Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cause and Effect Chain

Hey Y'all, 
Ever work on a reading skill and feel bored? Cause and effect is one that my kids totally get. I was thinking of how to spice things up for our cause and effect skill practice. 

Sometimes the wandering path that is my brain takes me on a detour. I knew I wanted to do something that challenged the kids, and I knew I wanted it to be open-ended. I also knew that I had a drawer full of paper scraps that I had hoarded and wanted to be rid of. Put that all together and you get...cause and effect chains!

If you have a drawer full of paper and a keen ability to drown out student noise, this one is for you!

completed cause and effect chain
Here is what ya do:

1. Put the kids in groups. Smaller is better. Take my word for it. I learned it the hard way!
2. Assign each group a starter sentence. A couple of ours were, "Sophie drove her parent's car without permission" or "Cecil missed his plane."
3. Allow groups to write the sentence on a strip of paper. I even had them cut the strips. Then, have them write the effect of that statement on another strip. Attach the new strip to the old one to start the chain. We used staplers. 
4. Have the groups use the last strip in the chain as the new cause. They should write an effect for that event. 
5. Continue adding effects to the chain.

Here is how one of ours went... you be the judge of if it was a hit:)
1. Sophie drove her parents' car without permission.
2. She hit an old lady.
3. The old lady died.
4. Sophie's family had to pay the old lady's family and for the funeral.
5. Sophie's family became hobos....
Eventually Sophie ends up in jail!!! In these chains, all roads lead to jail. Another character went to jail and was in solitary confinement. Another was in airport jail!

Later we added a little difficulty by asking groups to link their chains together with a few chains. One group got creative and had the main character change his name to make the new chain make sense.

To assess students, I asked them to choose a point on the chain were they would have chosen a different effect and then show the sequence of events from the new effect. 

The kids love the chain and tell all of our visitors about the activity. I loved that it was fun and creative and not just, "read the story and find causes and effects." It was loud, but that never really phases me unless I have a headache. 

How do you spice cause and effect up?


Thursday, February 21, 2013

I Love You...say it?

Hey Y'all!
I was thinking to myself today, on our unexpected snow day, about saying that one little word. I say it to Dahlia about a million times a day. The Hubbie too. Our friends? Yep! My Grandma? Positively. My list of loved ones is long. I am blessed to have each one of them. 24 come to mind. All of the previous classes too:)

I recently had a student tell me as I left for the day, "We love you!" and it was so unexpected. It has been at least a week and I have not gone single day without thinking about how sincere and selfless her sweet words were. She was unabashed and loud, in front of the entire class. Lots of kids took a beat, looked around, and seemed surprised. I hollered right back, as I left for my meeting, "I love y'all too!" After my reply, the smiles across the room were even sweeter. 

Do you tell your students that you love them? The whole group? Individuals?

I know that had anyone asked me that my first year teaching, I would have blushed.

P.S. Do you think that it helped that I had a strict sub? lol!

Love (Yep, I did it to you now!),

Monday, February 18, 2013

I've Been Liebstered!

Hey Y'all!
Jessica over at Ideas by Jivey nominated me for a Liebster Award! She is the sweetest. In her message to me about the nomination, she said she misses "Bloggy Brandi." I have to agree with her. I have been out of pocket lately. Somehow, a ton of grading snuck up on me. With the added stress of multiple meetings last week, I was so tuckered out at the end of the day, that I couldn't even think of what to write. Do you ever have one of those weeks? 

This fun award is a great way to kickstart me into a post. Thanks Jessica! 
Here goes:

These are Jessica's questions to me. I will nominate 11 new bloggers (under 200 followers) and then give them 11 questions. They will nominate 11 people, give those 11 people 11 questions, and...well, you get it. 

1. How long have you been blogging? 
I have been blogging since 2010. I was writing a personal blog about my sweet little family. I lost momentum and took a hiatus. I started this blog in late 2012. 

2. Why did you start blogging? 
Narcissism?? No, really, I write my teacher blog as a reflective process for my professional growth, as a way to connect with other teachers who love teaching enough to write about it in their free time (That is what I call commitment!), to find ideas, and to promote my teacher products (don't we all?). The more I do it, the more I learn, the better, I teach...the more I do it! Circle of life.

3. What is your favorite item in the classroom that you can't live without? My laptop! And my mobi, and my microphone, and my clipboard. I know it says item in the singular. It was hard and this is supposed to be fun, right??!

4. What is your current ringtone?
The actual ringtone is whatever the standard apple ringtone is. But, if I am being honest, my phone is almost always on vibrate. I have a terrible habit of leaving it on silent for school, then forgetting to turn it back on. It seems like any time I actually remember to put the ringer on, I forget to silence it again when I am putting Dahlia to bed, and then it makes her up! 

5. What blogs do you love right now?
I am ever obsessed with The Pleated Poppy. It's not a teacher blog, but her WWIW (What I Wore Wednesday) is my style blog go-to. I also really love her home decor style. I can also be seen stalking KPM Doodles and Ideas by Jivey.

6. What is your favorite linky party (if you participate)?
Currently is the one I have been the most consistent about participating in. Also, my I Pin, You Pin is pretty fun;) It is still open for a couple of days, too. 

