Five for Friday: Football Fever!

Are you ready for some FOOOOTTTBBBBAAAALLLLLL?!?!
Take Your Pick For Superbowl XLVIII #superbowl #nfl
Living in Seattle, you can imagine that my students are *slightly* excited about the Seahawks making it to the Superbowl.
And by slightly excited, I mean they think and talk of little else :)
I have a class of die-hard Seahawks fans and they are so pumped for the game on Sunday!
I decided to channel their energy into something productive and capitalize on their eagerness to learn and talk about the Superbowl.
So this week's "Five for Friday" will consist of five fun football activities we did this week:
1. Making of a Champion
This is an incredible video made by several of the Seahawks players that discusses what truly constitutes a champion. It has a strong Christian message and made me so proud t be a Seahwks fan! We need more athletes like this to be role models for our kiddos.

2. Football Brain Strainers:
The next few activities come from It is a great site (that costs $19.95 a year) that is totally worth the subscription price! It is the only one that I currently subscribe to and I am so thankful that I do! It has fun, varied, differentiated activities that you can simply print, copy, and hand out.

"Football Brain Strainers" was a super fun activity that challenged my students to solve puzzles for the different names of football teams across the country. 
I let the students work in groups. Some of the clues were pretty tricky and even my football pros were stumped :)
3. My Job at the Stadium:
This is another SuperTeacher activity - a fun writing prompt where the students decided what job they would most like to have in the football world.

I love Trenton's heart for football, his teammates, and glorifying God with his talents:
 Most of the students chose to be a football player, but this sweet little girl wanted to be a ticket seller:
 4. Football Coloring: 
The Seattle Times published a fun coloring page for kids. 
My students worked on these all day :)
5. Superbowl Snack Shopping
If I were to be completely honest, the thing I am most looking forward to about the "big game" is the snacks and the time chatting with friends :)
The last activity that we did was a math worksheet made by Lauren K M where the students were shopping for a big party.  The worksheet contains a list of 9 items to buy and the quantity needed. Pictures of corresponding bulk products (i.e., 12-pack of Coca Cola) are provided and students must determine how many packages are needed to buy the given quantity:
You can download this packet for FREE here.

And lastly, head over to TpT or TN during the Big Game for a Touchdown Super Bowl Sale!  
All of my items will be 20% to celebrate the Seahawks Win!!! :)
From the outside looking in you can never understand it, from the inside looking out you can never explain it. Go Seahawks!

And...come back tomorrow for a special giveaway!

Tried-It Tuesday: Class Charts Seating Website

Hello friends!
Today I'm linking up with my dear bud, Holly, to share an idea for her "Tried-It Tuesday" linky party:
Class Seating Arrangement makes such a huge difference in the classroom.
I change up my seats often - usually every third week. Sometimes we move desks, but keep the same arrangement. Other times we switch the arrangement around completely.
I do this for a number of reasons:
1. It allows the students to work with a variety of classmates
2. Table groups/Partners can only sit together for so long before conflict arises
3. It gives students different views of the classroom
4. I like to mix it up for our Team Challenge Competition.
How often do you change seats? The teacher next to me changes seats only once a quarter and the teacher across the hall has the same desk arrangement for the entire year. It's up to the teacher's style, preference, and group of kids.
A couple weeks ago I was introduced to a really cool website - Class Charts - that allows you to create different seating charts. It wasn't until I discovered the science behind their website, though, that I was really impressed. Class Charts doesn't just allow you to plug in student names and drop them in different desks around the classroom - it allows you place to enter student data and then designs classroom set-ups that will best support and challenge your students.
Here's some info from Class Charts:
 Classroom Seating Charts vs. Student Impact
Seating charts make a real difference to the classroom learning environment in terms of teacher effectiveness and student achievement. By using a seating chart the teacher is imposing their authority and showing the students that the classroom is in their control. By using their knowledge of students and putting careful thought into the design of the seating chart, the teacher can minimize negative interactions between students and take advantage of peer-peer learning strategies.
 In terms of student achievement, there is always a concern that the lower ability students have a negative impact on the achievement of the high ability students. A study at Montana State University looked at the impact of seating charts on student results in Montana State’s Criterion Reference Tests (CRTs).The research clearly shows a huge achievement increase for the lower ability students with no detrimental impact on the high ability students, as shown in the chart below:

Background story from the creator of ClassCharts: 
I have been teaching science & ICT for over 16 years and during this time I have used seating charts for all classes 6th-12th grade.  As a teacher, I went through the usual inspection regimes and always tried to do something a little bit extra to impress the inspectors. For the last inspection, I shared the concept of adding photos and key data to seating charts and this was taken up whole school. The Assistant principle and an administrator slaved for hours with excel and power point creating a seating charts and adding data for each class in the school (with 50 teachers that meant around 800 power point slides.) It was a lot of work but because the teachers were aware of students’ needs and abilities the approach was identified as an outstanding practice.

