Double Duty Linky!

I just like saying "duty."  Obviously, I have been in middle school far too long.

Seriously, since I had to stay home and watch the AC boys install my new unit, I decided to link up with Jivey and Christy for their linkys.

Food first!  I missed linking up on Monday with Christy for her Eating, Drinking, and Linking party, but today I made a new muffin recipe.  Apparently, they were good because the AC boys offered to move my treadmill to another room for more muffins.

Blueberry Corn Muffins!  They are only 172 calories each.  I found this recipe at Eating Well and wanted to try it out as a healthier alternative to regular muffins - since my friend made me vow to bake healthier yummies for the upcoming school year.

  • 2/3 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup low-fat milk (I used Almond Milk)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil (plus a smidge more)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • (I added about a 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla)  

Some of the reviews mentioned that they were a little dry and lacked flavor.  I took that as a challenge.  First, I used pop-in-your-mouth-fresh blueberries.  Then when I was putting in the canola oil, I added just a little bit more - maybe a 1/2 teaspoon worth?  Finally, I added a little vanilla because I just couldn't make muffins without vanilla.

It must have worked, because the AC boys took home another four muffins each as they left.  I gave them the choice between the Blueberry Corn Muffins and chocolate and peanut butter chip muffins.  They took the Blueberry Corn Muffins:).

Now the Workshop Wednesday portion of this post....

I haven't had the opportunity to link up with Jivey for her Workshop Wednesday Linky.  Since I teach Read 180, my summer brain told me that it wasn't a workshop.  As I have been gearing up for school (next week), it clicked!  Read 180 is one big workshop!
With two classes of Read 180 (one at 30 students and the other at 20 students) there are FIVE groups to keep track of during the constantly changing lessons.  Even though I have extensive lesson plans, we all know that they mainly just look pretty.  The reality is that once a lesson starts, it immediately takes on a life of its own.  In Read 180 classrooms, the groups may be in the same workshop, but all can be in slightly different places - and that doesn't even take into account reteaching or target lessons.  Last year, when I asked one group where we had left off the day before, one of my little darlings told me that her grandma couldn't remember things either.  So, I vowed to keep things straight this year.

I started with a basic notebook with numbered sheets in sheet protectors (they name their own groups, so I just used numbers for the sample).
After the divider page, I placed one of those clear pocket dividers.  I used a binder clip to attach my note page to the front of the clear pocket.

The pockets will hold the ongoing writing assignments and additional close reading stories.  The note page gives me place to jot down where we actually left off, and what we need to make sure to get done the next day.
Click here to download

One Last Thing...

From time to time, I have found it necessary to remind the office why they can't fill up my Read 180 class with as many kids as possible.  This is especially hard to explain when other classes/periods are overflowing and you have only 30.  This year, I will have a self-contained Read 180 and one single period 6th-7th grade group.  To make sure that they remember why the numbers need to stay at 20 or less for the single period, I made this visual for the office.

If this is something you need, let me know and I will be happy to send it to you!

Bulletin Board Progress!

Today my wonderful contractor put up a beautiful tall fence and gate.  Maddie the Lab stayed home to supervise, and Lucy went to school with me because she is afraid of jackhammers.
See Lucy and my beautiful teal carpet from the 1980's?

I am doomed to have it forever because Maddie is going to need some surgery.
So my wonderful contractor just installed the fence and not the pergola, because puppies before pergolas!  Tomorrow the AC guys come and install a new AC unit, so I was frantic to get to school.  Lucy was not very helpful, but she was adored by all who saw her.  In between adoration sessions with Lucy's new fans, I managed to get up all my paper and most of the border.
As promised,  I added pictures of my Why Read  board and updated yesterday's post.  Usually the text on my bulletin boards is large enough to read from across the room, but this was a lot of text to get up there on the board.  Parents will have to walk across the room and take a good look at it - which is good thing, so I am glad it turned out this way.
Here is a close up of how I did the stacks of books. 

This is a little peek at my Future's So Bright board.  I LOVE how the Sun turned out.  I used yellow napkins for the rays.  I opened them up, then pinched the center, and stapled twice.  One staple to hold the form of the "ray" and one to the board.  Then I stapled the yellow plate to the center.  On the curly border, I hung little bright colored sunglasses that I got at Party City.  I had planned to hang giant gag sunglasses, but I couldn't come up with a presentable to way to attach them to the board.  I will think on it some more and they might go up eventually.
Earlier this summer, I got these cute sunglasses from Ashley Hughes as a freebie at TpT.  After playing around with them, I managed to place them as a frame.  I placed the frames on black construction paper and will laminate them (after having the color copies made, I figured I had better get more than one use out of them).  During the first week of school, I am going to let the students pick one of the giant gag sunglasses to wear and take their picture.  The pictures will be taped, and not stapled, to the laminated frames.  Hopefully, this board will be a show stopper at Back To School Night.

