Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Family Involvement Ideas

One of our projects for the Principal Licensure Program is that we had to create a document for families to be involved in schools.  My new friend and project partner, Jody Drager, and I came up with this chart to help parents and families become involved with school.  We were so pleased with how it turned out that I thought we would share it here.

Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A new adventure...

Here I go again.  I tell you, there is a reason this blog is a safari.  I am always up for an adventure.

My new journey is at CSU in Fort Collins, Colorado.  Three weeks ago, I started working on my Principal Licensure.  These past few weeks have been INTENSE... but it's all good!!! I have made some amazing new friends and hopefully some excellent connections.  I am just about done with the three weeks.  Once finished, I get to continue working with these new friends on the online component.  Then in the fall, it's off to internship world.  Fortunately for me, I don't actually need to go anywhere.  I can do the majority of my internship in my own building or district.  Hopefully though, I will get the chance to visit some other districts.

One of the courses I took this summer was Leadership and Ethics in Public Education and the other was Culture and Climate in Public Education.  They were taught concurrently and the experience was fantastic.  For my final project I opted to make a video.  I am going to share it here if anyone is interested.


Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Summer Reading List

Summer is a great time to do some Reading. We always want out students to read too.  Here is a nice link to Scholastic's website with some suggested reading lists divided into age groups:

A lot of public libraries also have some spectacular summer reading programs. Our local library, Fort Morgan Public Library is doing an excellent summer reading program.  If you are local, you can find the details here: .

Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

It's almost summer!!

I'm not trying to rub this in the faces of my friends in the Eastern States, but for us, summer is six and a half days away. Just sayin'.
We always get so excited when summer rolls around, but we always wonder why our students' behavior falls apart. Please allow me to help shed some light on the subject...Just to give you some background before I start-our school district sits at about a 73% poverty rate.  We have super high mobility rate, meaning students move in and out a lot as well as moving from elementary school to elementary school within our district.
Soooo, that being said, believe it or not, many kiddos are nervous or even scared about being home for the summer.  Kind of goes against what we think ALL students should feel. You know...the excitement and elation of having NO SCHOOL WORK for three months, right?!? But for so many of these kids, school is the safe place, the place where they get at least two meals a day, the place where they have a routine, the place where people are present to care for them, the place where they see their friends. Some of the children that we are entrusted with need us.
Okay, not only that, but the last few weeks of the school year are when we start to forget about daily routines-more field trips are taken, some (amazing) outreach programs visit our schools.  We do have some spectacular outreach programs.  Here are some links to some pretty amazing places that have visited our school with great outreach programs:

We also tend to be a little more relaxed with our expectations because a lot of assessments are completed by this time.  Plus the sun is out longer and the weather is typically nicer which means that hopefully kids are playing outside more.  Bedtimes are later and kids are more tired.  In addition, we are taking things off walls, boxing things up and packing materials away-this is a signal to the kids that we are done too.
All of this put together, it's no wonder we have more meltdowns (both students and teachers), less patience & more behavior issues. If you pay attention to these things, have some understanding, hopefully you can be more patience and truly enjoy your last few weeks of school.

Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

Sunday, May 8, 2016

End of Year Activity-Core Memory

It's hard to believe that the end of the year is just around the corner! This year has flown by, but it's been a great one. I've definitely learned a lot teaching 3rd graders-quite a change from 5th and 6th graders. I have had many different emotions throughout the year-joy, sadness, fear, anger, and even disgust-are you noticing anything familiar hear?????

Inspired by the movie "Inside Out"-one of my favorites!-I've created this fun end of year activity for students to reflect on the year. It's a fun way for students to remember events throughout the year. You can just focus on the core memory of their year or have them reflect on all memories.

Here's to a great end of the year and a great summer around the corner!
Core Memory-End of the Year Activity

Glitter Words[ - *Glitter Words*]

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Here comes summer....

Okay folks, we have just eleven and a half more days of school left before summers.  This cute ecard reminds me of things non-teachers may think....

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

ESSA & ELs Presentation

One of my colleagues and friends-Araceli Flores- who works at our local high school is going through the same Master's program that I completed a few years (it's been 8 years holy cow!!!) ago.  She asked me to view a powerpoint on the the new laws that affect English Learners.  Her assignment was to share this information with as many people as possible.  She put it in a Youtube presentation so I offered to share it here. it is.  I hope you learn something you didn't know about the most recent changes in legislation.

Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

Monday, April 25, 2016

Tutorial for Pretty Paper Flowers

This is so cool. I could not find the tutorial for the gigantic flowers like I said I was going to.  So I jumped right in and made my own. It wasn't really that hard.  The hardest part was keeping my hubby and my wiener dogs from making noise while I was filming.  HeeHee. You can actually hear him and the doggies' jingles a few times.  Oh well.  Considering it's my first stab at it and I really don't have the proper equipment (just a camera on a tripod and a laptop), I don't think it's too bad. I made another one for a different kind of flower.  We'll see if it's an improvement over the first one. It was fun anyhow!!!


Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

A Great Way To Spend Earth Day

Becky and I shared our personal days on Earth Day and went hiking at Carter Lake near Loveland, Colorado.
Unfortunately, Christi couldn't join us. We are having a serious teacher shortage in our area of Northeast Colorado which includes our subs. It's been difficult for teachers to get subs even if they are sick.
Becky was able to plan ahead though and got one lined up. It was a well needed and well deserved day after a week of PARCC state testing.
Here are some pictures from our fun day off!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Time for Spring

Last week we had snow ...and I'm ready for some nicer weather. So if it's not nice outside I'm going to make it nice inside. These flowers were so easy to make. I got them from a tutorial on Facebook. I'll see if I can link it to here so the proper people are credited. Anyhow, the bulletin board turned out pretty cute and I've had some great comments. I hope you enjoy it.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Word Building Kit

I don't know what has gotten into me.  For whatever reason, the creative juices are flowing again.  It's been a while, but it's okay.
One of my intervention groups has gone through the Making Words activities I had set aside for them.  Both the instructor and the students love it.  It's like playing a game for them.  She asked for some more.  And of course, when asked, I can't just do the easy thing and find some to buy. Noooooo. Since I have nothing better to do (said with much sarcasm, because I truly have my plate full right now), I had to make a kit that can be used again and again.  You can get it here at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store. This is probably the quickest item I've produced, but I don't think it's too bad.  I hope you enjoy it-this one even included Common Core Standards. Oh Yeah!!!
Get it?!? Construction Workers-building words!!!

Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Whole Brain Teaching...Again

Next week, our school district will be having a Professional Development day. Normally this isn't a big deal.  We attend, we listen, we learn, we apply, etc, etc, etc.  But this time, for me at least, it's a little different.  This time, I have the responsibility of being a presenter.  It's pretty cool if you ask me. Much of our day will be focused on writing.  But for the first hour, I get to share what I have learned about WHOLE BRAIN TEACHING.
Before Christmas, my two wonderful and amazing blog-mates and their team were the guinea pigs. They began using some of the techniques with success.  One thing they have learned is that it's probably more effective if you start it at the beginning of the school year.  Regardless of this, our principal was/is intrigued and is ready to share it with staff.  So of course, I can't do anything ho-hum.  It's go big or go home with me.  So I made my powerpoint and it turned into my newest Teachers Pay Teachers product.  The coolest thing is that IT'S COMPLETELY FREE!!!! Do I hear WHOOP WHOOP?!?!?!  That's one thing I love about Whole Brain Teaching.  The only payment they ever expect when you download from their website: is that you spread the word.  I couldn't think of a better way to spread the word than by creating a fun and informative product that I will share with my staff as well as the rest of the teaching world on Teachers Pay Teachers and this little blog here.
You can go directly to my TPT page for this FREE product.  Thanks!!!
Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

Monday, March 21, 2016

Allow myself to introduce myself......

I am super excited to join Stacey and Becky on this exciting blogging journey! Blogging is something I've wanted to dive into, and now with Stacey helping me take this leap, watch out people! It's on!

I have been teaching for fifteen years, and I've been lucky to teach a variety of grade levels from Grade 1 to Grade 6. I'm currently teaching Grade 3 and am loving it!! It helps to have great team members. I love all things teaching-of course, the kids, but also the planning, the PLCs, the data,...everything. This love has led me to open up my Teacher Pay Teachers store! What a great way to share my passion of teaching! And now joining it with this blog......HEAVEN!!!! I'm looking forward to sharing and learning with these awesome co-authors of mine. They are awesome!!

Check out my TpT store: Christi Chisum-Classroom Creations by CC

Here is one of my favorite lessons! Compare and Contrast Bundle-Male and Female Singers


Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

One more author~YAY!!!

