Monday, July 30, 2012

Hanging Table Signs


I have been crafting up a storm. I went back to work today. Lots of meetings as well as a talent show! The students don't start until next Monday, but I want to be ready. Especially since some are going to show up this Thursday for Meet the Teacher night.
The first thing I made was a cover for my shelves. It was looking a little "blah" so I added a colorful banner.

The main project I was working on were my hanging table signs.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Skippyjon Jones at Kohls

Have you heard that Skippyjon Jones is at Kohls? I'm just most of you already knew that. I received an email a while ago and forgot about it. Then while shooping in my local Kohls I saw him. Well I didn't see him, which made me sad. After I wasn't able to find little Skippy, I went online. I was able to find Skippy and all of his friends!

Talk about being excited! They also had a backpack for only $5. Yes, I forgot to mention that all of the toys, hardcover books, and backpack are only $5.

I bought all of the plush toys, but I bought 2 Skippy's. One for my classroom and one for this backpack. When I was in kindergarten, my teacher had a backpack with a teddy bear and a notebook inside. One lucky student got to take it home every weekend. Inside the notebook they would write what they did with the bear. I want to do the same thing in my classroom, only with Skippy. I'm also thinking of adding a disposable camera in the backpack as well to have them take a picture with them and Skippy. I can't wait for my order to come in!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I Have Self Control and a FREEBIE!!

I was browsing through Pinterest, as I normally do, about 1000 times a day and I came across this video.



First of all, let me say that this guy is amazing. I've only watched this one video and after I upload this post, I'm going back and watching all of his videos. How awesome would it be to have him as a teacher? Back to the point of this post though.

I was watching this video and I realized that this would be so helpful in teaching self control, just like he says. It's very concrete and easy to understand. You can use this for classroom management reminders, cafeteria behavior, recess, etc. All you have to do is remind them of self control and the bubbles. This is also a great idea for students that tend to get very angry easily. You could always pull them aside and do the bubble activity with them individually. You may even let them blow the bubbles slowly to help them with their breathing and calm down.

I am going to try this activity on the first day of school and I will let you know how it turns out. It could go wonderfully, or there could be a few students who take it to far. I will experiment and report back.

Now I don't want to do this activity all the time because then I think it looses it's affect. I went ahead and made a poster that I can post in my room and whenever there is a student who is about to loose it, I will point to it and remind them about their self control. Of course I had to share it will all of you wonderful blog readers. You can get this poster for FREE, all you have to do is click the image and it will take you to my TPT store.



My First Award(s)

I received my first award today from Katherine, over at Blessed to Teach. Thank you Katherine, that was so sweet of you!
This award is named for the german word "Liebster", which translates to  "beloved" or "favorite" and is given to a "new, up and coming blogger".

Here are the rules:
1. Link back to person who gave it 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 five blogs to let them know that they have been offered the award.


Not only did I receive one award, I received TWO! So here is the next award. I received this from Amy at Adventures in Teaching, by the way I love that blog name, so cute!

This award has a little more work to it than the first one.

Versatile Blogger Award:
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 yourself. 
  • I am in love with The Beatles. It's true, I have a collection of Beatles memorabilia and I keep adding to it. My favorite Beatles is George Harrison.
  •   I love to be crafty. I have three Cricuts!! I love making cards, scrapbook layouts, and things for my classroom.
  • I am obsessed with owls. Anything that has an owl on it, you know I will be buying! I went to Pottery Barn kids just to buy my new lunch box this year and yes it does have owls all over it.
  • I am secretly still a kid at heart, but aren't we all? I love watching Disney movies, coloring, and singing children's songs. It's a good thing I went into teaching. Now I have an excuse, hehe!
  • I can't go without painting my toe nails. Even in the winter when my toes never make an appearance, I have to have them painted. When I have time and I'm not too lazy, I like to match my pedicure with my manicure. I will change them every week depending on my mood. Once I did zebra print when we took a field trip to the zoo. We had a vote in my class to see if I would do zebra or cheetah, zebra won. ;-)
  • My car has to be spotless. I cannot stand driving in a car that has trash all over it. It doesn't bother me if it's not my car, but I'm a very organized person and I tend to loose things easily. Hence the reason why I have to be organized. So keeping my car clean is just one less worry. Now if only I could keep my classroom as clean...
  • I've actually been blogging since 2009, but I never felt confident enough to share it with anyone. Now I figured, why not it's fun! 
5. Nominate 5-10 other bloggers, include their link, and let them know. 



