Thursday, December 26, 2013

Bowling F-U-N

We had one of the best field trips the day before my last day. Our PE teacher teaches a bowling unit to 5th grade every year and always takes them on a bowling field trip. Of course, I wanted to go as a chaperon and especially since it was almost time for me to leave! The kids were so excited and so were us teachers.
The kids could order food or drinks before lunch was served. I love Icee's so I had to get a cherry Icee! The kids picked ahead of time if they wanted to order a pizza or if they wanted a hot dog. 
I bowled a strike on my first attempt...woohoo!  The students wrote about the trip afterwards and according to one student in my group, "Mrs. Geren is a beast and was unstoppable".  Haha!   
After bowling we went to a nearby park and let the kids RUN and PLAY! They loved every bit of it. 
It was a FUN second-to-last day! 

Monday, December 23, 2013

13 in '13

It's hard to believe that 2013 is almost over. 2013 has been quite the year of change in both my personal (a BIG move) and professional life (moved from 4th to 5th)! I love this Thirteen in '13 linky party so I wanted to join in!  
Here are some of my favorite memories of 2013 in no particular order.

{One} Many of my favorite moments were just everyday events and fun with my son. We spent lots of time playing and having fun as a family. This picture was taken at a park and is one of my favorites.

{Two} This year I ran three 5K's, which has always been a goal of mine. First, I ran the Color Run in Columbia, SC with two teacher friends and my mom.
Then, I ran the Color Run in Nashville, TN with my mom and one of my best friends.
Lastly, I ran the Providence Heart & Sole 5K with my teacher friend, Kacey.
{Three} We celebrated one special little boy's 3rd birthday.
{Four} We enjoyed a beach trip to Myrtle Beach with my mom. This was my son's face the first time in the ocean this past summer. He's been before, but he was so excited this time.
{Five} We enjoyed a family vacation with my husband's family to Fripp Island, where we enjoyed more beach and pool time.
{Six} We took our final vacation with my mom and husband to Myrtle Beach. My little one really did well swimming this time!
{Seven} I enjoyed dress up days at school, such as Favorite Celebrity Day...
{Eight} I had fun at the Carolina and Georgia blogger get-together!
{Nine} We had lots of fun taking many zoo trips! We LOVE the zoo and went too many times to count.
{Ten} We had TONS of fun at the state fair. The highlight was riding an elephant, which is my son's favorite animal.
{Eleven} I graduated with my Master's degree! Big accomplishment as a working mom with a three year old!
{Twelve} We sold our house in South Carolina as we learned that my husband got a promotion at work, which caused us to move.
{Thirteen} We moved to Georgia....I should actually say we are currently in the process of moving to Georgia! With this move, that means I am no longer a fifth grade teacher and I will soon be a stay at home Mom. No worries about this blog - it will be filled with fun Pre-K fun we do!
What a year! Most of my highlights were from my personal life. My professional life changed quite a bit. I went from teaching 4th grade to 5th grade, which was a big change for me. I loved 4th grade and I loved my partner teacher, who became and still is one of my best friends. I also really liked 5th grade, especially our SS standards. With our move, I no longer teach 5th grade and will soon transition into a stay at home Mom.  I cannot even imagine what our life in 2014 will look like as we start over in a new state. Eeekkk! 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Peek at my Week

This post is so bittersweet, y'all. This week will be my LAST week teaching at my school. It's going to be a hard week.

The new teacher will be coming to school Monday-Wednesday to observe me. I am thankful to have two last days, Thursday and Friday, with just my kids. 

{Math} We will continue working on dividing fractions, which my kids have done SO well with! Seriously, y'all, they literally begged me to keep giving them problems one day last week. It was the best teacher moment! I was SO proud.

{ELA} We will finish our novel study on, Lyddie. On Friday (my last day) we will be watching the movie while enjoying hot chocolate with marshmallows. What a fun way to end our time together.

{Science} We are wrapping up and assessing our unit on Landforms and Oceans.

{Social Studies} We will complete our study of the Roaring Twenties. We will learn about Prohibition, The Great Migration, and the Harlem Renaissance.

{Other} On Thursday we will be taking a bowling field trip! How FUN is that?! Our P.E. teacher takes 5th grade every year after their bowling unit! I can't wait! 

On Friday, we'll take a test, watch the movie Lyddie, and have our class Christmas party, which I've also heard is a going away party. 

On a personal note, we also close on homes twice this week. Tomorrow we close on our home here in South Carolina and later this week we close on our new home! We've been living in a hotel for a week and have the rest of this week to go.  Wish us luck all around this week! 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Lorax

I remember this past summer reading about how many of the Dr. Seuss has some type of political or environmental theme to them and I remember thinking, "What? Am I the ONLY person who never caught that?" I originally saw this on Brandee's blog, Creating Lifelong Learners. I was amazed and so glad I could incorporate Dr. Seuss into my 5th grade classroom. Yep, even 5th graders LOVE Dr. Seuss!
Original post from Creating Lifelong Learners - If you wish to PIN this item, please click here to go to the original source! 
My partner teacher plans Science and incorporated this Dr. Suess book into our Science plans. The unit we are currently studying is Landforms & Oceans. This week our focus has been on conservation and pollution.
Many of my students had read this book (or saw the movie!) and didn't know it had anything to do with the environment. Neither did I before now!
This page shows the "before" picture where all of the Truffula trees are standing, the grass is green, the air is clean, and the pond is thriving.
Here, the Lorax comes out and speaks for the trees.
A factory is built and many Truffula trees are being cut down.
The air begins to be polluted while more and more trees are being cut down.
The animals who once lived there must find another food source, since the Truffula trees no longer bear the fruits they eat.
The very last Truffula tree is cut down. 
After we read the story, I gave them their challenge: Write your own Lorax story with the setting being the ocean.  Since I teach the students who scored lower on the PASS tests, I often modify lessons. I thought they may have a hard time getting started so we narrowed it down to 3 topics:
  • Over-fishing
  • Oil spills
  • Trash 

They began brainstorming ideas today and were SO excited! I can't wait to read their final products!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Life Lately!

