Friday, February 14, 2014

Five for Friday in February!

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching with a pretty full week of stuff. 

Check it all out below!

We celebrated the 100th day of school this week! I know most intermediate teachers don't celebrate it, but I did teach primary for 10 years! I set up a bunch of different activities and give the kids a bingo-style sheet to keep track of the ones they have completed. Some of the activities are done quickly, and whole class like one of my favorites, "100 seconds of silence!"

Others are meant as more of a brain break, like the "Make a tower from 100 Solo cups." But most of the activities have an academic component to them. There are a few writing choices, and a few math choices. The kids can't complete them all, but it's fun to watch them try.

My favorite option this year was to visit me and let me take their picture using the My Aging Booth app. It makes you look like you're a hundred years old!

My kids are about halfway through our pretty serious Biography Writing project. On Wednesday I introduced the idea of writing a news article about an event from their famous person's life. We talked about how the key to a good news article is that the headline and first paragraph "hook" the reader into wanting to know more. They make the reader ask questions and then want to find the answers in the article. So "Winter Olympics" wouldn't really do that...but "Big Problems in Sochi!" makes you want to know what the problems are.

I used a strategy I learned at that conference in Hershey to help the kids write a good opening paragraph. The presenter was William VanCleave. He has a free resource on his website that has a lot of good information in it. The idea I used starts with having the kids make a simple target shaped graphic organizer on their paper.

The kids put the main idea (in this case their person) into the center. Each ring expanding outward is labeled with a category that the previous ring would fit into. 

Once the target is filled, the student starts by writing a sentence using the outside ring first and slowly building up to the reveal of the main idea. I find it to be pretty effective at helping you write an interesting opening paragraph. The kids do need to practice it a little before they get good at it though!

I spent some time working on my upcoming Blogiversary giveaway! The first week of March will mark one year of being part of this great blogging community! 

If you're a blogger and would like to help by donating then shoot me an e-mail!

Yesterday was a Snow Day! I tried to approach it with a happy attitude, but in truth I'm kind of over snow days. Missing school just means rescheduling plans and other stuff. I spent the day lazing about, watching tv, and working on my new upcoming math project. I'm pretty excited about it! I'll be sure to share about it once it's ready.

That's 17" of accumulated snow on our deck...

Finally, we just celebrated Valentine's Day! Our district had ANOTHER 2-hour delay this morning, so school started late again and we missed writing for the 8th time in the last month... 

I gave my kids these "I (heart) being your teacher" valentines and a piece of chocolate. I totally made up the valentines this morning because I couldn't ever make it to the store to get stuff to make cooler ones thanks to the snow. Valentine's is one of two approved holiday parties in my district (the other is Halloween.) So we spent the afternoon partying! We did sneak in a little read-to-self, and about half of math!

This upcoming week is full of activity again! But first, I'm going to try to enjoy my weekend! 


  1. Yikes! 17 inches- wow! Glad you got to celebrate Valentine's Day, even if it was on a delay! We've missed school for some "cold days" (no snow) here in Texas, but yesterday we hit 83 degrees! Come on Spring!

    Katie :)
    KTP: Keep Teaching and Planning!

  2. I have never celebrated the 100th day, but I might just work in your ideas next year! I especially love the aging app. I bet your kids loved that! I'm pinning it now.
    Stuff Students Say and Other Classroom Treasures

  3. Also, I love your blog name! The Phantom Tollbooth was my favorite book in elementary school. I probably read it nine times!
    Stuff Students Say and Other Classroom Treasures

  4. Ahhhh! I love that aging photo booth app! Must find it, download it, and use it. Thanks for sharing!

    Teaching Powered by Caffeine

  5. I spy an Erin Condren planner! When do those go on sale for next year? I know I missed the sale and paid full price for mine! I love the 100 seconds of silence and the tower if we could stop with the snow so we can finally make our 100th day! :)
    Pinkadots Elementary

  6. I have been an intermediate teacher for years and have never celebrated the 100th day of school. However, you've inspired me to do it next year!

    That's a lot of snow. I'm living in Korea this year and although it gets pretty cold, we haven't had more than maybe a foot of snow.

    Love your blog colors by the way!
    Southern Fried Teachin’


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