Bowling F-U-N

We had one of the best field trips the day before my last day. Our PE teacher teaches a bowling unit to 5th grade every year and always takes them on a bowling field trip. Of course, I wanted to go as a chaperon and especially since it was almost time for me to leave! The kids were so excited and so were us teachers.
The kids could order food or drinks before lunch was served. I love Icee's so I had to get a cherry Icee! The kids picked ahead of time if they wanted to order a pizza or if they wanted a hot dog. 
I bowled a strike on my first attempt...woohoo!  The students wrote about the trip afterwards and according to one student in my group, "Mrs. Geren is a beast and was unstoppable".  Haha!   
After bowling we went to a nearby park and let the kids RUN and PLAY! They loved every bit of it. 
It was a FUN second-to-last day! 

Peek at my Week

This post is so bittersweet, y'all. This week will be my LAST week teaching at my school. It's going to be a hard week.

The new teacher will be coming to school Monday-Wednesday to observe me. I am thankful to have two last days, Thursday and Friday, with just my kids. 

{Math} We will continue working on dividing fractions, which my kids have done SO well with! Seriously, y'all, they literally begged me to keep giving them problems one day last week. It was the best teacher moment! I was SO proud.

{ELA} We will finish our novel study on, Lyddie. On Friday (my last day) we will be watching the movie while enjoying hot chocolate with marshmallows. What a fun way to end our time together.

{Science} We are wrapping up and assessing our unit on Landforms and Oceans.

{Social Studies} We will complete our study of the Roaring Twenties. We will learn about Prohibition, The Great Migration, and the Harlem Renaissance.

{Other} On Thursday we will be taking a bowling field trip! How FUN is that?! Our P.E. teacher takes 5th grade every year after their bowling unit! I can't wait! 

On Friday, we'll take a test, watch the movie Lyddie, and have our class Christmas party, which I've also heard is a going away party. 

On a personal note, we also close on homes twice this week. Tomorrow we close on our home here in South Carolina and later this week we close on our new home! We've been living in a hotel for a week and have the rest of this week to go.  Wish us luck all around this week! 

The Lorax

I remember this past summer reading about how many of the Dr. Seuss has some type of political or environmental theme to them and I remember thinking, "What? Am I the ONLY person who never caught that?" I originally saw this on Brandee's blog, Creating Lifelong Learners. I was amazed and so glad I could incorporate Dr. Seuss into my 5th grade classroom. Yep, even 5th graders LOVE Dr. Seuss!
Original post from Creating Lifelong Learners - If you wish to PIN this item, please click here to go to the original source! 
My partner teacher plans Science and incorporated this Dr. Suess book into our Science plans. The unit we are currently studying is Landforms & Oceans. This week our focus has been on conservation and pollution.
Many of my students had read this book (or saw the movie!) and didn't know it had anything to do with the environment. Neither did I before now!
This page shows the "before" picture where all of the Truffula trees are standing, the grass is green, the air is clean, and the pond is thriving.
Here, the Lorax comes out and speaks for the trees.
A factory is built and many Truffula trees are being cut down.
The air begins to be polluted while more and more trees are being cut down.
The animals who once lived there must find another food source, since the Truffula trees no longer bear the fruits they eat.
The very last Truffula tree is cut down. 
After we read the story, I gave them their challenge: Write your own Lorax story with the setting being the ocean. I thought they may have a hard time getting started so we narrowed it down to 3 topics:
  • Over-fishing
  • Oil spills
  • Trash 

They began brainstorming ideas today and were SO excited! I can't wait to read their final products!

Life Lately!

I would love to be able to update you with lots of fun activities we are doing, but the truth is, I haven't taken a single picture since last week. 

I want to thank you all for your sweet comments on my last post regarding our move!  The movers have been at our house yesterday and today packing us up. Last weekend we did lots of this:

They will finish the last of it tomorrow and load us up. However, they won't be unloading us until December 21st. In the meantime we are staying in a hotel. Tonight makes our second night and so far, so good. It's big enough that it reminds me of a 1-bedroom apartment: 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom (double sinks, separate bath & shower), a living area, and a small kitchen area with a mini refrigerator.  I may be saying something different by this time next week so I think we can definitely handle this. It's not like we have a choice, though! 

Eight days left, guys! incredibly bittersweet! I hope you will all stay with me on this blog even after I leave my 5th grade teaching position. Once we get settled, I have lots of plans on doing fun kid-friendly Pre-K activities with my little one! 

