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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Currently in December

Whaaaaat????  It's December already?   I can't believe it!  
You know I didn't realize it was December if I am just now doing my Currently from the ever so awesome Farley at Oh Boy Fourth Grade!  I usually try to get in the top 10 if not the top 5 and the last time I looked I will be 158! YIKES!

Listening: Right now I am watching The Tonight Show with Jimmy Falon... that dude is a hoot!

Loving: Today we had a cold front come in and its cold enough to wear jackets!  I love the winter to feel like winter.   Living in South Texas we don't get very cold.  In fact, this week our highs have been in the high 70s and low 80s.... not so fun for holiday weather.  Today our high was early this morning at 66 degrees....a cold front came in mid morning and we stayed in the low 40s all day.  By Thursday we will be back in the mid 70s but for now I am enjoying the cooler weather.

Thinking: I should be in bed instead of on the computer.  Today was the first day back after a week's long Thanksgiving break and I could hardly keep my eyes open all day.  I left work around 5:00 and told myself I would be in bed by 9:00 but here I am wide awake and its almost midnight.  

Wanting:  I want a new laptop.  I don't need one but I want one.  My daughter has a Dell touchscreen and my son has a Mac.... I like both of theirs.  

Needing: I really don't need anything.  Maybe I NEED to go to bed. I definitely NEED to lose weight.   I probably NEED an attitude adjustment too but when I think about it I don't need anything materialistic.  I have wants (like a date with Adam Levine) but no needs.  I am so blessed in all aspects of my life.  

Giving: Let's see, I give my hubby a headache,  I give my students tests,  heck I give my self  heart attacks with my lack of time management but I don't think that is what my friend Farley meant. 
I should be awesome like Farley and I will try but I know I won't honestly do RAKS every day.  I am a very giving and generous person and bring treats to my team frequently but I wanted to do a special "Giving" for this Currently so I have donated a decent amount of money to our local Battered Women's and Children's Shelter today.   I will also donate my time this month at a Homeless shelter here in town.

I better stop talking writing here so I don't wind up number 200+!

Good Night my friends and like Farley said, "Give, Give, Give!"

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Back to Blogging and Walking Wisdom!

I know, I know... I've said it before.  In fact, I've said it  a million many times but this time I am going to stick to it.  Starting today, I WILL BLOG REGULARLY!  (If I capitalize, bold, and underline the words I really mean it, right?)

I'm not going to make excuses, I've just been lazy.     #sorrynotsorry   #sometimesijustneedtorest

I am starting to get my life more organized.  I am not waiting to make a New Year's resolution, I am starting today.  11:45PM on 11/29/14!  I vow to write everything down and go through my to do list daily. 

Anywho, enough about my laziness and time management issues I want to share with you a FABULOUS (oh, I must really mean it!) way my students get smarter and exercise at the same time. 
Whaaat what?   Yup, you heard me right, my students are getting smarter while they are walking and getting exercise... thanks to The Walking Classroom!  Go check out their website it has a wealth of information.  I also invite you to follow them on facebook  and tell them Lorraine from Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies sent ya.

I was very fortunate to be awarded a grant from The Walking Classroom at the beginning of this school year for 24 WalkKits which contain 4th Grade ELA curriculum.   My students literally beg me to use these every single day. Everything comes ready to go.  It is completely easy for the kids (and the teacher) to use and even comes with a giant binder full of lessons and quizzes.  You can click HERE to see an example of an idiom lesson plan that is provided.     Click HERE to see the table of contents for the 4th grade curriculum.  

I really encourage you to check it out.  You know me I am honest, more honest than I should be sometimes....  when I first applied for the grant I thought I would never win and if I did, I wondered how I could add another thing to our day.  The first time I used this in the class I had to cut 30 minutes of something else out to get this in.  As we continued to use The Walking Classroom it became part of our routine and the lessons fit it so nicely with what we have in our district given curriculum.  It's amazing how easy it was to integrate what I was already doing.  It's unbelievable how much the kids love using the Walkkits but even more unbelievable the amount they retain from the lessons.  Each podcast lesson is an average of 15 minutes.  We live in South Texas where the weather is usually great but when its raining outside we just walk the halls.  I am sure it wasn't the intention of The Walking Classroom but the Walkkits can soooooo be used for bribery!   I will say that I may or may not have said a time or two, "If we can't quiet down this afternoon we will not use the Walkkits tomorrow".   I am not proud of it but it works!!!!!!!!!!!

Here are some pics of my class using it. 