Tomorrow, the AC guys are here.  So, no work in the classroom, but I be sharing my Read 180 notebook and a sample rotation schedule for a single period.

p.s.  I just realized that the Middle School OCD Facebook page has reached 40 followers!  Thank you!!!!

She Blogs!

It seems as if it has been forever since I was able to post!  Nothing and everything happened:).
  • The contents of three spare rooms (yes, I am blessed) have been moved into one workable temporary office room.
  • It took a little longer than anticipated because apparently I shoved all the boxes that I couldn't bear to go through in one of those rooms.  So it was one box, curl up in a ball and watch mindless TV, put on my big girl panties and start on another box, and then repeat the process.  But they are all done! 
  • And don't get me started on the 12 lawn bags full of shredded documents!
  • A double bed, a washer, a freezer, and one beloved canine nephew exited the premises and are living happily with my brother.
  • A new washer and dryer (my first matching pair ever, deep sigh) are in place.
  • Tile guy contacted to finish the tile job started in January and halted to await the removal of the above mentioned giant unnecessary freezer. 
  • Contractor consultation for new fence, pergola, office, and flooring.
  • Consultation with the AC repair boy who delivered the news that a new AC unit is absolutely needed.
  • Goodby pergola and I guess teal carpet really isn't that bad (deep sigh, sad face).
  • Internet in and out for two days.
I can come up with a million other reasons, but since my plan to go into school tomorrow to take pictures of the wonderful bulletin board that I was going to post about is being derailed by a necessary vet appointment for my senior citizen  Lab - here I am posting at 1:30 a.m.  Back on the bloggin' bandwagon!

Imaginary Bulletin Board Real Life Bulletin Board:

If you are a teacher and have been on Pinterest at all this year, you have seen this pin....

Well, I promised myself that I would make this into a bulletin board.

Pretend there is a picture here of my bulletin board.....I promise there will be a real picture here by the end of the week, just play along...... Not the best picture, apparently, the camera doesn't compensate for the fact that you aren't wearing your glasses.

I used a graphic of a stack of books (easy to find your own), printed out a double copy and took it to Office Depot to make color copies.  It seemed as if this would be more economical than printing out my own (since I need a new AC unit and am doomed to spend the rest of my life with teal carpet), and more practical than cutting out construction paper books.  I took the copies and laminated them at Lakeshore, and cut them out.

Then I made these in Powerpoint.

You can find the complete set of text/mini posters for the bulletin board here.  The frames are by Kathleen Amari-Crookston of Middle Grades Maven.  Check out her TpT store!

I know it seems a little silly to post without my bulletin board picture, but I was not going to let another day go by without posting.  However, I do have a picture to share.
My girl Amy!  Just got home from seeing her at The Greek in Los Angeles!  It was incredible!  She opened her own concert and had Brandon Heath play in the middle because she wanted to see everybody before it got dark.   Our seats were awesome!  On the way there we hit traffic, and seriously had the LAST parking space at the top of the hill.  So on the way out of Griffith Park, we got to take the scary winding road featured in every 1970's police TV show.  It was an adventure and a half!

Palm Springs Brag Book

Good Afternoon everyone!  I missed you all:)  It was strange not having any way of checking in on my bloggy friends this week.  However, it was refreshing.  The first few hours I felt like an addict, reaching for my iPad only to find it not there!  Within a few hours, I discovered that I could function without immediate access to the internet.  I felt superior to all those conference attendees who were frantically multitasking on their iPads during sessions.  Then as soon as I got home and unpacked, I grabbed my iPad and held it tight, promising to never leave it alone again.

I was not going to post until Monday, but I realized that I had never linked up with Run! Miss Nelson's Got the Camera for her Saturday Snapshots.  What more perfect way to share my self-serving bragging pictures from Palm Springs?  So here it goes:).
We stayed at the Hilton in Palm Springs, so I was expecting a nice room with a view of the parking lot.  Imagine my surprise when we were checking in to hear the desk clerk say, "Oh, it looks like you have been upgraded to one of our Presidential Suites." What?  Me, being me, of course I asked him to double check.  My friend and the desk clerk both started talking at the same time and basically told me to take key card and run.  I kept trying to figure out why I had been upgraded, and my good friend and teaching partner reminded me that it had been an almost unbearable few years and that maybe I just deserved it.  Thank you Hotel Gods!

This was my "sitting room" complete with bar and giant flat screen TV (on opposite wall).

