Sunday, April 29, 2012

Homework, Yea or Nay?

Homework is one of those things where you can please some of the people all of the time or all of the people some of the time, but you will never please all of the people all of the time.  And, by "people" I mean parents!  I had a reader post a comment asking what my homework policy is, what I assign, etc. I have many thoughts on the topic, so I thought I would respond and tell you how I probably manage to irritate a portion of my parents every year!

What's My Homework Policy?
My district follows the "ten-minutes-times-grade-level-give-or-take-ten" rule.  So, second grade would have 20-30 minutes of homework assigned nightly, third grade gets 30-40 minutes, and so on.  This means I should be assigning my fifth graders between 50-60 minutes of homework each night.  The only other directive we have is that every night should include writing in the form of journal writing and some type of math homework, Monday through Friday.  Yup, we give Friday homework.

Now, overall I agree with the above policy, but I don't make myself crazy with it.  At Back to School night, I am very clear on MY homework policy with my parents.  I tell them that their child should have 50-60 minutes of homework according to district policy, although the amount of homework I assign nightly is dependent on what we are working on in class at the time.  Some days there will be more homework, some days there will be less. 

However, I do tell them that this doesn't mean on the days there is less homework their child shouldn't put in that hours time.  That hour should be considered an hour of homework/study time.  I suggest that if homework is done in less than the district's suggested time, the student spend that time reviewing or studying.  This helps my friends who are headed to middle school next year build the study habits and work ethic necessary for middle school and high school.  The Harvard Graduate School of Education wrote an interesting article on the topic this past winter.  It seems my policy and that of my district is pretty standard, yet still somewhat arguable by some. 

This brings me to only pleasing some of the people some of the time.  Every year, I have parents who think I give too little homework, just enough, or not enough homework.  This year, I had a parent who felt I don't give enough homework try to rally the other parents to come to me and request that I give more.  Thankfully, the large majority of my parents are pleased with the amount of homework I give.  In fact, at conferences one after another told me what this parent was trying to do.  When it came time for this parent's conference, the parent told me before I could even say anything. Although nobody else would agree, the parent still felt there should be more homework.  I calmly reexplained the district policy, my policy, and the reasoning behind both.  I then gave the parent some suggestions on how to better use the study time.  We also had a conversation about feeling free to approach me with any concerns rather than trying to "rally" parents, but that's another topic!

What Do I Assign?
Well, as per our district policy, my friends have a 25 minute journal write each night.  We didn't start at 25 minutes.  The time increases to 25 minutes as they build writing stamina over the year.  It is a free write with an optional topic assigned.  This allows them freedom to write what they want, but provides a topic for the "I can't think of anything to write about" crowd.

We use the Everyday Math program.  This program comes with a workbook page of homework for each lesson, and we pretty much do a lesson a day.  That means math homework is given.  I find the workbook pages to be too easy for my friends this year, so I often supplement with an open ended math question.

Those are the two areas of homework I am required to assign.  My friends also have a reading log to keep up with.  It requires them to read a minimum of twenty minutes five nights a week.  The log is assigned every two weeks and comes with some sort of activity or small project to be turned in with the log.  That generally makes up my daily homework.  Science or social studies is given as needed, but not often.  Our science book is a tough read, so I don't assign a lot of homework from it.  We really need to do it together.  Occasionally, social studies will be assigned, but as I wrote not often.  In addition to all of that, there is always the study time for any upcoming quizzes or tests.

One of the reasons I don't assign, in my opinion, a lot of homework is that I see how busy my friends are out of school.  They are busy with sports, religious education, and oh yeah, you might just want to be a kid and play outside for a bit!  And, how about a little family time?  Yes, school comes first, but I think it is important for them to have balance in life, just as it is for us.

