Monday, July 30, 2012

Classroom Management Monday...."I have to go to the bathroom!!"

We all have been in a meeting or some other inescapable place when the "urge to purge" has struck! And as teachers, we don't really have the luxury of going to the bathroom when ever we please (I usually run to the bathroom in those few precious seconds while my lunch is heating up or at the start of my prep period before I tackle my mile-long to-do list).
You would think that we would have a little more sympathy for kids who raise their hand in the middle of a lesson to let you know that they have "got to go!"  I always ask the obvious question, "Is it an emergency?" And of course it it...and it usually leads to a firestorm of other kids who just have to go too!
I hate saying no, because don't you know, when I do, that kid will end up having an accident or I get a note or call from home asking why I refused to let Johnny/Janie use the bathroom (and the story is usually embellished with tales that I NEVER let him/her go to the bathroom EVER! Yes, I am THAT mean teacher!!)
I had a love/hate relationship with having a bathroom in my classroom the year I taught 3rd grade. And I have continued that love/hate relationship with having to take my class to the bathroom as a group 2-3X a day and with letting them leave the class during instructional time to go as well.
My two biggest reasons for hating the bathroom issue are 1) loss of instructional time and 2) abuse of this privilege by my very smart and savvy 4th (soon to be 5th) graders.
So what can I do..I can't refuse to let them go (see above) . In the past I have had rules about when they can/can't go outside of the 3X a day we went as a class and I had them take a hall pass.  Of course there are always a few of my little friends who like to abuse this privilege. I have been scouring the web (okay, Pinterest)..looking for solution that will  address the abuse of this privilege.
Here are a few of the great ideas I have come across...I am crediting the bloggers connected to the links in Pinterest, so if I have incorrectly credited someone please email me and let me know.  I would also really appreciate you clicking on the link below to answer the poll I created in Google Docs. I want to hear from my followers as to which one they like best. I will implement the most popular one in my classroom this fall.

1. The 2-in-1 Hall Pass/Hand Sanitizer: I thought this one was pretty clever when I saw it on Pinterest. There are several variations floating around PinLandia but I thought this would be easiest for non-crafty me to create! This one is from Stephanie at 3rd Grade Thoughts. Pretty clever huh! However, it doesn't really address the abuse issue. But it would tell me who was out of the room, and I could also make sure they were using the hand sanitizer afterwards (some times I wonder....)

2. Bathroom Chips: Mrs. McComish at Monarch Madness gets the credit for this. I like the fact that at the end of the week, she rewards students who don't use them all.  I think this would definitely address the abuse issue. I can see me making some cute black/red polka dot chips and a cute basket for them to throw them in (before they head out the door to the bathroom).

3. The Punch Pass:  This one is very cool too, and if I ever figure out the whole Vista Print thing, I would definitely consider doing this. Again, it addresses the abuse issue, and I could tie it to some type of reward for those who don't abuse it.  I got this idea from Stephanie at Teaching in Room 6.  Very cute, huh! Not sure about the purchase price thing...maybe have them use their SOAR bucks to purchase one.

So how do you all handle this issue in your classroom? I would love for you to leave me a comment and let me know. I would also love it if you clicked HERE and took my little poll about the three ideas above.

Before I leave you, I had to share this awesome sign that I found on Pinterest when I was looking for bathroom pass ideas.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

An exciting announcement....coming soon!!

I am not quite ready to give all the details...let this cute new button/logo  help to get you guessing.  More info tomorrow or Tuesday!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Tell Me More Linky....with Mrs. Lemons!

How fun is her name?!?!? Mrs. Lemons over at Step Into Second Grade is hosting a really fun linky party. I an not one to pass up a good linky party (or any party for that matter) here goes. Play along by grabbing her button below for your blog then tell us more about yourself....don't forget to go back ad link up your post on her blog!

1. I am excruciatingly shy, especially around people I do not know. People that know me would never guess this...but I actually get a stomach ache when I know I am going to be in a situation where I have to meet new people. I am often mistaken for snobbish/stuck up as a result, but I promise I am not.

2. I love to bake and used to own my own cake design business before I became a teacher. I did mostly wedding cakes and birthday cakes but also did cookies and cupcakes.  I still make them on occasion for is a picture of a wedding cake I recently did for one of my friends.

3. I love, LoVe, LOVE the Olympics, and my favorite Olympic sport is swimming. I swam competitively from age 9 until age 16. I never aspired to be an Olympic swimmer (not motivated enough /too selfish with my time)..but I still love the sport. Here is a picture of Dara Torres...I admire her a lot and was very sad she didn't make the 2012 team. But i will be cheering on Missy Franklin Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte!!!

