Sunday, September 30, 2012


Moly?  Is that how it's spelled?  I don't know y'all.  Isn't it weird how after you write a specific word over and over it starts to look all weird and funny and so not right?  Well that just happened to me with a new math game I'm creating!  It will be hitting Teachers Pay Teacher tomorrow :)  It's called First to 1,000 and "first" just doesn't look right anymore.  But anyways, keep an eye out for my new product!

I can't believe it's Sunday already!  Where did this weekend go?  On Thursday evening my 5th graders and 3 others teachers hit the road on an overnight field trip (pictures to come later this week).  Yes, you heard correctly.  What?  You think I'm I.N.S.A.N.E?  Well, yes, you are absolutely, 100% accurate.  What in the world was I thinking?!  While it was a great trip and super fun, I was exhausted all weekend.  And I mean EXHAUSTED.  We piled in our cars (I drove the school's minivan- woop woop!) and left Thursday evening.  We drove an hour away to the small town of Olathe, CO.  (Known for their delicious sweet corn!)  One of the teachers that went with us has family there who graciously allowed us to stay in their finished room above their garage.  Yes- all 26 of us shared one room huuuuge room.  Yikes!

We spent a (restless) night at their house and took off for the Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park early the next morning.  The tour and rangers at the Black Canyon were wonderful!  Most students were engaged the entire time and they even provided some reflection time at the end where students sat near the edge of the canyon- YIKES- and wrote or drew what they saw.  All in all, the trip was a success- with the few exceptions of missing keys and a car that refused to start.  But that's a story for another time. 

I hope everyone is looking forward to a great first week of October!!  Enjoy, teaching friends!

Kelly Anne

Sunday, September 23, 2012

"I Can't" Funeral

Happy Fall everyone!!  It's finally "officially" here and I am happily breaking out the heavier scarves, leggings, and boots.  Mmmmhmmm.  :)  We're heading into the 6th week of school here and WOW has it been a great first six weeks!  I told myself that these first six weeks of school are supposed to be spent getting to know my learners, community, and really focusing on expectations.  I am finally ready to start our book clubs and really dive into some great differentiated groups.  What's your rule of thumb for getting to know your learners at the beginning of the year?

Well I promised to share some more of the fun activities we did at the beginning of this school year.  And here is one of my FAVORITES!!

We had a funeral the second week of school... an "I Can't" funeral.  I was so proud of my little big fifth graders. They came up with things that they felt they weren't very good at or continually struggle with and then wrote them down on a notecard.  Some of them wrote statements like "I can't spell", "I can't do multiplication", "I can't whistle", "I can't sing very well".  And here is the BEST part of it all- Now whenever someone comes up to me and says "I can't _____." or "I don't know how to ______."  I get to say "We buried our "I can't statements," so I know you can do this!"  And IT WORKS!  What?  Why haven't I been doing this for years?  I don't know if it's because they physically buried their statements or whether they just remember getting to be out of our classroom for our funeral, but somehow this stuck with them more than any inspirational speech I could have ever given!  PTL! 

 My fabulous student teacher made this great tombstone! 
 That's right- we put them to work digging the "grave"

I don't have a great picture of it, but nearly everyone wore black and was in mourning for most of the day!  It was amazing!!

I am currently working on a Back to School Unit for 4th, 5th, and 6th graders that will contain all the details of holding your own I Can't Funeral!  Be on the look out for that in my Teachers Pay Teachers store, located here!  

**Update!  I've finished my unit and you can learn more about holding your own I Can't Funeral in my Beginning of the Year Activities for Secondary!**

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pumpkin, Please!

I L-O-V-E Fall because of all the pumpkin flavored goodies.  Latte, tea, bread, desserts!  PUMPKIN, PUMPKIN, PUMPKIN, I just cannot get enough, y'all!  I love to treat myself this time of year with something yummy.  And man, do we deserve a treat.  Is it just me or has this year felt uber busy?  I just feel like I'm going 900 mph all.  day.  long.  It's a good busy, but I am exhausted and OUT when my head hits my pillow each night. 

However, I have to say, I have the best class that I have ever had (I'm only 3 years in, but STILL).  They are kind, caring, high level thinkers that I am very lucky to have the pleasure of working with this year.  I am diving into a new curriculum with this new grade level.  I looped up to 5th grade with my awesome 4th graders from last year.  It is taking some time, but since I had only taught 4th grade for two years, this fumbling, unsure of myself, hecticness doesn't feel too far out of the norm! 

