Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays!

We made it to winter break! Even more exciting than that, we're 1/2 way through the year already! Can you believe it? It's gone by so quickly!

We are doing so many wonderful things in our classroom! I hope your child has come home and told you all about their Wiki and their Movie Maker Projects! I've added some of the completed Movie Maker Projects to my website so you can see several in one spot.

I am so proud of the class for their hard work on the MM projects. They worked very hard to get the writing completed, to create the pictures with CoreFx, and then to narriate their movies. If you haven't had a chance to view them yet, please be sure to do so!!

We are always looking for Frog-Tastic Mystery readers... if you're interested in signing up for the January/February spots, please let me know!

Have a wonderful holiday!!
Mrs. Walker

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Last Frog-Tastic Mystery Reader??

We had the pleasure of having Carleigh's grandma come to read "You Can't Rush A Cat" to us on Friday. Carleigh was able to guess that it was her grandma based on the clue that she was little, she walks all the time, and she drives a red car.
Unfortunatley, there aren't anymore readers signed up to read to the class. I sure hope that this wasn't our last mystery reader! The kids really do love it and look forward to seeing who'll be reading to us each Friday. It'd be ideal to have someone for each child come, since they get very excited to see grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, and siblings! They get to be the star and share the moment with someone they love. It's really a wonderful experience!!
This week we have our second field trip of the year! We're going to the capitol building and legislative building. After our trip we'll be going to Pullen Park for lunch and to play. It's supposed to be in the upper 50s on Thursday, so hopefully it won't be too cold for everyone! Personally, I think that upper 50s are beautiful! And, considering that it's snowing in Michigan, I will take upper 50s anytime in November!! :)
I am very excited for the first Ecology Club meeting this week. We'll have our first meeting on Thursday from 4:00-5:00 in my classroom. There was a nice level of interest, and fortunately, all the fourth graders that had a positive teacher recommendation were able to join! YAY!
Have a frog-tastic week!
Mrs. Walker

Monday, November 10, 2008

Welcome Back!

I hope that everyone had a wonderful track out!! I had a nice three weeks, but I was very excited to come back and see the kids! Today was a great first day back and it went by so quickly! I wanted to post pictures of the new room. Our room is a little bit larger than the old room, and there seems to be more room to walk around. The kids also like the view!

I am excited to have tomorrow off and be able to sleep in a little. I'll be going to school to work on some things and organize a little more, but I do plan on enjoying my day off. Hopefully you'll enjoy the day off as well! Be sure to have your child study the study guide tomorrow!! The social studies test is quickly approaching!!

Mrs. Walker

Monday, October 20, 2008

We're Tracked Out!!! Whooo hoooo!!!

This last week we had our first field trip of the year! We went to Oak View Historical Park in Raleigh. We all wore our field trip shirts and looked super cute!

The kids learned about making butter, washing clothes, keeping food without refrigeration, and then they went to the field of cotton and were able to pick some. They went inside and learned about the five cotton B's: Boring, Back-breaking, Bloody, Burns from the sun, and Bugs. They saw a cotton gin and were able to use it, and then they were also able to see how much cotton a slave would have to pick each day.

After learning about cotton, they went to the barn and learned about the various artifacts used in the 1800s. They had to guess what each item was used for. The kids really enjoyed all the hands-on things this field trip offered. They also got to see the three resident goats at the farm, Boyd, Napoleon, and I can't think of the other one's name.

The kids ate lunch there and then we came back to the school for the remainder of the day.

The rest of the week went by really quickly. I was very fortunate to have so many helpers stay on Thursday and help me with the classroom. Thanks to them and some parents, we were able to get everything taken down, cleaned, and put in Ms. Allen's room in 40 minutes. That's a record-breaking time!!! Now I just hope I can get it all put up that fast (not likely).

I hope that over track out we can get together to see the new Madagascar movie that comes out November 7th. Maybe that weekend.

Anyway- have a great track out and I'll see you all on November 10th in room 600!

Mrs. Walker

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Track Out Week!

What a great week! We had TJ's mom come to read to us on Friday. She read T is for Tarheel (even though she's a Wolfpack fan) and the kids really enjoyed the book. We have readers for October 17th and then two Fridays in November, but then no one else is signed up. If you haven't signed up yet, please think about it. I wish you could see how excited the class gets right before the mystery reader is introduced. So far we've had one dad, two grandmas, and two moms. I'd love to get a few grandpas, and maybe some aunts and uncles! Older brothers and sisters would also be a great surprise!