4. I am a HUGE Virginia Tech fan, even though I did not go to college there.  I went to schools for undergrad and grad school that did not have football teams, but I love college football. I had friends that went to VT and dated a guy that graduated from there, so I just adopted VT and love watching VT football.

5. I am a book addict...I admit it..I love books. I cannot go into a store without searching for books. I buy them at bookstores, online, at yard sales, at Walmart, if a place sells books, I buy them!! I have books everywhere in my house, classroom, in my purse, in the car.  I am never without a book...and now that I have my new iPad, with the Kindle app, I am starting to amass e-books by the dozens!

6. I met my husband at a Christmas party and we were engaged 4 months later at the Hard Rock Hotel  in Las Vegas. We have been married almost 12 years and Las Vegas holds special memories for us both. My nephew is getting married there in a few weeks and I am a little sad that my husband will not be able to make the trip to Vegas with our son and I for the wedding due to work commitments. However, we are already planning a trip out there, just the two of us, for next year. 

7. I love to travel...surprising because I spent 2 years as a software trainer and practically lived out of a suitcase for those 2 years. I have quite a list of places I want to visit and fortunately, they are places both my husband and son want to visit as well. One of my "dream" trips is to take my 11 year old son on a road trip up the east coast from Washington, DC to Maine, visiting Philadelphia, NYC, and Boston along the way (and of course hitting as any ballparks as we can along the way).

8. I am also a HUGE Boston Red Sox fan, even though I have never lived in Boston, Massachusetts or even New England. Can I tell you how excited I was when we moved to Greenville, SC 5 years ago and I found out that the minor league team here, the Greenville Drive, is the Class A affiliate of the Red Sox!!

9. I love teaching and I love my classroom but I really would like to work more in instructional technology, teaching teachers how to integrate it in their classrooms throughout their lessons. I am preparing to start a Master's program in January for educational technology. I also recently completed the training to be one of the iPad trainers for our school district. I am hoping this will lead to more opportunities to do technology training for other teachers in our district.
10. Last but not least...I have an addiction to the website PicMonkey.  Now that I have discovered it, I am constantly taking pictures and embellishing them with all the cool tools PicMonkey has.  There really is no limit to the silliness I will create with it!

Well that's a little more about me!  Now tell me more about YOU!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What I'm Reading Wednesday

Wow- I have been kind of a slacker about posting this week. Still trying to catch up from my fabulous 100 Follower Giveaway.   I did manage to finish the The Gollywhopper Games yesterday and start on a new book. I came across the book "On An American Day: Volume 1" by Rona Arato either on another blog or scouring Amazon for new books to I ordered it, naturally,  because I love history and it looked like a great book to use in my 4th & 5th grade classroom.

I actually ended up finding it on eBay a little cheaper than on Amazon so I went ahead and bought it. It arrived fairly quickly and went in my "to read" pile (which still have 8 more books in it). I normally would not pick it up to begin reading it until I had finished the others but I was intrigued so I thumbed through it, and eventually caved and started reading it. It is a quick read (less than 100 pages).  The stories are great and I know my students will relate to the characters. I know what they hear me read  (or read themselves) from this book will stay with them longer than what they read in our SS textbook (which is why I try not to use it very much!).

The thing I like best about this book is that it pairs a piece of historical fiction with non-fiction text. This will help me sneak in some reading skills (CCS) without my students being any wiser! This volume covers 1750-1899. I have not  found a Volume 2 yet but I am hoping Arato publishes one.  For those of you who teach U.S. History, especially WWI & II and Immigration, this author has some other great historical fiction books out on those subjects. Take a look HERE to read a little more about this author and her books. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

We Have a Winner...well, actually 5 of them!!!

First of all, I want to thank everyone who follows my blog. I started this one 4 eeks ago and I have almost 130 followers now! I am sooooo excited (and ready to reach 200 next!)

 I also want to thank Lacie from Polka Dots and Pencils, Nicole from Teaching with Style, Heather from HoJos Teaching Adventures, Michelle from Just Wild Abut Teaching, Sally from Elementary Matters, Michelle from Inspired by Kindergarten, April from A Modern Teacher, JoAnn from Fifth is Fabulous, Krystal from Lessons From Middle School, Nancy from Joy of Kindergarten, Kim from Joy in Sixth, Laral from Little Miss Kindergarten, Elizabeth from Fun in 4B, Bridget from Little Lovely Leaders, Terri from Terri's Teaching Treasures, Summyr from The Teachaholic, Deb from Fabulously First and Amada from Teaching Maddeness for your over the top generousness in donating your products to my giveaway.