Oh I am just so excited!!! This is Becky Greenwood~another amazingly talented teacher that I am happy to call my friend.  She is the latest to join me on this School Safari.  And what an adventure it's going to be.  The three of us gals are going to get together for some "blog school" and get started very soon!  Start looking for posts by Christi or Becky in the next few weeks.  What fun this is going to be!!!

Meet Becky!
The picture of the three of us in the sidebar will be coming soon. We work together so well and I'm thrilled to work with them on the world wide web.


Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Survey Says...Installment #1

Just for fun, I started asking our staff some questions about teaching.  I know our teachers really have their hands full so I don't expect a  lot of response. But here goes anyway... Some questions are silly and others are more serious.  This is the first question I asked:

What is one piece of advice you would give a new teacher?

Sharla writes:  Never say something you are not willing to follow through.

I totally agree with this.  In today's day and age, this is a huge issue, not only with teachers, but with parents too.  Kids are smarter than we give them credit for and know if we mean what we say.  So if you say something, you better mean it.

Angel writes:  It gets easier.

Between all the acronyms, the assessments, the curricula, the assessments, the Common Core, the assessments, the students' wide variety of needs, the assessments, the date, the assessments, the parents...did I mention the assessments?!?!  It does get easier. So hang in there.

Christina (a new teacher herself) writes:  Make friends with the school and public librarians.  They can help you choose books that are interesting and age/grade appropriate.  They are always happy to help.

This is so true.  No matter what the town or city is like the library is an enormous resource.  And books are always a valuable tool.  Sometimes, believe it or not, the computer is not as good as a hard copy.

Until next time...

Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Preparing For a Sub

I'm not sure what the rest of the teaching world is like, but in our district, it's extremely hard to find subs, especially if you get sick in the middle of the night.  You crawl to the computer, open the employee portal and submit a sub request.  You never know who you'll get or even if you'll have a sub.  So it's always important to be prepared no matter what.  We know that most subs are not trained to completely do the curricula we provide, but movies are not always the way to go either.  So I created this generic set of plans that will get them through a day but learning will happen. You can get my set of plans at my TPT store or at my Teachers Notebook store.  It's so exciting to see my product in use too.  I recently visited a couple classrooms where our teachers were out of the building and their sub plans were from this set.  Yay!

I hope you feel better if you are one of those who have fallen prey to the flu (or any other illness for that matter)!

Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

My New Partner

I am SOOOO excited!!! My co-worker, fellow teacher (but most of all my very good friend), Christi Chisum is joining me on my School Safari.  She is an amazing and talented teacher.  She has some wonderful ideas and wants to get into blogging. After chatting with her about it, we decided to become  partners on this adventure.  She has her own Teachers Pay Teachers store.  But I'll let her tell you about it.
Meet Christi!

Not quite sisters, but people confuse us often.

We have parent teacher conferences this week and then Spring Break, so hopefully in the next few weeks she'll join in.  I'm just too excited to wait to announce this!  Look for some changes coming soon!

Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]

Monday, January 25, 2016

Writing Is SOOOO Complex for Students

     Last week I attended a Writing Workshop with one of my friends and co-workers.  We have been to many and always learn a lot, both theoretical and practical content.  This workshop was very theoretical, but had some great suggestions.  One of the activities we did was write a response to summarize what we had learned.  Many people wrote in outline form or simply jotted a few ideas down.  But I can't ever seem to take the easy way out.  However, I'm not disappointed for putting in a little effort.  I am sorry that I made my table wait for our discussion to begin as I wrote. The writing bug stung me and this is what I came up with:

     "Writing is an extremely complex activity and is the most demanding language skill for many reasons.  Before independently writing, there is a whole plethora of skills that must be attained.  First and foremost, students must have phonological awareness as well as basic knowledge of high frequency words.  They must also know that words have meaning and structure. Students must also know that words strung together must have meaning.
     This brings up something else students must have:  background knowledge and imagination.  From that, they must be able to formulate ideas and then transcribe them onto paper with legible handwriting.
     Which brings up another issue:  developmental readiness.  Students must have the ability to hold a writing utensil, move it across a page and form letters that make sounds.
     Whoa-this was easy for me to write, but this simple act may be tortuous for many students-especially if they have developmental or cognitive issues."

Picture borrowed from Google Images.

Glitter Words
[ - *Glitter Words*]