On Wednesday, Carleigh's dad came to the classroom to talk to the kids about fire safety. Last week was Fire Safety/Prevention Week. Make sure your family has a plan in place in case of a fire. It's also great to have a meeting spot and to practice what you'd do in the event of a fire. No one wants to have to experience a fire, but it's better to practice and have a plan in place, than to wish you had.

The Book Fair is here! I spent about 30 minutes on Friday looking at the books and creating a "Wish List." I can say that there are a lot of really great books and the prices are really good as well. Thursday night is the Book Fair Safari and you can come to the school from 6:00-7:30 and see all the great things planned. There are going to be live animals!! The great thing about the Book Fair is that some of the money helps Oak Grove. Our class preview day is Thursday from 2:00-2:30. If you'd like to send money to school with your child, that would be a great day. You could also come to school that day and look with your child. They do take credit cards as well as cash and I think checks.

Check out the website for pictures from Fire Safety Day. I created a slide show that's located on the main page.

Have a frog-tastic week!
Mrs. Walker

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Frog-Tastic Week!

What a frog-tastic week! We started the second quarter off with a bang! Wednesday was my 32nd birthday and we had a celebration with the cutest frog cupcake cake (pictured above). I received many cards that I loved and then some very thoughtful gifts. I have to admit it, I was definitely spoiled!! Thank you to all the students and parents that sent something in for my birthday- you really did not need to send anything!!!

Our fourth Frog-Tastic Mystery Reader came and read to the class on Friday. The class was able to narrow down the possibilites to two moms. Danny's mom played the part by showing up in a trench coat, wig, and a mask to hide her identity. Fortunately, Danny was able to identify her right away! She read two books to the class. The first was "You Are Special" by Max Lucado and then the second book was "Parts!" by Tedd Arnold.

I cannot express how much the kids really enjoy seeing who the Mystery Reader will be each Friday. I'm so glad that so many family members have signed up to come in and read!!

Mrs. Walker

Saturday, September 27, 2008

End of the 1st Quarter...

We have made it through the first quarter! That means only three more weeks until our next track out!
Friday was a busy day for us, because we had our third Frog-Tastic Mystery Reader! Will's grandma came to read "There's A Map on my Lap". She made a few different things to show the class that went with the book and then each child was given some graph paper to take home so they could make a blue-print of their bedroom. She ended her reading with the poem "There's A New Kid on the Block" by Jack Prelutsky.
This next week we'll be starting our Tuesday Homework Club from 4:00-4:30. I think it'll be a great way for the kids to get homework done and to have me there to help (if needed). It's also a great time to do Frog-Tastic Student tests and earn more points!
Have a frog-tastic weekend!
Mrs. Walker

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Frog-Tastic Friday!

Skylar's grandma came to read to the class on Friday. She was our second Frog-Tastic Mystery Reader and the kids absolutely loved hearing her read Make Way for Ducklings. I think Skylar was really surprised to see her as well!

This whole week the class has enjoyed having Mr. Peacock come and teach us some new strategies with our writing. The class listened to music and wrote, they
looked at pictures and wrote and then they were able to dig deeper and really work on character development.

As a treat, the class was invited to go outside on Friday and listen to Mr. Peacock holler. He was the National Hollerin' Champion in 2006. I was able to go to the 40th Annual Hollerin' Championship in Spivey's Corner, NC this past June and watch him compete. He came in 3rd place this year. Hopefully some of you will go to the 41st contest and watch him!

Friday was "National Talk Like A Pirate Day" and the kids were invited to dress up like a pirate for the day. Many of the parents were excited for this because they attended ECU (East Carolina University) and the ECU Pirates are taking on the NC State Wolfpack this weekend in NCAA football.

Next Friday is the end of the 1st Quarter. I can't believe how quickly the quarter has gone by! It seems like we just started the year and we're already about to start the 13th week!

We'll be spending the entire second quarter learning about non-fiction reading strategies. I think the kids will really enjoy this because some of their most favorite books are expository!!

Have a frog-tastic weekend!

Mrs. Walker

Monday, September 15, 2008

It's Been A While...

I'm so sorry that it has been so long since the last post! We recently traveled to Michigan and Indiana to see family and as a result I wasn't able to post anything last week.

I wanted to post two pictures from the first Frog-Tastic Mystery Reader (Friday, September 6th). The kids absolutely LOVED it! Our guest reader did an amazing job and really got the class excited! He read two books, one was the Blue Day book for kids and the other book was the Star Wars Clone Wars book. I enjoyed the part about the hutlets (yes... apparently Jaba the Hut has babies!).

We're eagerly awaiting our t-shirts. I am really excited to see what they look like in person! Our first field trip is coming up shortly and it'll be awesome to have everyone wearing the same shirt!

