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April Currently

Yay!  Oh Boy 4th Grade's monthly Currently is up.  

This is perfect, because I so need a distraction from lesson planning and thinking about going back to work tomorrow.  :(

So I just spent the last 2 weeks on my BEST spring break ever.  I seriously, seriously do not want to go  back to school tomorrow.  I've got 35 teaching days left of this year.  This year has been SUPER hard for me.  I guess it was the moving, leaving mid-year, getting a new job mid-year, trying to figure out the new school, etc., etc.  It's just been really tough.  I'm trying to remain positive and just try to get through the end.

I don't know where or what I will be teaching next year, but I feel hopeful that better things are to come.  I took this spring break to spend time with my family, enjoy this beautiful island, and work on finding balance.  That's something I really need to try harder on in my everyday life.  

While I go forward with the rest of this school year, I'm going to try and focus on the positive things around me.  When all else fails, I'll try to focus on this!  What other better place to spend my time and recharge?  We sure were lucky to spend our Easter on this amazing beach.

Five for Friday - March 29

Normally, I'm so excited link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday.  I'm not as excited today, because it means my amazing spring break is almost over.  Boo!

This has seriously been my most enjoyable spring break ever.  I have sooooo many pictures, but I'll try to limit them to the most important things we did.  I guess I'll have to save the other pictures for another post.

Our first stop was Waimea Falls.  It's such a gorgeous place!  There are so many really cool plants.  They have Hawaiian huts that you can explore and see how people used to live many years ago.  You can swim to the waterfall at the end (or if you're lucky a very fit lifeguard will give you a ride on his surfboard). 

We've been meaning to visit the USS Arizona Memorial since we arrived on island.  I'm so glad we took the time to visit the memorial.  If you visit Hawaii, I highly recommend going here.  You do need to get there very early though or make reservations through their website.  They only give so many tickets each day.  We were fortunate that a Park Ranger had 6 extra tickets and gave them to us for a tour right after we arrived.  Otherwise, we would have waited about 3 hours before we were able to go on the tour.

Before you take a ferry to see the memorial, you watch a 9-minute movie that does a great job explaining the events leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor and the damage that was done so quickly.  Can you imagine a whole battleship sinking in less than 10 minutes?

The USS Arizona is still leaking oil, despite it being over 70 years since it sunk.  Not only can you see the oil floating on the water, the smell was incredibly strong.

I was also surprised to learn that many of survivors of the USS Alabama have chosen to have their cremated remains placed back inside the USS Alabama with their fallen comrades.  What a tragic day on December 7, 1941, and those that gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country should be remembered.

We also did some hiking at one of the kids' favorite spots.  They love hiking up to the pillboxes in Lanikai.

We explored some new beaches at Bellows Air Force Base, which is right near where we live.  It's gorgeous there!  We're already planning a trip back for this weekend.

And finally, it's time for some spring cleaning!  Not only does my house need to be cleaned (you won't believe how much sand accumulates in here), my TpT wishlist needs to be cleaned out!  I'm having a sale on my entire store for Saturday and Sunday.  You can get 20% off the entire store.

I'll definitely be cleaning out my wish list, because there are some other great bloggers joining in on this sale!

What's for Dinner?

I don't know about you guys but my kids start asking me what's for dinner before we've even left the house for school!  I try really hard to plan meals and know ahead of time what we're having for dinner. 

I'm always looking on Pinterest (you can follow my recipe board here) and blogs for easy meals that most of my family will eat and love.  I've fallen in love with Six Sisters' Stuff.  I love their blog posts, meal plans, and recipes.  They recently started a 4x4 Family Dinner Challenge for March.  Even though March is almost over, I really like this challenge and you can start anytime.

Basically the challenge is to eat dinner together as a family 4 nights a week for 4 weeks.  My family does eat dinner together at the table almost every night.  Occasionally, we'll eat pizza in front of the TV.    I'm super glad we have this ritual in my house, because there was some interesting research brought up in the blog post about the challenge.

Family dinners are more important than play, story time, and other family events in the development of vocabulary of younger children (Harvard Reserach, 1996).

Kids who eat most often with their parents are 40% more likely to get mainly A's and B's in school than kids who have two or fewer family dinners a week (National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University).

One tradition, we've started at dinner is that everyone goes around and shares one good thing and one not so good thing about their day.  Usually the kids like sharing a whole list of good things about their day.  One lesson we've learned the hard way is to make the rule that you can only share ONE not so good thing.  Or dinner turns into a big whine fest.  It's really good hearing what the kids have to say about their day, and it's taught them to listen to others while taking turns.

My real dilemma is getting dinner on the table.  Since I'm commuting with my new job, I've really had to rely on my crock pot.  I wanted to share with you guys some of my favorite crock pot recipes.  Seriously, these recipes are all easy and taste good.  My family approves of them all.  Click on the pictures to see the recipes.

Kailua Pig is a local favorite here in Hawaii.  I make the same recipe only I don't cook it for 16 hours and I just use regular sea salt.  I  just cook it all day on low while I'm at work.  We use the pig for bbq pork sandwiches, Kailua pig tacos, or quesadillas.  Yummy!

