Saturday, March 24, 2012


My Spring break is slowly coming to an end. It is wrapping up nicely. I just got back from a mini vacation to a local Indian reservation stay where my husband and I saw Larry The Cable Guy. He is so funny! Laughs, gambling, food, and a king size bed. Now it's back to the real life.

I want to thank a few for some special awards. I'm still new to this and don't know all the bloggy ettiquette, so forgive me if this is incorrect in any way.

Thanks to Ms. D at The Superlative Six for the Top 10 Award.

Thanks also to Tammy at Confessions of a Fourth Grade Teacher and Amy at The Crazy Adventures of a University Grad for the One Lovely Blog Award.

I'm flattered that others have rocognized my little blot. Thanks so much to the three of you.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Have You Met My Friend NED?

I'd like to introduce you to NED. NED loves to encourage students to Never give up, Encourage others, and  Do their best.

Every year The NEDShow comes to our school. The posters go up and the students get so excited. Have you seen it?

What is it? The NEDShow is a great assembly for students that promotes positive attitudes and better behavior both in school and in life. And they do it through...yo-yos! Yes! It's amazing, and the students look forward to it every year.

The presenter comes out and does a funny and inspiring show full of UH-MAA-ZING yo-yo tricks! There is a student participation portion in the program, and there is even follow up curriculum.

It gets even better. NED will come out for free. If your school will sell the NED yo-yos after the assembly, there is no charge for it. However, if your school has an abundance of money and doesn't want to sell the yo-yos, you can pay for the cost of the assembly.

Let me say, no one has asked me to promote the NED show, and I am getting nothing in return for this post. I just think the program is great and want to let you know all about it. NED goes out to schools all over North America, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Check out NED's website at

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Grade Level Link Up

Head over and link up with your grade level at Math Coach's Corner. You can never have too many blogs to visit and take ideas.

Not Again...whine

I can not believe it! I use my laptop on the couch. I have a beautiful desk and office, but nothing beats the couch, doncha know. Anyways, I usually rest it half on the side table and half on the arm of the sofa. So last year the dogs ran in between the couch and the sofa and pulled my laptop down. SPLAT! The power cord broke. I couldn't believe that little cord was around $100!!! Ouch. So last night, I set my computer where I think it will be sturdy, push down the reclining seat and...BLAM! Again. It fell right off. This time the cord is fine. The damage now is inside the computer. The connector in the computer that attaches with the cord, broken. Argh. And of course no money at the moment to fix it. Gotta call Best Buy to see how much it will be. I am fortunate to still have my old, slow, dinosaurish laptop. Hopefully that will keep me online. I'm hoping to get most of the yearbook done through the online program during Spring Break.

Here's to luck, speed, and good connectivity.
Happy Sunday

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Pi Day

Pi Day Wednesday went off without a hitch. It was great. The students were engaged and excited throughout the day. The only disappointment was that it was a minimum day and we had to rush through the last activity a bit. It was a great refresher, both in reviewing the standards and a sweet change from the hard hitting testing reviews and practice we've been doing so much of lately.

We started Pi Day with some poetry and figurative language. Students wrote a poem where the number of words in each line followed the digits in pi. Here are a few samples. 

Then we reviewed pi by creating a pie on a paper plate and measuring diameter and radius Then we figured circumference and area. 

Students measuring the tether ball court outside to write area and circumference in terms of pi. 

Is that your final answer?

After lunch we were back inside measuring smaller edible circles. They had to measure the diameter, and then figure out the radius, circumference and area of the circle before partaking. 

Find that area!

The Ding Dongs were a big hit! 

For my very first Pi Day, I'd say it was a great success. I got a few hems and haws from some of the old school teachers. I'm sure they didn't approve. Oh well.

My full day of activities are available on my TPT store here.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Pi Day Plans

While I was supposed to be planning a final push for the heavy hitter standards on our state test, I instead planned for an amazing Pi Day!! I borrowed some ideas from others. The measuring activity I took from The Reading Buddies. I modified it and added more activities. Hopefully everything goes as smoothly as I have it pictured in my head.

Here is what I have planned along with one of the activity pages.

If you like what you see, head over to my TPT store and pick it up! Click here.

Enjoy your Pi Day.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Oh the Things I Do...

One of my favorite times of the day that I refuse to give up no matter what the state/district tells me I have to squeeze in is my daily read aloud. I love it; the students love it. It is the perfect time to see skills and ideas we are learning in our HM reading series in real life, so to speak.

Usually I choose what book to read. However, I let my students choose the current book. At some point one student discovered this book in the library and it soon began spreading around the room like wildfire. It was all the talk. Students were sharing it, borrowing, asking the librarian to put it on hold for them...boys and girls alike. They practically begged me to read it.  What teacher could resist kids begging for a book?!

