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Another week gone

1. I am always surprised when I talk to people who think that teaching is a walk in the park. For some reason, the general perception of teachers involves sitting at a desk all day with quiet, well behaved children working silently. We apparently come in just minutes before we have to start teaching, and leave as soon as the busses are gone. Of course, no night or weekend work! And we just spend our summers laying by the pool, drinking margaritas... right?

 It's so hard not to make this face when someone expresses that opinion to me...

I just wish that people understood the early mornings grading papers, late nights making class yearbooks, Fridays spent volunteering at school functions, and summers spent preparing for fall.  /end rant/

2. Speaking of class yearbooks, I made my little darlings these adorable memory books last night. 

Of course, I had to use my favorite comb binder to make them into little books they can keep.

As tedious as it would seem to bind 30 memory books, it's actually pretty enjoyable. There is something about office supply products... I love them! 

3. I'm thinking of ideas for next year (as inevitably all teachers do in late May) and I've been contemplating themes. I went with owls this year, and it was a huge hit. I am thinking of sticking with owls because so many  kids gave me owl gifts to decorate my room- what would I do with them all? They do love being the "owlets", too. 

4. We went on a field trip to the Museum of Fine Arts this week. To be honest,  I didn't expect my fifth graders to be very interested. The rules are pretty strict- hushed voices, walking calmly, and no touching. I was really pleasantly surprised when my kiddos loved it! They were super well behaved, enjoyed looking at the art, and were even quiet on the bus. It was a great day! This sculpture is in the garden cafeteria. I loved it! 

5. I ordered an Erin Condren planner for next year, and it came in! I am a crazy person, so I filled in the school calendar for next year. I organized each week, set up the holidays, and wrote in meetings. It sounds really organized, like I am really on top of my game... but really, I was procrastinating. I have a huge stack of grading that I was avoiding! So far, I like it. Can't wait to use it next year and see if it lives up to the hype.

WINNER! And a new pencil sharpener

I can't believe the devastation from the tornadoes in Oklahoma. It's so incredibly scary to think that one minute those building were homes, and the  next they were piles of rubble. Thinking of all the Oklahoma teachers, students, and families out there. Be safe.

There are 21 days left of school... but who's counting? Ok, fine, I am. There is just so much going on! Between all our field trips, presentations, assemblies, and celebrations, there are only 3 "normal" days until the end of school. AHHH! It's not going to be boring, that's for sure.

So, I finally decided to try out one of the pencil sharpeners that everyone raves about from Classroom Friendly Supplies. It definitely lived up to the hype! My new favorite toy is red.

I decided to test it out with a stack of pencils that needed to be sharpened for MCAS, our standardized test in MA. 

They weren't completely flat, but they were definitely dull. This sharpener is a little bit different than any one you have used before, and I've got to admit it took me a few minutes to figure out how to use it. There are two tabs above the hole where you insert the pencil. Before you can put the pencil in, you have to squeeze the tabs together. You pull the tabs forward and then release. They hold on to the pencil while it's in the sharpener.

Now, the best part of the sharpener... while you turn the crank to sharpen the pencil, the tabs are gripping the pencil and pulling it in. I'm not sure if that is the secret of how it makes pencils so sharp, but check out my "after" stack of pencils.

It comes with a little clamp to hold it on the desk, but I have to admit that I can't figure out how to install it. ha! Either way, I can hold on to the pencil sharpener and crank it and it works just as well as if it had the clamp. One of these days, I'll have my husband put the clamp in for me. :) So, head on over to Classroom Friendly Supplies and check them out!

I just wanted to give a shout out to everyone that donated to my giveaway, and everyone that entered  Thank you so much! It was so much fun hosting my first giveaway. Congrats to Bethany K, the winner! Since my giveaway is over, I have to spread the love and share a link to another giveaway. Check out Joy in the Journey's 200 follower giveaway!

Before our last two rounds of standardized testing, I decided to try out a new activity with Judy Finchler's book Testing Miss Malarkey.

