April 30, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Field Trips

Where do you go for field trips?

Be sure to stop by Miss DeCarbo's blog, Sugar and Spice, to see more Wordless Wednesday posts.

April 28, 2014

Monday Made It

I'm squeaking in, just under the wire, to join Tara's April Monday Made It linky!

I hadn't really planned on joining Tara this month; I really didn't have anything to make. That is, until someone gave me a Flip video camera.

Yes, it's a camera that is out of style! However, this was brand new, still in the box, never been used! I used it for the first time to video a special lesson completed by my student teacher at the beginning of the month. It was SUPER simple! However, when it came to working with the actual video, it became a little tricky.

I chose to not install the accompanying FLIP software and utilize what I already had on my computer. After downloading the raw video, I found it was in .mp4 format... sigh! All my video editing software utilzes .avi or .wav format. Soooo, I had to convert the video. For this task, I use FreeMake Video Converter... user friendly and as its name says... FREE!

Next I imported the converted video into Windows Movie Maker, added some transitions, a title page, and credits, clicked FINISH, and within a few minutes an awesome video was created!

Now for today's MADE IT: a video of my fifth and sixth graders rehearsing for our school spring program. I shot the video at school this afternoon, then created the video while cooking dinner. Please notice the chandeliers hanging above the students. These are the Dale Chihuly replica projects I blogged about HERE. Our art teacher will be hanging more of them tomorrow morning.

I am VERY happy with how my video turned out, and I'm VERY, VERY happy with how my kiddos' program is shaping up. I can't wait for the performances tomorrow afternoon and evening. I wish you could see and hear them in person.

Don't forget to visit Tara's blog, Fourth Grade Frolics to read more Monday Made Its!

April 26, 2014

Spark Student Motivation: Field Trip

I'm linking up with my bloggy friend Joanne from Head Over Heels For Teaching for her weekly linky...

There is nothing that motivates my students like a field trip, especially one that is taken after a long week of testing! Earlier in the year I took my sixers to a special Titanic exhibit held at the Great Lakes Science Museum. It was such a success that I even wrote a blog post about it. You can read more about it HERE.

This past week my sixers, their second grade buddies, and I journeyed to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. This is my ALL-TIME FAVORITE place to take students on a field trip! Most of my sixers had never been to this museum so it was even more fun for me this year. I spent several days prior to our trip discussing what they would see. So much of what is on exhibit ties into what they have learned either this current school year or last: development of early human civilizations, Native American peoples, evolution of animals, geological time periods, fossils, rocks and minerals, the planets, stars, layers of earth, and Ohio habitats and ecosystems. They were super excited to see everything!

What they didn't know was that I had arranged to have them see a special program in the museum's planetarium. Instead of the typical "here are the planets and stars" presentation, the program was about ancient civilizations' astronomical knowledge and the stories/legends that were told about the stars and planets. Much of this year's Social Studies curriculum matched perfectly with the material presented. My sixers learned about Chinese star charts, Egyptian constellations, and Hindu myths that explained the creation of the universe while being treated to a display of the night sky. They LOVED it!

And the BEST part is that we were the only students scheduled for the planetarium soooooo.... the instructor asked me if I would like him to take my kiddos up to the observatory on the roof to see the telescope. WOW! This happened once before when I took a class to the museum and it was AWESOME! I never expected a return visit. The museum's telescope was installed in 1899 and was the strongest, largest telescope in the U.S. at the time. While it is opened to the public on Wednesday nights, it is not a scheduled feature for school field trips. In fact, the instructor said it had been nearly a year since he had taken students up the three flights to the scope.

Because the day was so bright and sunny, we were able to SEE our sun! We couldn't look directly through the scope at the sun, of course. The instructor reflected the sun's image on a piece of tile board; we could even see several sun spots via this technique! We also visually experienced the rotation of the earth by watching the sun's image travel across the tile. TOO COOL!

So many questions were asked, so many connections made, so much curiosity piqued all by one trip to a museum! I can't wait for our class next Monday to continue our field trip follow-up discussion. It'll be a little bit like reliving the field trip all over again!

Do you take your students on field trips?

April 25, 2014

This Is the Day to Fuel Your Faith

This week has just been wonderful... beautifully warm weather, birds chriping, gentle sprinkles, and the beginning of Easter. It's the perfect time to celebrate God's gift of new life. THIS IS THE DAY to Fuel Our Faith.

The Catholic Church celebrates the season of Easter for 50 days. One Sunday is not enough to thank, praise, and bless the Lord for all he has done for us in dying and rising to save us! Each of the Church's seasons is marked by particular songs and psalms. Easter's psalm is Psalm 118.

