Thursday, May 31, 2012

Happy Spelling day

Today is the Scripps National Spelling Bee
{If you are interested in watching the Bee it will be on ESPN tonight}

Here are some Bee facts for your enjoyment
There are 278 spellers ranging from places such as South Korea and the Bahamas.
The spellers range in age of 6 to 15.
There are more girls this year that boys.
The spellers favorite subject in school is math followed by spelling.
The youngest speller on record for Scripps is this years Lori Anne who is 6!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Now I realize school is over for me, but some of you are in the last couple of weeks of school. I came across this project through a fellow blogger
and fell in love with this activity.

At the time my 8th graders were diving into a Holocaust unit and my exploratory wheel were learning about different Eco-systems. I decided to use this project with their two groups. To be honest this project could be used in any subject. Students could even create a Mandala about themselves.
//A little background on Mandalas\\
A mandala (Sanskrit for “circle”) is a sacred, symbolic diagram, used as a meditational aid in Buddhism and Hinduism. A traditional mandala is a "blueprint" of a temple of the gods, as well as of the entire universe.
While mandalas usually contain lettering or images of Buddhas or deities, yantras are mainly geometrical. "Mandala" and "yantra" are sometimes used interchangeably. Many use the term "mandala" to refer to any circular image or sacred circle.
//more than I ever wanted to know about Mandalas\\

To introduce the lesson I created a PowerPoint on the history of Mandalas. Showed a YouTube video of Monks creating a Mandala with sand as well as gave them examples of student made Mandalas.

Each student was given a circle template and had to come up with six symbols to represent in their mandala. Once they were finished drawing and coloring they had to write a paragraph explaining what each picture represents.
Whenever there is coloring involved in my classroom I tell them they cannot use the color "white" unless what they are drawing is actually white. I find this helps students create more colorful projects.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The one with the special diploma

I  teach intensive academics language arts to 6th, 7th and 8th graders.
Around the time a student reaches their 14th birthday the uncomfortable decision about diploma options comes up during a student's IEP.
I despise the fact that we have to determine a students track of diplomas at such a young age, but unfortunately no one asked for my opinion.
Typically, 7th grade is the year the dreaded decision must be made. In order to earn a standard diploma a student must take general education classes and have a limited amount of intensive classes. Now a diploma options can change if a student switches from intensive to general education classes.
Well, one such 7th grader was put on a special diploma track and this decision did not sit well with him. I am not exactly sure what happened to this student, but after his IEP he turned into a new student. Very focused and determined to accomplish any task given to him.
here is one conversation that took place in class after his IEP:
Student: "Miss, can you believe that they are giving me a special diploma?"
Me: "Well, do you think you deserve a special diploma?"
Student: "Miss, do you see the work I am doing?"
Me: "Yes, and you are doing a fantastic job at it!"
Student: "Then why in the world am I getting a special diploma?"
Me: "Because you are taking all intensive classes"
Student: "Well, I am going to change my diploma. There is no way I am getting a special one!"
Me: "What changes are you going to make to determine you earn a standard diploma?"
Student: "Miss, I am going to make sure no one gets in my way on earning a standard diploma and if someone does get in my way they are going to have to deal with me!"
Me: "That sounds like an interesting plan."
Student: "You better believe it!"
if you could read the student part with a hint of a Hispanic accent it might sound better

Friday, May 25, 2012

Let the crafting begin

{For inspirational quotes}
 I need to find a log or cut down a tree
Martha Stewart has colored chalk board paint
{By my desk because they are pretty}
Lanterns covered with fabric and a hot glue gun
{Hung above the book shelf}
 Good will bookstore and a hot glue gun again
{Above my marshals must hate me}
 paint chips and a lamp shade
{Above my door with my name}
 Looking for a stick and letters to decorate
{Hung through out the classroom}
Took these home to back them with fabric so they are not see through

I have officially begun summer break which means I have a few projects in mind for the classroom.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Waving goodbye to hope

Today I waved goodbye to a glimmer of hope.
I have never been overly sad to see students go, but this year was different.
Today I waved goodbye to my favorite set of students.
I may be a little biased as to why they are my favorite group of students, but that's okay.

This group of students had me for Science and Language Arts.
This group of students started fresh as 6th graders as I was beginning my very first year as a teacher.
This group of students were part of a larger group that I pushed for them to go into general education classes.
This group of students were my first experience with IEPs and progress reports.
This group of students have grown as young adults as I have grown into who I am as a teacher.

They will be missed dearly.

I tried to hide the fact that I was not going to be that sad to see them go, but I was just fooling myself. My glimmer of hope has moved on to high school leaving me behind.

