Monday, August 13, 2012

Monday Made It Linky Party (with freebies!)

Happy Monday to you, friends!! I'm back from my weekend hibernation and ready to be a busy beaver again. I'm looking forward to meeting with my two team members this week and am eager to learn from them.


My favorite part about Mondays is, of course, Tara's Monday Made It Linky Party! Be sure to join in and/or check out all the awesome projects.

I have four projects (with freebies) to share with you:

1. Porter Patriot of the Week

What student doesn't love to be honored with special activities for a week?! I hope that implementing Porter Patriot of the Week (Porter is my school's name and our mascot is the patriot) will create a sense of community as we celebrate each student. The display in the classroom that I created is where the Porter Patriot of the Week will showcase photos of his/herself. I want to implement Beth Newingham's star student activities:

First, she gives the parents a star of the week schedule for the entire year.

On Mondays the student brings in three special items and photos to share with the class.

On Tuesdays the student reads his or her favorite book to the class.

On Wednesdays the parent writes a letter to the class about a special story involving their child.

On Thursdays a special guest (parent, relative, etc.) joins the student for lunch.

On Fridays the student is recognized by their classmates...I want to do something like [this pin] where the students write compliments to the Porter Patriot.

You can download a Star Student of the Week sign for free in my TpT store.

Be sure to check out Beth's class website to read more details about implementing star student of the week. She has other great resources on her class site too.

2. Boggle

Boggle has been everywhere (it seems)! There have been so many different teacher-created boards like [this one] and [this one] and [this one]...I needed one that was small because wall real estate is limited in my classroom so I utilized the side of my filing cabinet. I don't have a picture of how I keep my magnetic letters organized but it's exactly like [this pin].

3. Parent Volunteer Tote

For my parent volunteers that visit the classroom, I want to have materials handy just for them (Thanks for the suggestion, Nikki!). I was given this tote as a gift (Thanks, Hillary!) and it works perfectly for holding school supplies. The blue paper tray it's sitting in will hold any materials, directions, etc. for the parent volunteer. You can download a blank tote tag for free in my TpT store.

4. Book Ring Calendar

I wrote about my calendar last Monday but have since updated its display. I think it looks more cohesive now. You can download my calendar file for free in my TpT store.

I posted about other projects (freebies included) during the weekend too. Click the pictures to learn more. :)

Have an excellent week!! :)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Classroom Update: Clutter-Free Classroom and Ladybug's Teacher Files Inspired


You know Jodi at the Clutter-Free Classroom, right? What am I saying, of course you do! I don't know where I would be without her and her blog. She thinks of everything!! As I've been a busy bee setting up my classroom (I'd sleep there if they'd let me but my dog might get lonely at home) I am constantly consulting Jodi's blog and implementing her suggestions so that my classroom will run like a well oiled machine and student learning can excel! So on that note, here are three features of my room inspired by Jodi. :)

1. Work In Progress Chart (view Jodi's post by clicking [here] )

Students will place their "work in progress" in their assigned pocket on the pocket chart. I've decided to use this pocket chart because it will help all of us stay organized...I will be able to easily see and check the status and quality of their work and the students won't lose their work in the abyss of their desk. I like calling this chart "work in progress" rather then "incomplete work" because I want the main focus to be on producing quality work, not just completing an activity. 

On Fridays, if a student has work in progress then they will find a ketchup card on their desk when they arrive in the morning as a friendly reminder to check their pocket. If a student does not have any work in progress then they will find a pickles card letting them know they may pick from a list of extension activities. The extension activities will be listed on the pickles board (I made it out of dry-erase poster board) above the pocket chart. The ketchup and pickles concept was inspired by Teach-A-Roo and you can download the cards for free in my TpT store. 

2. Communication Folder and Porter Pocket Chart (view Jodi's posts [here] and [here])

Aren't pocket charts great (sorry about the washed out picture)?! When students arrive in the morning they will place their Homework Folder in their assigned pocket. This system also shows me who is at school and who is absent. They will also keep their Porter Pocket here (weekly folder that is used to send student work, etc. home...Jodi calls it their Thursday Folder because it goes home on Thursdays). I wasn't planning for this to be on wheels but I actually really like the idea...I can wheel it near the door in the morning so that I can greet students and check their folders at the same time and then wheel it out of the way during the day. Then when students are packing up at the end of the day, it can be wheeled to the front of the room where they can easily pick up their folder(s) to take home.

I purchased this pocket chart from MPM School Supplies, and they were wonderful!! I highly recommend them! When I received the pocket chart, the pockets were not all the same size so I contacted them to see if my chart was a manufacture's defect...turns out it was! MPM sent me a new pocket chart, free of charge, and they let me keep the defect one too. Awesome customer service!

3. Anchor Chart Designated Area (view Jodi's post [here])

Jodi wrote a great post for supporting anchor charts so I'm not going to go into my love for them. I have mine set up (as shown with the blank paper) with jumbo push pins to hold the two book rings. As the students and I create anchor charts we will just add charts to the book rings. I'm hoping the book rings will make it easy to flip between charts instead of having to switch them out.

You may also notice the lovely alphabet in this photo created by Kristen from Ladybug's Teacher Files. :)  You can download my Anchor Charts sign, which coordinates with Kristen's bright and CLEAR decor, for free in my TpT store (I outlined the letters in black marker after printing).

Speaking of Kristen, she recently updated her CRAFT Board....I absolutely LOVE it. I love it so much that I took down the CAFE Board I had set up just a few days before (also from Kristen) and put up her new signs.

My board from a few days ago:

My updated board!!:

Don't you just love the bright colors?!! The border is from the $0.88 section of Walmart. I had to move CRAFT to the dry-erase board because all five letters couldn't fit on the bulletin board where CAFE had previously been. Click on the picture to download Kristen's files for free.

Phew, thanks for reading!! I'm going to go sleep for the next 48 hours so my batteries can recharge. I'll be back for Tara's Monday Made It. Have a super weekend!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What's Your Style? Teacher Fashion Linky Party

I LOVE clothes. Especially my teacher outfits. I've been waiting for the perfect opportunity to talk about clothes because I want to keep posts education related BUT dressing professionally is a part of being a teacher (Ron Clark would say "Dress the part; Attire matters!") and Jessica at From Blood to Books is hosting a teacher fashion linky party (click her button above) SO here is my perfect opportunity. :)

Here are Jessica's guidelines:
1. Tell me your favorite store(s) that you like to get your "teachers' fashion".
2. What are some of your favorite accessories?
3. What type of shoes do you teach in? (i.e. heels, flats, wedges, etc.)
4. Do you have a "go-to" item in your closet? (i.e. sweater you wear weekly, shoes you wear daily, etc.)
5. Have you ever had a fashion "uh-oh" at school? (i.e. heel broke, button popped off of blouse)

My responses:
 1. My favorite stores and why:

Return to LOFT homepage
They offer 10% teacher discount, quality clothing, AWESOME sales, and petite sizes. I love everything about this store...pants, dresses, skirts, tops, sweaters, cardigans.

Francesca's Collections
They have super cute dresses!! You kind of have to search for the good ones because a lot of what they have I would NEVER wear to school. Prices are under $50 but quality is not as good.

LOVE their pencil skirts and sweaters! Expensive but excellent quality. However, J. Crew Outlets (if you have one near you) have much better deals.They also offer a teacher discount.

2. Favorite accessories: 

I love to wear this watch everyday!

A smile, of course! I just couldn't resist sharing this picture of my doggie. :)

3. Shoes:
Toms ballet flats. The money goes to a good cause.

The most comfortable heels for a special occasion.
I love their flats and wedges. Comfortable and cute.

I love (and by love I mean that I never take them off) wearing these Steve Madden boots in the fall and winter.

4. Go to item:
Cardigans all the way!!

5. Fashion uh-oh: none to date. :) 

If you're interested in other outfit ideas, take a look at my "If I Could Play Dress Up" board on Pinterest.

Have fun playing dress-up! :)

p.s. Thank you for your thoughtful comments on my Monday Made It a new teacher, any encouragement goes a long way. :) 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Monday Made It Linky Party

Hope everyone had a relaxing weekend!!

I'm off to continue setting up my classroom but before I do, I have three projects to share with you for Tara's Monday Made It Linky Party (click her button above to join in and/or view other super projects)!

1. Where Am I Board: I saw this on Pinterest last week and immediately went to make my own. I purchased the dry-erase magnetic board from Walmart ($6), the gems from Dollar Tree (hot glued magnets on the back), sparkly ribbon from Walmart, and used clear labels (my new best friend). I want to hang this by the classroom door but I'm not sure how to hang it so it will stay on the cinder block walls. I may experiment with the 3M tape it came with or hot glue a ribbon handle but do you have any other ideas?

2. Wrapping Paper Curtains: I was inspired by a pin from School Girl Style to make these wrapping paper curtains with pattered packaging tape as a border. I don't think this picture does them justice but they really warm up that corner of the room. I purchased the wrapping paper from Target and selected this particular paper because the animals relate to the second grade curriculum. My goal is to integrate as much as possible.

 3. Calendar: Now that I'm looking at this picture, I think the calendar area needs a border (or a few) to be visually organized, and I need to get more magnetic numbers. Nonetheless I was inspired by Mama Jenn's book ring calendar system to create my own. I love that she put all of the calendar pieces on book rings (my other new best friend) so that pieces don't go missing and it's easy and efficient to change anything. I used:

magnetic push pins from Walmart

magnetic numbers from Amazon (I chose these particular magnets because the entire back is covered with a magnet, also you're going to need at least two containers) 

magnetic base-10 blocks (it's that little orange ones piece on the bottom right, and I can't remember where I got those from)

I want to use calendar as daily place-value practice but may add other components depending on the needs of my students. You can download my calendar pieces from my TpT store for free. Some of the pages need to be printed more than once so I've labeled those particular pages with their multiple uses. Enjoy!

