Friday, August 14, 2015

Classroom Sneak Peek + FREEBIES

Hello, sweet friends! I feel like I have been missing from the blogging world for a little too long. A few weeks ago my family and I were doing a little vacationing. 

We flew into Seattle and spent a couple days there being tourists and enjoyed the town. Then we took a ferry to the San Juan Islands and spent the week enjoying nature, fishing, and EATING, EATING and EATING some more delicious seafood! I tried to unplug as much as possible. As soon as we got home, it was time to start my classroom prep. So blogging has been put to the back burner until now!

I feel like I could work in my classroom ALL year, without kids, and NEVER be completely ready. I am overly organized and prepared and I still feel this way. Here is a little bit of what I have been doing in my home away from home....
 I love to make my kiddos feel special on their birthday. I created these birthday blooms to do just that. I change what I attach them to every year. I have used crazy straws, mechanical pencils, birthday pencils and more. I keep them in this pot all year. When its the student's birthday, they "pick" there birthday bloom from the pot. You can grab your copy of this FREEBIE by clicking HERE. The file is editable too!
I also have a class birthday board. Once the kids arrive I take a group picture of 
all the kids who have birthdays each month. Then I print and laminate them to have up on our birthday board all year. 
I love our Second Grade Makes Us "App"y welcome door! This is from my talented friend, Molly, at Lucky To Be In First.

I finally found black pocket charts! The heavens must be hearing me sing (cover your ears). Seriously though, I LOVE Them. I put my student "I Can" standards cards in them, so I can easily switch them out AND my administration and students will know EXACTLY what we are focusing on.
 I LOVE, LOVE, L-O-V-E my new behavior chart from Learning in Wonderland. Now, I know, behavior charts seem to be a hot topic lately, but it works for my students and I. I like how students can easily improve on their behavior and move their clips up. It provides accountability. My students fill out a behavior chart at the end of each day with the color they are on. At the end of the week, they take the chart home and have it signed. This provides parents with the information they need and cuts down on "how is my child behaving/doing in class" questions.

 I have very little wall space in my classroom, so I have to be creative and use every surface creatively. My behavior chart is on one side of my file cabinet. I love it because it dresses it up AND I can use magnetic student numbers, instead of clothespins that always seems to break during the year.
I was inspired by Amy Lemons to dress up and label my file cabinets. She has a great freebie you can download. I, however, created my own labels that are similar because I wanted the titles to fit my needs. I don't know why I didn't do it sooner. 

I have prepped my first day of school treat bags. I made these labels last year for all grade levels. You can grab the labels for your classroom by heading over to my Facebook page. Click on the Freebie For Fans tab on the left side of the page.

During special activities our students wear name tags (music, art, theater etc.) until those teachers get to know the kids. I also use them if we are going to a special assembly that is interactive and the presenter would need to call on students. 

These are just a few of the little things that are helping me get the school year off right. I will give you a full room tour next week once school is underway. 

I hope each of you are enjoying what is left of your summer or have kicked off your school year with a BANG!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Money Saving Tips & Tricks for Teachers

I am linking up with the Weekend Warriors ladies for this month's hot topic: Money Saving Tips & Tricks for Teachers. As teachers, we spend WAY too much of our own money in our classrooms. And now that Back To School is JUST around the corner, the spending frenzy is about to go into full effect. I am going to share a few tips and tricks I have found to be useful for me in my classroom. 
DIY Library Sticks
Make classroom library sticks for each student with paint sticks from your local DIY store.

Materials needed:
-Wooden paint sticks (free at most home improvement stores)
-Spray paint of your color choice
-Decorative duck tape 
-Empty oatmeal container
-numbered circles

My dad drilled holes at one end of each paint stick for me. They I spray painted the sticks on both sides and sealed them with acrylic paint to give them some shine. While they were drying, I used the duck tape to decorate the empty oatmeal container. I also created and laminated the numbered circles (which can be found in my TPT store).  Then I hole punched each one at the top and tied it with ribbon to each stick. Ta-dah.....classroom library sticks to help my students stay organized!

Bulk Up & Team Up
Whenever I need supplies for my classroom, I team up with 1 or 2 other teachers who may need the same items and split the cost. When you buy in bulk the price per unit goes down. So, you spend less money up front and you benefit from the lower prices.
Image result for school supplies in bulk for teachers

Easy Reading Space
Create a quiet reading space by having your kids flip their chairs over and give them a pillow for a little comfort! I saw this idea on Buzzfeed and I NEED to give it a try this year. I think the kids will love it!
During quiet reading time, just have the kids flip their chairs around and give them pillows to lounge on.

Do you have some tips and tricks to share, as well? We would LOVE for you to link-up too! Just grab the slides, write your own blog post, and link up below! Let's all save together!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Last Day: Christmas in July Sale!

Hey, everyone! I am popping in real quick to let you know what is brewing for the last day of my Christmas in July Sale!

In case you are just stopping by, here is a recap of what I have been up to this week:

I LOVE teaching about maps and geography to my kiddos! I made this unit because I couldn't find a rigorous, hand-on unit that was FUN and easy to prep! I created two versions, so my Canadian teacher friends can use it too!