How did your school year start off?  What fun activities did your class get themselves into?  A few years ago I did a "Teach the Teacher" day at the end of the year,an idea my awesome teacher friend, Jen found.  Students come in and teach the class something that they are an expert at.  However, I walked away realizing I knew SO much more about my learners on a personal level after this activity and it would be much better if we did it at the beginning of the school year.  So we did some Teach the Teacher at the beginning of the year, and boy did we learn!  We learner how to make (and eat!) salsa, how to draft a fantasy football team, how to ride a calf at a rodeo, and how to train a dog.  Everyone had a lot of fun and were able to open up to one another.  Not only did we learn, but we became more of a community- WOW!  I will definitely be doing this in years to come.  Check out some of the fun things kids did, below.

Our Rodeo lesson :)

How to train a dog... with the dog and all!

And my personal favorite, How to Make Salsa- YUM!

More about our first six weeks of school, coming soon! Until then, grab yourself a pumpkin latte and enjoy the cooler weather as it glides on into our year. 

XO, Kelly Anne

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Schools out...

... for Summer!!  Woohoo!!  It didn't hit me until this morning, but it's Summer.  Thank the Lord.  We ended Thursday with Field Day and then had a work day yesterday, where I cleaned my room, finalized paperwork and FILED, FILED, FILED.

But atlast, it's feeling like Summer.  No thoughts of lesson plans, books to read, or students, entering my mind this morning and man- it is all sorts of amazing.  How are you feeling today?  Has it hit you?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all those fabulous Moms out there!!  Being a Mom is one of the most impressive jobs I can think of, thank you to all those Moms who go above and beyond out there! 

Only EIGHT more days of school for me and my kiddos.  Woohoo. I am very much looking forward to the upcoming summer, but I cannot believe how quickly this year has flown by.  Everyone, myself included, is beginnging to get ansy and excited about the coming end of year celebrations!  We're going on two field trips and have field day the last week of school- who can be a learner with that on its' way!? 
To keep the excitement focused on school, we had some fun this past week.  (I know, 4th graders having FUN?!)  I absolutely LOVE Deanna Jump's Mother's Day Gift Book idea.  Unfortuantely it's a little too primary for my guys, so I bought her wonderful packet and stepped it up a notch for my kiddos.  Some of their responses were HILARIOUS!  I love this idea and we had a lot of fun making the books.  THANK YOU MRS. JUMP!

They each had to make a promise to their Mom that they would do something special for her on her day!  They all chose something so thoughful and sweet. 

This one cracked me up, y'all!  "When my Mom is driving, she texts or plays poker on her phone but she watches where she's going so she doesn't hurt us.  She's a really good driver though at least she pays attention or else I'd be dead."

I would have LOVED to see some of the moms read their book and learn what their kids notice about them.

Due to major time constraints (It's almost the end of the year?  We haven't taught energy yet?  Yikes!!)  we had an Energy day on Thursday!!  In just one quick day (and I mean QUICK) we were able to fit in nearly all the energy standards.  My kiddos absolutely loved it too.  They each had their own energy journal and kept track of their learning throughout the day.  They even researched different types of energy in groups and presented to one another!

They did such a fabulous job!  I was so stinkin' proud of each and every one of them.  Y'all know how it is with group projects- they either go wonderful or just fall apart and this one went WONDEFUL!  Quiet voices... teamwork... focus... amaaaazing!  :)

This coming week sounds just as pleasantly busy and I'm looking forward to it speeding by!  I hope yours is busy as well and speeds right by!  Enjoy :)

~Kelly Anne

Monday, May 7, 2012

SUMMMMMER Math Centers!!

I can't believe I'm saying it- SUMMER Math Centers!! 

These centers are to be used in a 4th grade classroom at the end of the year.  Their bright colors and fun patterns may help make these last few weeks just a little more bearable :)  The five activities in this packet are perfect for 4th (& 3/4) graders at the end of the 4th grade year!  They align perfectly with the 4th grade Common Core Standards and are interative and engaging for these nearly 5th graders!! 

Please check out this Summer Math Packet in my TPT store- just click on the picture to go there and check it out!! 

Happy teacher appreciation week :)  Hope you're being spoiled by your kiddos! 

Kelly Anne

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Sale!!

