Friday, January 24, 2014

Five for Friday: Cold Temps, Note Taking & Text Structure Review!
It's Friday! We only had school three days this week due to cold temperatures & MLK Jr. Day but those three days were exhausting! Don't forget to visit Doodle Bugs Teaching for a peek at everyone else's week and some great ideas!

Here's a recap of my three day week:

It's been freezing cold this week! It's been below zero every day.... I loathe looking at the temperature reading in my car each morning.

Started off our week with a Maya, Inca, and Aztec review! We watched The Road to El Dorado and tried to decide who the mythical tribe in the movie might be. There were details to support all the tribes but our most powerful evidence seemed to point towards the Aztecs. After watching the video, we jotted down any additional information / similarities in our Latin America flipbooks.

We finished up taking notes for our argumentative essays this week. Working a blog post about our essays - it's my favorite unit! Many students found the 3-2-1 note taking model the most helpful! Some students had already jotted down facts or highlighted them in the article... hence the X's.
We also practiced taking "movie" notes this week! We talked about how videos can have a text structure like nonfiction and it's important to take good notes while watching a video. We used this short video on Sally Ride (since in science the students are studying space). The kids also seemed to really like learning about the 2-Column Cornell Note Taking method. It really seemed to click for most of them! Now, students are ready to watch videos on their topics and take our grade wide Common Assessment.
Lastly, my purchase of the week was Teaching With a Mountain View's Differentiated Informational Text Structures task cards. I wish I would have found these earlier! Our nonfiction unit is very heavy on text structures and how the structures give you information about a subject and helps you understand the topic. I plan on using these as an intervention for kids who still need help with this skill! They are fantastic! Worth every penny!  

Does anyone else have any great note taking strategies they teach their students? Our fifth graders need lots of help deciding what's important! 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

New Polyfile?! Yes, Please!

I must confess that I'm a school supply junkie.  I buy them all the time, year round! I love a good deal on school supplies! However, I usually find the best stuff at back to school time and then I'm good to go.  This year, I found a great vertical polyfile to hold all my answer keys and graded papers at DEALS for $2 dollars... but then the clasp broke and it no longer held all my papers. Boo!

So today, I was at Kroger picking up a few things for dinner when I spied a new 8-pocket polyfile in the clearance section! And this 8-pocket is not a "shove it all in" but instead has four rows of tiered POCKETS! I'm so in love! I just had to share my new find with the blogging world!

It's called a Docit 8-Pocket. They were created by a teacher and have an entire website explaining their function... they each old up to 200 pages! Nice! I bought one for each class of mine! Mine was on clearance for $2... perfect price! Amazon sells them for $11.63 - YIKES! For a folder? Really Amazon?

Here's a picture of the front:

And on the inside....

Their website says they sell them at quite a few stores across the country. I bought a pink and blue one for my graded papers and answer keys. The tiered pockets are also very handy for holding stickers, my easy grader, and other little "things" I tend to collect when grading! 

Here's to staying organized in the new year!
What great finds have you stumbled upon lately?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tried it Tuesday: Jawbone UP

We had another snow day today... We've now used up all our "free days." Boo! But, with my free time I decided to link up Holly at Fourth Grade Flipper for another installment of Tried it Tuesday! This week's "tried it" is not directly school related since it's more of a healthy living post... So, skip over if you're looking for classroom ideas.

This week I've been trying out my new Jawbone UP which is similar to the more common FitBit Flex. The UP is a band that you wear during your day and night to measure your steps, activity, and sleep patterns. I've been researching these types of bands for a while trying to decide which one was right for me. I knew I didn't really want the body bug since you had to wear it on your arm. Also, I had heard mixed reviews on the Nike Fuel band so that was out as well... Ultimately, it came down to price. My parents went to buy a Jawbone and the salesman at Verizon made us a great deal we couldn't refuse. A cheaper than Amazon type of deal! So, I went with the Jawbone...

Here's mine still in the box... 

Mine is not wireless but plugging it into my phone really isn't that hard and I don't need to see my steps instantly. I upload about two - three times a day and that is good for me. It only takes seconds to sync and upload! Plus, all my calories are automatically shared through the My Fitness Pal app.

Here's a screen shot of the main screen and the food screen:

The sleep feature is amazing! I love it! Here's my sleep graph & trends graph:

So if you're looking for something to get you motivated this year here are a few things to consider before purchasing an UP.

