Wednesday, December 3, 2014

December Currently!

What?! It's December??? Bring on the Christmas music, trees, lights, overpriced chocolates, and glitter projects! I absolutely LOVE December and everything it brings. I am so excited to link up with Farley over at Oh Boy Fourth Grade for the December Currently.

Listening - I've gone through every radio station and can't seem to find the Christmas music channel.  So, it's Kelly Clarkson Christmas CD for the next 4 weeks.  I've memorized track 12, thanks to my lovely morning commute to school!

Loving - We got our tree up this past weekend! I've never put it up so early but it just seemed right. I love the smell of the tree. There's just nothing like it!

Thinking - I have about a week to teach division to my fourth graders! EKKKK This seriously stresses me out since I had a student ask me last week, "What's addition?" and another student tell me that 25 is even.  Oh boy! This is going to be interesting!

Wanting - It is RAINING in San Diego. What? Rain? What is that? I can't remember the last time it rained in San Diego.  I swear the trees have grown 5 feet in the last 24 hours.  They were SO thirsty.  Two days of rain is enough. Bring back the sunshine!

Needing - December is the best month but the hardest!  Come on TPT sales, don't let me down!

Giving - I'm on my third batch of cookies this week. Holiday parties, thank you gifts, special treats...too many cookies!

Ho! Ho! Ho! Only 12 more days and it's Christmas Break freedom for 3 weeks! We can do it!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

November Currently

October was a fast and smiley month! I finally got the guts to upgrade my TPT store to a premium membership and it took off! I am so grateful and happy that I am helping teachers, even if it's just a few :)

November always flies by too! It's the first month since school started where we have a day..or two..or!!!

I'm linking up with Farley over at Oh Boy Fourth Grade for her monthly linky party!

Listening: After a long week at school, I love the silence of the weekend! I don't want the TV on, I don't want music on, I just want to relax and listen to NOTHING! I'm finally getting some laundry done which was oh so needed!

Loving: San Diego has been 85+ degrees for a solid 6 months.  Like the flip of a switch, November 1st comes around, and it's a beautiful breezy 65. ANNNNDDD it rained for about 5 minutes! Wahooo! Fall is here :) I'm pretending to ignore the weather report that says this week is supposed to be 84 again.

Thinking: Even though November is filled with FUN and ADVENTUROUS things, it's packed full and that can be daunting! The boy and I are going to Disneyland for our annual trip, then to D.C. for Thanksgiving to visit my sister! In between it's his birthday and we are seeing Wicked! Not to mention it's report card and conference a new school. It's my first time having conferences with parents who speak little English! It's going to be a learning experience for sure :)

Wanting: Even though it's the weekend, I've been up at 6 and 7! BOOO I want to sleep in! Since it's become cold, the puppy needs to be sitting on me all day and all night. He's one big cuddle fest which = no sleep. #crazydogpeopleproblems

Needing: I've put off grocery shopping for a week and it's time.  I can't do the random string cheese and hot dog meal anymore! Any suggestions on fun Fall recipes?

Reading: I've never been a big "Read for Fun" kind of adult! I do so much reading during the school day that I don't want to see a book when I get home.  I've been bringing Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing home to read. It's one of my reading group's next book and I need comprehension questions to go with it.

Happy November Blog World!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Liebster Award!

It's been a week since I've been nominated for this and I'm just getting around to it! I've been such a bad blogger lately! I've been super overwhelmed with school and I've been spending any extra minute I have making lessons for TPT. The Liebster Award nomination from LoveLi Class was such a surprise and gave me smile! Thank you SO much!

This award goes to bloggers with less than 200 followers. Now I get to answer 11 questions and then nominate 11 bloggers for the award.  

Here it goes!

1. Why and how long ago did you start blogging?
I was straight out of the credential program, living back home, and had no job prospects! I managed to find a part time teaching job through a friend of a friend of a friend... I worked at a small private school that had a very alternative schedule, philosophy, and structure.  To say the least, I was lost and needed support.  I ended up stumbling upon some teacher blogs.  I instantly felt connected to other kindergarten and first grade teachers. I found this support system that helped me survive my first year of teaching.  Since then, I've become a professional blog stalker! It wasn't until this June, that I got the confidence to start my own blog! I started a blog hoping that my small words of wisdom will find their way into the hands of a new, lost, exhausted teacher that is just stumbling out of a credential program! 

2. What one word sums up the heart of your blog and why?
Fun! Teaching should be fun, the kids should be having fun, or it isn't working.  I truly believe that if school isn't fun the kids won't learn.  I hope that my blog reflects that!

3. Is there something you learned late in your blog journey that you wished you knew before?
I've learned to be patient. I wish I was more patient in the beginning of my journey.  I started my blog and naively expected to have a 100 followers and be making lots of money on TPT! It took about 1 week for me to realize blogging is a slow, gradual journey. It doesn't happen over night :) I now get excited about the $0.30 cents I make every day (on a good week!) and the 1-2 comments I may get.  It's the small things, right?