How Do I Assign Homework?
I know exactly what I have assigned for homework every day of the school year.  If a parent were to ask, I can tell them what was assigned on any given day.   In my class, we keep a class agenda.
Our district supplies each child with an agenda in which they write their homework each night.  I keep an extra in that container above.  One of our class jobs keeping the class agenda.  That student is to write the previous day's homework in the agenda each morning.  Then, they erase the homework board so we start the day fresh. 

This works for us for a variety of reasons:
1.  It tracks all homework.  As I noted, I can tell a parent what was assigned at any time.  More importantly, I can tell them when something was assigned.  This has come in handy when I have a friend who fails to write down an assignment in their agenda and a parent insists their child didn't know.  Oh, really?  Well, let's just look at the class agenda and see when it was originally assigned and how may times they were reminded after that.  Enough said!
2.  If I have a friend who was absent, they can quickly check it, copy the homework they need to do, and see any reminders they missed.
3.  I like being able to look back and see what I have assigned all in one place.  I can really see if I've neglected any area or have been giving too much or too little homework.  I also keep my agendas from the previous years, so it is interesting to see what I was doing the year before. 

I like the agenda book because each page is a day, and each subject is clearly labeled with space at the bottom for extras.  I like this agenda so much that if the district didn't provide them every year, I would probably order them myself.  It keeps my friends accountable.  This is what the agenda looks like.
As you can see, on this night my friends had three math pages.  Two pages in their journal and one worksheet.   It seems more than I said I give only because the journal pages required them to just finish two problems on each page.  The real homework was the worksheet.  They also had a social studies test to study for as well as a DARE report to write and a Spanish quiz coming up.

You can see at the bottom there is also a place for a teacher message and a parent message,both with a line to sign and date.  That has come in handy on several occasions!

So, that's my take on homework.  What do you think?   Do you agree? Disagree?  What's your policy on homework?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Can You Guess?

Can you guess what my friends will be doing next week?

The #2s are sharp. . .

The bulletin boards are bare. . .

Anything left up is covered. . .

The carpets are rolled up. . .

So that we can put the desks in rows. . .

Yes, we are testing next week! 
I wonder what gave it away!

My friends are taking the NJ ASK next week.  That would be the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge.  My friends are well prepared.  And to be honest, at this point, I've done all I can do!  I really didn't spend a lot of time on "prep" this year.  We did do a lot of math review this week, but nothing insane.  I try to be very conscious of test prep all year long and integrate it in my lessons so it isn't this crazy thing we do right before testing. 

I've got them pretty pumped up to show Bob Oshkabosh what they know!  Who is Bob Oshkabosh you ask?  Why, he is the man who grades their tests.  Okay, obviously not really but that's the name I use every year.   I will often ask them what Bob Oshkabosh would think of something, or what grade do you think Bob Oshkabosh would give this.  By the time the test rolls around, they are eager to show Bob Oshkabosh just how smart they are.  (Have I just told you a cute story about my class or given you a glimpse of my craziness? :-D )  Either way, next week we will be showing Bob Oshkabosh a thing or two!  Hopefully!

From a teacher's perspective, I am looking forward to next week for a variety of reasons.  No lesson plans, no homework, no instruction,  no kidding!!  We have a very nice schedule during testing and are allowed to plan fun activities for the remainder of the day.  That doesn't mean I won't be working.  What it really means is that I may just have a chance to catch-up on grading, paperwork, and all the other things of teaching that we are never able to get caught up on. 

On another note, I got a request in the comments about homework.  The reader wanted to know what I give for homework, my policy, etc.  I will be posting about this over the weekend.  I think it deserves its very own post because I have very strong opinions about it!