Whole Chicken - We love a roasted chicken in the crock pot.  I usually serve it with brown rice and a veggie.  If there leftovers, I use the meat for quesadillas.

These pork carnitas on corn tortillas are awesome!

This is a new one I just discovered, but we've already had it twice.  The first time we ate it with potatoes.  The 2nd time we used the meat to make french dip sandwiches.  So good!

Do you have any easy recipes to share?  I love trying new ones!

Zippin Down the Freebie Trail

I'm super excited to be teaming up with Primary Inspired for an awesome blog hop that's going to leave you with some GREAT freebies!  Don't worry if this is your first stop.  Just click on the picture below, and it will take you back to the beginning.  From there, follow along and you'll pick up some great freebies for your class.

I'm happy to share with you guys this super cute Short Vowel Egg Hunt that you can download from my TpT store.  I'd love it if you could leave me some feedback after you download!

Next in line is Thinking of Teaching.  You'll want to keep on Zippin' Down the Bunny Trail by clicking on the picture below to the next stop.  There will be 3 or 4 stops each day until March 30th so make sure you come back to get the next bunch of freebies!

Thanks for stopping by!

Happy Birthday TBA!

It's hard to believe that Teaching Blog Addict  is almost 2 years old!  It seems like just yesterday I was thinking about creating a blog and making stuff to use in my classroom.  I have to say that blogging and networking with other amazing teachers has made such an impact on my own teaching.  I've come a long way 2 years!

April 5th is going to be the big celebration that you will not want to miss!  There's going to be TONS of freebies and other awesome things.  Make sure you check back on April 5th to see the awesome things planned on TBA.

Five for Friday - March 22

Happy Friday everyone!  I've been on Spring Break, so this last week has been sooooo nice!  This was exactly what I needed to get out of a funk I've been in lately.  I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her weekly Five for Friday.

Since I'm on Spring Break, I'm going to share with you guys how I've spent the last week.  We've been in Hawaii for 3 months, but I honestly feel like I haven't been able to enjoy it until this week.  As soon as we arrived, we were slammed with looking for a house, job hunting, and getting settled in.  Then I started work right away, and it's been very exhausting.  I needed this break for a lot of reasons!

Here's some of my past week.

1.  First thing to do was get stocked up with some good reading material.  I've read 2 books (Daddy Love and Collateral), and I'm almost done with Something Wicked).  Daddy Love was disturbing.  It wasn't necessarily bad but too disturbing (kidnapping, child abuse, etc.).  I don't recommend it.  Collateral was really good if you like Ellen Hopkins style of writing (poems).  It's about a girl's relationship with a Marine as he goes through deployments.  I could definitely relate to parts of the book and felt like she did a great job.  I'm almost done with Something Wicked, so I'll hold judgement till I get done.

2.  This is how I've been spending my days!  

3.  Everyone wears collared shirts to the beach, right?

4.  This might be my MOST favorite picture of me and the triplets ever, even if Brody's not smiling.

5.  I got to hang out with some other awesome Hawaiian bloggers!  This is Nicole from Teaching With Style and Corinna from Surfin' Through Second.   Such a great time visiting, eating pupus, and having drinks!

I have a whole other week of Spring Break left and lots of stuff planned for the next week.  Make sure you check back next week to see some more pics as we play tourist here in Hawaii.

Field Trip Reflection Forms

Last week, we took the kids on a field trip to the zoo.  I do love the zoo but going on a field trip is EXHAUSTING!  I wanted a quick activity for when we got back since we wouldn't have much time left before the end of the day.

I made these Differentiated Field Trip Reflection Forms that you can use for any field trip and for students of different ability levels/grade levels.

So go check them out {here} because they're a flash freebie!

Five for Friday - March 15th

I'm super excited about joining up for this week's Five for Friday, because I'm now on Spring Break!!!!  

Wooohoooo!!!!  We have a weird schedule where we're off for over a week.  We're off for next week and then Monday and Tuesday of the following week.  We go back on Wednesday and Thursday and off again on Friday.  So strange!  I took that Wednesday and Thursday off, which means I have 2 whole weeks off of work!  YAY!!!

I don't have tons of school stuff from this week, because I didn't get many pictures taken.  But I have pics of other things!

1.  My daughter ran in her first track meet and did AWESOME!  She was 2nd place in the 300 meter hurdles.  I was soooo proud of her!

2.  There's this AMAZING crepe restaurant here.  It's my favorite place to eat breakfast here.  So yummy!

3.  I FINALLY bought ink for my printer.  I spent last weekend printing and cutting up a storm.  I even had a blister on my thumb from so much cutting!

4.  I mentioned before that I've started using these awesome Draw It Now! Guided Drawing Literacy Centers with my students.   I really think this is worthwhile for my students.  They need so much help with learning to draw.  Even with me modeling each step, these are pretty challenging for my students.    This week, we did W is for Whale. 