4. What is your favorite past time other than blogging?
I got a puppy about a year ago (hence the blog theme)! He is the love of my life and I absolutely LOVE taking him on adventures, going to the beach, and cuddling on the couch.  Other hobbies of mine include crafting, wakeboarding, photography, and shopping!

5. How many hours per week do you dedicate to your blog?
It really depends on the week! Some weeks I put 6 hours into blogging/TPTing and other weeks I put 1 hour into it.  I really just try to squeeze it in between teaching and life (wait, what's that?)!

6. What category of blog posts do you enjoy the most?
I love any blog post that gives me an instant idea I can use in my classroom the next day.  Anchor charts, classroom examples, lesson ideas, innovative projects are what I look for when blog stalking! These are also the types of posts I try to put up on my blog.  But, I learned very quickly that to be part of the blogging world, it's more than just posting about lessons.  It's about putting yourself out there, sharing the latest DIY project, and venting after a bad day of teaching.  

7. Where does your blog inspiration come from?
The first blog I ever came across was The First Grade Parade. It was so inspiring, organized, cute, and helpful! I always look back to her blog when it comes to inspiration. I'm also inspired on a daily basis by The Inspired Apple. I followed her back when she was Babbling Abby and used SO many of her products when I taught K/1.  Now that I teach fourth grade, I look to other blogs such as Fourth N Ten  and Teaching With A Mountain View for inspiration! 

8. Which post that you've written are you most proud of?
I've mostly been linking up with other bloggers for their Linky Partiess.  I don't feel like I have too many original blog posts yet.  I would have to say my Classroom Reveal post made me proud because it was one of my first posts and it's my first REAL classroom! Lots of things to be proud of this year :)
9. Is there any post you have been planning to do, but have postponing it for a while now? 
YES! Of course there are tons. I have a notebook going of potential blog posts! I would like to post more about how I use the TPT products I create in my classroom.  I'll get there!

10. What is your favorite aspect of blogging?
I'd have to say the feeling of community that you get from complete strangers.  I never thought a total stranger could feel like a friend! I hope one day to actually meet some of these bloggers.  I have this support community that has truly been there when I've really needed them.

11. Which recipe, project, or idea on my blog would you be most likely to try yourself?
I'm loving everything about this Monday Made It Post! I want to try ALL of these things. The chalkboard, close reading bookmarks, and homework chart are adorable! Thanks for the great ideas :)

Pay it Forward: My Liebster Nominations

Now that you've been nominated, here are the "official" rules for accepting:
1. In your post, link back to the blogger who nominated you as a thank you and "shout out."
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you (the ones I answered above).
3. Nominate 11 blogs of your choice that each have less than 200 followers. Provide them with 11 questions to answer or have them answer the questions above.
4. Let your nominees know that they've been nominated and provide them with a link to your post so that they can accept.
5. Send your nominator a link to your post so that s/he can learn more about you as well! (You can just put your post link in the comments below!)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Mathematical Monday - Strategies Galore!!

Happy Monday Blogger Friends! I spent the weekend preparing for my first official observation at my new school.  There is nothing more terrifying than being watched as a teacher! I have to remember that I always come away from observations learning something new, which only makes me a better teacher.  As many times as I remind myself of this, the butterflies don't go away!

I'm linking up with I {Heart} Recess for the first time! I'm loving her Mathematical Monday linky party.

We've been working on Addition and Subtraction in fourth grade.  I have to give a big shout-out to the third grade teachers for doing a great job prepping the students! They know their strategies.  We've reviewed all the strategies from last year and added the Standard Algorithm for fourth grade.  It's an anchor chart party in my room!

What Addition and Subtraction strategies do you use in your classroom?

I've been working hard on getting the kids to check their subtraction by using addition! I've had a lot of "Ah-ha" moments when their addition doesn't work out and they look at my like, "I subtracted wrong!" It's been a great learning experience for them and it makes them truly think about their problem solving.

I do Math Centers EVERY DAY! I think it's so important for me to work with a small group and the students are so motivated by math games and task cards.  I've never had a problem with kids goofing off because they know it's a privilege to play games and they don't want to mess that up. With that being said, it's a constant challenge keeping the math centers new and exciting.  I created this Fall Themed Math Center for them to work on this week! I will be getting my laminating on this morning!

You can grab this math center here.

Have a great week!!!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

October Currently!

I'm linking up with Farley at Oh Boy Fourth Grade for the October Currently! I am SO excited it's finally October ... although it is the longest month of the whole school year.  It's a whole month without a single long weekend, holiday, or half day. Now that's SPOOOKY!