See you next post!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Power of the Sun

Oh my!  I can almost taste the end of the school year!  Only 43 days or, as I like to think of it, only 8 more Fridays!  It has me thinking about blogging over the summer.  I've not carried this blog over a summer.  I really started in this past August.  I was able to do a lot of posts about getting ready for school and then the school year sort of generates its own topics.  I have to be honest, I'm sort of wondering how I am going to do this over the summer.  Do any other teacher bloggers out there have any suggestions?  I might do a post later requesting some ideas!  For now, I'm sort of thinking along these lines:

1.  I want to do a lot A LOT summer reading of kid books.  My friends read more than a lot, and I haven't been keeping up with their books so well.  This should give me some book related posts.
2.  I applied to teach summer school this year.  Over my 15 years teaching, I've probably taught summer school eleven out of the fifteen years.  I like it because it runs in the morning, so I am done by 12:00.  The school is also about five minutes from my house, so it's an easy gig in those respects.  Experience tells me summer school will provide plenty of topics!
3.  Okay. . . stumped!  I usually do some revision of my curriculum over the summers, but I am so done for this year.  I don't even want to think about curriculum over the summer!  Having said that, there are two professional books on my shelf that I just haven't gotten to, so I might tackle those over the summer.

I'll have to see how it goes.  I always have a slight panic that I won't have a topic to post about, but something always pops up.  :-)  I just know I want to enjoy my summer this year more than ever!

How funny is that?  I really am planning to do a lot of "what I think I do" with a good deal of "what I really do" thrown in!  I honestly believe that summer vacation for teachers isn't a perk but a psychological necessity!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Does your classroom get a lot of sun?  I have to say that my classroom does.  I'm on the second floor of the school.  If you look out my window, there is a really pretty courtyard below, but when you look across you have a clear view to a pretty area of woods.  I have a really nice view.  However, in the afternoon my classroom is flooded with sunlight.  In the winter it's really nice, but in the summer it makes for a very hot room. 

One thing I haven't really paid attention to is how much it fades the posters in my room.  I think I don't notice it much because all my bulletin boards are covered in Fadless bulletin board paper.
Do you use this stuff?  I love it!  It truly never fades.  I can go years without replacing the paper as long as I haven't put too many holes in it. :-)  I think it's well worth the money.  I know some people like to use fabric, table cloths, or other things for bulletin boards, but I'll stick with my Fadeless.  They even have many different patterns if you are looking for more variety.  The only other time I switched it out was to use newspaper to cover a current events bulletin board.

Anyway, this is the job chart that hangs in my classroom.
I made this after looking at prepackaged job charts.  I wanted something smaller and something I could customize to the jobs in my classroom.  Here's a closer look.

 I just made a two column chart in Word and typed in the various jobs I wanted.  Then, I found clip art that matched and stuck it in.  When I was done, it came to two and a half pages that I just glued to two pieces of 12x18 construction paper.  Then, I laminated it all and stuck on some magnetic tape.  We just write on it with a wet erase marker.   Notice that pledge is crossed out?  It was a classroom job, but our new principal decided morning announcements to now include the pledge so we all say it at the same time.  Nice, I guess, but it took a popular job away from my friends.   You might also notice that I left some blank spaces at the bottom.  This works out great if you decide to add a job at any time.  It's also great for special jobs that may only be for a period of time.  For example, when our Student Council runs a special collection, the job of collecting the supplies becomes a job.

Anyway, I really bring up my job chart to say that is how I noticed how the sun has been fading my posters.  Here is glimpse of the back of the job chart.

See that bright blue?  That's what color the chart was in front, too.  Not any more!  I need to redo my job chart.  I'm thinking I might use the Fadeless paper this time.  It will be sort of flimsy as the Fadless isn't as thick as the constructin paper, but I think the laminating will help it hold up. 

By the way, see the big X next to the job of Plants?  That job is to water the plants once a week.  The X?  Yeah, we killed them this year.  I hadn't really paid much attention to them until one day I noticed all our plants, with the exception of one, were dead.  Seems I had two forgetful friends take that job two months in a row.  Not good for the plants.  I told them it was surely a good thing we didn't have a class pet! 

