Monday, July 25, 2016

Monday Made It - Rag Banner + Bell

I'm linking up with Tara {4th Grade Frolics} for Monday-Made It!  I haven't made nearly as much cutesy classroom stuff this summer, but did finally make a rag banner to hang above my classroom windows.

It really was quite easy to do and probably only took 2-3 hours total (and that was with a baby crawling all over me pulling the fabric strips down).  HERE is a great tutorial if you'd like to try one out!  My fabric strips are 2x20 inches.  I was excited that I was able to use up a bunch of fabric from my old bulletin boards!  I had to make mine pretty long to reach across the windows, so depending on your space, it may not even take that long.

My other Monday Made It is embarrassingly simple...I spray painted my new classroom bell to match my color scheme.  I kept trying to find colored or cute call bells online, but could only find plain ones.  Once my bell arrived from Amazon, I realized how simple it was to take it apart.  I spray-painted the base and reassembled...took several minutes!  I keep the bell at my small group table and use it to transition between Daily 5 rotations.  I ring it twice to signal "pick up" and ring it once after a minute or so to signal that the students should be at their own seats, heads down, quiet, and picked up.  This really has cut down on transition time.  :)

{Wire basket + tins are from Target}

I'm also pretty excited about the new stools I scored at Family Dollar for $5!  My IKEA stools didn't even survive two years of wiggly second graders.  Gladys from Teaching In High Heels uses the metal Family Dollar stools in her room and said they've been sturdy and are going strong into their fourth year.  Thanks for the tip, Gladys.  Hope these last! 

It's our last week before school starts.  Which means, it is time to set aside the fun projects and start lesson planning.  :(  Hope everyone has a great start to the school year!  

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Monday, July 4, 2016

Word Collector Display

I love the idea of using personal and class "Word Collectors" in the classroom.  I was inspired to do this after reading The Daily Cafe.  After teaching the mini-lesson over "tuning into interesting words", I pass out personal word collectors for my students to keep in their writing folders.  This really has helped my students expand their vocabularies and encourages  them to give more attention to new words in the books they read.  Students may add words to their collectors at any point during the day.  We also have a whole-class collector posted in the room where we write words we want to remember from shared read alouds.  The kids are obsessed with this!  In the past, I made a new class word collector every year by using a large piece of butcher paper and drawing [crooked] lines with a yardstick.  It was one of those summer tasks I dreaded doing because it always turned out so ugly.  So, I made one that I could print, laminate, and write on with dry erase so it can be used every year!  (You could also write the words with permanent marker and use the Expo marker or hand sanitizer method to remove the words at the end of the year.)  Out with the ew, in with the new!

Definitely don't try to cut corners and not use card stock.  I did this the first time around and it looked bumpy after putting hot glue on the back of each square to hang it.  Needless to say, I pulled it all down and started over.  (I'm going to pretend that I don't see the smudge marks our school's laminator made at the top of each square the second time making it.)

I have this Word Collector in my TpT Shop if you are interested!

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Strategy-Based Fact Drills

 Do you ever feel like you teach a strategy for basic facts, but then don't give the students enough time to practice the strategy in isolation before having them apply it in class?  I know I do.  I feel like I quickly move on to the next strategy without giving the students enough time to master the one that was just taught.  I have yet to find a perfect solution to teaching basic facts in my classroom.  I feel like my students knew their facts the best when I used the Saxon Math program, but that is no longer an option for me since our school has adopted a different program.  I loved how Saxon provided practice with a given fact strategy before moving on.  So, I created strategy-based fact drills that will give my students plenty of practice with the strategies I'm introducing. 

I plan on using this only as a supplement to my current fact program.  I am using Rocket Math in my classroom and have been happy with it.  Still, I think my students would be doing much better if more time was spent on practicing fact strategies.  I still see SO MANY fingers out and my students are relying almost completely on "Counting On" and "Counting Back".  I plan to spend the first 10 minutes of my math block on fact practice every day.  On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday we will do Rocket Math.  (I only do this three times per week since it takes awhile to go through each student's Rocket Folder.  But, don't let this scare you from trying it out.  If you have a good system down, you can check over folders for the entire class in 15 minutes.)  Tuesday and Thursday's fact practice will consist of modeling/practicing a fact strategy.  Depending on the difficulty of the strategy, we may do one or two strategies a week. 