I would love to be able to update you with lots of fun activities we are doing, but the truth is, I haven't taken a single picture since last week. 

I want to thank you all for your sweet comments on my last post regarding our move!  The movers have been at our house yesterday and today packing us up. Last weekend we did lots of this:

They will finish the last of it tomorrow and load us up. However, they won't be unloading us until December 21st. In the meantime we are staying in a hotel. Tonight makes our second night and so far, so good. It's big enough that it reminds me of a 1-bedroom apartment: 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom (double sinks, separate bath & shower), a living area, and a small kitchen area with a mini refrigerator.  I may be saying something different by this time next week so I think we can definitely handle this. It's not like we have a choice, though! 

Eight days left, guys! incredibly bittersweet! I hope you will all stay with me on this blog even after I leave my 5th grade teaching position. Once we get settled, I have lots of plans on doing fun kid-friendly Pre-K activities with my little one! 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Five for Friday{December 6th}

I'm joining Doodle Bug's Five for Friday weekly linky party. It really is the best way to share and summarize our week.  Speaking of weeks, I have have two left until I leave my school. TWO. My goodness, I'm going to miss my school, my teacher friends, and my students so very much. 
1) We made foldables for our Science lessons this week. Our focus has been on how waves, tides, currents, and storms affect barrier island, beaches, inlets, and estuaries. My partner teacher plans all of Science and does a fabulous job with it!

2) One of my favorite things is doing novel studies in ELA that correlate to our Social Studies standards. I LOVE our 5th grade Social Studies standards. This week we began our unit on Lyddie, which is the story of a young girl who goes to Lowell, Massachusetts to work in a factory, trying to pay off debts on their family farm.  We have some very special activities planned for the end of this unit, which just so happens to be my last day.
We are writing chapter summaries in a booklet we made.

3) Y'all know my love for 5th grade Social Studies. This week, we've learned all about WWI. We've taken notes in our notebooks and looked at lots of pictures.  We've really studied life in the trenches.  It's hard to imagine what those soldiers lived through.

4) After we assess the WWI unit next week, we begin a unit that I have been waiting all year for....the Roaring Twenties!! I personally find this part of history SO interesting and cannot wait to study/teach it next week! 1920's fashion, entertainment, etc... I cannot wait!!!

  5) Just a quick update on our moving situation...

We are officially moving out of our house within days.  I have SUCH mixed feelings. I'm so excited about our new house, which we hope to move into just days before Christmas. At the same time, it just saddens me to move out of the house we've called home for 6 years and especially because it's the house we brought our son home to.  For the next two weeks, we'll be living in a hotel (you can imagine my excitement....[enter sarcasm]).  I have 10 days left to teach my 5th graders and 3 of those will be with the new teacher, who is Australian, by the way. The kids met her and loved her. Again, so bittersweet! I want them to love her and I'm so glad they are so intrigued by her. I'll be honest, it was really hard to let her "take over" when she came to visit and just kind of sit's going to be hard to let go of those reins, so to speak.  Overall, just be thinking about us and keep us in your prayers over the next month as we begin our new journey. Bittersweet is the only word I can use to accurately describe what I'm feeling (as I type this with tears in my eyes). What a roller coaster of emotions I am on!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Take me Back Tuesday

Today I am linking up with Second Grade Shenanigans for her Take Me Back Tuesday!  What a great way to highlight some of your previous posts.  Today, I thought I'd share a post I wrote back in September (so, not too long ago). This post is all about writing in Family Message Journals, which is one of my favorite ways to incorporate Writing!

*Originally posted September 8, 2013*

Today I want to share something with you that I feel very passionate about and that is Family Message Journals, or FMJ's for short!  I was first introduced to FMJ's 6 years ago when I began teaching 4th grade. My grade level team had already been doing them and talked me into it.  I'll be honest, I didn't love them right away. BUT, over the years, I have began to love Family Message Journals!

Each Wednesday, students write in their FMJ to a family member, preferably a parent/guardian about a topic that we are studying. We do this during our Writer's Workshop time. They write a minimum of a paragraph about the given topic. Occasionally, I'll give them choices, but it's usually pre-selected.  For example, this week the topic was Reconstruction because that's what we've been studying. After the write, I check their FMJ's for accuracy and completion and place a sticker on the page, which is my sign that I've checked it. For homework, their parent/guardian writes them a note back.  I keep FMJ's until Wednesday when we write in them and once they turn them in, I keep them until the next Wednesday.

I've had some parents love it and hate it. I've even had some NOT to write back and for those few cases, I let the student write to someone in our school (me, assistant principal, guidance counselor, etc) and they write back instead of the parent. I've only had that happen twice in 6 years. 

Here are some of the main reasons I like it:

  • It's a great way to see how well students understand the given topic.
  • It supports parental/family involvement. I've found that many parents want to know more/do more and this is a great way to do that.
  • It's a wonderful keepsake for parents to have a journal of the memories of their child at this age.
  • WRITING! Kids practice summarizing and writing in a letter format weekly.
  • I can jot down notes in it as needed. I send home a weekly newsletter with information, but if something comes up, I can make a note in the FMJ.
  • Parents see the progression of their child's writing skills throughout the year.  Of course, the teacher does too!
NOW, here are some sample writing's from our FMJ's this week! Our topic was Reconstruction.

Do any of you use Family Message Journals?