This was my giant comfy bedroom, with another giant flat screen TV (on opposite wall).
The incredible bathroom (excuse the unfolded towel).
The huge shower with four shower heads.
The sweet balcony that ran the length of both rooms, overlooking the pool and mountains.
Unfortunately, this was the view of the mountains.
 The Mountain fire had just started before we drove out.

 The second night.
My poor car covered in ash.  Everything was covered in ash.  Smoke and ash hung in the air all week.  I felt sorry for the people who were visiting Palm Springs for the first time.  And having been too close to fire evacuation lines myself, I was really thinking about the people who had been evacuated and the firefighters.  The tragedy outside of Phoenix was still too fresh to not worry about our amazing firefighters.

Since it was unbearably hot and smoky, we didn't venture very far from the hotel for dinner.  We had a fantastic meal each night at Sherman's Deli and Bakery.  They were right across the street from the hotel.  If you are ever in Palm Springs, stop!  The food was so good!  The cakes and pastries were ridiculous!  The customer service and atmosphere was wonderful.

Also, I lost $6 dollars at the casino on the other corner across from from the Hilton.  If only I could use that experience to teach positive and negative integers...,"This summer I put $20 in a penny slot machine and cashed out with $31.50.  Then I put that $31.50 in a $1 slot machine, and cashed out at $14.50.  How much did I lose?"  It has so many possibilities as a lesson:).  

I hope to post on Monday, but the great room adventure is still in progress.  The files have been purged and shredded, and my brother is coming down tonight to load up some of the furniture for their new house.  So the actual rearrangement of rooms will have to wait until he and his family leave on Sunday.  If the computer is accessible and online, then I will post about my Read 180 notebook and tentative schedule.

It is good to be back!

Brief Vacation from the Digital World

Just a short post to let you all know that I am going on a Digital Diet this week!  All good!  It just seems as if it is the week to take a break.

As some of you know, I am trying to clear out two rooms for remodeling.  Well, it has not been moving along as quickly as it should.  I have been using the computer and blogging as one excuse.  I have to unplug the desktop and printer to move them, and I have been putting it off because of the blog and school work.

Then I am leaving for 3 days to attend a Read 180 conference!  In Palm Springs! In mid-July!  Yea!  I love it when your car can melt from sitting in the sun!  Yea, Palm Springs!

So OCD me was trying to figure out how I was going to write three posts, finish and photograph the projects that go with them, and try to figure out how to schedule and link them before I disconnected the computer.  Not to mention getting all the last minute errands done, yard work, and writing out my 40 million Post-it's explaining to my sister what the dogs are trying to tell her while she is staying with them this week...

As you can see it is time to take a little break:).  I might post on Saturday, but then again I might not. In any case, bloggy vacation will be over by next Monday and a new post will be up!

So tomorrow those rooms are getting finished, and then I off to Palm mid-July, yea!

See you all next week!  Peace out!!:)))

Master Math Notebook: Divisibility Rules (part 4 of a gazillion parts)

Hopefully, this will be a relatively short post to make up for the War and Peace length post of yesterday:).  I just wanted to take a few minutes to share what I added to my Master Math Notebook this morning.

Divisibility Rules

One of the things that my students struggle with is finding the logic in math.  If their neighbor knows the answer, it must be because they are smarter or they have some magic trick.  I remember feeling this way.  In middle school, I was totally lost as my classmates shouted out answers in Pre-Algebra.  I just sat there sinking further and further in to my seat, hoping that my teacher would ignore me.  It literally seemed as if they knew a secret that I didn't, and that must mean I was stupid.  

It wasn't until my mom made me go to ask for help in college that I realized what had happened.  My tutor took one look at my diagnostic test, and asked if I had been sick a lot in 3rd and 4th grade.  I had pneumonia, not once, not twice, but three times.  I had completely missed division and fractions.  Since I was excelling in everything else, my teachers overlooked it or assumed I knew - I didn't, it was a foreign language to me.  

My tutor, Kevin, saved me and helped me get my first A in any math class.  One of the first things he showed me was the "magic" of the divisibility rules.  Every year, I try to drum them into my students.

Remember when I said I was going to steal Elizabeth's (of Hodges Herald) divisibility foldable?  Well,  I modified it just a little.

Since my kids usually struggle with note-taking, and we have a limited amount of time, I made this semi-foldable for their notebooks.  The title and numbers are just outlines so that they can color them in. 
This page will be in the Basics portion of their notebook, right after the multiple charts.  I decided to tape the top flap on the side.  The rest of it is glued down.  This is the finished product for my Master Math Notebook.  

