Stray Rescue Update #1–Sewing Class!

You already know we’re working on a project to benefit Stray Rescue.    I told you I’d update you as we got into it, but it took lots of time and we were so busy that I haven’t even had a second to tell you about it until now.  And boy is there alot to tell….but like I said in an earlier post, I’ll not tell you the whole story at once.

We decided that the best way to help Stray Rescue do what they do best was to do what we do best, and that’s be creative!  We had multiple conversations about how to do that, and we settled upon the fact that we should sew and bake.  Ok, maybe I added a little to that conversation, too, since I enjoy both of those things, but everyone agreed that it would be a good idea.

We did a little bit of research, and decided that we wanted to make chew toys for doggies that were shaped like bones.  We also thought that creating bandannas for our canine friends would be a good idea.  So the fabric, templates, scissors and sewing machines came out for the next several days and we got busy!  I taught everyone who didn’t already know about the basics of the sewing machine, and then each kiddo took a turn having-a-go.

I was SO excited when the first pupils in my sewing class were BOYS!  I know, that’s a little bit sexist to say that only girls would want to sew, but for some reason I was surprised.  Anyhow, they LOVED it, and I started hearing things like “I love this!” and “I have to get a sewing machine so I can do this at home” right after we started.  Here’s a little peek into our first “class”:

Tracing a “bone” onto some fabric to make the outside shape.  The bones were then stuffed with a plastic water bottle.  Somebody had the great idea that it would be a good way to recycle our bottles left over from MAP testing, and would make a great “crinkling” sound that doggies would love!  Double great. 🙂

Love how we got so many out of one shirt! All of our materials were donated by students in the class.

Archie and Harry sewing a straight line.  That was the first lesson. 🙂

Zarion totally rocked his first try at sewing, too!  He was adding a zig-zag stitch to the edge of our bandannas so they didn’t unravel.  These turned out great!

Motivated And Prepared

Did I ever share that acronym with you?  It was created by a really smart cookie in my class a few years ago named Ellie.  We were trying to come up with something that MAP could stand for instead of just Missouri Assessment Program.  She suggested Motivated And Prepared, based on the idea that that’s how we want to feel once we’re ready to sit down and take the yearly test.  And that’s exactly what we were.  I loved it then, and have used it with my classes ever since.

So the MAP test has come and gone again in our classroom, and I realized just the other day that I never posted some pictures I took during it.  They’re not glamorous or anything, but are definitely “real life” in a 5th grade classroom during the month of April.

MAP time is snack time.  Gotta have energy to do our best!

There were lots of goodies over there like granola bars, Cheezits and fruit snacks, but the first rule is you have to have “something orange.”  On this day is was cheese, Cuties and carrots.  Guess the directions could also have been “eat something that starts with C.”  What’s really funny to me is that it was totally a coincidence that all of this orange food showed up.  All the “fresh” stuff that day was just all the same color.  And in case you’re wondering–the next time it was apples and bananas.  So, no, there were no “color” directions. 🙂

Loved having donations of water bottles for testing, too.  Water breaks are good for your brain! (Oh, and look–Goldfish.  More orange food!  That is so weird how that happened!)

So once it was all over, and we had done our best job of showing what we know as learners, we needed a little bit of a break.  Choice time it was!  I love to see what 5th graders choose to do:

What does state testing time look like in your classroom?  What do you do to help your students relax during testing?  What do you do to celebrate when it’s all over? Share with us!

How Does This Happen?

How does it happen that I can be on such a good roll with frequent updates (sometimes more than you’d want to read in one day!) and then I don’t post for 10 days?!  Man….

Ok, I know the answer to that question.  The answer is that it’s April and I’m a teacher.  Seems that no matter how fast (or not) time passes throughout the first 3 quarters of the school year, time seems to move in extra-fast-forward mode once we hit the 4th quarter.  It’s like a switch flips and we’re all of a sudden in a rapid race towards the finish line and everything is a blur.  I have to force myself to slow down and pay attention.  And to blog about it.

So here goes.  And don’t worry–I promise not to tell you about everything that’s happened in the last 10 days in 1 post.  I’ll give it in bite-sized pieces.  Hopefully you’ll enjoy it that way. 🙂


List-Group-Label with Weather Words

We just started a new unit in science this week.  It’s an Earth Systems unit on Weather.  So just like at the beginning of all of our units, we started with talking about vocabulary.  Check out how we did it in our geometry unit.

So just like last time, we started writing as many words are we could think of that were related to weather on post-its:

Notice how the first time around they’re not in any real order.  The directions during the “list” portion are just to write down words you think are related to the topic.  The grouping and labeling part came next (the next day, actually).  And ok, I’ll apologize ahead of time for the quality of the video–I’m still working on learning how to edit!  Hope it doesn’t make you dizzy….

I’m excited to see where this takes us.  I have a group of deep thinkers who will for sure continue to ask questions and make connections that will help us all learn more about weather!  Stay tuned to find out more about what we’re doing. 🙂


We’ve Been Busy!