I've got to give a shout out to Where the Wild Things Learn for a fantastic graphic organizer to go along with the book! I downloaded this great freebie from TpT and had my kiddos fill it out after I read the book aloud and we had a class discussion.  They really enjoyed the book, and some of my really anxious students really felt better about the test afterward. If you have testing coming up soon, check it out!

Last day for the giveaway!

Tomorrow is the last day for my giveaway. Check it out! Lots of great prizes from teacher blogger friends, and a $30 TpT gift card!

Flying into First Grade is back with her Let's Get Acquainted link up! Here goes this week...

1.  What made you decide to become a teacher?
I have wanted to be a teacher since I was a child. I can't remember when I first decided I wanted it, but I do remember writing "Future Teacher" as my occupation in my first grade yearbook. I used to play teacher with my siblings and neighborhood kids out in the backyard for hours during the summer. I'd stand in front of them and talk and they would have to do "worksheets" I made. I even begged and begged for a teacher gradebook, but my parents wouldn't give in to get me one. Instead, I used graph paper and write it up like it was a gradebook. I was pretty corrupt though- I remember giving my sister an A because she brought me some jello. :)

2. What has been your most rewarding experience as a teacher?
I think the little moments all add up to one big giant rewarding moment. When the kids that struggle finally get an 80 on a test, or when your students are so engaged they don't want to end the lesson. When they tell you they'll miss you at the end of the year, or when you hear them talking about something you taught them to another student. There isn't anything better. 

3. If you were not a teacher, what would you be?
Oh, man. I really am not sure- I've never even considered it. I genuinely have always known my path in life led to me being a teacher. I am not sure anything else would "fit" like teaching does! I sat and thought, trying to think of SOMETHING and there isn't anything else I'd want to do. I think I could get by working in an office, doing something or other- but it just wouldn't be right for me. 

Cr-aaaaazy week!

What a crazy week it's been! My little darlings completed their state standardized testing in math on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thank goodness! They all worked so hard, and really put their best effort forward. That's all anyone can ever ask for. I rocked my favorite zebra print shoes for good luck...

I think it worked! :)  Linked up to "Share Whatcha Wear" with Closing the Gap... in a Cute Outfit!

I found out on Tuesday that my class was chosen to participate in a program called STARBASE. It's a national Department of Defense program where fifth grade students travel to a local military base and participate in hands on STEM activities with chemists, physicists, mathematicians, and engineers. We will go to an Air Force base nearby for 5 whole school days- 7:30am until 3pm. I've never been, so I'm not sure exactly what to expect, but our agenda includes things like robot engineering, testing Newton's laws, and building & racing our own mechanical cars. Best of all? It is free. That's right- F-R-E-E. Whhhhhhaaaat!? Practically unheard of. Check out their website for more information.

Don't forget to check out my giveaway! It ends tomorrow, and there are LOTS of great prizes... including a TpT gift card! 


Gotta share the love about a few other great giveaways, too. 

Happy belated Teacher Appreciation day, fellow teachers. I am in awe of the dedication, work, and love that go into all of your every day teaching.

Teacher Appreciation

Two posts in one day? Oh my goodness. I've got a lot to say today!

First, check out my giveaway. I am celebrating reaching 100 followers!


There are a few other great giveaways going on right now, too. Check them out!

There are tons of great teacher appreciation deals going on right now, too. Here are a few of my favorites!

Hey teachers! Bring your school ID to any Chipotle on National Teacher Day, Tuesday, May 7th, from 4pm to close, and you’ll get schooled with BUY ONE/GET ONE BURRITOS, BOWLS, SALADS or ORDERS OF TACOS. - Joe
*Limit one per teacher. In-restaurant orders, US locations only.

NY & Co is offering 30% for teachers from May 2 - 8- an increase from their already fabulous normal 15% off!

