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May 26, 2013

Mentor Text - Social Studies

Love this linky, especially the 4th Sunday of the month! Why? Today is the day to link up with Social Studies  texts. This is my favorite subject to teach.

At the beginning of the year, we focus on map skills and geography. My favorite book to use is The Armadillo from Amarillo by Lynne Cherry.

An Armadillo from Amarillo wondered,
"Where in the world am I?
What's out beyond these tangled woods,
What's out beyond the sky?"

This Dr. Seuss-like phrase begins the armadillo's journey to discover his place in the world. As you travel with him, he writes postcards back to his cousin, Brillo at the Philadelphia Zoo. With the help of a golden eagle, he finds out that he lives in a city, in a state, in a country, on a continent, and on a planet. 

Lots of opportunities to teach geography and science (Texas flora and fauna) with this book! The activity I usually use after reading this book is to create a mobile of where the student is located starting with their city, state, country, continent, and planet.


May 24, 2013

Five for Friday - By the numbers

It's Friday! Time to link up with Kacey!

Can I get an amen? I'm so glad it is a three day weekend and so jealous of those of you who finished today. I haven't blogged much, not because I didn't have anything to say, but because I have been overwhelmed with things to do. I've been so busy, I haven't even made a to do list. Definitely fixing that issue this weekend.

Without further ado... Here is my week by the numbers.

ONE Party

Wednesday, we had our EOY Staff party. BBQ, friends, and awards! What more could you ask for? I was surprised to be nominated for the "Mega Motivator" award. Not as surprised to be nominated for "Helping Hands". 

TWO Field Trips

Yup! You read that correctly. Our district scheduled our annual Fine Arts field trip for Tuesday to our local outdoor amphitheater to listen to our local symphony. This year, my class ended up in the "box seats". They provided us with water bottles. The fans were blowing. Other than the unair-conditioned bus ride, it was a rather nice trip.

Today, we took our "Top Dogs" to the Intermediate school for a preview of next year. The 6th grade choir, band, and orchestra preform, then student ambassadors take us on a tour. I felt like a celebrity when we walked in, because I was immediately greeted by smiles, waves, and shout outs from some formers. Best of all, one of my no-longer little guys was one of the ambassadors. When he was in my class, he had a medical crisis on the 4th day of 4th grade. He was in the hospital for about half of the year. When he returned, he was in a wheelchair whenever we left the classroom. In the classroom, he wore a belt for support and had an aide assist him with certain tasks. Today, I watched him stand, sing, and do hand motions with the choir. Needless to say, he and his Mom have a special place in my heart. 

THREE Interviews

Before the announcement was made about my move to 2nd grade, I assisted my team in interviewing my replacement. We did three interviews after school Tuesday. 


I have been smiling ear to ear since Wednesday. If I knew switching grade levels would have excited me so much, I might have done it years ago. 

You may have noticed the uber cute changes to my blog. Thanks to my BBB Megan @ A Bird in Hand blog design. I asked her to change my header and blog button and use a primary looking font to reflect my grade level change. I honestly can't say enough wonderful things about her or her designs. 


How long was this week? So long that I don't even remember Monday. I had to look back at my lesson plans and calendar to see if anything blog worthy happened. The good news...this week was the last 5 day week with kids this year.

May 22, 2013

Fourth Grade No More

When I titled my blog, I knew I wanted to call it Teach n' Tex, because that is what I do and where I do it. I added the subtitle Fourth Grade Forever, because I've taught 4th grade forever (the last 19 years). I, also, wanted followers to know immediately what grade level I taught without having to search my profile.

Over the years, I thought about teaching another grade level, I even said it out loud, but I would always end up staying in 4th. Well, this year was different. I approached my principal and requested any grade level (2nd-4th) Math. I need a break from the stress of STAAR Reading and Writing testing, and my husband has some health issues, that quite frankly, stresses me out even more.

I am OVER the MOON excited to announce that I will be teaching SECOND GRADE MATH next year! New blog name...Teach N' Tex...Second Grade is the BOMB! What do you think?

May 19, 2013

Mentor Text - Science - Cactus Hotel

It is Sunday! Time to explore my old Science files and link up with Amanda & Stacia. 

When I was self-contained, I tried to integrate as much as possible. Our reading basal contained this little gem.

You can check out some of the pages by clicking here. After reading, we would complete the following reading response. Click the picture to purchase a copy from Teacher Express.

Finally, students would draw their own Saguaro cactus, and draw and label the animals that depend on the cactus for survival. (Unfortunately, I can't find my file with student examples.)

Next week, we will back to my favorite subject, Social Studies. Come back and check it out!

May 12, 2013

Math Mentor Text - Go Hang a Salami, I'm a Lasagna Hog

Hmmmm...do I break the blogger cardinal rule and post twice in one day or arrive late to a linky party? Break the rules! I follow most of the rules, but only the ones that apply to me. 

Here is another rule that I am breaking. Today Amanda and Stacia's mentor text linky party is about Math. Officially, my book is about palindromes and might be used in word study. However, I have always used it in Math, when I taught repeated addition. I would begin by reading "Robert Trebor" by Marilyn Burns, then Go Hang a Salami, I'm a Lasagna Hog by Jon Agee.

How do you make this a Math book? By teaching repeated addition with palindromes. I learned about this original lesson a million years ago when I attended a TEXTEAM training. You can see the lesson here.

MOM said, "WOW!" 

