Friday, December 13, 2013

Five For Friday

I have been so happy to be in school for the last two days!  I can't believe I'm saying that this close to Christmas, but after being home for a week, I was so ready to be back in the classroom!  I've actually blogged EVERY DAY this week!  I can't even believe it! It's Friday and so I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday to tell you about 5 random facts from my snowy/icy week!

 I was out of school for 5, yes, you read that right, 5 snow days! We started last Thursday and we were out until Wednesday!  We had about two inches of sleet and then nine inches of snow on top.  The problem with Arkansas is that we have no infrastructure to take care of the roads when weather gets bad because we don't have a lot of bad weather.  Our roads for the past week have just been sheets of ice and it would be really dangerous for busses to run!  Here is an example of one of the "main" roads. 

Because of all the days at home, I did a TON of crafting!  You can check out my some of crafting projects {here} on my Monday Made It  and Tried It Tuesday posts.  Here are a couple of other items I made during my snow days

I did a little Christmas photo shoot with my little one while were stuck at home for our Christmas cards.  I tried the naked baby with lights idea and this is what happened.

We tried again later, and this is how our Christmas cards came out.  I really love them!

I wrote about our experience with Hour of Code {here}

I'm no longer a "No Reply" blogger!

I had no idea that this was happening until Allison from Rockin' and Lovin' Learning pointed out the error of my ways!  If you aren't getting email replies to comments you leave on your BBB posts, then check out this post  or this post to guide you to fixing the problem! 

I'm now off to check out what everyone else has been up to this week!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Hour of Code

So if you haven't done the Hour of Code with your class yet, you still have one more school day to get it done! This has been such an amazing experience to share with my students!  My original plan was to have my students participate yesterday, but the silly ice kept us home!  Today I did it with both my classes and I can't remember the last time, my kids were this engaged for an entire hour!  It took them a little while to get the hang of the coding thing, but once they did, they didn't want to log off of their laptops!

 This puzzle stumped a lot of my kids!

I will share a couple of my insights having done it now.

1. Make sure you do at least some of the coding before your kids.  It's really helpful to know what to do right.  Just like having a key for a test before giving it.
2. If you want your students to do more than an hour, they need to create an account that will save their work and track how many lines of code they've written.
3. Writing code involves a lot of reading.  I had several kids who would just click okay when a screen popped up telling them what to try instead of reading what it said.
4. It sometimes helps to actually have them do the movements with their body to see what needs to happen.
5.Your kids will love this!

After I did my hour, I came home to code some more because some of my kids completed more than I had in class and I couldn't help them anymore.  My little one sat in my lap for 20 minutes watching while I drew triangles and squares with code!  You are never too young to code!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Questionaire

So after 5, yes F-I-V-E, days at home due to icy roads, we are finally going back to school tomorrow!  I don't think I could've have done another day at home when all I can think about are the things I need to with my kiddos before Christmas break!  Now I only have 7 days with them, one is the spelling be and one is our class party day!  So really just 5 days and I have give a unit math test! It's going to be a wild ride for the next week!

Today I'm linking up with Michelle from Fabulous in First for her Christmas Questionaire Linky Party

Hot Chocolate or Eggnog? 
Really... I don't like either!  I much prefer apple cider, especially Starbucks Carmel Apple Spice with no whip cream! 

Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them underneath the tree? 
Santa doesn't wrap presents.  He leaves on big Christmas gift along with stockings full of awesome goodies!  Santa also makes sure to visit the grandparents house in Houston, too! :)

Colored lights or white? 
We do white lights inside, and red lights outside.  Not sure if the outside lights are going to make up this year!

When do you decorate? 
I try to get everything down from the attic as soon after Thanksgiving as I can.  It goes up in stages usually as I have time.  I still have a few things I need to put up.

Real or Fake Tree? 
We do a fake tree!  I like being able to put it up early and not have to worry about it dying.  We had a real tree as kids and we've even cut down our own trees before! This is a tree that the hubby and I cut down when we were in college.

What Tops Your Tree?
We have a star that tops our tree!

Favorite Christmas Memories or Traditions?
I love our stockings and filling them.  "Santa" does a lot of work and gets a lot of help to fill the stockings full!  Our church also does an outreach dinner and coat drive on Christmas Eve that we volunteer at!  I love giving back during this season.

Do you remember your favorite gift as a child? 
One year, my sister and I got a porcelain tea set.  We had many wonderful tea parties using it, drinking Cool Aid as tea and eating little sandwhiches!

Do prefer giving or receiving? 
If I'm totally honest, I love getting gifts!  It's the time of year I can ask for things I've been wanting for a while and actually get them!  I really do love giving gifts, too.  I usually overspend and get in trouble from the hubby!  

What is your favorite Christmas song? 
Little Drummer Boy.  This is my newest favorite version of the song!

Candy Canes. Yuck or Yum? 
They are absolutely, positively gross!

Favorite Christmas Movie? 
A Christmas Story.  We usually had it on all day on Christmas Eve when TNT runs a 24 hour marathon.

Do you shop online or at stores?
Both! I've done a lot more real store shopping this year however.  I've had years where everything came from Amazon!

Photo Cards, Letter or Store Bought Card? 
Photo cards. I love the photo shoot for our card and I love getting photo cards from all of our friends.  We have added a letter to go with our photo card the last two years.  