Staples 1 cent deals for teachers this week, available through May 11. Offers include:

Ticonderoga Asst. Erasers
Bic Roundstic Pens, 8pack
Sharpie Markers, 2pack
Staples School Glue 

The new Staples reward program includes free shipping on everything- so this could be a great deal online! Includes a minimum $5 purchase.

Check with your local Chick-Fil-A. Most are participating in Teacher Appreciation week but it varies what they are offering from location to location. Their facebook page may be helpful!

28% off at TpT- WAHOO! :)

Other teacher discounts/freebies (offered year round)

20% off orders made at 1-800-flowers and 1-800-baskets. You can order online or over the phone.

A.C. Moore
To receive a teacher’s discount, simply present your A.C. Moore Rewards Card along with one of the following credentials at checkout: Teacher Union Card, State Issued Teaching Certificate, Home School Affidavit or IHIP approval letter from School District or your state, Home Schooling Certificate, or State Issued Preschool/Daycare Facility Certificate/License A.C. Moore suggests asking your store or emailing CustomerService@acmoore.com to find out more details about the program.

Ann Taylor Loft
Register as an Ann Taylor Loft teacher to receive 15% off your full-price purchase in-store, everyday!  Offer must be presented at time of purchase and you must show a valid Teacher ID. Offer not valid on already reduced styles . Taxes, shipping and handling fees, purchases of gift cards, charges for gift boxes and payment of a LOFT or Ann Taylor account are excluded from the discount.

Adobe Education Store
Save up to 80% on Adobe products if you are a student or for personal use by teachers, administrators, and school staff on their personally owned computers.

Enjoy 15% OFF footwear items priced $39.99 or higher.  Simply present your teacher ID or a pay-stub in one of their stores, or call 800-798-9478, to place your order.

Apple Store
Apple offers special education pricing on Apple computers, software and select third party products to college students, parents buying for a college student, or teachers, homeschool teachers, administrators and staff of all grade levels. Students who have been accepted to college are also eligible.

Monthly qualified wireless service discount (up to 17%) for teachers and faculty – if your address matches their list of qualified education organizations, they will email you with instructions on how to start saving on AT&T wireless services and devices.

Most brick-and-mortar locations grant teachers a 20-percent discount on most purchases just for asking. Call ahead to be sure your local store honors the discount.

Teachers save up to 15% with special teacher discount pricing. Call the Customer Focused Development Team at 1-800-353-4027 for pricing and to place an order.

Barnes & Noble
Save 20% off the publisher’s list price on all purchases for classroom use, get up to 25% off the publisher’s list price during Educator Appreciation Days (next event is in October), and receive valuable email offers and information on special Educator events.

Big Lots
Big Lots offers special teacher discounts, contests, and giveaways.  When you sign up for their email, check off the “email me about teacher-only specials” box.

The Container Store
They offer educators special discounts throughout the year to help organize your classroom!  Just complete the form to receive your first offer, redeemable in-store, online or by phone. Program ends December 31, 2013 (I guess they will no longer love teachers?).

Teachers can take advantage of Dell's Exclusive Members Only Pricing. You will need to know your school district's member ID number.

FedEx Office is pleased to offer teachers, professors, faculty and staff members 15% off on most products and services at participating FedEx Office nationwide. To receive your discount, simply present your discount card when making a purchase in-store or at fedexoffice.com and the discount will automatically be applied (Application for discount card at this link).

Hancock Fabrics
Teachers & PEAH (Parents Educating at Home) receive a 10% discount when they present their Red Apple Card. This discount cannot be combined with any other discount cards programs or used to purchase gift cards. You can obtain a Red Apple card at any Hancock Fabrics store. To obtain a card you must present a copy of your most recent paystub from the school or PEAH members must present documentation from the state for teaching status or your PEAH card. The cards must be signed by the teacher. This discount is only available in stores, it is not available at HancockFabrics.com.

