Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dear Deer

I love doing art projects with my class. It reminds me of what excited me when I was a young student. Last week we studied homophones and my ELL 2nd graders were a little confused. We're going to have to keep working on them, but they did enjoy making their little deer and writing them letters.

I got this idea from Cara over at The First Grade Parade. I purchased her TPT file on camping last year and I never got around to doing it. We read Henry and Mudge later on in the year and it would go perfectly with that theme, but I was too excited to get those precious little deer up already!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Tables vs. Desks

Now on to what I made this weekend. I saw this pin and I thought it was a good idea.

Then my coworker actually made on in her classroom. It looked so cute. I've always had a compliment chain, but it always took too long to reach the floor and it just wasn't that cute. I knew I wanted sometime cute, but I didn't want to use the jar. At first I was going to make Brownie Points and when students earn all of their "brownies" I would make them brownies. Very cute idea, but I went ahead and made a gumball machine instead. That way the students will be able to vote on their reward, that is half the fun and surprise!!

The gumball machine starts blank and whenever the class receives a compliment for making smart choices, or for having a nice line, they will get a gumball added to their machine. When the whole machine is filled up, they will be able to vote on a reward (extra recess, movie, free time, etc.)

I'm linking up over at 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made it!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I Spy Time

I have yet another activity that I picked up from Teacher Tipster. It is called I Spy Time.

Last week introduced time to my 2nd graders. They were pretty good at telling time to the hour so I decided to teach them I Spy Time. I paired up the students and they went around the classroom looking for the letters for each problem.

They were both equipped with a clip board and answer sheet (available on Teacher Tipster). Since this was the first time they played, I wanted them to be able to work with a partner. Once they found the letter that matched the answer sheet, they worked together to answer each question.

I'll have my students play this a few more times before using it as a math center. I love this game because I used it as an assessment and my students had a lot of fun with it. I would suggest only having 2-3 pairs of students going around the room at a time. That would be 4-6 students walking around total, while the other students are working on another activity. Ultimately, this is going to be a center so only 2 students will be walking around. This activity is so easy to recreate. All you have to do is create the letters and you can modify it to fit your needs. Right now it is time to the hour, but later on in the year it will be 1/2 hour, 15 minutes, and even to the minute. I'm thinking of changing the locations of the clocks in January to make it a little more interesting and bring the fun back to this activity.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Magic Answer (Flip Chute)

Don't we all just love Pinterest? I know I do! I have been wanting to implement math centers into my routine this year and I slowly want to teach my students games that can one day be part of their math centers. I am currently working on a math fluency "program" (future post) and I knew that I wanted math facts to be a big part of my math centers. I saw this flip chute on pinterest and I thought it was perfect.

I went ahead and made one of my own. It was actually pretty easy.

There is a video on Classroom DIY, but I decided to do a more step-by-step video. You can see that video here.

I also  made a template in word that you can go ahead and type your questions and answers into. Click the photo to visit my TPT where you can download the template for free.

Friday, August 10, 2012

First Week of School

It is Friday of the first week of school. I dont' think I've ever been so excited to say that it's Friday! I had a fun week though. All of my students on my roster showed up on the first day and I haven't had any new students yet. It's nice getting to know my students and practicing routines and procedures with a consistant class. Here are some highlights of the week...
  • starting whole brain teching (post later)
  • staying on top of planning and copies
  • sticking to my resolution schedule
  • my "wiggly" student sitting in his seat the whole 40 minutes of writing
  • learning all of my students' names on the first day of school
  • having a "straight" line basically all week
  • getting a compliment from the assistance principal
  • working together with my grade level team
I have Self Control UPDATE

If you guys remember, I made a post about Teacher Tipster. I found him through Pinterest and I knew I wanted to try out some of his ideas. The first one I wanted to try out was his self control bubble lesson. I wanted to try it out on the first day of school, but I knew that my little darlings wouldn't be able to handle it. Since today was Friday I figured it was the perfect day. We went outside for a morning recess and there were a couple wiggly kids running around outside in another class while they were in line. My students saw it and instead of deciding to be wiggly, they stayed in line. I was taking a big chance, but I wanted to try it out.

I followed everything that Mr. Smith did in his video and... IT WORKED!!! We were able to talk about having self control and one of my students, who needs a lot of work on self controled put it in perfect student friendly words. He said, "It's like your brain is driving your body." He even put gestures with it!! I was so amazed at how well it worked. It was nice to reference it later on in the day. We will see how often the poster will help them. Of course you don't want to pull your bubbles out every time your students loose control, that would just be a nightmare waiting to happen!!!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Classroom Tour (in pictures)

Tomorrow is the first day back to school. I spent last week in meetings and getting my classroom all set up. I even went in on Friday when we had the day off to lesson plan. I am glad that I did though because I am so ready. I always get nervous/excited to start a new school year. This will be my 5th year and I've never been so ready. In my last post, I had a video of my classroom tour and I promised pictures. So here they are!

This is the wall right next to the door. The door is on the left (out of frame). I love having this wall set up with class lists, bus routes, supply lists, and lunch forms. It makes it easy to catch every parent/student walking in and just make sure that all of the information I have is correct. After the first week I will turn this into a bulletin board featuring the students and eventually it will be our data wall. The chart underneath the bathroom sign is my behavior management clip chart. You can see a separate post on that here. Then of course we have the bathroom. I have a love/hate relationship with having a bathroom in my class. Luckily my BFF (and teacher next door) came up with a genius solution. More about that in another post.