This week the kids have had the enjoyment of working with Mr. Tony Peacock as our writer in residence. Mr. Peacock played music today and the class had to close their eyes and "go where the music takes them." Then they were to write about what they saw, felt, smelled, heard, and tasted in their "place." The very end of their session with him brought them to begin writing. Tomorrow should be even better! They're slated to listen to him holler on Friday. It should be a real treat for them!!

It's time for me to head to bed. I've got so much to do at work- a week worth of papers and things to go through. I did get a lot of writing graded while driving up to Michigan and I was able to get the 3-5 Narrative Literacy tests graded. I was very impressed with how well some of the kids did!!

Until the next post... take care!!

Mrs. Walker

Thursday, August 28, 2008

New Videos

Today, Mrs. Edwards (guidance counselor) came to our class to talk to the kids about tattling and bullying. They were given the opportunity to write a skit for various scenarios and then I recorded their skits. They're on the website for your enjoyment.

Mrs. Walker

The Small Things...

There are days when being a teacher is the easiest thing in the world for me. Somedays, things just go so perfectly and lessons go exactly as planned, the kids behave exactly as I'd like and I sit back and just beam from the pleasure that these things bring. Then there are days when teaching is really hard. Time goes by too fast, I didn't get to teach exactly as I'd planned in my head, and the kids just don't cooperate, and it causes me to really stress. It happens. Just like any job, there are good days and bad. Fortunately, as a teacher, I get the pleasure of experiencing many more good days than bad.

Well, today was a pretty good day all things considering (I'm sick). At the end of the day, sometimes I play music for the kids to listen to while they wait for their buses to be called (sometimes we don't get out until 4:10).

I saw something today at the end of the day that just tickled me and made me smile. It was the kind of thing that I try to remember and then when I'm having a bad day, I think about to make me smile and remember why I absolutely love teaching.

Three boys were standing side-by-side at the table where the cd player is, and they were listening to "Viva La Vida" by Coldplay and they were singing their hearts out. It was so cute because they had no idea that anyone was watching them and they were just feeling the song. It was really cute and made me smile.

Mrs. Walker

Saturday, August 23, 2008

What A Week!

Okay-- the shirt design is completed (see above) and they look AWESOME!! I cannot believe how wonderful they look! We placed the order today and they should be ready within the month. Our first field trip isn't until October 14th so we'll for sure have them by then.
We got a new student to our class this week. His name is Erick and he's from California! He was very nervous yesterday and is very shy, but he seems like a really sweet boy and the kids really did a nice job of welcoming him. He had several notes in the mailbox at the end of the day and the kids were excited to finally see him smile!
On the other end of the spectrum, we lost a student this week. Chris will no longer be attending school at Oak Grove. We'll miss him a whole lot! He's going to possibly "meet us" at the field trip locations so we'll still get to see him.
This week in reading we spent the whole week talking about the CROP-QV. On Friday we listened to a North Carolina Legend called "The Ship of Fire." The kids had to write down all the CROP-QV that they could think of. I was very impressed by how well most of them did!
We also learned about schema this week. Schema is defined as background knowledge that enables the reader to make predictions for more successful interactions. We all have different schema because we all have different experiences, emotions, feelings, and thoughts. We talked about schema being like a giant filing cabinet in the brain that holds all the things we see, feel, touch, taste, and smell. Included with these senses are the thoughts while experiencing these things. All of them together create our schema and really dictate how we connect to the world. The more we grow and expose ourselves to new things, the broader our schema becomes. The schema that we have today is not as enhanced as it will be in June.
We finished our social studies for the quarter this week. We'll be having a study session on Monday and then we'll be taking the test on Tuesday. Hopefully everyone has been studying at home and really putting forth an effort!! The class really enjoyed learning about the Lost Colony. We talked about several theories and I read a book to the class on Friday. Earlier in the week the kids drew pictures of what they think happened to the Lost Colonists.
Next week we'll be switching with Ms. Allen for science. Our class will be going to her room to learn Science and her class will be coming to our room for Social Studies. We're both very excited about this and have been working together to get things all ironed out. I'm going to be sending home her welcome letter on Monday. Be sure to read it and let her know if you have any specific questions. We will not be switching on Thursdays (we have guidance on Thursdays, and a lot of our field trips are on Thursdays).
I sent home the August book orders this week. Please send back the order and money (cash or a check made to SCHOLASTIC) by Wednesday, September 3rd. You can also order books on the Scholastic website. Email me if you have questions.
Next week is when I'm starting parent-teacher conferences. If you have not signed up for a day and time yet, please let me know when you'd like to meet! I look forward to talking about your child and all the great things that we've been doing!!
Have a frog-tastic weekend!
Mrs. Walker

Monday, August 18, 2008

So Much To Do!!