I will always remember them as my glimmer of hope because they showed me that having a disability does not limit them. They were successful and I know their will be other students that will also shine while others are trying to dim their light.

so here is to my glimmering group of hope
Luis L.
Luis V.
keep on shining

Monday, May 21, 2012

April and May Birchbox

I some how forgot all about posting my April and May Birchboxs
{so here it goes}

April Birchbox
{I lost the card so I am going off of the picture}
Yes to blueberries makeup removing towelettes
juice beauty serum
Yogi perfume
Zoya nail polish
some type of soap

All in all a decent box. I really wish they would stop sending perfume samples...although my sister is happy whenever I hand them over to her. I was excited about the yes to blueberries because I have always wondered how they compared to Neutrogena. I used the whole package and was not that impressed...sticking with good ole' Neutrogena.

May Birchbox
{I did not lose this card}
Diorshow Extase
Miss Dior Eau De Parfum
Miracle Skin Transformer

I was pretty pumped about this box because it was inspired by GossipGirl; which I recently started watching on Netflix...already on season four...some what addicted! Each box had a different theme from GossipGirl. My theme was black tie ball.

All in all May's box was nice. I like the Dior mascara, but the miracle skin transformer is a tad bit too glittery for my liking. I am looking forward to using the SHU UEMURA in my hair...and my sister gets another perfume sample...

The one with Charles Dickens

This moment to remember is brought to you by Mr. Dickens.
At the beginning of May 7th graders started a multi-step biography on a famous author.
I allowed students to pick from a list of authors and then they had to come up with twenty questions they wanted to find out about their author.
{Cornell Notes Style}

One such student selected Charles Dickens as his author to research and gather questions for.

As students were brainstorming questions I was meandering the classroom to monitor their progress. They were coming up with decent questions and then I went to check on Mr. Dickens questions and here is what took place:

A: I have twelve questions for my author
Me: Well, and you are still alive
A: funny miss
{glancing over his questions I start to become concerned}
Me: umm "A" can you read me your questions
A: how many girls did he have, when did he kiss his girl, did he pay child support...
Me: hold on "A", you are asking Charles Dickens if he paid child support?
A: yea, why not, Miss why are you looking at me like that?
Me: because if Mr. Dickens was alive I am pretty sure he would slapped you by now!

//Side note\\
when working with middle schoolers I would stay away from any word that might cause them to squirm in their seat when said allowed. I unfortunately picked two authors whose last name made them giggle
Charles Dickens
Emily Dickinson

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The one with C.O.D

This moment to remember comes from C.O.D
and for those that are unaware of what this acronym stands for here is a hint:
a video game

My exploratory wheel class was in the middle of writing teacher appreciation cards. One of the steps in writing these cards was to have me revise their letters. In one such young gentleman's card he wrote something along the lines of:
 "try not to become too addicted to C.O.D"

I paused and began to ask what this C.O.D was and then it came to me
Call of Duty

There were three boys standing around me and they all looked shocked when I decoded their acronym.

"Ms. I can't believe you knew what C.O.D was"
"I think you are the first lady that was not confused with C.O.D"
"I am impressed with your knowledge of video games"
Truth be told I have not played Call of Duty nor do I play any other video games. The only reference I have for Call of Duty comes from The Office. I owe my ability to figure out what C.O.D stands for by being an ESE teacher.
I live and breath acronyms.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The time has come

To count down the memorable
//or at least somewhat memorable\\
moments that took place in the classroom this last semester

There are only 7 1/2 days left of school
{teachers last day May 25th}

I am still hoping that the lovely FLwrites scores emerge within the last couple of days of school.

Here is the layout for this weeks post:
The one with C.O.D
The one with the special diploma
The one with Charles Dickens

Insta Classroom

I am sure I am not the only one who has fallen in love with Instagram
As a teacher and a photo nerd I am finding this app very useful for the classroom
I used to drag out my camera to snap pictures of student happenings in the classroom, but now all I have to do is grab my Itouch and snap away
//happy teacher\\
At the end of the semester I gathered all the photos and created a slide show to show the students. They of course loved seeing themselves on the smart board as well as recalling all the multiple lessons they have learned. I am planning on showing the same slide show for open house in August.
To make instagram all the better I have discovered some apps to do so:
blurFX or fingerfocus

I plan on making a Printstagram book over the summer. I think these instagram photo albums of a classroom would be a great way to jazz up a teacher's portfolio on an interview.

{To find me on Instagram}

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mothers Day and Middle School

I am sure we all can remember creating cute little cards for mom on her day when we were young, but when did the home made cards stop?

3rd grade
4th grade
5th grade

Surely middle school.
I do not recall making any type of cuteness past 3rd grade. I assume the lack of home made cards for mom stop happening at school for several reasons:
lack of supplies
academics take center stage
the uncomfortableness if a student does not have a mom

 Well, I am set to change the lack of home made cards for some moms or mother figures this year. I have one class of "exploratory wheel" which according to the state of Florida is where students explore different aspects of careers, but since I lack curriculum for this we just explore different topics.
This week is full of card making. Today the students wrote five teachers appreciation letters in the form of a "high five" and then this Thursday they are making some good ole' mothers day cards. I am thinking something in the form of this...of course we will replace the scribbles with words.
Pinned Image