I've been humming and singing all of the different versions of this psalm that I know all week. One that I teach my students is a happy, bouncy tune to which they play the bells while I play the guitar. We'll incorporate this in all of our prayer services and liturgies throughout the season.

This is the day! Rejoice!

April 24, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Writing Prompts FREEBIE

When I first started blogging there was a fun linky party called Throwback Thursday. I really enjoyed reading all the OLD posts that bloggers would share. And lately on Facebook I've been seeing loads of Throwback Thursday posts with all kinds of OLD pictures, and I'm really enjoying all of them... quite a few have brought a chuckle or two to yours truly! This got me thinking... a somewhat dangerous activity. I decided that each Thursday I was going to share a throwback post or photo here at The Teacher's Desk 6.

First up, a throwback photo, circa 1984. It was a beautiful sunny day in late May and we were outside for gym class. Don't laugh too hard! I was rockin' the style of the day.

Now for a post dating from Thursday, April 18, 2013


I've been sorting through all the files in my Downloads and Documents folders, trying to gain some semblance of organization. I say "SOME" because it's very little. I've made some progress, but there are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds... you get the picture... of files. I have soooooo many teaching ideas that I will NEVER have the time to be able to use all of them. Thus, I'm trying to find the best of the best. The only problem is: THEY ARE ALL GOOD!

I have visited blogs for several years and borrowed loads of terrific freebies, purchased many paid items, and created many of my own. Here's something I found that I had started working on a LONG time ago, updated last summer but had never finished. I was planning on using this with my sixth grade class this year, however that never happened. It will for next year though!

I quickly put it all together, popped it into my new USE THIS SOON folder (yes I actually named it that), and then thought... Why not share it? So I am.

This is a packet of 26 picture prompts to inspire your students to write stories, poems, news articles, etc. I recently aligned the prompts to the CCSS ELA for Grade Six. I use these types of prompts on a regular basis (I have another packet of these plus a pinterest board), projecting them on a Smartboard or a large screen TV during Language Arts workshop, when the kiddos write, read, work on leveled spelling units, complete task cards, et al. If you'd like the picture prompts, you can click on the above graphic, or right HERE.


Perhaps you'll join in the fun and do a little THROWBACK on your blog or in a comment below. I'd love to see what you'd share.

I'm linking up my writing freebie with Teaching Blog Addict's Freebie Friday. Be sure to hop over there for loads of teaching freebies offered by wonderful teacher bloggers.

Freebie Fridays
I'm also linking up my writing freebie with Classroom Freebies for Manic Monday. Hop over there as well for even more teaching freebies offered by wonderful teacher bloggers.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

April 23, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Science Investigations

I know... I'm cheating a bit. I'm suppose to share ONE photo... it is just ONE photo collage, right?

What are some fun science investigations you have done with your students?
Be sure to stop by Miss DeCarbo's blog, Sugar and Spice, to see all the awesome Wordless Wednesday posts. This linky has quickly become my favorite of the week!

April 21, 2014

Mathematical Monday: Multi-Digit Multiplication

I am linking up with Jess from I {heart} Recess for the very first time for her weekly linky.

I don't actually teach math, per se; however, I do have students who come to me seeking help with their math assignments. One thing that I noticed my students struggling with is multi-digit multiplication, so I decided to talk to their math teacher to see if she would like to try a SCOOT game for some extra practice. She was delighted... and I know my kids will be also.

I finished creating "Piggy Products" this past weekend, printed it out, and have it ready to give to the math teacher. I'm really happy with the way that it turned out, so I'm offering you eight task cards from the pack for FREE. Just click on the freebie picture to download your task cards. If you like what you see, the complete pack of 32 cards is available in my TpT Store. You can read more about it by clicking on the product preview picture at the bottom of this post.

Here's a preview of the complete product! 
Included in the packet:
32 SCOOT Cards
Step-by-step directions for assembly and play
Recording Sheet
Answer Key

Don't forget to stop by Jess's blog to see more Mathematical Monday entries.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

April 20, 2014

Must Read Mentor Text: Polar, the Titanic Bear

I'm linking up what has quickly become one of my favorite texts for this week's Must Read Mentor Text hosted by Collaboration Cuties.

by Daisy Corning Stone Spedden

"Written for her son by an American heiress whose family survived the 1912 sinking of the "Titanic", this account of the Edwardian life and of the disaster is told through the eyes of the young boy's teddy bear. Illustrated with watercolors and family photographs, this book makes an ideal read-aloud." Amazon.com

This year's crop of fifth graders is wild about anything Titanic! We recently read Lauren Tarshis's book I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic 1912, enjoying the adventure story as well as the actual history behind it. When our fourth grade teacher saw what we were reading she brought this delightful book to me from her own collection of teaching materials (she is retiring at the end of this school year).

