Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Fifth Grade Essay and Letter Writing Project

 One of my favorite writing projects is my Best Restaurant Opinion Essay that I do with my fifth graders each year. Students pick a restaurant that they love, do some research online, and write an opinion essay. Afterwards, they look up the restaurant's address, write a cover letter, and can choose to mail their letter and essay to the restaurant.
The entire project is really fun and engaging for my students, but the best part comes after we mail our letters. Some of the restaurants mail letters or packages to the students. Others email, call, or even come to visit!

This makes my students feel that they really do have a voice. 
Their opinions matter in the real world!

The first restaurant to respond was Bahama Breeze.
Bahama Breeze was really touched by Sarah's essay in which she described her favorite beverage, the Lemon Breeze. They came to our school and served the drinks to the whole class! They also brought a nice gift card for Sarah and $10 gift cards for the entire staff! So generous!

We heard from Juliana's in New York and our local Joe's Crab Shack.
The owner of Juliana's sent Emma a lovely letter 
expressing appreciation for her essay. 

Joe's Crab Shack was thrilled to receive Michelle's essay. They brought her a fantastic gift basket and certificates for the teachers to give to students.

We heard from Bachi Burger and they amazed us! 
Hodad's sent a package from California.
Bachi Burger loved Mark's essay! They brought him a t-shirt and served burgers and fries to the entire class! We had a fantastic lunchtime party. As you can imagine, the kids were so excited. 

Hodad's sent Oscar a t-shirt, stickers, a gift certificate, 
and a thank you note for sending his essay.

We heard from Brio Tuscan Grill and Raining Cane's.
Brio Tuscan Grille loved Bailey's essay. They emailed to offer a 
fundraising night for our school and achievement 
certificates and coupons for our students. 

Raising Cane's thanked Garrett for his essay and gave him a certificate for a tailgate meal! (I told him that he should invite me over for that ;-)

Babystack's contacted us as well.
Babystack's Cafe (which has the most amazing pancakes ever!) posted this picture on their FaceBook and Instagram to thank Emma for her essay. Emma also received a gift certificate from them.

I am so grateful to all these generous restaurants who responded to my students' letters and essays. The kids appreciated it all so much!

If you are interested, you can check out my 
Best Restaurant opinion essay project HERE.
It's so much fun--I can't wait to do it again next year!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Compare and Contrast Writing

Research, write, and compare and contrast with my new "vs." packets!

These fun projects would be perfect for whole-class shared research and writing for younger grades. Older students could work independently, possibly in a research and writing center. Half of the class could research and write about one animal, the other half could learn about the other. Students could partner-up to compare and contrast the two animals and write a compare and contrast paper.

Polar Bears vs. Penguins makes a great addition to an Arctic Circle/Antarctica unit, especially at winter time!

Butterflies vs. Frogs makes a great addition to a life cycle unit,
especially at springtime!

Sharks vs. Dolphins makes a great addition to 
an ocean unit any time of year!
Check out Sharks vs. Dolphins!

Bats vs. Owls makes a great fall project, 
especially around Halloween time!
Check out Bats vs. Owls!

All of the compare and contrast units are available 
in a discounted Vs. Bundle!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Stitch Fix #4 ~ Teacher Style

My latest Stitch Fix arrived, and I only kept one thing!

I initially loved the color and style of all the items in my fix, but there was a little something that I didn't like about each piece. 

These are the four items I sent back. :-(

The Pixley Martina Sub Knit Open Cardigan was such a beautiful color. I just didn't like that the fabric was thin, and the sleeves were close fitting. Anything other than a sleeveless blouse didn't look good with it. Most of my sleeveless blouses are spring and summer colors that didn't look great with this lovely winter burgundy color. 

The Skies and Blue Danny Sequin Trim Halter Blouse was so beautiful! However, when I tried it on, I didn't care for the neckline/armholes of this halter-style blouse. I couldn't wear a normal bra with this top because too much of it would show. Even though this blouse was lined, the material was just too thin to go braless. So that leaves a strapless bra...I hate strapless bras! I decided that I'd probably avoid wearing this beautiful top, and it would spend too much time just hanging in my closet. 

I really, really loved the Market and Spruce Shawna Striped Cowl Neck Sweater. Great pattern, nice colors, perfect fit, and so cozy for winter. I put it on to wear it to work, and I lasted five minutes in it. It was itchy! I checked the tag and figured the rabbit hair was causing the itching. :-(

Finally, I sent back the Liverpool Anita Ponte Pant. I loved everything about these pants - So much so that I already have a pair exactly like them from Calvin Klein. No need to have two pairs.

So that leaves me with...
I love this Market and Spruce Sawyer Space Dye Dolman Sleeve Knit Top! It's the same top as the Corinna Striped Dolman in my second fix. I love the color and pattern of this one.

Even though I didn't keep everything in this fix like I did with my other fixes I loved the style and colors of the items in this shipment, and I'm looking forward to my next one!

Are you interested in trying Stitch Fix? Click below to learn more about it.

Check out my other Fixes:

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Hour of Code

The Hour of Code is here!

This year, my elementary school will participate in this fun learning event during Computer Science Education Week. My third, fourth, and fifth graders have recently begun their coding practice with a tutorial from code.org. Starting December 8th, my kindergarten, first, and second grade classes will work through computer coding tutorials during my technology class. My upper grades will continue working on their courses or choose from the actual Hour of Code course, or they can even code with Anna and Elsa from Frozen! 

Anyone (even parents!) can sign up and begin coding on code.org at any time. Learning how to code helps nurture creativity and problem-solving skills while helping students prepare for a variety of future careers. 
Most of all, it's really fun!

Back in October, I went to a fabulous professional development sponsored by code.org. I gave up an entire Saturday for the training, which I rarely do, and it was totally worth it!

I went back to school on Monday feeling super excited about getting my students started with coding on code.org

My students were so excited to give coding a try. They love it! 
There are many different types of puzzles to help students learn coding:

Give it a try! Visit code.org today!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Stitch Fix #3 ~ Teacher Style

Stitch Fix did it again! I received a box of beautiful clothing that was just my style. Everything fit - even the pants!

The first thing that caught my eye when I opened my box was the black and cream Madeline Mixed Print Tank Top. I love the patterns and mix of fabrics. The fit is so flowy and loose...so comfortable! I paired it with some black capris and the royal blue Jaclynn 3/4 sleeve button-up cardigan in this fix for a pop of color. I wore it the very next day! 

The Rowson Colorblock Striped Sweater and Beckett Graphic Print V-Neck Blouse are both great additions to my wardrobe - soft fabrics and so comfortable!

These Adorra Ankle Length Skinny Jeans are so stretchy, and the fabric is very soft. Like the pants I got in my first FIX, I was worried that they wouldn't fit because they looked so small. However, the stretchy fabric ensures that they'll stretch to fit and never stretch out to the point of being baggy like so many jeans do. They're great to wear with my school shirt on Fridays and can also be easily dressed up with a blouse and boots. I love these super comfortable gray jeans!

One thing about this fix that I really love is the feel of all the fabrics. They're all so soft. I can't stand wearing stiff or itchy fabric, so this was a perfect selection for me. I can't wait for my next fix!

If you're interested in trying Stitch fix for yourself, click below.

Check out my other Fixes: