Tuesday, December 31, 2013

December Activities

Just be aware that this is going to a post full of pictures...just a forewarning.

So...every year third grade puts on the Christmas musical (and by every year I mean this is our second year).  This year I got to sit down with the music teacher and pick our musical.  And we picked "Elfis and the Sleighriders".  If you haven't heard of it, look for it on youtube or just google it.  It is a super cute, super short, Christmas musical.

We had play practice for a little over a week leading up to the show.  We had two daytime shows, and one evening performance.  It is insane, intense, crazy, and wonderful.  We almost cancelled it 4 or 5 times.  But in the end, it was totally worth it.


So, every year my kiddos make a gift for their parents.  The past few years, my kiddos each get a foam snowflake.  I take their picture, print their picture, and they glue their picture onto the center of the snowflake.  Then they get to glitter around it and we turn it into an ornament.  Well, this year, one of my kiddos was my student a few years ago...can't do the same gift.  But I wanted to do the snowflake.  So ALL three third grade teachers decided to glitter snowflakes to decorate our stage for Elfis.  I don't know what it is...but I love using glitter.  It irritates the mess out of some people...but since we don't have time for crafts in third grade, I tend to go all out during December.


Have you ever heard of Pom juice?  It's pomegranate juice, sometimes mixed with other juices.  It comes in these bottles:

Well, my mother-in-law has been collecting these bottles for me for awhile.  She gave me some a few years ago, and they've been sitting in a cabinet in my classroom since then.  FINALLY, a reason to use them!  We painted them, and turned into snowmen and snowladies.  I LOVED it, my kiddos loved it, my table didn't like it so much though.  One of my kiddos flat-out admitted he didn't know how to paint.  And to think, we have an Art teacher at my school 4 days a week.  Sheesh.

They turned out kind of cute, if I do say so myself.

When I first started teaching, I would spend the week before Christmas teaching Kwanzaa and Hanukkah.  As the years have passed, I have dropped Hanukkah and just teach Kwanzaa (just due to time constraints).  So every year I read the book Together for Kwanzaa by Juwanda G. Ford.

It's a great book that teaches the traditions of Kwanzaa, and the Swahili words associated with it, in a picture book.  My third graders even enjoy it.

After we read the book (while taking notes and having a pop-free pop-quiz the next day) we all make a mkeka cloth.  Seriously, this was the quietest my kiddos got all week.  You could've heard a pin drop in my room...it was fantastic!

December is crazy for me...I really don't remember December of 2012.  But I LOVE December.  This year I pulled out everything I could to make sure my kiddos got everything out of the month and the Christmas season that they could!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Resolutions for 2014

I've decided to link up with A Peach for the Teach for the 2014 Resolutions Linky Party.

Personal: Instead of the Freshman 15, I gained about 75 pounds over the course of freshman/sophomore years of college.  I am determined that I will lose most, if not all, of that weight this year.  I'm done being this size!

Professional: I have 4 iPads in my room.  They come out during math rotations, for fun math games.  And then they come out for special activities/projects.  I'd like to use them more...including using QR codes.

Classroom: I have taught every grade level in elementary.  Some (4th and 5th) were very brief and with ESE students who were not on grade level.  But that means I have accumulated A LOT of stuff.  I also tend to take things to work if I think there is even the slightest possibility I could use it in my room.  It's time to clean house...err, school.

Blog: I WILL blog more.  That is my goal.

Just for Fun:  I decided a few years ago that I wanted to run a Disney marathon before I turned 30.  I turn 30 in 2016.  Disney World has their big marathon weekend in January.  I thought about waiting until 2016 to run my marathon, and then decided that I wanted to bump it up a year.  I have run multiple 5K's, and this past October I ran a 10 mile race at Disney.  Yesterday was the first time I've run since October (bad, I know).  But I really want to run the marathon in 2015...so it's time to start training again.

I can't wait to see what your resolutions are.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Morfo and Melting Snowmen

So, our reading series, Reading Wonders, has a 6 week unit setup.  As in, every unit has 6 weeks that are all tied together for one big theme.  The sixth week is the project week.  There is always a readers' theatre, and then multiple projects to choose from.  These projects require research and reading skills beyond just a basal.