Walk on my friends!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Mailbox #BeTheDifference Fall Edition

Can you believe fall is here?  We just finished our first 9 week grading period of the year.  Time is passing way too quick!  Only two and half weeks before we have a week off for Thanksgiving which means just over a month until Christmas break.  Holy Holiday Break Batman!!!!It seems like I am more overwhelmed then ever but at the same so thankful for having the best job ever!    I don't know what it is this year, but I feel like I can't get it all in.  I just need an extra couple of hours to my day so I can teach everything I need to.   We are not even close to state testing yet... I can't imagine how I am going to feel then!  YIKES!
Anywho, at this time of the year not only do we celebrate the holidays but we also reflect on what we are thankful for.  One of the many things I am thankful for besides my family, friends, and having the best job in the world is the opportunities my blog and blogging friends have brought me.   The Mailbox has provided me and many of teachers the opportunity to share how we can be the difference in our students lives.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               It's time to celebrate a new season of #BeThe Difference with The Mailbox Magazine!  Once again, they sent me this box full of goodies. It included some stickers, candy corn, a couple of pencils, a notepad, a great bag, and some great ideas for fun activities.

One of the activities I tried out was this matching game.   I know, I know, matching games are for little kids and who in the world has time for games these days?   Well this game, was to help my fourth graders review Science vocabulary terms.   I made it out of index cards.  I had the vocabulary words on some cards and the definitions of those words on other cards.  I threw in a couple of cards with a turkey sticker on them and an awesome game was born. The students try to match the vocabulary word with its meaning.  If they flip a "turkey" they lose a turn.  I can use this game for any type of review and match it up to any holiday.  
Yup, I am making a difference by making learning fun and making sure my kids are not only engaged in their learning and full participants in their learning!!!!

  It's funny how easy it is to make such a game and how much the kids LOVED playing it.  It's even more pathetic funnier that I needed The Mailbox Magazine to help me think of it!  

 I get such great ideas from The Mailbox Magazine and their gold online subscription!  Here is a screenshot of just one resource.  It grade level appropriate and lined up to CCSS (even though I'm in Texas and we don't do Common Core almost all activities go along with our TEKS as well).  This particular Language Arts worksheet was a great activity for the students to do at home when I introduced the thesaurus.  

I'd love to hear what fun simple games you use in your classroom and how do you #BeTheDifference for you students?  

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Currently in November

Thank goodness for my FAB friend Farley and her just a fabulous Currently linky.   I have not been blogging like I should and I don't ever like to miss her linky parties so here I am!

I actually have a lot to blog about and I am hoping to do so regularly now that the first grading period of school is done.   It is one of my goals to be more organized with my time.... I am a horrible time manager but I just can't be any more.

Anywho, join me and a million (not much of an exaggeration) other bloggers at the Currently linky party by clicking on the button below.

Listening - I'm watching Cupcake Wars while munching on Milky Way and drinking a Diet Coke from Sonic....best ice in the country :)   I am really shouldn't watch this show because I now I want cupcakes!!!!  Warm, moist, sweet goodness!  

Loving - It's November!!!!  That means that my favorite season, fall, is here.  Well, living in South Texas the fall weather doesn't really come until December or so but today the weather was pretty good!  It was nice and cool.  We got a cool front in and it was 68 today.  I prefer low 60 or high 50s but 68 is way than being in the 90s!  In November is my son's birthday, our anniversary (24 years this year), and Thanksgiving... the holiday of gravy giving THANKS (but I do love my mom's turkey gravy!!!!)

Thinking - I definitely need to organize my schedule a bit more.  I waste so much time, yet I don't have enough time in my day!  Story of my life!

Wanting - see listening (and bring me a cupcake)

Needing - to start exercising because of the Milky Ways I am munching on and the darn cupcakes that I am craving. If you look back through many of my Currentlys you will see that I have needed to start exercising almost every month for the last couple of years!   Well, if I scheduled some time in my unorganized schedule, I would actually walk now the weather is getting cooler.  

Reading - Acts of Teaching - How to Teach Writing  It is like the Literacy Bible!!!!  It's amazing!  A bit pricey but worth every single penny!!!!!!!!!!!!  You need to check it out
Happy Fall Y'all

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

#BeTheDifference and win with Mailbox!

I remember when I student taught  (yes, I can remember that long ago), one thing I was most excited about was getting my first official subscription to Mailbox Magazine.... what says you're an official teacher better than a subscription to one of the most trusted name in educational publishing?   I've been using their ideas, activities, and inspiration ever since!  Well believe or not, Mailbox magazine contacted me to participate in their #BeTheDifference campaign!   So guess what I said?   HA! Of course I said yes!

