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Monday, October 17, 2016

Practicing Inferring through Crime Scene Investigation

This past Friday, my team decided to create a crime scene to help our students master the skill of making inferences! We were inspired by many others who have used crime scene investigation to help set the stage to engage for different skills.

The Set Up!

First, we had to think of the crime that was committed. We are a 1:1 district with iPads, so why not get our iPads stolen! Oh no!

Some other ideas that we came up with were someone stole:
  • The candy
  • Student Bucks
  • Tiger Stars (our PBIS reward tickets)
  • Books
Next, we had to think of who committed the crime. We decided to have our principal be the culprit and to have her steal 2 iPads from each of our classrooms. Because she was in such a rush and she didn't want anyone to see her, she left something in each of our rooms. These became our evidence. 

The items we had her leave were:
  1. Coffee cup (adults drink coffee)
  2. Tiger Star Award (PBIS reward tickets) that was intended for a former student who is now in 5th grade.
  3. Administrator Magazine
  4. Book that said "Happy Birthday" (Our principal gives each student a book on their birthday - how great is that?!)
Crime scene in my classroom

After that, we had to come up with her motive - why would she take our iPads? We had her get a handwritten note from her granddaughter asking her if she could bring home some extra iPads for the weekend so she could play on them. We planted this note on top of the "stolen" iPads in her office. 
Our principal caught in the act of "stealing our iPads"!

Finally, we videotaped her actually committing the crime so the students could see all of the clues that they had figured out come to life! We then put up some caution tape over our doors and over the actual "crime scene" to gain the student's excitement!

Clue/Evidence tents to place by the clues and a crime scene sign to make sure your students
don't touch the crime scene!

So a quick recap for if you want to create an activity like this in your classroom! 

  1. Come up with a crime.
  2. Decide on the person who will commit the crime.
  3. Figure out the clues they will leave that will lead your students to make inferences about who it was.
  4. Figure out the culprit's motive
  5. Set up the clues,  caution tape, crime scene sign morning message about a crime to make the crime seem real!
  6. Videotape (If you want) the crime being committed

How the Lesson Went!

I will admit, when the students came in the morning, it was a little crazy! The excitement was noticeable and the anticipation was definitely rising! We had our regular morning meeting and then our activity for the day was to make inferences about the clue in our room.

We used our inferring steps - Clue + Background Knowledge = Inference - to make inferences about the coffee cup. Some of the inferences they came up with were:

  • Coffee Cup + Miss Hausman drinks coffee every morning = Miss Hausman stole the iPads! (My OWN students blamed me throughout the whole activity haha!)
  • Coffee Cup + Janitors drink coffee and they are the last ones in the building = The Janitors stole the iPads
  • Coffee Cup + Adults drink coffee = Any adult could have stolen them!
  • Coffee Cup + our principal drinks coffee = our principal stole the iPads
Handout to help students track their clues and inferences and an end of the lesson
quick write activity!

We then took our clue and inferences we made about it to a meeting with our whole grade level (3 multiage classrooms of third and fourth graders). We each shared our inferences about our clues. Some examples were:

  • Tiger Star to 5th grader + that 5th grader's teacher = the 5th grade teacher stole the iPads
  • Administrator Magazine + Our principal is an administrator (we looked up the word) = Our Principal stole the iPads
  • Birthday Book + Principal gives birthday books = Our principal did it!
Anchor Charts used to write out clues, background knowledge and the inferences
we made!

It took us awhile to narrow it down to our principal - it was down to Miss Hausman (me) and our principal. We finally decided we thought it was our principal. But, before accusing her we had to be CERTAIN! So, we all marched down to her office to find our last piece of evidence. Three of our "lead detectives" (students who showed great leadership throughout the activity) got to go into her office with me to continue our investigation.

After they found a few things like: another coffee cup and more Tiger Star awards, they found the iPads under the note from her granddaughter. They were SO proud to have found the iPads and to have figured out the mystery! 

The motive for our principal to steal the iPads.

We went back to the classroom and the 3 detectives shared their experience from the principal's office. Then, my teammate announced that she had just finished talking with the custodian who sent us the videos from the security cameras. So we watched the crime unfold on video.

