WOW!  That was a fun giveaway!  Thanks again to all who donated their products!  If you have not received your email I will catch up on them later today :)

I recently met by 2013 blogging goal and it had me thinking...which can be scary at times; we often require our students to set goals for themselves, but fail to set them for ourselves.  I created some goals for myself for the month of May and thought you too might want to set some goals for yourself :)

Personal:  I REALLY need to cut back on my spending this month and it is IMPOSSIBLE to go into Walmart and come out with ONE item!  Just hope I can get my hubby to set the same goal :)

Health:  Since my back injury I haven't visited the gym.  I did start walking to ease back into working out and feel I might be ready to hit the gym again.  I am just really scared of injuring myself again.

Blogging:  I NEED to reread my post before posting them.  Often I will go back and read a post and think, "WOW! What was I doing while typing that!?!"  I apologize for past misspellings, run on sentences, and random mistakes.

School:  We are almost out for summer and our state testing takes place this month.  With all the stress and chaos my goal is to at least grade papers at school and NOT bring them home.

Fun: We are having some beautiful spring weather, FINALLY, and I would like to spend more time outside in it with my boys.  They LIVE outside!  I need to get better at putting away technology and spend more time with them, they grow up way too fast!

What are your goals for the month of May?
Use the image below to post your goals and link up :)

image from The 3am Teacher

For the Fun goal, set a goal for something fun to do; crafts, trip, movie, etc.

For linking up to my Monthly Goal Party I will use to choose TWO winners.  The winners will receive any item from my TpT store.  Set those goals and link up!

I am very excited to have reached my 2013 blogging goal of 200 followers! I started this blog project in October to share my classroom experience and ideas because I enjoy reading those of my fellow teachers and bloggers.

To show my appreciation I am having a 24 Hour FREEBIE Giveaway!  No rafflecopter and no!  Just leave a comment with the name in which you follow my blog and your email address and you will receive an email which will include ALL of these AWESOME products from my Blogging Buddies! 

{Don't forget to show them some love by following their blogs and/or TpT stores!}

Ideas by Jivey

Learning With Mrs. Brinn

First Grade Buddies

The 4th Grade Journey

Fifth in the Middle

Head Over Heels for Teaching


1. Cat in the Hat:  So excited Kohls still had some Dr. Seuss stuff left over!  I was able to pick up this guy for $5!
2. The Monday I posted about a student complaining that our local benchmark reading assessment was yeah she scored 81%.  Glad she found some motivation. One of my students scored 100% on the Math portion, they gave me some encouragement for our upcoming state assessment.

3. Scandal was back last night!  I waited THREE WEEKS for the show to come back on!  Love this show!

4. I created a new product this week, Reading Test Prep: Question Analysis, to help my students prepare for our state assessment.  Half the battle of "beating" the test is understanding the tricky wording of questions.  I created this sort for students to complete in pairs or in small groups.  Students read comprehension questions and determine which standard it addresses.

Students set out the standard cards. {Context Clues, Theme, Main Idea, Summarize, Character in Details,  Compare & Contrast, Genre, Making Inferences}

Students read a question card aloud to their teammates.
Example: Which detail would be added to a retelling of the story?

Students work together to determine which standard the question is asking them to think about.

They then place the card under the standard card.
The example question would go under the Summarizing card.

There are six questions for each standard, except for Summarizing it has three questions.
This group had some questions to go back and review.

5. IT'S FRIDAY!  This has been the longest week!  I am so glad to for the weekend to be here. Be sure to stop by on Sunday for my 200 Follower Giveaway!  Everyone will be a winner :)

With the way the world has been recently who doesn't need a reminder of all the wonderful things in life?  I personally need a post like this because today I have been in a funk and need a reminder that life is GOOD.

I am going to list things that remind me of each of the words.

PEACE:  The peace in my heart that I feel when I am home surrounded by my loved ones.  I adore the peace that the Lord brings to my heart when I am in need of him and the many ways in which he brings me peace.

HOPE:  I hold onto the hope that my students are learning and progressing when I see their assessment scores on a local test, when they have that "light bulb" moment, and when they begin to have meaningful conversations about a topic or skill.

LOVE: My sweet husband has always been a romantic man and recently he has been swooning me again.  Almost everyday I receive and email or text stating reasons why he loves me.  Yesterday he said he loves how patient and loving I am to our son when he has woken up for the 4th time in the middle of the night.  He will also call or text me when our song is playing on the radio :)

KINDNESS: I am reminded of this everyday by friends, collegues, family, and strangers.  Kindness is when my co-teacher buys me a soda because she knows I am stressed, when friends and family pass down clothes for your boys, when someone pays for your dinner, and when brothers share toys.  Kindness is encouraging words when you are having a difficult day, a hug, a donation to your blog giveaway, and a listening ear.

Even though we have bad days and the news often reminds us how crazy this world can be we will always have PEACE, HOPE, LOVE, and KINDNESS to get us through the darkness.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
~Martin Luther King Jr. 

I love Wednesdays because it is hump day, my two older boys spend two hours at church and I can get some things done, and it is Ideas by Jivey's Workshop Wednesday linky party!

My math instruction usually includes some form of cooperative learning structure, however, this year's group often cannot handle the non-teacher directed activities.  If I do use them they are normally whole-class and I am giving the directions the entire time.  My students struggle with allowing another classmate give directions.  

