Sunday, September 29, 2013

This Week!

Here is a peek at my week! For those of you who have read my blog, you know that September has brought lots of news, some sad and some exciting but overwhelming, and some sickness to our family. I am hoping that this week is EASY, that no one gets sick, and that things are boring around my house because I could use that right about now!! :)

School related:
I am loving 5th grade Social Studies! LOVE!  We have been studying Westward Expansion really in depth for a couple weeks. This week our focus is on the Transcontinental Railroad!
I'm still not 100% comfortable with Science, but we are getting there. We split classes for Science and I teach the struggling readers - average students so that has brought about some struggles, but we are all learning and making it.  Last week we did an experiment with this question in mind:  How is the bounce of a ball related to the height from which the ball was dropped?  This week we will graph our results and discuss.
In ELA, we will complete narratives that students are writing based on the story Forty Acres and Maybe a Mule. They are SO, SO good and I cannot wait to see the final results!

In Math, we will work on adding and subtracting decimals!

The BIGGEST thing this week will be our field trip! We will be traveling about 3 hours away for a fun-filled field trip! It'll be our first time at the place we are going to so we are hoping all goes well! :) I'll share more next weekend about our trip.

At home:
  • I am excited that my mom will be here for the week! Since we live about 7 1/2 hours away, we haven't seen her since mid-July. My son is SO excited to spend all week with his Mimi.
  • We met with a realtor this weekend and will begin doing a few things around the house that she suggested to get our house ready for the market. Eeekkk! Meeting with a realtor definitely made our move seem much more real.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Five for Friday {Saturday 28th}

Today is my last link up for September for Five for Friday to share about my week.  I am ready to say goodbye to September for many reasons. Every week I've shared some sad or stressful news. It's been a month of changes and a month of news and a month of stress. Between the news of moving mid school year to us all being sick, I'll be glad to see October get here.
Sadly, I have something else really sad that has happened. A third grader at our school passed away this week. He was riding his bicycle and accidentally went out into the road and was hit by an 18 wheeler. It's been such a sad week. I cannot even fathom the pain his parents, family, teachers, and classmates feel. I talked to my class about it and the whole school wore green (his favorite color) on Friday.  My heart literally hurts thinking about it. Although I didn't know him personally, I've just thought about him all week. Please be in prayer for the Dalton family. 
On to a few fun things we did this week....

In Math, we have been working on decimals and have used these awesome decimal cards. Students enjoyed this activity!

In ELA, we finished our novel study on Forty Acres and Maybe a Mule. We did lots of notebooking activities to go along with this unit, such as this "Prove 'em Wrong" and "Cause & Effect" activity.
We also completed chapter summaries in our journals and wrote a letter to a character as an early finisher activity.
Our writing this week has been related to Forty Acres and Maybe a Mule. Our writing focus this nine weeks has been on narratives. Students picked a character from the book (either Pascal or Gideon) and wrote a narrative from their point of view. Y'all, I have been astounded by their writing!  Take a look at this awesome introduction!  This student is an AMAZING writer!
In Science we did a fun activity where we used the following materials: yard sticks, soccer/volley balls, and small ping pong balls. Students held the measuring stick and dropped the balls (first the ping pong, then the soccer ball) at different measurements (100 cm, 80 cm, 60 cm, 40 cm, and 20 cm). They did 3 trials at each measurement, found the sum, and then found the measurement. That made a total 15 drops for each ball. Next week we will graph our data and determine how the mass of the balls affected our results.

Next week we have our FIELD TRIP coming up! I love field trips, but I will be relieved when it's over!

Saturday, September 21, 2013


Y'all, my title states what I am doing around here...just surviving! Sadly, I don't even have enough pictures to share with you about my week.  We had some fun moments, but the stress has seemed to rise.  To make a really long story short, my son is sick again this weekend, now with strep throat which is resistant to the antibiotics he was already on for a double ear infection. His medicine (liquid and powder form) has made him puke massive amounts every. single. time. Finally, he got 2 shots and another antibiotic that we are praying will work.