So, for our unit 2 week 6, we chose a project that asked us to research an animal, its habitat, and how people could protect that habitat.  But you know me, I can't just do a simple flipbook (which I think is what they wanted, now I don't remember).  So, of course, I found an app.

Morfo is an app that allows you to take a picture, and then cause the picture to talk...complete with blinking eyes, moving mouth, etc.  It's AMAZING!

My kiddos got into groups.  They then had to pick a "wild" animal and do research on it.  They then had to find a picture, and have their animal talk about the habitat, other animals that live there, and how people can protect their habitat.  My kiddos did quite well.  They researched online and in books.  I wish I had saved the morfo's, but something went wonky with my iPads and they didn't save.  Grr!


So, every year, around November/December, my class makes a snowman.  I first heard of this on Pinterest, and as soon as I saw it I LOVED it.  Thank you Frugal Teacher!

I do my snowman a little different every year though.  One year we glitter glued on his face.  This year, instead of a face, we just dripped food coloring on him throughout the day.
So there's our snowman.  All day we watch as he melts.  We talk about the 3 states of matter, and then at the end of the day, he looks like this.

And then I put him in a pot and boil him.  And we talk about steam and boiling and evaporation and all of those fun science words.

My kiddos love it...and it's a fun page in our Science Journals.

What kinds of fun science experiments/activities do you do with your class?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

It's been a month...

I feel like the worst blogger EVER!  I have these grand visions of what my blog is going to look like...and how often I'm going to blog...and then life gets in the way.

So...here's a quick recap of the last month.


Have you ever heard of Morfo?  It's this great app for the iPad.  I'll have a post on it later this week, so keep your eyes peeled.

Mr. G why is your hair green?

So my district has decided that every school needs to participate in an online assessment program called Discovery Education.  (Have any of you heard of that?)  Well, last year our DE scores lined up almost perfectly with our FCAT scores...so the district is really pushing it.

During the first round, I only have 1 (yes, that is a 1) kiddo who was proficient in reading.  Now, I know I have the inclusion class, but that's AWFUL! So we talked about our scores and what we had to work on.  And then before we took our second assessment I made a deal with my kiddos.  If I had 4 students who were proficient (level 3 or higher) in reading, I would dye my hair green.  Well, I had four!  So I had green hair for the day.  My kiddos LOVED it!

This is one of my best teacher friends.  She teaches next door to me, in third grade.  And she decided to get in on the hair dyeing action.  She let her proficient kids streak her hair with pastels though.  It's hard to tell, but she's got quite a few different colors in that hair.

 Christmas Activities

I'm actually going to do a separate post with all of my Christmas activities, including our Third Grade Christmas Musical - Elfis and the Sleighriders!

Thanks for sticking with me as I learn how to balance life, work, and this blog. 

Monday, November 25, 2013


So...I have been meaning to update this for a few days...I've had some really cool things happen in my room the past few days (well, I think they're cool anyway).  But my pictures on one laptop and it's in the other room and I'm always just to lazy to get it.  But tomorrow or Wednesday...promise.

I had to come today, though, and ask for help.  I just got a new student.  She's super smart (which is great cause my class needs some help in that area) and is a genuinely nice kid.  Here's the kicker...she's a Jehovah's Witness.  For those who don't know, Jehovah's Witnesses don't celebrate holidays...ANY holidays.  And for those who don't know me...this is my favorite time of year.  Christmas Eve is my FAVORITE day of the year!

I'm meeting with her mom tomorrow to talk about how to handle the upcoming holiday season.  But I just thought, if any of you had dealt with this before, what did you do?  How did you celebrate the season without offending a student?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Class Bear and There's an App for That

First, I would like to introduce you to Lil' Wayne.

Yes, that green bear is named Lil' Wayne.  And yes, I am reading him a bedtime story.  And yes, that is my dog, and she is not amused that Lil' Wayne is sitting on her bed.

My kiddos got to nominate and vote on our class bear's name.  Lil' Wayne (after the rapper) was almost unanimous.  I took him home to get a bath and whatnot, and my kiddos thought these were the best pictures ever!

Lil' Wayne is about the get shipped to New York to visit my best friend.  Lil' Wayne is going to be a traveling bear.  Since we're learning about the regions of the US, we're asking people to send him to another person in a different state so we can get some pictures of Lil' Wayne in different regions and climates.  Here's hoping we get lots of goodies, pictures, and postcards.


