Saturday, April 23, 2016

My Autobiographical Big Book - Introducing Mrs. Thomas

As the school year is coming to a close, I am thinking of ways to improve the next school year, and how to spice things up in the classroom!  I like to have a to do list of things I want to work on over the summer (that I never finish!).

This summer, I am going to be updating my big book.
Mrs. Thomas' Teachable Moments
In college, I had to create an autobiographical big book in one of my courses.  It was assigned by one of my favorite professors, and she promised we would be SO glad we had it once we finished.  Boy, was she right!!  I treasure this book!  And so do my students!

I read it on the first day of school each year to introduce myself to my kids.  The kids are SO engaged!
Mrs. Thomas' Teachable Moments
After that, it goes in my book center and the kids are always DYING to take a closer look at all of the pictures.  They read it over and over.  In fact, the whole back page has fallen off - that's going to need to be repaired this summer as well!
Mrs. Thomas' Teachable Moments
It has all kinds of information about me that lets them into my world outside of the classroom so they can start feeling a connection to me.
Mrs. Thomas' Teachable Moments
 It often takes a while to read it because they ALL want to tell me about their similarities to me.  I love it because it breaks the ice and gives me insight into their worlds as well.
Mrs. Thomas' Teachable Moments
Since creating my big book, I have had my twins and been on lots of adventures that I'd like to add to my big book.
Mrs. Thomas' Teachable Moments
I assembled it by punching holes in the side and using 1" binder rings to bind it.
Mrs. Thomas' Teachable Moments
It is a huge book.  I created it on full size poster-board.  I bought a pack of cute scrapbook paper from Hobby Lobby that I thought looked bright and cheery that could go with anything I might want to add to my book.
Mrs. Thomas' Teachable Moments
I really recommend making your OWN big book for back to school!  It was super fun going down memory-lane looking back through all of my childhood pictures!
Mrs. Thomas' Teachable Moments
I even included a page with my school picture from each year - Kindergarten through my Senior year in high school!  No matter what grade I teach, the kids can see what I looked like when I was their age....and make fun of my awful hair!
Mrs. Thomas' Teachable Moments
The last page has reflective paper so they can see a picture of themselves in my book and know that THEY are the reasons I do what I do!

You could easily use half sheets of poster-board instead of full sheets.  I just wanted my pictures to be nice and large to share with a class whole-group.  When writing my book, I decided to write about my life from when I was a baby until I finished college.  I just highlighted some events - obviously a whole autobiography would be too long.  Also, I'm not that interesting!

What to include in YOUR big book!:

  • Pictures of your hometown
  • Pictures of your college
  • Favorite foods/drinks/candy
  • Favorite vacations
  • Your family members
  • Your pets
  • Hobbies
  • Future dreams
  • Special occasions
  • Accomplishments
  • Holidays
  • Traditions
  • Pictures of yourself as a child
  • Pictures of yourself when you first started teaching
  • Favorite books

The sky is the limit with this book.  Feel free to leave comments or questions!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

I Was Chosen For The Liebster Award!

I am so happy to have been chosen for the Liebster Award because it is all about discovering new and up-and-coming blogs!  I'm honored to participate! 
Mrs. Thomas Teachable Moments
I was nominated by Tierraney Richardson who blogs about education, life, and faith on Miss Tierraney.  You can check out her blog by clicking here: Miss Tierraney  She has some awesome tips about the classroom, and she even has a YouTube channel, y'all!  Thanks for the nomination Miss Tierraney!

Since the award is to discover newer bloggers, I would like to introduce you to myself and tell you a little about me!
I am a Texas teacher.  I have been teaching for almost eight years - 2 years in 3rd grade, 4 years in 2nd grade, and 1 year in 4th grade.  I am finishing up my Master's Degree in Math Curriculum and Instruction.  Woo-hoo!

To get to know me better, I have been asked to post 10 random facts about myself!  Let me know which of these you relate to!!
1.       I have been married to my high-school sweetheart for almost 12 years.
Mrs. Thomas Teachable Moments
2.    We have twin four-year-old twins, Emily and Ben
Mrs. Thomas Teachable Moments
3.     I am left-handed.
Mrs. Thomas Teachable Moments
4.     I am a middle child.  I have an older sister and a younger brother.
Mrs. Thomas Teachable Moments
5.     I love having Netflix-binging sessions when I should be sleeping.
Mrs. Thomas Teachable Moments
6.     I have been a seller on TeachersPayTeachers since December 2014.
Mrs. Thomas Teachable Moments
7.     I graduated from Texas Tech University and will forever be a Red Raider!
Mrs. Thomas Teachable Moments
8.     The best vacation I have ever had was our 5th wedding anniversary when we went to Maui for a week.. (We stayed at the Fairmont Kea Lani in Wailea).
Mrs. Thomas Teachable Moments
9.     If I had an endless supply of money, I would want to travel the world.
Mrs. Thomas Teachable Moments
10.    I knew I wanted to be teacher when I was in 3rd grade. (Don't laugh at that fabulous hair!)
Mrs. Thomas Teachable Moments
Me in 3rd Grade - 1991
And here are the questions Miss Tierraney had for me!
  1. What was the last picture you took with your phone?
Mrs. Thomas Teachable Moments
Ben's "turtle shell"
Mrs. Thomas Teachable Moments
When life gives ya lemons!