See you next post!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Variety Pack

Wow!  It's been a week since my last post.  Sorry about that.  I don't like to go that long, but I was making the most of my spring break and then got crushed with work and deadlines since getting back to school on Monday.  In fact, I was at school tonight until 6:00 (as will be evidenced in a picture below) doing my supply order for next year and logging in some DRA data my principal requested.  Of course, our marking period grades are also due this week.  So, what do you think?  Good excuses for not blogging?  I hope so!

To make up for it, I am going to give you a variety pack of thoughts tonight.  Some of these were going to be longer, individual posts.  Then, I realized how much grading and data entry I have to do by Monday.  I may not get a chance to post again until then, so here goes. . .

A few years ago, our district replaced all the clocks in our schools.  They took out all the analog clocks and replaced them with digital clocks.
See, told you I was at school until 6.  :-)  Anyway, digital clocks are great unless. . .  oh. . . say YOU ARE STILL TRYING TO TEACH CHILDREN TO TELL TIME ON AN ANALOG CLOCK!!!!  Yeah, 5th grade and many still struggle with telling time and elapsed timed looking at an analog clock.  Here's what I did to solve this problem.
I purchased a huge analog clock and hung it on the other side of the room.  It's an 18 inch clock that I found pretty cheaply on Ebay.  I use it in class and make my friends use it.  But, they don't.  They still always look at the digital clock.  Then, this happens:
This is the sign that I tape over the digital clock.  I don't say anything to my friends, and it is hilarious to watch their faces the first time they look up at the digital clock and see this sign instead of the time.  I've done this for the past three years and I see, without fail, that they get much better with time when they are forced to use the analog clock.

Mistakes, I've Made a Few!
Kim over at Finding Joy in 6th Grade did a post about the making mistakes in blog posts.  She writes about how Pinterest puts our mistakes out there for all to see.  Boy, did that post speak to me!  I  make mistakes in my posts all the time!  The sad thing is, they are usually in pictures of the mistakes I make in my classroom!  Remember my post on Crafting Power Sentences?   The chart on there has a nice, big grammatical error for all to see.  Creeped instead of crept?  Yeah, I did that.  So, wouldn't it make sense that that's the picture that is quite popular on Pinterest?!!  Yup, my mistakes are out there for all to see.  And, that's just one of many I have made.  I usually try to go back and correct them in the post if I can, but once a picture gets out there it's like a butterfly in the wind. 

Like Kim, it really bugged me at first.  Now, I just decided that spit happens. :-D  I will make mistakes.  I will have typos.  I will not catch them all.  But, I will not make myself crazy over it.  The intentions are always good.  So Kim, relax!  I'm with ya on this one!

I had to change my center activities a couple of weeks ago.  My centers had really boring names.  They had names like creative writing center,  reading center, word study center, and so on.  Not much fun.  I was rushed in getting them out at the time and just didn't have a chance to get creative with it.    With my new centers, I decided to go with an ice cream theme in honor of summer.  Here are our new center signs.  Sorry that the pictures are a bit dark.

Aren't they cute?  My friends really liked them.  It got us all in a summer mood!  Speaking of summer. . .

Summer is Coming! How "KOOL" is That?
I can't wait for summer vacation.  I get out June 15th this year.  That's actually really early for us.  We don't usually get out until June 20th or later.  Because the winter was so mild, we didn't use any of our snow days, so they took them off the end of the year.  I know my teaching friends in the south get out earlier, but you also start earlier than we do.  Either way, I think we can all agree we probably enjoy our summer vacations more than the kids do!

I was in the grocery store (supermarket?  What do you call them?) and I saw that Kool Aid was on sale.  Five packets for a dollar.  I immediately grabbed enough for all my friends to do the end of year crazy straw gift I posted about.  I got them all pink lemonade.  You can't beat pink lemonade in the summer!

There have been some great comments on some of my previous posts that I want to respond to.  I'm going to try to get to them this week, but for now I wanted to just acknowledge them.  I read every comment you leave and really appreciate that you take the time to do so.  It's something I have to get better at myself.  I'm guilty of reading lots of blogs and not commenting myself even thought I know how much we bloggers love comments!