Now we're just going to go around my room in a circle. This is the area where things are just "hanging out". This is the door to the teacher next door, a.k.a. BFF. It is also where I store one of my easels. If you notice the posters hanging around my room with characters from books, I made those!!

Here is my sink area and storage. This is the only storage in my entire room. I am so jealous of the other teachers in our school because they have a wall of storage, which could be a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it. I am a person that needs everything hidden or else it just looks cluttered, so for me, it would be a good thing. Also, if you notice the little pants. Those are my Smartie Pants. You can find more information on those here.

Here is my reading area. This is actually a new spot in my room. Before it was just an empty corner that was never used and now it will be where all of my kids meet to listen to read alouds. I eventually want to make those crate seats to have in this area, but that will have to be another project sometime this year. You can also see my reading fluency wall, again another post will be made specifically for that.

Here are my standards. I love my new standards wall. It looks so clean and organized. I don't have to write anything on my board anymore, I just have to slip them in and out of pocket protectors. How easy is that!!! I also used electrical tape to separate the board and I love that stuff.

This is the view from where I teach. I do a lot of teaching on the floor, but when we have to use the document camera and projector, this is where we go. It's taken many years to figure out this arrangement. I am planning on doing a blog post on how to set up your classroom with tables. I have tons of pictures and advice on this subject so expect that soon. 

This is my main meeting area. I loved how the carpet looked on the tile and even though I have carpet on this side of my room (Don't ask, my room is set up so strangely.) I still liked that it outlined where the kids should be. You can see my math wall (post later) and my calendar wall. I'm going to be buying Mountain Math so that wall will transform within the next month or so. Then I have more storage, but it is so awkwardly shaped that I can't use it for much. I would have loved a corner instead. This corner is always a work in progress because it always looks so cluttered.

This is my intervention table. Just like my classroom tables, this has been all over my room. I am hoping that this placement works because it blocks off the cubbies during the school day and it still gives me a view of the whole classroom. The shelves about my cubbies and those shelves full of supplies are so distracting. I have fabric to cover them up as well as curtains for the windows, but the fire marshall is coming so you know how that goes...

This is my teacher area. Not too exciting or pretty. You can't even see any of it unless you are staring from the cubbies. I like it that way. I hate walking into a teachers classroom and see an island just for them that takes up half of the room. I wish I could get rid of the teacher's desk, but we aren't supposed to have any of our furniture moved out of the rooms.

Here is the final part of my room, my library. Most of those books are from the Goodwill. The bookshelves are made by my dad. I told him he needed to go into business designing furniture for teachers. 

That does it for my classroom tour. If you have any questions about what you see or want some detailed information, leave a comment and I'll be happy to answer them. Also, leave a comment with a link to your classroom pictures. I love seeing how other people set up their rooms.

New {School} Year Resolutions

I love the idea of making school year resolutions. I am always making goals and writing them down and now that I have a blog dedicated to teaching, it will be so much easier to keep up with them.

  1. Use my time wisely- I have made a schedule for myself this year that I need to keep up with. I am working on my master's degree and I don't want to fall behind in any aspects of my life. In case you were wondering what my schedule looks like and also so I can document it somewhere, here it is...
    • Mondays- 
      • Leave work on time (2:45)
      • Exercise (3:00-4:00)
      • Masters Homework (4:00-6:00)
    • Tuesdays-
      • Late day at work (4:00)
        • Lesson Planning
        • Cleaning/Organizing
        • Copying
      • Exercise (4:15-5:00) 
      • Masters Homework (5:00-6:00) 
    • Wednesdays- 
      • Leave work on time (2:45)
      • Exercise (3:00-4:00)
      • Masters Homework (4:00-6:00)
    • Thursdays- 
      • Late day at work (4:00)
        • Lesson Planning
        • Cleaning/Organizing
        • Copying 
      •  Exercise (4:15-5:00) 
      • Masters Homework (5:00-6:00)
    • Fridays-
      • Leave work on time (2:45)
      • Exercise (3:00-4:00)
      • Masters Homework (4:00-6:00)
  2.  Stay ahead- Often I find myself getting "lazy" and falling behind on things like grading and lesson planning. Then when it comes time for report cards I'm scrambling to get everything done. I'm hoping since I have two "late" days at work, I can keep up with this one.
  3. Eat Right- With school starting, I don't want to get stuck in my old habits of unhealthy eating. Often times I will bring a microwave meal everyday for lunch just because it's quicker. This year I am planning on premaking my lunches, that way it will be easier to grab in the morning. 
I have more resolutions, but I don't want to overwhelm myself and not stick to them. I may just have these as my first quarter resolutions and then after fall break, see how well I stuck to these and add three more. If you haven't made yoru new school year resolutions yet, I highly suggest that you do.

Currently: Back to School Edition (August)

I wanted to take the time to do Oh' Boy 4th Grade's Currently Linky Party. It looked like a lot of fun and since tomorrow is Back to School for me and all of my students, i figured it would be nice to document the things I am doing and thinking.

B2S Must Haves

  1. A Cricut- I love my Cricut so much. It's an electronic die cutting machine that will save you soooo much time when wanting to cut things out for bulletin boards. I also use it to make things for my little darlings.
  2. A thoughtfully planned out classroom- I can't stress this enough. You want to make sure that everything had a place before school starts. Once the craziness of the school year happens, you won't have time to organize things. If it already had a place, all you have to do it maintain.