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March 31, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted Linky - Favorite Survey

Here is another fun one! Share your favorites!


I am a not so extreme couponer. All 3 of these stores offer great coupons. 
I always feel like I am getting more for less when I shop.


It all started with a big bang. Love Sheldon!


I don't know why. Maybe it is the peanut butter to chocolate ratio, but I think the eggs are better than the regular cups. I look forward to them every year. Thank goodness they are only available for a limited time.


Whether it comes in a blue box or is homemade, I love macaroni and cheese. 
The only mac & cheese I won't eat is from the school cafeteria.




March 29, 2013

A Giveaway with Moxie

So proud of my friend, Diane, at Teaching with Moxie! She has 1,000 Pinterest followers. I can't even imagine. I am just happy to have more followers than I follow. Check out her pins, boards or follow her! Enter her giveaway here! Good luck!


March 27, 2013

Whaaaaat? Wednesday Writing

First of all let me begin by saying "Thank You, State of Texas" for releasing examples of last year's writing scores 3 days before the STAAR Writing test. I wasn't going to even look at them, but then some colleagues convinced me that it was better than we thought. They were right. I shared the personal narratives with my kids before they finished their final practice composition. During dismissal, one of my students saw the packet sitting on my table and asked if he could look through it. Look at this concentration!
Have you seen the examples? Click here to see what he was reading.


March 26, 2013

Tried It Tuesday - Reading Rewards

My dilemma: Motivate kids to read AND hold them accountable for their reading. Personally, I loathe, abhor, and detest reading logs. If you use them, I am happy for you. For 20 years, I have been unable to find or create one that I like and that WORKS. 

This past summer, I stumbled upon Reading Rewards. It is basically an online reading log, but it WORKS. My students beg can I log on my reading time. They can do it the morning before announcements, during their station time, or at home.

 It is very simple, once you set up your groups. The hardest part was setting the group target. I started with my expectation of 20 min. a day for at least 5 days a week, then multiplied that by the number of students, then multiplied that # by the number of weeks in the school year.
Here is a look at one of my group pages. The "bulldog" is my account. I only logged in time at the beginning to show them how to use the site. 

The "little duck" student just logged in today. I need to ask him about his time, but he has read 23 books this year. One option teachers have is to require students to have their time validated. You can enter a parent's email or have it sent to you. I have a couple of students that I validate (like #3). By the way, students get to choose their own avatar. Some of them are animated. Some of them change daily. 

This is my profile page. 

Once they have logged in some time, they can play the games. Creature Race is my homeroom's favorite! It has caused a LOT of competition. I frequently hear, "Look Mrs. B. I'm head of so-and-so."

There is a a blog and community component to Reading Rewards. I don't allow my students to send messages to each other. They tried, but much to their dismay their messages were sent to me.

Reading Rewards - I tried it. It worked. I like it. I will use it again next year. However, I think I will tie it into their grade. Have any of you used Reading Rewards? Any suggestions for grades?

96...97...98....I'm almost at 100 followers. I feel like the little blogger that could. I am thinking about a 100 follower giveaway, maybe a Starbucks giftcard. It may be on hold until this weekend though. Check back in Friday!

What have you tried? Head over to Fourth Grade Flipper and tell Holly what you have tried every Tuesday.


March 25, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted Linky - Nouns

This week's challenge: NOUNS 
List a person, place, thing, and an animal.

My Favorite PERSON

My husband, Chris

This is from our trip to the Hill Country in 2005. 
A LOT has changed, since this picture. 
I weigh 50 lbs. less and have a different haircut & glasses.
He still looks the same and has those dreamy green eyes.

My Favorite PLACE


There is no place like it. I am a homebody.
I would rather be home, than just about any other place.

My Favorite THING

My pink Dell Inspiron laptop

The hard drive crashed. Tech support in India and I fixed it.
 The monitor case cracked. The Geek Squad fixed that.
It overheats. I've gone through two cooling pads, 
but I couldn't live without it.

My Favorite ANIMAL(S)

Asking me who my favorite animal is like asking a mother which is their favorite child.
These are my pets; Skunky, Skittles, (S)Kipper, and Skooter.
2 girls + 2 boys = 2 much fun

Have a good week!

March 24, 2013

Motivation Monday

Are you ready for the STAAR test? It is time to get motivated! Pumped up!

Over the years, I have shown various motivational videos prior to the test. Unfortunately, I didn't bookmark  them or keep their codes. This weekend, I spent a lot of time searching for them again. I decided to post them and some new ones. Maybe next year I won't have to do this search again. If you have a favorite motivational video, please leave a comment with the title or the code.

General Motivation

Never Give Up

Caution: This one shows Michael Phelps doing drugs. Skip 3:43 - 3:49.

Kid President's Pep Talk

Texas STAAR Test Motivation

Harrison Intermediate STAAR Wars

Right Now

We'll Pass the STAAR We Know It


STAAR Test Parody Dynamite

General Test Taking Motivation

Study Rock Anthem

Check It Over (Bieber)

Dilly's Test Taking Tips

Good luck students!

March 22, 2013

STAAR Survival Mode

5 more days until the STAAR Writing test, and I am PRAYING. 

