Saturday, December 28, 2013


Hello! In case you were wondering,Jack is doing much better.  For the most part, he will walk on it and he is now allowed to jump (not that we could stop him before). When we take him for a walk, he will walk on all four legs most of the time. He still will walk on just the three out of laziness or if he is in pain.  Overall, it is good to see him doing so well.  

We ended up keeping Jack in a pack and play to keep him from jumping, especially when we would leave the house. It eventually became his "house."  We took it down today because he doesn't need it anymore. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Jack's Surgery

Jack had surgery on his back left knee yesterday. The surgery went well and he got to come home today. He ruptured his left cranial cruciate ligament (similar to a human ACL). Instead of being torn, it was completely separated. Jack is resting but a little uncomfortable. It will take a few months for his recovery and they said he will regain 75-80% of his normal function. Right now he has a soft blue cast on the leg that will be removed in 3-5 days. He hurt his leg about two weeks ago trying to jump into the car. The surgeon said that it may have caused it or it could have been the final straw for it to break. This is a common degenerative thing. If it was already deteriorating, he could have just been walking and it could go out. This would mean the other one is likely to go out in the next couple of years. If that is not the case, then it might have been how he landed. Hopefully he will continue to improve! Here are some pictures of our little doggie. 

Leaving the doctor. 

It's hard to get comfortable!!

Finally comfortable! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pumpkin carving

Yesterday, we carved pumpkins. I have lots of pics of this fun activity but since the kids are in them, I will only post what they looked like at the end. I am so grateful to the parents that came in to help with this activity! Just as a note, the parents were the only ones allowed to touch the knives. I know some of you were worried about that so I thought I would put an end to your fears :) The students pulled out the seeds and pulp. They also worked together in pairs to decide how they wanted their pumpkin carved. Some needed adult help to know what could be carved and what was not possible. The students then separated the seeds from the pulp while the parent carved the face. In case you are wondering, both this year and last year, the boys were grossed out by putting their hand in the pumpkin. I even had one throw up this year! The girls had no problems! 

Here they are outside my door. 

We kept each pumpkins' seeds separate. I took them home and cleaned them all. I kept out three of the pumpkins' seeds for us to count today. The rest I cooked. I made one set with salt, one with garlic salt, and one with cinnamon and sugar. The students then got to taste them today. 

Counting the seeds is a BIG project. The students need help figuring out a way to count them in a reasonable way. We learn about place value with this project. The students make sets of 10 and combine 10 of those to make 100. Here is what they looked like when they were done: 

We then held up the pumpkins and had the other students guess how many seeds there were in each pumpkin. The students guessed outrageously. They also thought that the smaller the pumpkin, the less the seeds. This is not always the case. It has to do with how old the pumpkin is when it is picked. In this case it worked out that the smaller one had the least, however it only had 15 less then the medium sized one which was quite a bit larger. Here are the pumpkins with the papers. 

This last picture is of all three of them together so you can get a better idea. (Ignore the mess on my table in the background) 

This was a fun activity but it does take awhile and really teaches what tens and hundreds means. Several of my students wanted to guess what ten was and put that many in a group without counting but then their numbers were off and they would have to go fix them. I did this whole group last year and it was easier. However, I did prefer doing smaller groups because the students were more involved and therefor got more out of the experience. 

After having the students count, it is fun to read this book (below). It is about a class that counts pumpkin seeds. It also explains why sometimes smaller pumpkins have more seeds then bigger pumpkins. My students really enjoy the book. 

Pumpkin fun!

So I have done quite a bit this year with my first graders and pumpkins. We have read lots of books and learned quite a bit. Last Friday, we read and looked at several books that detailed the life cycle of a pumpkin. After that, I have my students a blank sheet of paper and has them draw a flow map with the pumpkin life cycle. I told them they needed at least three steps in their flow map. They had to draw a picture and then label each one. Before, I have always given them pictures or other support to help with this type of activity. This year, mostly because of the group of students and other activities we have done, I felt like they could handle the assignment in this way. The kids really enjoyed creating their own flow map and for the most part did really well. I was surprised by much they remembered and how they represented it. It just goes to show that if we reasonably raise expectations, the students are capable of meeting them. Here is how I hung it in the hallway. 

Notice the number spiders around it. The students thought that it was funny that the spiders were "climbing" on their pumpkins. Here is a close up of the spiders. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Who Am I?

This is another project we do at the beginning of the year. Each teacher does it a little different and it looks cool to see all the different styles. We have the student make themselves. I give them a pattern for everything but the head. Last year they drew their heads and colored them. This year I let them watercolor. They turned out way better then I thought they would! Also, the students pick their color for their skin. They decide which one they think is closest and that's the one I give them! After they are done, I ask them three questions and that is what becomes their Who Am I? bubble. The little envelopes have their name in them. They are out in the hallway for when their parents come for open house. The kids think it's cool to have their parents guess which one is them. Here are this years : 
And a close up

I hang them up so that they are holding hands but not all teachers do. Some make it a guessing game while others put the name meanings with them. One teacher even had their students make themselves superheroes. They look really neat. 

I don't have last year's on my phone but I might try adding it later. 

Just a note.