Can you believe it's May already?? I sure can't.  It's been one busy year and this time of year is just my favorite.  All my kiddos are excited to be 4th & 3/4 graders and they know the routines so well that I don't have to say very much at all (most days...)!  And we're coming up on teacher appreciation week!  Wow this year is fly-y-y-yingggg, y'all!! 
Can I get a "WOOHOO" teachers?!  We're almost there :)  In celebration of teacher appreciation week, I will be participating in Teachers Pay Teachers teacher appreciation sale!  Please check out my store for 28% off everything, starting Sunday May 6th through the 8th!!  Just click on the link below.

Tomorrow I will be adding my new Summer Math Centers that I have been working on, so be sure to check them out once they're up!!  They're aligned with the 4th grade common core standards and include several activities that end of the year 4th graders should be ale to do, including those always tricky fractions and decimals!!  I'm hurrying to finish it before tomorrow!!

Happy weekend to all of you!  Enjoy it, I hope the weather is warm with blue skies like it is here!!  Summer is in the air :)

~Kelly Anne

Thursday, March 29, 2012

April Showers Bring May Flowers {Math Centers}

4th grade teachers!  I'm not sure where the market for fun activities for 4th graders is- it seems to be laaaacking.  Why can't 4th graders have common core standard aligned activities for their classroom?!   We want fun engaging lessons!  We want exciting math games and activities to support our teaching!  Why can't we have these things available, like the primary grades do? 

I cannot lie, y'all.  When I look at the amazingly cute and practical packets put out by K-2nd teachers, I am so jealous of the students in their classrooms!  How fun!  Let's come together to create entertaining and exciting activities for our intermediate grades! 

I created a new April-themed math activity packet, perfect for 4th grade centers or classroom activities.  Each of the 5 activities is aligned with the 4th grade Common Core Standards.  They could also be used for extension activities for 3rd graders or intervention activities for 5th and 6th graders.  My kiddos get so excited when we introduce new centers and are way more involved!  I can't wait to get these into my own classroom this coming month!

Also, I feel the need to share that we finished TCAP (our state test) today!!!!!  Three weeks later, we are allll d-o-n-e!  Woohoo!  My students had their desks back together (since they were separated and in rows- yuck- for testing) and all the wall coverings (covering our helpful anchor charts) down in less than 5 minutes.  Poor things are all kinds of ready for a normal schedule. 

We are spending Monday in PJ's and with a read-a-thon to enjoy some non-testing.  I am looking forward to just reading with my kiddos (no assessments or assignments) and having some fun down time!

Just one week until Spring Break!  Woop woop :)

- Kelly Anne

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Mining Rocks!

Last week I needed to teach about the Gold Rush and really wanted to do this activity I had heard about ,where we would search for fake gold out on the playground, but I was NOT feeling very motivated around 5:30 on a Sunday night, to prep it all.  My Mom was in town though and wasn’t about to let me stay in my PJ’s (Thanks Mom!)  So we hurried to the hardware store and picked up some rocks and spray paint!

I spray painted the rocks gold, silver, and purple.  Each color represented a specific type of mineral.  Gold and silver were (duh) gold and silver!  And then purple represented gypsum, because gypsum is a very cheap mineral and I wanted to show how minerals were worth different amounts of money.

  I prepped my kiddos by telling them we were going to be Miner's.  We discussed what type of minerals they were mining for, got into groups of two, and each grabbed a bag!  My spectacular aid went out into the field and clumped some of the rocks together and spread out others.  Then we moved out to the field to "mine". 
As soon as they reached the field, they were off!  They were so excited and were running around non stop!  It took about 15 minutes, but they found almost all the minerals. 

After they had gathered as much as they could, we took their bags inside and sorted out our minerals into piles of gold, silver, and gypsum. 

I went around and weighed their piles, using my bathroom scale, and had a worksheet ready for them to fill in, with their weights. 

Next week we will find out how much money they "made" and discuss what it was like to be a "miner".  (Feel free to grab a copy of The Gold Rush and the Reflection, below)

We will also do a quick reflection on what we've learned. 

I'm so glad I decided to do this activity because it really helped model a little bit of what the Gold Rush had been like.  I'm looking forward to having the time to discuss our observations, how much money we made, and make connections to the real Gold Rush! 