While I have a minute, I have a fun Science experiment I wanted to share with you!  This was 100% planned by my partner teacher, Sarah and I think it was a lot of fun!  We have been studying about friction and the effect of lubricants.  We had an experiment where we used different types of lubricants on a wooden plank and tested the speed of a toy car as it went down the plank. We tested 4 lubricants: oil (cooking oil), water, Dawn dish detergent, and glue. We also tested it once without any lubricant. What do you think would be the best lubricant? Surprisingly, it went the fastest without any lubricant! I thought soap would be the best, but it wasn't at all. That led us into a discussion of how lubricants work differently in different situations. 

We talked about the variables that could've affected our result. We probably needed the same piece of wood, but we would've had to clean it off and let it dry each time which would've taken all day. We probably should use the same piece of wood each year. We probably needed a piece of wood that was clear from any debris. Etc, etc. As scientists, we should repeat this experiment many times to check our results. All of which we don't have time for, BUT it was still a FUN experiment! We graphed our results and compared lubricants afterwards.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Peek at my Week

Here is my peek for this week!  It's going to be a BUSY one!

{Reading/ELA} This week we will continue our novel study on Forty Acres and Maybe a Mule.  Our grammar focus will be on conjunctions, interjections, and preposition. This focus will continue on to next week.  

{Math} We will continue learning about the power of 10.  We will also wrap up our unit on place value and assess this week.

{Social Studies} We will continue our study of westward expansion, focusing on factors and obstacles settlers faced and how settlers acquired land. I'm loving this unit so far!  

{Science} We will be learning how we can change the effect that friction has on the motion of objects.  My partner teacher has some really neat activities planned for this!  This photo popped up when I searched for friction...haha!

Usually I keep this weekly post all about school, but today I thought about mixing it up and adding some personal things that is on my to-do list this week.
  • Call and check into a storage unit in my town. Since we are moving and putting our house for sale, I know we are going to need to move a lot of things in storage for a few months. I guess it's hard to picture yourself buying a house that's filled with tons of Lego's, animals all around (play animals, not real), kids play area in the great room, etc.  ;)
  • Call and set up a meeting with a local realtor.
  • Call and schedule a meeting with a cleaning lady. This girl is gonna need some help keeping my house cleaned and ready to show at any moment.
  • Common Core Math meeting Tuesday afternoon.  Every Tuesday we have a Common Core meeting from 3:30-4:45. It makes for a long day for my little one who is at daycare. This week we have a Math meeting. 
  • Continue researching towns near Atlanta. THANK YOU to all of you who have helped me so far.  We think we have a few "top" towns picked. Hopefully within the next month or two, we can pick a weekend to visit Atlanta and go see the towns.
  • SURVIVE :)  Y'all know how stressful last week was. Even my principal told me he could tell I had a lot on my plate. You aren't kidding! This week has to be better!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Five for Friday {Saturday Edition}

It's time for my weekly wrap up with Five for Friday (or Saturday!). Y'all, this week was just CRAZY! 
1) We found out we are MOVING to Georgia. Specifically, somewhere north of Atlanta.  We are being relocated with a promotion for my husband. I am super nervous, stressed, and kind of excited.  You can click here to find the post where I talked about our upcoming move. Several of you asked if I'd be teaching when we moved. I will not be teaching again until next fall once we move. We'll most likely move in February and I plan to take the rest of the school year to get settled in our new house/town, search for schools, possible daycare, etc.  I *WILL* continue this blog throughout that time because I will still be "student" will be my 3 year old! I'll be sharing lots of things we do/make so this blog will go from 5th grade to Pre-K! 