So we just finished Unit 1 of our Social Studies book.  Which means our unit project.  I bought an app called Comic Life ($4.99...expensive, I know).

But totally worth it.  Comic Life allows you to create comics on your iPad.  So the students were again split into groups.  They created a comic about one of the four areas we studied (US, Caribbean, Canada and Mexico).  They had to use their social studies notebooks (interactive journals) to get their information.  Then they use the app to create a comic about their place.

When I introduce an app, I always give them one day to just play on it.  I make no rules other than "you must take turns and everyone needs to learn the app and it must be school appropriate".  So these comics were only the second time my kiddos used the app...and they did quite well I must say.

I just wish I had more time for stuff like this...cause my kids rocked it.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Social Studies Projects

So, our social studies curriculum is split into four "units" instead of chapters.  And the 3rd grade curriculum is all about the United States and its neighbors - Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

One of the biggest pieces of unit 1 is all about the regions of the United States.  But our curriculum shoves it all into one lesson.  Our team has decided to take 2 days to teach every lesson in the unit...which gave me 2 days to teach all 5 regions of the US, complete with climate and landmarks.  So, instead, I decided to do a project.

My kids split into 5 groups and created posters about their different region.  That way each group was responsible for learning the material themselves, and then sharing it with the class.

First thing they did was fill out a worksheet asking those important questions:
  • what states are in your region
  • what's the climate like in your region
  • what landmarks are in your region

Then they work on their posters, which they then share with the class.

My kiddos really loved this activity...they're oddly excited when they get to make posters.


Also, we have 2 teacher stores here in Pensacola.  One of them, School Works, is owned by some friends of ours...so, of course, that's the one I shop at.  And I always tend to buy things that I normally wouldn't buy cause I'm really not looking.

Well, anyway, I found these wonderful coloring maps of the United States.  So I bought them.  And right after my students created their region posters, we colored our US maps.  My kiddos were, for real, so excited that they each got their own map to label and color.

We talked about state abbreviations and labeled our maps.  And as we colored them in, we color-coded the regions.  It was honestly one of the calmest parts of my day (well, the 2 days it took us to complete it).

Thanks for sticking out this long post.  I'll be updating again soon...promise!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

November Currently

So...yeah.  I'm sorry I've been a terrible blogger.  The four followers I do have are going to leave me soon...I just know it.

Anyway, time for November's Currently with Oh Boy 4th Grade!

Listening: My wife made shredded barbeque chicken for one of our church families.  She's currently shredding it right now.  It's a good thing I don't eat barbeque chicken or I'd be in the kitchen "helping".

Loving: I admit it...I take LOTS and LOTS of pictures and then forget to print them.  (for example, I'm still printing pictures from 2010)  So when Snapfish or Shutterfly has a sale, I usually print lots of pictures at once.  Well, Snapfish just had a penny sale (these sales allow you to purchase a print for a penny [plus S&H]).  And usually you can only order like 100, or sometimes 300.  This time...999!  And since 9 is my FAVORITE number, you know I had to order!

Thinking:  My thinking is what it usually is...I need to blog more.

Wanting:  I would love an extra day in the weekend...but then again, I always do.

Needing:  I have grad school assignments due this weekend.  So I should be working on them, but I'm just not.  Too much time picking out 999 pictures to print and I have lost the motivation.  Not that I ever had any.  *sigh*

A yummy pin:  Oh boy.  For real.  So last year, after hearing my kids talk about traditional Thanksgiving foods that they've never had, I decided to do a Thanksgiving feast.  One of the foods was Green Bean Casserole.  Now, I love me some green beans...but I HATE mushrooms so I had never eaten green bean casserole.  I made the following recipe (no cream of mushroom soup) and it is AMAZING!  Now I make it all the time for no reason!  One of my teacher friends tried a little bit, and loved it so much that I made her the happiest teacher ever when I made her some for Christmas.  Ahh the little things.

Anyway, here's the link: Grandma's Green Bean Casserole

I promise I have some great photos and things to share...I just need to force myself to sit down and do it!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

I'm back!

So I just realized it's been a MONTH since I last posted!  That's insane!  That's what I get for trying to start a blog during first semester while taking my LAST (hallelujah!) semester of grad school.  I'm sorry.  It won't happen again.