The above thoughts and research led us to consider how we could develop seating charts into a useful and effective classroom tool and we came up with:
  •         Adding student photos – names matter!
  •          Adding key data about students so teachers are aware of student needs and abilities at a glance.
  •          Using seating charts for effective differentiation – easily grouping or dispersing students in the classroom based on the data about them. For example – grouping the low ability readers for LSA support or differentiation work.
  •          Monitoring behavior and using the data in an intelligent way. All behaviour incidents are tracked and we use artificial intelligence to identify trends and patterns – all of this feeds back into the seating charts to minimize behavior issues and maximize learning.
  •          Finding which students interact positively / negatively with each other and making school leaders aware of this for when they decide class lists.
  •          Collaborating with colleagues & parents to tackle behavior as a team.
We built Class Charts from the perspective of a teacher with 16 years experience at the chalk-face.  We combine easy to use seating charts with stream-lined behavior management to improve student behavior. Feedback has been superb. Since our launch in January 2013 it is already being used by 60,000 teachers and 2 million students world -wide.
How to Connect with ClassCharts:
Product Website:
Company Website:
Twitter: @classcharts

Check out Class Charts - you won't be sorry! :)

Mathematical Monday: Decimal Dash

It's that time again, time for...
Mathematical Monday, hosted by my buddy, Jess, from I Heart Recess!
We've made the scary transition from fractions to decimals this week!
*insert gasp here*
I'll be honest, my students kind of freaked out.
They felt overwhelmed.
They got a little whiny.
But eventually, they grasped the connected between what they had mastered (fractions) and the exciting journey we were now embarking on...
Here is a 5-minute-long video from Teacher Tube Math that explains the basics of place value, fractions, and decimals:
I also found this awesome BrainPop video:
that helped my students grasp the basic concept of decimals in our everyday world.

I found this awesome anchor chart on Pinterest that covered a lot of our basic decimal terminology and important info:
and here's another one that walks students through the process of changing a fraction to a decimal:
Anchor Charts - Fraction to a decimal. Excellent collection of anchor charts
Once the kiddos were able to recognize and read decimals, we moved to the next step: adding and subtracting decimals. I found this great PowerPoint by Mike Schoudel that explains the process:
Adding-Subtracting Decimal powerpoint
Once my kiddos had the basics down, I thought it would be time for them to practice. We pulled out our handy-dandy white boards and did tons of examples together.

Then, I thought it was time for them to show their stuff in a FUN and ENGAGING way.
So I brought in...
It's a SCOOT game that covers a variety of topics including: recognizing place value, converting fractions to decimals, adding decimals, and subtracting decimals. 
Here's a preview of the entire packet:
Get your kiddos up and moving around while showing off their Decimal Dash skills!
You can snag this packet for only $2 - your students will thank you for it! :)

Mentor Text: Scrambled States of America

This week we started our Social Studies unit on the geography of the United States. The students learned details about each state in 4th grade, so this is a review chapter to see how much they remember. We work specifically on where the states are on a map, as well as the correct spelling of the state name and capital.
To kick off our unit, I showed the students this fun video:
It's an awesome video of a guy hand-drawing the states and then adding in details of the state names, capitals, and a picture to represent the state. 
My students were so impressed - and so was their teacher! :)

I also read my students the book:

Amazon description: A wacky cross-country adventure starring the fifty states! "Well, it was just your basic, ordinary day in the good old U. S. of A. States all over the country were waking up, having their first cups of coffee, reading the morning paper, and enjoying the beautiful sunrise...All the states, that is, except for Kansas." At the first annual "states party," Virginia and Idaho hatch a plan to swap spots so each can see another part of the country. Before the party is over, all the states decide to switch places. In the beginning, every state is happy in its new location. But soon things start to go wrong. Will the states ever unscramble themselves and return to their proper places?"

This book is AWESOME!
The illustrations are so cute - and each state has it's own personality.

There are a lot of humorous (and slightly sarcastic)
asides in the book:
 I love this book so much I'm linking it up with my buds, Collaboration Cuties, for their Mentor Text linky:
After we read the book we did some fun activities from my friend, Rosie's, packet:
The Scrambled States of America- Activities to go with the book
I gave this fun State Search to my kiddos and had them see how much they knew off the top of their heads:
Then, I let them work with partners and use their textbooks to fill in the page completely.
Rosie has lots of other great activities in her packet to accompany the book - cause and effect organizers, sequencing activities, and capital-states match-ups.

