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Saturday, March 31, 2012

A trip to Convention Hospital ...

... and it was so much fun! Yes, I said a trip to the hospital was fun! It's not any ordinary hospital and no, I wasn't sick or hurt or either was anyone I know.  My fourth grade team and I became the head surgeons at Convention Hospital.
I'm the one in the middle with the navy blue scrubs
Convention (as in writing conventions - spelling, punctuation, capitalization, etc.) Hospital  was such a hit with our students that it will definitely become a yearly tradition in 4th grade.  Here's how our day went.

It was a Monday, the day before our big state writing test, and the students thought they'd be relaxing and not even discussing writing since we had mentioned the Friday before that they learned everything they need to learn in order to be successful on the test.  However, as soon as they came in we (the fourth grade teachers) told the kids, "We have a lot of practicing to do today, no goofing off just lots and lots of writing". The looks of devastation filled the 4th grade classrooms along with many sighs. The teachers handed out a writing prompt and told the kids to get started. Poor students felt like they were being tortured! :(

At 10:10 AM it was time for the kiddos to go to Specials and it was time for "Operation Convention Hospital" for all 6 of the 4th grade teachers!  As you may have noticed I'm not the fittest crayon in the box but you should have seen me move... I was as fast as Michael Johnson in the 1996 Olympics! I changed into my scrubs (that I bought at Walmart especially for this activity), put on my surgeon cap, medical mask, and my stethoscope.  I looked in the mirror and wondered if I was in the right profession......the scrubs were soooooooo comfortable, I could get used to wearing them everyday and the money wouldn't be so bad either I looked dang good as a surgeon.  LOL!

Each of us set up our classrooms hospitals.  We laid out outline of "patients" and filled each patient with editing goodness. We bagged "doctor kits" that consisted of a surgeon cap, medical mask, rubber gloves, and a pencil surgical tool for each student. One of our inclusion teachers went to pick up all six classes.  The teachers head surgeons stood outside their classroom hospital all dressed in their surgery gear and ready to go.  As the students walked upstairs to our hallway they heard us scream, "Hurry, hurry, hurry, we have an emergency.  Get ready for surgery stat!!!!!".  Kids started running toward their classroom. Most students were sooooooooo excited but we did have a few that didn't realize we were playing and thought there was an emergency.... I guess the scrubs and handing them a "doctors kit" didn't click for some. :)

Needless to say, the kids had the time of their lives!  Every time the head surgeons saw each medical team work together nicely we would give them a colorful band-aid to place on their patient.  Who would've thought a promise of a band-aid would make these medical teams work so awesome together.   Here are some pics of the fun!

What are some fun but academic activities you do with your students?

Monday, March 26, 2012

"The Lily Pad" and my lunch box!

I am taking a big leap and starting a monthly newsletter called "The Lily Pad".  Through the "The Lily Pad" I will share tips, ideas, announce my Fabebook Fan of the Month, and who knows what else!  I will have newsletter exclusives and special contests just for my newsletter subscribers.  If you haven't already make sure you sign up for "The Lily Pad" below or on my sidebar. Look for the first edition coming out in April!
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I noticed that Tara from 4th Grade Frolics was having a lunch box linky party (and giveaway). I've never joined a lunchbox linky before, it's such a unique linky,  I just had to join!   My lunch box is from Thirty One Gifts.  My friend, Blair, is a consultant and hooks me up anytime I want need a new bag.{Click here to see her Thirty One website}  This is my lunc h box! Isn't it cute? Its the new thermal drawstring style in such a cute paisley floral print.
At 12:10 I drop off my little froggies in the cafeteria and go to the teacher's lounge to eat my lunch.  I usually pack left overs from dinner the night before, or sometimes a frozen meal or even a sandwich and chips...... always with something sweet.  My 4th grade team eats in the teacher's lounge as well...... we are such goof balls that we usually laugh until we cry!  I go pick up my kiddos at 12:40.  In Texas its the law that teachers get a 30 minute lunch break but by the time we drop off and pick up we are down to about 20ish minutes.   In my prize box I have "coupons"  I made through VistaPrint{click here to see them} that students can get to eat lunch with me so on those days I will eat in my classroom with who ever turns in the cards.  Check out Tara's linky to see other lunch boxes and read what other FABULOUS teachers do during their lunch break or better yet click on the pic below to join Tara's linky party!


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hanging out in our hallways

This was such a fun and creative project that I just had to share!  At our school we have a "Museum Night" (Open House) where parents go through all the grade levels (6 classes of each, K-5) and see different projects.  This year fourth grade decided to do a "Historical Figure Project".  This was an "at home project" and we got great feedback from our families. Students chose a historical figure they wanted to research.  We tied this learning opportunity to our Expository Writing standards and had the students hand write their papers instead of type them up.  This really helped prevent the whole "copy & paste" from the internet papers.  After my students chose who they wanted to research I googled images of their historical figure and printed out a head.  I sent home a "head" of their historical figure and these instructions {Click here to download}.
I was so pleased and excited to see the finished products! They turned out FABULOUS!!!!!   Our fourth grade team adorned the halls with these incredible historical figures and the writing that went with it. All the visitors just loved what they saw and were really impressed with our awesome 4th graders.  Here are some examples of just a few of the wonderful figures:

Anne Frank
Steve Jobs
Sitting Bull

Even though this isn't a bulletin board you certainly use the idea for a bulletin board. And because of this I have joined Miss B, Busy Bee's Bulletin Board Linky Party!  Click on the bee pic above and see other bulletin board ideas!  

