Saturday, January 25, 2014

Genius Hour Strong

Another successful week of Genius Hour!
My goal for the week was to have my third graders really focus on what they were doing and how they were getting there.
I know it probably sounds funny, but I was noticing some kids just not know what to do next. I had an extra adult in the room (one of our reading aides who pushed into my class) so I had her help me go around and give encouragement and guidance if needed.
Most of the kids were pumped and working hard. Between the two of us, we were able to check in on every student.
 One student, who is working on a China project, just about finished her Prezi and will be ready to present next week.
Another student is still trying to get her hand stand accomplished!
I have a team of boys working on a Minecraft project... On Friday, they worked on some sort of script and one of the boys is bringing in ginormous boxes for something (I'm a bit excited about this).
I'm trying SO HARD to help out my student who is creating clip art. I'm using Gimp Shop (cuz it's free) and I have no idea what I'm doing! I'm trying!!!
The students were so busy, we forgot to blog about it!!! I have all my students set up on KidBlog. I told them to feel free to blog from home! Which reminds me...I need to log in and reply to their projects! I feel like the Blogging will hold them a little more accountable on their accomplishments of the day.
I started a new Wonder board! We called it "We {heart} Wondering" on pink bulletin board paper for Valentine's Day. I'll post a photo next week, I forgot to take one. Like the Yellow Board I had in another post, this will be a place for the students to write their "wonders" as they come up. The students seem to get LOTS of wonders when we read in class!
Stay warm and enjoy!
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Friday, January 24, 2014

Who's Cold? Unexpected Lessons, and Warm My Heart

What a week! I'm soooooooo over the cold! This is crazy! And weather peeps are forecasting Monday and Tuesday to be "the coldest of the season"...Ummm, how can it get colder here?!?!?!
Kids haven't had recess outdoors in FOREVER. And I'm tired of the salt all over everything.
Although, the snow did look pretty a couple days ago...

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs for some FIVE FOR FRIDAY!
This should be an easy post, it was a busy week!
ONE-Got this Story Map idea from a blog a long time ago! I can't even remember where! But I hot glue each laminated section to the wall and use this all year long for a quick Story Map review. Please excuse my fast/sloppy writing... I write as the kids tell me what to write. This story was from our Basal-Storytown... The kids enjoyed it and now they want to learn more about earthquakes!
Reading increases wondering!!!
TWO-Another Basal related story... In Storytown, we have these little read-alouds...and I truly enjoy them! This one is called "The Money Tree". It's supposed to support Author's Purpose, but it turned into a lesson about Inference! The only reason we know this tree growing is made of money is by the title...soooo, we looked for text proof (I had to read it twice) and came up with proof that the tree grew money.
This was one of those unexpected lessons that went great! Lots of wonderful discussions and healthy arguing!
THREE-We worked on tiling in math this week. We've been working on lots of area and perimeter. Next, the students will have the task of designing the foyer of our building with something attractive...putting area and perimeter to use!
Oh, I'm sure most of you use this little trick... when I spell perimeter at school... I always write it peRIMeter... to help the students remember the peRIMeter is the rim of the figure.
FOUR-Jamberry... As you read in my last post, I am a Jamberry Consultant! I've never done anything like this before and I'm for-real-loving the wraps! You can read all about it here. My school's art program just asked me to do a fundraiser with Jamberry for their program! I'm super excited!
The picture on the left is how my nails look after I've removed a full set of wraps using warmed olive damage! And the wraps were on for 10 days! The picture on the right are the wraps I applied after removing the old... Yes, those are skulls ;) I have a slight obsession with skulls. My students LOVE when I come in with new nails!
If you would like to try a sample or join my team, please email me at
Check out my page at
Like my

FIVE- A treat for myself! Today I came home from a crazy cold day, and these sure did warm my heart! I finally ordered myself some Alex and Ani bracelets! Naturally, I had to get the LAUGH bangle! And I just had to have the Apple of Abundance one too! I don't think I own any apple jewelry! Some arm candy and fresh nails! I'm set!

Oh, and I've officially changed my name below! I'm no longer "autumn". It's soooo strange to see my real name down there! No more "hiding" on the world wide web...
STAY WARM! It's pretty dang cold up near Chicago!