I was SO impressed with our students and how well they made inferences using BOTH clues and background knowledge to make their inference and how well they did connecting their inferences together. This will definitely be an activity that will get repeated year after year!

You can find the Crime Scene Inferring Investigation with:  Anchor Charts, Clue Tents, Crime Scene sign, Activity sheet and Wrap Up Quick Write sheet in the product in my TPT store here! Hopefully it can help you set up your own activity! :)

Checkout Miss 5th's Instagram page and TPT store for more crime scene investigation activities and Teaching and So Fourth's Instagram page to see how she transformed her classroom!

I hope you enjoy this activity as much as my class did! :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Dressing for your Teaching Style

I am back once more with Maggy London to give you some insight about dressing for your teaching style and grade level! These Maggy London dresses are becoming my go to for my back to school style. As a 3rd and 4th grade teacher I think about three main aspects of teaching style:  comfort, appropriateness and personal style.

As a 3rd and 4th grade teacher the first aspect that comes to mind when I think about dressing is COMFORT! There is nothing worse than feeling uncomfortable at school when you are sitting on the floor, outside at recess and walking around the classroom. When it comes to comfort a dress needs to have a comfortable fabric, be an appropriate length (that doesn't make you feel self conscious) and be lightweight enough to be able to add a jacket or be perfect for when it is warmer (my building's temperature is like a roller coaster so this is important to me)!

This first dress, the London Times Dakota Shift dress, is the definition of comfort. This dress honestly feels like you are wearing a sweatshirt....so extremely comfortable! It has everything I need for comfort:  a comfortable fabric, an appropriate length and a lightweight feel so I can throw on a light jacket or cardigan if necessary! Side note...how cute is the detail on the neckline! It makes it such an easy dress to wear without having to pick out a necklace!

London Times Dakota Shift Dress

The next aspect I consider is appropriateness. All clothing has to be appropriate for your school and grade level. I feel that at any grade level appropriateness means: higher neckline, appropriate length, and thicker strapped tank top style or short/long sleeves.

Appropriateness at the elementary level also has to do with appropriateness for what you are teaching throughout the day.  If I planned a science lesson outside classifying leaves, a dress is probably not going to be in the wardrobe for the day. If I am meeting with parents or have an IEP meeting, jeans is not the style to go with. There are appropriate times to wear certain styles and certain types of clothing!

The Justine Drop Waist Sheath dress is definitely appropriate for my role as a 3rd and 4th grade teacher. It has an appropriate length -just at the knees which allows me to be free in movement throughout the day - has a high neckline and has a short sleeve. (Not only does this dress fit in this category, but it is another extremely comfortable dress...and I think you would agree with me that the it is SO pretty!)

Justine Drop Waist Sheath Dress

And finally, I think about style! Is it cute? Does it fit my body type? Does it look good on me? Am I confident in it? These are all questions I ask myself when deciding on the style of a dress, especially when dressing for school. As a teacher, I know I need to not only BE confident in myself, but let students SEE I am confident in myself so they can learn the best from me. Dressing stylish and dressing to my style allows me to feel confident in myself everyday! Who doesn't feel confident when they are wearing a fabulous new dress or outfit?

Leah Sheath Dress

This last dress, is my favorite dress from Maggy London so far. The Leah Sheath dress is gorgeous! It is totally my style with the fitted body, high neck and the beautiful lace detail on the bottom! I wore this dress last week when meeting half of my families...and I can tell you that I felt SO confident in this dress! Again, not only was this dress TOTALLY my style but it was comfortable and definitely appropriate for my back to school assessments!

Can we stop and appreciate this GORGEOUS lace detail on the bottom?!

Not everyone's style is the same, that's why it is important to find out what style YOU like best and what fits YOUR personal style! What are you most comfortable in and what do you feel like fits you the best? These are both important questions to ask yourself when going back to school shopping and dressing for back to school time.