Listening: Okay I am finally admitting it... I like Taylor Swift's new song. No I'm not a 13 year old girl but hey it's catchy. It's quite addicting and just happens to be playing on the radio EVERY DAY on my way to work!

Loving: I love decorating for the seasons and Fall/Halloween have some of the best decorations. I'm digging these new mats I found at Home Goods.

Thinking: I don't know what it is about this week but I'm exhausted!!! Maybe it's the crazy 95 degree weather or my chatty class but it's time for the WEEKEND :)

Wanting: I am new to TPT and the blogging world.  So badly, I just want to sit with an experienced blogger and pick her brain.  Any California bloggers out there want to meet-up??? Any TPT experts that have tips or tricks to being successful??

Needing: Sleep??? Enough said. #teacherproblems #isitsummeryet

Treat: My new favorite website and resource for kid friendly, lexile leveled, interesting nonfiction texts = NewsELAYou can create a class and assign articles, print them out and use them for close reading, or project them and use them as a class.  This week my class has read about shark finning, Orca whales, and Minecraft!

Happy October Teachers!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Spark Student Motivation with Scratcher Stickers!

Happy Last Weekend in September! It FINALLY feels a tiny bit like Fall in San Diego.  It's only 75 instead of 95 likes it's been for the last few weeks. I love this time of the year when you can sleep with the window open and still be all cozy under the covers!

I'm linking up with Head Over Heels For Teaching  for her awesome Spark Student Motivation Saturday linky party! I have got some amazing ideas from this linky party and I look forward to it each week.

Last week I posted about using Talking Tokens to engage students in collaborative conversations.  I tried it out and worked!!! It was so fantastic.  Each student participated in the conversation, they shared an original idea, and talked with one another.  They didn't feel stressed that they had to share a lot of ideas, just two simple thoughts.  I had them take just two talking tokens to start with.  But later in the year, I might challenge them with 3 or 4 talking tokens.  I loved that the students were patient with each other and truly waited to talk until everyone turned their tokens over to yellow.  It you are interested to know more about Talking Tokens click here.

There are a bunch of new teachers at my school this year and we all get to go to special meetings together. You know, in all that free time new teachers have! The best part of the meetings is getting time to share ideas.  One of the the teachers brought these to the meeting a few weeks ago.

They are scratcher stickers! I instantly had a million ideas run through my head of how these could be used in the classroom.  She uses them in her classroom as incentives for the students.  She puts them on a little award, then students get to scratch the sticker to see what they've won.  I decided to use them in a similar way in my classroom.  

I work really hard all year to teach my students how to be SCHOLARS! We study famous scholars, we learn about the scholarly traits, and I call them scholars on a daily basis.  By the end of the year, my students walk around saying "I'm a scholar because I am curious." or "I am a scholar because I use multiple resources."  It's a great way to get students to be metacognitive learners and think about their own thinking.  I want to reward them when they are showing the scholarly traits so I have created "Ms. Foley's SCHOLAR Scratchers." 

I'm going to mix up the rewards such as pick from the prize box, homework pass, new pencil, etc. I'm so excited to start using these in my class this week! I can just see the students being really focused on scratching their award. You can find these scratchers all over the internet but here is the Amazon link.

I'm off to go shopping and get my nails done :) Enjoy your Saturday!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Sunday Scoop

I'm linking up with Juliet from Teaching Trio for the Sunday Scoop!

My Sundays always tend to be the same with running errands, lesson planning, and relaxing! I'm super excited about this linky party. It may or may not have something to do with the cute dog clipart :)

Enjoy your Sunday!!! 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Spark Student Motivation with Talking Tokens!

Happy Weekend!!! I feel the urge to wake up early on weekends just so my days at home, with no students, seem longer.  I may need a nap later. I'm linking up with Joanne at Head Over Heels For Teaching for Spark Student Motivation Saturdays!

I went to a PD meeting this week on Active Participation.  We learned about overt and covert student engagement strategies and how to constantly questions the students so that EVERYONE is participating MOST of the time! So many strategies were modeled and I immediately went back to class on Friday and used them! The best PD's are when you can implement what you learned the next day! LOVE IT :)

My favorite suggestion was using these red and white counters as "Talking Tokens." Each learning group gets a little cup of tokens to use when they are collaborating.  Before they discuss, students must take a designated amount of Talking Tokens.  Two tokens seems to be a reasonable amount to start with! Then the students turn the tokens to the white side while they are thinking about what they want to discuss. During thinking time,  the students can use sentence starters to help spark ideas. When the students are done thinking, they turn their talking tokens over to the red side so their group knows they are ready to share ideas. When a student shares an idea, they put the tokens back in the cup.  This is a great way to keep students actively engaged and to hold each student accountable when discussing in groups.

