Sunday, December 1, 2013

December Currently

Hello December.  I never thought you'd arrive, but you're here and now it's time to link up with Farley for her December Currently.


Friday, November 29, 2013

Fall Digital Stories

One of our writing projects this trimester was to create a story with a Fall theme.  To being, my class started brainstorming their ideas on a handy graphic organizer that my teammate made.

On Step 1, the students had to come up with the plot of their story.  We had them stick to a few requirements so that their stories didn't become too elaborate!  This step was done on the first day in addition to brainstorming some of the ideas that they could write. 

On Step 2, the students had to plot out their story.  We talked about deciding on a proper place to end their pages and about what illustrations that they'd like to later add.  This step did not happen until after the students had edited and revised their rough drafts.

After the organizer was finished, it was time to go into digital publishing mode.  My first idea was to use Book Creator for iPad, but with only 4 iPads in the classroom and 27 students, my head started to spin.  My next thought was to do something with Google since all of my students have a Google Drive.  Originally, I was set on Google Drawing (which is similar to Publisher).  I liked the ease at which my students could move their text and illustrations around.  Insert Problem: Google Drawing only allows you to create one page at a time.  So....we moved onto Plan B, Google Presentation.  This still allowed my students the ease of moving their text and illustrations which is what I originally wanted. only got better from there!  By using Google Presentation, my students were able to animate their page turns and images.  They loved it!

Once we were in the publishing stage, I told my students that they need to have illustrations.  Half of their illustrations came from the Google search engine within the program and the other half were illustrated by themselves.  I ended up snapping picture of their images (with my iPad) and uploading them to their Google Drive (way easier then I ever thought).  

After all of our hard work, we had Digital Story Hour on Monday and Tuesday.  It was AMAZING!  I've never seen my kiddos so excited to share their stories. Best of all, we used the LCD projector in our classroom to display the stories and my students love it.  When the students finished sharing, the audience had to ask the author two questions.  The number one question that was asked was, "what inspired you to write this story?"  Their answers were priceless and I was able to learn so much about my writers with this question and project!

Here's a few samples of how some of our stories came out:


Saturday, November 16, 2013

When Thanksgiving meets Hanukkah you get...THANKSGIVUKKAH!

This week, my team decided to use a nonfiction article for our Shared Reading lesson.  We selected an article from the website, Newsela.  This website is a great resource to use when you want current nonfiction articles for your students or to use in the classroom.

Newsela also offers:
  • The ability to build close reading and critical thinking skills.  
  • Quizzes to test reading comprehension.
  • Articles that are appropriate for a variety of reading levels.  Best of all, you can offer the same article to your class at four different levels. 
  • The ability for teachers to assign articles to students that are specific to their needs.

For our lesson, we decided to do something related to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.  Using Newsela, we came across this article...

How perfect to use with 4th and 5th graders.  Thanksgivukkah is the celebration of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah that will be occurring on the same day this year.  This will not occur again for nearly another 80,000 years.  After reading the article, my students had the chance to write a response as to why they believe that Thanksgivukkah is a once in a lifetime experience.  From the menurkey (turkey menorah) to the discussion of the true date of celebration, this article was packed with excitement that my students loved!

Be sure to check out Newsela and read more about Thanksgivukkah!


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Math Fact Fluency: XtraMath

It's been a while since my last blog post, but as you can guess, life has been pretty busy both at school and at home.  However, today I wanted to share a new idea that I'm trying out in my math class.  Twice a week, my students complete paper facts test on various mathematical functions.  Each student starts the year out on addition and when they score three 95% or higher (not in a row), they can progress to the next function.  Well,  I thought that this year, I would make a change and try to include something different.


What is XtraMath?  XtraMath is a free website that allow students to master fact fluency in just a few short minutes.  Students can access the website at school or at home to practice their facts.  In addition, teachers can get emailed updates that shows the progress of their class.  Trust me, I hate overloading my email with junk, but this is one email that I don't mind getting.  

So now what does math class look like now?  Well, twice a week, I have half of my class using a technology device to practice their math facts in as little as five minutes or less.  This has been way better and more exciting than a paper version for both the teacher and the student!  

Be sure to check it out!

Monday, September 2, 2013

A Peek at My Week & Teacher Snapshot

Labor Day Monday = 2 Linky Parties

First off, I'm linking up with Jennifer over at Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for her A Peek at My Week party. 

1. ) Week 2 - Here we come!  We're officially on our second week of school and I'm excited to continue building our routine.  We're going to start our Shared Reading block this week and we'll be focusing on the book, Salt in His Shoes.  This is my favorite time of the day and I know that my kiddos enjoy it too!  I'll post more information about our focus lesson later in the week.

2. ) Picture Day- Friday, September 6th = Happy Smile Day!  Can't wait to see how all of my kiddos pictures turn out and the smiles they have to share!