It includes vocabulary posters with visuals and definitions.

Quick assessments

There are task cards, I Have..Who Has... cards to help get the kids up and moving all while reviewing important skills you have taught them and MUCH MORE!

If you teach older students you might like my Fifty Nifty States packet. You can read about how I used this resource {HERE}.

This resource is available for Canadian teachers too!

Today all my social studies units are on sale! Thanks for joining me this week! Hope you had as much fun as I did!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Sight Word Packs + FREEBIE!

Every school year I have a group of students who know their sight words like the back of their hands. But the majority of my students struggle with them. Maybe they can read some of them, but they can't always spell them. Some are even still trying to sound them out, which we know is not possible for many reasons. They have to know them by sight, with automaticity, in order to become strong readers. 

I like to start my school year, reviewing sight words the students should know from first grade. This is a quick assessment for me. It is just one tool I use to help me gauge where my students' skill levels are when they come to me. 

Learning and reviewing sight words can be so dull and boring. I want my students engaged! I have created several ways of doing this. One way is to focus on a small number of words at a time. Four or five words seems to be the magic number for most of my kiddos. 

This activity helps the students recognize sight words in different fonts, sizes and shapes. Once they identify the words, the students graph how many times they saw each word. 
I also like my students to see the sight words in text. I created fluency and cloze reading passages for this reason. Students need to see the words in context, not just in isolation in order to remember, retain, and use the words correctly. 

Each pack is grade level specific according to the Dolch sight word lists for first and second grade and includes the following activities with answer keys:
1. Graphing
2. Word Shapes
3. Fluency Passages
4. Cloze Reading Passages
5. Flash Cards with and without word boxes

Here is any example of some of the pages included in each packet. 

I want you LOVE this packet as much as I do! That is why I am sharing this {FREEBIE} with you. Download these BONUS pages and get a sneak peak for yourself. I would love your feedback too. Tell me what you think!

In case you are just joining me, here is a quick look at what is planned this week. Make sure to come back tomorrow for the last day of Christmas in July!

 Thank you for stopping by today!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Christmas in July Day 2: Kid-Friendly Standards Posters

Even though the sun is out, the temps are warm, and the ice cream is melting, it is still fun to throw a Christmas in July sale!

In case you missed yesterday, here is what is going on this week! Each day, a new set of products will be on sale in my TpT Store! 

Today all of my Kid-friendly Common Core standards posters are on sale! They cover all the ELA & Math standards for each grade level. I currently have them made for grades 1st-4th! I am tirelessly working on making fifth grade and kindergarten. When they are completed, I will put them on sale since they weren't ready on time. 

I love these standards cards because they don't take up much space, but they still serve their purpose for showing what we are learning, which my administrator loves. I use a pocket chart to display and change out my standards. Each grade level set comes with standards pocket chart letters, subject headers, ELA & Math standards with kid-friendly language on one side and the exact Common Core standard on the back for teacher use.

Each standard serves two purposes: 
1. The front side is in kid-friendly language and describes what the students will be able to do or know once the standard has been taught. 
2. The back side is the exact Common Core standard written verbatim for teacher use. 

I also use these standards to post next to student work when it is displayed on a bulletin board.

I store my standards in a box on my desk for easy access. I made divider labels and then I put all the corresponding standards in each category. 

Thanks for stopping by! Make sure to check back tomorrow for a little surprise!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Vegas Lovin' and a Christmas In July Sale!

It is hard to believe that almost a week ago, I was in Vegas making memories with over 1,000 teacher bloggers. I learned so much. I got to catch up with some old friends and connect in person with so many new friends. It was a electrifying experience! Here are a few pictures I gathered along the way:

Primarily Speaking, The Tutu Teacher, Starr Spangled Planner, Firefly Speech and Language, A Burst of First, Lucky to Be In First, The Take Home Teacher

And...The time has come...Christmas in July has arrived! Yippee!!!!

I have just gotten back from Vegas and thought it would be a great idea to join some of my blogging friends to bring you some fabulous deals each day this week! Each day, I will have different items on sale in my {STORE}, so be sure to check back each day. 

On sale today are some of my BEST SELLERS~ Interactive Math Notebooks. Let's take a closer look!

I LOVE using Interactive Notebooks in my classroom! These MATH interactive notebooks are a great way to get started using them in your classroom or enhance what you are already doing. They are all Common Core aligned and available for grades K-4!

These are some sample pages from my Second Grade Interactive Math Notebook. Each activity has the standard number and the standard in kid-friendly language. If there is vocabulary they need to know, it is included as well. 

Problem solving pages give the students a variety of ways to show their thinking process. They also include the standard in kid-friendly language. 

If you are looking for ideas on how to set up interactive notebooks in your classroom, click HERE.

I also have shared ways I use interactive notebooks in my primary classroom. You can read about those ideas HERE

Thanks for stopping by. Check back tomorrow for more Christmas in July specials!


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