Five for Friday{December 6th}

I'm joining Doodle Bug's Five for Friday weekly linky party. It really is the best way to share and summarize our week.  Speaking of weeks, I have have two left until I leave my school. TWO. My goodness, I'm going to miss my school, my teacher friends, and my students so very much. 
1) We made foldables for our Science lessons this week. Our focus has been on how waves, tides, currents, and storms affect barrier island, beaches, inlets, and estuaries. My partner teacher plans all of Science and does a fabulous job with it!

2) One of my favorite things is doing novel studies in ELA that correlate to our Social Studies standards. I LOVE our 5th grade Social Studies standards. This week we began our unit on Lyddie, which is the story of a young girl who goes to Lowell, Massachusetts to work in a factory, trying to pay off debts on their family farm.  We have some very special activities planned for the end of this unit, which just so happens to be my last day.
We are writing chapter summaries in a booklet we made.

3) Y'all know my love for 5th grade Social Studies. This week, we've learned all about WWI. We've taken notes in our notebooks and looked at lots of pictures.  We've really studied life in the trenches.  It's hard to imagine what those soldiers lived through.

4) After we assess the WWI unit next week, we begin a unit that I have been waiting all year for....the Roaring Twenties!! I personally find this part of history SO interesting and cannot wait to study/teach it next week! 1920's fashion, entertainment, etc... I cannot wait!!!

  5) Just a quick update on our moving situation...

We are officially moving out of our house within days.  I have SUCH mixed feelings. I'm so excited about our new house, which we hope to move into just days before Christmas. At the same time, it just saddens me to move out of the house we've called home for 6 years and especially because it's the house we brought our son home to.  For the next two weeks, we'll be living in a hotel (you can imagine my excitement....[enter sarcasm]).  I have 10 days left to teach my 5th graders and 3 of those will be with the new teacher, who is Australian, by the way. The kids met her and loved her. Again, so bittersweet! I want them to love her and I'm so glad they are so intrigued by her. I'll be honest, it was really hard to let her "take over" when she came to visit and just kind of sit's going to be hard to let go of those reins, so to speak.  Overall, just be thinking about us and keep us in your prayers over the next month as we begin our new journey. Bittersweet is the only word I can use to accurately describe what I'm feeling (as I type this with tears in my eyes). What a roller coaster of emotions I am on!

Take me Back Tuesday

Today I am linking up with Second Grade Shenanigans for her Take Me Back Tuesday!  What a great way to highlight some of your previous posts.  Today, I thought I'd share a post I wrote back in September (so, not too long ago). This post is all about writing in Family Message Journals, which is one of my favorite ways to incorporate Writing!

*Originally posted September 8, 2013*

Today I want to share something with you that I feel very passionate about and that is Family Message Journals, or FMJ's for short!  I was first introduced to FMJ's 6 years ago when I began teaching 4th grade. My grade level team had already been doing them and talked me into it.  I'll be honest, I didn't love them right away. BUT, over the years, I have began to love Family Message Journals!

Each Wednesday, students write in their FMJ to a family member, preferably a parent/guardian about a topic that we are studying. We do this during our Writer's Workshop time. They write a minimum of a paragraph about the given topic. Occasionally, I'll give them choices, but it's usually pre-selected.  For example, this week the topic was Reconstruction because that's what we've been studying. After the write, I check their FMJ's for accuracy and completion and place a sticker on the page, which is my sign that I've checked it. For homework, their parent/guardian writes them a note back.  I keep FMJ's until Wednesday when we write in them and once they turn them in, I keep them until the next Wednesday.

I've had some parents love it and hate it. I've even had some NOT to write back and for those few cases, I let the student write to someone in our school (me, assistant principal, guidance counselor, etc) and they write back instead of the parent. I've only had that happen twice in 6 years. 

Here are some of the main reasons I like it:

  • It's a great way to see how well students understand the given topic.
  • It supports parental/family involvement. I've found that many parents want to know more/do more and this is a great way to do that.
  • It's a wonderful keepsake for parents to have a journal of the memories of their child at this age.
  • WRITING! Kids practice summarizing and writing in a letter format weekly.
  • I can jot down notes in it as needed. I send home a weekly newsletter with information, but if something comes up, I can make a note in the FMJ.
  • Parents see the progression of their child's writing skills throughout the year.  Of course, the teacher does too!
NOW, here are some sample writing's from our FMJ's this week! Our topic was Reconstruction.

Do any of you use Family Message Journals?

December Currently

Holy is December! I know we all say this, but I cannot believe it is already December. Most of you know about our upcoming move. At times it feels like things are flying by and at other times it seems to move so slowly. 