While we'll get to have some fun with gold, we will also take TCAP, our state test, this week.  I'm looking forward to having this behind us, Spring Break in front of us, and fun activities for the end of the year!

I hope everyone has a great week!

- Kelly Anne

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Lorax

So, I feel a little nerdy, but I AM SO EXCITED for The Lorax to come out tomorrow!  It looks so stinkin' cute!  I will be seeing it this weekend- I can already taste the popcorn :) 

In honor of the new movie and Dr. Seuss' birthday, we started a fun science activity today (since we don't have school on Friday, Dr. Seuss' real birthday).  First, I read, The Lorax.  I seriously almost tear up every time I read it! 

After reading the story, we talked about ways we could make a difference in the world and why the world needs trees, like Truffula Trees.  Then, I told my class I had a bag of Truffula Seeds for us to plant! We were all excited! 

They each got to place soil and their seed into a small plastic pot.  They were lovin' it!  Everyone was so careful when placing the soil in their pots and then again when planting their seeds.  Sooo cute!
As their “Truffula Trees” grow, we will take weekly measurements of the seedling and graph the mean, median, and mode height of our class’ seedlings.  (I'm planning on sending the flowers home in decorated pots for Mother's Day in May!)

As if this day wasn't exciting enough, we had a "Winter Weather Warning" and mini-blizzard beginning right when school began and ending just after lunch recess.  LOOOTS of indoor recess for us today.  I was proud of my kiddo's semi- attentiveness this afternoon with all the time spent inside today.  I *love* snow, however, and couldn't stop looking out the window all day!

 But THIS is what it looked like before I left this evening... weather here is CRAAAZY.

Happy Dr. Seuss Day to Y'all!

- Kelly Anne

Monday, February 20, 2012

Safety Fair!

Whew!  I am LOOOVING this 3 day weekend!  It is just what I needed to feel rejuvenated again.  My boyfriend's sister and her boyfriend were in town this weekend and took the EARLY flight out this morning (5 am- yikes!).  Luckily the airport is super close to our house.  But an early morning wake up call would normally mean a long day at school- but not this day!  Happy President's Day!!  I have been up and am already looking forward to a mid-afternoon nap sometime today :)  I hope your President's Day is just as relaxing and enjoyable.

This past week, the 2nd graders and 4th graders at my school went to the Safety Fair.  I was a little hesitant at first... Why do 4th graders need the safety fair?!  But the district was providing the buses and so who can say no to a free field trip?

It actually turned out to be pretty awesome!  The booths were relevant and kid-friendly.  My largest concern, the fair being too crowded and busy to hear or do anything, was completely unnecessary because everything was timed so well.  We had every booth pretty much to ourselves and the kids had a lot of fun!  We all even got "hard hats" at the end.  Who doesn't love a good hard hat?

 Yes that is a parrot eating a sucker! (One of my kiddos gave it to him- ahhh!)
 Practice throwing our life preservers to a swimmer
And a little electricity experiment to model power lines.  They were completely focused and interested!

I hope you're enjoying the long weekend and have a wonderful week!

-Kelly Anne

Sunday, February 12, 2012

About, Above, Across & Amid {Prepositions}

Okay, I can't lie.  I set out to teach prepositions this week and had NO IDEA how to do it.  I didn't do anyyyything, and I mean anything, last year to teach them.  All I could remember about them is memorizing them in 7th grade.  And literally, that's all I could remember.  I still have the capability to recite the first 30 or so off the top of my head.  But I couldn't tell you anymore.  And that's when I decided I needed to do them some justice for my own fourth graders.  How could I teach them without making them memorize a list? 

Well, I did some googling, some thinking, and some creating, and came up with this Preposition Mini Lesson!  I broke it into two lessons this week and love how it turned out.  I will finish it off with at least one more lesson this week, but it could easily be up to 4 quick (30 minute-ish) lessons.  It made my class think about the purpose of prepositions and have a little fun at the same time (especially during Preposition Charades!).  This lesson is designed with 4th grade in mind, but could easily be differentiated for any grade level.

In other news, we are in full TCAP (Colorado's state test) mode.  When it comes to tests like this, it is hard for me not to stress.  There is so much riding on it these days, and while I know that my students have learned all they can and will only do as best as they can, I still can't help but try and hype them up with some positives!  One way I'm doing that this year, is sending home a letter to parents asking them to write a note of encouragement to their child.  Pick up your own copy of the letter by clicking on the picture below and support your students.  (Just a note, make sure you have back-up letters just in case a parent is unable to return you a letter in time!).