Mailbox Magazine knows that teachers make a difference in their student's lives every single day!  Most of us became a teacher for the big bucks, for the fame & fortune to make a difference! I know I became a teacher for that very reason.  I wanted to change lives while sharing my love of learning.    Mailbox Magazine sent me a cute little package to start the year off having a ball!

The first week of school we do a lot of FABULOUS team building activities.  I want my students to feel like they are a part of a family... a frog family, with me being Queen Frog! LOL!  I make my classroom a safe, warm, and inviting place where my students feel comfortable taking risks and being the best they can be.  This year on the Friday of the first week I played the "name game" with the beach ball that was sent to me, but it was the name game with a twist.   This time we played the name game with partners and in order to be dismissed at the students had to call out their classmates names.  I was a great way to review student names and they left my classroom with a smile!

*smiley faces were used to protect the innocent
Mailbox Magazine would like to give 10 of my FABULOUS froggy followers a  free year's Mailbox Gold subscription! Told ya they are awesome!  Learn more about Mailbox GOLD by watching this short video.

Enter here for your chance to win!  Good Luck!

Stay Fabulous!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Currently in September!

As usual, I am linking up with one of my favorite peeps, Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade, to one of my favorite linky par-tays, Currently!

My doctor recently told me to only drink water and milk and to cut down my coffee intake........WHAT???? Cut down my coffee intake? That's like telling the Pope no more praying!  I am down to about 4-5 cups a day but my goal is to get it down to one cup a day (and not a real measured cup but my insulated Starbucks mug instead).  I'm on #3 today but I will try not to have any this afternoon.... It's Labor day, holidays don't count, do they?

Today was the official launch to the new Jamberry Nails Designs.  I LOVE them all, especially the Fashionably Festive section which has the holiday wraps!  Here is a short video about some of the new designs.  You can also visit my website ,LorrainesFABnails, and check out all the new designs.

I don't know about you but for me, the people I work with (including students) makes a world of difference.  We just finished up our first week of school and I think its going to be an AWESOME year! I love my new team and my new students!

Of course, I left everything to do for today but I will eventually get it done.... maybe.  One major thing is to look at our new math curriculum and figure out my guided math this year!

Vegas, Hawaii, and Alaska.... all places I have never been but NEED to go!  We are planning on bringing in the new year at Disney World this year and that is probably one of the biggest reasons I have never been to the other places.... we keep going back to Disney! We went on our honeymoon and have been back at least 10 times in our 24 years of marriage.  No matter how old we get the kids love it and so do we!

Happy Labor Day my friends!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Bright Ideas for Back to School Fun!

OMG! Summer is over!!!! Time to head back to school and hit the books!  Students start on August 25th in my school district and teachers officially start on August 18th, however, as you already know,  many of us have been busy attending staff development and making things for our for months now.

Today I thought I would share with you some of my tried and true first day of school activities.  They are favorites of mine and my students and a great way to start off the year.....  Puzzle Races and Saving Fred.

First the puzzle races.  All you need to do is to divide your class into groups of 4-5 students and you need some puzzles.  I set up my student desks in in groups of 4-5 students so that is how I decide my groups. You can find inexpensive puzzles at the dollar store and even Target's dollar spot.  Of course you should pick a puzzle size that is appropriate to the age of students you have. I buy 100 piece puzzles and its perfect for my 4th graders.  I always buy the same puzzle for each group so no one can claim that their group's puzzle was harder or easier. :)  The puzzles I am using this year are pictured to the left.  I bought them for a dollar each at Target a couple of years ago and they are still good to use. No lost pieces!
 I give each "team" a puzzle and tell them they must work together to complete the puzzle before the other teams finish theirs.  The conversations that go on are priceless.  You will learn a lot from your students by just watching and listening.   Once every group has completed their puzzles we have a talk about what some of the groups good strategies were.  I've heard everything from "we did the border of the puzzle first" to "we didn't get bossy with each other".

Now for the Saving Fred.  For this fun activity you will need: a gummy worm, a gummy ring, a plastic cup, and paper clips per group.  You can do this activity in partners but I prefer to do it in small groups.  In fact, I like to use the same groups that did the puzzles together.  I also usually do this activity the second day of school and do the puzzle race on the first day.