HP Home and Office
Sign up for their exclusive educator discounts on HP’s most popular products
HP Education offers a number of special, limited time discounts on scheduled classroom, HP RAIL,and self-paced training.

All teachers receive 15% off any in-store purchase with a valid school ID.  This applies to full-price items only.

JoAnn Fabrics
Free discount card for 15% off every purchase (excludes remnants, patterns, gift cards, and previous purchases) from September 1 to August 31.  Bonus coupon for 20% off any one total purchase when you enroll or re-enroll in the program.  More of their popular, money-saving coupons as a Jo-Ann Preferred Customer.

Lakeshore Learning
Join the Lakeshore Learning Teacher’s Club and receive 15% off on hundreds of classroom items every day.

Teacher discounts of up to 15% if you go to their online "faculty store".

If you're a student or an educator, just show us your school I.D. to save 15% off every purchase you make at any The Limited store location. Please note that this offer is not valid online and cannot be combined with other coupons when redeemed in-store.

All teachers receive 15% off their in-store purchase with valid school ID.  Some exclusions apply – please see store associate for details.

Sustainable binder maker Naked Binder gives educators a 25% discount on materials.

15% most purchases in National Park Stores with valid teacher ID.

NY & Co
Sign up for their Teacher Rewards program and receive 20% off your next purchase – then, you’ll receive 15% off in-stores year-round.  Just show your ID. (Don't forget this week is 30%!)

Office Max
Office Max offers specials deals for teachers, including exclusive product offers, bonus opportunities, and e-coupons.

Office Depot
Teachers receive 10% back on ink, toner, and paper and 15% instant discount on copy and print services Plus, if you sign up for their program, you’ll be alerted when they offer a Star Teacher Appreciation Event in June – a day of instant discounts, exclusive offers, and free breakfast.

Get a teacher discount when you dine at any Pizza Hut location. Show your school ID for discounts of 10- to 20-percent off any meal (depending on location).

Seaworld Florida
SeaWorld Orlando offers a complimentary Teacher Study Pass to all active and certified K-12 Florida grade school teachers.  The pass is valid for unlimited admission to SeaWorld Orlando through 12/31/2013 (wish this was ALL teachers!).

Staples offers a special Rewards program for educators. Benefits include 10% back in Rewards on ink and toner, case and ream paper, Copy & Print purchases, and teaching and art supplies.

Most districts are offered at least 10% off their monthly plans, and some may receive as much as 30% off. Follow the link to enter your school email address to confirm what your discount would be.

Walt Disney World Swan& Dolphin Resort
The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort offers teachers and all school support staff a very special room rate that starts at just $149.00 per room, per night!

Giveaway time!!

I can hardly believe it, but I've reached 100 followers! WAHOO! Thank you all for being e-friends. :) To celebrate, it's time for a giveaway...


So, here are the prizes:

Winner's Choice from:


$30 gift card to Teachers Pay Teachers!

Complete prize list:
  1. Welcome Banner from Fifth in The Middle
  2. Citing Evidence Poster from Head over Heels for Teaching
  3. Double-it addition tic tac toe from Teacher Gone Digital
  4. Sizzling into Summer Literacy Centers from Fluttering into First Grade
  5. Diggin' for Digraphs Unit from K-3 Kathleen
  6. Bloom's Reading Comprehension Task Cards from Magic, Mistakes, and Mayhem
  7. WINNER'S CHOICE (1 item) on TpT from Fab and Fun in Fourth
  8. WINNER'S CHOICE (1 item) on TpT from Teachery Tidbits
  9. WINNER'S CHOICE (1 item) on TpT from Collaboration Cuties
  10. WINNER'S CHOICE (1 item) on TpT from Fearless in Fifth
  11. $30 Gift Card to Teachers Pay Teachers!

So, here it is. Can't wait to see who wins all these great prizes!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blogs by Grade & Facebook

This one will be short and sweet... 