Hope this helps! 
- Kelly Anne

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Morning Math

Let the pre-test taking adventures begin!  While I despise prepping my little learners for our yearly state test, I do want them to feel confident going into it all.  There are several ways to do this, and I have a hard time embracing the "Quality Writing on Demand" unit or filling in multiple choice bubbles as Readers. 

One thing I have been embracing, however, are some early morning (and I'm talking 40 minutes before school starts- YIKES!) math groups.  I have been meeting with some of my lower mathematicians about twice a week before our school day, to do some interventions.  Why, you ask?  Well, there just aren't enough hours in the day to teach it all!  That's why!  And while what we're doing sure isn't complex, it seems to be helping.  And why shouldn't it be, with 80 extra minutes spent on math each week?!  It definitely makes all the early mornings worth it when I see them growing and their confidence boosting!! 

One of the activities we have been doing is as simple as filling in a 120's chart!  Each morning, when my little mathematicians arrive, they grab a dry erase 120's chart, a baggie full of word number cards, and get to work flipping through word cards, reading the number, and filling the number into the 120's chart.  I purposely leave out some of the cards, so they end up filling in a good portion of the 120's chart on their own, without using the cards.  Once they have done this, everyone is there, their minds are rolling, and they can use their 120's charts to help them in the addition and subtraction activities we do.  It's a win-win!!
Pick up your own 120's chart and word number cards HERE (for FREEEEEE!)  And enjoy doing a little math intervention (or teaching, if you're a 1st or 2nd grade teacher!!) of your own.  :)

Happy Friday!!  I hope everyone enjoys their Valentine weekend!!

-Kelly Anne

Sunday, January 15, 2012

MLK Activities and more :)

I don't think I've mentioned it yet, but I am SOOOO stinkin' lucky to be at a school that has a FOUR day work week!  That's right- Monday-Thursday with children and then every Friday is a WORK DAY!!  After working last year in a school that was Monday- Friday, I feel so blessed to be at this new school.  I was tired of going in every single weekend just to have things prepared for the upcoming week.  (and I'm sure my stress had nothing to do with last year being my first year teaching- right?!)   I finally feel a nice balance between school and home though and am loving it.  My principal is even so great that he gives us a four day weekend every now and then, like this weekend.  We have Friday- Monday O-F-F!!  I can't even tell you how lazy I feel right now :)

The boyfriend and I took a quick trip to Salt Lake on Friday night to get some new glasses (woohoo!) and I now feel ready to tackle a little bit of the school work, while watching a bit of football, of course.

This week we worked on pulling together an MLK writing prompt, where all the students had to talk about their dream for the world.  I was really impressed with their ideas, like end the war, stop people from using drugs and even to stop trophy hunting!  We spent a good amount of time front loading on MLK and his life, and then throughout the week we watched MLK's speech, completed some of the activities from my MLK activity packet,

and re-read the book, The Other Side, which made more sense this time around!  (Hallelujah!) 

Here is one of the activities we completed, which shows people of different colors holding hands, just like MLK speaks about in his dream.

 Looks like we have a Bronco's fan in our midst!
Our dream!

I hope everyone else is having a fantastic 3 day weekend and being just lazy as I am!  Enjoy!

Kelly Anne

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Martin Luther King Day Activity Packet

I don't know about you, but it sure is good to be back into a routine.  After super L-O-O-N-G break, it was crazy necessary to review expectations and I have to admit, after reviewing a little bit, we were able to have a great day.  My kiddos this year are absolutely fantastic.  It would have taken two weeks to review expectations with my class from last year.  But I loooooove this group. 

With Martin Luther King Day coming up next Monday, our school is having a school-wide writing prompt to talk about Martin Luther King Jr and our own hopes and dreams.  The top writing from each class will be displayed throughout the school.  In order to front load on this topic, I put together a little packet of activities, vocabulary words and of course, the fabulous writing prompt.  Pick it up (for FREE :)) here at Teachers Pay Teachers.  It's even differentiated to meet the needs of grade levels K-5!

I am looking forward to sharing some of my lessons and learning from some of the best in the blog world!  Be sure to stop back by somtime soon to see more lessons and things going on in our classroom! 

Happy Monday everyone :)
~ Kelly Anne