2) In addition to learning the news of this big move, my little one also got really sick on Friday (which equals one cruddy, overwhelming week). Double ear infection, sore throat, upset tummy, and lots of drainage causing gagging and throwing up. :(  This morning his words were, "Mommy, I AM happy, but I don't feel good."  Bless his sweet heart. We read lots of books yesterday and last night we enjoyed his first Scholastic magazine from school!
3) Speaking of Scholastic, I was super excited when I got an order in this week. I ordered a Pete the Cat pack for my son for Christmas and a few other books for school and/or my son. 

I wondered why the box was so heavy because I knew I hadn't ordered any books that would've been really heavy.  Well, it was heavy because I got 10 free books! Then I remembered seeing something about that when I purchased the books.  I recently got an email that I was now a "Red Apple Teacher" with Scholastic so I am assuming that's why! YAY!

4) It probably shouldn't come as a surprise, but this week was SO overwhelming that I didn't take ANY pictures. :(  But, we had a GREAT time reading the first 10 chapters of this book!  We made lots of connections, connected it to our study in Social Studies, searched for evidence in the text that proved misconceptions false, and identified character traits.

5) We also completed a Science experiment on balanced and unbalanced forces. Pics to come soon!

* We would appreciate any prayers throughout the next 5 months as we begin house hunting, put ours on the market, and plan to move 4 hours away.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Lana and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

Teacher friends...I have had one.of.those.weeks. If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know what this post is all about. I feel like I could've written my own book called "Lana and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week".
Let me back up a little. We (my family) are originally from middle Tennessee. We moved to South Carolina for my husband's job and I have longed to go back home or close to home for years now. BUT, I really love a lot of things about where I live: I love my school, I love my co-teachers and administrators, I love our church, Easton's daycare, etc.

This week my husband was offered a promotion at work. One that is almost impossible to turn down. One of those once in a lifetime, what an honor to be asked, really big deal kind of offers.  Let me also mention he was out of town when he was offered this job so we didn't get to talk in person about it. Over the phone just isn't the same. Let me also mention that I felt like crud because of a sinus infection.  SO....with all that being said, we are MOVING!  

Y'all, it's the FOURTH week of school and we get news we are MOVING.  I have been in an absolute panic, cried many tears, and have just about drove myself over the edge. I gave the news to my principal and fought back tears the entire conversation. He has always been SO supportive, so complimentary, and just wonderful so it broke my heart. Between my conversations with him and talking to my husband's work, we've decided that I will stay until the end of the second nine weeks to leave, which is mid-January. We will be talking more details closer to time, but once someone is hired they will be with me in the classroom for a minimum of a week to see how the classroom has been ran for the 1st half of school.  My heart BREAKS at the thought of leaving my sweet students and the thought of telling them, which won't be for a while.

Trying to pick a town to live in on a map is just about impossible. We know we will be in north Atlanta. Any Georgia readers? We could use any advice.  My mind has raced 100 miles an hour since we found out!  One GREAT thing about our move is that we will be a lot closer to home. We are about 7 hours away now, but will only be about 3 hours then!  

As if that wasn't son (3 years old) is SO sick today!  I left school early to come home to him. He has a horrible ear infection, a sore throat, lots of drainage, and a tummy-ache. Easton gags SO easily and between the drainage gagging him and his tummy-ache, he's thrown up 3 times.  :(  WHAT A WEEK.

*I would GREATLY appreciate any prayers. I've felt very overwhelmed this week.

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Peek at my Week

Today I am linking up with Mrs. Laffin's Laughings to show a peek at my week! 

{Reading} This week we will  begin our novel study on Forty Acres and Maybe a Mule. I planned a 12 day unit on this and am SO excited for it! It's such a great book and goes along with our Reconstruction unit perfectly. Students will write chapter summaries in their journal that I've made. They will also participate in literature circles.  Cannot wait!  We will also work on our weekly vocabulary.

{Math} We will begin our unit on place value this week. Our focus is on decimal place value through the thousandths.  We will do several hands-on activities with place value. Students will have materials for their interactive notebook.