So I began reading the book...OMG when will this book end? I can usually find the bright side in anything, but this book...ugh... It is a basic adolescent book. Tomboy Madison watches all her friends becoming girly girls; she just wants to wear her cutoffs and play little league baseball. She develops a crush on teammate Tommy. She watches her beautiful neighbor's relationship with a washed up music star. Sounds like... just what kids like.

So what's my problem? To start with there is a quite a lot of kissing and boob talk. Not fun reading that with expression and excitement to a class full of 6th graders. Also, the story line is just confusing to me. It often seems to jump to a new scene almost without warning. The characters aren't developed...I just don't like it.

I do like the students' attentiveness while I read. They are INTO it!!! I tried to get out of it. I polled the class to see if they are enjoying it and following the story line. And they all said yes. I asked just the boys. And the BOYS said yes! I think for them it is a peak into the world of girls.

So I am still reading it. And I will finish reading it. Hopefully soon. However, I still take advantage of the teachable moments using the  figurative language and characterization, and we are able to make comparisons and connections to real life. I'm making the best of it and looking forward to the next book I'll share.

What about you? Have you ever gotten into a lesson or book that you hated but the students loved? How did you make the best of it?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Spring Madness

I love Spring! The weather is perfect, flowers start blooming, daylight hours start increasing, and the end of the school year seems so close!!! I love teaching, but boy do I love my teacher breaks and vacations.

Unfortunately, though, this is the most hectic time of the school year for me. Most of it I brought on myself through stipend and non-stipend(darn budget) positions. It seems everything I do peaks at this time of the year: testing coordinator, yearbook guru, and 1/2 technology position (guess which half!). Also, we are in crunch time getting ready to go to science camp (we are always in the middle of at least one fundraiser), and the end of the year activities for 6th grade start looming.

Stress Stress Stressed out!

I do enjoy each of the additional responsibilities I hold, but I do reserve the right to moan and groan about them when they all start piling on top of each other. At some time during this time of year, I come home nearly in tears and eventually fall into tears when my dear husband asks me what is going on. He always knows just the fix: quit the stipends. Don't do them next year. Give it all up!!?? What? Never. I just need to vent. When will he learn to just listen and not try to solve things?

I can do it. I will do it. It will all work out just fine.

After all Spring break is just 11 days away.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Singing for Pi

I am linking up with Michelle from Making it as a Middle School Teacher to share Pi Day ideas. I had never heard of Pi day before getting acquainted with this blogging world that I am coming to love. In 6th grade, pi  is super important and such a tough thing for my students to work with. A few years ago I made up a few songs to help my students remember the formulas for circumference and area of a circle. The kids absolutely love it, and we sing them so much they get to where they will sing it on their own when they are taking a test or working with circle problems. I especially like to pit one half of the class against the other to see how loud and enthusiastically each side can sing it!

So here you go! Feel free to take/share/use them.

Circumference Song (to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat)
Circumference goes around and round
There are two ways to find it
Two times pi times radius
Or diameter times pi!

Area of a Circle: A Repeat After Me Song Chant 
(the kids tell me its the chant from some commercial-Tony the Tiger or something)
The area of a circle --- The area of a circle
Is pi-r-squared! --- Is pi-r-squared!
Pi-r-squared --- Pi-r-squared
Means pi times r times r! --- Means pi times r times r!

Can't wait to see what the rest of you all have to share. This year there will be Pi Day in my classroom!

I created a whole day of activities that include these songs and much much more. Go take a look at my TPT store. Click here.

Monday, February 13, 2012

faith and discipline

This week my students are writing a clarification of a Vince Lombardi quote and it's really got me thinking. Hopefully it's got my students thinking too, but that's another issue. Anyway, the quote reads, "It's easy to have faith in yourself and have discipline when you're a winner...what you've got to have is faith and discipline when you're not a winner."

"Discipline. Isn't that like when we get in trouble, Mrs. Piper?"
"That is one meaning, but that is not how it's used here."

As I began to explain this meaning of discipline, I soon realized all my examples revolved around all the areas where I need discipline. Exercising. Eating properly. Turning off the TV at a decent hour. I turned the discussion around to discuss areas where the students would need to have discipline. I'm not sure if they have yet totally figured out the word, but we still have time for that.

It's been on my mind for days now. I used to have discipline in many areas of my life. Now...I don't know. After getting married, I lost much of that discipline. It is so easy to blow things off when you have someone to snuggle up with. We've been married two and a half years now, and I just can't seem to get that area back on track.

One area that I have gotten more under control is planning and grading. My excitement will wax and wane throughout the school year. Full of vigor the first few months, then counting down the days till Christmas break as soon as I get back from Thanksgiving break. I am now recharged after coming back from Christmas. This is partially due to no longer having to teach a combo during language arts and partly to incorporating new strategies, not making assumptions about my students background knowledge, and seeing good growth on their most recent district benchmark assessment. The students are so much more engaged when I have planned out the day, and really know what I am doing from minute to minute. They are much more conscious of their work and progress when they receive graded work back in a timely manner.

Hopefully I will still have discipline and faith in my students as I see summer get closer.