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