Wow–these numbers impressed me.  Our kiddos have been busy:

We’ve only been blogging since December!  And ok, there are 25 people writing those posts, but hey–almost 1000 comments!  WOW!  And so I must also thank you, our faithful readers and commenters, because it wouldn’t have happened without you!

Have you been there lately?  You should visit if you haven’t. 🙂


Hey, friends!  We need your help!

Remember when I posted the other day about Stray Rescue and we’re working with them for our service-learning project?  Well the project is just about to be in full-swing.  Why not yet?  Because like I said, we need your help!

We have decided to make and then sell dog toys and treats, because when Connie came from Stray Rescue, she mentioned several times that the thing they need the most is MONEY!  We threw around several ideas about how to help, and decided to merge our overall class craftiness with their need for money and are going to sell our handiwork to our Robinson friends.  So we’ll need your help with that (once Sale Day comes up on April 28), but right now we need your help to gather the materials we’ll need to make our toys.

So…if you know me, or a friend in our class, and have any of these items laying around your house and are willing to let us use them, please get to us ASAP.  We’re going to start creating on Tuesday or Wednesday–hey, I know it’s late notice, so if you can’t work that fast I get it, but we just decided the other day that this was our plan.  Ok, moving on…

Here’s what we need:

For toys–

  • tennis balls
  • rope
  • old jeans
  • fleece blankets (or other fleece material that you don’t mind us cutting up)
  • empty water bottles (16 oz. or so)–no need for lids
  • old socks (adult sizes would work best)

For treats–

  • flour
  • dry milk
  • peanut butter
  • honey
  • oatmeal
  • cookie cutters (dogs, paws, bones, etc)

We’re getting excited about all of this creativity that is about to spring forth in our room, and even more excited about how that will benefit our canine and human friends alike when we can give Stray Rescue our donation!  There are over 400 kiddos in our school, and there is a large population of dog owners (we collected data to find out how many there really were!), so we’ll need to make lots of toys.  The more you can donate the better!

If you can help and you are a parent or friend of a kiddo in our class, just send your goodies in with them to school.  If you are a friend of mine, feel free to contact me and I will figure out a way to get them from you! Add a comment on here or send me an email, Facebook message or Twitter DM.  THANKS IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR HELP!


Can You Hear It?

Listen closely as you watch this video….can you hear it?

What, you ask?  Well actually it’s how quiet it is in there.  It was hard to capture, but besides the quiet there were just lots of little click, click, click sounds as everyone was posting to their blogs.  I LOVE that sound!  I love how serious they are about sharing on their blogs, and how much they focus in as they work on them.

And so if you have a minute, because to visit our blogs and catch up on what’s been happening lately.  Yesterday we added posts about something I shared last week, as well as other topics of their choice.  Definitely worth a read!  Thanks in advance!

And I’ll remind you again about our map.  We love to read your comments, and also love to know where you are when you’re commenting, so we can add you to the great many other people around the world who follow our blog! 🙂


I have shared pictures of our classroom before, so I figure many of you know what our environment normally looks like.  But now that we’ve officially started our MAP testing, our “normal” is a little different now.  Well at least until the end of next week.

So here’s what our room looks like now:

Remember how we used to have science posters hanging there?

I know you remember the map that is under there.

No calendars allowed here.  Although I’m not entirely sure how that’d help you on these tests…

Ok, so obviously you can’t leave the decimal timeline out for everyone to use.  I get that.

We also had to cover up our little S.H.A.D.O.s that are taped to our tables.  Forgot to take a picture of that.  But you get the idea.  Imagine lots of 4 X 6 inch black rectangles.

It’s a little weird, but part of the process.  We started today and are totally rocking it already!  We are Motivated And Prepared to show what we know!

I’m Just Curious…

We used this as our “Quote Worthy” quote today.  I thought it was pretty straightforward and motivating, but it’s interesting what some kids said about it.

So I ask you–what do you think it means?  How would you apply it your life?  If you could please leave a comment to let us know what you’re thinking that would be great.  I’d love to add some other thoughts to our class conversations.  Thanks in advance!

It’s the Littlest Things…

…that make me the happiest! 🙂

You may remember when I shared my favorite links and when I told you about the new cleaner I found that we’re now using for our tables.  I have had a new inspiration for organization, and had to do another thing in the classroom that would help us save time and keep things clean and green.

So here’s a nice before and after:

Ok, so it’s a tub of colored pencils.  At least it’s a labeled box of colored pencils, but it’s also a big. fat. mess.  And not many of them are sharp.  Oh, and we can’t find a pencil sharpener in our classroom that will sharpen then!  I’m not kidding–we’ve tried every version of crank, hand-held and electric–none of ’em work! So unfortunately, when we want to use colored pencils, we spend a lot of extra time searching for 1) the color that we want, and 2) a sharp version of that color.

But not anymore:

Isn’t it BEAUTIFUL?!  I think I might be in love. 🙂  So sharp and organized and pretty.  I’m excited to see how it works for us.

And again, I can’t take credit for this idea.  My very smart (and very organized) friend next door Mrs. LeSeure has had a tub just like that in her room for years!  Guess it just took me longer to realize we needed one.  🙂