Here are the strategies I've included drills for in my packet:

Each strategy includes two different fact drills (25 problems) and answer keys.  The strategies are labeled at the top of each page with a short reminder of how to use it. Each drill is also labeled as A or B. These would be great to copy back-to-back (A/B) so students could complete side A at school and side B at home. Also, the answer keys make this conducive to independent work in centers.

Click any of the images above to check it out on TpT or click HERE.  :)

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Friday, June 10, 2016

*Free* Book Shopper Passes

I made these Book Shopper passes to help manage behavior in my classroom library.  As a part of my students' morning work, they "shop" for books to keep in their book box to read during Daily 5.  (They are not allowed to look for books DURING centers.)  They must have five good fit books in their box and may switch books out once they've written a Reader's Response Journal on them.  Inevitably, it ends up pretty crowded in the library.  Last year, I tried making  a schedule so that each student had a particular day of the week they could "shop" on, but it didn't work out very well.  SO, instead, I'm going to set 4-5 of these passes out in a bin in my library so there won't be more than five students in the library at a time.    Students must have a pass to shop and will replace it when they're finished.  Students must move on to the next step of their morning work if all of the passes are taken and may book shop once a pass has been returned.   

If you could use these, it's a free download.  Help yourself!  :)

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Sunday, June 5, 2016

New Teacher Binder Style: Foil and Chalk

I've created a new version of my All-in-One Simple Style Teacher Binder {Free Yearly Updates}!  With this set I used some beautiful silver foil papers from Erin Bradley and chalk frames.  Check it out below.  :) 

Not loving this color scheme?  Check out my other sets below!  :)

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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Free "Character" Poster Set

We live by this saying in my classroom:  Character is what you do when nobody is looking. 

A handful of years ago, I heard this quote for the first time as one of our teachers made visits to classrooms to do "character education" classes with our students.  It has always stuck with me!  I finally just made a display of this saying to post in my classroom.  If  you'd like a copy, it is available for free in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

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Teacher Binders Updated for 2016-17

My teacher binders are updated for the 2016-17 school year!  I've added a new one (Foil & Chalk) and have updated the others so that they are a bit cleaner and prettier to look at.  :)

If you've already purchased one of them, be sure to redownload the file.  You will receive free updates each year!  Here are the links to the three different versions:

Here is what is included in each set:

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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Writing Wizards Goal Chart and Classroom Display

Summer break is officially here!  I'm excited to begin working on my long list of TpT To-Do's.  :)  I've just posted my newest resource:

I created this pack to further encourage my students to use proper capitalization, punctuation, spelling, and sentence structure when writing. The theme is "Writing Wizards Wear Caps" and it uses the following common acronym:

All sentences make sense
Spelling and spacing

It includes a writing goal chart where magnets or clothespins could be used to track students' current goals. I've included a set of magnet templates to use if you'd like to make a set that matches the chart.  Here is a previous post on how I made my magnets.  Once students master CAPS, they earn "Wizard Status" and may move their magnets to the "Writing Wizards" portion of the chart and can earn a wizard card (cards included in set).

 Here's what it looks like hung in my classroom!

I bought the wizard hat off of Amazon and will let my students wear it when they are showing exceptional "writing wizard" skills!  I used magnets I already made for a previous chart.  Here are the matching magnet circles:

I also created a classroom (bulletin board) display.  Here it is:

I am hoping this theme will help my students be more conscious of their writing habits!  You can purchase this set in my TpT Store or can click on any of the images above to view it. 

Happy summer to all those on break and best of luck to those who are still finishing up the school year!  :)

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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Point of View: Freebie Organizer + Book Suggestions

Spring break has allowed me a few extra minutes to write a blog post!  (First time all year.)  I had a baby boy in September which has been keeping me pretty busy...
 ...I admire you blogging teacher moms that somehow find time to blog, teach, make TpT goodies, and be a mommy!  I think I must need some serious time management help.  :)

Now that I'm done making excuses, on to the school stuff...

I have been planning some lessons for teaching point of view and wanted to post the organizer I made for the students to record their thoughts.  Click the image below to download for free.

There are three different options of line spacing, depending on the writing capabilities of your students and on how much you'd like them to write.

Here are some AWESOME book options for teaching point of view:
There are a handful of these twisted fairy tales told from the perspective of another character in the story.  HERE is an Amazon link to view them.  So far, I've ordered the Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood books and love them!

I'm also going to use the two books The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home.  The students are then going to write a friendly letter (as they do in the books) from the perspective of a crayon. I blogged about this activity in an earlier post.  Click the image below for the corresponding writing activity.
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