A great weekend and planning ahead as a Mom... {Monday Markdown a little early!}

Friday was our class field trip to the Fort Whyte Center.  We do navigation, GPS, and ecological surveys.  We usually go in the spring but this year we chose to go in the fall.  It was beautiful there! And my group - for the most part - was awesome and camera hungry LOL! I had a lot of fun taking scenery shots - with no filters it was so amazing. My group did a jump shot with the colored leaves, they were pretty stinkin' creative.

On another note, I live in Winnipeg.  It looks like this:
9 months of the year.  So when my husband suggested that we go camping one more time to take advantage of the great weather I jumped on board without asking where or when.  Literally. My kids were asking questions like "Where are we going?" and "When are we going to be back?" when I told them and I had zero answers for them until I went back to ask for the details.

I volunteer with NURV on Friday nights (my churches amazing youth program) so after I was done at 10:45p.m. we started the over three hour drive to Fairford River. My oldest daughters words; "YES!  Road trip buddies!" She drove for les than an hour when we had to stop for a pee break.  The Northern Lights were AMAZING and we were both very sad that you cannot take a picture of them.
Anyways, back to my story... she hops in the passenger seat and proceeds to go to sleep.  ABANDONER!!  I drove the next 2 hours and 45 minutes by myself.  At least I had headphones and  some great music - I played my YouTube acoustic playlist which includes The 1975, Black Veil Brides, Robert Pattinson, Jamie Campbell Bower, Passenger - and a bunch of other acoustic covers.  It was a great road trip buddy.

We spent the next day and half fishing, sun bathing, camp firing, and taking more scenery shots.

We caught 12 fish - one carp, one cat fish and the rest were pickerel and tasted pretty darn good. Today it was SO COLD and raining so we headed home.  Thank you Gramma and Grandpa for an amazing time.

Looking ahead ay my week: 3 volley ball practices, 3 staff meetings, some professional development, a lot of assessment completions on basic skills in math, organizing science packs for labs until Christmas, a few grade level meetings, and two new products to finish up.

My Monday Markdown items this week are my Ah-Mazing Guided Reading Tubs or Centers - reg $5.50 on sale for $2.25 this week only.  It was one of my favorite activities to use in my grade one literacy block.

Dr. Alphabetical Order: put the words into alphabetical order and record your work on the recording sheet. This works not only on alphabetical order but also on fluency as they read through the words and record them.

Sentence Superhero: there are 36 sentences that all need the help of a sentence superhero! Correct the sentences by adding capitals and punctuation and recording your work on the recording sheet. This helps reinforce the idea between an asking sentence, a questioning sentences, and an exciting sentence.

Ch-ch-chunking Champion: Use a variety of word maps and alpha tiles to create as many words as you can to be the chunking champion. Beyond working on creating words through stretching and chunking this activity helps reinforce proper letter formation of letters with “tails” and “necks” on recording sheets with practice lines.

Blend/Digraph Memory Monster: Match a “blend/digraph” card to a picture that has a word that starts with that blend or digraph. Can be one large game or three smaller games to shorten game play for 15 minute rotations.

Sentence Chef: Our little sentence chefs will be using three ingredients {provided on three color coded spinners} to cook up some good sentences – nouns, adjectives and verbs. Recording sheets are also color coded to affirm independence of students who are still not completely confident with the parts of speech. There is also a “draw me” box that allows them to illustrate their silly sentence to confirm comprehension.

What’s Next Ninja: Our little ninjas will sequence the events of a story by arranging story strips in the right order. There are five different stories they can practice on and each story uses a different form of understanding; ordinal numbers {first, second etc.}, before and after, large, medium and smaller etc., in a variety of real life experiences such as making a bed, making a sandwich, making a snowman, sequence of a day and so on. Recording sheets allow students to draw a comic strip to show their understanding.
For my fellow Middle Years teachers may be interested in my Dynamic Earth Unit.
It is regular price $6.00 on sale this week for $3.00. A unit on the forces that build and shape the earth: from Faults and Plates to Mountains, Volcanoes, and Earthquakes