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Saturday, January 11, 2014


Have you had a Jamicure?
I saw all kinds of awesome manicures on Instagram and learned that the manicure were actually nail wraps! I inquired more about them and asked for a sample...
Got my sample in the mail, tore open the envelope, like a kid on Christmas, RAN upstairs to my bathroom, and applied my very first Jamberry Nail!
Not too long after that, I joined Christi's team and I am officially a
Visit my Facebook Page! You'll be sucked into beauty for your nails, too.
This is my first nail wrap on my ring finger. The rest are just painted.

They're nontoxic nail wraps that you apply right over your natural nail in your own home. They can also be used over acrylics and are perfect for helping you grow out short nails too. The special material is pressure and heat activated to achieve a quick and easy manicure that you'd never get with polish. The shields are made in the USA, nontoxic/latex-free, and never tested on animals.

Each set of wraps is just $15 and comes with enough wraps to do your nails several times. I can easily get 2 manicures and 1-2 pedicures out of each set. That makes each application just $3-$5. You get the professional look of a salon manicure for a fraction of the cost.

I love them because:
  • Jamberry Nail wraps are easy to put on at home while I'm watching my favorite shows. It takes me about 15-20 minutes from start to finish using an orange stick and a rice bag. You can use a hairdryer (as I did my first time), but the rice bag is a bit easier to handle when doing all your nails. Your wraps will last 2 weeks (if you can stand to keep them on that long before changing to another). I haven't painted my fingernails in about 10 years because the polish just doesn't last. Jamberry wraps last!
  • There are so many colors, patterns, and finishes to choose from! I already have the next several months of nails planned out...St. Pat's Day is coming up, Easter, both of my daughters' softball seasons, dance recital... It's much less expensive than going to the salon.
  • They come in junior styles and my girls are already asking when they can have their nails done. You can match your little one if you wish.
  • NO chipping or dry time. I have not been gentle wearing my wraps. I teach 20 something 3rd graders, have 3 of my own children, 3 dogs, a cat, tortoise, dragon, and house stuff to do...I don't have time to be careful and I don't need to with Jamberry Nails!
  • So far, I have had compliments on my nails DAILY. No lie! Every single day, someone has said to me "I love your nails"!
  • And you know I wouldn't show you anything I didn't think was awesome and worth it! You all know how picky I am with things. I truly love these!

If you want to try them out, you can shop right from my personal Jamberry page . Your wraps arrive in your mailbox just 7-10 days later. Be sure to take advantage of the Buy 3, Get 1 deal. I've seen all different ways to mix and match patterns and colors.
 If you love Jamberry as much as I do, you can be a hostess for an online Jamberry Party and earn hostess rewards (like free and/or discounted nails for yourself). It's really easy! I'll set up an online party, you'll give your friends the website, and then you sit back and earn rewards while your friends get to try out Jamberry too. This works best when you have worn Jamberry so your friends can see it in person. We can schedule your party in advance so you have plenty of time to show off your wraps first.

Hosting a catalog party is how I'm getting my start with Jamberry. I will be wearing my nails to work, I'll set out a catalog in the teachers' lounge and let teachers order right from their phones! If you'd like to sign up with me for a party, I'll mail you a catalog and samples that you can pass around too.

Another option is making a Facebook event for your party. On the Facebook event page, I can post lots more pictures and offer special deals and prizes. All you have to do is invite your friends. Hosting an online party is an easy way to get free wraps after you've already tried them out and love them.
Finally, if you become as addicted as I am, you can join my team and become a consultant yourself. Becoming a consultant is a great way to earn extra cash while getting discounts on Jamberry for yourself too. Truthfully, if you're going to wear them a lot, you should sign up to be a consultant because everyone is going to want them once they see yours. TRUST ME.

As a member of my team, you'll get lots of support in your new adventure from those of us already on the team (as I blog, I'm reaching out to my mentor, Christi). I have NEVER done ANYTHING like this before! So far, I am truly enjoying the entire experience.