I'll try to quickly catch you up to what's been going on...so this'll probably be a long post...sorry!

In my last post I mentioned my school losing 2 positions.  Well, we had two people volunteer to go to another school.  And they weren't happy with us so that is a blessing.  They are happier now and I'm happy for them.  The rearranging because of the loss wasn't terrible either.

I have lost and gained students and instead of the 19 I had at the beginning, I'm down to 16.  And 2 of them didn't start the year with me.  Last year I had one of the most stable classes in the school.  I only lost 1 students and only gained 3.  Now I'm doing the crazy shuffle along with everyone else.

My schedule is INSANE!  I teach reading for 3 hours, math for an hour and 45 minutes, and then I get around 20 for grammar/writing and 25 for science OR social studies.  I love my schedule, and HATE it, all at the same time.

I did want to share two activities I've done this past chapter.  Third grade studies the Universe in science.  We're responsible for teaching about stars, the sun, gravity, and telescopes.  I always start the chapter off with Magic School Bus Sees Stars.  I don't know, I just love it.

Anyway, after we learn about stars and constellations (which is actually not a word my book uses...weird), I read them some constellation stories, and then they make their own.

First they pre-write.

Then they draw their constellations and place their star stickers.

Last, they rewrite their stories onto fresh paper in their best handwriting.

Gravity is also a big thing in third grade for Florida.  I always do a bridge building activity.  (This also helps with team-building as well, shh, our secret.)

I give the kids a certain amount of supplies to build their bridge.  Halfway through the project I let them vote on whether they want more popsicle sticks or more tape.  It's always interesting to see what they vote on.

There's a lot more that's happened...but this is just a snapshot.  I'm going to try, really try, to update this more regularly.  That's my goal for this next month.

Thanks for sticking out this long post!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

One of those afternoons...

So I really, truly, had a good day today.  Was it great?  No.  I have a runner...well, he's more like a walker.  Who up and walked out of my class 4 times today.  But still, it was a good day. 

And then my principal emailed us...emergency meeting after school.  Now I don't know about your districts.  But the county I teach in has what's called a 10 day count.  The Friday of the second week of school the district sits down with the numbers and decides if we actually have enough students for the classrooms/teachers that we have.  Apparently, the district thinks we have too many teachers.

So we're losing 2.  TWO!  Wow.  I don't know about you...but this just makes this crazy.  We've done this before...rearranging teachers.  It's never fun.  But last year, we just had a teacher switch grade levels.  Nothing huge.  This is huge.

The district has issued a list of openings...and asked for volunteers.  I already know of some teachers at my school who want to volunteer.  And I know of some new hires who are freaking out, worried that their position is the one that will be cut.

Guys and gals, fellow teachers, if you've never been in this boat I pray that you won't.  But please pray for my school family.  Whatever will happen will happen.  There's nothing we can do about what is predestined to happen.  But let it be in the best interest of our kids.  That's all I ask.

Monday, September 2, 2013

September Currently

So it's that time again...time to link up with Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade for September's Currently.

Listening: Obviously...I'm on season 2 of Friends.  This is the episode where Ross and Rachel finally have their first kiss.  This is one relationship on a tv show that I was ALWAYS rooting for.  Always.  And Ross coming back to the coffee shop out of the rain is just a great scene.

Loving: Labor Day is one of those holidays that most people can't tell you why we celebrate.  But we still get the day off work to celebrate.  And I couldn't be happier.  For real, I didn't set an alarm last night...and it was amazing.  Yes, I mowed the yard and went grocery shopping today.  But at least I didn't have to set my alarm.

Thinking: It is past 10:00 my time.  Which means I should be asleep...or at least headed towards bed.  Instead I'm still updating this.  Oh well I guess.

Wanting: So Wal-Mart has 2 seasons of Friends packaged together.  Awhile back, the only one I could find was seasons 7/8.  I just bought the season 1/2 pack.  So now I'm missing all the rest of them.

Needing: I am grade level chair this year.  And Literacy Rep for our school.  And a Buddy Mentor.  And I have a new teacher on my grade level who doesn't get a mentor that I've been helping.  And I'm Hospitality Chair.  All of that to say, I was BUSY during the pre-planning week.  So I literally shoved stuff in drawers and cabinets.  I need to get organized.  I can't find stuff that I would normally have used and I had to recreate it.  Not cool.  Or fun.  I need to get organized.