Today I did have my students work in pairs to review comparing decimals and to introduce ordering decimals.  I am very fortunate to have inherited math games and manipulatives from our Media Specialist; she left the classroom several years ago to become our librarian.  She used to teach fourth grade and passed down her box of fraction, decimals, multiplication, division, and measurement games.  Fortunately for me she is a bit OCD and every set of cards or game is color coded and organized. 

The games and cards are from old Mailbox magazines and other teaching resources. The picture above shows the ones we used today.

To review comparing decimals students played "Decimal War".  Some really got into it and were slapping down cards as fast as they could.  Others needed a quick lesson on how to play "War", kids these days :)

We used another set of cards to order decimals least to greatest.  There were some good discussions and reasoning going on in some of the pairs.

Next, year I will not have this type of cluster class and I am looking forward to trying out a form of Math Workshop.  I would like to have centers where students are engaged in a spiral review throughout the year.

Don't forget to stop by on Sunday for my 24 Hour FREEBIE Giveaway to celebrate my 200 followers!

I am linking up, a little late but that seems to be my week thus far, with Flying Into First Grade's weekly linky party.  This week's topic is our three favorite places in our classrooms.

 I used (this class can't handle the responsibility) a class economy system.  Students have checkbook and receive a paycheck at the beginning of each month.  They pay desk rent and fines when they break a rule.  They earn money by turning in homework and other incentives as I see fit.  On Friday's students can purchase tickets for a trip to the prize bin, a chance to wear a silly hat, stinky feet pass, etc.  If students are in need of supplies they must purchase items from the store or rent them.  I love this because this is very similar to a system my 5th grade teacher used.

I love my Reading Olympics board because my students really enjoy this program.  They don't get excited about learning too often, I have that group this year, and they truly are excited for this program.

My computer area in my classroom is where I spent a lot of my time after school, working, printing, and planning.  I LOVE my Truffulla trees!  We also started using a Reading Bingo chart to help increase student reading and widen their book selections.  The names posted are the first two students to  earn a Bingo :)  They received a king size candy bar for their accomplishment.

I have been working on my 200 Follower Giveaway and I am excited to tell you that there are some incredible products donated for it!  My giveaway will be for 24 hours only and there will be NO rafflecopter or!  Make sure you stop by Sunday April 28th to check it out!

I didn't link up with Five for Friday last week simply because nothing very exciting happened in my classroom.  Last week's events also kind of depressed me so I wasn't in the best of mood to post.  Does your week or mood have an impact on your post?

My kids were off last week, nothing particular, someone was always doing something they shouldn't have.  I was excited how reading last week continued to flow.  We compared text about the same topic and continued to review main ideas; then Friday came along and they ALL bombed their reading test.  My frustration level increased a bit!  Today we started a local assessment and one of my students complained, who is always laying her head down on her desk in class, about how hard the test was. I was a bit harsh and replied "Welcome to Fourth Grade".  This has been a difficult year, the picture above pretty much sums it up.

Today we watched the Lorax focusing on theme and character development.  I was blown away by one student's response to the theme of The Lorax, "take responsibility for your actions".  Most students replied take care of Earth or the trees, I love when one student can remind you of why we do this job :)

I FINALLY reached 200 followers! Yay!  I am working on getting my Giveaway up an running, check back this week to see what is in store :)

A Teacher without a Class

I am linking up with A Teacher Without A Class Dollar Days Linky Party.  I have been wanting to post about some of my must have items for the classroom and teaching, so why not focus and dollar must have items, here are my top 5 :)

1. Clothes Pins.  I use these for everything!  They currently hold student work samples and are a part of my AR Wait List.  I have some ideas brewing on how else to use them in the classroom for next year.

2. Post-it-Notes. What teacher doesn't LOVE post-it-notes.  Students use them to annotate their reading,  I use them to keep me organized, and they come in handy to write down those many To Do list.

3. Crazy straws.  I use these for my student's birthdays.  I tape a paper balloon to the top and place them in a cup so I am always ready for student birthdays.

4. Baskets (from the Dollar Store).  I LOVE baskets!  Tiny ones, small ones, big ones, all of them!  They hold my school supplies, books, papers, and junk :)

5. Decor.  I love Target dollar bins and Dollar Tree for their classroom decor!  I have found some cute and useful things through out the year.  Pocket Charts, bulletin board borders, cut outs, bags, and posters.

I am ONLY ONE follower away from 200! :)

A little late, but it has been a crazy week and its only Wednesday!  I planned on writing a long post to link up with Ideas By Jivey, but the baby threw up all over the kitchen and I lost my mojo.  I wanted to write a post and LOVE Flying Into First Grade's fun linky party and thought I would join a few days late :)

Here is the code:
Red- Favorite Ice Cream Flavor
Orange- Favorite Memory from College
Yellow- Favorite Sports Team
Green- Favorite Fast Food Place
Purple- Wild Card(Tell anything about yourself)

Red: Moose Tracks
Orange: The first one that came to mind is NOT appropriate, funny but not appropriate :).  One I can share, getting hired for my first teaching job THREE months before graduation!  I was SUPER excited!

Yellow: I don't really watch sports but when I did Chicago Blackhawks were my favorite.  I do LOVE hockey!  My nickname in high school was Chelios, he was the Blackhawks team captain.
My only pet peeve is that they use a DAIRY cow to tell you to eat more chicken.  Dairy cows are not normally what our hamburgers are made from. 
Green: Chick-fil-a.  I actually might have it for dinner tonight :)
I want this one next on my left wrist.
Purple:  I have 5 tattoos and want at least two more :)

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