26 January 2013

Healthy Eyes | Tips for Teaching Students About Eye Health

We just finished a study of light in my classroom including learning parts of the eye!  So, it is a perfect time for this guest post...
Lenscrafters has been kind enough to offer some tips that you can teach your students about how to keep their eyes healthy which in turn helps our students learn!

Teach Your Students Ways to Maintain Healthy Eyesight

Teaching kids the fundamentals of keeping their eyes healthy is a responsibility that largely falls on the on the parents. However, teachers can have a hand in sharing this information as well. After all, a child can’t do their best in school if they can’t clearly see what’s being taught. Consider discussing some of these key ways to keep eyes healthy with your students.

1. Annual eye exams

When it comes to healthy eyes, nothing is more important than getting regular routine eye exams. Only an eye doctor  can diagnose issues whether they’re something as common as farsightedness or astigmatism, or more serious like glaucoma or ocular migraines. Stress this fact to your students and consider mentioning it to parents as well.

2. Sun protection

For most adults, it’s second nature to throw on a pair of sunglasses on the way out the door every day. But for kids, it’s not as common. Yet, a child’s eyes are more susceptible to the sun’s damaging rays than an adult’s are, so encourage your students to wear sunglasses throughout the year. For those who wear corrective lenses, suggest they inquire about prescription sunglasses  at their next eye doctor visit.

3. Computer-related eye strain

With an increasingly digital world, kids are spending more and more time in front of computer screens both at home and in the classroom. Teach your students how to sit with proper posture when they’re in front of the computer, and make sure they don’t sit too close to the screen. It’s also a good idea to set a limit on computer time as excessive time spent looking at the screen may cause eye strain which can lead to headaches and increased fatigue.

4. Wearing and taking care of glasses

For your students who wear eyeglasses, particularly the younger ones, reinforcing proper care for eyewear while they’re at school is another simple way to encourage healthy eyesight. If you notice they’re leaving their glasses lying out on their desk, suggest they put them in a case to reduce the chance of the eyeglass frames  or lenses getting damaged. Also, make sure the student actually wears his or her glasses. Some kids might be embarrassed by their glasses and may try to avoid wearing them, especially if they get picked on for it. However, it’s imperative they see the board so they can learn what you’re teaching, so work with your students to realize that wearing glasses is nothing to be ashamed of.  

These tips are something kids can take outside the classroom and use for the rest of their lives. It never hurts to remind them how valuable their eyesight is and how these simple tips can help keep them healthy and seeing clearly for years to come.

Post is sponsored by LensCrafters 

22 January 2013

Shhh...it's a Secret!

If you have read my blog before you know I like doing Random Acts of Kindness with my students. I saw this fun project that reminded me of my students as soon as I read it.

Why did this project remind me of my students? Well, they love being ninjas...ok I know this sounds kind of crazy! But, we needed to be quiet traveling the building during some testing...and the suggestion of being hallway ninjas totally worked! Now anytime we need to do something secret-like, we become "ninjas."  Hey...it's only crazy if it doesn't work!

I did have to change up the project a bit to make it public school appropriate.  (Plus nothing is ever cute enough for me!)  Here is how the Secret Random Acts of Kindness work...

The secret R.A.K.s start with each student receiving the "Top Secret" package...
Inside the envelope is a letter outlining the mission (in Mission: Impossible style...including the warning statement...well not really!).  Also included in the package is a list of Secret R.A.K. Ideas.

The Secret Agent is to chose a "target" and perform a secret RAK.  The mission is to do this each day for SEVEN days!  They will list the "Target" and the R.A.K. they performed and report back at the end of the assigned time.

Look at how many I made...can you imagine how much kindness is going to be spread!  Gives me chill bumps!!!!

Another thing I am doing differently from the original project is...I am not telling my students, but I have a little prize for those that successfully complete the mission.  Just a little prize...nothing big!  I am really trying to emphasize through all these acts that it feels better to do for others with no expectation of something in return.  I can't wait to see how many of mine complete this!

