Sunday, November 17, 2013

New Website!

Fancying 4th has a new look and new URL: Woot!  I'm so excited.

I definitely have to give a big shout out to my family and friends for your encouragement and support. Thank you so much!

I'm hoping through this blog to:

  1. Share with other educators 
  2. Connect with other educators and classrooms
  3. Showcase some of the work my "super scholars" are creating
  4. Show the world the wonderful profession of teaching
I still have some work to do on the blog but I'm too excited not to share it.  Make sure you click on the link buttons to follow the new blog.  I will not be posting to the old blog any longer.

Feel free to contact me if you are interested in collaborating.

Mrs. Huff

Water Cycle Project

We recently completed a water cycle project.  The students had a blast and I enjoyed witnessing (and facilitating) all the learning.

The Project:
  1. Read 2 nonfiction books about the water cycle.  
  2. Create a popplet (using the Popplet App) with information from 2 nonfiction books about the water cycle.  Choose 2 books on your appropriate reading level.  Include in each popplet the title, author, and two "I wonder" statements from the books. (We've been working on asking ourselves questions about nonfiction text.) 
  3. Identify 5 text features you used to gather information from your nonfiction books.
  4. Create a Water Cycle diagram.
  5. Create an iMovie about the weather cycle and upload it to YouTube.
The posters turned out fantastic!

Logan did a great job on his iMovie.

Here is the QR code for Logan's iMovie.
ViewPure is a security blanket for me.  I do not want my students clicking on other links from YouTube.  Creating a safe QR code is sooooo easy. Open, paste the YouTube link in the space indicated, and click create.  Your video will appear with a new url. Open, click website url button, copy new url created at ViewPure into the blank indicated, and click download. It is truly this easy!

Smore Excitement!

While reading a blog this afternoon I came across an exciting new website that I'm using in my classroom tomorrow.  The site allows you to easily make a flyer and share it.  I never would have thought about sharing an assignment flyer with my students.

Please check the flyer out here.

With a couple "real life" pictures (especially of Busch Stadium), a YouTube video and an activity I was ready to go.  The flyer (lesson) came together so quickly.  I can't wait for my students to learn all about arrays tomorrow! 

The flyer can be made at

Project Based Learning on Halloween

Halloween has never been my favorite day of the year. The students are usually on a "presugar" high. It can be like taking a visit to crazy town.  

This year I decided Halloween was going to be filled with learning and fun. So my Halloween dilemma became a Halloween it is...

Halloween Assignment:

Mrs. Huff is going to dress up like one of the Duck Dynasty guys for Halloween. She only has a camo shirt and needs your help to finish her Duck Dynasty costume.  Mrs. Huff will be Phil (the guy with the sunglasses, headband, and grayish black beard)  but she has one HUGE problem.  She doesn’t have a beard and a headband.  


1. Choose a partner. Use the supplies on the back table to design a beard and a headband for Mrs. Huff (please make sure it will fit).

2. Write a paragraph to the class trying to convince them why Mrs. Huff should wear the costume your team created.  (Use a 5 block to organize your paragraph.)

3.  After your paragraph is approved please take a picture of Mrs. Huff wearing the beard and headband you created.  Insert the picture into educreations and record your paragraph.

4. When you are finished, watch your video quietly at your desk.  

5. The class will vote on the winning costume and educreations presentation.

6. The team with the best beard, headband, and educreations presentation will get to see Mrs. Huff wear the costume they designed during today’s Halloween parade.

Hint:  This is a lot to do in a short amount of time.  Don’t be tricked this Halloween...get busy quickly and quietly with a partner.

Any team that is not following the Cardinal Code will be sent back to their seat to work quietly and will not participate in the project.

My students were so excited. Students were measuring, writing, laughing, and having so much fun. I was absolutely amazed.

One of my students is usually not very thrilled to write but was so excited to do this project that he wouldn't hardly slow down to let his partner keep up with his writing.


Here is another one!

(Reminder: The students only had an hour for this entire project.)

This is our winning designer team and the winning costume!

PS. This project was so easy. I created it in Google Drive, shared it with my students, told them to open their drive, and said Go! How easy is that?

I'll never buy another Halloween costume! This was the best Halloween I've ever had.

I've Totally Flipped

During my high school and college days at Missouri Southern you might have seen me flipping while cheering on the sidelines of a game. Lately you will find me flipping again, but it's not on the's in my classroom.

