Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Biographies of Poets

I came across some "old" scholastic posters that were in my closet about biographies of famous people.  To keep my theme of poetry for the week, I gave students a list of poets for them to research on the internet and create a poster about his/her life.  Students REALLY enjoyed this activity and were excited to report to one another about the information they found.  The most popular poet???  Maya Angelou!  Very proud so many students found interest in this wonderful lady's life.  :)

             Briley Finster: Maya Angelou

  Mason Green:  Maya Angelou, too!!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I love the Cardinals!!!

At a trip to Branson, I came across this "Best Seller".  Ok, not really a best seller, but it sure caught my eye!

I just couldn't resist......

Our Student of the Week last week was Briley Finster.  One of the pictures that he shared with us was a shot of him at 3-4 years old.  I couldn't resist posting "Cowboy Briley" on our classroom blog!!!  Yippe-yi-o-ki-yay!!!!

Extra Points on Science Tests!!!!

This was an awesome idea!!!!

Mason Green-He broke the ice for us.  No one would do it.  So Mason got up and sang "Radioactive".

Jacob Jones

Eliza Westmoreland

Gage Brugoto-doesn't he look like a future entertainer??? :)

Dezirae Carter

Halle Musick

Briley Finster

Jake Hutchison

Congratulations, Gage!!!

Congratulations to Gage Brugoto!!!  He got his first deer a few weekends ago!

Adverbs Avenue

I saw an idea on for adverbs and though I would try it in my classroom.  I have a classroom full of young artists and I knew they would be really interested in the project!  First, we discussed them and made an anchor chart.  I had adverbs on cardstock paper and we sorted them based on WHAT? WHEN? and HOW?, and then made up sentences using adverbs.  To end the lesson, the students worked in groups to create an avenue in the hallway.  Each group got a piece of chart paper, chose a sentence to illustrate, and created a scene to hang together with the other groups in the hallway.  Hence the title "Adverbs Avenue". It was awesome seeing their creativity go wild!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Last Friday's Book Jackets

As I graded last Friday's book jackets, I was very disappointed in the results.  I only had 3 100s, and a total of only 4 A's.  All students were given the rubric, it was projected onto the board, and I read and explained it before they started.  The part of the jacket they had the most trouble with was the connections.  This was what several students put down as connections:

"I like to draw."
"I have read a book about clocks."
"I have a dog."

I see this type of connection when I walk down the 1st grade hallway.  :(  A GOOD connection states what you are connected to and what part of the book it is that connects you.  For example, I had one student write down "I have a text-to-self connection to Diary of a Wimpy Kid because Greg has an older brother and so do I."  THIS IS THE TYPE OF CONNECTION (and sentence) THAT FOURTH GRADERS SHOULD BE WRITING!

All rubrics were sent home this afternoon.  Please take a minute to look at your child's grade to see what he/she missed.  These book jackets are fun for them and should be an easy grade.

Thanks for all of your help!!!

P.S.--The covers were fantastic!  I will NEVER complain about their artistic abilities!

4th Grade Crime Scene

To end our unit on writing mysteries, I decided to do something BIG to get them excited about what to write and how to write it!  With the help of my good friend Seth Higginbottom, I got some crime scene tape to help rope off a section of the classroom.  By the time the students returned from Art, we had a murder mystery on our hands!  I got shoes from Mrs. Brown so that I could make some "muddy footprints" on the white paper.  I used some red paint for "blood" and left clues throughout the room.  Bloody handprints on the walls, bathroom doors, fingerprints on the paper towel machines, and then washed it off in the sinks and left a little residue.  This helped them to correctly fill out their "clues" section in their graphic organizer.  We talked about how it was in the girls bathroom AND in the boys bathroom.  Someone said, "It must have been at least 1 boy and 1 girl." I then asked them about distractions.  Another student piped in and said it could have been a girl and she left fingerprints and blood in the boys bathroom to "throw us off".  WOW...  I totally wanted them to get that and they did!


We love Furry Visitors... :)

Brandi Schulz found a small kitten in her field one day.  Thinking it was lost from its mother and the mother would come back for it, she left it there, careful not to bother it.  When it was still there the next day, Brandi decided to take that little kitty and nurse it back to health.  She came to our classroom to share her story with us, telling us about "Richard Parker" and how she took care of him.  "Richard" was also present for the story and we got to pet and play with him.  What a great morning!!!


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Reading Guest

We were surprised Tuesday morning with a special lady to come and read to us!  Ethan Ball's grandmother is with Farm Bureau and brought a book to share with us.  It was about growing vegetables and eating them.  The students really enjoyed her!  And I think that Mrs. Staggs enjoyed coming to read to us, as well!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Reading Minutes

I have pondered a way to hold students accountable for their reading every night.  I have been doing the "honor system" since school began, but, after Friday's poor turnout of book projects, I have decided to do things a little different.

In 4th grade, students need to read an average of 60 minutes independently each day in order to grow as a reader.  We took the STAR Reading test last week, and each and every student's report has them reading this much each day so that they can be a better reader.  I gave each student their reading levels this morning.  They go to the library to check out books today.  Each post-it note had the reading level for books in the library and for books in my classroom (Because my library is set up differently than Mrs. Lemonier! :) I do not want students to get discouraged while reading!!!!