7. How would you describe your teaching style?
Silly, bossy, and enthusiastic. 

8. What is your ideal meal to eat on a cold day?
Roast with onions, taters, and carrots. It's my favorite every day. 

9. What is your favorite thing one of your students has given you?
I am a sucker for sentimental gifts. I was given an AMAZING letter from a student on the last day of school. She was a member of my first class. It was so thoughtful and sweet. I gained a reputation with students that day as being a big softie. Apparently, some students saw me sobbing in my room. I went to the office after I had gotten it together, and they told me that kids were saying, "Mrs. Caldwell is in her room, crying!" 

10. Who is your favorite celebrity?
I love me some Ryan Gosling. I also really love Colin Firth and I think J.K Rowling would be so interesting to talk with.
11. If you were invisible, where would you go? :)
I think I would stay home. I am terrible at keeping secrets, and I would think an invisible person would hear a lot that they don't want to!

See ya later, 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Ideas by Jivey 100 Follower Giveway and I Pin Linky

Howdy Friend,

I have been a little out of commission here. I feel like I either put all of my energy into blogging, or all of it into my TpT obsession. This week has been a TpT week, since I needed to make a couple of sets of task cards for math reviews. I got them done, and I think they are pretty spiffy. One has worked out pretty well in my class, which is really the point! I will be using the other tomorrow. More about task cards in a future post though:)

Now I want to tell you to head over to a 100 follower giveaway. Jessica at Ideas by Jivey is holding a giveaway. 100 followers is a biggie!! Click here to head over and win products from all kinds of amazing bloggers. Is it bad form to enter a giveaway that I am contributing to?! I hope not, or the blog manners police may be waiting for me to leave me house!

While you are here, you might as well hop over to the easiest linky party you ever did see! My "I Pin, You Pin, We all Win" linky is still open. Link up for some easy traffic to your blog. We all love new traffic!

I have about 10 posts started, which I hope means that I can finish a couple this week!

Y'all come back now!

Monday, February 4, 2013

I Pin, You Pin Linky

Hey Y'all!
Hello, my name is Brandi, and I am a Pinterest addict. It is a problem. My pinning obsession fueled this idea for a linky party. Wanna hear all about it??

The pitch:
Do you enjoy pinning? Yes?! 
Do you enjoy other people pinning from your blog? Yes?! 
Do you enjoy the traffic that pins provide? Yes?! 
This linky is for you...
Here is the easiest link-up you will ever participate in. And now the rules:

1. Link up any post that you have recently written (let's say within the last month) that you think is excellent for pinning. Try to link to a post that is picture heavy. Pinterest loves it some pictures!

2. Once you are all linked up and ready to go, visit the two links before yours and the one after. Rule of three. Easy peasy, huh?

3. While you are out blog-stalking, go ahead and pin to your heart's content. Try and write an enticing description of your pin. You might even comment to the blogger of what you pinned. I would love to know who pinned what, so I can say thank you. 

4. It would also help out if you would mention this linky in your lil ol' blog. The more teacher friends, the better! This one is more of an optional super nice thing to do, than a rule;) 

P.S. If you have ideas for how to improve this pin-tastic party, shoot me an email or comment. I would love to make it the best I can . 

Your teacher friend,

Saturday, February 2, 2013

February Currently and Ideas for I Pin, You Pin, We all Win Linky

Here I am again, linking up with Farley for her Currently- February. These are pretty self explanatory.


The laundry and dishes are done. Completely. I don't know about you, but the laundry is nearly never DONE in my house. 

I am loving all of my followers so much. I have 54 at this point. I can't wait to compare the number to my Currently in March. 

Doesn't everyone hate tax season? I like to get it done and over with. The year I waited until WAY too close to the deadline was a nightmare. 

I am always wanting to have a grown-up show on instead of toddler tv. We try and limit the amount of tv Dahlia watches, but even what she does watch can wear you down.What kid shows do your muchkins like?

I am always needing to get school stuff done. It is always in the back of my mind. One thing that does help is writing the things I think of down. Out of my head is better than in, because I have the worst memory!!

I hate when kids stack materials on the floor under their desks. I have tripped numerous times from it, even though I am VERY verbal about how I despise it. 

Now, go link up with Oh' Boy 4th Grade

Now, on to some ideas about the "I Pin, You Pin, We all Win" Linky I am considering. How are these rules?
  1. Please link to a post that would be easy to pin from. Picture heavy posts are the best. Avoid linking to your blog homepage.
  2. Take the time to browse a few different posts at different blogs. The rule of three is always a great guide. Visit the two links before yours, and the one after. 
  3. Leave a meaningful comment about why you pinned something on the blogs you visited. 
  4. If you would like to (totally optional), blog about the linky. It always helps to get more people involved;) You can also link your post about the linky if within your post, you include links to other posts that you think people would be interested in pinning. 
  5. Have fun!!
Does anyone have an opinion about pinning to Collaborative Boards?

If you have a suggestion about rules, or any ol' comment, I would LOVE to hear from you. This idea is just coming into focus for me. Any insights would be so welcome. 

Your teacher friend,