Me: I get to work around 6:00/6:15 (our kids get there at 6:55).  And I stay until 5:00...every day.  Our kids leave by 3:00.  And then I bring home lots of stuff to work on.  I need to start leaving as much at school as possible.  I think if I get organized that'll help.
I am running a 10 mile race in October.  As in, around 30 days away.  And the most I've run is 4 miles.  Help me now.
I wanted this blog for a reason.  And yet I forget to blog.  I wanted this as a way to share my classroom with people outside of my classroom...so I need to update more.

Thanks for checking out my currently.  I'm really going to try blogging more.  I promise.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Classroom Reveal Preview and first week

Sorry, my whole 4 followers, that I've been MIA.  Pre-planning week was INSANE and then this first week has been crazy too.  I love my class though.  I've got some tough kids...but I've got some great kids.  18 third graders all learning our procedures and working together without arguing (most of the time).

Our school is an Extended Day School, which means we have an extra hour for reading instruction.  I love it.  For real.  An extra hour in my day means an extra hour to help my kiddos who are at a first grade reading level with their catch up growth.  (It also means an extra hour of pay...but who's counting?)  But what this also means is that I have to be at school by 6:50 am (the kiddos get there at 6:55).  Our tardy bell rings at 7:25, which is when I start teaching reading immediately.  And the kiddos start dismissal at 2:40.  Teachers aren't allowed to leave until 3:30.  But because I teach at an inner-city school, the latest we can stay is 5:00.  Which is not a lot of time after school to fit in meetings and clean the room and grade papers and and and...yeah.  So I've been staying until 5, driving my 30 minute drive home, and working on school stuff every day this week.  So that's why the no update.  And I haven't taken any pictures of my room except for this one:

It is my room from my small group table (my little corner because I don't have a desk).  This was our room at Orientation.  But our classroom has changed a little.  I've got one special friend who needs to be by himself...so now his desk is at the front of my room.  And one group I need to split into two smaller duos.  Our kiddos just aren't used to sitting and working in groups of 4.  We'll learn.  We'll learn.

I promise to have a real classroom reveal this week.  Promise.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Monday Made It

I think I have a problem updating this unless it's to join a linky party.  I'm going to get better...I promise.

Anyway, I love linking up to this linky party and seeing what everyone has made for his/her classroom.  So of course, I'm going to link up for

And I have TWO Monday Made It's!  I'm so excited.  The first one is one of those melted crayon art pieces.  My wife and I tried these when the buzz was first building about melted crayon art.  I loved it.  And right now, my Wal-Mart is selling these packs of 8 crayons that all fall in the same color scheme.  Once I saw them, I knew I needed to do this type of project for my room.  So I did.

I painted the Mickey head and let it dry completely first.  Then I used painter's tape to completely cover the Mickey head.  I hot glued those crayons on, and then started blow-drying them. 

If you're going to do this project, be forewarned that sometimes the melted wax goes in every which direction.  I had paper spread out all around this beast just in case.  But I'm really excited about how this turned out.

The second Monday Made It is my new treasure box.

This box was a yard sale find years ago.  It has been at my house, holding all of my extra treasure box goodies.  I have been using a shoe box for my treasure box in my classroom.  So tonight, literally 3ish hours ago, I decided it was time to use this in my room instead.  It was painted with Noah's Ark on it.  Because I'm at a public school, and there are some issues going on in my county and the neighboring county about religion and school, I decided to just paint over it and then I don't have to stress.

I just painted the whole thing black and then painted Mickey's pants, glove and shoe on it.  I'm really excited about this one too!

I might definitely have an addiction to all things Disney.  It keeps me young though, right?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Monday Made It...but late

I know...I know...I'm late.  I was trying to finish up some papers and presentations for my grad courses.  Sorry!

But I'm here...and ready to link up to

So this Monday Made It is a combination of made by me and made by wifey.  Like I said last time, my wife generally makes anything that uses technology.  My first 3 years of teaching, I had this great bulletin board set for birthdays.  You set it up like a bar graph.  Each child had his/her own cupcake.  I know you've seen one.  Well, it was great.

