Christmas Elves, Idea, and Story Starters

I stayed late Monday to get out my Christmas...I couldn't wait.  We only have 15 school days so wanted to get it up and enjoy it.  When the kiddos came in they were super excited and I told them Santa's elves came and decorated....it wasn't me.  Gotta keep that Christmas magic alive!! (I just noticed my tree looks pretty small in the pic....it's not...)
Love me some GRINCH!!  Super love his little dog!!
Little Petunia even got in on the action:)
I also wanted to share a quick idea.....I found these cute drink stirrers on clearance.  We use them during guided reading to track where they are or even when we whole group popcorn read.  I know tracking words is for the little ones BUT they don't do this during Read to Self.....it's just a little something we do every once in a while and the kids love it.  ANYTHING to keep them engaged, right??  Again, when I use them in guided reading or whole group, it is also a quick way for me to tell who is following along and who isn't...
Last, I wanted to tell you all I just posted some new Winter Wonderland story starters on my new Teachers Notebook store.  I would love it if you would take a peek:D
Hope everyone is having a great week:)  It's halfway over!!


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Scrapbook Book Reports and an Announcement

So I wanted to change up the old homework routine the week before we had Thanksgiving break.  My peeps normally have some Math (sometimes) but for sure have to read and respond in their Active Reading Journals.  I have wanted to have them do a book report as a scrapbook page for a while but wasn't sure how it would turn out.  I typed up a quick letter to parents explaining their new homework.  I went over what was required on the page, sent them home with a big piece of white paper and waited....................When Friday came I was overjoyed!!!  They really did an amazing job and were so creative.  I didn't even have a sample to show them.  Then, are you ready for this????  I had several ask if they could please do this again!!!!  Asking me to do homework, really?  Wohooo!!  Now, did they all do an amazing job??  No, unfortunately I had a few that you could tell didn't dig deep in the creativity pocket....and then there were 2 that looked as though they did it on Thursday night (even though they had all week)....possibly even in they car Friday morning on the way to school.........bummer!!  That's ok.  I know the amazing ones will inspire for the next time we do this.  This is what I required for this project (wanted to start small since it was their first time and I had no idea what to expect):
- the title of the book
- the main character/characters
-short summary of the book
- favorite part of the book
This one was super, duper cool...he folded the paper to make it look like a diary.

This is the inside!!!

This one has little flap books to open with the info:)
Non-fiction...love.
Again, more little pockets and flap books.

Sorry to post soooo many pics...I just was too excited by these!!!  Finally, my announcement.  I finally have a Teacher's Notebook store.  I can't believe it and am too excited.  It's just a baby but I have big plans for it!!!  I have to give a massive, huge, loud shout out to Janaye at Tales of Frogs and Cupcakes.  She is the sweetest, most patient person I know.  She baby stepped me through the whole process and answered a million spaztic emails from me!!  THANK YOU Janaye!! 
So if you have a sec, please stop by my brand new Teacher's Notebook store:D
Visit my Sale

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I've Got a New Look!!!

Wait.......don't leave!  You're at the right place!  This is the new and improved 4th Grade Frolics.  So I finally dove in and got a new look!  I truly liked my old look but was starting to see it other places and I decided I wanted something unique, one of a kind.....so TA DAAAAAAAAA!  What do ya think???  I want to thank Jenn at Dream Team Designs for putting this together for me and putting up with my pickiness!!
           
                                                             Dream Team Designs

I love, love it!!  If you have my old blingy button (so hard to let go of, I know....) I would be oh to happy if you would scoop up my new one:)  Would love to hear what ya'll think about my new look!!  Have a super last day of vaca:D
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Snow Playdough!!! Too Fun!

Pinterest inspired project for today.  When I saw this I knew I had to make some....who doesn't like playing with playdough???  Right?!  So decided to make some for my kiddos when we return back to school next week.  So many kids are kinesthetic learners.  My roomie at school gave her kids each one of the little tiny playdough tubs.  They are allowed to have it out, just to squeeze in their hands as they are learning....it has to be put away if it becomes a distraction from learning.  I was shocked to see how well they followed the rules with it so I thought I would give it a try myself and what a better way than with glittery playdough.  I found the basic playdough recipe here at Ten Kids and a Dog.  Then the snow recipe here: Snow Playdough



My plan is to greet each kiddo with their own little bag of snow playdough Monday morning:)
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Sun Shiny Morning...Thanks times 2!