"The Flipped Classroom" tends to be a growing topic among educators.  Teachers are taking their classrooms and flipping them.  What is a flipped classroom? Let me explain.

In a flipped classroom the teacher gives the student an instructional video as an assignment. The student watches the video instruction as homework and then completes the assignments during class. Normally the video instruction is between 8 and 15 minutes long.  When educators think about flipped learning, we think about students watching an instructional video at home and completing problems and activities at school.  This allows the teacher to help the student when the student is having difficulty.

I used to think flipping my classroom was not a possibility. There were 2 major hurdles I thought I would need to jump over:
  1. My students are not allowed to take the classroom iPads home. 
  2. All of my students do not have access to the Internet at home.
I thought to myself that eventually I would have to find a way to get the iPads in the hands of my students at home (that is a whole different blog post).  I also kept thinking, "How am I going to give my students the valuable help that is given in a flipped classroom when it isn't very likely that I can get them to watch an instructional video at home?"

After talking to other educators here is my solution for flipping my math class: 

1.  Divide students into groups. I have students from all ability levels in my groups and have 4 groups.)
2.  Set up stations in the classroom for students to rotate through.  Some of the stations I have used are listed below:
- instructional video (always a station)
- game activity
- multiplication practice
- teacher group (I meet with this group at the table and teach/review a specific concept). 
- creation station (students use an iPad app to create a video tutorial)
-math journals
3.  Give clear expectations and procedures. Before stations begin each day I give clear cut expectations for what students will complete at each station and review behaviors that should be exhibited at each station. 
4.  Set timer (I use 10-12 minutes at each station). I would also play music or ring a bell to signal that it is time to move to the next station.

The instructional video is played at one of the stations.  This allows me to work at a station with a small group of students on specific skills the students are struggling with.  I'm more able to assess what the needs are.  AHA moment...I just flipped my classroom.  I gave the instruction through a video and allowed myself more time to work with students one on one and in small groups.  Isn't that the purpose of flipped learning? Cartwheel, cartwheel!

I've used the following video presentation apps to create the short instructional videos:
  • Educreations
  • Touchcast
  • Movenote
I also learned a long time ago not to recreate the wheel.  Good teachers beg, borrow, and steal.  Don't we all?  So...I also use:
  • YouTube (Woo! Hoo! Already created!)
I love using YouTube.  I use a lot of videos from Talesof4thgrade and recently came across mathcrush. Mathcrush is a Bill Nye type video except the videos are math. One of my students thanked me today for letting him watch this one.  Click here.

Here is a link to one of the videos we watched this week from Talesof4thgrade. Click here.

I normally turn the video URL into a QR code poster.  This makes it really easy for the students to find the video I would like for them to watch.  The students open the QR code reader, scan the code, put on their headphones, and begin watching the video.  You can create the QR code at 

Here is an example of one of the posters:

The following links are super easy to use and have made my life a whole LOT easier:
  • (Turn any URL into a smaller URL to make it easier for students to type.)
  • (Use portions of a YouTube video and delete the rest.)
  • (Place the video on a clear screen.  The students will not see all the adds and other videos that are usually on the YouTube video screen.)
Life in 4th grade is always exciting.  I'm definitely fancying 4th this year! 

My Conference Surprise

As teachers we enter the week of conferences trying to preplan (as much as possible) so that things go smoothly.  I often think to myself and even take note of things I want to discuss with each parent.

During one of the conferences this week one of my students attended the conference with her father.  She sat down in one of my bean bag chairs with a book and her iPad.  I turned to her and asked if she could pick out her favorite iPad project to show her dad after we finished talking.  Unfortunately I had a teacher brain laps and must admit that I did not preview her project.  To my surprise this is what she showed dad during our conference.  I'm calling it My Conference Surprise (make sure you listen to her whispering at the end of the video).

Needless to say, I was quite speechless after this video.

I'm going to save this video for the rest of my life.  Whenever I get discouraged, I'm going to play it...just to remind myself why I teach.

 I teach to make a difference in the lives of my students. 
 I LOVE my students!

Photo Toaster

I just found a new app called Photo Toaster and I'm in love. After playing for 5 minutes, I turned this...

into this. 

I'm seriously in love. 

Movie Trailer

4th Grade Productions is proud to present a trailer for our upcoming movie. The play was written and directed by Luke.

Luke began by drawing the characters and listing character traits.  Then he wrote a beginning, middle, and end. Next, he added dialogue, selected actors/actresses, designed face masks, and began filming a movie trailer. Finally, he plans to finish invitations to his premier, a program, and film his production. 

