July 29, 2013

Where We Are Poster: Update

So, I realized that my Where We Are poster didn't include a library special so I re-did it. I apologize for that...so, please enjoy my updated version of this poster!

Monday Made It | Box Top Container + FREEBIE

Happy Monday everyone!

I can't believe I only have a few more weeks until I head back to my classroom to start preparing for the new school year. Today I'm linking up with Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics (she's seriously amazing) to bring you this week's Monday Made It!

I saw a cute pin from a few weeks ago where they made an adorable Box Top collection bin. At my school we participate in the Box Top program where students collect as many tops as they can and our classroom submits our total Box Tops and we receive a special certificate each month if we're the top earning class.

I found out last year that my little 2nd graders are very competitive and find these little guys EVERYWHERE and are very excited to turn them in. So, I needed to find a bigger bin to have them put their little box tops in. 

As I was cleaning the house while the boyfriend was at work, I used up a container of Clorox wipes and the inner teacher in me had a bright idea. I realized that I could use this guy for my box tops! I immediately got to work and made a cute label for it, which I give to you all as my freebie! 

Download HERE

Making this container was super easy and has lasted me year after year. By having a larger container it almost serves as an incentive for our class to try and earn as many Box Tops as they can!

To make: 
1. Print out Box Top label provided (or make your own)
2. Laminate (found that the Modge Podge made the colors bleed into each other)
3. Cut and tape ends to container

Hope you enjoy!

July 28, 2013

10 Things I've Learned From Teaching Linky

You all have probably seen that one of the things I love to participate in here in this world of teacher blogging is linking up with other teachers to share ideas, lessons, funnies, etc. Well, today I wanted to link up with Miss Kindergarten and share 10 things I've learned from teaching. It's always great to read all the funny responses especially as a new(er) teacher!

#1 Slow down and take time to get to know EACH of your kids...especially those 'behavior' students. I've learned it really makes a difference when you take the time to talk with your kids and show them you care...they'll be much more willing to participate or change their behavior once they realize that it's a safe place in your classroom.

#2 You will NEVER, EVER have too many school supplies such as glue sticks and pencils in your classroom. EVER.

#3 (Actually like this one from Run! Miss Nelson's Got the Camera so I'll use it too...) Being quiet or whispering really does get kids' attention a lot faster than yelling

#4 Your living room, office, dining room, and any other shared space in your home will slowly be converted into a second classroom. You'll find yourself bringing projects home to cut out and assemble, resource books, etc. My boyfriend is learning this very quickly...

#5 Always be prepared. It's best to prepare your classroom for the next day the night before. Those extra 15 minutes saves you a lot of time in the morning and you won't feel rushed.

#6 Use your volunteers! If you haven't already, use parent volunteers for as much as you can during the year. I love having a copy mom to make all those darn copies for the week and a mom to give word study tests. Allows me to get so much other work done!

#7 Don't just make your room look 'cute'...let EVERYTHING have a purpose. Yeah those chevron posters look fancy and compliment your theme very well, but don't waste space in your room with things that wont be used.

#8 No matter what grade you teach, get the kids up and moving! We all know that lecture lessons are boooorrrrinnng and they are. Don't be that teacher....invite your kids up to interact with the lesson you're teaching. Your goal is to deliver instruction that will have an impact and give them experiences that they'll remember forever.

#9 Always greet your kids in the morning with eye contact and a smile and expect them to do the same. Modeling proper manners is very important, especially if you want them to learn to be courteous to each other. Also, give each student a hug or high five at the end of the day...it really means a lot to them ;)

#10 Love your job. You may not love it 100% every single day, but keep the passion for what you do every day...your kids can tell if you're not happy. The moment you don't love teaching it's maybe time to find something else. I've learned that this is a special profession in which I'm excited to wake up and get to do what I do!
Be sure to link up and share your 10 things!

July 26, 2013

VA Blogger Get-Together + Goodies!

I just have to start off by saying how much fun I had getting to meet everyone at the Va Blogger Get-Together hosted by the wonderful Karen of Ms. Stamp's Kindergarten. It was my first time and of course I was a little nervous since I didn't know anyone but I walked away having met a lot of fabulous women!

We all met up at Bahama Breeze and their food was quite good...but even better was getting to watch all the ladies open their white elephant gifts! I also thought it was very sweet that Karen and her co-host Kelly had a few giveaways for us from Heidi Songs! It was very thoughtful for Heidi to offer some of her products to us!