Ok so WOW.....so many sweet comments and well wishes about my little run in with the flu!!  You all are awesome, and your thoughtfulness brightens my day, so THANK YOU!!

Speaking of brightening my day...I also want to say thank you to Chrissy at Read Write Sing and Mrs. McKown from Little Literacy Learners for giving me the Sunshine Award :)  What a happy way to start my day:)


Rules for accepting this award:
1. Thank the person or persons who gave me the award and write a post.
2. Answer the post.
3. Pass the award to 10-12 fabulous bloggers, link to their blogs, and let them know.

What is my?
Favorite Color - Pink
Favorite Animal - ohhhh, that's hard...I love soooo many....birds
Favorite Number - 4
Favorite Drink - Peppermint Mocha Latte...Starbucks!!
Facebook or Twitter - here's a secret...I don't do either.....I blog!
Passion - My family, gardening, teaching my peeps
Getting or giving presents? - Giving:D
Favorite Day - Sunday:)
Favorite Flower - Orchid

I follow so many amazing blogs, here are some that brighten my day on a daily basis when I read their posts:

Kristen - Ladybug's Teacher Files
Barbara - The Corner on Character

Thank you to these blogs and many, many more for being a sunny spot in my day:D  I hope you all have a wonderful, relaxing, and blessed Thanksgiving!!!
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Flu....ewwwww and a Road Trip:D

It happened and it wasn't pretty......the flu got me!!!  Already?!  I haven't even seen signs of it in the classroom!!!!  Finished a wonderful week with our field trip, woke up happy Saturday....mowed the yard, sat in the backyard and read and then WHAM!  POW!!!  (cue the sound effects from a old Batman movie), it hit me and hard.....to say I thought I was dying would be an understatement!!!   A little over 24 hours (seemed like....ummmm a week) and I survived.  My reminder to all my bloggy buds, especially if you still have school this week....WASH your hands.....wash them until they hurt!!  You don't want the flu. 

Ok, I'm done crying about that....maybe a little dramatic but seriously miserable for a day and a half...now I am oh so thankful that's over and my vaca started a day early:)  Yes, I should be in school but am going on a road trip to meet up with my daughter at college:))  Family first, right?  Besides the fact that I never.....I mean never take a day off of work.  I'll be back tomorrow to link up with the "What I'm Thankful For" party, so check back:)  Have a super day all......baby girl, here I come:)
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Field Trip

I spent the past 2 days on field trips with my kiddos.  Half the group went on a hike and the other half went on a boat with me and then we switched.  They got to learn all about the Charlotte Harbor Estuary.  The weather was super (ok, a little hot day 1.....high 80's....it's November people!!), but beautiful!  It was so neat to see their faces explode with excitement.  Some of my kids have never been on a boat before and then to see all the plants and animals.....that was icing on top:)  We saw dolphins (momma and baby), eagles, white pelicans all the way from Montana (my fave), sea stars, shrimp, crabs.....I could go on and on.


Spider crab missing some legs:(


One of the kids fave part of the boat trip was when our guide ran a net through the turtle grass and the kids got to pick through it and put all the little live animals in a little tank to observe.  This critter was a first time find.....it's a sea hair.  It that cool or what?!  Really interesting!

Kids were in awe most of the day:)

White pelicans all the way from Montana to Florida.  Our captain said they are the 2nd largest bird in North America.  So super cool!

The underside of a sea urchin.

Watchin the dolphin!!

Super  fun and educational day!  That's what it's all about.  Fun mixed with learning! 
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Word Work Freebie and Yummy Pinterest

Here's a quick kinda random freebie for word work.  Knowing that my peeps need lots of practice writing their sight words and practicing nice, complete, 4th grade sentences, I made this.  It looks a little nutty which my kids love.  It's also very simple....I know...but it works!  It's called Sight Word Zigs.  On the first zig zag they choose a sight word and write it over and over until their zig zag is full.  On the zag underneath that they are to write a complete sentence using that word.  I am also going to use this for their vocabulary words pretty much the same way, so they're practicing lots of things at once.

