Friday, May 30, 2014

Five for Friday, a Flash Freebie, + Giveaway winner!

Hi everyone! I am beyond thrilled to be linking up with Doodlebugs for this Five-for-the-last-Friday-of-school post! As much as I love my job, and love my students, I am always ready for summer "break" - you know, so I can start prepping for next year!

We have had a lot of fun this week, and are ending the year on a great note! Here's a peek at what happened in my class this week...
Tuesday was "Water Fun Day" in fifth grade! Nikki & I took our classes outside for the entire afternoon to play water games. It was a little crazy, but a lot of fun! Here are the highlights:  
"SpongeBob" relay with a car wash sponge
Water balloon toss
Water bucket relay
Back-to-back water balloon relay - boys vs. girls - Yep, even the teachers got involved!

On Wednesday, we spent almost all day working on awards for each other using this great craftivity from Deb at Crafting Connections
Students drew a classmate's name, brainstormed, and then created their own unique award for that student. Then, we put out clouds for each student, and wrote compliments on them. 
They didn't quite finish on Wednesday, so on Thursday morning, they finished the awards and then presented them to each other. I was so proud of their creativity and thoughtfulness! 
Thursday was Year End Cleaning Day! While some of my students felt like it was forced labor, most of them loved helping clean up the room (especially the ones who got to clean the sharpie off of name tags and clean the white boards!). I wanted something to help organize the chaos of year-end cleaning, so I created these Classroom Cleaning Task Cards with tasks for the end of the year and for daily clean-up. They are a FLASH FREEBIE for today only (or until I remember to change it on Saturday!), so head over to my store to download your copy. Don't forget to leave feedback :) 

Today is it. The last day. We are celebrating our fifth graders' end of elementary school in a big way! A surprise barbecue, a very special awards ceremony, and a bubble parade through the school where the lower grades will cheer them on to middle school. Keep an eye on our Instagram for pics this weekend!
I have been blessed to have some of the sweetest families this year. From Teacher Appreciation Day until now, I have received so many thoughtful cards, gifts, and flowers from my students. It makes this teacher's heart happy to know that parents appreciate what we do! Here's a peek at some of the goodies...
Origami Owl, Yankee Candle, candy, poems, flowers...WOW! These are some sweet kids!

Giveaway Winner...

Congratulations, Andrea! We will email you later today. Hope you enjoy your prizes! 

One more day of report cards and cleaning, and I am *FREEEE* for the summer!!! Have a great weekend, everyone! 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

I'm linking up with Sugar and Spice for Wordless Wednesday to share a fun photo from our end of the year festivities. Details coming in Five for Friday!

What fun things are you doing for the end of the school year?

Monday, May 26, 2014

It's Giveaway Time!!! {+ Meet the Teaching Trio}

Happy Memorial Day, everyone! Memorial Day means so much to the 3 of us. The military surrounds us on so many sides. We are wives of soldiers and mothers of military children. We are also teachers on a military installation. Each of the students we teach has a parent in the military, and almost 100% of our students have suffered through a deployment of a parent. With all of this in mind, we humbly say, “Thank you.” We recognize your sacrifice and the sacrifice of your family members. The cost you all pay does not go unnoticed.

Meet the Teaching Trio

If you're reading this, you probably already know me, Kristen, the face behind Chalk & Apples. I am so excited to introduce my friends, Juliet and Nikki, who have agreed to join me on a collaborative blogging adventure! We've been working behind the scenes for a while now, and are so excited to be blogging together. This change from Chalk & Apples to the Teaching Trio will bring more fantastic teaching ideas, more freebies, and more quality posts to the blog! They wanted to introduce themselves, so here's a quick note from each of them:
"I am so excited!  Teaching Trio is visualization of dream I have had for a while. I feel so blessed to be a part of this blog and find out 2 of my friends have the same dream. Kristen, Nikki, and I have been working hard behind the scenes - brainstorming, discussing, and examining fonts, colors, and styles. It has been so much fun. I can’t wait to start sharing! My 2 wonderful friends and I have sincerely passionate teaching hearts. Did I mention that I was excited?"                                                                                                      ~ Juliet 

"I am so very excited to be joining two of my absolute favorite teachers in this new blogging adventure! I am a newbie to all things blog related, but cannot wait to share fun and exciting ideas about teaching! Teachers rock!"                                                                                                                                                                             ~Nikki 

Giveaway Time!