Now that I am using my phone and iPad to update, it is much easier to update. However, it is easier to make typing mistakes due to the smaller keyboard. Also, auto correct sometimes changes things. I try and catch the mistakes, but I miss some. Just know that my posts may not be perfect but it is way easier for me to use these devices because like I said before I always have them and that is where my pictures are! 

Student mailboxes

So I have been trying to find a way to organize my classroom better as well as make things easier for me. As a teacher, there are a lot of things that has to be done everyday. I always feel like there is more I need to be doing. Up to this point, I have been putting all the papers that need to go home in each child's folder. It takes time to sort through work and put it on the correct folder. Also, when students were absent, their papers would get stacked up and I would have to remember to send it home with them the next day. This process is very time consuming when teachers don't have time to waste. I was looking to get some kind of mailbox system where I could file their work (or have someone else) and the students could get it out and put it in their folders themselves. I looked at many different systems but I just didn't have the space to use them efficiently. I called my sister Athena, who is in an education program now, to see what she thought and if she had any ideas. She described what her teacher she is working with did. I decided to try it! Not only does it not take up space but it was a WAY cheaper them all the other options (a very big plus because now I can use the extra money for something else). This is the system that her teacher uses that I am now using in my classroom: 
Each student has a slot. The extra ones at the top are very useful. I can put things in there that need to go home but I don't have time to do it at that moment. Also, if I get homework copied early I have a place to keep it where it won't get lost. These are hanging on my bathroom door so they aren't in the way but easily accessible. Also, students coming back from their specials classes can put things in there that need to go home so it doesn't get lost and they don't have to dig out their backpacks. I have used this two days now and I love it! My life is easier and it saves time. I give my thanks to Athena and her cooperating teacher! 

Conference notebook

In YWs this past Wednesday, we had the girls make conference notebooks to use this weekend for General Comference. One of the leaders daughters has making them for years and the other one found the idea for the tabs online. We had the girls take pictures and sayings from old church magazines and the such and glue them to the outside of a composition notebook. Afterwards, they glued laminated tabs to the pages. The tabs have the picture and name of the First Presidency and the 12 Apostles. This makes it easy to find notes on their specific talks. The girls were then able to mod podge over it to protect the covers. These are pictures of the one I made. I have not mod podged mine yet. 
This is my front cover. 
This is my back cover. 
This is what the tabs look like glued to the page. The picture is glued to the paper so the name sticks out. We did black and white pictures because it was cheaper. 

I used it yesterday for the Saturday sessions. I love how organized it is. For talks given by other speakers, there are pages leftover in the back. I put four pages between the First Presidency tabs and two between the others. 

It was way easy to make and a lot fun! 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Science Journal Pages

So I found a way so you can see what the pages in the journal look like. It's not the. Idea but it is pictures of the blank pages. Let me know if you like them and I can email them as a PDF. 
I took a screen shot of them in my pages app which is what I used to create it. If you have Amy questions about it, I would love to answer them for you. 

P. S. I do know how to add video and such but only when I use my computer which I am not currently doing. 

How I got my name

So at the beginning of the school year, we read Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. We talk about our names and how they have meanings. As a homework assignment, the students have to find out how they got their name. The kids love it! They think it is so cool to share with the class. Also, it helps them feel important and like their name means something. After that, we do an art project where they get to decorate their name with tissue paper. When they are done, we hang it in the hallway with a types up version of where their name came from. We have them hanging up outside our doors for open house. Here are this year's. 
It's a cool idea and they can put the tissue paper on while you are doing beginning of the year assessing. I leave them up for awhile until I have something want to replace them with. 

Our discovery!

So in case you didn't know, last year I got moved to first grade. I am still teaching first and I am loving it! Also, for the first time ever I stayed in the same classroom. This might not seem like a big deal but it made such a difference. I feel like I am finally getting more organized and my classroom the way I like it. 

Anyways, enough of that. I have a class with quite a few boys. I am trying to. Ale science and writing more fun. To do that, I created a science journal for them to write in when they are at the writing center. One person at a time can go to the science center and observe something and write about it. Sometimes we will do little experiments to put in there as well. I was going to buy science journals but they are too expensive and don't have everything I wanted. Here is what I developed ( I made this video for my sister but you get the idea): 

Ok well I can't put videos in using the app. Or at least I don't know how. I will try and add what it looks like later. 

Anyways, when my students were outside, working on doing filling out an observation for the first time, they found something. They had a huge discussion on whether it was a caterpillar or a worm. I was going to put a video of it here, but like I said, I don't know how. 

We talked about what we knew about caterpillars and worms and we made a Venn diagram. After that, we looked up some more information and watched the video of it moving. Then, each student drew a picture and wrote about what they learned. I put it all together so we could hang it in the hallway. Here is what the finished product looked like: 

They loved doing it so I got an idea. We are going to partner up and do little science research projects. We started today. They are really excited. They are going projects on birds, bats, owls or a combination. They are also deciding on how they want to represent what they find. I am trying this for the first time so we will see how it goes. Also, I am walking them through it. I hope it goes well. They are super excited. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Blogger App

So I finally thought to download the app onto my iPads. I have a lot to share but most of the pictures are on my iPads. Hopefully this will remind me to blog more!