Showing posts from 2016

The Fat Cat Takes the Cake Review

For those of you that know me, I love to read.  I typically read a few books a week and I try to balance reading plenty of books I love with books for school.  I was so excited when I was able to receive a book in exchange for a book review, this has been a goal of mine for sometime. Below you will find my review and a picture with Abby reading the book. 

Fat Cat Takes the Cake by Janet Cantrell
After reading the first two books in the Fat Cat Mystery series by Janet Cantrell I was eager to read the third installment in the series.  Quincy, the tabby cat in this series, is known for walking off, exploring, and discovering a mystery in the making, specifically dead bodies.  Quincy also shares his thoughts in a sometimes first person, sometimes third person narrations in italics.  If you are like me and love animals, perhaps sometimes thinking about what they say, then you’ll love to read Quincy’s thoughts and actions. 
The book opens with Chase Oliver, co-owner of the Bar None dessert ba…

Are you a superhero?

I recently read the article "You Shouldn't Have to be a Superhero to Teach" by Andrew Carter.  Mr. Carter is a principal at a Junior High and the chair of a teacher training program.  I was captivated by the title of the article and it is definitely concise enough for anyone to read in just a few minutes, but as good writing will do, it will make you think for days after.  So I must ask the question, is Mr. Carter's thesis that one should not have to have superhuman qualities apply to today's educators?  Is this the environment those of us int he profession are expected to uphold?  Was that the impression you were given in your teacher prep programs?  Parents, I am the most curious to hear your thoughts on this...comment below. 

Photo from tes, 2016,

Solar System Curriculum

I have been fortunate enough to start working with some talented educators in my district on some new Science curriculum initiatives.  Fifth grade seriously has the best curriculum!  I am loving this group because it parallels well with my own development and work on creating new resources for my classroom (and yours!).  One of the units in 5th grade science is the Solar System.  I went through some files I had accumulated from student teaching and my first few years that were on these topics.  I was amazed how true this cartoon was:

I pretty much disposed of all the printed materials I had because they all had Pluto as the 9th planet and no mention of the dwarf planets.  It is remarkable to see the changes in science and I am so excited to see how quickly we need to update our curriculum resources as we learn more about our own planet, our solar system, and beyond.  What excites you about science?  Do you talk with your students about this?

Photo found online, if you know who to give c…

Fractions, Decimals, and Percents Foldable

As a teacher I have been fortunate enough to get to partake in lots of cool Professional Development over the years and I remember immersing myself deeply into foldable activities.  As the years have gone on I typically use some of the same foldables but I also get busy and tend to forget.  I am teaching math summer school this summer which allows me to focus on teaching 6th grade math for over four hours a day to the same group of kiddos.  I absolutely love it!  It is also giving me ideas to see what students struggle with and how I can create products centered around their needs.  The neat thing is I am going to use a lot of these in my own 5th grade math class during the school year, after all so much of what I am working on are foundation building math skills.  

I have really been working a lot on my interactive notebooks for each subject area over summer break.  The math notebook is one I'd like for students to leave with in 5th grade and use to move on to 6th, especially sinc…

Engineers Change our World

I recently read a really great article on the interaction of Engineers on society and technology.  This is a great read for any teacher thinking about implementing STEM lessons into your ELA or Science time.  When most primary school teachers are women we can have a big impact on shaping the ways our kids, especially the girls in our class, see engineers.  Do you teach engineering standards or discuss the idea of a career in engineering in some way in your class?

Cats and Math

When I stumbled across this article I got giddy.  How fun to combine two things I love, cats and math.  I showed the pictures to my 5th graders, only the ones that they understood the mathematical concept.  Show it to your kids or just look at it yourself.  Hope this gives you a little laugh and a smile on this hump day :)

And just because you need some more cuteness in your life here is Fitch, one of my dear kitties/kiddies at our last Winter Olympic Party. He was part of a survey we were doing on favorite winter Olympic sport.  See cats + math!

Closing a Lesson

Closing a lesson...this was one of the essential skills you learned in your teacher preparation program.  I would bet we can all do it effectively, but I wouldn't be surprised if you sometimes quickly close a lesson because of that darn schedule (kids are leaving for intervention, lunch, end of day, next subject, etc.).  Oh you don't....okay then its just I who does that sometimes.  So for people like me, I love to find new closing activities when they look like a. something I can use for formative assessment and b. aren't going to eat up a bunch of time.  So I was really encouraged when I stumbled across this fun little Teachers Pay Teachers freebie.  Don't assume because it is made by Mr. Elementary Math that this will just work for math.  These activities can be utilized in any subject.  So I hope this helps to slow things down or gives you another way you can still close your lesson with limited time.

Giving Back

For several weeks in the month of February I spent time after work and on the President's Day holiday reading and reviewing reports for my business fraternity, Pi Sigma Epsilon.  I must admit at times when I needed to take a break from reading I found myself saying "why am I using my downtime for this?"  I took a few minutes to go back through some old Facebook pictures of my time in college and in PSE.  I ran across a lot of fun ones and it energized me to get back to my reading.  You see when I was in college I was in a chapter that submitted lots of national awards for the national conference each year.  From the end of the first semester to the end of January our lives were focused on writing reports about the year.  I remember many nights saying goodbye to my dad as he left for work at 5am and I was still up writing or working on homework that had been pushed to the side till then.  My friends and I spent a lot of time writing these reports, submitting them for rewa…

The Lunches Kids Bring to School

I watched this video, I love what Jamie Oliver is trying to do about raising awareness about food, nutrition, and our food system.  I recently watched this video and became really uncomfortable with it.  First, I am assuming his cursing is either fake or happenining after the kids leave.  Second, I don't ever want to shame my kids about what they are eating. I have seen lunches like this before and it definitely concerns me, however I want parents and those getting kids ready for school to feel empowered.  I work in a district that the lunches are not as healthy as the school lunch shown here, so when I see kids bring their lunch to school I know many times it is due to their parents wanting to provide them with more quality, variety, and nutrition.  Other times it is about cost, families that don't qualify for free or reduced lunch are equally concerned with the cost and can purchase and provide a lunch that meets their families budget.  

So after all my worries I was excited …