 My 100 Followers Giveaway ended at midnight Saturday and I, with the help of Rafflecopter, have selected 5 winners. Tracey, Aileen and Lisa R. will each get 6 of the 18 glorious prizes donated by my fellow teacher-bloggers! Beth V. won a $10 Amazon e-card and Danielle D. won a $10 Target gift card.

Thanks again to everyone who participated!! You all are THE BEST!!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Newbie Blogger Blog Hop

I am amazed at this network of teacher/bloggers I have connected with these past few weeks after I started my blog.  There are tons of AMAZING experiences bloggers out there, but there are also lots of bloggers like me...who are fairly new at it.

Janis over at Grade Three Is The Place For Me is a new blogger too and she is hosting a Newbie Blogger Blog Hop to help all of us newbies to link up. Won;t you join us?  Here are the rules: You have to post the following 5 things about yourself. Then head back to her blog and link up using your post.

    1.  what state you are in
    2.  your current teaching position
    3.  your teaching experience
    4.  when you started blogging
    5.  share a blogging tip / blogging resource

Here are my 5:

     1. South Carolina
     2. 5th Grade Teacher
     3. Starting my 6th year of teaching
     4. Officially/seriously about 4 weeks ago
     5. Learn the HTML code to link back to your blog  it can be    found HERE 

What's Your Guilty Pleasure Linky Party....

Ashley over at  The Resource Room Teacher is hosting a GREAT linky party called "What's Your Guilty Pleasure?". How fabulous is that???

Blog Title

Wanna join in? Just head over to her blog, and grab her linky button (shown above) and them head back to your blog and post away. Don't forget to go back to her blog and link your post up! are my guilty pleasures....

1. Coffee: I am very much a snob when it comes to coffee. I won;t drink just any kind. I even pack my own coffee when I go to visit other people, and have know to run out to Target to buy a mini-grinder and beans if their brand of coffee does not measure up. That said...I don't spend big bucks at the drive-thru at Starbucks or DD, and prefer to spend my summer mornings enjoying a cup of coffee with my hubby, just sitting on the couch watching the Today show or out on our patio when the weather is not too hot!

2. My iPad: I just got it this week and I am in love with it. When I first found out I was getting one, I was less than enthusiastic because I have an iPhone and I figured there was not much more the iPad could do that my iPhone was already doing.....WRONG!  I have spent way too much time on it in the last few days....but I  chalk it up to back-to-school prep!!!

3. The Real Housewives of New Jersey: Yes, I know there are so many things I could be doing to make better use of that 1 hour each week (38 minutes if you fast forward through all the commercials) but I have to indulge in a little trash TV now and again. I never have connected with any of the other RH ladies like I have with these Jersey girls....and I have been a fan since they premiered 4 seasons ago. Kathy is actually my favorite housewife....I think I connect with her because I love to bake like she does, plus she seems like the most normal of all the Housewives.  WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE HOUSEWIFE??? 

4. I could go on forever with my guilty pleasures but I will leave you with one final one...Plain M & Ms...I love them...can't get enough of them! But I try, for the sake of my waistline to temper this guilty pleasure. And recently I started buying the minis..not from the candy aisle but from the baking aisle. They are cheaper by the ounce that way and you get way more. Plus they are smaller so you can eat more, right?!?!?!?

SO what is your guilty pleasure???

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Freebie!- Free ebooks for the Kindle or iPad!

In case you didn't know, I LOVE books!!  And now I think I LOVE my new iPad almost as much!! And even more than those two...I LOVE free!! So last week when I was researching sources of free eBooks, I came across this site--Pixel of Ink. I browsed around and found that they offer  links to free and heavily discounted (CHEAP) eBooks for adults. I was so excited!  Then I discovered that they had a companion site for children's books called

From their website: 

Pixel of Ink - Young Edition features daily publishing of Free & Bargain Kindle Books for Kids and Teens.
Here’s what you will find:
I subscribed to their daily email so I receive daily notification of free and bargain books for the Kindle.  I have downloaded a few dozen already and I am excited to begin building a virtual class library for my students. 

Check it out.... and stop back by here and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What I Am Reading Wednesday....The Golly-Whopper Games

I had to actually look at my phone to make sure today was Wednesday.! That is the kind of week I have had...but in a good way. It has been busy but I am also reaching that point in the summer where I totally lose track of what day it is!

So I needed to start a new book yesterday. I have a huge stack of books still in my "to read pile" but nothing was calling my name.

(this was actually taken a few weeks ago and I have read about 6 of the these already)

Then I remembered I had this one  that I started a few years ago and never finished. 