I was so happy completely floored a couple of weeks ago when I checked my TeachersPayTeachers app and saw that I had 1,000 followers! What better way to celebrate than with a giveaway?! Some fabulous Blogging Buddies have generously donated prizes, plus I will be giving the winner a $15 shopping spree in my TPT store, Chalk & Apples! Here's a peek at what you can win! (Photos are clickable for more info)

Alison Rose's Store (Rockin' & Lovin' Learnin')     Chalk & Apples

The giveaway is open now through Thursday night! Share it on Twitter for extra entries! Good luck everyone!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Peek at My Last Week of School + Giveaway news!!

It's finally here! The last week of school! I'm (Kristen) linking up with Mrs. Laffin's Laughings to share a peek at all the fun we have planned to wrap up the school year.
While everyone is at home, enjoying Memorial Day, we will launch our new-ish blog by kicking off my 1,000 TPT Follower giveaway! Check in tomorrow to meet my two new collaborating bloggers, see all the awesome prizes you can win, and to enter! Here's a peek at the awesome Teacher-Authors who have donated prizes:
We've been counting down the school year A to Z (freebie on TPT), and Tuesday is Water Fun Day! We are going to spend the afternoon outside playing water games. On our list are: the infamous water bucket relay (with holes in the buckets, of course!), a SpongeBob relay (where they use car wash sponges to fill a bucket), Elimination (soaked sponge style), a back-to-back water balloon race, and of course, a water balloon toss. It's going to be a blast! I can't wait!
Tuesday is also the day we will write letters to our favorite teachers. Since my fifth-graders are leaving our school "forever," we like to do this at the end of each year so they can thank a teacher who has been important to them. My favorite part is getting to pass the letters out to teachers when they finish. There's nothing like someone popping into your room unexpectedly to tell you that you are some child's favorite teacher!
Xtraordinary Awards Day means we will be making Deb Hanson's Together We Soared Awards. I can't wait to see what awards they come up with for each other! We've come a long way this year, from a class that seemed completely checked out in the first week of school to a group who will actually be able to come up with a nice award for whoever they draw.
Thursday is Year-End CleaningDay. One of the perks of teaching fifth grade is that they can definitely help with all of the year and pick up and clean up duties. Last year I used these free Cleaning the Classroom Stations from Wise Guys, and it went really well. I'll probably do this again, or some variation of it. They will also be taking all of their personal things home Thursday so that in case when someone forgets something, they will be here to get it Friday and I won't be throwing their things away have to save them and treasure them forever.
Friday is the big day! Z stands for Zip Into Summer, and we are surprising our kids with a barbecue outside. We have secretly planned the entire thing over the last couple of weeks, and have parents bringing in sides and desserts to go with the burgers and hot dogs the fifth-grade team will be bringing. Apparently, a couple of their parents have let slip that there is some sort of surprise on the last day of school, but so far as we know, no students know what the surprise is yet!
After the barbecue, we will do end of the year awards. We are using my End of the Year Student Awards to give out academic awards and some fun ones to make sure everyone gets an award. We've invited all the parents to come for the awards, and when that's over, we will do a parade through the hallways of the school with all of the "underclassmen" cheering on our fifth-graders. The parade leads out the front entrance of the school where we blow bubbles and send them off to middle school!

There'll probably be a movie and some Summertime Feud in there somewhere, too. That's it for this week packed full of fun! I'd love to hear how you are wrapping up the school year!

Sunday, May 18, 2014


I'm linking up for a little bit different "Peek at my Week" with Jennifer at Mrs. Laffin's Laughings. I've been hinting for a week or two now that there were some exciting changes coming to my little blog, and I'm finally ready to share the news. So here's a peek at what's happening this week on my blog...

Two of my best teacher friends and I are starting a collaborative teaching blog! (You might remember Juliet from her Mother's Day craft guest post last week!) Over the next week or two, Chalk & Apples will gain two more authors, and will become the Teaching Trio!!! Our URL and name will be changing (, and we will have a brand spankin' new blog design!