To set this up you will need to but a ring on the desk with the plastic cup upside down over the gummy ring and put a gummy worm on top of the cup.   The story is that Fred (the gummy worm) can't swim so he always has to wear a life preserver (the ring). However, his boat (the cup) capsized/flipped over before he put on his life preserver.  It is the students job to work together to get the life preserver on Fred and the only rule is you cannot touch the Fred, his boat, or the life preserver with your hands. Hence, the paper clips... the only "tool" the students can use is the paper clips. Talk about team work and strategies!  This is a great activity for both!

I hope you enjoyed the bright back to school fun ideas and even try them with your class!  I would love for you to join me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as well.

For more bright ideas from more than 100 bloggers, please browse through the link up below.  Just find an idea or grade level that interest you!

Happy First Week of School!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Fabulous Finds!

Today is my official last day of summer.  Starting tomorrow, I will try to wake up early and go to bed at a decent time.  I will START thinking about school, well I kinda started thinking about school this evening knowing there is a Teachers Pay Teachers sale starting tomorrow.    Anywho, tomorrow I will consider my summer over and start getting in back to school mode, slowly but surely!

Instead of my usual Vera Bradley or Thrity-One Gifts school bag I decided on an adorable  bag to represent my beloved Pittsburgh Steelers!  While shopping for this tote I found this frog that was just calling my name... so I bought him!  I bought both here (on sale by the way) at Fanatics.  You can check out any sports team by clicking on the banner.
Shop the newest Dallas Cowboys fan gear at Fanatics!

I did get a new Vera Bradley purse and some new Vera Bradley prescription glasses (both regular and sunglasses) so I think Vera will forgive me for getting a different school bag. :)

I saw this saying floating around the internet and had to make a shirt with it!  No, the guys isn't included! :)
You can get this shirt any time before August 15th by going  here and ordering it.  It's only $15.90 plus shipping.  I am hoping my whole grade level gets one. I think they are adorable!

I haven't received mine yet, but April from A Modern Teacher, has created a masterpiece! It's called the Teacher Life Map.  It's the PERFECT planner for teacher's who do their lesson plans online.  Read about it here. She has different covers but the one pictured is the one I chose. By the way, it is not something you have to print out.... this is a hard good that will get shipped to you.  I should receive mine next week and I can't wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here are some FABULOUS FINDS that you can get during the TPT sale!  These are some things on my list.  Don't forget to use the code BTS14 when you go shopping on TPT!

I had this on my wish list but I happen to win it this past week! WOOHOO! This fabulous resources is a must have for any Texas 4th or 7th grade teacher.  It comes from my friend Alyssa who blogs at Teaching in the Fast Lane.  Her TPT store is the first one I go to when I need any Texas history resources.
This Texas Revolution Complete Unit is absolutely FAB!  It has so many activities including a powerpoint, I Have Who has, Task Cards, stuff for Interactive Notebooks,  and Vocabulary.  It's 180 plus pages of awesomeness and even includes an answer key!
Another one of Alyssa's products that are on my wish list is her Regions of Texas bundle.  Actually I really want her Ultimate Texas History Bundle that has a zillion trillion activities!!!!  It sounds like all she creates is Texas history stuff but she doesn't...she has a bunch of super sensational resources so check out her store!

I know this post is getting long but to wrap things up here are some more items on my wishlist at TPT.  

These are from another couple of friends, Rachel Reyna and Louis Fisher at Fisher Reyna Education

I need this Currently in your Classroom!    from my friend Farley at  Oh boy 4th Grade     


And the last wishlist item I will post tonight is the Incredibly Iconic library decor!  I love everything my friend, Kristen does but these are just plain ol' cool!  Visit her site at Ladybug's Teacher Files

Here's to a great year my fabulous froggy friends!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Currently in August.... what, August?

I can't believe it's August already!  The summer flew by but I enjoyed every second of it!  You know I love me some Farley and participate in her Currently linky every month!  This month my currently doesn't need much explaining but here's a brief summary....

Listening:  I'm watching the weather lady telling us it's going to be hot! Duh, I know, I live in South Texas!

Loving: I love being a Jamberry Nails Independent Consultant.  I originally joined just to get the discount because I love the wraps and wear them all the time but I've made enough money to buy lots and lots of goodies for my classroom this year plus earned a ton of fabulous new nail wraps!  It is no work at all! The only parties I have had so far are facebook parties (in my pjs) and have been pretty successful.  If you are interested in joining my team the month of August is the month to do it because Jamberry is offering an awesome bonus!   Just shoot me an email if you want to know more or would like a sample to try it out.

Thinking: Yup summer is basically over, time to start thinking about school!