Photo Credit - Lakeshore Learning. Click for source.
It always cracks me up how little things, like different color foam circles, can motivate students to participate.  They add a new twist to what would be an ordinary conversation!  I will be picking up some of these tokens this weekend to use Monday! I can't wait to try this out.  Let's hope they spark some deep, meaningful conversations between the students :)

Have a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Positive Thinking Thursday

I'm linking up with Jennifer over at Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for Positive Thinking Thursday! I love the idea of this linky party.  It is so easy to get wrapped up in all the ungraded papers on your desk, negative/stressed out/overworked teachers, crazy parents, lazy students, etc. It's important to remind ourselves why we are doing what we do and the difference that we are making!  Staying positive is not always easy so this linky party is a nice weekly reminder to smile :)

After getting some not so happy assessment scores this week, I wanted to inspire my students and myself with some positive reading quotes!




Believe it or not, I HATED reading as a kid.  I was the kid that put my book below my desk so I could "secretly" play with my eraser instead of read.  I was never inspired by books, I was a slow reader, and reading = homework.  I work hard every day to inspire my students to read more so they don't have the same experience I did. 

Keep Calm and Read On!!! 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Peek At My Week and a Freebie!

Last night I sat down and did some blog know how that goes!  I compiled a list of all the Linky parties that I could possible link-up with during the week. There are so many wonderful Linky parties it's hard to keep up!!! It's my new goal to be a part of at least a few of these a week.

Today I'm linking up with Jennifer over at Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for A Peek At My Week! 

Last week was spent getting routines in place and constantly reminding the kids it's not okay to talk all day! We started our reading rotations and they were a bit shaky at first.  We were both learning what we can realistically achieve in 15 minutes.  No the kids can't finish an entire activity in 15 minutes and NO I can't read a whole chapter with my guided reading group in 15 minutes.  I've taught 4th grade before but I'm at a new school were the routines, schedules, hours, and students are very different than my previous experiences.  It's going to be a learning year!  By the end of the week, we were productive so this week it's time to dig into the deep stuff!

Anyone that truly knows me, knows that I'm a planner! If it was up to me I'd have October planned by now.  Unfortunately, teaching is just not that black and white and my plans change every day. I've also been blessed with a Fourth grade team this year so planning is a lot more fun! 

I always start my days off with Language Arts. My team is still working out the logistics of small groups so nothing is set in place yet.  We are going to have our first hour be whole class instruction and our second hour be reading rotations.  This week we are focusing on "Main Idea." Our team decided to use Nicole's Interactive Reading Notebook this year to give our reading time a solid foundation based on standards.  If you haven't checked out her product yet, you need to do that now...or after you read this whole post!  It's absolutely amazing and has helped me stay organized and standards based. We are going to read various short stories from our anthology and from our "short reads" series.

In my reading rotations groups, I will have students find the main idea of their weekly Scholastic News.  This graphic organizer will help them see the supporting details that back up the main idea.  I will keep these mini posters hanging on the board during rotations to help spark their memory!
Grab it here!

If time allows, I will squeeze in some mentor texts to support our learning goal of the week! I am definitely going to read Crow Boy by Taro Yashima.  It's a powerful book that sparks deep conversation with the students.  It also has a lot of supporting details that we can pick out as a class.  Other mentor texts I might use are Stellaluna by Janell Cannon and The Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco.


In math, we will be continuing on with Place Value and Ordering Numbers.  I'm introducing rounding which is always a challenging task! I will be using videos from Learnzillion to help! I like to talk about rounding BIG NUMBERS with the mentor text Great Estimations by Bruce Goldstone. It's filled with great images which always leads to those teachable moments!

We will use this little rounding poem to help us remember those tough rounding rules!

I am starting to put my math centers on TPT. Check out this week's Double Dice Addition for FREE!!! 

What does your week look like?? Happy Third Week of School Everyone! 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

First Slantbox Reveal...ever!

Jameson over at Lessons With Coffee is 100% correct when she says there is nothing better than getting something in the mail.  This was my first time linking up with the SLANTbox exchange and I am so excited! It has been an absolute blast getting to know two amazing bloggers, teachers, and friends, Sandy over at ELA Everyday and Katie over at Erb Rhymes With Verb.

Diego approves of the package! He helped me open it :)

Sandy went above and beyond with her Texas themed Slantbox! I love these letter books! I can't wait to use this in my classroom :)

 You can never have too many Sharpies! I love love love the neon colors.  Diego says a big THANKS for the bones!! 

Perfect koozie to use after those loooooong days! The kiddos will love the sparkly Texas star pencils.

Oh hey there Texas!

Puppy notebooks...enough said! 

So has anyone actually tried freeze dried ice cream?? I might just have to dig into this!

Thank you Sandy for the most awesome, theme-tastic, exciting, colorful, and happy Slantbox ever!

Happy Weekend y'all (in true Texas spirit!)