Knowing that this is a STRESSful time of year for me, 
my sweet husband had this delivered today.
It was full of candybars, cookies, a cake mix, and chocolate band-aids. 
This should get me through testing.

How do you survive state testing?

March 20, 2013

A Funny & a Favorite

Warning: Self-indulgent rambling

Today was one of "those" days. We had several schedule changes, a light rain shower during arrival this morning, and a gas leak at lunch. This means indoor recess and a lot of craziness. As my students are coming back to my room from indoor recess, they see the secretary and 4 firemen walking down the main hall. Then the questions start. "Why are there firemen?" "Is there a fire?" "Are we in danger?" But the best question... (Yes! I used a conjunction at the beginning of my sentence. One of my personal pet peeves.)"Are they going to dance?" Whaaaaat? I couldn't contain my laughter, especially since the very innocent question came from one of my sweet, smart bow head girls.

Like I said, today was one of "those" days. Not to mention, we now have only 7 more days until the STAAR Writing test. We are using the Motivation Writing program. My students were working in pairs to answer the questions. They were working on the editing portion of the test. One pair of my "good", but not my "best" students ask, "Mrs. B, we need that AAAWWUBBIS thing." Be still my heart. Do they mean my AAAWWUBBIS anchor chart? YES!!!

I am linking up with Jessica at A Turn to Learn.


March 18, 2013

My 1st TPT file - STAAR Writing Study Guide

Check me out now! I just uploaded my first TPT file. I couldn't be more excited. 

There are only 9 more days until the Texas STAAR Writing test.
This is a study guide that I will use with my students the Thursday or Monday before the test.
They can take it home to review. Last year, it seemed to help calm their nerves.

Click here to check it out!

Since, this is my first TPT file, if you have any suggestions or comments,
please leave me a comment. 
I would appreciate it! Thanks!


March 11, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted Linky Party - Initials

I love a good linky party! LaToya from Flying into First Grade is the host.
It is simple. Share 3 things that you like or like to do using your initials.

K - Kansas

I grew up in Overland Park, Kansas. I left Kansas to move to Texas to teach twenty years ago. Although I miss a few of my friends and some of my family, I do NOT miss winter there. 

L - lime green love

My favorite color!

B - Blogging

I started blogging last July. I wanted to participate in another linky party, Monday Made It! with Tara. Since then, I've learned a lot. Now, I am preparing to take the next step and open a TPT store. 

Happy Spring Break!


March 6, 2013

-ED is in bloom!

-ED endings are sprouting up in our hallway! Spring is coming!

What's blooming in your classroom? Take a picture and enter Diane's March Photo Challenge.


March 4, 2013

March Monday Made It and Giveaways!

Like I said February was busy, busy, busy! This was all I made besides the anchor charts that I previously posted. The idea came from where else...Pinterest. 
Duct tape flags on pencils

Super easy! When we take benchmark tests, I usually have to give my kids new #2 pencils. When the test is over, I usually don't get those pencils back. This time I decided to try something different. They take their middle of the year Math benchmark on Thursday. We'll see if I get 20 green flagged pencils back.

By the way...I am thinking about doing pencil flags in different colors. Several years ago, my partner, Tina, told me about some brain research that suggested certain colors for certain tests. For example, Math = blue, Writing = purple, and Reading = green. 

Today was the first day of Spring Break! I haven't made anything yet, but I did go to Hobby Lobby and bought the supplies to make this keychain. Mine will be a Diet Mountain Dew keychain.
I'll post this pics next month.

Looking forward to summer when I will be making things weekly
 rather than just once a month and linking up with Tara!

Besides linking up with linky parties, I love entering giveaways. I have even won a few. Good luck!

Have you figured out what we have in common? Look carefully! : )


March 2, 2013

I'm Currently a Texas Blogger!

I haven't been this happy to see the beginning of a new month in a loooong time! February was so gross and busy. TGIF had a whole new meaning yesterday. I added TGIF & M (Thank Goodness it is Friday & March!) Anyway...it is time a new CURRENTLY from Farley!

LISTENING to Robot Combat League, because hubby has the remote control. Otherwise, I would not even know this show existed.

LOVING my step-daughter, Tiffany! She is taking her oral exam for the Foreign Service test on Monday. Sending her prayers and good vibrations!

THINKING about opening a TPT store. I am going to look into it during spring break. Any advice?

WANTING to learn how to make my own fonts and digital papers. I don't have Photoshop, but I do have Fireworks. I just need to get started.


(I am not usually a rule breaker, except when the rules don't fit me. K is a really hard letter to come up with 3 things that I like, love and hate, so I bent the rule a little. I am using the /k/ sound of c. I am an English teacher. Why not?)

LIKE carrots! Trying to eat them everyday instead of potato chips, etc...
LOVE candy! I will be so glad when Easter is over, because then we will be done with candy holidays until Halloween. Right now I am craving Reese's Peanut Butter eggs. They are so much better than just a regular Reese's cup.
HATE chaos! Lately, it seems things have been very chaotic. I am looking forward to the peace and tranquility of SPRING BREAK!

Now head over or go back to Farley's and check out the other Currently bloggers.

I'm, also, a Texas blogger! Head over to visit  Diane @ Fifth in the Middle and join her linky party.

Finally...Happy Texas Independence Day and Sam Houston's Birthday!