{Social Studies} This week we will begin our unit on Westward Expansion.  We will focus on the reasons people moved west and the physical features of the terrain, specifically the Great Plains.  

{Science} Our focus this week will be on balanced and unbalanced forces.  

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Family Message Journals

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?

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Five for Friday {Saturday version}

For the first time since school started, I finally felt somewhat in a groove this week!  It was a BUSY week!  I loved having Monday off, but the rest of the week seemed so long! Three weeks down!  I can't believe we've been back for almost a month already.
1) This week I celebrated my 27th birthday!  Some of my favorite moments included my 3 year old singing me happy birthday (totally on his own, too!) and my entire class singing happy birthday to me in the cafeteria!  Sweet, sweet kiddos!  My secret pal gave me a pretty flower!

2) We wrapped up our unit on Reconstruction!  I am loving 5th grade Social Studies!  After their assessment, I had them make this reflection journal and asked them to reflect on what they'd learned about Reconstruction.  These were some of my favorite entries!

3) I have brought home a TON of things to laminate!  Eeekk!  Sadly, this isn't even all.  :/
4) My little boy moved to a new classroom this week at his "school".  New room, new teachers, and mostly new kiddos...that's a lot change for a little one!  We think he'll LOVE his new room, but I think it's been a little overwhelming.  He's been a little over emotional and cried over things he wouldn't normally get upset about. Can y'all say a little prayer for him?  He's saying that he loves it, but on his first day he came home and said he played all by himself and that broke this mama's heart into a million pieces.  BUT, his teacher said that he was playing great with others and that he'd had an awesome week! He got separated from his BEST friend so I think that's been an adjustment as well. Yesterday when I picked him up, he was at recess playing with his best friend, whose class was also outside. What a sweet moment to see!  Here is a picture of him and a girl in his classroom that he's always loved!  He says she's pretty! :)
Some of the things I think he'll love about his new classroom: They seem to have more curriculum where they will study a letter and number each week, Show and Tell day where students bring a toy that starts with the letter of the week, Journal Time where each child get a spiral notebook and draws, works on letters, and uses stickers, and chapel day!  

5) Kim at Finding Joy in 6th Grade is the sweetest fellow blogger and she sent me a gift card to Amazon!  I was so surprised and so thankful! I told her this was a great example of having your bucket filled!  I purchased these books for my 5th graders and think they'll love them!  Thank again, Kim! 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Currently & A Peek at my Week!

Y'all, I am excited that it is September!  To me, September and October means all things FALL!  I love Fall!  I went ahead and decorated my house with Fall decor this weekend and I am loving it. Never mind that it's 90 degrees outside...
Since it's September, it's time to link up with Farley's Currently series!
Listening: RHONJ...they may be a hot mess, but I still like watching them! 

Loving: FALL! :)

Thinking: Why do I wait until the last day to finish things around the house, like laundry?  

Wanting: I am hoping to get back in the swing of things at school. The first two weeks of school have been good, but they have also been very busy and hectic. I am hoping to get back in the groove soon.

Needing: To finish laundry!  ASAP!

Heart: I listed three goals for this month: 1) Start walking (I haven't exercised in so long). 2) Plan and organize fall activities (pumpkin patch, corn maize, county fairs, Boo at the Zoo, carving pumpkins...I CAN'T WAIT)! 3) Get back in the groove!  This could apply for school and for my health!

I also wanted to link up with Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for A Peek at my Week!  

ELA: This week we will be publishing our first narrative writing about a special person in our life. I can't wait to read their final drafts!  We will also complete our first Theme unit in LBD. 

Math: We will finish our study of expressions (Thank goodness!) and assess student learning.

Social Studies: We will conclude our study of Reconstruction. I will be sharing photos of my great-grandparents who were sharecroppers since we have learned about the system of sharecropping.

Science: We will be studying force and motion!

Here's to the 3rd week! :)