Last year, I finally got to have a real theme in my room...behavior unit for the 2 years before that...no theme's in a behavior unit :-(  Anyway.  I decided to have a Disney room....so my cupcakes didn't really work.  I went digging through my Disney brain and instead decided to use my front bulletin boards (really long, but really short) to hold my birthday stuff.  And I would go with Cars as my theme.  The Dollar Tree had Lightning McQueen and Mater giant coloring pieces.  So I colored them, printed traffic cones, and had my birthday chart.

Well...with all of the changes in my school (district/state coming in, new instructional coaches who want certain things on the walls, etc) I knew I needed that space for something else.  So I had to shrink my birthday chart.  So my wife suggested Alice in Wonderland.  So we put our brains together and came up with this:

I've laminated it...and now I can just write names and birthdays directly onto the tea cups.  It is the size of a regular poster though, so hopefully I don't end up with a class of nothing but November birthdays or something.  :-P

Made It #2

Here in Pensacola we have a place called Painting With a Twist.  They offer classes that walk you through how to paint a pre-determined painting.  The "twist" is that it is not kid friendly (unless noted) because alcohol is highly encouraged.  PwaT encourages its patrons to bring a bottle (or 2) of wine to sip while they paint.  It's a great experience.

Anyway, PwaT partnered with one of our teacher stores (which happens to be owned by some friends of ours) so we decided to go this past Sunday.  The wifey painted this for my class:

Notice the Mickey ears on the worm?!  Isn't it great?  I think so.

My aunt is a pre-k aide in central Florida.  So instead of having two of the (almost) exact same painting, I decide to paint one for her.  But since she is my Facebook friend, and I was posting pictures while we were painting...I didn't take any pictures of my painting.  Oh well.

Whew.  I think that's it.  Anyway, thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 2, 2013

August Currently

It's my FIRST Currently!  I'm so excited!

Anyway, here goes:

Listening: My wife was on the phone with her mom...I really have no idea what about...I could just hear my wife talking.

Loving: Even though I live in the Sunshine State (Florida), it has done nothing but rain all summer.  You can tell exactly when the sun comes out, because people flock to the outside.  I can see the sun from my dining room table...and I love it.

Thinking: This semester ends like...any day now.  And I haven't started a big research paper for my class this semester.  I work well under pressure but...ahh!  I need to get busy...I just don't have any motivation.

Wanting: This week our school had our summer institute.  Next week I'm teaching my 3rd summer camp...this time a tech camp (which I'm excited about).  But then it's back to pre-planning.  I would just love an extra week in between camp and pre-planning so I could get in my room and work.

Needing: I need to sit down with my curriculum...we got a new reading series, and our math has now been aligned to Common Core.  And I'm not using the textbooks to teach science or social studies this year...and the summer is almost over.  Which is why I want more time.

B2s Must Haves: 1. Pilot G pens...this is all I use to grade papers.  While student teaching, I wasn't allowed to use red pens, so I found these pens...they come in a multitude of colors.  Now I'm not concerned with what color (I even use red), but I like the way the pens write, and the colors.
2. I need a haircut.  Curly-headed people should be able to feel my pain...I got my hair cut before school got out...it grew back to that perfect length...now it's past that.  I love getting my hair cut...but it's a pain...and expensive.
3. So, we're an F school this year...which means my school district and/or the state will be coming in to my school on a regular basis.  I just need to make sure my teacher clothes still fit (I may, or may not, have gained like 12 pounds over the summer...sheesh).  And if they don't...I guess I need to shopping.

Thanks for reading/listening!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Back to work

So my school has what we call Summer Institute.  It's a 4 day week prior to pre-planning where we come back, paid, for different trainings and whatnot.  So I went back to work today.  I haven't decided yet if I'm happy or sad.

I've had a lot going on this summer - quick trips, 2 trainings, and I've taught 2 summers camps at the local university (and I have one more next week).  So my summer has literally flown by.  Plus, here in the sunshine state, it has done nothing but rain all summer.  Lovely.

Anyway, because I was back at school, I ran by my room.  It's been cleaned, thankfully.  But, of course, all my furniture has been shifted and rearranged and is just kind of crazy.  So I think this week I'll work on putting it back together.  Pictures will be coming soon.