Rosie also includes two differentiated report form options, one for the younger grades and a more challenging version for the upper grades:
I am giving my students the "State Questionnaire" as an extra credit research project.
I've also created a States and Capitals MEGA Packet
 to enhance our study:

Click HERE to check out this great packet.
A group of my students have been working hard to memorize the capitals, so they've had a lot of fun playing this version of "Concentration" together in small groups:

Do you teach United States geography?
Do you have any fun lesson ideas/activities to help your kiddos memorize them? 
If so, I'd love to hear about it! :)

Sparking TEACHER Motivation: Data Tracking, Pens, and a Giveaway!

Good morning, friends!
My buddy, Joanne, from "Head Over Heels for Teaching" hosts a fun weekly linky party called "Spark Student Motivation Saturdays"
Today I'm going to do a little spin on this linky {I don't think Joanne will mind} and share with you some things that spark motivation in this little TEACHER :)

First of all, our second quarter ended yesterday. That card time! dun dun dun! :)
It also means a half-day with the kiddos and then a full afternoon in my classroom, entering grades, grading final missing odds and ends from absent students, and getting myself organized for the next quarter. I feel like I get so much accomplished on these half-days. I was telling my husband how much I enjoy half working in the classroom without the students (about how much I get done!) and he told me...
that I should become a janitor. 
They get to work in classrooms without kids every day.

Anyways, back to what motivates me...
Data Tracking
Once my report card grades are ready to be posted, I do some data tracking to see my students' progress in each subject from one quarter to the next.
I record each student's average (number and letter) for each subject. Then at the top, I have written the class average in each subject.
This was from the first quarter:
And now I can compare it with the second quarter.
Easy info at a glance that I can use to see where the students are excelling, which subjects they found more difficult from one quarter to the next, and it helps me to reflect on possible causes for changes, either up or down:
*easier/more difficult material
*the types of lessons I used
*the technology I integrated (or didn't integrate)
*the tutoring available (and if the students took advantage of it)
*the study aids I provided

In the end, it's just numbers, but it gives me some
motivation going forward...

My dear blogging buddy, Diane, from "Fifth in the Middle" sent me a lovely Christmas care package and inside were these babies:
triplus® fineliner 334
They're STAEDTLER Triplus Fineliner pens and...
They are the most amazing fine-tipped pens EVER!
Note: I did not draw this, but if beautiful magic like this can come from a pen, it must be amazing!
I have been using them to write EVERYTHING! I have nightmares of them running out of ink :)
As I was searching for a picture to include in this post,
I found this...
triplus® fineliner 334
I love these pens so much I *may* have just added these to my Amazon cart :)
Thanks Diane!

And lastly, I have something that will hopefully motivate YOU!
My dear friend, Rosie, from "Rosie's Rambles," and I are celebrating some exciting blogging milestones and are planning a "These Are a Few of Our Favorite Things" GIVEAWAY!
We're donating our favorite products from our TPT store and a box filled with our favorite things!
Now here's where YOU come it! We'd also like to do a couple of electronic giveaways where the winner will receive some of our blogging friends' FAVORITE PRODUCTS!
If you'd like to donate a product you've made that you love, please fill out the Google form HERE or below:

Thanks dear blogging buddies!

"Today is Wonderful Because..." Board

I love teaching fifth grade.
While some find 10 and 11-year-old "preteens" difficult, I count myself lucky to be able to invest my life in them.

Now, fifth graders are not always huggy and fuzzy.
Not always thrilled about waking up and coming to school.
Not always naturally optimistic and happy-go-lucky.
...So, I decided to put into practice a small exercise to get them to focus on the positive parts of each day :)

And hence, a 
"Today is Wonderful Because..." 
board was created!
I found this idea from "The Happy Teacher" and instantly knew it was something I wanted to implement in my classroom. 
I printed out the template page, laminated it (so I can write on it in dry erase marker and erase it easily each day), and hung it so you see it as soon as you walk through the door.

Here are some of the wonderful reasons
we've found to celebrate:

My students are pretty conscientious about turning in their homework, but rarely do I have a day where everyone turns in every homework item. When it does happen, it's a cause for celebration!
My students earn "Frequent Flyer Miles"
as a whole-class incentive.
When they earn 10 airplanes, we have a party!

Read more about that here.

 One of my sweet girls had to have sinus surgery and was out for a week. We showered her with love when she returned - I think she was honored to make our "Wonderful Board" :)

And today, the boys in my class demanded that this be our reason... 
My students could not be more ecstatic! 

Russel Wilson is the MAN! :)

Look at this display at my local grocery store:

Thanks for tuning in, friends!
Have an idea or activity you've TRIED lately? 
Hop on over to Holly's site and link up!
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