If you want to think more about your personal teaching style, take this Style Quiz on Maggy London's website! My results were that I was "Creative and Fun" and a teacher who always has a joke up my sleeve along with a kind comment for every student! I would say this short little pop quiz knows me pretty well! ;)

Don't forget to sign up a teacher for the amazing Teacher Giveaway from Maggy London and do a little online shopping on the Maggy London website! It has been SO much fun sharing these amazing styles with you! Thanks for humoring me and allowing me to become a fashion blogger for a few weeks ;)!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

More Back to Style with Maggy London

I'm so excited to be back to share some more back to school style inspiration from Maggy London! These two dresses today are from their London Times brand. Yet again, these dresses do not disappoint! The first dress, the London Times Ilsa Shift dress, is another extremely comfortable dress that is ideal for teaching.

Can you tell I am into the long sleeve patterned dresses? ;) This pattern is so cute and is another dress that is easy to throw on and go. I don't know about your school, but my school is either freezing or really warm so this dress gives the perfect balance with the quarter sleeves. This is another dress that is the perfect comfort level and length for teaching and will be a staple for me this school year!

London Times Isla Shift Dress

London Times Ilsa Shift Dress

Up next is the London Times Harper Dress. Another comfortable dress but with a completely different feel. This dress flows well,  has another beautiful pattern and a great lace detail on the shoulders. This is a dress that I could see myself wearing any day at school because it is a bit more casual and has a great feel. This is also a dress I could wear into the winter with leggings or tights and a cute pair of booties!

London Times Harper Dress
London Times Harper Dress

I cannot get over these amazing dresses from Maggy London and am so happy to be partnering with them for the back to school season. They are offering an AMAZING Teacher Appreciation giveaway right now that you MUST go check out! They are giving away dresses, a classroom makeover and an ultimate teacher giveaway coupon pack! I know I will be nominating a few amazing teachers that I know! You can find the specific details here.

I will be back next week to share a few more fantastic dresses from Maggy London and share a little bit about dressing for your teaching style! In the meantime, head over to Maggy London's Teacher Shop to see more dresses that are perfect for teachers! Bonus that there is 30% in the Teacher Shop right now! :)

Monday, August 22, 2016

Back to School Style with Maggy London!

Alright everyone, I am no fashion blogger but I LOVE teaching and one thing I love just about as much as teaching is shopping and fashion! I am teaming up with Maggy London to bring you some amazing dresses for back to school and some that are featured in their Teacher Appreciation Sale! (What teacher doesn't love a good sale?!)

Back to school time for me is all about making those connections with both parents and students, getting to know the new staff, getting ready for a great year and first impressions! What better way to make a first impression than in a Maggy London dress? Don't get me wrong, I am all about teacher tees, leggings, tunics and TOMS but I also think it is important to dress your best for those first impressions and also throughout the year!

I think there is definitely a balance between dressing your best at school and dressing down. You just have to find the right mix for you and your school. I am bringing you some dresses that will become staples for me throughout the school year! I always need some great dresses for Meet the Teacher, conferences, Back to School nights, school music concerts, and other events that go on at school. The first week of school, I always dress my best and bring out these staple dresses!

The Helen Midi Dress
I am all about comfort and these Maggy London dresses don't disappoint! This first one, The Helen Midi, has the most AMAZINGLY comfortable fabric and is the perfect length!  I feel like I could run around at recess in this dress and I would be just fine. ;) The length is also perfect for me - that midi length is SO in right now. The dress has so much beautiful pattern going on that it is so easy to complement with a cute pair of shoes and matching bag. Such a quick and easy outfit! :)

I don't know about you, but I would rather sit on the floor to help my students than on a chair. (weird, I know right?) I like to be at their level and this dress is one where I can sit on the floor and not worry about it being too short. Definite bonus for me - and all you other crazy teachers out there who prefer sitting on the floor!

I'm planning on wearing this dress this week for my back to school assessments! We have two days of assessments with our students before the school year. We get to meet the students and parents individually and assess each student's reading. It is SO great to not have to do this during the school year and be ready to teach reading on the first day!

Fun Photo Booth we are having for students at assessments this week!
Idea from Teach Create Motivate's blog.