If you would like to do this project with your class, click on the picture below to download a PDF copy for yourself! 

20 January 2013

The Fairy Tale News

Here is a secret...I originally did not want to be a teacher!  My undergraduate degree is actually in broadcast journalism and legal studies/conflict resolution.  Now both of these degrees do tend to come in handy in the classroom...especially that conflict resolution training!  But I also put my journalism background to good use in Writer’s Workshop during our informational genre study.

After we have spent most of the quarter looking at traditional information writing, I end with a study of the newspaper.  Since many students today don’t get to touch real paper newspapers, I bring in copies of the newspaper, and we examine the different sections.  I teach them about headlines and the five “W”’s.  We learn about how journalists use a different style of writing by giving all the important details right at the beginning.  We learn how journalists learn to write this way with a graphic organizer called the inverted pyramid. ReadWriteThink.org has excellent resources including an inverted pyramid and reporter’s guidelines to help you teach your students newspaper writing.
We then take our learning to create our own newspaper stories.  I model for the students by filling out an inverted pyramid for the nursery rhyme “Jack and Jill.”  We modernize the story a bit and add some additional details.  Jack is rushed to the hospital with a concussion.  Jill suffers minor injuries but will be ok.  Then I model how to transform the story into a real article.

Now is the students’ turn.  I have a pail filled with paper strips of different nursery rhymes or fairy tale titles...it depends on how many students I have in my class that year.  Because my gifted and special education students go out for writing instruction, this year I teach only 14 students writing, and we only needed to use nursery rhymes.  Each student will come and draw a slip and that is the article that student will write.  They get pretty creative and love to add in modern details.  This year’s boy-heavy writing class got really into adding injuries and some gory details.  Here is an example...
How you may wonder did we get this to look like a real newspaper clipping?  Well I found an awesome newspaper clipping generator.  My students loved that their writing looked like the “real” thing!  The students are excited to learn a new style of writing that they feel is used outside the four walls of our classroom.

Do you have a classroom newspaper?  What other non-traditional forms of writing do you teach your students?

10 January 2013

Christmas Came Twice!

Christmas arrived again in my classroom today!  My class and I arrived back from lunch to find this on my desk...

Please forgive the mess on my desk!

My principal gave a Kindle Fire HD to each classroom teacher!  Oh happy day!

I was such a good girl because I stayed and planned instead of running home to play with my new toy!  (We do not have access to wireless internet at school.)

We were given these tablets to not only teach with but to help with data collection and anecdotal records...but really I am more interested in the teaching applications.  And my students can't wait to get their hands on the new device!  But I'm not really sure how to make one tablet work in a classroom of 29 students.  One of my sweeties suggested I let them take turns reading from it...I'm sure the demand will get worse once they realize it will do more than just let us read from it! ;) 

So I want to hear from you...how you use your tablets/ereaders...especially if you only have one in your classroom???  Are there any free/low cost apps you use with your upper grade students?

06 January 2013

Freebie - Am I that Transparent?

In science, we have been studying light.  In this study, we learn about reflection, refraction, and the eye.  And to help us review all the concepts we learned before the Winter Break, we had a distance learning lesson with a scientist in Ohio.  (We are lucky enough to have a distance learning lab at my school!)  I am kicking myself right now that I didn't take pictures...argh!

Also, as part of that light study, we learn about tranparent, translucent, and opaque materials.  And since I love a good sort, I thought I would share a freebie with you...
Go to either
to get your copy to add to your science bag'o'tricks!
Oh...and don't forget to enter for another freebie...your choice of tablet from Teachers Notebook!  Click on the picture below to enter...


05 January 2013

Multiplying Fractions with Pasta

My word of the year is "cute-i-fy." Yes it is a word I created. It means take the skeleton of something that is un-cute, make it cute, remembering to give credit where credit is due! 