If you are interested in downloading this document, click here to get for FREE from my TpT store!  Have a great weekend:)


Well, it appears that is Liebster Award season in bloggyland.  Bagby of Math Madness,  Lisa from Fluent in Fourth, and Ellie of Middle School Math Moments have  nominated me for a Liebster Award!  At first, I was not entirely sure what it was all about, but I have been assured it is a sweet way of acknowledging new bloggers with fewer than 200 followers.  So, I am very flattered!

Apparently, there are a few requirements that need to be fulfilled before accepting the nomination.  You have to answer a few questions (I pulled from my three gracious nominators), share some random facts, and pass it on by nominating a few more bloggers for the Liebster.

First up are the questions from Bagby of Math Madness, Lisa from Fluent in Fourth, and Ellie of Middle School Math Moments.

1.     What is your favorite all time movie?  In Harm’s Way
2.    What is your favorite book?  Once An Eagle by Anton Myer (read it about 20 times)
3.    Do you have any pets? Currently, I have three dogs.  One that is visiting and eats the food I give him, but he really could get his own.  One that will only eat if it is quiet and you encourage her.  And one that inhales it before the food bin is closed.  Guess which one is the… Catahoula, the rescue mutt, and the Lab?
4.    If you have a day all to yourself what is your favorite way to spend it? In bed, curled up watching a self-imposed Stargate marathon.  I am a little bit of a fan girl.
5.    In what store could you spend hours and hours?  There is an entire block of antique stores that I love to go and wander in.  Malls and retail stores are not my thing – only when necessary.
6.    If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?  Scotland or New Zealand!  It would be a tie. 
7.    If you could take your class on a field trip to anywhere in the world where would you go? Pompeii – I teach 6th grade!
8.    What is your favorite part about teaching?  Laughing with the kids, and those moments when they forget that I am there and keep on talking!
9.    If you weren't a teacher what would you be?  Well, the original plan was to sweep the Summer Olympics and win all the swimming medals, then astound everyone by winning the figure skating in the Winter Olympics, and of course become a movie star like Esther Williams. Strange that it didn’t quite work out that way.
10.  Who is your hero?  I have many, but Dietrich Bonhoeffer comes to mind.
11.   Blogging makes me feel…connected, like an ongoing fantastic teaching conference with endless sessions to choose from!

Some random facts about me…

1.              I read my first Louis L'Amour book when I was in the 3rd grade.
2.             When I was in middle school I could swim 75 yards underwater with out taking a breath.
3.             When we were little, my brother and I dug holes – big holes, fort size holes – in our backfield.
4.             I worked at a used bookstore in college.
5.    and I have an intense relationship.
6.             My sister-in-law, my nephew, and I attended a ghost hunting workshop and then a ghost hunt – where we mostly made fun of the guy that kept seeing dead people everywhere.
7.             The fact that I have less than 200 followers kills me – super competitive.
8.             I can still do a cartwheel.
9.             I say that I quilt, but actually I just collect material.
10.           If my students run to lunch, the next day we all go together in straight lines, while I sing songs from the Sound of Music.  They only run once every few years. – word spreads.
11.            This one closes the circle…my first literary crush was on Tell Sackett.

Enough about me!  Onto the bloggers that I am encouraging you to go check out!

Kasey Kiehl at Middle School Teacher to Literacy Coach:  Kasey really knows her stuff!  She shares resources and solid information about running records, small groups, anchor charts, and interventions for middle school teachers.  Her blog is not fluff!  Every time I check in on her, I come away with something to try (or she has reminded this old teacher of something).

Mrs. Shepherd at Shepherd's Shining Stars:  Mrs. Shepherd was one of the first people to connect with me when I started blogging.  She shares good stuff every time she makes a post.  Make sure to check out her post on her Passion Projects!  If she finds a resource, then she shares it!  That is why I started to blogging, to share and learn.

Heather Temske at room 4 imagination:  Like Mrs. Shepherd, Heather was one of my first contacts in the blogging world.  One of the reasons I love reading her blog is that her passion for continued growth inspires me.  I feel like a little bit of a cheat, but I am not reading Teach Like A Pirate, I am just reading Heather’s posts about it.  Make sure you check out her super cool post on paper making with her students!

Hodgesgal at Hodges Herald:    Elizabeth continually shares all the good stuff she does in her classroom, and the new resources that she has found.  I always check in with her blog, because she has real stuff and examples from her classroom.  She even shares when she learns how to do something new with her blog.  I am stealing her Divisibility Rules fold-able for my interactive notebooks.

Again, thank you for your consideration and continued support!  Tomorrow, check back for more about Master Math Notebook, A Gazillion Parts (imagine William Shatner saying that with a resounding echo….echo…).