I'll post on all of the trainings too at the end of the week - Whole Brain, PBS, reflection journals, common core...I've got a full week ahead of me.  I think I'm excited.  I think.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday Made It - my first one!

Well, it's time to try something new.  I'm still learning this blog and how it works...so it won't be a fancy post like some of the best blogs I have constantly stalked read for insight.

Here it is, my first Monday Made It.  :-)

Have you seen these Partner Cards floating around?  Instead of letting your students pick partners, they draw a card from a deck.  The students then get matched up according to the picture.  The only caveat is that when you have 2 students who you know shouldn't work together, but they get paired together, you have to let them.  Otherwise the whole system falls apart.  Ahh!  Scary!  Especially cause I know how my kiddos operate.

Anyway, the ones I've seen online have all been generic partner cards - baseball matches baseball glove type situation.  And since my class is Disney themed, in case you couldn't tell, I decided to make some myself...Disney style.  Now, usually my wife makes everything that I need created on the computer.  I normally just tell her what I want and she makes it for me...usually faster than I could do it.  And it's always much better than I had imagined it.  But I decided, just this time, I wanted to make something myself.  So I did.

They're simple.  They're basic.  But I love them.  Here's just a sample set of partners from one of my favorite Disney-Pixar movies.

The first few times we use these, I'm going to have a key on my SmartBoard (especially since I used characters from some older Disney movies like Sword in the Stone).  But I'm hoping this will be a much easier way to make sure my kiddos are not always with the same partners.
Thanks for reading!

Friday, July 19, 2013


So, one day, I hope to be as popular as some of these other teachers that I obsessively follow.  (I do mean obsessively in a good way, of course).  I would love to be able to host linky parties and do giveaways.  But since I am not that good (yet?), I will just share one with you.

Farley, over at


is hosting a giveaway.  Visit her page to see how to win a $100 shopping credit at School Outfitters!  What!?!  Talk about teacher heaven!

Quick!  Before it's too late!  And tell her the Disneyfied Teacher sent you.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Whole Brain Teaching Conference

So about a month ago I went to a Whole Brain Teaching conference in Pineville, Louisiana.  Wow.  I mean, WOW!  I have been looking into WBT since December.  At home over Christmas Break I went searching hardcore for something new for my classroom.  I wanted something that would increase student engagement, and cut down on behavior problems.  My wife calls my room the home for wayward boys.  I get all those kiddos who are behavior problems in other rooms.  Since I've worked in a behavior unit, my principal loves giving me those kinds of kids...and I love it.  I really do.  But I needed something a little different.  I had heard about WBT, so I went scouring YouTube for videos.  I was really impressed.  However, I was already making a huge change in my room once we got back...so I decided to wait.  Honestly, I'm glad I did.

Don't get me wrong...I think you can learn WBT through the YouTube videos.  They are amazing.  But I learned SO much through this conference.  It was a great way to get some practice with other educators who are also practicing.  My breakout leader is a teacher.  He has real-life experience using WBT in a classroom.  I love that.  I love that when people champion something, they've actually used it.  He gave us real examples of how this system has worked in his classroom.

I also read the Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids book that Chris Biffle (the creator of WBT) wrote.  Wow again.

I can't wait to use this strategy in my classroom.  For real.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Here's to new adventures

Well...I've been wanting to start one of these blogs for awhile now.  Just never found the time or inspiration to start one.  And so I decided, why wait?  If I keep waiting, I might never start.  So here goes.

My name is Ryan Graber and I teach 3rd grade in Pensacola, Florida.  This upcoming school year (2013-2014) is my fifth year teaching.  I have taught K-5 ESE, two years in a K-2 behavior unit, and then last year 3rd grade.  I love my job, I love my kids, and I LOVE my school.  I have the most amazing principal who gives us the courage and freedom to try new things and work at our best levels.

I am trying Whole Brain Teaching this year, which I am incredibly nervous AND excited about.  I went to the WBT National Conference in Louisiana with some of my colleagues.  I am so ready to try incorporating these strategies in my classroom.  I'll post about the conference itself probably tomorrow.

I'm excited about this new journey - blogging is not something I've ever really done before.  And I thank you in advance for going on this journey with me.  :-)

-Mr. G