- It links/syncs to multiple apps you're probably already using like My Fitness Pal, RunKeeper, or Lose It!
- It's like wearing a rubber bracelet and it's NOT noticeable. Only one student even commented on my new band. Plus it does come in several colors.
- Tracks sleep cycles and steps
- Gives you a calorie conversion for all your physical activities
- Has an idle time so you can get up and move around
- Gently wakes you during light sleep within 30 minutes of your alarm
- Step up is super user friendly
- Easy to use on a daily basis
- Motivating
- Allows you to track your sleep, steps, and mood over time.
- Health tips and fitness tips are great for getting motivated
- "I'm In" feature lets you sign up for weekly challenges
- Can create a "team" so you can view and comment on others progress. This one definitely holds me accountable!
- Holds charge for 10 days!

- You have to tell the band you're going to sleep or your sleep won't be logged.
- Some of the calorie information from my Fitness Pal is listed on the UP app so always do a check if you're watching things like carbs or fats.
- It's not waterproof for the pool in the summer time
- Can't wear it or use it while it's charging... no way to manually log activities through the UP app.

So far, I love my Jawbone UP. If you want to research the UP or check out the new wireless UP 24 visit the Jawbone website. For me, I just needed an extra push to get motivated and moving! I've already been close to hitting 10,000 steps and seeing my time inactive was a real eye opener! I'm hoping this combined with better eating and calorie counting with will help me towards a happier and healthier 2014!

What have you tried this week?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Peek at My Week!

It's been a while since I liked up with Jennifer at Mrs.Laffin's Laughings for A Peek at My Week! This week are starting all new units! We only had a three day work week last week due to the Polar Vortex and extreme cold. We introduced some new units but didn't really get "started"... so this week, we're digging deep and getting our new units!

We started our next novel! We're going to be reading The Tale of Despeareux. It's one of my favorite books to do as a read aloud with the kids. Plus if you haven't heard the audiobook version... OMG! It's my favorite audiobook! My students beg for the "man on the CD." He does all the voices and has a fantastic accent. Adore this book and all the characters. The lessons we're doing come from Lucy Calkin's fifth grade suggested calendar from her book A Curricular Plan for Reading Workshop Grade 5.

We're staring our Argumentative Essay unit! This is my favorite writing unit of the year! Fifth graders are very persuasive. Students made construction paper folders to hold their research notes and choose topics this past week. Starting Monday, students will be learning different ways to take research notes on a topic. Then they will be reading both sides of their argument as well this week and then choosing a stance. Since we're already practiced gathering research for our feature articles, we choose six topics for our students to research and collected credible articles for text sets to save some time!

We started our Latin America unit last week with some mapping practice. Now, we're ready to learn about the Maya, Inca, and Aztecs!

The Ancient Civilizations for Children series is fantastic introduction to each cultural group. These were a great find at my local library! We plan to end our week watching the movie, The Road to El Dorado where students have to decide if the mythical tribe in the movie is the Maya, Inca, or Aztec. Bonus: The movie was only $5 dollars on Amazon!

Can't wait to see what everyone else is up to this week!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Currently January: Snowy Roads & Freezer Meals!

It's currently 2014! Wow! It's another year down. Today I had to face the reality that I have to start back to school next week. This two week break has been blissful. My one little word of the year is: happiness. I'm going to try and do things that will make me happy and less stressed out. I've already planned for after break and made all my copies. One step closer to happiness already!

My next resolution is to blog more. So, let's start with what I'm currently up to...

I've been really enjoying all our snowy days in Ohio of late. It's been a beautiful winter. I don't always want to drive in the "white death" but it does look absolutely gorgeous outside. During these snowy days, I just want to camp out on the couch with the furbabies and watch Dance Moms marathons. However, in reality, I need to be going to the gym and starting a work out program! I've let other things over take my life and I need to get back to having some time for myself during the week.

Here's a picture of our front yard from today's flurries:

But, today's snow day and January resolutions to cook at home and try purge all the cookies I've eaten, has lead to some serious meal planning. I've been really interested in freezer meals of late. I want to save time and use my time more efficiently this year. This would definitely make me happier and give me some much needed gym time. I found some great resources online. I can't wait to make Kitchen Escapades' Chicken Parm Meatloaf! Yum!

Looks good huh?

There is also the blog Stacy Makes Cents with more recipes and super easy meals! Six meals in 1 hour? I'm sold! Reviews to come after I do all the cooking and shopping. I'm subbing out a few recipes for others so we're not sick of chicken, although buying in bulk always saves money! But I also want to try this Sausage & White Bean soup. Perhaps, my favorite find with this excel editable grocery list that lets you keep track of a week's worth of meal planning! Check out the grocery list from Miss Information here.

Don't forget to link up with Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade with all your current January happenings!

Hope everyone is enjoying 2014 so far! 
Here's to happiness and hopefully more consistent blogging! 
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