 All applicable answer keys
 All links included for videos
 Links to images, resources, websites that will support your Lessons inserted where you will need them for convenience.
Posters for Sandwich squish lab
 Handouts for group activities – types of volcanoes, types of folds and faults
 Teaching suggestions for lessons
 Lab instructions including dialogue

 Rubric page
 Questions for Plate tectonic video on YouTube
 Plate tectonic activity page
 Types of faults info and room for diagrams
 Earthquake handouts and information on body and surface waves
 Mountain information handout and cut and paste
 Mapping Mountains Activity (requires an atlas) along with map
 Mountain review questions and extension activity
 Crossword to complete with Pacific Ring of Fire video from YouTube
 Volcano information handout
 Parts of a volcano definitions and hand drawn diagram to label
 Types of volcanoes group activity and worksheet
 Volcanic Eruptions Lab handout
 Sandwich squish lab pages and rubrics

 Unit project – Volcano Research Journal (including mapping activity, diagram, creative elements and a rubric to follow).  Includes Scientific Process and extension activities using Nelson Science and Technology Grade 7 text. The extension work is just that – an extension. It is not required to use the booklet or teacher resources.  Also included are the unit test, adapted test and a key for both.
Looking ahead as Mom I am excited about a new product that came out today.  My son is in Grade 1 and we need to work n his reading fluency and comprehension.  I bought these FLUENCY STRIPS SET ONE  by the Moffat Girls and LOVED them for my daughter.  Now SET 2 is up!!  Check them out here - they should be in every Early Years teacher arsenal and every parents "help at home" kit!!  No kidding!


The little things....

I am teaching a great group of Grade 7's this year.  While we were talking about "job descriptions" in my Ecosystem unit we used the janitor as our starting point of what a job description looks like.   While brain storming they realized that without the janitor a lot of things would be unfixed, undone, or unusable.  One of my students said we should buy him a gift to show him how much we appreciate him.

Yesterday I bought him his favorite kind of chocolate and we made a card and all signed it. 

I realize that it is only a very small token and that it in no way reflects how much we appreciate our amazing janitors hard work, but I think that it speak volumes about the kids that it was their idea and that they realize that recognizing his hard work with a gesture would be a nice thing to.

We all know that without the receptionists and janitors teachers would be lost!


Monday Markdown and addicted to reading.

I have totally enjoyed teaching my Interactions in the Ecosystem Unit to my new Grade 7's  Although they claim to love all of the work we do their favorite part is learning about Mount St. Helens.  I LOVE using Mount St. Helens as a backdrop for learning about Ecosystems.  Not only does it touch on every topic we need to cover, offer a great look at succession and recovery, provide a great segway to our next unit which is the Dynamic Earth - it also is a platform for talking about Creationism.  As a Christian teacher I think that having that spiritual "tie in" is a great place for my students to see that God is not only present in Bible class - His handiwork can be see all around us!

We just got to the Producer, Consumer, and Decomposer portion of the unit at the end of last week.
We looked at some job descriptions as a warm up activity and then we wrote one of our own for the janitor. {Forgive the messy writing the marker I was using was terrible)

 When we were done and talked about expectations they wrote job descriptions for one of the three types of organisms.  Some of them I got were great. 
I am proud of how much inferencing many of the students were able to do.  This week we will be looking at Micro-organisms.  So far the mould lab is one of the activities that my previous classes got right into.

That being said my Interactions in Ecosystems unit is on sale right now for half price.  It is regularly $9.99.  If you grab it up today it is only $5.00.  You can check it out HERE --> http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Interactions-in-Ecosystem-Full-Unit-1403059 .

I spent some of my weekend rereading the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare.  It is a very well written series.  I will openly admit that many of my favorite reads fall into the YA novel category.  I say that without any shame.  They rock.

I am pretty sure I am addicted to reading and buying books in a way that might be unhealthy.  I now have no room left for books on any of my shelves.  They are double rowed.  The top of my fireplace is stacked 15 books high in 8 columns.  I may need a another house for my books soon.  Lord help me!!