I am nominating the following blogs for both of these awards:

Blessed to Teach
Teach-On
Mrs. A's Room
Adventures in Teaching
Teaching Little Apples

Monday, July 23, 2012

Supplies

I have been having a difficult time with supplies over the past few years that I have been teaching. I have tables in my room and even though some people may love tables, me not so much. I love the fact that you save space with tables, but when the students don't have a place for their things, it becomes a problem, especially in 2nd grade. I have tried many things. My first year I tried a single bucket of supplies and by the end of the year it was a total mess. Then I switched to individual boxes. That got expensive for me, even when they were on sale. Then I had the students start to buy them. The only problem was that when a student ran out of a certain material, they wouldn't buy a new one and the other students were hesitant to share. This year I wanted to have a sense of community and that we take care of our things and share. I am going to try out the community supplies again. I will have the students buy their supplies at the beginning of the year, but as time goes on I will replenish them, that way all students are prepared and ready to learn.

I found these labels over a year ago on another teacher's blog and I fell in love with them. I wanted to make my own, but I happily stumbled upon them when I was reading Ladybug's Teacher Files blog. So I just want to say thank you for the amazing file. If you guys want it, you can get it here and the best part is that it's FREE!!

My Supply Project


I love these little labels. They make me think of a chalk board and chalk. At first, when I saw them I thought that's what it was. She has this whole thing called Flipped signs. It's where she has a black background with white lettering and it's supposed to make it stand out more. I actually bought her alphabet sets and I'm going to use the white ones and then "flip" the vowels. I did a little tweaking when it came to the original file. Usually each circle is 6 inches, but I went into Photoshop and shrunk them down to 2 inches. Then I took a few of my crafty punches and punched them out. So much easier than cutting 30 circles out!! It's nice to know that my crafting supplies are getting more than one use out of them!!
 
The really nice thing is that I already had these cups and all of the supplies at home. The only thing I have to figure out now is how to store them. I don't want to place them all on the tables, because I know that they will be knocked over by little hands. At first I was thinking of going to Hobby Lobby to buy some of those chargers (fancy plates) since they are normally $1-$2. But I would still have the problem of students knocking them down. That's when I decided to go with a clear box. I had one at home already so I set it all up and I think it looks really good. Hopefully now my students will be more willing to share. Now we just have to deal with keeping it clean! So after it's all said and done, I will only have to spend money on getting six clear boxes. It's a little mixture of my old way of storing materials, but with an organizational feature inside!!!
While I was on Ladybug's Teacher Files website I saw her post a project she has been working on and she uploaded it to a blog called 4th Grade Frolics. I was so excited to see that so many teachers post things they have been working on. I mentioned in an earlier blog post that I also have a crafting blog where I do the same thing. You have no idea how excited I was!!! So I am linking it up over at... Monday Made It.



Newbie Blog Hop

So I stumbled across Grade Three is the Place for Me. First of all, I love her blog. Second of all, she is having a great blog hop for newbie bloggers so I decided to join in on the fun!!!


1. What state you are in?
I live in Arizona. I was born and raised here, which is actually quite surprising since most people move here. Who are the crazier people, the ones that were born in the heat or the ones that voluntarily move into it? hehe ^_^
2. Your current teaching position...
Currently I am teaching a 2nd grade ELD class. I have been lucky enough to stay in the same grade and same room my whole teaching career. This will be my 5th year!!
3. Your teaching experience...
I started volunteering as a reading tutor when I was 18. Then all through college I was an after school teacher. I am so grateful for that job because that's where I learned the most about kids and how to deal with behavior. I graduate with a BA in Elementary Education in 2008 and I have been teaching 2nd grade ELD ever since. I am currently working on my Masters in Administration. Not sure if and when I will leave the classroom, but for now I couldn't image myself being anywhere else!
4. When you started blogging...
I actually started blogging July 2009, 3 years ago. I spent my first year on teacher blogs and I learned a lot from them. I got a lot of my ideas from online and after I had one year under my belt, I felt like it was time I contributed. Once the school year started though I lost track of blogging and eventually forgot about it. It wasn't until last week that I decided to start back up again. I was filming a classroom set up video and in the process, realized that there was more that I wanted to share. So that's when I logged back on and started blogging again.
5. Share a blogging tip / blogging resource...
I would definitely have to say, keep up with pinterest. You can find so many great ideas there. As far as blogging goes, just be yourself. Don't try to compete with other bloggers and live up to their names. Just be who you are and start blogging for the right reasons, whatever they may be for you. Lastly, HAVE FUN!!!