And, there you have it.  A variety pack of thoughts and ideas. Have a great one!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Fire Drills

The Love of Spring Break Continues!!

Having said that, today is my work day.  I am cleaning the house and doing (fingers crossed) all of the school work I brought home.  The plan is to not do any other school work or real house cleaning the rest of the week and weekend.  I'm actually planning a visit to the American Museum of Natural History in New York on Friday.  This is one of my favorite places.  If you haven't been there, you probably know the museum best for the giant blue whale that hangs in one of the enormous displays.
Did you know you can rent that room out for weddings and parties?  You can actually rent out many of the different halls and exhibit spaces for an event. It costs an arm and a leg, but it is a spectacular setting. I'm thinking you really need to be into whales for this one though! 

Anyway, that's the plan for Friday.   It's just a quick train ride into the city, and the weather is supposed to be really nice.  There are so many great exhibits happening right now, I'm really excited to go.
* * * * * * * * * *
This warmer spring weather has me thinking of. . . fire drills!   We are required to have two drills every month.  They are a nice little break in the day in the warm weather but beastly when in  the winter.  When we have our drills, we are required to take a class list with us.  Once outside, we count our kids and make sure they are all there.  If any are unaccounted for, it is reported and the search begins.  The kids know if the alarm sounds and you aren't with your class, you report to the nearest teacher.  That teacher takes the child with his/her class and then reports the extra student once we get outside. Sounds complicated, but it's easy and works.

For the longest time, I would always grab my grade book to take out with me.  It had my class list in it, after all.  I can't tell you how long it took me to come up with this.

I 'll bet many of you already have something like this in place, but it was a real "Duh!  Why didn't I think of this before?" moment for me.  I simply looked for some fire drill clip art and created the sign above.  I printed it on card stock and stuck a class list on the back.  I then laminated it and hung it next to the door.  How easy was that? 

Now, when the fire alarm rings, there is no mad dash to my desk to grab my grade book.  No crazed search when I can't find it quickly.  When the alarm bells ring, I just head to the door and grab the list from the hook.   It's also great for substitutes who don't know my friends.  My students know this always goes with us.  I've had friends who are near the door when the alarm goes off immediately grab it and give it to me.  If a sub forgets to grab it, I know one of my friends will.

This particular list is three years old.  You can see the original white list, then the yellow list from last year, and the white list for this year's friends taped on top.  I just use book tape to tape the new class list on top of the old one.  Eventually, I'm going to have to peel them off and start over, but it holds up amazingly well.

* * * * * * * * * *
One last thing.  I'm thinking of changing my blog layout and design. It probably won't happen until summer vacation.  I like the crayon theme I have going on, but I think I want something a little lighter and brighter.  Any ideas?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Some EGGcellent Ideas!

I know!  A horrible pun of a title!  I just couldn't resist. :-D

Easter has come and gone.  Well, almost.  I'm writing this post on Easter Sunday night after a day full of family, food, and laughter. And, too many jelly beans!  As I sit on my couch tonight, I'm loving that my kitchen is clean since we went out for Easter brunch.  This was my view from our table.  I was sitting right next to the window.
This picture is straight out of the camera, no zoom, no photo shop.  Just a glorious day at the shore.  Don't let Snookie fool you.  This is what the real Jersey shore looks like before the summer rush hits. 

But, now that Easter is (almost) over, I was thinking about all those plastic eggs that are going to be on sale tomorrow.

There's nothing I love more than a good sale, so I got to thinking of what we can do with them.  I teach in a public school, so I can't do anything religion related.  But, I know there had to be some use for these fun, colorful eggs.  I had a few ideas, but decided to peruse the blog land to see what ideas were out there.  There are plenty!