The last picture on my phone is this hilarious picture of my son!  It rained like crazy here this weekend, so when we went to the grocery store, my daughter and I stayed in the car while my husband and son went in.  When they came back out, my husband was pushing my son in the rain and Ben had his "turtle shell" on!
  1. What is the best compliment you have ever received?
Anytime I am ever complimented about my parenting skills - being patient with my twins, loving, seeing how happy they are, etc.  It makes me beam to know that I am doing a great job as a mommy.  While I wear MANY hats, being a mommy is the most important thing to me!
  1. If you could only have one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?
I am much like a 5 year old - I could live on cheese pizza!  My husband had to work the other night and my son said, "Yea!  It's pizza night!"  I think that's a bad thing.....right??!
  1. What did you do to celebrate your last birthday?
My sister rented us an awesome cabin in Broken Bow, OK. and her family and mine went glamping.
  1. What youtube channel do you watch the most?  
I don't watch YouTube really, but I LOVE BoredShortsTV, KidSnippets.  Y'all, if you haven't ever seen it, it's SO hilarious.  It is family friendly so sometimes if we have 2 or 3 minutes to spare in class I will show it to my students.  I recommend this one first: KidSnippets, Math Class.
  1. Why do you blog?  
I blog because I love talking about fun things I do in my classroom and hope that others can either laugh or bring some of my ideas into his or her own classroom!
  1. Who do you trust the most?
My husband and sister equally.
  1. What is/was the most challenging part of working in education?
The most challenging part of education for me is letting my never-ending to-do list go unfinished!
  1. What is your dream job?
My dream job in reality is to become a Math Curriculum Coordinator.  My pretend dream job is to be a world traveler reporting on the most luxurious hotels and spas.
  1. What is your favorite thing to do when you are not working?
That one is easy - hanging out with my family.
  1. Would you rather change the past or be able to see into the future?  
That is a tough one.  Honestly, I am who I am because of and in spite of my past, and I believe God has my life laid out just as it should be, so there is no need to see into the future.  I think I will just stay right here in the present and take it all in.

One of my favorite blogs: 
My favorite blog to read is Oh Boy! It’s Farley!  I love reading her blog because she is a Texas teacher, like I am.  She also hosts a monthly linky party that I LOVE called Currently.  You can check out a couple of my currently posts below.  
I also met her last year when I was in Las Vegas for the TPT conference and she was very kind and introduced me to some other awesome Texas teachers.  If you are looking for a hilarious woman, she’s your gal!

Thank you for reading my little ol’ blog.  If you like, you can click follow me on the right sidebar and you’ll know when I write a new post!  I’d love to get to know you!
Be sure to check out my store!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Five for Friday!

Goodness, friends!  I can't believe it's already #Friyay!  We are starting a new six weeks when we return on Tuesday!  Don't hate me because I get a three day weekend!  I'm gonna be outta there like
That also means summer is just around the corner!  I can't believe my 4th graders are about to leave me and become big 5th graders!

What amazing things did you do in your classroom this week?  Did you nail an amazing lesson?  Were your kids on fire this week?  Do you feel like you made a difference?

Here are 5 things going on in my little world that I'm awfully proud of!  5, because it's Five for Friday with Doodlebugs!
Mrs. Thomas Teachable Moments

Student Gifts!

I have the sweetest students who are always writing me notes, asking to help me, and drawing me pictures.  
The other morning, one of my kiddos brought in this beautiful picture she painted for me on a little canvas!  It was so touching because she is not usually very outspoken and is one of those kids that I'm not ever sure if I am connecting with or not.  Well, this sealed the deal for me!  I love it!

Remember the Alamo!  Remember Goliad!

We learned about the important Battle of San Jacinto this week in Social Studies.  My kids were pumped about it and I could barely get through the lesson because of all the questions they had for me!  I don't know about you, but I find classroom discussions to be so fun and a way to make them feel like they, too, are in charge of their learning.

We finished up by making these amazing pennants from The Little Ladybug Shop.  You can snag them by clicking here or the picture below!

They were a great way to assess their knowledge over the battle in a fun way, and it made for cute classroom decoration!
Front of pennant
Back of pennant

Skittles Dot Plots

We learned about dot plots in math this week.  I'm not gonna lie - never in my life have I heard of dot plots, nor do I know where in the real world one would ever want to use them, but, the state of Texas says I am to teach dot plots, so teach them I do!

I wanted a way to spice up this skill, and I candy gets my kids motivated!  I asked them each to bring in a bag of Skittles by Thursday, and I had no idea there were so many varieties of Skittles!  Luckily, it really didn't matter the color/flavor.

It reminded me of when I did my graphing unit in 2nd grade with m&ms!  (You can get it for FREE in my store!) 

Draw It! Write It!

