Well, we are hanging in there.  2 days of craziness insanity orderly learning left.  Here's a quick peek at what we've been up to...

No More Boring Words!! 


Last week we used Tonya's Overused Words packet, and created an interactive thesaurus on our staple wall using envelopes.  My kiddos have been referring to it like crazy.  Be sure to visit Tonya's Treats for Teachers - it's super cute!!

Minute to Win It!!  Have seen Regan's Minute to Win it?  We had so much fun!!!  :)




Freebie Time!!  My blog reached a new milestone.  In appreciation of all of you, I have 4 new sight word games for y'all.  They will be free for the rest of this week, so be sure to download!  While you're there, become a follower and leave feedback.  :)


 Have a wonderful rest of the week!!!
Happy Memorial Day!  Be sure to share the history of this day with your class.  My students were impressed to learn that it originally was called Decoration Day since people would decorate the graves. 
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If you are looking for resources to use with your class, many activities and printables are available at Apples4TheTeacher.com.

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If you are blog-hopping over the holiday, be sure to hop over to Rachel at A. B. Seymour.  She is having a huge 200 follower giveaway, and I'm proud to be a part of it!  Check it out here.

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I'm joining up with lots of other bloggers to offer 20% off in my TpT and TN stores today, tomorrow, and I'm extending it until Tuesday.  Enjoy 20% off everything!  You can find more sales at the linky party over at A Cupcake for the Teacher.

my TpT shop and my TN shop
Congrats to Jan, the winner of the completely *huge* giveaway!  Jan, check your inbox for bunches of goodies.  :)

Yesterday was a good day.  I taught my favorite Science lesson 2 times.  Here are the pics from "Slush-y" Science:
 2 cups of ice in a large ziplock bag...

 add a sprinkle of rock salt...
 drop in a small ziplock bag of fruit punch...

 and gently shake!
What fun!!  Last step - remove the small bag, put a straw in the small bag of slushy punch, and enjoy!  We already knew that fruit punch would freeze if you added ice, but today we learned that the rock salt keeps the fruit punch from turning into a popsicle!  :)
Am I the only one who procrastinates when there's serious work to be done?  I'm talking "8 days of school left, have to finish report cards and assessments because kiddos take them home on the last day of school, but I'm blogging instead" kind of procrastination?  {It makes me feel better that so many of you raised your hands!}  For real, I have had 2 sick kiddos of my own for the past 2 weekends!  You know, when I was actually planning to do some of my paperwork.  Being a mommy to sick kids comes first, tho.  Maybe the pediatrician can write an excuse note for me to put in the report card envelope...  "Your child's teacher was unable to complete the report cards since she was taking care of her own sick children.  Now she is poolside."  Naturally, I'm kidding; no doctor I know would sign that!!  ;)


Arrgh!  Nope, that's not my pirate voice (but it's pretty similar!)  I found out last night for certain that I must track in and out of my classroom next year.  What's that, you ask?  Well... here's the skinny; I teach at a year-round school, which means we can hold 33% more kiddos in our building.  We do this by having 4 tracks, and everyone except the principal and a few selected teachers (art, music, p.e.) follows one of the 4 tracks.  The upside, I get a 3 week va-cay at the end of each 9 weeks.  The downside, there are always 3 tracks in.  Meetings happen without you, your email is full when you return, and now I will be "homeless" when I'm tracked out, and need to move into a different classroom when I track in.

Yep.  It's basically as confusing as it sounds.  Totally worth it to work with my teammates - we're the A-Team in terms of getting along (no drama!!), analyzing data, and now, we'll be tops in tracking in and out!!
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So now the Clopening begins in earnest.  Not only are we closing this year (13 school days left!), but we're planning in earnest to open next year, since we begin July 1.  Ick.  It will be all right...  It will be all right...  It will be all right... Breathe... ok.  I'm better now.  Moving on...
Since going back into the classroom last year, I have learned that I really enjoy teaching Science.  It's interesting, messy, and I'm able to incorporate all kinds of speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills.  Lucky for me, my teaching buddy, Casey, loves to teach Social Studies, so we team teach these subjects.  (You might remember this earlier post, talking about team-teaching reading and math, but we still haven't decided.)

Anywhoo... back to Science.  We don't have textbooks; we have kits for each Science unit.  Students learn through guided explorations, and document our thinking and demonstrate understanding through Science Notebooks.  One of our units is Air and Weather, from FOSS.  In the kit, we have a Science reader, called Air and Weather, which helps reinforce the essential concepts.  Here's what they look like:
FOSS Air and Weather Science Stories Audio Stories


Best part... FOSS offers the audio for all of their Science readers online and on itunes-u.  Really.
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Here's the o-my-gosh-that-is-so-cool-idea that I heard at my meeting earlier this week...  print a QR code for each (you know, those funny little black and white squares that you can scan with an ipod or smartphone), and tape it in the inside front cover of the book.
AirandWeatherqrcode.PNG
Here's the QR code for Air and Weather
When a student wants to listen to it, they can scan it with an iwhatever (ipod, iphone, ipad, etc) to go straight to the free download and listen along with the book.  Nifty!  Great resource for my english language learners or students with special needs to participate in the curriculum-driven science reader along with the rest of the class.  Now, I just need to get my own ipods/ipads for my class...  ;)
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I'm starting to get close to another milestone - I'm almost at 200 followers.  I'm planning a big giveaway!  More to come soon!  If you are interested in contributing to the giveaway, send me an email: hellomrssykes@gmail.com.  Thanks so much!!  :)
Whew!  Yesterday was another long day... I was at school early for a meeting, then left school early to go to another meeting until 6:30.  Certaintly they'll let us out early, no?  No.  It was pretty interesting, though.  Here's a video I saw at the meeting to share with my students during our Sound unit - to show how sound waves travel.
"And now," cried Max, "let the wild rumpus start!"