First, here are some ideas I had off the top of my head:

Rewards:  Fill each egg with a slip of paper that gives the student or class some sort of reward.  When they earn a reward, they pick an egg from a bowl and get that reward.  You could also just hand them out to specific students for "eggcellent" behavior or citizenship.
Prefix Practice Match-Up:  Write a bunch of different prefixes on the left half of an egg with the rest of the word on the other half.  Put them all in a baggie, unmatched, and have your friends put them together until they all match.  I think the trick here is that some may be interchangeable, but they will probably have to switch them around until ALL the eggs are matched correctly.  You could do the same with suffixes, just writing the suffix on the right egg half.
Word Families:  The egg halves spin, so it's great for practicing word families. Write a variety of letters around the left half of the egg and the word family on the other half.  Then, they can spin the egg halves creating a new word with each turn.  For example, you can put m, h, p, c, etc going around the left half of the egg.  Then, write "at" on the other half of the egg.  As they spin the egg halves, they will create the words mat, hat, pat, and cat.  I searched for a picture of this, and obviously my idea is not a new one!  This picture is from a blog post in 2009!

Math Match:  I thought for my older friends, this would be a great way to practice a variety of math skills.  What if you wrote a variety of number sentences on the different egg halves, such as 4*9,  24.8 - 0.39, 2(33+79), etc.  Then, you could give a baggie full of egg halves to small groups or a single student and have them match them up according to a specific relation symbol.  For example, if  you tell them the egg matches have to be less than.  This means the left half of the egg has to be less than the right half of the egg.  They would have to do the math!  Plus, the egg colors probably won't match if you mix them up, so it would be easy to see.  They could always check with a calculator to see if they were correct.  I think this would be a good center activity.
End of School Countdown:  The end is near!  And, I mean that in a good way!  As we approach the end of the school year, you could number the eggs and have a countdown. If you want to save the eggs, don't number them.  Instead, just count out how many you need.  I think this would be fun for the last two weeks of school.  You could put a special treat in each egg, such as sit where you want, and for the last two weeks  your friends have a fun countdown to look forward to.
Fun Test Prep:  I know, an oxymoron!  We have our state testing coming up the first week of May.  It would be fun to fill each egg with a practice math problem or activity and have your friends pick an egg.  Then, they could work in a small group to solve the problem or write a "test worthy" answer.  You could then share with the class the task and how they solved it.

Now, here are some of the wonderful ideas I found in blog land.  Most are for the younger set, but can be tweaked for your older friends.
  1. Rowdy in First Grade has come up with some cute ideas that can easily be adapted for different grade levels.  They include putting writing prompts in the eggs and a synonym match.  check out her post for more great ideas.
  2. This blog Minds in Bloom has a great post with twelve different activities for plastic eggs.  One I really like is for practice in counting change.  Fill each egg with a different amount of real or fake change, and have your friends count and record the amounts.  I would number the eggs so that you can easily check their answer sheets.  You could probably also have them do more with this like subtract/add the change in egg 1 with the change in egg 3, etc.  Click on the link to see the twelve ideas.
  3. I'm not a music teacher, but if you are this looks like a great idea.  The post is located on the NC School of Education web page.  Essentially, you fill the eggs with different materials (rice, beans, salt, etc.) and the kids will "practice auditory skills by distinguishing differences in sounds made by plastic eggs filled with pebbles, rice, or salt."  The lesson has them go on to create their own musical pieces using the eggs.  For regular classroom teachers like me, we could keep it simple and just have the kids write a story about an animal, creature, object, etc. that makes that sound.  Then, when they read the story aloud, they can use the filled egg to make the sound as used in the story.
  4. Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas has five ideas for the eggs, one of which is the word family idea I posted above.  The one I really like is perfect for the little ones.  She has a match-up with print upper and lower case letters.  They have to match A with a, B with b, etc.  Very cute!
That's some of what I found out there, but I'm sure you all have more ideas.  Please feel free to post them in the comments.