I also updated my vocabulary activity called "Draw It, Write It!"  I love having an engaging way for my kids to learn new vocabulary and to gain a deeper understanding of the words.  I originally made this when I was in 2nd grade, but now that I teach 4th, I needed it to be a little more challenging, so I updated it to have several versions that can span many grade levels, and can be used to differentiate instruction.
It works well at small group, centers, independent work, homework, partner work, etc, etc!  You can pick it up here!

Kindergarten Round-Up!

On a personal note, we registered our twins for Kindergarten this week.  I feel like I was just this huge - 
Headed to the hospital!
and now look at them...all big and ready to be onto the next chapter!

That is my week in a nutshell!  I'd love to connect with you!  Leave your comments below and tell me what you were up to this week!  What was the BEST thing that happened to you, or that you made happen this week?

Friday, April 8, 2016

Five for Friday

It's already Friday again!  The hours are long, but the days are short!
It's time to link up with Casey from DoodleBugs again for a little Five for Friday!
This week kinda flew by for me.  The twins had dentist appointments on Monday.  I don't know about y'all, but when I was growing up, the dentist office was not a bright, cheery, colorful place with a tv above my chair, sunglasses so I didn't get blinded by the light, nor were there hygienists that explained everything and made sure I wasn't scared! 
Here's my big kids loving the dentist!
Mrs. Thomas Teachable MomentsMrs. Thomas Teachable Moments
This week we talked a lot about food webs.  Today we did the most fun food web simulation!  I cut out about a cajillion (what?....That's a number...Don't judge me!) green squares that was grass.  Then, I assigned about 13 of my kids to be grasshoppers, 4 to be shrews, and 2 to be hawks.
Mrs. Thomas Teachable Moments
The grasshoppers began the game by collecting as much food for energy as they could.
Mrs. Thomas Teachable Moments

Mrs. Thomas Teachable Moments
Grasshoppers gathering food.
 About 10 seconds later, the shrews entered and started eating the grasshoppers.  The grasshoppers had to pass their energy (green squares) to the shrews, and then exit the game.
Mrs. Thomas Teachable Moments
Energy being passed from a grasshopper to the shrew.
10 seconds later, the hawks entered and started eating shrews and grasshoppers.  The energy consumed (green squares) by the grasshoppers and shrews were passed to the hawks if they were eaten.
Mrs. Thomas Teachable Moments
Hawks, shrews and grasshoppers Food Web Activity
Then I stopped the game and we saw the results of how the food web had been carried out!  Each time we played, both hawks survived, a couple of shrews, and maybe one grasshopper.  It was a great, kinesthetic simulation that I am sure the kids won't forget and we solidified that concept!
I live in Texas, and our state flower is the bluebonnet.  Every March, for about a month, we get the most beautiful bluebonnets and everyone takes pictures in them.  It's a Texas tradition.  I've done it every year since the twins were born!  Here's our pictures for this year!
Mrs. Thomas Teachable Moments 
Mrs. Thomas Teachable Moments 
Mrs. Thomas Teachable Moments 
One of my favorite things about my school is our Character Houses.

We have six character houses: honesty, kindness, respect, perseverance, empathy and responsibility. Each student is assigned a character house in Kindergarten (or whenever they move to our school) and they stay the same one until they are finished with 4th grade and move to middle school.  All of the houses are mixed within the grade levels, so every class has a handful of each character trait.
Mrs. Thomas Teachable Moments
The kids can earn tickets for their house by being caught using our character traits.
At the end of every week, we tally up how many tickets each house earned, and the winning house gets to spin our big wheel to see what kind of prize they earned.
Then, at the end of the six weeks, we figure out which house had the most points by each teacher entering their points onto the Google Drive spreadsheet, and they earn a fun party!

All of the kids and teachers have their character house shirts, and we wear them on Fridays!
Mrs. Thomas Teachable Moments
Our awesome PTA has even painted our character houses in the hallway!  They are on little life saver rafts because our school is right by the lake. So cute!
Mrs. Thomas Teachable MomentsMrs. Thomas Teachable Moments

Mrs. Thomas Teachable MomentsMrs. Thomas Teachable Moments

Mrs. Thomas Teachable MomentsMrs. Thomas Teachable Moments
Last week we had a day where you were supposed to wear as much of your color as you could.  Here is our AP!
Mrs. Thomas Teachable Moments
Isn't she a sport!  She was outside after school doing car duty!
We also just finished up our Alamo unit.  We did a novel study in Social Studies over a book titled "Journey to the Alamo" written by Melody A. Cuate.  It's a fictional piece where three kids journey back in time to the Alamo right as the Texians are about to battle Santa Anna and the Mexican Army. My kids were GLUED to this book! 
You can get it by clicking on the picture below. 
Mrs. Thomas Teachable Moments
I had the kids do several activities with the book, but this one was my favorite.  The kids each chose their favorite person from the Alamo and researched facts about his/her person.  Then, they created their person with construction paper and put the facts inside!  Didn't they turn out precious?!
Mrs. Thomas Teachable MomentsMrs. Thomas Teachable Moments
Mrs. Thomas Teachable MomentsMrs. Thomas Teachable Moments
                             Mrs. Thomas Teachable Moments
         Mrs. Thomas Teachable Moments
That's my Five for Friday!  Thanks for stopping by!