Saturday, November 30, 2013

SALE, Concert, More Animals, Genius Hour Forms

SALE !!!!!
Click on the pic and it'll take you right to my TPT store.
Great time to grab those Math Vocab Cards and Multiplication Flashcards!

Concert Craze...
On the 22nd, my sister and I took my daughter and niece to the Selena Gomez concert.
We've had the tickets since March...bought them early with mid-kid's fan club code and got awesome seats. Emblem3 opened for Selena (I heard they were the winners of X factor or something like that--they were good).
We had two seats in the 3rd row and two seats in the 15th row. My sister and I agreed to let our kids sit together in the 3rd row and we'd take the 15th. Well, my sister and I ended up sitting in the row which was at the end of the "S" that came out into the audience. We could have touched Selena's hands...literally. We kept debating to switch with the girls, but then Selena would go over by where our girls were seated. In hindsight, we should have switched.
Anywho... the girls had a blast and my sis and I ended up having a blast also.
Here are some of the photos I took at the concert... didn't really zoom much either!

For Thanksgiving, Big Kid asked if she could have Almond the guinea pig stay at our house. Sure, what's one more pet??? Big Kid takes some animal electives class in High School, so the kids bring home animals over long breaks. AND I had to bring Bruce home for the long weekend... SO, we have 7 animals in the house. We are outnumbered. Who ended up cleaning out Almond's cage and feeding her AND getting crickets for the JJ (Bearded Dragon)??? ME. The girls all slept over at Grandma and Grandpa's House, so I had to fill in... lucky me.
 Here's our lab, Jack, checking out Almond...
 Here's the cat trying to chase the crickets in JJ's tank...
 Two dogs missing from the pics... maybe next time...

AND Genius Hour...
Due to popular demand...
Click on the pic below and it'll take you to my TPT store to download some forms/letters I've used for my 3rd grade class. It's free and you should be able to change what you need to change. I uploaded it as a Word Document (which I've never done-I've always used a PDF). Let me know if you have any questions... Don't forget to check out my other blog posts regarding Genius Hour... Tags are off to your right...



Saturday, November 16, 2013

Humbled and First Genius Hour Presentation!

It's been quite a week.
My Gram was admitted to the hospital. I stopped for a visit and she had no idea who I was.
Sad. She has dementia.
I sat with my uncle and visited for a couple hours.
A nurse came in to check on her and asked her if she knew where she was…
She replied (like the nurse was stupid for asking) "Yes! I'm right here!"
I couldn't help but chuckle. Although my Gram has no idea where she is and who people are… she's still happy. She's not mean…if she were, I think it'd be much harder to cope for the rest of my family.
My hat goes off to my Aunt... who is her caretaker AND works full time out of her home and such an inspiration!
I'm glad I stopped by the hospital.

One of the evenings on my way home last week, I had to snap a pic of the sky…

And one morning last week, I drove by a blade of a turbine being transported… Go wind energy!

We had our first Genius Hour presentation!
It was quite exciting!
Two boys worked together on a Solar System Project.
They created a diorama of the planets.
Now, I'm not exactly sure how this is all supposed to work… I'm just flying by the seat of my pants.
The boys presented and I allowed other students to ask questions.
After a while, I asked them what their original wonder was…
The student in yellow said, "oh, we didn't really answer that, but we have lots of fun facts".
The boy in green said, "See?! I guess that makes us even more GENIUS!"
HA! LOVED IT! And I didn't realize what a sense of humor the student in Green had!
I was beaming with pride!
Students asked great questions…and even debated… after that presentation…some students added "Wonders" to our Wonder Wall.
Excited for more!

Here are other students working on their projects. One is working on a Prezi presentation. Another is working on what the world looked like 50 billion years ago.

A former student invited me to sit on a panel as a Role Model for her Girl Scout Meeting. There were about 15 Girl Scouts and each invited a woman Role Model. The girls prepared questions to ask the panel of Role Models.
There were teachers, a lawyer, college student, vet tech, accountant, Marine, and a business owner.
As a girl would ask a question we would take turns answering.
Stories were shared, Memories talked about, Tears shed, Laughter was loud, and INSPIRATION happened!
I was moved.
I left the two hour gathering last night feeling wonderful.
What a fabulous group of women. I will be forever grateful to have been part of that.
I love that her poem says I'm loud…I totally am…I get so excited.