What kind of displays or activities do you do for your Open House?

Monday, March 19, 2012

I've gone MAD!!!!

That's right I've caught the very contagious  "March Madness" from my friend Misty at Think, Wonder & Teach.   I met Misty through my Upper Elementary Linky party . I haven't even known her that long when all of a sudden I was feeling a bit weird..... my hands started shaking,  my body was trembling, I couldn't speak but somehow I siad "I will give you a $10.00 Starbucks gift card for a give away!"   What the what? Give away  coffee? Anyone who knows me knows that  have coffee running through my veins. They know I will give you the shirt off my back, but my coffee?   I don't think so!      So that's when I knew I went plum mad!

For you chance to win the $10.00 Starbucks gift card visit Misty at Think, Wonder, & Teach by clicking on the picture above.   Good Luck and be careful not to get bitten by the "March Madness" bug.....its contagious!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Calling All 3rd, 4th, & 5th Grade Teacher Bloggers!

I know I am missing so many upper elementary blogs out there since I don't have a lot of time to surf the web so I decided to have an "Upper Elementary Linky Party"!  This way I can follow all of you, if I am not already (and perhaps you can follow me too).  I also want to provide my followers with other upper elementary blogs to read.  I love sharing ideas, strategies, and tips that we can all use in our classrooms.  I love my lower elementary and secondary friends too but this time its just for 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grades.  Just link up below!   Please make sure you snag the pic above and add it to your blog or blog post and link it back to this post.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

School Glue and Corn starch and Borax, Oh My! (with freebie)

In early January, my school had a fun "Family Night".  Each grade level from Pre-K through 5th had activities planned that all students and parents can participate in.  In fourth grade, three of us made ice cream in a bag and the other three made bouncy balls.   I was in the bouncy ball group.  This was the first year we tried this recipe and while it was fun the balls didn't have much bounce :(

It was more like silly putty instead (without as much bounce).
It would be fun to do this again but not call them bouncy balls and store them in a plastic egg instead of a ziploc baggie.   You can download FREE instructions here (Bouncy Ball Instructions) or click on the picture of the instructions.
Here are some pics of kids making the "bouncy ball" creations.  

Do you have a recipe to make bouncy balls that works?   What type other fun hands on activities have you found and to be tried and true that we could use next year?

Friday, March 9, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Blog Hunt

Top of the Morning Blogging Friends!  Play a fun blog hunt with us by following the shamrocks on different blogs each day until Saint Patrick's Day. You will see lots of great blogs along the way, discover some great ideas for your classroom, and pick up some free materials.  May the “Luck of the Irish” be with you!  We are going until March 17th.   Check out both of  my ideas for today (and the other #9):

and go to Teaching: The Art of Possibility and JD's Rockin Readers tomorrow to continue on this blog hunt... look for the green shamrocks along the way!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A gift for you ~ HiTech Test Prep

I am sooooooooooooooo excited to bring you this opportunity!!!!

This past summer, even before I started my blog, I went to a super awesome workshop put on by Rachel Reyna and Lois Fisher of Fisher*Reyna Education.  I was super stoked because my principal paid for it and even happier once I met these two wonderful presenters.  I learned so much in this Reading/Writing workshop and came home with wonderful resources.  One of the best resources was an account to their super terrific awesome fantastic website.  

Making a long story short, I've stayed in touch with these wonderful ladies and they are giving YOU,  yes you, my fabulous followers, a complimentary account to Fisher*Reyna Education until May 2012!   
*Click here* to download a welcome letter from Rachel and Lois and read important information about the High Tech Test Prep service they offer.

To sign up for your complimentary account go to www.FisherReyna.com 
Click on SCHOOL account
Then login.  Your login is: fabulous4thgradefroggies

Be sure to stop by Fisher*Reyna Education's facebook page and tell them THANKS!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Writing Fun = Camp Writing Along!

What a fun week we had at our Camp Write Along! Students and teachers alike had a blast writing, revising & editing, singing songs, and reading mentor text all while laying in sleeping bags with flashlights and even a camp fire!

Camp Write Along is a yearly event we do as a big final preparation for our State writing test (STAAR here in Texas). The Friday before this exciting event we send a letter to the parents (*Click here to download*).  

We we a weekly agenda that includes camp announcements!  This year we had one of our teachers record our principal saying the daily announcements. Then each day we would watch the camp announcements on our Promethean boards.  The kids thought it was super cool to have the principal involved!

Each day we would complete one writing prompt and a multiple choice revise & editing passage.  We would also learn a new "writing song" each day. (*Click here to download our agenda and songs*).  On Friday, the last day of Camp Write Along, we shared some of the stories the students wrote and then the entire 4th grade got together for a ceremony to acknowledge 2 of the most improved writers from each class and sing all the songs together.     

Here are some pics of the fun we had!