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Monday, February 27, 2012

Behavior BINGO

How do you handle discipline in the classroom?  Do you use clothes pins or have the students pull their card?  I like the kids to have a "hoppy day"...... happy students equals a happy teacher!!!!! I use positive reinforcement.  I praise those who are making the good choices and redirect those who aren't, but heavier on the praise.  Students soon learn that the kiddos who make positive choices get to have all the fun in class.  Those who take their time and do their assignments right the first time, don't have to redo it.  Those who go over and beyond to help someone get noticed. Those who show respect get respect. Another fun way to reinforce positive behavior is with BINGO!

A friend of mine from Arizona (Hi Teresa!) introduced me to he Behavior Bingo!  Year after year my students LOVE it!  The picture below is my behavior BINGO (Teresa designed it).  I cut off the top of my BINGO board when I took the picture but it has my name in large letters and some western deco.  I had the banner made at Vista Print.  It's lasted me at least 3 years already and its still in perfect condition.
I have the students choose what "prize" they want to earn when they get a BINGO.  Recently my classed earned No Homework for a week and now we are working towards a game day! Last year my students earned a class pet, pajama day, lunch in the classroom for a week, and no homework for a week.  It takes a while to get a BINGO but the kids really love trying to get compliments.  I have numbers one through one hundred cut out and laminated that I keep in a little bucket I hang right below the poster.  I also keep the little circle stickers in the bucket as well.  If everyone is present for the day and not tardy AND the class has good behavior when ever they transition from the classroom to specials, lunch, etc. I will pick one number.  If our principal or vice principal, another teacher, or an adult visitor give the class a compliment I will pick two numbers.  As soon as one row is filled they get whatever prize we all agree on.  It has worked like magic.  My students really work hard to earn a BINGO!

I would love to hear what you use to handle discipline in the classroom!  Let me know what you do in your classroom in the comments below.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Teaching Life Cycles

Clip art purchased from Scrappin Doodles
Here in San Antonio, we study the four Texas regions.  While studying the Great Plains, we learn that cotton is a very important cash crop of that area.  We learn about the life cycle of a cotton plant but even more fun, we learn about the life cycle of the Boll Weevil. The Boll Weevil is an snout nosed beetle that eats and lays eggs in the cotton buds.  In the early 1900s the Boll Weevil caused such destruction in the cotton plants that the Texas Great Plains lost over 700,000 bales of cotton along with millions and millions of dollars.

To let the students experience the life cycle of the Boll Weevil we purchased meal worms from the local pet store.  What do meal worms have to do with Boll Weevils you ask?  Well, actually a lot! A meal worm is the larva of a beetle.  Yup, its true.....all of you who buy meal worms to feed your lizards, turtles, and whatever else eats them, you are buying baby beetles :).

The kids LOVE LOVE LOVE watching their meal worms transform right before their very eyes!  The life cycle of a Boll Weevil and a Beetle is the same:
  egg --> larva (meal worm) --> pupa --> Beetle/Boll Weevil

Here are some pictures (sorry about the quality of the pics) of the stages my class and I witnessed!

Here is the larva (meal worm)
This is the larva after shedding it skin.  It's sheds it skins up to 10 times

Pupa stage
coming out of the pupa stage to adult

finally an adult 
The beetle gets darker as its gets older

All stages can be seen here.
This is how they lived...  in a clear storage container with saw dust on the bottom.
We put oatmeal and flax seed around with some apple wedges and potato chunks.
The students loved to see the worms eat straight through the apple.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What do Pinterest and a $200 Amazon GC have in common?

Do you pin?  Do you follow any teacher blogs? Do you want to win one of two  $200 Amazon gift cards?   Well thanks to Charity from The Organized Classroom Blog.....here is your chance!

Here is what you need to do to enter:
  1. Visit Pinteresting Teacher Blogs (you can click on the link or the logo above to go straight there)
  2. Create a Pinterest Board titled "Pinteresting Teacher Blog" and repin the 13 pins on the contest board
  3. Go back to the original Pinteresting Teacher Blogs Board and fill out the entry form.
That's it!  Two simple things to do for a chance to win one of two $200 Amazon gift cards!  
Contest ends 2/26/12 at 10:00 ET

It's not part of the contest but I would love to know if you entered.  It would be SUPER FABULOUS if one of my followers won!

By the way, if you need an invite to pinterest just leave a comment with your email in the comments and I will send you one asap!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

FREE Picture Writing Prompts!

I love using pictures as writing prompts and decided to create a few of my own and join this fun linky party by The Diary of a Not So Wimpy Teacher and Classroom Magic!  Here are a few picture writing prompts I just created using some pictures I had on my phone.

(This is actually a pic of my son Jake and his BFF Brody)

(Our bird Charlie who we gave to a friend )

(This is my daughter 17 year old daughter Bella  who was having character day at her  high school and she decided to dress up like Dora the Explorer.  She stopped by my classroom to visit my kiddos before she went to school.)

(My niece, Samantha, and my son, Jake, a couple of years ago. They were laying on the floor of my mom's loft and were actually trying to listen in on a conversation that was going on downstairs.)

(I didn't write a prompt for this one but I thought you could use it without a prompt...   It is a picture of a grain bug I took when we studied the life cycle of this bug - which I still need to blog about!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

You Know You're a Teacher When.... Linky!