Sight Word Zigs          
I also had to rave about this recipe I found on Pinterest....where else?!  It is 2, yes 2 ingredients.  1 can of pumpkin and 1 box of white cake mix.  I have to admit, I thought this is too good to be true.  Well, let me tell you.........YUM!!!!!!  I just made a batch.  It's super easy and quick and oh so delicious!!  Super moist, yummy and not super pumpkiny (is that a word?!  If so, I know I didn't spell it right)  My husband and son are not pumpkin fans and they love these!!  The recipe is here at  Sweet Verbena

I also added some cream cheese frosting!!!  YUMMIER!!!! 
5

Read all About It.....Work on Writing Daily 5

Kinda excited about this Work on Writing activity.....even though I came up with it at 5:00 this morning!!!  What's wrong with that you ask?  Well, I could have slept a little longer....I wish I had a switch to shut off my head sometimes!!!  hee hee!  Anywho, this is what I came up with....fresh off the press (that's a joke cuz it's a newspaper activity)  The students will do this during Work on Writing on Fridays only.  It's a newspaper front page basically highlighting what they have learned for the week.  I think it will be neat to read all their views. 


                                                          

Here's the game plan for this:
- Reading Rewind will be a short summary of their basal reading for the read (yes, I know, basal yuk!  Gotta do what I gotta do.....)  This article section could also be used for summaries of any chapter books they have read during the week.
-  Math in a Minute - I want the students to choose one skill they have learned this week (for example, expanded algorithm)  Write about it in words and show an example.
-  Mad Math Challenge - I would like them to write their own Math word problem here.
- Vocab View - Write one vocabulary word they have learned and definition along with a pic
- Words in the Know - Any new words they have learned (that will fit) Science, Vocab, Math,...

Hope this is something you can use in your classroom:)  Would love to hear thoughts and comments about it if you download it!  Thanks and have a blessed rest of your weekend!!
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Fat Turkey and My Goodie in the Mail

What a week!  Time is going by sooooo fast, it's kinda freakin me out!!!!  Anyone else feelin that way???  I mean seriously......Christmas will be here soon!!  I've been blog stalkin off and on all day and have seen Tom the Turkey everywhere...so I just had to post a pic of ours:)

Poor guy.  He's kinda a fatty!  This was a last minute idea and it turned out great.  (don't think you can tell from the pic, but this guy is pretty big!)  I gave each student a feather to decorate.  We made this one to send to our pen pals (don't peek Rebecca) Not sure how to get all of him in the mail......next week I am going to do it again but each kiddo will write one thing they are thankful for on the feather and then decorate. 


I am also tooooooooo excited because look what came in the mail today!!!

I saw these on Amanda's blog, One Extra Degree.  It was actually a giveaway I totally missed out on so had to order a set for my class.  They are from Learning Resources.  I cannot wait to use these with the kids!!!!

They'll be happily buzzing their little brains out as they are learning:)  Can't wait to play/learn!!
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Winners! Winners! 2 Winners!

Sorry to keep ya all waiting!!!  Crazy busy week!!  The winners for my giveaway with KPM Doodles are:

1st Place: Winner of 2 sets of their choice, blacklines included -





and 2nd Place: Winner of 1 set of your choice, blacklines included:



Vickie and Jennifer, CONGRATS!!!  Contact me at tara.eiken1@gmail.com to pick out your super fun clip art!  Hope you enjoy and a HUGE thank you to all who entered and to KPM Doodles for joining me for this giveaway!!
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Pumpkin Pals, Native Americans, and a Reminder

Just a quick post with a few random thoughts all thrown together:)  Don't cha love how my mind works.....Random thought one:  We are book buddies with a super cute kinder class in our school.  My kids love it.  We try to get together every other week and my "grown ups" read to the kinder littles.  Well the last time we got together I decided to try something different.  I gave each of my kids a blank piece of paper.  Once we got with our book buddies, the littles drew a pic of a pumpkin and the "grown up buddy" drew a picture of a pumpkin.  Then the littles narrated to the "grown up book buddy" a pumpkin story that was written on the back.  They turned out super cute.  I made it into a book and gave it to them yesterday.