I couldn't remember where I left off so I started from the beginning and read about 90 pages before I knew it. It is a great book and now I remember when I starting reading the Hunger Games, what book it had reminded me of...and it is this one. It is kind of a cross between Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and The Huger Games.

The one thing that really hooks the reader is a variety of puzzles and brainteasers woven throughout the story. I can totally see my students not only working out the puzzles in an effort to solve them,but also to compete against one another to see who can solve it first.

I am definitely adding this to the books to do as a read aloud or in literature circles.  

100 Followers...And a Giveaway!!

I DID IT...well, I had a little help (okay, LOTS of help!!)..I now have 100 followers. Not bad for a few weeks out here in bloggy land! So to celebrate, I am hosting my first blog milestone giveaway!!! 

 I have had so many bloggers donate some AH-MAZING things for this are definitely going to want to enter this one.... Since I had so many graciously donate...I will pick 3 winners...who will each get 6 items....

1. My good friend Lacie over at Polka Dots and Pencils has offered the winner the choice of one item from her TpT or TN store.  Her stores are chock full of teacher must-haves!

Polkadots and Pencils

2. Nicole over at Teaching With Style has offered up her new Amphibians Unit. She sent me a preview copy and it is FAB-U-LOUS!!

3. Heather from HoJo’s Teaching Adventures has donated her Multiple Meaning Word Multiple Choice Questions Packet from her store. I took a peek and you are definitely going to want this one!

HoJo's Teaching Adventures

4. Michelle from Just Wild About Teaching has offered the winner her adorable Tou-Can Crativity set! What a great back to school actvity to kick off writing!

Just Wild About Teaching

5. In the spirit of the upcoming Olympic Games Sally from Elementary Matters has offered up her Academic Olympic Team Building Unit from her TpT store. Go Team!!!

6. Michelle from has donated her Shape Monster Packet. Not only is it adorable, it is full of wonderful activities for teaching shapes.

7.April from A Modern Teacher has offered the winner the choice of one item from her TpT store.  You have to check out her rocks!

A Modern Teacher

8. Joann from Fifth is Fabulous is busy planning her upcoming wedding, but took time to share her Primary Sources packet for one lucky winner! Joann is another SC teach/blogger!

9. Krystal from Lessons From the Middle has generously donated $10 worth of product from her TpT store ..winner’s choice!  What a great way to kick off Back-To-School shopping season!

Lessons From The Middle

10. Nancy from Joy Of Kindergarten and Classroom Design Collections is offering the winner’s choice of one of her classroom sets in her TpT store. Check them out…I love all the Polka Dot ones!!

Joy of Life 2011  

11.Kim from Joy in Sixth is probably as crazy about coffee as I am…which is why she is sharing the wealth by donating a $10 Starbucks Gift card.

joyin6th Homepage

12. Laral from Little Miss Kindergarten has offered the winner their choice of one of her newsletter sets in her TpT store. Check out all the fun stuff she has HERE

Little Miss Kindergarten

13. You’re gonna love this one…Elizabeth From Fun in Room 4B (yet another SC Teacher..we’re everywhere!!) has generously donated her fabulous Poetry and Figurative Language Lapbook from her TpT store.

14. Bridget from Little Lovely Leaders has donated one of her colorful “We Love __ Grade custom banners for the classroom. They are grade level specific so the winner will get the banner/bunting of their choice from her TpT store. Oh, and guess what?!?! Bridget is a SC teacher too!!

Little Lovely Leaders

15. Terri from Terri’s Teaching Treasures, one of our Canadian teacher blogging friends was kind enough to donate her Back to School unit. It is awesome and full of activities and ideas for those first few days back to school.

Terri's Teaching Treasures

16.Summyr  from The Teachaholic  has donated her  Main Idea and Detail Activity using a Non-Fiction Highlights Magazine article activity from her TpT store. It is full of great graphic organizers and activities for teaching this crucial reading/writing skill.

The Teachaholic Blog Button

17. Deb from FabulouslyFirst has offered up her SmoresMathFun packet. Mmm.....s'mores!! This packet has the most adorable addition and subtraction activities and lots of great graphics of you guessed it...s'mores. 
Fabulously First

 18. Last but not least...from , you guessed it--another teacher/blogger from  SC...Amanda from  Teaching Maddeness is offering the winner a unit of their choice from her Intermediate site Lightbulbminds.

Teaching Maddeness

PLUS: Two lucky winners will win either a $10 Amazon Gift card or a $10 Target gift card (their choice)

Thanks again to all my blogger friends who have gotten me to this milestone...and here's to reaching 200!!

Use the Rafflecopter below to enter....

a Rafflecopter giveaway