Now it's you turn to participate!!!


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tell Me More, Tell Me More!

I was browsing through the blogs, like I normally do, and I came across Amy Lemon's Tell Me More, Tell Me More Linky Party. I thought it sounded like fun, so I decided to join in! In this post you will probably find out more about me than you ever wanted to know. ;-)

 
1.   I am married to my middle school sweetheart. Long story short, we met in 3rd grade and I HATED him (which really means I secretly loved him). Fast forward to 7th grade where he had my friends ask me out at McDonalds! We have been together ever since 1999!!! We got married March 7, 2009 and have been happily married ever since. :-) 
 

2.  I have a Dachshund named Pippin who is my world. I have no children yet, but he is like my little baby. I would do anything for that little pup. 

3. I love to craft.  I love getting together with friends and creating. It's even funner when I get the chance to do a "craftivity" in my classroom every now and then. I enjoy making cards and scrapbooking. I even have my own crafting blog Jennuine Crafts

4. In high school I was a "band geek". To be more specific, I was the leader of the band geeks. I have been playing music since was was 12 years old. I have played the piano, flute, piccolo, saxophone, and guitar.

5. I love to read. Mostly I enjoy young adult fiction. One of my all time favorite authors is John Green. I found him on YouTube and I fell in love with his videos that he does with his brother Hank. When I found out that he was an author, I knew I had to read his books and I love them all!
More Random Facts
  • I love painting my nails. I could spend all day doing one nail design.
  • I am obsessed with teeth. I keep floss in every room. I even have floss in my wallet.
  • I have a very addictive personality. If I find something new that I like, I will become obsessed with everything about it.
  • I am obsessed with YouTube. If YouTubing were a job, I would be the CEO. I used to make skit videos, makeup tutorials, and now I make crafting videos and teaching videos.
I hope you enjoyed getting to know me a little better. If you want to participate, make sure to head on over to Amy Lemons' blog.

Classroom Management

With the school year starting soon, I'm sure a lot of us are reworking our classroom management plans. Some of you may even be making your for the first time. No matter where you are in the process, I always believe that it is the most important. I've always believed that if you don't have good classroom management, then everything else you do is a waste of time. What is the point in teaching a lesson while your students aren't paying attention? You're just going to have to reteach it. Why not use your time wisely and be productive. With all of the right procedures in place, your classroom will run smoother than butter!

Sure classroom management and procedures take a while to teach and learn, but it is all worth it in the end. I am currently reworking my management procedures and when I do I will make an updated post. For today though I want to share with you what I did last year.

When I first started teaching I was using this behavior chart.


I wasn't really a fan of it because the kids that misbehaved were always on red and the students that behaved were always on green. One teacher I knew had most of her kids on red at the end of the day and this chart back fired for her. For me, most of my students were all on green with a couple on yellow or red so I didn't find myself using this chart anymore. One year I didn't even use it at all, even though it was hanging up. Last year I decided to try out the chart again. I added a few more colored cards to see if that made a difference. At the end of every day I was still only moving a few kids' cards back to green. I kept thinking about all of those kids that stayed on green all day. Sure we give our attention to those kids moving to red, but most of our class is filled with those green students. Why were they not getting the recognition they needed? That's when I decided that there had to be a behavior chart that worked for those that behaved as well as those that didn't. That's when I created this behavior chart.

I went searching online for behavior charts and I saw many different versions of this chart. I loved it because it allowed students to move up or down. As you can see every student starts on green, ready to learn. Through out the day students can either "clip up" or "clip down". You can make the cards say anything you want, but this is just what works for me. After a week I could really see a difference in my classroom. Even though I never really had major behavior issues, I noticed the little things like interrupting or blurting answers out began to disappear. My students that were normally being redirected, started being able to move their clips up. Now my green kids were becoming blue, purple, and even gold kids! Whenever a student had to move their clip down, they always knew that they could earn it back up throughout the day. It's important to know that there is downward and upward movement at any point of the day. Just because loss of privilege happens in the morning, it doesn't mean that they can't earn their way back up to ready to learn or higher in the afternoon.