3. ) Teacher Snapshot- I'm also linking up with The Clutter Free Classroom for their September edition of Teacher Snapshots.  

Check out my Instagram account above to see my first two snapshots for the month of September.  #CFClassrooms 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tried It Tuesday and Classroom Pictures

I'm teaming up with Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper for my first ever Tried It Tuesday!  Wahoo!

Today, I'd like to present my completed project for my iPads.  Earlier this week, I blogged about needing to finish my final back to school project (as pictured below on the left).  Below is my result.  I don't have labels on the drawers because I'm not really particular on which iPad goes in which draw.  I just want them to be charged and ready to rock for the next day.


As are some pictures of my classroom!  My kiddos arrive tomorrow for the first day and I'm beyond excited to get started working with them.

Standing at my classroom door.  The open wall in the back is a dividing wall that leads into
my teammate's room.

Shared Reading area

Guided Reading area

Front Board


Teacher Area

A huge thank you to goes out to all of my blogger/TPT friends who have shared so many wonderful resources that have allowed me to make my classroom what it is today.  


Monday, August 26, 2013


Well, the alarm sounding at 5:45 a.m. this morning could only mean one's time for SCHOOL!  Today was our first day back and boy was it filled with excitement.  The day began with a bit of mass panic to ensure that everything was in the perfect place before my kiddos and their parents arrived to drop off their school supplies.  At 8:30, the herd stampeded in!  I've never seen so many bodies in my classroom and I only have 27 kiddos.  It was so exciting to meet everyone and I'm really looking forward to my first full day with them on Wednesday.  Tomorrow should be a little more relax and I PROMISE to make time to take pictures of my classroom to share with everyone.

Before I go, I wanted to remind everyone about Teacher Created Resources iPad Giveaway.  You still have time to enter this exciting event as the deadline is not until September 30th.  Make sure to sign up for a chance to win an iPad or even an iPad Mini!

Exhausted and ready for bed,

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Peek at My Week

Well...what do you think of the new blog design?  I love it!  It's exactly what I was looking for, but had no idea how to create it.  LOL.  Thanks so much to Kassie over at The Cutest Blog on the Block.

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

Welcome to Turtley Loving Teaching's Week

WELCOME BACK- I'm headed back to school tomorrow for two days of teacher meetings and then my kiddos arrive on Wednesday for a full day of school.  I'm so excited to meet them and get the year started with our adventure, but I'm sad that summer vacation has come to an end because I've been able to get so much done and I love that feeling of being accomplished. 

GOODIES- I'm excited that I can finally put all of the goodies that I've purchased over the summer to use.  I still have one more project (picture below) that I need to finish up today.  I'm going to use this system to organize my iPads into different bins so that they have a proper place to charge.

LONG WEEKEND- I'm excited for the week ahead because that only means that a long weekend will be following it.  THANK YOU LABOR DAY!  I'm going to be scooting out of town to head up north to my brother and sister-in-law's house for some R&R and maybe some work. LOL

Link up and share what's on your week!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

iPod Touch

I'm in need of some fresh new ideas for using iPod Touches in the classroom.  Do you have any?  If so, please feel free to share.  Thank you in advance!


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I'm back for more fun with Blog Hoppin' for Day 2 of Teacher Week!

Today's theme is all about the classroom.  Unfortunately, my classroom is currently in the "setting up" phase and I'm not about to take pictures of that madness!  We don't go back until August 26th, but I promise to snap some pictures to share.

However, I do have one picture from the a few years back.  It's a great picture of what my room looks like before!

Check back next week when the room is ready to be revealed!


Monday, August 12, 2013

Teacher Week 13' - Part 1

You guessed it!  It's Teacher Week 13' and I'm linking up with Blog Hoppin' to participate in this exciting party! 

Today's theme is.... we go!

1.)  I'm going to be entering my 8th year of teaching and I can't believe that I've already invested 8 years into a profession that I love!
(A picture from my first year back in 2006)

2. ALF...the initials of my name and a totally awesome 1980's character!

3. My favorite "teacher" pens... 
I'm pretty sure that I'll cry if they top making these.

4. My favorite "teacher" markers...
❤ making anchor charts because of these!

5. I love technology and just might get a Mac as my next computer.
6.  I love turtles!  Both kinds..

7.  Nicholas and I just celebrated our 11th anniversary and our first year as homeowners!

8.  My backyard would be filled with palm trees, if I didn't live in Illinois!

9.  I've been blogging for a little over a year now and I often wonder why I didn't turn to blogging earlier.  It's definitely changed me as a teacher and has allowed for me to connect with some awesome teachers!

10.  I'm stoked beyond belief because I'm heading to Michigan this weekend to go surfing in Lake Michigan!  AHHHHHHH!!!!  I can't wait!  Bring on the "baby" waves!