Made it Monday

One of my favorite "new" things is my chalkboard table.  My classes both love it; they leave me message throughout the day or draw me pictures.  The best thing it has done has give those kids who just have to have something to do with their hands a way to complete math that is a little more interesting than scrap paper. Even my most unwilling students can be bribed!

It was an old desk in the basement that a neighbour had given us a few years ago when they moved.  I took it apart and spray painted the legs and poles with heavy duty acrylic spray paint. 
I got some chalkboard paint from Canadian tire for $23 and slapped about 6 layers down on the top of the table.

May oldest daughter Cheyenne spent a whole spare driving back and forth from the house to the school with the pieces and even put it together for me.  She is the bomb.

Have I mentioned that I LOVE it.

If you have ever thought about making one of these - I say DO IT!!
 My made it number two is for the classroom.   It is super simple, but it saves me time and trouble all year long. I made marking sheets last year and was so glad that I did.  I clip them to the front of marking with a binder slip, and this lets me record lates as well as marks. They print two per page and you can grab them here.

I made a few minor changes and uploaded my coffee labels that I use for my "While you were late" board.  Unfortunately my printer is a little under the weather so I had to print them at school in black and white.
But coffee makes everything better even in black and white.  You can grab them here.



Five For Friday

So this was my schools first week back at school.  Well, first few days anyways.  I got two amazing new group of Grade 7's and we are already into the swing of things.  To reflect on my week I am linking up to Doodle Bugs Teaching and her Five for Friday Link up.

Totally un-school related but too cute not to share.  I have five kids, and have had every one of them climb into my bed at night.  However, it usually happened one at a time and they snuggled up by my side and fell back to sleep.  These two often end up in my bed at the same time.  They are totally adorable, but....they hog the bed and my son is a hitter.  He swings wildly in his sleep and I swear he acquires inhuman strength as his little body recharges over night.  It hurts.  So, why do I left them rob of my well earned sleep??  Because they grow up so fast and someday there will be no little feet scampering down the hall and trying to climb over me without stirring me from sleep.  Enjoy the little things, even the little things that do not always seem enjoyable :D

You may be able to take the teacher out of the elementary school but you cannot ever really take the elementary out of the teacher.  I have the only decorated room at school, and that is okay with me.  Its like me...unique :D.  It is far from being truly *finished* and I have a TON of projects on the horizon, but for now it makes me happy.  Especially the Grumpy Cat poster a student bought me last year. And yes, I even put a scalloped border around my map.

Rain.  Rain.  And more rain.  It has rained so much the last few weeks that I was surprised to see the sun for a few hours this afternoon.  I actually like the sound of rain, the smell of rain, thunder, lightning, howling wind, big puffy, ominous clouds.... I just don't like mud.  Especially when you live with a bunch of kids and work with a bunch of kids.  It is messy.  But, on the bright side..it is not snow!! 
My class is two lessons into our Interactions within Ecosystems unit.  Today we did a yarn toss activity that is meant to illustrate the interconnectedness of the biotic and abiotic environment.  It was perhaps a little more chatty than I would have liked, BUT the ones who got it really got it.  I am excite to keep working through the unit with them.  Last year y class LOVED learning about Mount St. Helens and I have found that this is a great way to look at real life examples of almost all of the topics covered in this unit.
Last, but in no way least - is Tim's Pumpkin Spice Tea. I basically could live off this tea.  One cream, one sugar and one happy ME!!


A Quick Flash Freebie and a Few Giveaways

Pop over to my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/gradese7enheaven .  I have TWO flash freebies (one early years and one middle years) and TWO giveaways (one early and one middle also).  What better way to celebrate my first day back at work!  With amazing resources!

Tomorrow is my first day back at school - admin meetings all day and I will grab a few hours to prep for Parent Open House and my first few days with the kids.  I feel much more prepared than I did last year although I still get butterflies when I think about it.  I wonder if that ever goes away?? I kind of hope not, I believe that familiarity can breed contempt and I never want to take for granted the good things in my life!

I love this picture - it pays homage to the long, warm, breezy summer days that I get to spend enjoying my family, my backyard, and God amazing handiwork.  I am in awe <3. I am deeply thankful for each and every sunset I have been given!