While I was looking through Doodlebug's 5 for Friday earlier, I noticed that tons of the bloggers were 5th grade teachers. I went to a lot of them and visited because I love to see what other teachers are doing with the standards. As I was hitting "CTRL + F" over and over again to search the page, I started thinking about how much easier it would be if there was a collection of links for bloggers by grade in one place. So, I decided to make one! I also made cute little badges that you can post on your page, if you'd like. So, link up!

Also, I've been looking at everyone else's facebook pages and feeling pretty envious. So much cool stuff to share! So,  I'm a total lemming and trying out facebook. Check it out! I have no facebook friends right now, so I totally look like the lonely kid at the party hanging out in the corner. :)

Friday, Friday, Friday..

Friday is always a two edged sword. On one hand, it  is FRIDAY and the weekend is almost upon us! We order lunch out on Fridays, too, so that is a huge thing to look forward to. On the other hand, I have before school duty on Fridays. I have to be there 15 minutes before normal reporting time and stand outside in the 5th grade area to watch the kids as they arrive to school. During this time of year, it's actually quite pleasant to be outside for half an hour, but in the dead of winter it is miserable. I really, really hate cold weather (clearly I live in the wrong city!) so it's especially torturous. Either way, it's over- bring on the weekend!

Linking up with Doodle Bugs for Five for Friday again this week!

1. Today, we made a class banner to hang up at the 5th grade luau after school. Since the kids will be leaving our school to go to middle school in just a few weeks, it's just a little special night for them before they are promoted. I had been struggling to think of ideas when it struck me last night- owls! Our class theme is owls, and I hung a sign on the door that says "it's a hoot in 307" before school started. Perfect fit! I got some iron on transfer paper (waaaay more money than I expected for 30 transfer sheets!) and printed an owl for each little darling. Here is the finished product last night, fresh out the 4 hour ironing session:

There was a couple feet of blank space open below, too. My cherubs each decorated one of their owls however they wanted. It turned out adorable! 

 I decorated mine when it was about halfway done, and left them to finish. Imagine my surprise when I came back and they had drawn a crown on it. LOL!

2. We had a fundraiser for the One Fund today. It was great! Everyone wore their Boston gear and paid $1 toward the One Fund. We had all the sports teams represented! I rocked jeans and Red Sox shirt. The kids kept telling me how strange it was to see me in jeans. I thought it was funny- what is so different about jeans? ha.

3. Speaking of Boston, Boylston street has turned in a makeshift memorial. You can't believe all the flowers, sports team hats, and sneakers that have popped up. It's pretty remarkable.

4. I did a great science experiment this week on density. It's the age old "less dense liquids float" experiment, but I added in some food coloring. I set it up with an empty mason jar, and the cups of liquids labeled only as "liquid 1," "liquid 2," and "liquid 3." 

The top liquid is vegetable oil, the middle is water, and the bottom is corn syrup.

This experiment was a part of a States of Matter station rotation. I had 6 miniature experiments set up for the kids to rotate through. First, they found out if air has mass by weighing an empty balloon and an inflated balloon. Next, they watched colored ice cubes melt. The colored water sinks to the bottom because it is colder than the surrounding water. Then, discovered that takes up space as they tried to push an empty cup to the bottom of a glass container. Then, they discovered that items had different densities by measuring the mass of 100 ml of 5 different substances. Next they learned about mixtures and solutions by mixing water and sugar and then mixing different colored rocks. Finally, they did the density experiment. It was pretty involved to manage all that movement, but the kids really loved it and they got a lot out of it! We had a great couple days.

5. Finally, I discovered something (kind of obvious in hindsight) when setting up for my experiment stations...

You can't color vegetable oil, no matter how hard you mix! Ha. Like I said, I should have realized it in hindsight since oil doesn't mix with water, and the food coloring is water based. One of those laugh at yourself moments!

Super excited to be almost at 100 followers! Check back next week for my very first giveaway. Some great items have been donated! If you would like to donate, too, I'd  be super grateful. Check out this link to sign up.
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