Today, we broke the budget and went out for lunch. Probably shouldn't have spent the money.
Since my husband works weekends at night, we don't get a lot of time together with our hectic schedules.
He sacrificed some sleep today, so we all went out. It was well worth it. We laughed and talked and laughed some more. The girls didn't even argue…THE WHOLE TIME.
Life is good.

Ended tonight by watching my oldest letting JJ, our Bearded Dragon, float around in the tub. He actually fell asleep!
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

NEED Conference for Science

Last week I attended the NEED (National Energy Education Development) Workshop at the Museum of Science and Industry.
After driving for THREE LONG hours in traffic (it's only an hour away)...I arrived about 40 minutes late.
Well, it was all awesome! We played all day, conducting experiments we can use in our classrooms!
 It's a FREE workshop. I paid for NOTHING. My school even gets reimbursed for the substitute through the NEED Project. They provided breakfast, lunch, parking... supplies...
At the end, I was able to choose a kit for either Wind Energy or Solar Energy support. I chose the Solar Energy Kit since we installed Solar Panels. We all walked away with a HUGE thingy of lesson plans! It was really cool.
How'd I find out about this? Last school year, I assisted in writing a grant for my school to receive solar panels. We won the grant, the solar panels were installed last month, and I was contacted to attend the workshop.
I asked some teachers who attended if I could snap some pics and they all agreed...

Here we built a wind turbine and our table had to conduct different experiments on the best gear ratios...

Got the turbine assembled and working...
 Several pics of us working...and a snapshot of my drive home, looking at Chicago.
 This was at the beginning...
We started off with the Science of Energy, then moved on to Wind Energy, and concluded the day with Solar Energy.
It was great! Lots of stuff to bring to the classroom.
You can visit the site here....
It has TONS, and I mean TONS of great resources and LESSONS!!!!
See if a Workshop is near you anytime soon...They are ALL over the place! I highly recommend!

The information our school receives about our Solar Panels is relevant and easy to incorporate.
Sorry if this post was are my thoughts today...


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Genius Hour from Nov 8

We completed another day of Genius Hour.
I started by reminding my third graders of the goal they are trying to reach. I had to remind them to begin with the end in mind...(just quoted Covey right there- go Grad School '09).
I needed the students to work towards their end project. Some of them needed a push.
And I think it worked! Some are close to finishing or at least have made huge progress!
Again...Technology downfall... being blocked from just about everything! It REALLY stinks.
Since my students are familiar with Jim Curry's Thinking Skills and Self-Evaluation... I'm trying to get them to quickly say what they Liked Best about GH for the day, What they will do Next Time, and in what ways did they Go Beyond...
You can catch that blog post here.
Something to hold them accountable in a quick way.

Here's the bulletin board I dedicated space for students to write their Wonderings on...
It's still blank, but they seemed excited to be able to write right on it!

Taught some students how to work Prezi for their presentation. THAT excited them!
I NEED MORE HANDS to help in the room! Wishful thinking...
I'd say that at this point, there's nothing I'd change...
I'm sooooo looking forward to the FIRST presentations!
Til Next Time...


Monday, November 11, 2013

Thank You Veterans and My Truth

Happy Veteran's Day!
Thank you to all our Veterans!
Here's my Father in Law in the Army...
 Here's my Gramps in the Navy...He served in the Korean War.
Here's my Brother in Law in the Marines...he's currently serving and on tour.
 And now for my Truth.
Link up with Sunny Days and share YOUR TRUTH!

 Enjoy the rest of your evening!


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Genius Hour Week Three- Grade 3!

Another week of Genius Hour in full effect!
Some students said "I'm done, now what" only to realize they weren't even close to being done.
One student wanted to know how diamonds were made. Well, she had nothing written down and created a paper diamond. My challenge for her was… A paper diamond? That's a great paper model, but what about attempting to make a REAL diamond? What will you need for that? She replied with…Well, I need coal. I said…OK, let's find some coal! It's ok if it doesn't work out, but don't you want to try to make a real one with what you know? She seemed on board with that.

My third grade colleague came in to observe how Genius Hour works…
She witnessed kids getting stuck and not knowing what to do next. She wondered if a sheet of questions would help…so I asked "what would you have the sheet say? because they filled out a plan form and I feel like another question or paper would defeat the idea".  She also asked me about a time line for passion projects. I just said that I was hoping some were done by Thanksgiving.
I did announce to the class that they had one more session of just research before starting to put the projects together… but now I'm not so sure I should have said that...

