for a Liebster Blog Award!  Is it sad that I'm almost 40 and I still need to be accepted by the cool kids?  A Liebster Blog Award is given by bloggers to new bloggers that have less than 200 followers.  It is to show new bloggers that they are appreciated and to help spread the word about new blogs.  Thank you to Diane at Young Daze in 5th Grade and Bren at the Teacher Diaries.

The Rules:
- You must post 11 random things about yourself.
- Answer the Q's that the nominator gave you.
- Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
- Choose 11 blogs you love (with less than 200 followers) and link them in your post.
- No tag back (but please leave me a comment on this post with the URL to your Liebster).

11 Random things about me:
1. I'm completely obsessed with my daughter, Lila.

2. I'm a bit of a name snob.  I always have an opinion about baby names.
3. I hate fish and love hamburgers!
4. I do my best work under pressure.
5. I heart coffee and chocolate.
6. I want someone to teach me how to make clipart!  I'm a doodler and I love doodle art!
7. I want to ride in a hot air balloon, but my husband is scared of heights.
8. I have black hair and I want to get blue streaks in my hair.
9. I wish I lived by the beach!
10. I am terrified to charge $$ for any product on Teachers Pay Teachers because I fear that no one will buy it!
11. My husband and I got engaged after 6 weeks of knowing each other.

Since 2 people nominated me, I'm going to answer 1-6 from Diane and 7-11 from Bren.  

1. Where is your favorite place you've ever visited? Bahamas or the Texas Hill Country
2. Can't live without teacher item? I'm not sure.  Probably a copier!  
3. Favorite holiday tradition? Easter Egg Hunts!  When I was little (4) I wanted to be the Easter Bunny when I grew up.  I was the Easter Bunny for 3 Halloweens!  My Grandma made me a bunny costume. I've got a pic somewhere.
4. Favorite book to read with your students?  For the littles, I like No David and Chicka-Chicka Boom Boom.  For upper-elementary I like Memoirs of a Goldfish and A Bad Case of Stripes.  
5. Why do you blog?  It's a creative outlet and I like to talk, so I just imagine that I'm talking to my "friends".  Sometimes I wonder if anyone is listening or if I'm rambling to myself.
6. Favorite TV show. General Hospital, yes I love Soap Operas. 
7. What lead you to decide you wanted to be an educator? My nephew.  I loved teaching him about letters and numbers through play as a child.   
8. How did you come up with your blog name? Well, originally it was "That New Crayon Smell".  I couldn't find or make a blog design that I LOVED.  I saw this piggy design and I kept coming back to it.  I only had 20 or so followers, so I decided to change my name and I think it works.  I still like "The Copycat Teacher" too.  
9. If you could time travel to any place or time, where would you go?
I'd go back to when my daughter was a baby.  I miss her baby days.  If you want something more adventurous, I'd move my family to Switzerland. 
10. You have the chance to appear on your favorite show, currently on air or past, what show would I see you on? General Hospital or All My Children Hands Down!  I've always wanted to be a Soap Star or a Soap Writer!  
11. Who is your celebrity crush? Kyle Chandler  

Blogs I'm Nominating:
1. Ms. O Reads Books
2. Natalie's Nook
3. Dots of Fun Clipart
4. Third Grade Tidbits
5. 1st Grade Fantabulous
6.Sent from my iPad
7. Timeouts & Tootsie Rolls
8. Hippo Hooray for Second Grade
9. Teaching with Hope
10. Two Tangled Teachers
11. The Curious Catfish

I liked my combo of Q's so I'm sending them to you, too...
1. Where is your favorite place you've ever visited? 
2. Can't live without teacher item? 
3. Favorite holiday tradition? 
4. Favorite book to read with your students?  
5. Why do you blog?  
6. Favorite TV show.
7. What lead you to decide you wanted to be an educator? 
8. How did you come up with your blog name? 
9. If you could time travel to any place or time, where would you go?
10. You have the chance to appear on your favorite show, currently on air or past, what show would I see you on?
11. What did you want to be when you grew up?

This Little Piggy Hates Shopping and I have soooo much to do!


Hot Cocoa Procedural Text on SALE $1.00

Today I worked on a cocoa and cookies themed unit.  It's for my week back from Thanksgiving Break.  We're working on verbs, procedural writing and as usual vocabulary!  It's a whopping $1.50 at my TPT store.  I'm linking up with the 3AM teacher and with the Cyber Monday/Tuesday Sale my unit will be about a buck!  Pretty good deal if you ask me.  Everything else in my store is FREE, but I spent about 5 hours working on this, so I decided to charge a bit.  Enjoy the sale.  Click here to buy my creation.