Did you ever know that you're my HERO? Giveaway

Did you ever know that you're my hero? Mothers and teachers are my heroes. Since last week was Teacher Appreciation Week, and today is Mother's Day, I think it is only appropriate to share with you my newest TPT product.

After reading, Hero Dad by Melinda Hardin, students write their own definition of a hero, then they choose someone who they consider a hero. I did not restrict them. They could choose a friend, family member, celebrity, or fictional character, as long as they could answer the question why they consider them heroic and how did they inspire them. I did suggest that if they chose their mom, they could give their project to her for Mother's Day or do dad and save it for Father's Day.

Since, I just hit 150 followers on Friday, and I don't have time to do a BIG Rafflecopter giveaway, I am going to give my new HERO packet to the first 5 followers, who leave a comment. You can follow my blog, my TPT store or my Facebook page, or all three. Be sure to leave an email address in your comment, so I can send it to you! Happy Mother's Day to all of you superheroes!

Don't forget Holly's giveaway! It ends at midnight tonight.
All 4 winners will receive the My Hero packet.


May 11, 2013

Reading Olympians Rap Battle

How do you spark motivation, especially during the end of the school year? 
How do you get kids excited about word parts?
My answer...a rap battle!
Just a little friendly competition.

For the past several weeks, I have been using the Reading Olympians program. (See my previous blog post here.) My kids love the raps! I did too! However, they were only learning one or two of them a week!

This past week I put them in three groups, gave them five minutes to come up with a team name, and ten minutes to divide up the rap responsibilities and practice. Each day, I gave them some practice time. Friday was team performance day! My morning class only had one person who didn't memorize their rap. My afternoon class gave awesome performances, but kind of forgot that it was about memorizing the raps. One team only did 4 out of 10, yet they had the longest performance time. 

Teams could earn additional points by finding additional words for the anchor chart. My requirements were that the words be spelled and used correctly. They, also, couldn't repeat a word or add endings.

I'd say they were motivated.

Today is the last day to enter Holly's giveaway!
4 winners are going to receive....

Need some motivation? Head over to Joanne's @ Head Over Heels for Teaching.

May 10, 2013

Five for Friday Flashback - Quietest Pencil Sharpener



                     Fake flowers, because I'm not a                          Sweet notes from sweeties!
                                 flower fan.

Winner, winner...chicken dinner!
I won two giveaways this week. 
Thank you to Christy @ Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road for the $10 TPT gift certificate and
Amelia @ Where the Wild Things Learn for the plethora of TPT products.


I love it! Homophone fun!!!
(By the way...I don't know if you can tell in this picture, but these post-it notes are perforated. What?)

PMA Wednesday

Cake slices from Hubbell & Hudson

Every Wednesday this school year, my sweet and thoughtful husband has sent out a PMA (positive mental attitude) message to my team. This week, he sent the message and a platter of cake. I forgot to take a picture when it first arrived, but this is what was left after I served my team. 

Here is his PMA for this week.

Those who educate children well are more to be honored than they who produce them; for these only gave them life, those the art of living well.

And for a chuckle...
"Summer vacation is the time when parents realize that teachers are grossly underpaid."


The Best Pencil Sharpener

Thursday, this appeared on my desk while I was picking my kids up from Specials.
My students were thrilled. They haven't been thrilled with my wall mounted pencil sharpener this year. Some have to sit on my table to gain access to it. The pencil shaving chamber fills up and jams frequently. Anyway...no longer a problem with the Quietest Classroom Pencil Sharpener from Classroom Friendly Supplies

                                     Pencils before                                          Pencils after

I do recommend teaching them how to use it correctly. There is even a video to show them how.

The sharpener comes with a clamp, but I haven't clamped mine down, yet. I like that a student can take it to their seat and sharpen all of their colored pencils in their free time, so they are ready to go. (Anytime we use colored pencils, it takes 15 min. for everyone to get them ready.) This week, one of my sweet girls donated the remained of her pencil supply. After we got the sharpener, she volunteered to sharpen them. When was the last time a student volunteered to do that?

Now, are you ready for the best part?
 You can enter to win one here or if you are a blogger, you can get one free like me here


Favorite Friday
To end Teacher Appreciation, my students put together a basket of my favorites. Nailed it!


I hit 150 followers today! Sniff! Sniff! Do I smell a giveaway? Stay tuned!

My freebie was selected as a featured Freebie. 
After the day, I had today this was a nice way to end my week.

Don't forget about Holly's giveaway! 
I am working on a bonus surprise prize to giveaway to her four winners.

Phew! I think I am finished with this week, and I didn't even tell you about my
 "What the heck am I going to do next year?" drama. 
As soon as I know, I'll announce it. 
Fingers crossed, I will know something tomorrow or Monday.

Thank you to all of the blogging teachers who have helped me grow and learn as a teacher and a blogger! I hope I can be an inspiration to a new blogger or teacher someday! I, also, hope you were blessed with some kind words and goodies this week!

May 6, 2013

Featured & a Flippin' Good Giveaway

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!
Or a gift card to TPT!

Now on to business...

I am flipping out, because my bloggy friend, Holly, has reached 500 followers. 
She is having a flippin' good giveaway. Go check it out!
If you don't do it today, do it tomorrow! She has a great linky, "Tried It Tuesday". 
I have a product posted in Rafflecopter #3 and have linked up with her several times. 

Then go visit my other bloggy & real world friend, Megan @ I Teach. What is Your SuperPower? 
She has a great post every month called...

This month she featured my post about Safe Share.