How I use this...
Whenever I see a student making a good choice, or a bad choice, they are able to move their clip up or move it down. If we are in the middle of a lesson I will just tell them and after the lesson they are able to move their clip. Whenever the class is working quietly, I can make eye contact with one of my students and without talking just signal a thumbs up or thumbs down and they know right away that this means to clip up or down. Somehow every students knows where every other student is on the chart. Whenever someone makes it to Smart Choices they all gasp and clap for them. Everyone is always trying to make it to smart choices by the end of the day.

How do you become a Smartie Pants?
When you make it to the top of the chart, you have made smart choices. The students are always trying to make it to smart choices, so they can become a Smartie Pants at the end of the day. To make the Smartie Pants, I just bought a pair of toddler jeans from Wal-Mart and decorated them. I kept the hanger that they came with and it's actually hanging from a push pin. Inside the pants are candy Smarties. At the end of the day, all of my students who made smart choices come to the front of the room. They all receive a Smarties candy as well as a slip that says, "My teacher thinks I'm a Smartie Pants, because I made smart choices." The rest of the class sings to them and everyone tries to become a Smartie Pants the next day.

You can download a FREE copy of my Smartie Pants labels from my TPT store.


I have a student who is in charge of moving all the the clips back to green at the end of each day. Everyone knows that they have a fresh start everyday, which makes it really nice for students who may have had a bad day.

Other Ideas
  • I have used this behavior plan with Class Dojo as well, but I will create a different post all about Class Dojo soon. 
  • This year I plan on printing my Smartie Pants slips on labels that the students can wear on their shirts. That way when they get home they can show their parents without loosing it.
I hope you found some ideas that you may be able to use.

Planbookedu.com Review

I mentioned in an earlier blog post that I have been working a lot this summer in order to get ready for the school year. This school year is going to be a busy one for me. I am starting my 5th year and where normally one would be less busy, I am the opposite. I am starting my masters degree and this year I am also grade level team lead. With the responsibility of being team lead, I need to be organized so I know how to answer questions any other second grade teachers may need. I am also responsible for writing the grade level lesson plans. In the past when I wrote lesson plans I always had them in word documents. Where this was nice and customizable, it wasn't very efficient for me. I would have to save each week as a different file and if I was working on a lesson at home, I would forget that I had it saved on my work computer or vice-versa. I was tired of loosing lesson plans. I have also tried the physical plan book, but I found that these were not customizable at all. I would run out of room to write certain things and when I had a reoccurring event, like lunch or specials, I would have to write it in every day. For the past 4 years, lesson planning for me was a nightmare, that was until someone at work told us about planbookedu.com

Planbookedu is on online lesson plan book.


I have been using this plan book all summer in order to get ready for the school year. I love the features that it has to offer. For only $25 a year, I think it is well worth it.

Features (Pros):
  • You can create multiple plan books under one account.
  • Standards can be entered into your plans easily.
  • You can bump, copy, or move lesson plans.
  • Easy to customize
  • You will never loose your plan book or have it saved on a different computer. It is online and is accessible from any computer with an internet connection.
  • You can also save your completed lesson plan as a PDF. That way you can either save it to your computer or even print it out.
  • Upload files to your plans that way you will never misplace any worksheet that goes with your lesson.
Cons:
  • $25 a year (or free without some of the features)
  • Difficult to print out easily
I have even made a video to walk through how to set up your first plan book.


 
I hope you found this helpful. I know that this will save me a lot of time this year and in years to come.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Darling Little Learners

Now that summer is coming to an end and the school year is about to start, I figured I would gear up for the new year. I have been working on many things for my classroom this year, as well as this blog. One thing you'll notice is the new layout. I have it up and running. I also decided to make a youtube channel that matches my blog name. The YouTube channel is www.youtube.com/darlinglearners

I figured it would be easier to have all of my videos in one place instead of coming from two different channels. I still have my older videos up, but you have find them in a playlist on my new channel. Here is a new introduction since the last one that I posted was three years ago.


Friday, July 20, 2012

Classroom Set Up

I have been working hard all summer. I will make posts that go into more detail sometime next week, but I just wanted to share with you a couple of videos I filmed this week. I have been going into my classroom this week and last week trying to get everything ready.