Sunday, April 29, 2012

A weird and wonderful weekend

It seems like Jeff and I sit around most weekends watching episodes of The League or Modern Family, finishing up school work and asking each other, "Well, what do you want to do?" We shop a lot and we eat out a fair bit. {Retail therapy is only great for so long before it becomes a problem, right? haha} But this weekend, we went out and did some things, which was really great.

First, I need to get the "weird" over with. We started out by going to Friday Market {Souq al-Jum'a} because we want to get some antique gifts for people {and we want to get them dirt cheap!}. It's really a great place - perfect people-watching, random things to see, and lots of second-hand merchandise. This time we decided to check out the "pet souq" part of it, and really, now that I've typed what literally translates to "pet market," we should have seen it coming: It is the most awful place to be. 
Yes, it looks like this should be cute! That is until you realize these dyed chicks will likely die of toxicity within a week. All of the teeny tiny cages for cats, bunnies and pups definitely tugged on the heart strings, and it makes one wonder why on earth this place exists at all... Supply and demand, I suppose.

Sorry about the image... But shake it off, because I'm moving on to happiness! Before we moved to Kuwait, Jeff and I organized most of what will be happening on our wedding day this coming July. Everything from venue to menu and right down to my actual wedding dress! I, the indecisive lady I am, just bought a brand new wedding dress on Friday that I am SO excited about! The first one was short, strapless and only a little lacy....since I'm a "grandma" kind of girl, the new one is long, has a full lace overlay and straps. I am loving this change and am just plain excited to marry my dear! {Not to worry, both were incredibly affordable.} Now to find some lovely shoes to wear with it :)

On Saturday, Jeff treated me to a spa package - jacuzzi tub, massage and a foot softening at the Movenpick - because it's my birthday this week. So getting to "almost 30" is pretty damn great, if I do say so myself.

Here's hoping all of you had a fantastic weekend, too. Now back to the grind - with such a short time to go!
Good night.
- Amanda

Friday, April 27, 2012

Subtraction Review

I'll be adding these quick subtraction review cards to my Math centers this week. I know a lot of my students need extra practice! There is a mix of regrouping and non-regrouping. Love the backgrounds from Michelle, The 3AM Teacher.

Click the images to download from Google docs. I've already shared these on my TpT store, but am just remembering now to post here. {I only opened the store to share things with a larger teaching community - sharing is caring! Of course, everything there is free, too.}

Have a great weekend!
- Amanda

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

latest behaviour management strategy

If I didn't deal with a lot of talking and students who generally do what they please {yesterday I had a young man walk himself - without permission! - to our counselor to gripe about another student in class}, I am definitely feeling it now as the end of the year approaches. It's also starting to get reeeeaally hot in Kuwait, which doesn't help either. 
I've done two themed behaviour management ideas in my class, both of which were big hits. The first was a birthday party theme {see here} and the last was a soccer theme {see here}. This time, since we recently read The Lorax and because I'm a little excited there is a movie {!}, I made a Lorax theme. I found the pattern on a blog....but I can't remember where :(

Every time the whole class is listening or a lesson goes really well in general, they get a Truffula Tuft. I also use it as a reward for hard work during Literacy and Math centers, since a couple of them still think this is free time... After they've collected all twelve Tufts {I still have three Truffula trunks to's on a list, but it's a loooong list}, we'll watch the movie.

After that, I'm going to try out a Behaviour BINGO idea I found at Miss Kindergarten. I LOVE this one! 

I cannot believe there are only six weeks left of school! I'm more excited about this than I thought I'd be... Can't wait to get home in June just in time for my sister's wedding and hang out with family and friends. Jeff and I will also be putting the "finishing touches" so to speak on our own mostly-planned wedding day in July, and then off to Peru! Lots of good stuff happening this summer :) I hope everyone is enjoying the beginning of the end!

- Amanda

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Tasty Graphing Activity

We are just finishing up our Data Management unit and I thought I'd share a fun little activity we did last week. It's a really simple pictograph and my students were kind of excited by it {maybe they though I was going to give them ice cream afterward?}. Click the title page to download.
Don't mind the pic, please...I really do have the worst lighting in my classroom!

And now I'm off to figure out this Spring concert... wish me luck! {I'm actually thinking of doing a no-music version of "Stand By Me" - just snapping, foot-tapping, bells, etc. Hmm...} 
Good night!
- Amanda

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Earth Day

I'm sure many of you have seen this idea hopping around the blog world... I'm going to give it a shot on Sunday with my class!

Listen to the song "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong. Ask the students to visualize what they hear. Have them illustrate portions of the lyrics using the following file. I separated the lyric lines so each of my 22 students will have one page. If you have more, you could have the extras make "complimentary" art to work with the theme. Or draw the entire song in one scene. Anyway, hope someone can use it! Click the title below to download all 22 pages.
- Amanda

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Uninspired in Second...

Our Spring concert is coming up. We just found out that we have to put on a four to five minute skit/play/song/dance/whatever and it's happening in under a month! I am feeling totally uninspired. Anyone have any any simple suggestions? I will Really appreciate it!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Marshmallow Mania

Today we started a new Social Studies unit about equality and children's rights. Our introductory lesson involved a game focusing on fairness and communication that my students LOVED! Their participation and motivation actually blew me away. Here's how it worked:

First we talked about various ways to communicate. This was fun because I was able to exaggerate all of the little {nonverbal} ways my class and I communicate - thumbs up, nods, W sign for "washroom," shhh-fingers, etc. and they were in stitches. Then I gave each student a small cup with four fruity-coloured marshmallows. Their goal was to trade colours with one another until they had four marshmallows of just one colour. And then they could eat them... The key? NO TALKING ALLOWED! They did a fantastic job and were even able to ask me questions without talking {and I had to try so hard! to answer without talking}. 