Have you ever felt like you had a million things to do and no time to do any of them?? That's how I felt today! I feel sorry for the parents in my class because they probably feel just as overwhelmed by all my emails as I do sending them! It seriously seems like there's so much to do and no time to do it all!

I'm excited about our upcoming field trips. Not only are they going to be amazing, but we're going to have class shirts. My husband has connections to an environmentally friendly company and they're going to give us a HUGE deal on the shirts. They're going to be really cute and I'm excited to see all my kids wearing them!

Our trips this year are going to surpass the trips last year. Even better, they're going to be cheaper than they were last year! This year we're going to be going to Old Salem in December. I'm really excited because we're going to be learning about Old Salem and the Moravian's this week in Social Studies! The kids are going to see it all in person! We're also going to the beach, but this trip is going to take us to the Crystal Coast (Beaufort, New Bern, and Kinston). We're going to the NC Aquarium at Pine Knolls, Fort Macon, Tryon Palace, the NC Maritime Museum (to see Blackbeard stuff), and then off to Kinston for dinner. Our trips to Raleigh (Capitol/Legislative Building and then NC Science Museum) will also take us to Pullen Park and Kids Together Park for lunch. We're also going to Oak View Park again and then a rock quarry!!

This week we'll be spending time talking about CROP-QV (Connections, Reactions, Opnions, Predictions, Questions and Visualizations) while reading and then in Writing we're starting to really concentrate on the area of Focus. Two really big areas in one week. The kids really seem to understand CROP-QV and seemed to have a pretty good understanding of what it means for writing to be focused.

I'm off to bed... it was rough waking up so early today!!
Mrs. Walker

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Back to School

It's back to school time and I love it! I have always loved back to school shopping and couldn't imagine my life without the joy that back to school brings. I guess it's how I know that I'm meant to be a teacher- I can't go into any store that sells office supplies, without stopping by and browsing (and nine times out of ten purchasing).

So this was my last week of vacation. The July-August track out is essentially the "Summer Vacation" for track 3. All the traditional calendar schools go back on Monday (the same day that track 3 returns), and the end of summer is "officially" here. I can't really complain because I had a really enjoyable track out and caught up on some much-needed sleep. :)

You might ask, "Did you do anything school-related over track out?" Well, yes I did! I actually updated the Wikis and they're ready for me to show the kids. The kids don't have any writing or artwork or projects to put on their Wikis yet, but they're ready for them. So during our first week back, I am going to show them what the Wikis look like and give them their passwords. I also set up my online leveled readers for Houghton-Mifflin. They are awesome because the kids can read the books at home (on the computer). I also set up their accounts with Harcourt (our Social Studies program) and they can access the SS book online (in case they need their book while they're at home).

I also updated the website. The buttons all have a different look and I think it looks frog-tastic! It took more than 18 hours total to get it all set up and ready to be published. However, all the time was worth it because I really like it. I also set up this blog. :)

At school we organized all of our field trips for the year and we've finalized the dates and times for almost all of them. It's going to be a frog-tastic year for our fourth graders at Oak Grove!! I've updated my website (Montly Events page) with each of our (track 3) field trips, the times and the approximate costs. Check it out if you're interested!

When we return on Monday the kids will begin the Citipass fundraiser. I am excited because I think the Citipass is an awesome deal! Last year we added some storage space to our garage and my dad and Steve (my husband) went to Home Depot a few times to get some wood. I handed Steve the coupons for Home Depot and he saved $50!! The coupons paid for the Citipass ($20) and then some! What I like about this fundraiser is that $10 of each book goes back to Oak Grove, and it ends up adding up really fast! It's a wonderful and easy way to bring some money to the school!!

I've got a newsletter to write, so I'm going to go for now. Hopefully you're enjoying this blog and will check back to see what new things I have to share about our class!

Mrs. Walker

Sunday, August 10, 2008

First Post


This is the first entry for this frog-tastic blog!! Hopefully this will be something that not only the parents in my 4th grade class will enjoy, but their children (my students) will as well!

My hope is that I will be able to post various happenings on here and share all the wonderful things that take place on a daily basis in my classroom. I'm not sure how often I'll be able to post, but I'm setting a goal of at least once a week. I can't post at school, but I can post on the weekends for sure.

Please be sure to sign up for the updates (it'll send you an email each time this blog is updated) and bookmark us!!

Hopppy Blogging!
Mrs. Walker