Alright, this second Maggy London dress, The June A-Line is so cute! It fits SO perfectly, is extremely comfortable and is completely appropriate for school! The material is comfortable and thick so it will be a perfect dress for fall! Throw on some cute black flats, a few bangles and a necklace and you are ready to go!

The June A-Line Dress

The best thing about Maggy London right now is their Teacher Appreciation sale! You can find both of these dresses and SO many more perfect dresses for back to school here.

Later this week I will be showing off some London Times dresses also featured in the Teacher Appreciation Sale! Happy shopping! :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Character Education - Year Long Program!

Does your school have a PBIS or school-wide character education program? We do and I love it! Each month is dedicated to a different character trait - for example, September is always Self-Discipline. On the morning announcements there is always a question about the character trait of the month and we have a discussion about it. At the end of the month, each teacher in the school nominates a student for the "All Star" and they get recognized at the All Star Program. Their parents get to come in and have breakfast with them and they get awarded a certificate - they also get to be late for class :). Haha!

I love the program and really wanted to do more with it in my classroom to recognize ALL students who show certain character traits. So I created a Character Education program! I am SO excited to implement this in my classroom.

I have set up a bulletin board where I will display the character trait of the month poster, a quote that represents it and "Character Shout Out" slips for the students or teachers to fill out! I will also place the "All Stars" or "Student of the Month" pictures on this board and display them all year. :)

The quote idea comes from Miss 5th's Instagram page! Find it here! I loved it and wanted to implement it somehow into my classroom...so I am incorporating it into this program! I will allow the students to look up quotes that they think will fit the character trait for the month. We will choose the quote and leave it on the board for the whole month as our "motto". The student who is the "Student of the Month" gets to take the quote off the board and keep the quote!

I plan on introducing the character trait each month with a read aloud and discussing what it would look like in the classroom. Then each student will understand what types of actions to look for from their peers before giving them a shout out! 

Each month there is a different trait:
  • September:   Self - Discipline
  • October:  Healthy Choices
  • November:  Responsibility
  • December:  Caring
  • January:  Perseverance
  • February:  Respect
  • March:  Citizenship
  • April:  Honesty
  • May:  Courage

There are 5 different versions of each of these posters and 4 different versions of each of the certificates! - Bonus that each one has an emoji on it...we all know students love emojis! :) 

This will be my first year implementing so I do not have pictures of students with their certificates yet. But I will take a picture of the students and post them on the bulletin board. :) 

There are three different templates to choose from here to post their picture with: Color and 2 Black and White!

Let me know how YOU implement character education in your classroom and if you have any read aloud suggestions! You can find the product here in my TPT store! :)

Monday, June 27, 2016

New Grade Level...New Blog Name!

I am so excited to announce that I am changing grade levels! After much consideration, I decided to take the leap! A new grade level also calls for a new blog name & updated design. I will now be at Upper Elementary Adventures as I will be teaching two grade levels and have experience in 5th! I LOVE upper elementary!

I just finished my third year teaching and all three had been in fifth grade. There is SO much that I LOVE about 5th grade but was ready for a change. I will definitely miss their sense of humor, independence, fun personalities and all of the fun activities 5th graders have the privilege of participating in.  The hardest part about the decision to move is leaving my fantastic team. But I am looking forward to challenging myself this year and growing as an educator and I will only be down the hall from them. :)

I am moving to a 3rd and 4th grade multiage classroom! I am so excited about this new opportunity to learn TWO new grade levels and work with TWO amazing teachers! At our school we have three 3/4 multiage classrooms and two 1/2 multiage classrooms. The benefit of this setup that I am looking forward to the most is building lasting relationships with my students as I will have them for 2 years! I am SO excited to build relationships with my students and their parents to make the learning environment so much more positive and inviting. This is by far my favorite part of teaching and I am so happy that it will be one of the most important aspects of my new grade level!

The other teachers have been so impressed with the leadership roles their 4th graders take on with the 3rd graders and how beneficial it is for all students! The older students LOVE teaching the 3rd graders and the 3rd graders get a different learning experience being able to constantly learn from their older peers!