Hope you have a wonderful week! Remember to click Tara's button!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Need a resource for instructional technology? I know just the person!

Wow, this weekend has flown by!! I'm excited to share my projects with you tomorrow for Tara's Monday Made It Linky Party but for today I'd like to thank Mrs. Christy at Leaping Loopers, Jenny at Teacher and a Mom, and Carrie from The Common Core Classroom for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger award.
reddotheader-1    Button

I'd also like to thank Cathy from C is for Cookies, Cakes, Children, Classroom and Crafts and Steph at Stay Tuned for nominating me for the Liebster Blog award.

Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness! I have already received both awards (you can read about my nominations here) but would like to tell you about one new blogger- Nikki at Sent From My iPad. She is one of my new friends from school. She is also one of my mentors...aren't I lucky to have her?! Nikki is making the transition from first grade teacher to Instructional Technology Resource Teacher (ITRT) this school year.

Let me give you a little background: During my job search process I had been researching different schools when I stumbled upon a school's website that really stood out to me. Everything about the school seemed to match up with my teaching values and seemed like the kind of community I wanted to be a part of. I took a look at some of the teachers' classroom pages, and one teacher had videos of her students explaining and showing how they use iPods and iPads in the classroom. I was so impressed and thought, "I want to work with THIS teacher!"  

Lo and behold at my first interview with this school, guess who is on the interviewing panel...THAT teacher! After the interview, I had the opportunity to visit with Nikki in her classroom. AND after I accepted a job position at the school, I got to observe Nikki's class. Not only was I amazed by her classroom management (the class ran itself!) but I saw how creative she was with integrating technology in the classroom.

I'm so excited for her new position as the ITRT because now I really do get to work with her! I'm also excited to share her blog with you (I hope she doesn't mind ;) ) because she is a great resource. So I am nominating Nikki for the Versatile Blogger award and the Liebster Blogger award.

The rules for the Versatile Blogger award are as follows:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2. Include a link to their site.
3. Include the award image in your post.
4. Give 7 random facts about you.
5. Present 15 other bloggers with the award by commenting on their blog.
6. When nominating, include a link to their site.

The rules for the Liebster award are as follows:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their site.
2. Present 5 other bloggers who have less than 200 followers the award by commenting on their blog and link to their site.

Happy Sunday!! :) and go visit Nikki at Sent from My iPad!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Double Whammy Linky Party

What a week! I hope you've been having fun setting up your classroom/preparing for school and also enjoying the summer!! I've been having so much fun setting up my classroom that I never want to leave! Everyone at school has been so helpful and welcoming...I know I'm in the right place. :)

I'm going to do a double wammy linky party tonight! I hope that's okay. :)

Oh' boy fourth grade
 I am participating in Farley's Currently. Below that I give you a glimpse into my classroom for Brigid's Classroom Tours where you'll see how I've used my Back 2 School Must Haves. A double whammy!

A few snapshots to share:

These two photos were taken at the end of day one. One of my classroom parents, who is also a colleague, helped me arrange the furniture, hang the two garlands from the ceiling, and fix black twin flat sheets (can be purchased separate from the fitted sheet and pillow case from Walmart for under $5) on most of the bulletin boards.

See the cabinets in the back? On Tuesday and Wednesday, I spent time going through everything that was in them and organizing it all. I want resources and manipulatives to be easily available. Jodi at Clutter-Free Classroom would be pleased because now the cabinets and drawers are clutter-free!! I don't have a before picture (it was definitely not a pretty sight) but I do have two after pictures:

Clear labels are my new best friend. I like them because they (almost) blend in, I can use my favorite font on them, and I don't have to use tape (my frenemy). I have the address label ones (as shown on the drawers above) but I also have circle ones. Here are the circle labels on the students' book bins (Target Dollar Spot):

While organizing the cabinets, I found a pair of giant googly eyes and knew EXACTLY where to put them (inspired by a pin)...
Isn't he cute?!

There are more storage areas in the room that I need to investigate but I wanted to setup a few recently laminated items:

Inspired by another pin, I knew I had to create this when I saw it on Pinterest. Doesn't it send a powerful message?

I am also a big fan of those 3M hooks and book rings. They are great for hanging stuff!! AND they seem to stay on the cinder block walls. You can read more about my indoor recess choice board in a previous post.

This probably looks familiar, or exactly the same :), to Kristen's board at Ladybug's Teacher Files. I love her board and didn't want to change a thing about it. I used ribbon from Walmart for the border (this board took almost the whole roll).

Stay tuned for some projects (inspired by this pin and this pin) for Monday Made It!!

Link up with Farley and Brigid's parties, and I hope you have a relaxing weekend!!!

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