This Little Piggy needs to be making Yams (yuck-o).  


Celebrating Thanksgiving with Freebies!

I'm Queen of the DEAL and when it comes to teaching, I'm a Friend of the FREEBIE!  I love them.  In fact my entire TPT store is FREE.  Our school doesn't give classroom stipends and my husband complains when I spend $$ on my classroom, so the FREEBIE is my BFF!  

Friday we had a 1/2 Day and our afternoon was spent doing Parent-Teacher Conferences.  Now I'm out of school for the week, but if you still have to control wild cats next week, these ideas might help you out (or you could put them in a file for next year).  This was tested and proven...I actually heard "Ughh, I don't want to go home."  Now, my day had to be re-arranged from the "plan" because our copier died this week!!  We're teachers, we have to adjust and be flexible.

When students entered the room, they found a note on their desk. Erica Bohrer's Your Teacher is Thankful for You Certificates.  I printed these at home on colored paper.  


Then, I read Turkey Bowl.  
This was a freebie too because I ordered it with my Scholastic Points.  It was an okay read in my opinion.  We live in TX and don't EVER get snow during Thanksgiving so I think it was hard for my students to identify with the story.  My plan was to use Ashley Reed's Story Map from this Freebie.  Of course, I had no copier, so instead we did it orally.  

I caught it in her Flash Freebie. Kimberly doesn't know it, but we're virtual Bestie's.  I stalk love her stuff!  I love her blog and would consider going back to 2nd grade so I could use all of her things.  I try to modify them for 3rd grade when I can;) She sent this home for a family project, but my 3rd graders could complete it on their own.  My plan was to replace the Tummy with Things I am Thankful For, but since the copier was out...I didn't change a thing.  My kiddos loved it.  In fact, the other 3rd grade classes were Ooh-ing and Ahh-ing all over them.  

My kids went to Specials but before they left, I pulled out these...
and put them on my teacher's table.  I saw these on someone's blog (if it's you, please let me know!).  They were adorable, but I couldn't find candy corn, so instead I used gumdrops & toothpicks.  My kiddos didn't care one bit!  They loved it.  Again, I found a freebie that allowed my students to practice procedural text.  Well, I had to improvise.  
 The outside was our title and illustration.  
On the inside, students listed ingredients when they got their baggie.  
On the right side, students wrote their steps to make their turkey.   At the bottom they included a little note such as "enjoy your snack" or "gobble up your turkey".
I didn't do a step-by-step.  Instead, I used this time to incorporate some problem solving.  I showed a final product and let them have at it.  Everyone was able to re-produce and only 1 turkey crumbled (luckily, I had extras).  

  My kiddos ate lunch in the classroom and I passed out extras so students could have a snack.  We watched a tumblebook, packed up and went home.  

This Little Piggy hopes you have the week off, too!


Ever had one of those days?

Sure you have, you're a teacher too.
bebecca from deviantat
Has someone invaded my students bodies and brains?  They do not remember our classroom or school procedures at all.  These haven't changed since the first day, heck I had some of these kids in PK and K and my rules haven't changed since then!!!  I mean we still walk with our hands in our pockets or behind backs and we don't talk in hallways so we don't interrupt anyone.  

Aside from that, I got a new student yesterday.
Getting a new student is like eating with a blindfold.  You never know what you're biting into.
It could be delicious sweet cake with gooey chocolaty icing or a bitter pickle!  Guess what I got?

When you're departmentalized you don't have a true homeroom.  Friday we have early release (and parent/teacher conferences in the afternoon) and my homeroom students are soooo excited to spend the whole day with little' ol'  me.

Today, we played a review game.  I printed out 5 sets of questions, cut them up and labeled them 1-8.  Then, I put them into gallon baggies.  I took my kiddos to the gym, numbered them off 1-5.  Then, each group got a dry erase board, marker and eraser.  They sat at half court and when I said go, one person ran to get the #1 out of the baggie.  They took it back to their group, read the Q and wrote their answer on the white board.  Then, I called for answers.  All groups with the right answer, got a point. I did this with 3 classes, 15 groups and NOT ONE student ever figured out that it didn't matter how fast they ran! haha.  Every group cheered their runner on like they were running a marathon.  I didn't care who was first or last, I just wanted a correct answer!!

This Little Piggy is OUT of ink, again!


Oops, Piggy Made a Mistake! Giveaway Winner

I had my very first giveaway EVER to celebrate meeting goals (and oops, I made a mistake and ordered two books from Scholastic)!  Donna Y. I hope you're in the mood for some coffee!  You get the Starbucks card and your classroom gets Mind Your Manners, BB Wolf.  Yeah, Donna.  Thanks to everyone who joined in on the Giveaway and for those new followers, check through my previous posts, I have a couple of freebies listed or pick them up at my brand-spankin new TPT store!