I really enjoy our Georgia Math frameworks. Our department of education cuts down on the time that you have to go searching for good math materials and puts them all in one place.

The one problem with them (at least for me) is they are not ready to go straight from the printer to the copier. For example, what does a 10-year-old really want to learn about math by solving a problem about a 60-year-old's birthday party? NONE! 

So I spent my break "cute-i-fying" and making a few other changes to the multiplying fractions unit materials (click here for a link to the Georgia framework) for better use in my room. (BTW...if you want a copy of how I modified these lessons feel free to email me! I can get them too you!)

Well, as I was re-creating, I was inspired. So as soon as the have-to work got finish, I got busy creating something else. I am so proud to share with you…

I created these cards to provide additional practice with finding the fraction of a number. Here are some examples of the kinds of questions I included…

 These cards are meant to be used with manipulatives, and I will use actual pasta. But if you don’t know what kind of pasta you are looking for or where to find it, guess what!!! I included pasta manipulatives with a key to identify each kind...

You can purchase a copy of these cards by heading to either...
I hope you enjoy!

02 January 2013

A New Year's Treat

Good morning!  I wanted to share with you a quick freebie I made as a welcome back treat for when my students arrive back to school on Thursday for our first day of 2013.

You know how this time of year you run low on supplies.  In my classroom, highlighers are one of those supplies that have seemed to "diappeared" in the black hole of their desks.

I attached the tag to the highlighter using a small rubber band.

To get your copy, click on the picture below
or go to
to download a copy!
Graphics by
 Fonts by

01 January 2013

New Year's Resolutions

Whoa!  Two posts in one day!  Look at me! 
But I had to join up with
for some New Year's Resolutions
Jen R. is asking for two resolutions...one personal and one blogging.
I think I make the same personal resolution every year...go to the gym more...I was off and on good at the beginning the year then really good this summer.  Then school got back in session and I got lazy.  So maybe if I word it differently I will be better about it.  How about...

"This year I resolve to Take Care of Myself." 

I think that can be all encompassing...gym, eat right, stress less, enjoy the small stuff.
My blogging resolution is kind of along the same strand, but I think will be easier to complete.  My goal was to blog three times a week...wow that was easy with a student teacher in my classroom last year.  Then summer came and I had less to blog about.  Then school came and I had a lot to blog but just not the time to do it!  But with my blog-iversary coming up soon, I have got to get good again (and I'm almost at 300 followers)!  So here we go...

"I resolve to write a blog post at least once a week."

I promise!  I will do it!
I can't wait to hear about your resolutions!  Please comment and share your resolution for the New Year with me!

New Year...New Currently!

Happy New Year!

I hope you have had a happy and peaceful holidays!  I did!  I got a load of work done and created lots!  But more about those later because now it is time for Currently from
 and here we go...


Boy Meets World...love starting off my morning with these reruns on days off.  And did you hear that a sequel Girl Meets World is in the works...with Cory and Topanga...OMG!  Be still my teenage heart!


I got a new printer...I was about to throw my old one at the wall...but my new one is fast and fabulous!  I also got a personal laminator!  Funny thing is I am already being choosy about what I laminate...


I have always been a planner.  But for school I usually plan ahead and create for about a week ahead at a time.  Over the break though, I planned ahead a math unit and a social studies unit!  Wow...so refreshing to know where I'm going and when exactly I'm going to get there!  Feels good!


I have been hard at work on a great new math project!  And I went all the way with this one!  My lovely editor (my mom) is taking a look at it, but I hope to share it later this week!


I have been on such a roll these past two weeks that I would love some more time off to get more stuff done!  And play a little more too! :)

O.L.W. (One Little Word)--

My O.L.W. is Enjoy!  I often don't take enough time to stop and smell the roses.  I need to enjoy more.  Instead of having my mind on all the other things I have to do or have to teach, I need to stop and enjoy each and every moment!

I hope you take the time to enjoy the blessings of a new year!  I know I will!


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