A couple other cute items I had the luxury of walking away with (seriously, love these ladies)...

If any of you have a chance to meet up with fellow teachers/bloggers I highly recommend it! It was so much fun just getting to socialize with everyone and share stories, insight, etc. Can't wait for the next one!!

And from one of my discussions I brought up that I was so jealous of all the crafty ladies out there who have personal laminators. So, I brought this up at our get together and almost everyone told me that I SHOULD get one for myself. I was under the impression that these guys cost $100+ and I just couldn't justify the purchase. They informed me that the Scotch brand laminator (umm..$25 y'all) works just fine and that it's an essential piece for any every teacher. So, of course right after I ran out to Target and purchased one...it is one of the best life choices I've made.
 So of course I got to work right away printing out a few things so I can check it off my to-do list once I get back to my classroom...here's what I was able to laminate today....

So excited to keep going! I think I'm starting to develop a problem ;)

July 24, 2013

80% Off at VistaPrint

The VistaPrint Living Social deal is now 80% off with $10 for $50 worth of stuff! Check out my previous post about all the things you can do to customize your classroom! This is a great deal :)

What I'm Loving Wednesday Linky

Who just realized they loved linkies? Umm...me. What I love about this linky is that it can be teacher related but all of us teachers know that although teaching consumes probably 98-99% of our lives...and bank accounts...there's a lot more to us! So, a little about me:

#1 Whodunnit?
This is my newest favorite show to watch with the boyfriend. It's a little cheesy at times but the concept is really cool and we love trying to figure out the crime before the time is up. At this point we are completely invested in the contestants. Definitely check it out on Hulu if you need to catch up on the season.

#2 Rosetta Stone- French
I am so excited to begin learning a new language. My boyfriend can speak really good French, German, and some Spanish (he says he doesn't think so...but he's being modest). We both love everything about French culture and Paris...gah! So, I've decided that I'm going to be serious about learning the language! So excited but so nervous at the same time!

#3 Fun 5Ks

Recently the boyfriend signed up for the Tough Mudder with a few friends and he's totally pumped for it. So, in doing that, he's interested in doing 5ks along the way to help him train for his running event. Who gets to tag along? This one (points to self). I'm not a runner by any means but I do love the fun and non-competitive 5ks like the Mud Run that we just did Sunday and the Color and Cosmic Run. Doing it with friends makes all the difference!

What are your favorites this fine afternoon?

July 23, 2013

Reading Comprehension Response Pack!

Hi folks and happy Tuesday! On a random note really quick....OMG I am so excited about the birth of Prince William and Princess Kate's baby yesterday!! I'm totally one of those obsessed royal fans and I'm just so happy for them...can't wait to see the little guy! :)

Anywho, today I just put the finishing touches on my reading comprehension pack, which combines skills from the DRA and Jan Richardson's reading bible: The Next Step in Guided Reading. If you haven't already read this I definitely recommend it...especially to those who are looking to revamp their guided reading lessons. Our school uses this model and Jan Richardson does such a great job outlining exactly how to execute the lessons!

With that in mind, here is a preview of my literacy packet!

I've included handouts that can be used in centers, as whole group, or to be used with any mini-lesson on a particular topic. I also created a simple How-To printable that I'll have students glue into their response journals. It helps them see how to set up their writing. Also, I've included in this pack reading response cards that can be laminated and sliced to be used in guided reading, whole group, or in centers as well! 

One page that I included that I haven't seen too much out there (so I thought to contribute!) was a readers goal setting page. In my own teaching, this year I want to be better about teaching my kids about setting goals for themselves and to identify their strengths as readers. This way they get in the habit of recognizing the areas they do well in and areas they would like to work on. Also, the DRA asks them to keep a log of books they've finished and books they're reading now...so this little sheet will help them keep track!

July 22, 2013

Monday Made It!

Hi everyone! So excited because my VistaPrint order came in! So for today's Monday Made It I wanted to share with you all the fun ways I used this lovely site to create items for my classroom. So to begin, I had written a post earlier when I placed my order but didn't really get a chance to show you what the final idea was...

#1 Return Labels: these guys will be used to label my classroom library! I just love the owl print!