This Little Piggy is Blogging Instead of Prep & Planning;)


Theme or THE MEssage

This year, I found an awesome idea from Rachel Lynette's TpT Store.  I taught theme using a Message in a Bottle.  What a great idea!  I think the kiddos really understood what a Theme was.

Originally I wanted to have students put their answers in a 2-liter bottle.  But then, I thought...wait how will I get the answers out?  Well if I cut them out, I couldn't use the bottle for the next class...so that didn't work out.  I'm not sure you can see the pic, but I drew a bottle on the page and students put their sticky notes in the bottle.  Of  course, they didn't all fit inside.  My 2nd class used small sticky's and it worked better.  We read a story together for 2 days and discussed character traits, summarized the story and then today I put up 6 different possible themes for the story.  This is the product.

I also stole borrowed an idea from Misty at Think, Wonder, Teach.  She calls it Vocabulary Boogie Scoot.  I called it Vocabulary Stand-Up Stations.  
Each group got a different colored marker and the group moved from word to word, but the paper stayed.  Each rotation all groups did the same activity with a different word.  For example:
Round 1: Divide your word into syllables.  
This let me know that my homeroom needs lots of practice in syllables.
Round 2: Write a sentence using your word.
Round 3: Write a Synonym
Round 4: Illustrate a person doing or using your word.
Talk about higher level thinking, this was the hard one.
Round 5: Write the definition in 3 words or less.

And I leave you today letting you know I've become "that parent" whose child misbehaves at school!  Yup, my Lila has come home on yellow more times than green over the last 3 weeks. 
The things we (her dad and I) love about her are the same things she struggles with at school.  She doesn't need to do what others are doing, she is okay doing her own thing.  Well, this causes a problem when the teacher WANTS her to do what everyone else is doing. 

This Little Piggy wants to see GREEN!


My 1st Giveaway, Starbucks anyone?

Hello Bloggie Friends.  Today, I got my 2nd order from Scholastic this year!!  Wow, look at all those books!  I set a goal this year to grow (double) my library...it's official, I need a 3rd bookcase! Yippie!!! 
All of these books will go into my classroom library!
Now, if you notice, there is a duplicate book, Mind Your Manners B.B. Wolf.  I got overzealous and ordered two.  So in the spirit of sharing, I'm going to help grow your classroom library with a book every class probably needs to read a few times throughout the year when they have forgotten their manners.  I'm giving away my never read, duplicate copy of Mind Your Manners B.B. Wolf and since the weather is beginning to feel a bit like Fall, I'm throwing in a $5 Starbucks giftcard.  That's right, I'm having my very first giveaway!  Woo Hoo!! Awesome background provided by Robyn Hyndman at http://onceuponaportable.blogspot.com/

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This Little Piggy wants a Tall White Chocolate Mocha (with whip)!


My 1st Paid Item on TPT - Fall Word Work

I've been making a ton of stuff lately.  Wow, it's kind of addicting.  I just uploaded my very 1st paid item at TPT.   My freebies are getting downloaded like crazy.  However, I'm guilty of downloading a ton of freebies but being very picky about what I pay for.  Testing the Waters.  Stop by and check it out or check out my freebies.  Click here to check it out!  Below you'll find a Fall Letters Word Work or Boggle-esque Game.  You can use it in centers or partner work.  My students love to play this type of game during stations.


My TV Commentary

If you're a General Hospital Fan like me (duh, my daughter's name is Lila) you've got to be loving it right now - Duke, AJ, Alan!  Love it.  Did you watch Walking Dead last night?  If you're like me and had to have a C-Section (after 12 hours of labor - not you, me), it should have freaked you out!  It made me seriously greatful for modern medicine and drugs!  God Bless Anesthesiologists!!!  

This Little Piggy is So Happy She has a Laminator at Home!


I opened a TpT store and a freebie genre game.

Fiction vs. Non-Fiction Genre Game
 I bit the bullet and I opened a TpT store!  
This Little Piggy wants you to visit her store!

Let's Linky!

There are a bunch of Linky Parties going on and I really want to do one myself!  I might try it this week.
First up, Farley's Nov. Currently.  

Next is my Top 10 Things I'm Thankful For over at Stories by Storie.  
I love her name, don't you?  Good thing we're done having babies b/c I'd have to break from our Kardashian Theme with the "L's" and name a girl Storie.  I just adore it.  

This Little Piggy is Working on some FREEBIES!  
I hope you'll ignore my multiple postings in one day!