If your're looking for a super quick and motivational game, give it a shot. My twos were begging to play again! Easy peasy. 

I hope to be back tomorrow to answer some tag questions!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hello, Portugal!

Portugal is so beautiful I didn't want to leave. {Big surprise, I'm sure!} This was my first trip to Europe, and I absolutely cannot wait to go back - anywhere. Just walking down streets made me happy: architecture, trees, history. 
For a quick break down, here's what we were up against:

Bakeries on every corner. That's a bacon and cheese pancake up there. I am a huge fan of sweet and salty...perfect. And yes, that's a beer with a breakfast food. {In my defense this was a lunch! Also, living in a dry country has a way of really making the adult beverages a welcome retreat on vacations!} A bottle of wine cost about 10 Euros at restaurants {the bottles we ordered anyway! Cheapo.} and a whopping 2 Euros at the grocery store!

We started our trip in Lisbon. It was chilly, but we didn't care. {Actually, I cared a little bit because I didn't pack very well haha.} One thing that caught both Jeff and I very off guard happened our first night as we were paying our dinner bill. I know, if we had read the Lonely Planet for Portugal, we would have realized: bread and butter are not free starters like they are ...mmm..almost everywhere else I've ever been. I'm not kidding, the tiny packets of butter cost 1.25 Euros each. Haha! Live and learn. A lovely thing about the city is the fact that graffiti art is embraced here. There are some amazingly talented artists out there, and I am always surprised at how well they can direct a spray paint nozzle! I'd have drips and drops everywhere.

We took a ride on the famous Tram 28, which takes you around to some really neat parts of the city.

As we moved down to Lagos in the south, we had a couple of fantastically sunny days, a few great sunsets and even managed to go sailing.

On a sad note, Jeff left his Kobo on a bus. Even worse? If we had stayed just one more day he could have gotten it back. He, of course, used this "opportunity" to buy an iPad to fill the void. Thanks for standing strong through all the recent abuse, bank account. 
Here's how we ended the trip:
That's a delicious ending! I'm pretty sure that it was only about two hours after we got back here that I said, "We need a health kick now." We were lucky enough to meet Jeff's sister there, and she is this super cute and tiny lady {also - talented! She is a style editor for the Toronto magazine Canadian Family} who is "gluten-free." She was eating all kinds of fruit, veggies and nuts while were there, and I sort of envy her ability to avoid bread products. I'm a HUGE fan of bread. I'm not going to cut it out - yeah, right! - but I am going to make a conscious decision to snack on things like grapes and almonds instead of Doritos.

And now that we're back I have about a million things to do with about a million missed blog posts to read up on! Gotta love Spring break :) 

- Amanda

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A good day!

Today was our student-led conference day. It was fantastic! The student's really enjoyed having time with their parents to show what they have been learning in all of their subjects - I could see their little eyes brighten with  each bit of praise. It was a great day to celebrate learning success and a nice change from the report-based conferences. 

The best part of the day? It's T-minus eight hours until we get on a flight to Portugal! Hurray for spring break!

Take care, everyone. I'll be back with photos to share!

- Amanda

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Whisper Wizard

As I was browsing blogs the other day{a daily must-do} I found a cute little idea for student jobs during group work from Amy Lemons. I decided the jobs didn't all work for my class, but I did get a great idea to have one student be a volume controller during center time. As she did, I plan to laminate, hole punch, and create necklaces out of these!
Click the pic to download your very own copy of my stolen idea. 
Graphics courtesy of Kristen at Love Two Teach and Nikki at Melonheadz Illustrating.

- Amanda

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Change

It's 2:30 in the afternoon and I'm about to have a coffee. Don't know what it is but I can't seem to stay awake today. Yes, I did say "afternoon" back there... I'm not a nap person, either. It throws off my routine. So, a ramble :)

New Girl PosterDoes anyone watch The New Girl? I admit, I wasn't exactly interested because I'm not Zooey Deschanel's biggest fan. Sometimes she's just too quirky, too sing-songey, and too damn gorgeous for me to find her likeable. But you know what? Those are all the exact reasons I LOVE this show! Basically, the premise involves a bad break up that Jess {Zooey D.} goes through, after which she has to find a new home and try to move on. She moves in with three single guys, all around 30 years old. If you haven't seen it, go watch some back episodes now because it's hilarious and - I feel kind of corny saying this - a little heartwarming! The supporting characters are all perfect and so well-developed that I almost believe they are real. PS - Jess is a middle school teacher in the show! {See? It all comes back to this being an educational blog above all!}

Since I was in the mood for a change and was feeling a little spontaneous, after watching an episode I actually got up and cut myself some bangs! It was sort of a big change...I usually have the same old side-sweep. I was feeling tired and stuck, though, so I went back to  my eight-year-old self and said, "Hey! You look like a fun kid!" And voila...
{Jeff and I finally visited a Korean restaurant here in Kuwait - that's to explain the spread!}

I guess I'll get back to some real work now. G'night!
- Amanda