By the way, did you know that you can fill and mail those plastic eggs?  Me neither!  This picture is from the blog Giver's Log.  She tells you all about how she mailed these treat filled eggs  and it worked.  I have some younger relatives that would love getting a surprise like this in the mail. :-)

I hope you all had as nice a day as I did!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Tom Cruise Happy & Math!


I am Tom-Cruise-Jumping-On-The-Couch
 insanely happy about this break!!!!

I've tried not to bring it to my blog much, but this has been an incredibly stressful school year.    I'm not someone who has a problem with change.  I actually like change.  However, the past two years have been lots of "NEW", some of which makes sense and lots of which just confounds me.  I sometimes wonder if the people that make these changes think we run magic shows in our classroom because the reality of what we teachers have to do under the conditions we are given seems to not often be taken into consideration.  And if they don't make the goal impossible to achieve, it usually is impossible to do in the constraints and time lines given. 

But, in the words of Dory. . .  I just keep swimming!  So, this is why I am Tom Cruise happy about SPRING BREAK!!!   I did bring a lot of work home, but it's just nice to be away from the building for a bit.

Before I left, I had to take a picture of my classroom.  As you can probably tell from my blog, I am a literacy person.  That's my love, that's my strong suit, that's probably what most of my posts are about.  Which is why I had to laugh when I looked around my room yesterday. 

Math has taken over my classroom! 
This is my reading bulletin board, not that you can tell!

We just finished up a chapter that focused on finding area and volume as well as standard and metric measurement.  I know the first two posters, area of a rectangle and area of a parallelogram, are kind of redundant.  However, I made the posters to follow how the concepts are introduced and discussed in our book. These are just the posters on my reading bulletin board.  My actual math bulletin board is equally covered!  Here is a close-up of some of our posters in no particular order:
I look at this and am a bit amazed that my 5th graders are learning this now.  I don't think I learned any of this until I was well into middle school.   My parents tell me the same thing when we talk about math at conferences.  It's funny how what we learn changes over time.  But, as I said, it's even funnier to walk around my room and see all these math posters.  Usually, my room is covered in literacy anchor charts and posters!

So, as I type this on Friday morning, I am delighted with what the first day of spring break holds.  I am off today for a mani and pedi and then some shopping to find a new dress for Easter.  Perfect way to spend the first day!  I have a couple of little posts planned for during the week on some emergency procedures, class jobs, and maybe a quick post on a professional book I just finished.  Other than that, I'm kicking back! 

See you after Easter! 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Speech Bubbles

Hi Everyone!

It's been  a crazy week.  I have been trying to get so much done with my friends before our spring break.  We have a four day week starting tomorrow, and then off for a week.  Sooooo excited for some time off.  Although, I will be bringing home my third quarter assessments to grade.  Hoping I am able to get them done over the next four days so I don't have to.  We'll see.

Do you remember a post I wrote about one of my friends who had a serious accident?   Well, my friend is still in the hospital and may be for a while.  I had my class make get well cards.  They came out great.  I mailed them off and got a lovely email from my friend's mother thanking us all.  However, I am hearing that my friend is a bit sad about being in the hospital for so long.  So, what else could we do?

I decided to have my friends make a joke book.  They all either wrote their own joke or wrote down their favorite joke.  Then, I took lots of pictures like these, without the yellow smiley faces of course!  I do wish you could see the faces they were making.  They were so funny!
I printed out a bunch of them on regular printer paper.  Then, I gave them to my friends who used thin Sharpies to write the jokes on the bubbles.  The bubbles were just large pieces of white oak tag.  I traced the speech bubble and made a dark outline.  I did have to tape a web of clear and white rulers on the back so they would stand up when my friends held them.  We had a lot of fun taking the pictures.  The joke book came out great. We made a front and back cover, which I laminated and then bound the book.   I also left some blank pages in the back of the book for my friends to write some cheery get well notes.

Then, I got to thinking about what else we could do with these pictures.  Hmmmm. . . .  okay, I'm drawing a total blank!  So, I'm coming to you.  What else could I do with these pictures?