Wanting: I want to start meal planning.  I see so many people doing it and preparing meals ahead of time.  I am going to look into it this week and see if I can make it work for me.  We "drive thru" way too much! 

Needing: to start thinking about school.... everything from my schedule to school clothes to going back to self contained after only teaching ELA last year.

I'm officially back on contract August 18th but I have some staff development next week and will go start setting up my classroom the week after. I'll be sure to post pics when I set up the classroom and post them here.

Here's to a Fabulous School year my Fabulous froggy friends!

Friday, July 25, 2014

YAHOO! YIPPEE! E is for Enthusiasm!

Uh Nooo, I don't want to know what's under your cape in a creepy flash your trench coat type of way. Get your mind out of the gutter!!!!

What's Under Your Cape?  is a superduper, frogilicious, fantastical, (yup, they're real words) resource for teachers to use to integrate Character Education in their own classroom.  Barbara Gruener, the author of this book, who is also a friend, and a superhero herself, shares her knowledge of having  positive characteristics of  SUPERHEROES on her own blog, The Corner on Character.

Some of my blogging buddies were talking about doing a book study on What's Under Your Cape?  I didn't even have the book when I said I wanted to participate.  Well, yes, I partly wanted to participate because I don't like to be left out of stuff but I knew the book HAD to be absolutely FABULOUS since I was already a big fan of Barbara's!  

I picked a date that corresponded with a chapter and it happened to be E is for Enthusiasm! Coincidence?  I think NOT!

Those of you that know me in person would probably say I am very short, loud, slightly obnoxious, crazy, real loud, full of .... energy, real real loud enthusiastic, especially when it comes to teaching!  I have such a passion for making a difference in student's lives and I am equally enthusiastic about teaching!

So what is enthusiasm?  Watch this little clip and see if it helps you define being enthusiastic.
Barbara starts out the chapter by saying "Let's face it; enthusiasm ignites greatness." (p.65) When I read that line I want to scream, "Hell ya" but that wouldn't be nice so instead I gave it an "Amen sista"! Barbara also states that she saw this claim on a poster once: "A healthy dose of Enthusiasm is like passion on steroids". That's it!  Enthusiasm is being excited and passionate about whatever you are doing!
I show enthusiasm and excitement everyday in the classroom!  How can my students be excited and happy to be in school for most of their day without me, their teacher, showing enthusiastic passion for learning. I can confidently say that if you asked the kids who have been in my class throughout the years to describe me they may not use the word 'enthusiastic' but would definitely say I am crazy about learning, fun, happy, and perhaps silly.  I love going to work and seeing my kids every single day.  My students know it and FEEL it!  Don't get me wrong, I still count down the days until Thanksgiving break (only 17 weeks by the way) and enjoy time off like everyone else but when I am with my students I share my enthusiasm, not just for school but for life.  Happiness and eagerness breeds happiness and eagerness..... ooh, that's getting so philosophical, huh?
Imagine how your students would react if you came taught with as much enthusiasm as this guy has? 

They would not only think you are the coolest teacher EV-VA but they would feel your positive vibes and try to emulate your enthusiasm.  My students learn that even if something goes wrong in my day or I get in a bad mood, I will stop and change my attitude until I am positive again.  I wasn't born this way, and my mom and sister will agree.  In fact, my husband and kids will tell you that I am not always this way at home.  I can get pretty grumpy and irritable with the best of them but I have learned in my 46 years of life to change my negative attitude about situations into positive ones and do whatever I do with enthusiasm and a good attitude just like this little guy...

Sorry about the video overload but they really do share my feelings and help me explain my thoughts!  

In this chapter Barbara shares book titles and questions to ask yourself and your students.  She shares songs and ideas to use in your classroom but I will let you discover them when you read it.  She even suggest to reflect on some our favorite inspirational quotes.... I have a ton of quotes printed out on pretty paper posted all over my classroom.  I need those reminders daily and so do my students.

As most of you know I can get pretty wordy (yes, in real life too!) so I am going to leave you with one last thought (before you leave me for being too wordy - LOL!).  Enthusiasm, passion, a great attitude, and positive thinking is not something that is innate, or we are born with.  It is something we deliberately and purposely have to make part of our day, every day. 

I challenge you to show enthusiasm and positive thinking to your students every day. It will become a wonderful habit for both you and your students. I promise you with passion, enthusiasm,and a great attitude you will have a wonderful atmosphere in your classroom and a terrific year no matter what age you teach!

Our next Chapter will be R is for Responsibilty 

Enthusiastically yours! ;)