#2 Car Magnet: Saw this original idea from Pinterest (couldn't find original owner so if you recognize it please message me!) and thought it was genius to use magnets for all kinds of things. For me, I am using it as a No Name poster.

Teacher Tip: Because I started having a real problem with students forgetting to write their names (I even use the highlighter approach!), I am simply going to start taking money (plastic, of course) if they are repeat offenders.


#3 Business Cards/ Loyalty Cards: This fantastic idea of birthday reward cards came from Emily over at I Love My Classroom and using loyalty cards to incentivize doing homework/tests/behavior, etc. came from Tiffany at The Learning Effect. I'm really excited to try these new guys next year!

What do you like best about VistaPrint in the classroom?

July 19, 2013

$1 Deals and 'Where We Are' Poster

Just a quickie post that I wanted to share before calling it a night. I went ahead and updated last years 'Where We Are' poster for outside the classroom door. This is an easy way to let others know where your class is throughout the day.

Also: be sure to check out my teacher store over at TpT...there many of my items are only $1-$2!! I know teachers are looking to save as they prepare for the new year. Also, feel free to leave me comments...I love getting feedback! :)

Teacher Tip: Assign this to your line leader. By making it a responsibility for your students, it takes the task off your hands and gives them a little more to do other than just leading the class. Worked like a charm last year...and other students are quick to notice if they forget!

July 15, 2013

Living Social + Vistaprint = Amazing!

How's that equation for ya?! I love it when Vistaprint has deals on Groupon and Living Social. So, as you probably have noticed yourself Vistaprint has a deal on Living Social where you pay $10 for $50 worth of customized items for your classroom, gifts, etc. It helps add a little touch of 'you' to your classroom and it's a great deal! As you can see from the picture I saved $64 on my order and look at how much I was able to get!

So, what would you get from there for your classroom? Well, lucky for you there are millions of ideas floating around but here are a couple things I just ordered using my coupon:
Car Magnet: No name magnet that I'll use to stick papers without names. In my classroom if a student forgets to write their names 5 times (I'll keep track) they owe me .10 from their banks. Last year I started having issues towards the end of the year with a lot of students forgetting their names...ugh

Business Cards: I use these all the time and I feel a 'must have' for any classroom! I previously ordered blank ones with a cute owl design so I can write on them however I need them (sight word cards for centers, library bin labels, etc.)

This time I used them for a Birthday Homework Pass. This is so much easier to prepare and I'll probably hole punch the side and stick a birthday pencil or something through it as my gift. Plus each order you get at a min 250!

Loyalty Cards: This is the first time I'm using these types of cards but got great ideas on how to use them from The Learning Effect (who also has amazing VistaPrint ideas!). I plan to use them as incentives for Word Study and my Clip Chart.

I'm going to start with these and see how well they work, then add others as I need them. Pretty much students get 100% 5 times (I initial each time) and redeem the card for a prize from the class store and receive a new card. Hopefully this will keep rewarding students who do well and incentivize those who need a little push. The other use is tied into my clip chart system. For every time a student reaches the top (for me it's Outstanding) or higher they get an initial from me (I don't have cute hole punchers). After 5, they get a reward. Easy peasy.

Return Address Labels: These are another 'must have' for any classroom. These guys can be used for practically anything! I use them to label my books in my classroom library so I know which ones are mine and which ones belong to the school. Again, I'm using the cute owl design :)

How do you use VistaPrint in your classroom?

July 8, 2013

VA Blogger Get-Together

Hi friends! I know I've been busy on here but I'm just so excited about all the things coming including a wonderful Va Blogger Get-Together! I was invited last year but couldn't make it but am definitely putting it into my calendar this year. Get-togethers are great for any teacher, whether you've been teaching/blogging for years or are newbies like me :)

I always see ALL the teachers who come out to these get-togethers across the country and I am looking forward to my first get-together. Please pass this along to any Va blogger who is in the Northern Virginia area who may be interested in meeting other teachers! Thank you Karen from Mrs. Stamp's Kindergarten for the invite :)

July 7, 2013

New Schedule Cards!

Just a quickie update here. I've been so busy this Fourth of July weekend and I've barely had any free time to sit and plan out some more activities...but I was interested in updating my schedule cards to give them a cuter look. I recently discovered fonts over at Over the Big Moon and couldn't wait to start using them.

So, these cards are very similar to my old ones but have cuter pictures and font. I hope you can also find a use for them! Just a little preview...