Not only am I loving Jamberry, but I'm looking forward to paying some bills (honestly), then my plan is to save up for a family vacation. My world was turned upside-down when Hostess/Wonderbread went out of business, and let's face it, a teacher's salary in most areas is difficult to live off of...and this is my contribution to getting back on have less of a struggle.
You might just want to join as a hobby! And that's fine too! Either way, you won't be alone because our team networks in a private group on Facebook to share pictures, files, and ideas (which I've taken full advantage of). Jamberry is a new company, so you have the chance to get in there early and make a difference (in my experience thus far, not too many people near South/SW Chicago area have heard about it).

To join my team, you'll purchase a $99 starter kit, but the kit comes with way more than its cost in product (4 sets of nails, the heater, -the application kit alone would cost $85- and the kit comes with tons more than that). Then you use your kit to take off with hosting your own online, catalog, or home parties. You can email me if you'd like to talk more about this.

If you have any questions or want to join our team, you can leave a comment here or email me using the contact links I have all over this page.
As an independent Jamberry consultant, I'm happy to help.
I can't wait for you to share your first Jamicure!

Here's Christi's Jamberry Nails Cold Rice Bag Application:

Official Jamberry Applications:

Tips and tricks:


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Monday Made *a home change, brain challenge, and student blog*!

I'm linking up with 4th Grade Frolics
I have TWO Monday Made-its…
My first is my daughter's bedroom. She has the smallest room in the house and not much space for storage. My generous brother in law and sister in law were buying a new set for their older daughter and gave us their loft bed.
It's beautiful!
It's the same width and length of her previous bed, but we added a dresser, desk, shelves, and "hideout"!
When we found out we could have it, my husband drove out there to pick it up…and the girls and I emptied Little Kid's room.
My brother in law actually took the drive back to our house to avoid multiple trips and help my husband bring the wooden set upstairs (thank goodness)!
While my husband was filling in tack and nail holes, we ran out and picked out paint! Came home, hubs painted (ok, maybe this should be HIS Monday Made It)…and  we put all the furniture back in.
I ordered a comforter set online and it *should* be here by Wednesday!
Tonight is her first night sleeping in her new bed (in which I'll be sleeping lightly because it's up in the air and I'm slightly nervous she's going to fall out).
Here's a partially finished room. Her room was purple…now teal! And yes, that is 11 year old green carpet.
Here's the bed set…Every thing is reversible! LOVE IT!

MY SECOND Monday Made It is
I just enrolled my class and created a class blog on (click on pic to take you there)
WHY did I sign up for Kidblog?
Well, Since October, I've been immersed in Genius Hour in my class.
The teachers I've chatted with on Twitter (follow me
use some form of blogging to keep students on task, hold them accountable, give and receive feedback, start conversations…
So I've joined the ranks. It was super easy to sign up and it's FREE (this is my own opinion, no one asked me to talk about Kidblog or review it).
I'm excited that kids can blog from home, in school…and I can access it when I want!
We will see how this new adventure goes.
I'm looking forward to students blogging about their passion projects!
We are all signed up and I'm ready to teach them how to use it!

Speaking of Twitter…
seriously teachers…if you haven't been involved in an #edchat or #ILedchat or #IAedchat or #3rdchat or #TLAP (Teach Like a Pirate) or #techchat… (those are a few that I frequent)…
Get on Twitter and find out when a chat takes place…sit back and watch…or dive right in and give your opinion.
I was "challenged" (ahhhh, my one little word) by someone in the #IAchat this evening! I loved it.
I decided that technology is an ESSENTIAL part of eled and he most certainly did not…
He thought it was too distracting for little kids and even cited an article where a big guy from Google said his kids aren't allowed to be on the computer or even "google" something until 7th grade…
Well I don't need an article or research to tell me that technology is essential in lower grades.
It's my opinion and I believe EVERY student in school should have access to and use iPads, computers, or whatever technology is available. Of course, it should be done in moderation and used appropriately…
Now, some of my students' Genius Hour presentations will be a Prezi…but the Prezi is not the goal…what they learned is the goal….
And yes, I started a class blog for the students to reflect and even start a conversation about their Passion Projects.
So use technology appropriately and in moderation.
Anyway… Twitter had me fired up and I was gaining ideas to use in the classroom AND I was able to think and reflect what-why-how-when-who was going on in my classroom.
I'm telling you…an hour chat FLIES by! And you feel like you've run out of time! And it's thought provoking and self-fulfilling…

Link up with Monday Made It, so I can steal your ideas!