- "Where the Wild Things Are," 1963


One of my earliest memories involves this book.  My parents read it to me many times, every day.  As I've grown and become a teacher, it's been one of my favorite books to read aloud to my classes.  Since I've become a parent, I've been sure to share this story with both of my children.  
Thank you, Mr. Sendak, for the love of language and books you have shared.
I had some fun putting together Teacher Appreciation gift baskets for my daughter's teachers.  They aren't completely finished, but I'm sharing the pics anyway...
The basket :)

A peek inside - subway art, colored dry erase markers, shaped sticky notes, and scissors in a red plastic bucket.


A pic of the subway art.  My personal fav.
Here's the skinny - I shopped  stalked the Staples ads for the dollar specials, and picked up the post-its, scissors, and markers for $1 each.  Not too shabby when you keep in mind that I make 2 for my daughter's teachers and 3 for my son's teachers.  The plastic buckets came from Dollar Tree.  The frames came from WalMart, and the Subway Art is available online here from eighteen25.  If we have time tomorrow, we're making a bit of homemade goodness (cookies!) for the baskets, too.  Super cute, eh?

Wait... is it really May already?  Must be time to link up with Farley!!  Seriously, now that my students are trained to change the calendar, the Currently keeps me on the correct month.  :)  Here's my contribution:
My pagent title takes just a small bit of explanation.  Really, I try to hold in the sarcasm at school.  I do try.  Sometimes I just can't help it, though.  Anywho, we were at an afternoon staff development meeting, and I ended up presenting our contribution since Casey hopped up to hold the poster, leaving me to awkwardly stand up and share.  I meant to leave out the running commentary on best practices vs. district expectations... really I did.  (Y'all, the job market is bad right now, and I don't want to lose mine.)  Really.  (Lots of reallys - I'm sounding like my 2nd graders!!)  Long story short, I went up to the ultra-nice staff member who was leading the staff development afterwards and apologized, explaining that I was trying to hold the sarcasm in, but I failed.  She was super sweet, and told me that she was happy I got a laugh on a Friday afternoon when people are stressed and tired.  Lesson learned - next time, I hold the poster!!  Someone else can talk.  :)

Don't forget the upcoming sales from Teachers Pay Teachers and Teachers Notebook.  I'm throwing a sale at both stores for 20% off all items!!  Fill your carts and save some cash.  :)
{{whisper voice}} 22 days left until the end of the year.  Not that I even acknowledge this with my students.  My kiddos are so restless right now, they might go full-out native if I let them know their time with me is ticking away.  Besides, we still got work to do!!  :)

Right now, I'm entering Panic List mode.  It's like a To Do list, but on steroids.  Since I'm at a year-round school, we "clopen" our year; we close one year while prepping for the next.  It takes a bit of getting used to, and I'm hoping I'll get used to it soon.  I was in a meeting this morning where our Literacy Specialist began telling us about the kids coming to us in July.  I can't handle this new information yet, as my brain is already full... Just let me finish this year with my sanity in tact.  Thus, the Panic List.  This is the list I add to in the back of my plan book for things I should do to be ready in July.  Here's a little peek:  (no particular order - panic has an aura of irrationality already!!)
  • Learn the Common Core curriculum.  We're implementing this next year with no transition year from the NC Standard Course of Study.  Joy.
  • Reread The CAFE book by the sisters.  Implement this past the first 1/2 of the year.
  • Choose a classroom theme...  I'm thinking safari!
  • Team Teach or not?  (We still haven't decided!)
  • Resign myself to implementing Words Their Way again next year, and really, I *should* learn to use it effectively.  ;)  It was super helpful to my kiddos last year, but I was trying to focus so much on math this year (cause I'm not fantastic at teaching math!!) so I slacked off on their spelling.
  • Format all of my Mystery Word of the Week activities so I can consistently use them throughout the year.  (Also, this would help me out as so many people have asked for more from my TPT store!)
  • Figure out if I'm moving in and out of my classroom next year.  Arrgh!  {Yes, I made a pirate noise... maybe my theme should be pirates?}
  • Clear out the clutter in my classroom.  Since I might be moving rooms, it would help me tremendously to have my materials pared down to the stuff I will use, instead of the past 13 years of teaching supplies.  Many of them are still in my attic.  Maybe I should have a yard sale?
  • Have a yard sale... or just FreeCycle my old teaching stuff.
  • Copy my beginning of the year packets before we run out of copies... if I can get my act together.
  • Create my supply list, because it needs to be available for Meet the Teacher in a few weeks.  {gulp!}
  • Enjoy my class for the last 22 days!!

That was a bunch of randomness...  here's a freebie!  If you haven't checked out my Mystery Word of the Week activities, here's a week for free.  Click the picture to download, and leave me some feedback to let me know what you think.

Happy Wednesday.
~Jen
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