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tried It Tuesday

Ok, so I have to start off this post with a funny.  So with all of the snow we've had here, my hubby has gone on a cleaning/organizing binge!  As I was taking pictures of all of my crafts from our snow days, he come out of the office (in desperate need of organizing) and says, "I should have taken before and after pictures of the office for my Tuesday Made It!"  Ha Ha!  We had to over the linky days after that!  Too funny.  At least he listens a little bit!

Now on today's Tried It Tuesday link up with Holly over at Fourth Grade Flipper!

I have two "tried its" to share with you today! One is from home and the other is from school!

First, my home "tried it"
Freezer Paper Stencils!

My tried it with my stockings is using freezer paper as a stencil for painting.  I wrote about my new stockings that I was making in my Monday Made It post.  Yesterday, they weren't finished, because I was having issues with my Cricut.  I changed computers and viola! It worked!  I use Cricut Craft Room to design my monograms and fit 4 nutcrackers on one page.  

Then I cut the freezer paper with the Cricut.  I cut the freezer paper with an exacto knife and then ironed on each piece to my 3 stockings.  I will say that the paper had a much harder time sticking to the burlap than the plain black fabric. 

I bought white glittery fabric paint to use for this part of the project.  As I was painting the stockings, I realized that the fabric paint was actually white, but just glittery!  It looked good on the black fabric, but I was worried about it showing up on the burlap.  So I went back over the monograms with white acrylic paint and that was a good choice!  

We went out to run some errands and when we came back the paint had dried and I pulled the stencils off the stockings and this what I was left with!  The nutcrackers are kind of transparent, but when the light catches the glitter, they are so pretty!

I am absolutely in love with them!  I can't remember the last time I put this much effort into a project! I need to find a new project to use with freezer paper!  I wonder if you can use it on canvas???

Next, my school "tried it"
Genius Hour

With my 21st Century Classroom grant,  I attended a week long training last summer.  You can read more about that {here}.  One of the things we talked about was Genius Hour.  If you'd like to learn more about Genius Hour you can go {here}.  Basically Genius Hour is a time for students to research and explore topics that they are interested in.  They get to pick what they research and how they present their new information.  I introduced this idea to my students and they were so excited!  We had quite the discussion about appropriate and inappropriate topics.  I told them that if it wasn't going to help them learn and become more educated, then it wasn't a good topic.  

I did have some challenges with this first time of Genius Hour.  The kids asked if they would work in groups and I told them yes, if everyone wanted to research and learn about the same thing.  I had some students who wanted to work together but couldn't agree about what to learn about.  I had to explain that just because you are friends doesn't mean that working together is a good idea.  I also had some students who couldn't figure out what they wanted to learn about!  At the same time, I had some students who were already working on a power point while they were researching.  We used Penzu and word to take notes while we were researching.  Here are all of my little researchers!

At the end of the class, I wanted my students to be accountable for the work they did in class, so I had them respond to two questions in TodaysMeet - What topic are you researching? What did you learn about your topic today?  These are some of their responses.  

What new things have you tried this week?  Don't forget to go check out all of the other awesome "tried its"!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Monday Made It: Christmas Time!

With all of this snow and ice to keep me indoors, I've done a TON of crafting this weekend!  Most of it was Christmas related and I'm so excited to be able to show it all off with 4th Grade Frolics Monday Made It!

I love Christmas and all of the wondefulness that comes with it!  I have a Christmas Ideas board on Pinterest that I love pinning things to.  This weekend with all my extra time, I decided to go back and actually see what I could make from my board.

For my first MMI, I put together these little candy cane wreaths!  I think they turned out so cute!  They are hanging on our back doors.  It's a little trickier than it looks, let me just warn you, but for $2 it's a great little craft!

MMI #2 was actually made these last year, but in the spirit of Christmas making, I figured I'd go ahead and share!  They were super easy to make and I bought the frames at my local Goodwill.  Cheap and easy, that's what I'm about!

I needed a new Christmas wreath for my front door and I had this decomesh lying around!  I put it together yesterday and now it's hanging on our front door!  I need to get a picture in the daylight of it! Here it is on the door in the daylight!

Last, but definitely not least... CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS!  This is what our mantle looked like earlier this week!  We had the two on the outside from when we first got married.  The middle one was made for our daughter in the hospital because she was born so close to Christmas!

Here is the little Peanut in her stocking when she was just 3 days old!  Where has the last year gone?!

Anyway, I bought fabric and a pattern last year, hoping to get new stockings made before the little one arrived!  Ha!  What a joke!  Making stockings was the last thing I wanted to do with 4 weeks left til my due date!  So after staring at our mismatched stockings for a week, I decided to break out the sewing machine and get working on new stockings.  Well, the patter I had made stockings that were a ridiculous size, so that was out!  Instead, I just made my own pattern using the old ones!  I had leftover red burlap from another project for the toe and top.  Here is a little photo process for you!

They aren't completely finished yet, but I love how they turned out!  I'm working on getting my Cricut firmware updated so I can cut out some nutcrackers (my Christmas decor) and our monograms to paint onto the fabric.  I'll update new pictures when they are all finished and hung by the fire with care!

You can see the finished stockings and another trick I tried {here}.

What have you been making? Don't forget to go and check out all of the other wonderful MMI!
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