Told from the viewpoint of a stuffed bear, the story of the Titanic becomes VERY real for young readers. The story is actually written by a Titanic survivor as a memento for her young son, who also is a survivor as is his bear, Polar. Not only is the story of the Titanic recalled but a window into the world of Edwardian times is opened. Aeroplanes, funnicular railways, and department stores are in their infancy and introduced as the modern technology of the early 1900's.

While I don't teach Social Studies, I did use this text to teach Language Arts skills. We were able to continue our learning of literary skills, particularly character traits and point of view, comparing this text to Lauren Tarshis's that we had just completed. Following are two INB foldables that I used with my fifth graders to accompany the Polar text. A word of explanation is needed for the point of view items. As we were exploring the point of view for this text, one of my boys shouted, "Not PERSON point of view- BEARson point of view!" Too clever to pass up thus the foldable in its form below! They are yours for the taking; just click on the picture.

Additionally, I created a fun set of SCOOT cards to accompany this mentor text. There are actually four different activities in one: three different identify the parts of speech (nouns, verbs, pronouns, and adjectives) and one identify the prepositional phrase utilizing sentences taken from the book. My fifth graders have enjoyed using these activities. We played a round of SCOOT and a round of SCATTER already. This coming week we'll start looking at prepositional phrases and how they enhance our writing. We'll return to this set of cards once again, this time for practice with this particular skill. These cards are available in my TpT Store and can be downloaded HERE or by clicking on the following picture.

Be sure to stop by Collaboration Cuties to see what other great Mentor Texts have been shared this week.

April 18, 2014

Fuel Your Faith Friday: Titus 2.7

I'm joining Jessica from Joy in the Journey once again for her weekly linky Fuel Your Faith Friday. This week I'm sharing a Scripture verse that appeared out of nowhere two separate times this week. It's a verse that I had never really noticed before, but one that is definitely a message for me, and for all teachers.

April 16, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Post-It Notes

Time for Wordless Wednesday hosted by Miss DeCarbo of Sugar and Spice... LOVE this linky!

Do you use Post-It Notes in your classroom? If so, how?

April 15, 2014

Tried It Tuesday: IHWH

I tried something new... well, sort of new so I am linking up with Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper for her Tried It Tuesday linky party.

A few months back I tried implementing "I Have, Who Has" activities into my Language Arts classes. I first discovered them via Deb of Crafting Connections when I was reviewing subjects and predicates with my eighth graders. Deb has a free "I Have, Who Has" activity available in her TpT Store to help review this needed skill. I had heard a little about IHWH activities from blog posts that I had read, and Deb's description and thumbnail images of her product provided the oomph to get me to try one.

I am so glad that I did! My eighth graders really enjoyed the activity and benefitted not only from the subject/predicate practice but also from the active listening needed to successfully complete the activity. I picked up several more IHWH card sets on TpT by using the site's search feature and used them with all of the grades/subjects that I teach. All that is except religion. Sooo...

I decided to try my hand at making a set of "I Have, Who Has?" cards to help my students review the Stations of the Cross, something we have been studying during this Lenten season. I'm very pleased with how they turned out and made them available in my TpT store.

My sixth graders absolutely LOVE IHWH activities and when they found out about this one, they were so excited to try it. I was not disappointed with their performance. IHWH is the one time that all of the students are attentive and quiet... this is no small feat with my current crop of kiddos! They BEG to repeat each IHWH in order to improve their completion time. The Stations of the Cross IHWH was no different. Take a peak at how well they did with the activity... this is their second run-through. The first time took them just over three minutes.

Before we left for the day, one of the boys asked if we could do it again. I asked him why. His response... I LIKE IT and it helps me remember! YES!!!!!!
"I Have, Who Has" is a winner in my book. 
I'm so glad that I tried it!

April 11, 2014

Triple Linky Friday

What a great week this was! I'm linking up with Doodlebugs for her Five for Friday linky to showcase what's been happening at The Teacher's Desk 6.

It was testing week... WE ARE DONE!!!!

Spring has sprung! I am delighted!
I've been thinking about the beauty of creation all around me.

Spring's beauty helps to Fuel My Faith so I am linking up with Jessica from Joy in the Journey for her weekly linky.

Spring plus the beauty of creation reminds me that Earth Day is around the corner. In between testing we've begun a few fun Earth Day activities, among them this ZAP! game that helped my students practice identifying parts of speech using Earth Day related vocabulary. Since it's Freebie Friday, I'm linking up with Teaching Blog Addict and offering this freebie for you. If you'd like a copy to use in your classroom you can download it HERE or by clicking on the first pic of the product.

Freebie Fridays

Finally, I received my teaching contract for the next school year. It's signed and sealed already and will be delivered on Monday morning... year 34, here I come!