In my class, I happen to have 2 aides.  One provides one-on-one support for a student with behavior problems and another aide for the class.  This is what I found on my aides' table after the guided drawing lesson was over.  I guess my students aren't the only ones learning.  ;)

5.  Today, we went on a field trip to the zoo!  Be on the look out for some field trip reflection forms coming up soon!

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Five for Friday

It's my favorite post of the week, Five for Friday hosted by Doodle Bugs Teaching.

 We've been working hard on sight words.  My kids are making a lot of progress in this area!  Wooohoooo!!!  I've been planning on doing a sight word post soon but haven't gotten there yet.  Here's a few of the resources I'm using and loving.

First Grade and Fabulous has this great Super Readers Sight Word  packs.  I've been using them with my resource students and my group of RTI students.

 Not only are there sight word practice sheets, but there are little books that go along with the words.  Look at this fella tracking and pointing with his finger as he read.  Oh my goodness, makes me so happy!

Unfortunately, I had to do a WHOLE bunch of assessments.  Report cards are coming up soon and the gen ed teachers need my stuff to them early.  That kinda cut me short in time, but I got them all done this week.  

 We did this super cute Whose Hanging Out in Your Pocket activity from Primary Graffiti.  It's a freebie so make sure you grab it and save for next year!

My youngest daughter has decided to teach herself cursive for FUN!  What is wrong with her?  She's soooo going to be a teacher one day.  LOL.  

Does your school even teach cursive anymore?  

The Best Advice Ever...

Dragonflies in First is having a super cool linky party about the best advice you ever received as a teacher. 

I can honestly say that this is a job where I'm constantly learning.  So many other teachers have AWESOME ideas that make me a better teacher.  I'm excited to hear what other people have to give for their best advice.

The best advice I ever received was to think about when to pick your battles, especially with those behavior problem students.  Of course, you need to be consistent with your behavior plan.  But sometimes the key is knowing when it's important to fight the battle and when to put it aside until a later time.

One of my current students can be very noncompliant, specifically with writing assignments.  If the work is starting to become a battle and he's getting more and more noncompliant, I have 2 choices.  I can force the issue and let the battle escalate while the other students keep working.  This isn't really win-win for anyone.  

Or I can I say ok we're done with this task for right now.  Sometimes the other kids aren't done (but I consider it a free pass for them since they were working) and I stop the task anyway.  I tell the student that we'll finish the assignment later.  The key is he doesn't get out of the work, but it just goes away for the moment.  I switch gears to another activity (hopefully something he'll want to participate in) and drop the battle.

Then when there's something that I know he wants to participate in (like recess, centers, something else fun) I bring back the unfinished work.  I let him know the work must be done before XYZ can be earned.  It's amazing how much more motivated he is when there's something he desired right in front of him!

Some things just aren't worth the battle.  If a kid is going to fight you over washing his dirty face (or some other trivial thing), let him have a dirty face.  My goal every day is to get as much academic work and instruction in as possible, which means being consistent and not letting problems escalate if possible.

What's the best advice you ever heard?

March Currently!

I know I'm breaking the rules with 2 blog posts in one day BUT I can't pass up Oh' Boy 4th Grade's Currently.

So here's my March Currently.

Listening: Oh to be young again and entertained by flashlights!  Love those kids! :D

Loving: Seriously, so glad it's Friday.  :)  This was week NOT good. :(

Thinking:  It's Friday night and I'm already stressing about work on Monday.  This is not good.  I have to stop!  :(

Wanting: 10 more teaching days till Spring Break.  And yes, I have an end of the year countdown, too. :/

Needing: My husband dropped his surfboard on my printer.  I really want a super nice laser one now.  I think he owes me.  ;)

Like, Love, Hate: Well what can I say.......A is a hard letter to use!  :P

Make sure you stop by and link up with Farley for Currently March.

Five for Friday

Another Friday means one more week closer to Spring Break!  10 teaching days left for me.  How long till spring break for you?

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday.

1.  My husband's CO is from Louisiana and has an annual crawfish boil every year.  Did you know you could get crawfish shipped to Hawaii?

2.  My kiddos NEED some help with drawing!  I bought Mrs. Miner's Draw It Now! pack a few weeks ago.  I never actually used it and figured I need to use this.  As you can see from my student's first page, even drawing a kite with step-by-step instructions from the teacher is hard.  But look how good his last drawing turned out!  I was super proud of him.  I am going to make time to do this every week from now on.   

3.  We've continued to work on identifying setting and main character using graphic organizers from my Story Elements unit.  As you can see, we still need some work on main character since my student though the cat was the main character from The Little Red Hen.  :/

4.  I love Deedee Willis' Read, Trace, Glue, and Draw sentences.  Winter isn't really a familiar topic to my Hawaiian students, but I already had this.  I figured I'd go with it.  My student drew a picture of Santa's sled to go with his sentence.  LOL!  I guess in Hawaii that's the only sled they know.  I really should buy her St. Patricks Day sentences!

5.  I'll leave you with a pic of what I see on my drive home from work.  Beautiful!

 Hope everyone enjoys their weekend!