Being that it's December 1st, it's time to link up with Farley's Currently series.
{Listening} Jurassic Park...Although my 3 year old loves it, I'm hoping he doesn't dream about dinosaurs tonight.

{Loving} We loved spending time back home for Thanksgiving (minus the 24 hour stomach virus little one had). It's just what I needed and I didn't have a single headache the entire time. I've had nonstop headaches lately (due to stress, most likely). Spending quality time with the ones I love the most helped me so much!

{Thinking} We only have a week and a half until we move out of our house. It's so bittersweet!

{Wanting} As mentioned above, I've had lots of headaches lately. More like migraines. I used to have migraines, but haven't had one in years. It's been awful! I'm pretty sure they are just due to the stress we're dealing with.

{Needing} I am really needing to start making a list of items to pack and keep separate for us while we are temporarily living somewhere for a week and a half before we move to Georgia. 

{Favorite Tradition} My favorite Christmas tradition would be spending Christmas Day at my Gram's house. We have a late breakfast and then open presents. Such a special time!

A Peek at my Week

It's been a few weeks since I've linked up with Mrs. Laffin's Laughings so I thought I'd share with you what we will be working on this week!

This will be my last month teaching my 5th graders and my last month at my school. It's going to be a hard month with our upcoming move, filled with lots of happy and sad moments. My last day will now be on December 20th.

{Reading/Language Arts}
This week we will begin our novel study with the book Lyddie and I can't wait! I love doing novel studies and love that it correlates with our recent study of the Industrial Revolution.
We will also begin studying (and reviewing) figurative language. We will be reviewing similes, metaphors, and idioms. We will also introduce adages and proverbs.

We will continue with our Fraction unit. This week we will focus on multiplying fractions.

{Social Studies}
Our 5th grade Social Studies is my FAVORITE subject to teach! This week we will begin our study of WWI. We will cover a lot this week, including the main causes that led to WWI, how to United States became involved in the war, the draft, the trenches & "No Man's Land", the new technology, and the effects of the war. Lots to cover!

Our main focus this week will be the ocean shore zone and how it is affected by waves, tides, and currents. 

A River Ran Wild

During a recent Common Core meeting (which we have every other Tuesday after school), I was introduced to the text "A River Ran Wild" by Lynne Cherry. I know many of you may already know about it, but since it was new to me, I definitely wanted to blog about it.  

Information on the book: This book centers upon these significant themes: human effects on the environment, pollution, and being a responsible citizen. Human effects on the environment are a significant concept. A River Ran Wild provides both text and illustrations that show the changes of pollutions throughout history and how people in each period affected the Nashua river. Beginning with the Natives and through today, this text supports the theme of human pollution.
It worked out great because we just finished our study of the Industrial Revolution. Our main focus with this text was to work on Cause and Effect.  My anchor charts are completely done in class with students so they are not very pretty....just a little disclosure!
There's lots of vocabulary in the text that may be difficult for students so the first time we read it, students jotted down words that they weren't sure of it and we kept a list of those words on another anchor chart. Students defined the words so that the next time we read the text, we would be able to better understand what we were reading. When we came to an unfamiliar word, we referred back to our chart and sometimes had to use context clues to figure out which meaning was being used in the text. 
The kids LOVED this text and I did, too! I can definitely see using this book in the future. Here are some pages from the text. What I couldn't find was the pages that had text, but those pages have pictures of inventions from that time period around the edges. This is a great text with wonderful illustrations!

Packing up...

I don't know when I'll ever get caught up with our fun 5th grade happenings...I've been so busy with everything that I haven't taken any photos. Booo!  Hoping to catch up on taking pictures this week. We have a short week - we go Monday & Tuesday.  

Since we are getting packed up and moving in a few weeks, I knew I wanted to pack up my classroom because I want all of my school stuff to be packed and moved with my house stuff. So, off to school we went on Saturday morning. We weren't able to get all of it...I still need to bring home some large items, but we got 95% of it.
It's hard to believe how much you accumulate and the thought of having to start all over...eeekkk.
Part of me would love to have the chance of teaching younger elementary grades next time!! We will just have to see what God has in store for me in Georgia!  

This weekend I stopped by the Dollar Tree and found these fun spy glasses! I don't know what in the world I'll ever do with them, but if I ever teach younger elementary, these would be SO FUN!  So, I bought a couple just in case!
Off to enjoy a short week at school and then lots of family has been TOO long since I went home this summer. I miss my family tons and cannot wait to see them!!

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