Hi Fabulous Friends!

When I saw this linky party that Jeannie at Kindergarten Lifestyle I just knew I had to participate.  You need to go link up or at least read the others because some of these are something only a teacher would understand.   

Tomorrow is my 21st, ok I'll be honest 30th, awwww forget it age doesn't matter, its my weight I will never tell 44th birthday!  This past week  I was spoiled rotten by my 4th grade team, my students, and my family!  My hubby asked me what I wanted for my birthday and guess what I replied...   Yup, you guessed it right! I asked him for binders (18 of them), sheet protectors, sharpies,colored pens , and post it notes!  I also got What Every Elementary Teacher Needs to Know About Reading Tests  and  a few other books I wanted for my classroom.                                   

Friday, February 10, 2012

Have you used Vocabulary Spelling City? Review & Raffle

I was contacted by Vocabulary Spelling City and was offered a subscription to try their premium membership to use with my students (and a premium membership to give away)!    Of course I said heck ya! yes please!

To be honest, I've used the free version of spelling city, liked it, but didn't think the premium membership would be much different.  Boy was I wrong!  

If you've never been to Vocabulary Spelling City you must go check it out!  As the teacher you can type in your spelling/vocabulary words online and then your students can play fun and engaging games with their spelling words.  How cool is that?  You can enter a whole years worth of word list (or more) and the spelling words get saved!  My students and their parents alike love to have this resource to practice spelling and vocabulary words!  The students can play the games online or they can print out worksheets!!!!!!!!  Hello? How much better can this get?  Can a premium membership really be better than that?   Um, yes!  Look at this chart from Vocabulary Spelling City to see the difference:

A premium membership is $49.99 and as a teacher I don't have money to blow but after trying it out for almost a month I can honestly say that I will renew my membership and never be without it!  First of all Vocabulary Spelling City is very user friendly.  It was easy for me to setup and easier for my students to use. With a premium membership I was able to give each student their own individual login and password.  I can assign different spelling list to different students with just a click of the mouse ........differentiated instruction! I can assign certain activities to all the students or just certain groups of students. I can have them take their spelling/vocabulary test on the website and it will give me their test results.  I can also track my student's progress!  I can go on and on but you really need to go check it out and see it yourself. 

Here's your chance to win a premium membership for you to use with your students.  A winner will be randomly chosen on February 24th and announced on February 25th. I am not asking you to go on a manhunt to win this but I would love for you to follow me by email so you never miss a post. You can do so on the top right on my blog.   Alrighty, time enter.... just leave a comment with your name and email addy (to contact you if you are the winner).  GOOD LUCK!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

100 squares make...

Did you already celebrate your 100th  day of school?  Ours was February 1st.   My fourth graders were so excited and couldn't believe we had been in school one hundred days already.  The first thing they asked as they entered the classroom was, "What fun 100th day project are we doing?"  Kinders were wearing 100 day shirts, made 100 day posters, eating 100 day snacks, etc.(x100)!  I told my froggies that they weren't in kinder any more but they were going to be given an opportunity to earn a 100 on an assignment.  I told them to take 100 seconds of silence to think about what the assignment might be.  First of all they were all shocked how LOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNGGGGGG it felt to think quietly for 100 seconds and next, they were guessing we were going to take a test.  They know in upper elementary that its time to kick it up a notch after the holidays so they assumed we were just going to do "work". It didn't matter what I was planning it had to be better than a test!  So no matter what I said, as long as it wasn't a test, the kids would be thrilled.

I handed them all a piece of large white piece of construction paper and told or more pieces of colored construction paper of their liking.  Students were instructed to cut out 100 squares - they could be all of one color or of multiple colors but only 100 and they had to be congruent.  Some kids traced squares, some folded squares, and some just drew squares but eventually everyone had a pile of 100 squares on their desk.  They were instructed to use and glue all 100 squares to make one object on the white construction paper and they could draw a background if they wished.  My froggies were so creative!  This assignment took way longer then I thought it would but the kids LOVED it!  This will definitely become an annual event in my classroom!
Look at some of the masterpieces! :)

100 squares make a cyclops
100 squares make a butterfly
100 squares make a dolphin

100 squares make a motorcycle
100 squares make a dog

Check out more 100th day ideas by clicking here:  100 Day Ideas Pinterest Board

Monday, February 6, 2012


Since I am still awake waiting for the laundry to dry I thought I would go ahead and participate in Oh' Boy 4th Grade's Currently link up!  I was planning on doing this tomorrow night but if I do it now I have an excuse why I didn't finish grading :)  Go link up and tell us what you are currently doing!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

TOADally Awesome Valentine's Day FREEBIES!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE being a teacher!  And I wanted to share the love by sharing some Valentines I made to give my little froggies.

*Click Here* to get some TOADally Awesome Valentines 

I also think my 4th graders don't get enough "fun" stuff to do (compared to the lower grades) because we have to hit academics so hard this time of year.  We don't have a Valentine's Day party but do exchange Valentines sooooooooooooo  I created this fun project which is still academic to collect our card in.  I assigned this project to do at home this year but you can certainly assign this for in class or as homework.

* Click Here* to get your Valentine Math Box Project 

Feel free to share what you do with your classes for Valentine's Day in the comments below