Friday, January 31, 2014

F-f-f-f-f-f-ive for F-f-f-f-f-friday.

Sorry! I can barely stop shivering long enough to write this post! My house hasn't been warm in months. And it's looking like that groundhog isn't going to be on my side in a couple days...

Seriously though, it has been SO COLD! So cold in fact that we've had multiple two-hour delays lately. And so that's the first thing in my Five for Friday! I'm not just linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching, I'm also linking up with Literacy Spark for her Trending Topics linky.

1. This week's topic is Snow Days!

 It never ceases to amaze me how different every school district seems to be with things like this. In my district we make up all snow days. Teachers don't really love them because it just means that we'll be in school one more day in June. We are much more likely to have a two-hour delay. Those can be kind of annoying too, though they are a bit better. Basically, on those days we start school at 10:30. This means that I don't get my planning period, the kids don't get their special, and we aren't allowed to have recess either. 

We've missed out on our specials five times now due to 2-hour delays, and twice for snow days! It's getting old! And it looks like we might have another one next Wednesday...

Which leads me to my #2:

2. PDE MPL Conference

So all those letters up there stand for the Pennsylvania Department of Education Membership Participation and Learning Conference that I'll be attending next Wednesday and Thursday. It's being held in Hershey, PA which means I'll be driving to it in a snowstorm. And more than likely all of my colleagues will be sitting at home on a snow day! Aargh. 

I'm responsible for creating our presentation on how I've used co-teaching to expand the inclusive practices at our school. Check out some of my past posts for more info on how I have a highly inclusive class, and how I make use of all kinds of special educators throughout the day to keep my students with autism and specific learning disabilities present in my class instead of being pulled out a lot.

I guess it's kind of cool that I'm getting put up in the Hershey Lodge for a night. Here's hoping the seminars I attend send me away with some useful strategies!

3.  The One and Only Ivan

The book I've been reading with my class right now is pretty much awesome. It was a Newberry Award winner for good reason! This work of fiction is based on a real life gorilla named Ivan. He lived in a mall for nearly 30 years before he was finally sent to live in the Atlanta Zoo. This book has a lot of great things about it. A lot of examples of figurative language, some great vocabulary, unique text structure, and of course an excellent plot! I loved the book so much that I gave it my novel unit treatment. I read the book several times while making the unit, and loved it every time. I've gone through the book and pulled out a bunch of good stuff, and I created a bunch of activities to do with my kids. 

Check out the pictures of my lapbook. 

Here the kids are making predictions
to begin our work with the lapbook.
There are a bunch of other activities in addition to the lapbook, including some pre-reading task cards, and an assessment scoot game. 
The included picture vocab sheets
makes learning new words fun and
helps the definition stick in the
kids' minds!

The 85 page novel study unit has JUST been added to my store today for a pretty reasonable price of $7, especially considering all the work I've done for you! I'm going to leave it marked down to $6 for the whole weekend though, so go grab it up and save a buck!

4. I got a shout out! 

I was excited to see that I was mentioned on On the Trail of Learning's blog. She tried out Tunes Tuesday with her kids and it was a success. Check out her blog post and consider following this budding blogger!

I recently did Tunes Tuesday with my kids. We used Katy Perry's song, Roar. It's too bad the video is just barely not safe for school. For this one we just listened to the song and then did the activity. If you're into Tunes Tuesday, grab the lyric sheet for Roar for free by clicking the image to the left! Check out my other Tunes Tuesday posts for more lyric sheets.

5.  Biography Writing

My kids have been working on our Biography Writing Project, and I think it is coming along really well. My intern has done a great job of leading them systematically through the process of reading, taking notes, using a graphic organizer, drafting, peer editing, and finally publishing! I'm excited that the main biography essays are written because now we get to move on to some of the more "fun" activities. The kids have been doing a great job with it!

I've brought home a ton of work for this weekend...I suppose I should get on it! Thanks for reading!


  1. Hi Nick. I know what you mean about the cold. We're warming up here north of Boston - it's in the 40's which seems quite balmy. Also, if we have 4 - 5 delayed openings, they count it as a whole day of school then we have to make that up. Missing all your specials/planning time is awful - that time is so important, especially for you. Hopefully, next week will be warmer.

  2. Oh my! Missing specials repeatedly? I wondered what schools did with the two hour delay. That doesn't seem fair to your students. I would think you would just shorten the times of the other periods/subjects. We don't do a delay (many surrounding districts do), we just take the entire day. We're up to nine days off for cold/snow already with more to come! Yeah, we're waiting for the snow mid-week as well... up to a foot of the fluffy, white stuff! Stay warm and safe.

  3. We have our specials right away at 8:15 every day. We miss them on delays as well. I always feel bad because the kids are disappointed.

    I absolutely love The One and Only Ivan. I read it over the summer. Right now, I have it as an independent reading book, and it is never on the shelf because one of my students always has it checked out.

    Enjoy the rest of the weekend. Be careful driving to your conference next week.

    Fit to be Fourth

  4. We're in school now til after Memorial Day, and if this winter continues to be brutal, it will just keep moving. Which is dumb since our state test doesn't move with it......... :(

  5. Check this out if you're looking for an appropriate video for "Roar"

  6. I'm ok with no school! In fact, hoping for a snow day tomorrow! haha I LOVE your OAOI lapbook. The banana activities look awesome! Can't wait to test it out.
    Pinkadots Elementary

  7. Just found your blog... I'm in central PA too!! I agree about the snow. I more and we're adding on to the end of the year- and that will happen Tomorrow!!
    Keep Calm and Love First Grade


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