With this long post, here is what I am going to require:  Students will have reading homework each night:  READING INDEPENDENTLY.  They will have a sheet to fill out.  They will record their minutes and answer a quick question.  Examples:  What happened to the character today?  What kind of connection did you have to the character?  What was the setting?  Along with writing, students may draw a picture or fill in a graphic organizer.  They are short questions, but they help to comprehend.  They will make students go back and "think" about what was read.  I am crossing my fingers this works!!!  I want students to jump from where they are reading now and to go beyond 4th grade reading levels!

Oh, and, psst....  SHHH...  If students are good...and don't fall behind in math... This reading will be the only homework they will have most  nights.  But, shhhhhh.... I don't want them to know.  :)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Halloween Party

I have had a lot of people ask about our Halloween Party.  In all of the excitement that was last week, I forgot to send a note home.  :(  I am terribly sorry....  I AM sending a note home on Monday.  Just in case!

Our party will be Thursday, the 31st, at 2:00.  I have several activities planned for us that are Halloween themed throughout the day.  The last thing we will do before the party is have a reading activity called "The Carving of Old Jack".  It gives us step-by-step instructions on how to carve a jack-o-lantern.  At the end, I will carve a pumpkin to light up during our party.

For this party I always do a mixture of whatever parents want to help me out with giving to students.  Chips, dips, cookies, small sandwiches, and candy, along with drinks usually winds students up enough in time to send them home to you.  Whatever you would like to donate to help us would be greatly appreciated!  I know Fall Festival was last week and we were overwhelmed at how much was donated for that big event.  I AM SO IMPRESSED!  So, please give what you would like for this party, please do not feel as though you have to send something!  :)


This Week's Friday Folders

Because Thursday was PTC's and Friday was....well....let's just say CRAZY, I chose not to send Friday folders home on Friday afternoon.  I am going to send them home Monday afternoon.  In Friday Folders will be a calendar with this week's lessons, any notes about upcoming events, and an announcement about the next book project.  I send this home every Friday but most parents said "I'll be honest...I don't look at it!"  SO, I am thinking that I will make sure and post important announcements HERE.  Any ideas?  Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fall Festival....I am so excited!!!

I have been overwhelmed by how much help we have gotten for the Fall Festival.  We wanted to do a different raffle this year.  Usually we ask area businesses for a small donation so that we can raffle $100.  A hundred dollars is not what it used to be.  So, since all of the 4th grade teachers are big on family and family activities, we planned on putting together a basket to engage families in doing things together.  I suggested "Movie Night", since my kids and I enjoy popping popcorn and watching movies.  MY OH MY AT THE RESPONSE WE HAVE GOTTEN!!  I never dreamed that so many parents would help to donate items to our basket.  We have 10 DVDs, cases of sodas, boxes (Yes, boxes) of popcorn, lots of chips, 2 Halloween fleece throws (thanks, Beka Smith), and bags and boxes of candy. AND, my sweet husband is heading to Batesville to pick up 4 family tickets to the Melba.  I am not sure I will have a basket large enough to put all of these things into!  That is a problem that I don't care to have.  We will figure it out and make it beautiful!  Here is a before shot:

I will post an after picture tomorrow.

This makes me want to win this basket!  Chances are 3/$1.00!!  Pretty cheap for a huge basket of goodies!

Monday, October 21, 2013

A quiet house....with SCARY!!

I couldn't find Rider.  I went all through the house looking for him and yelling his name.  Finally he said "What, Mom?" He was hiding behind Riley's barbie house.  Looking at books.  And reading to himself.  :)

Quote of the day...

"When you estimate, you use compatible numbers."  --Ethan Ball

Friday's math lesson was about finding compatible numbers when dividing so problems could be computed mentally.  We talked about what compatible means.  Several students brought up!!!  LOL!!!  But, it was relevant, I was able to connect it to math without veering too far towards online dating...

Anyway, after we discussed estimating, Ethan Ball raised his hand and made his quote.  This was EXACTLY what I was looking for with this lesson!

I am so proud of my students.  They are moving so fast through math, they are understanding deeper, and I have some students teaching others who had a hard time with basic facts just a few weeks ago!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Skeleton Creek!!!

I started my unit on mysteries this week.  I always begin in we can see spooky videos, hear spooky books, and write spooky stories.  As always, Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman is the book I am using to introduce them to mysteries.  This book involves the students so much because it integrates what they love:  a good scary story, and videos to watch on the internet.  This is a mystery story about a town called Skeleton Creek.  Two teenagers want to find the history of their town and begin snooping around, trying to find information that NO ONE will tell them.  Ryan is the writer.  His journal is what makes Skeleton Creek.  Sarah is Ryan's best friend.  She is the videographer.  Her videos are what we watch online.  If you want to see what we have seen so far, go to  The password for the first video is houseofusher.

At the end of the 1st video, we see this "phantom".  Is it real?

Today, we watched the second video.  WE WERE SUPRISED, SCARED, SCREAMING, and begging for more of the story.  This video is the scariest video we have ever seen.  To see it, use the password theraven.

Sweet Surprises are the best

I had a very sweet student bring me a surprise.  He picked a rose from his yard, covered a plastic container with paper, and wrote my name on it.  I love it!  I think it is beautiful!  It really is the thought that counts!
 Thank you Briley Finster!