Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Linking Up- 11 in '11

Hadar @ Miss Kindergarten and Kristin @ A Teeny Tiny Teacher are having a linky party! 
Since I don't get to partyin' much these days, I thought I'd join in the fun!  

11.  Favorite Movie You Watched
We don't get out to the movies much anymore, but a last minute tagalong with my friend and her teenage daughter to see Footloose turned out to be the best movie I saw in 2011!  I will say The Help was a VERY close second.  Even the hubby liked that one.  

10.  Favorite TV Series

First, let me say that I have a serious TV addiction.  I love reality shows-Real Housewives, Big Brother, and yes, I still watch The Real World-don't judge.  I love the dramas-Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, Harry's Law, Parenthood.  But, I love to laugh.  There are just not enough comedies on TV anymore!  I love The Office.  And yes, it is just as good without Michael Scott.  Actually, James Spader is freakin' hilarious on the show.  I have also just discovered How I Met Your Mother.  I know, I'm about 6 years too late, but I had this thing about CBS shows for a while.  I hated them all, and my prejudice kept me from enjoying one of the funniest shows on TV since Friends and everyone who knows me has heard me say, "There is a Friends reference for every situation in life."  

9.  Favorite Restaurant
I live in Columbus, Ohio-the world of Wendy's and White Castles.  Not many options for eating out on a teacher's salary.  For the special occasions, the hubby and I love going to The Melting Pot.  Cheese & Chocolate Fondue?  Yes, please!  

Since I tend to spend a lot of time in Florida, too, I have to give a shout out to Raglan Road in Orlando at Downtown Disney.  My sis & her husband both work there, and it is such a fun, authentic, Irish restaurant.  Everything in the restaurant is imported from Ireland, including the band and the dancers!  And the Bread Pudding is to die for.  

8.  Favorite New Thing You Tried
Traveling alone with my son.  My sis called me a few weeks before her wedding and asked if I would come help her with the plans.  I happened to have a four day weekend and traveled to Orlando with my two year old.  It was very empowering to know that I could do it by myself!

My son on the plane!

7.  Favorite Gift You Received
In the year 2011-my iPad!  Love, love, love it.  Everyone should own one.  
For Christmas-my Cricut.  I've always kinda wanted one, but never wanted to buy one for myself.  My mom and sister bought me one for Christmas.  I didn't even ask for it!

6.  Favorite Thing You Pinned
Pinned ImageBesides all the yummy recipes?  Probably this post-it note holder.  It's probably the only thing I've pinned that I've actually done.  I made these for some of my co-workers for Christmas.  I wish I had my Cricut at the time!  

5.  Favorite Blog Post
I don't really have a favorite, so I'll go with the one with the most # of page views, which was part of my Daily 5 series, regarding Anchor Charts & Focus Lessons.  I'm not sure why it was so popular, but I'm glad I was able to offer my experience and advice to so many people.  I love the Daily 5! 

4.  Favorite Accomplishment
Probably finally achieving the balance of school & home.  I still take papers home to grade on the weekends, but not nearly the amount that I used to.  I still go into work about 45 minutes early, but I leave only about 15 minutes later than I can.  I learned to say NO and remove myself from committees.  Do I still feel guilty about it?  Yes.  But, I know I would feel much guiltier looking back at these years with my son and feeling like I should've done more with him.  

3.  Favorite Picture
My hubby & I on Siesta Key Beach in November.  I chose this picture because he loved it so much.  He said he was glad to have a recent picture of just the two of us.  Aww..he still loves me :)
2.  Favorite Memory
My sister's wedding in Siesta Key, Florida.  The perfect week, the perfect day (11/11/11), the perfect setting, the perfect couple.  Did I mention it was perfect?  

1.  Goal for 2012
Continue to encourage my students to become readers.  I truly believe that test scores will follow if my students read and love to read.  
Declutter and keep my house neat and organized!  I've already cleaned out 3 closets and working on the bedroom.  I just have WAY too much stuff!  

This was a lot of fun reflecting on 2011.  Everyone link up!  

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Similes & Metaphors with The Grinch

My favorite activity before Christmas is to introduce similes and metaphors using the song, "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch."  I'm sure this is not an original idea, but the idea for this lesson did come to me as I was driving home from school three years ago and heard the song on the radio.  What I'm sayin' is, I didn't intentionally borrow this lesson plan from anyone!  First, I usually have a quick intro lesson on similes and metaphors.  You know, the basics.  Similes compare two things using like or as, metaphors don't.  We look at some examples and students have some practice creating their own.  The next day, or mini-lesson, whichever I see fit for the group I have, I pass out the words to the Grinch song and we listen to it on You Tube.  

Next, I split students into random groups.  Sometimes I do this by passing out Christmas icon cards and students have to find the matches.  Other times I just use the random sorter in Smart Notebook.  I give the students about 10-15 minutes to find as many similes and metaphors in the song.  They then write their similes and metaphors here to display in the hallway and classroom.  

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Need Book Recommendations!

I have made it my goal this year to read aloud a different book from each genre category. We read James and the Giant Peach for fantasy-my favorite book for fourth graders, by far.  We just finished reading Shiloh for realistic fiction, and now I would like to read a science fiction book.  Let me preface this by saying I am NOT a science fiction fan.  I recently learned to enjoy Sci-Fi after reading The Hunger Games trilogy and the book Divergent by Veronica Roth.  If you haven't read the latter, it is a must read!  It is the first book in a trilogy, but the other two books have not been released yet.  It is very much along the lines of The Hunger Games-set in future Chicago, where the city is divided into factions based upon their virtues-the honest, the selfless, the brave, the peaceful, and the intelligent.  Of course, there is an unexpected love story involved, which is probably why it drew me in!  Obviously, neither of these books are appropriate for my fourth graders as a read aloud.  This is where I need your help!  I need a good science fiction read aloud.  Preferably, something both genders will enjoy.  A Wrinkle in Time is out because I think it is above my students' heads, and I honestly do not enjoy the book.  

So...what good science fiction books do y'all got for me?