How does this change the blog?

It makes it better! I will still be writing about things that are happening in my class, and lessons that go well. My friends will also be posting about what they're doing in their rooms. This means we'll be able to post much more often, and you will get more great classroom ideas, that reach more grade levels!

What about Chalk & Apples on TPT?

The three of us will be maintaining separate TPT stores. So nothing will be changing there, although I did create a shiny new store button and banner yesterday!

What does this mean for you?

Over the next week to week and a half, you will notice some changes happening, the first of which will be the URL change (coming in a couple of days), followed by some layout and design changes.

If you already follow me on Google, you won't have to do a thing. The url of the blog is changing, but you will still be a follower!

If you're a Bloglovin' follower, you're good to go too! The fabulous tech support team will be transferring all of Chalk & Apples' followers over to the Teaching Trio. It is supposed to take a day or two, but you won't miss anything, because we'll wait to post until the new blog design is up and our followers have been transferred.

We will be working hard to correct any broken links here and on Pinterest, but in the meantime, you can follow the Teaching Trio on Pinterest for some awesome pins we've been collecting!

So hang tight, and bear with us as we work through all these changes! I promise, you'll love the new blog, probably more than this one! Plus, there'll be a fabulous giveaway coming as soon as all the dust has settled! Have a great week, everyone!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Loving this Volume Lesson!

I am linking up with The Teacher Studio for her new Loved that Lesson linky to share a lesson I absolutely loved!

This week, I introduced volume with my class, and instead of  "teaching" them what it is and how to find it, I gave them time to explore. I started by giving them a basic definition of what volume is. Then we used a fabulous activity from A New Day of Learning's TPT Store, her Hands-On Math Center on Volume of a Rectangular Prism.

Inside are 26 cards with the dimensions of different rectangular prisms. (Ex: Build a prism that has these measurements: height of 3, width of 6, & length of 4) I gave each student a card and some unifix cubes, and sent them off to build their prism. Some of them had trouble even knowing how to get started (which is just one reason lessons like this are so important!), but with a little coaching, they all got to work building their prisms.
{By the way, it was "Outside Day" on our A to Z Countdown to Summer, so that's why we did this lesson was fun to get out of the classroom for a while!}

Once their prism is built, they are to determine the volume of the shape, initially, by counting the cubes used to build it. They recorded their answers on an answer sheet., so I could check them later, and switched in their card for a different one. Since there are 26 in all, there were enough for each student to work independently and get plenty of practice.

Before our 50 minute lesson was over, I had three students approach me and say "Mrs. Doyle,  I found a way to get the volume without building the shapes and counting them." They had all figured out that if they multiplied the three measurements, they could find the volume of the shape! Score one for the teacher!

We then had some great math conversations about how and why the formula works. I reminded these little smarties that they needed to check a few more shapes to be sure this will *always* work, which they did. Then they started secretly multiplying instead of building the shapes, and trying so hard not to let their friends know what they are doing.

Word leaked out that there's a "secret" way to get the answers faster, and everyone started looking closely at the numbers to try and figure it out. I decided to work on this lesson for three days, not telling the "secret" until the very last day. I ended up only having to teach the formula to a couple of students. Letting them construct the knowledge themselves means they will (hopefully) really understand this concept and why the formula works!

Things I heard kids saying during/at the end of this lesson that made me so proud:
"I think I found the secret, but I just want to check one more."
"This is so cool!"
"What about the cubes in the middle {of the prisms, the ones that aren't visible}...oh wait, if you multiply, it's counting all of them. Like if there's 12 in one layer, and you have 5 layers, it's 12x5."
and best of all... "Do we have to stop doing math?"

I am so excited to see them learning when I am not "teaching." Sometimes, with all of the content we have to cram in before testing, and the pressure to get it all covered, I think we rush straight past opportunities like this one. Next year, it is my goal to slow down, and give my students time to explore and build knowledge for themselves, rather than spoon-feeding it to them and speeding along through the curriculum.

PS - Check back Monday for a special blog announcement!!! I've been keeping a secret from you guys, and I can't wait to share it!