The only subject that will be taught separately for the two grade levels is math. Their core math instruction is taught in either a 3rd grade or 4th grade math class. Each day there is short math block for math centers time. The students get to work on math concepts that they need individually. This is done with mixed grade levels and allows the students to get the extra practice they need on skills they are struggling with or get extension activities.

Responsive Classroom is a big part of the multiage classrooms and every Wednesday they have a whole group (all 3 classes) morning meeting so the students are able to build relationships with the other students and create an even bigger positive community!

Do you teach multiage? What grade levels?! Is there anything that you absolutely LOVE about the structure or with that would change?! Let me know and make sure to follow me through my adventures into a brand new grade level! :)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Hello Again Blog! It's been...awhile!

Well hello blogging world! I am back...we will see for how long. When I started this blog last summer, I thought it would be a fun way to reflect on my school year. Unfortunately, that didn't last long (actually didn't even last through the first week of school). Hopefully this year, since my masters will be finished, I will have more time to blog and TPT!

I am back to discuss a few new things I am implementing in my class next year that I am SO excited about! In my school's strategic plan, one of our tasks is to connect more with the community, state, country and even the world! This seems to be a hard one to do easily and requires a little more planning. Therefore, it has been on my list of things to plan for next school year and that has been exactly what I have been doing!

First, is my postcard exchange. I can't take credit for the idea, as teachers have been doing it for years. But, I was inspired after getting these maps (shown below) from the Target Dollar Spot so I decided to see if anyone was interested! The idea is that after school starts, my students will fill out a few postcards telling other schools information about our community and our school! We will send them out by a certain date (more than likely in October, but I haven't set the date yet) and all 50 states will receive 49 postcards from other schools! I think we even have a school from Australia signed up, which my students will be ecstatic about! I am planning on reading one each week and discussing the school, city and state in which we have received it from. Then we will color in the states as we go! I am excited for my students to learn all about other cultures and states!

I am still in need of 3 states:  Vermont, Rhode Island and Oregon! If you are a teacher from one of these states and would like to participate, sign up in the Google Doc here!

Maps from the Target Dollar Spot. The US map is paper to color in and
the World map is on whiteboard paper!

Second, is Mystery Skype!! Another idea, that I also cannot take credit for, but am really looking forward to this year! The idea behind Mystery Skype is to provide an engaging way for classrooms to introduce themselves to other classrooms through an interactive game! Students use map skills, critical thinking skills and communication skills to guess the mystery location of the other classroom using only yes or no questions. After 20 questions (or less depending on the age of your students) classes can give clues to the other class to help!

In the end, the classes can chat about their communities and share information that didn't get shared during the game. It is a fantastic way to build community within your own classroom because they all have to work together to brainstorm where in the world the other class is! It also allows your students to get to see other cultures and communities that they may never get to see.

We tried it once at the end of last school year...needless to say it didn't go the BEST. So I decided to research a little more to figure out the best way to organize the class during the Mystery Skype session. So I created a Mystery Skype pack to get me organized and to get you started! :) If you are interested, you an find it in my TPT store here or by clicking on the picture below! It is on sale for the next 24 hours!

In the pack you will find all things necessary to get your Mystery Skype going! There is a teacher pack that includes a planning checklist, permission form, Skype rules, job lists, possible questions list and much more!

Included is also a Mystery Skype journal for students to fill out after each Skype session during the reflection piece of the activity. Another way to reflect is through blogging. My students blog on Kidblog and they are SO engaged and love it!


Job Name Tags with job descriptions are included. There are 13 different jobs, some requiring 1 student and some requiring 2-4 students. 



Finally, possible question cards to use during the Skype sessions to help students brainstorm what questions to ask next! These help students to come up with questions as they are categorized for locating the country, the state and the city or town. 

For more information about mystery Skype, check out the official website here:  Skype Website

To schedule Mystery Skype sessions, you can search the hashtag #mysteryskype on any form of social media. You an also search on the internet for different groups! I would LOVE to Skype with all of you! I am hoping to do one each month this year, therefore I would like to do 9 or 10 Mystery Skypes this year with classes in different states OR countries!

You can reach me at loveandlearninginfifth@gmail.com or send me a message on my instagram page:  loveandlearninginfifth

Thanks for reading! :)

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