Monday, July 30, 2012

Solving Mysteries with the Help of Mod Podge!

Mystery Number One:

Whose paper is this????????

I saw the No Name clip project on Pinterest and knew right away I had to make one for my room.

Pinterest Inspiration

I rummaged through the basement to find a piece of scrap wood. Then I prettied it up with some polk-a-dot scrapbook paper, printed and cut out cute letters, set everything in place with Mod Podge, hot glued the clothespins, attached a string of jute rope, and voila:
I think the polka-dot background competes with the lettering a little, so I may go back and apply solid black letters... I'm not sure yet.

Mystery Number Two:

Now where did I put________? I just had it in my hand a second ago!

Do you ever set things down in your classroom and then poof they disappear!  Well in my room we often play the, Mrs. G is looking for her (enter random teacher thingy here), who can help me find it? , game.

I am often misplacing my clipboard.

To make matters worse, all my kids use clipboards as well.  They rarely sit at desks and often need a surface to write on, and all the clipboards look the same.  So, it can be hard to distinguish which one belongs to me if I happen to set it down and then walk clear across the room to attend to a child (or 5) in need.

Then the game turns into "is this it?", "No", "Is this one it?", "No".....

So now it is decked out, front and back, in polka-dots and I should be able to keep track of it a little better, or at least the kids will know which clipboard to look for now!


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Word Work and More Freebies

This year I am going to have my students try typing and sight word practice using old computer keyboards during word work.  I first saw this idea on Mrs. Durbin's site, 3rd Grade's a Hoot, way back in January but I never found the time to get it going.

So I made a trip to our local ReStore and picked up few used keyboards.  I created some stickers to go on the keys that differentiate vowels from consonants, and that was that.   If you'd like a free set just click on the picture.  I printed them on Avery labels #5160.  I did have to cut them out, but they work like a charm.


 I also put together a free sight word typing packet that includes a printable keyboard. If you'd like a free copy (for a limited time) click here

Thank you to all those wonderful teachers out there that have been so supportive!  You truly make my day.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Student Organization

I have been using the binder system for the past two years and while I love its organizational qualities I am finding it to be a little too much for the students to maintain (and expensive). This year I want to try and make it cheaper simplify it.  Instead of using the larger 1/2 inch binder, I have decided to try the poly 2-pocket prong folder.  I was able to pick them up at Walmart for 50 cents a piece.

I'll either be attaching a laminated cover to the front (not sure how just yet-I'm thinking Liquid Nails), or attaching a clear sheet protector and then inserting the cover.

 Then I'll add the following things to the inside prong section:
  • Zippered plastic pouch for notes and money

  • One plastic sheet protector for classroom information

  • One plastic sheet protector for the student behavior log 

  • Parent Communication Log sheet... In the past I have just used line notebook paper, but I think I might create something else to use.  

In the front pocket I'll have students keep their homework and the back pocket will be for take home papers.

I think that should do it.

If you are interested in seeing the materials I used in the larger binder I did for the past 2 years click here.

Once I have them all assembled I'll post more pictures.  Some of the stuff I need is still at school....I don't want to go in just yet.

I'd be interested in hearing how well these folders hold up to daily traveling, so if you have had any experience using them for a home folder please leave me a comment.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

It's a Blog, Blog, World.

Wow, there are so many great sites I have been discovering this week, and just in time for the new school year.  Now if only I can only get all those projects done before the start of school.

I want to take the time to Angela Nerby over at Hippo Hooray for Second Grade!  She nominated me for an award, Thank you!  Please head on over to her new site and follow her adventures as a second grade teacher this year.

Here are the rules for the Versatile Blogger Award:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you
2. Include a link to their blog
3. Include the award image in your post
4. Give seven random facts about yourself
5. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award
6. When nominating, include a link to their blog
7. Let other bloggers know they've been nominated
OK, so here are my facts:

1. I have lived in Alaska, Michigan (both upper and lower) and Wisconsin.
2. I have been married to my high school sweetheart for nearly 20 years.
3. I cannot walk on those metal trapdoor thingys that are on the sidewalk downtown, or on grates of any kind for that matter.
4. I love to mountain bike and have competed in a few statewide races here in Wisconsin.  I am not great by any stretch of the imagination, but I have a blast.
5. I am a major procrastinator.
6. I am addicted to V-8 juice.
7. I went to a lot of different schools growing up (maybe I went to school with you!)  :)
     1. Delta Center in Grand Ledge, Michigan for K-1
     2.Forest View Elementary in Lansing for 1/2 of 2nd
     3.Chester Valley in Anchorage Alaska for the other 1/2 of second grade
     4.Willow Elementary in Lansing for 3rd grade
     5. Lewton Elementary for 4th grade and then back to Chester Valley for 5th grade.
I also attended...
    6.Dwight Rich Middle School in Lansing for 6th and part of 7th grade
    7. Bunker Jr. High for 7-9th.
    8.I thankfully only attended ONE high school, Muskegon High School, in Muskegon Michigan!
    GO BIG REDS! This is where I met the love of my life, so it was worth all the trouble in the end.


And now here is the list of 5 (I know I am supposed to do 15, but it was had to find a blog that hadn't already received this award) bloggers that I am going to bestow this award upon:

S is for Second Grade
The Sweet Life of Third Grade
The Fairytale of a First Grade Teacher
Teaching with Hope
and last but not least...
Sassy in Second

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Erin Condren Give Away!

OOOh! Ashley Reed, over at Just Reed is giving away an amazing prize. Hop on over to her blog to see how you can win an Erin Condren Lesson Plan Book.

Good Luck!

CAFE on the Smartboard?