BUT this did make me ponder…and I'm glad she came in to ask me questions.
So I guess my response to the added guide is "that's where I come in as a facilitator"…to move them along.

Here's one project I took a snapshot of… (I was so busy facilitating, I didn't have a chance to take pics of progress)… This student loves art and drawing. Her original Passion Project was "did I get better at drawing" and I explained to her that we didn't want to judge her drawing abilities… eventually she agreed on making a form of clip art… this is her first drawing.
I'm still trying to figure out how to make clip art (for free).
brown line is just me blocking her name

Earlier in the week I dedicated a part of my bulletin board in class for a "Wonder Wall"… I shared the excitement for students to write right on the board! I told them to jot down their wondering questions as they came up in their heads... as long as they didn't do it during instructional times or times they are working with other students.
I'll grab a pic of that this week (forgot).

Even though I don't have to plan anything for Genius Hour…I am BUSY during Genius Hour! Facilitating. And I love to see and hear what the kids have to say!

Enjoy your week!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Monsters! Fact and Opinion, Currently November, and Five for Friday 11/2

It's Currently time…so link up with Farley and her monthly Currently Linky party

LISTENING- Kids are watching Fairly Odd Parents…I admit, that cartoon cracks me up!
LOVING- Made some Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls. House smells delish and they tasted delish! Am I a bad mom because I eat the middle rolls and give the kids the ends??? Meh, what they don't know won't hurt them <insert evil laugh here>
THINKING- We have daylight savings and we "fall back" an hour… In my world, we gain an hour and I'm going to get caught up on grading, get caught up on laundry, and get caught up on house stuff… all in that extra hour! Wish me luck!
WANTING- I need a duplicate ME. Not a sub… another ME. I don't know about you all, but this year has been very overwhelming… New Math series, Weekly Data Meetings, Common Core, Professional Development Trainings… Plus extra stuff our Principal puts on us. Even taking it day by day isn't really working…even trying to start each day fresh…isn't working. Going through the motions and I dislike it.
NEEDING- a day off… I'm well aware it's Saturday and tomorrow is Sunday with an extra hour to boot! I just feel like I need a day off… but I'm not sure from what. Does that even make sense?
YUMMY PIN- Found this pin a while ago and have made this simple recipe several times and it is so yummy! Here's the pic and link to the direct site… ENJOY!

ONE- I Need My Monster

EDITED TO ADD: this project was inspired by 
Matt over at:
LOVE this story! I read the story to my class with the lights off. I DID NOT show ANY pictures, they just heard the words. Each student had crayons and/or colored pencils out and a sheet of plain white paper. Their job was to draw Gabe according to the description they heard while I was reading. I ended up reading the story twice. (and now that I think of it…I forgot to go back and read the story to them and show the pictures! ha!)
After their pictures were complete, students had to write a story about Gabe being under their bed at night for Writer's Workshop (I modeled lots before turning them loose).
What I learned through this process is…my 3rd graders had a difficult time telling a STORY on paper. They just wanted to list things (which they thought was a story). 
Lots more conferencing and editing went on than I expected…
But it turned out great!  

TWO- Pumpkin Carving--- I love skulls, went with this for my Jack-o-lantern… I love it
THREE- GO 3rd Grade Team!
Our school wide Halloween theme went with our Year Theme "Running Down a Dream"… So the theme for staff was to dress up like runners… Well my 3rd grade team spiced it up a little and we became MINION MARATHONERS! Our marathon numbers are our room numbers. So fun! We were a hit amongst all the kids!
Here we are… 
FOUR- Day after Halloween… School's gotta go on…
At the last minute I decided to pass out "Easy Biographies" I had in my library…had students work in pairs to read the biography…make a chart of facts and opinions (current skill we are learning) from the book and present to the class. IT WORKED OUT SO WELL! 
We learned about so many people. There was great discussion about whether statements were statements of fact or opinion.

FIVE- Concluded my week with my youngest. While her sisters were at parties, we played Sorry! It was some not-so-hard-thinking fun way to wrap up the week while waiting to pick the other two up.
She won 2 and I won 2… we have to have a championship game…
Genius Hour Post tomorrow!