I have to admit that Luke wasn't very excited about writing at the beginning of the year. All he wanted to do was draw and take videos with his classroom iPad. Turning Luke's passions into a production has been fun for everyone. I can't wait to enjoy the show!

Don't miss his trailer:

Today I Became a Substitute

Wow, did I get your attention with that title?  I'm so excited as I write this post.  You might ask, "Mrs. Huff, why are you excited about becoming a substitute?" Because...I'm going to be MY OWN substitute.  "Huh?"  Let me explain.

I'm going to be out of my classroom later this week for a meeting.  With the help of the new modern technology in my classroom, I will be my own sub for my writing lesson.  How cool is that?

This is the first time I've videoed myself teaching. I have to admit I was a little nervous.  Please be aware that I would make several changes next time I become my own sub.

Take a look and remember I'm talking to 4th grade students.

Making the video was so easy.  I took video clips using the iPad camera.  Then, I transferred the clips and edited them on the iPad using the iMovie app.  It really was so easy.

I hope my students enjoy the lesson as much as I enjoyed making it for them.  I can't wait to find out how the lesson goes?

Friday Fun

What does Friday reward, senior football player, dancing, and 4th grade have in common? 


Our classroom celebrated our hard work by having a short (2 song) dance party with one of our favorite football players.

Here is a quick look at all the Fun! 

I used the Pic collage app to create the collage. The ipad was not designed to snap action shots but our photographer did a great job capturing the excitement on his iPad. 

Conference Time

Pittsburg State University
 Tech Conference Today

My excitement for the 22 IPads and Apple TV in my classroom just sky rocketed today.  It was such a great experience to attend breakout sessions with presenters who are using IPads in their classrooms.  Anticipation is growing for the upcoming school year.   

I'm excited to spend my summer learning, creating, and jump starting the 2013-2014 school year.  I must admit I was talking to my mother 4 days after school was out this year.  She asked me what I was doing.  I gave the typical answer that most teachers give, "working on school stuff".  Then I thought to myself, "surely I did not say that (May is not even over)...but yep, I'm already excited for next year".

My Summer Reading List


I can't wait!

Great American's Day

Webb City 4th grade students attended Great American's Day in Webb City on May 1st.  Our students had an amazing day packed full of information about some of our Great Americans.

William Bradford

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Abraham Lincoln

Fanny Crosby (One of my favorites!)

Square Dancing

William McGuffey
I've owned a McGuffey reader for about 15 years.  Amazing story!

Laura Ingalls Wilder
Would you be an American if you didn't LOVE to hear stories about Laura, Ma, Pa, and Mary?

George Washington

George Washington Carver
(George sat down and ate lunch with some of my students.  They were so excited.)
Uncle Sam in Barton Theater

Eighty degree weather helped make an unforgettable day! My students learned so much. I can't wait for next year!

Fancying 4th = Strange Name

Welcome to Fancying Fourth & Trendy Tech. You may be thinking to yourself, "Fancying Fourth, what a strange name for a blog."  I tend to agree and must admit that when thinking about a name for this blog my first thought was "funky fourth".  Being a teacher with common sense I of course went straight to the dictionary to make sure there was not a strange meaning for the word "funky" that I was overlooking. This is what I found ...

Although I must admit that "having an offensive odor" could at times be a perfect definition for my 4th grade classroom, it wasn't portraying the positive image I was looking for. I decided to start at the top of the letter F on my Merriam-Webster app and try again. Shortly after beginning my search this is what I found...

Absolutely perfect!

  • I have a fancy for (like) fourth grade...let's just go ahead and say I LOVE fourth grade.
  • I have an image and can visualize that each of my students will be successful.
  • I am devoted to instill in my students the ability to believe in themselves, learn to achieve and master expectation by using 21st century technology advancements, and become confident lifetime learners.

My classroom was recently awarded a classroom set of iPads (22), a big screen TV, and Apple TV.  Our classroom also has a Smartboard and document camera.  This technology will guide my students down an unending path.  I can't wait to see where the path takes us on our journey.

My students may come into my classroom fancying fourth grade but my hope is they leave with an unwavering belief (not just an image) that they CAN and WILL succeed.   With the resources and tools they use in fourth grade nothing can stop them.

This blog will be a place to share 4th grade ideas, trendy tech, and other great ways to help "our" kids be successful.

So from my classroom to yours...

Welcome to my blog!

Mrs. Huff