So for the last 3 years I have been trying to figure out a way to use the Daily 5 and the CAFE board on my SmartBoard, and after perusing Pinterest I came across this picture.  YES!

I tried to figure out where the pin originally came from but it took me back to Bing's image files and it was not listed among the choices.  If you know who originally came up with this idea please let me know so I can credit them.

Cool idea, but it only tracks the Daily 5 choices.  So I adapted it to look like this.  

I intentionally left the Read to Self portion off because we do that as a whole class, all at once, for the first round. The remaining rounds the students have a choice.  I know it deviates from the Sister's philosophy, but it just works better for me (and my kiddos who need silence to concentrate).  It also ensures that the strategies they are to be working on during that time are completed.

So how does it work?
The kids will all have a card with their picture on the bottom of the chart.  They drag their card to the column they want to work on, and then they chose a Daily and drag it to their card.  I always ask students to go to the CAFE board in the order of the letters C-A-F-E, so hopefully that will cut down on the, "Hey! He/She moved my choice" that takes place with all check-in-type SmartBoard situations.  The red lettered choices are marked with infinite cloners and everything else, with the exception of the student cards, is locked down. 
At the end of each round I will just close the board, not saving any changes and reopen it for the next round.  If you want to keep track of what they do for each round you could write the date and round number at the top of the board and then take a screen shot to save the information to your desktop.

The board resembles the one I have on display in the classroom, so the kids can cross reference it for ideas to work on and it cuts down on the sticky note waste use.  Now I love sticky notes as much as the next person, but after a few days of moving them around our CAFE board they'd fall on the floor and then I'd have to reluctantly... hand out a new one. Sticky notes in my room are a precious commodity and I'd rather save them for the kids to record their thinking on instead of carpeting my floor.  So this year I am going to give this a try. Wish me luck!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Math Tub Organization

It is that time of year again!  The time when I sit, for what seems like eons, in front of my computer eating up computer file space by creating all the things I'll want to use in my classroom next this year.  I rarely purchase bulletin board materials or desk toppers.  I just create stuff at home and laminate it at school!  Last year our school purchased a laminating machine and it has been heaven!

Every year I do an owl theme for my classroom. However, the last time I created tub labels I had a space owl theme going on, so it is time to change them up.  I thought I'd share them with you and they are available in my store for free , but only for a limited time (just click on the pic below). I'll be adding more tub labels later, but if anyone wants to see something specific I'll see what I can come up with.

Happy Room Creating!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Thank You!

I just received and award from Natalie over at Being the Queen Bee isn't easy! She has recently made the leap into blogging and if you haven't had a chance to check out her site please stop by.

Liebster is German for "beloved" or "favorite" and is awarded to new bloggers with under 200 followers.  Now it is my turn to nominate 5 more newbie bloggers!

When you receive this award you:

1. Link back to the person who gave the award to you.

2. Post the award to your blog.

3. Give the award to at least 5 bloggers with less than 200 followers.

4. Leave a comment on the 5 blogs to let them know they have been nominated for the award

So here are a few of my new favorite bloggers:





5. Last, but certainly not least....

Don't forget to stop by Natalie's blog!

Clip Chart Freebie

I love owls!  They have been my theme for the past 5 years.  So, when I started using the clip chart for behavior I wanted to develop a way of tracking the colors students were on at the end of each day. Naturally, I added owls to the document to go along with my theme.  I thought I'd share it because I've noticed I'm not the only one who seems to love these wide-eyed creatures.
Owl Behavior Tracking Tool
(free for a limited time)

The tool is really simple to use.  Each behavior log is placed inside a plastic sleeve, which in turn is inside their daily take home folder (called the O.W.L. of course).  At the end of the day students get their folders out, check the chart, receive "glittery eggs"if they've made it to the top, and then they color in their square for the day.  I staple notes to logs that are in the red and all students bring home the logs to show to their parents.  I ask that parents sign the logs at the end of the week, and if they do the next Monday those students get to automatically move up one color on the chart.  This way even my kiddos that may have been in yellow, orange or red are already heading up, and I know that the parents are probably talking to them about their behavior.  At the end of the month I collect all the logs and save them for conferences.  The logs have been a very positive experience so far and I've had many parents write notes to the kids about how proud they are, and some have even set goals for their child.  Enjoy!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Blog Hop!

Hi Everyone I just joined the blog hop in hopes of finding some new blogs to follow.
Here is a little info on me...

1.)  What state are you in?

2.)  What is your current teaching position?
I teach second grade.

3.)  What is your teaching experience??
I have been teaching for six years and I have taught both third and second grade.

4.)  When did you start blogging?
I started my blog last year in hopes of being able to share my ideas with others but once school started I realized it was not so easy to keep up with. This year however I am going to write it in to my daily schedule and post all the wonderful things we do in the classroom.

5.)  Share some blogging tips or a resource.
I guess my tip would be to schedule some time into your schedule for your blog.  This is something I will be doing this year because I really think the more we share the better teachers we become.  I know I have learned so much from the bloggers I follow.


I just finished my science unit!  It is all about animals and fits well with most primary curriculum.  I have my students use a science notebook and have included pages for the kids to use if you were interested in starting a notebook format in your classroom.  The unit also includes formative and summative assessments pieces, vocabulary cards, and center activities that the kids can do as extensions or independently during your center time to reinforce the concepts.  I hope you like it.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Math Game Freebie!

I'm so excited to be posting my very first product in the Teachers Pay Teachers store.  I created a game to help students practice basic addition facts, but they also need a little help with recognizing odd and even numbers, so I added a component that helps the kids practice that as well.  It is a free download, so let me know what you think.