Random thought number 2:  We have started looking at different Native American tribes of Florida.  Our county is really into Thinking Maps so I decided to do tree maps with our first tribe.


Sorry you can't see it too well.  The headings they wrote about were: food, homes, games, and government. 

Finally, random thought number 3:  If you haven't already, don't forget to enter my giveaway.  I have teamed up with KPM Doodles.  She has the cutest holiday stuff for Thanksgiving and Christmas AND she just posted some brand new sets yesterday:)  If you haven't entered, click here to do it.  Giveaway ends tonight at midnight, you know, when I turn into a pumpkin!!!  I will post winners tomorrow when I get home from school.  I am not an early morning blogger.......sorry.  GOOD LUCK!!
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It's Giveaway Time:D

Okay all!  I am too excited to be close to 650 followers!!  I meant to have a giveaway to celebrate 600 and then Halloween craziness chewed me up and spit me out and here I am.  I am thrilled to be teaming up with Kirsten from KPM Doodles. 

I stumbled on her clip art awhile ago and LOVE it.  She is a super artist and extremely flexible with teachers using it.  This yummy giveaway will have 2 winners: a 1st and 2nd place!  1st will win 2 combo sets of their choice from her doodle Etsy shop.  2nd place will win one.  Both will include color and blacklines, even if the blacklines aren't on the website:)  Super dealio!!  So here's what you have to do to enter, super easy!!

1) Follow my blog and leave a comment here - 1 entry
2) Follow Kirsten's blog - KPM Doodles - please leave comment HERE so they are all in one place and random number generator is easier:)  - 1 entry
3) Go to KPM Doodles Etsy shop and come back here and leave a comment telling which set is your fave - 1 entry

There you have it:)  3 chances to enter.  2 winners:)  Good luck all:)


RULES: Giveaway open to U.S. residents only. Must be 18 yrs or older. Giveaway ends Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 11:59 EST. Rules must be followed. Winner is selected using Random.org and will be emailed and given 72 hours to respond. In the event of no response, a new winner will be chosen.  By entering this giveaway, you agree to have read these rules.
147

A Peek at my Week

I'm hooking up with Clutter Free Classroom for a peek in my planbook this past week.  What a week it has been!!  Glad to say survived Halloween on a Monday (that really should be outlawed..).  We actually had a super day.  We had a blast doing some Science experiments.  One I saw on Ms. Jasztsal's blog: Jasztalville: Where Inquiry and Creativity Rule.  It was a lava lamp experiment.  I didn't tell the kids that ahead of time so they had a blast making predictions and observations as we went along.



Then my roomie did the coolest thing and told a story about a haunted pumpkin.


See how it looks like the pumpkin was bleeding.  Blew my mind!  I don't have the ingredients but can get them if anyone is interested.  The kids thought it was amazing, then went crazy trying to figure out how she did it. 

Lots of small group work with our awesome popsicle sticks:)  If you haven't seen these, I made them over the summer.  They are actually my newer, fun version....I used to just have boring brown ones.  You can read about them here (colorful ones) and here (plain ones).

Also, lots of laser fingers in reading groups.

I introduced 2 new Word Work activities.  Shake, Write, Learn Tumblers. The kids went nuts over them!!  I really am hopeful that since these are focused on the sight words that my peeps are struggling with, their spelling of these is going to improve by leaps and bounds:)  Who Can Spell?

I also introduced expository writing.  Lots of other things but those were the highlights:)

Sweet baby bunny made her classroom entrance.  She spent her first week as a 4th Grader.  The kids love her and after much discussion and a classroom vote, have named her Petunia. (That is hoping and praying she is a she.....a little too young to tell)
Have a blessed and happy weekend all!  It is finally cooling off in Florida and it is yummy outside right now!!!
Check back tomorrow:D  I'm having a giveaway!!!!!!
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