See you at the next chat!

Friday, January 3, 2014

What Does a Genius Say?

I love me some GENIUS HOUR! I do!
You've been with me through my journey of Genius Hour...
There aren't many downsides...except...
blocked websites...and...
Honestly, it's THE best thing I've done this school year! 
Here's a link to my first post about I set it up and all...

One of my posts links you to my TPT store to download a freebie letter to send home! It's had 100 downloads and no one was kind enough to leave me a thank you... SO if you could...please leave me some quick feedback if you download it!
It's a Word Doc, so you can change what you want to fit your needs.

Well fast forward... Kids are excited to work on their projects...
I have nothing to write in my plan book on Friday from 2:30-3:10 except "Genius Hour"...
because there's no planning once it hits the ground! However, it's a super busy time for me...running (sometimes literally) around the classroom...checking this out and that out and fostering that love of learning.
And it's so open and free and unrestricted and comfortable and exciting and passionate and exhilarating and inventive and smart and GENIUS!

My latest passion projects were about Movie Making and the Titanic...
They never turn out how I expect them to turn far, the end projects have been different from what I approved...but after seeing what they've learned on their own...WHAT DO I CARE?
I can't replace that self-motivated-learning!

My Titanic Passion Project student was supposed to create the Titanic out of bottles and do some experiments to show how they could have prevented the sinking... Well, after researching, he decided he just didn't know everything he wanted to know about the he researched on the iPad and read lots of books! When that student was ready, he gave us facts and information about the ship. He and his dad built a model Titanic at home (how can one deny that father-son bonding???)... He drew pictures and explained so much! I beamed with pride! All the students learned something new and the questions they had for him were fantastic!

My Movie Maker Passion Project student was supposed to learn how to make a movie...She kinda did that... She did research on how to make movies and shared all that information with the class... Then she showed the class her Cheer routine from a competition (which she didn't record herself)... but she was able to explain how to make a recording and upload it... SHE was proud of it and that made ME proud!

On Twitter, I chat with lots of the upper grade teachers who have their students blog about their passion projects...
Not fully ready to do that just yet...but I'm getting close.
We do not reflect at this time on paper or with technology...I guess it's been working to reflect orally for now...LOTS of feedback and discussion...Total facilitator on this... I don't give ideas or really guide too much unless they ask for it...and they really haven't asked for my opinion! WHICH I LOVE!

So, as I move forward with Genius Hour, I will incorporate written reflection of some form... whether it be blogging or on old fashioned pencil and paper.

Talk about Geniuses (I googled and that's the proper plural form for four people)...
In 3rd grade, we had four students come up with a song for telling time called "What Does the Clock Say" to the tune of "What Does the Fox Say"?

Here it is! And you can grab this as a FREEBIE in my TPT store by clicking on the picture.
PLEASE leave some feedback if you decide to download!
The students worked hard on it!

Stay Warm!!!!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Currently January 2014


It's 2014 and I'm linking up with Farley's monthly CuRrEnTLy!
 LISTENING-Kids are lounging on the couches, watching Looney Toons and texting friends. I'm good with that.
LOVING- Christmas Break! I really haven't gotten anything accomplished, but enjoying the time with my family, and playing some board games, and laughing, and some extra sleeping...
THINKING- I am SO happy I don't have to go to work tomorrow! Some of my IG teacher friends have to go into work tomorrow! I COULDN'T EVEN IMAGINE! bleh.
WANTING- I hate laundry. And with 3 girls in the house plus ME plus the hubby...that's too much laundry. I'm NEVER caught up no matter how hard I truly try (not trying hard now).
NEEDING- I need to keep drinking water! I'm doing well. As I've posted before, I stopped drinking my beloved Diet Coke two days before Christmas...had some on Christmas (because my mom bought it specifically for me and I felt obligated to drink it)...but haven't had any since (well, besides some sips here or there, when water wasn't available).
CHRISTMAS TRADITION- Every year on Christmas Eve we (my hubby, 3 girls, and myself) take turns reading pages of Twas the Night Before Christmas at bedtime.

Your turn! Go link up and remember to leave a comment on at least 3 blogs!
Enjoy your day!