Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Making Connections Monday!

Hi all!  I am SO excited about our district's new focus for the year.  For years, we have been shuffling kids back and forth with different teachers to get their "needs" met.  As in, their academic needs.  We had a conversation at the end of last year to discuss NOT switching our babies so much... and they listened and reacted!  We are keeping our kids a LOT more.  I'm super excited about that.

Anyway, I had a brainstorm today, and hopefully we can get lots of different ideas that can be used in classrooms all over!

I introduce-Making Connections Monday (a day late this week though--but I couldn't wait till next Monday!) 

Check out this fabulous speech by Rita Pierson to be inspired and understand.  SO MOTIVATING!

Children pick up SO much from adults.  We are spending more time with these babies than their parents are.  It's so important to be making connections to help make a difference in their tiny lives.  They will forever remember it.  Which student will need you the most this year?

Here's what I can share this week, since I'm still not in school.  It's a freebie that I have posted about already.  During the first few days of school, I line my students up to play a little game.  They are in a line far away from me.  I will name some facts (or not!) about me.  If they think it is true, they step forward.  If they think it's false they stay put.  If they get it wrong---back to start!  It's a great way for students to get to know me and a little bit about me.  It also helps them realize that it's okay to make a mistakes! ;)

Click {HERE} to grab a copy!  It's editable for you to type in your own "facts"  I like to send home the sheet I read without answers the first night to see if the parents "know" me!  ;)

I want to start a weekly link up with ideas on how to make connections with students.  Research is all over this subject and all say the same thing.  In order for students to learn, their basic needs have to be met.  They need to feel secure and safe.  They need to know you care!  How are you making connections in your classroom?  What have you done this week?  How are you creating and continuing to foster your class community?

Link up below---Making Connections Monday!  My favorite quote from Rita that has stuck with me---Children won't learn from people they don't like!  SO true!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Travel Journals

I thought this was a fitting post, as I am on vacation right now....  My calm before the storm before going back to school.  It's less than an ideal time to vacation... with my room a mess and all... BUT, I am going to try my hardest to relax and enjoy time with my family.  

We went on a long road trip this summer.  It was the first time that we've driven somewhere far, instead of flying.  Surprisingly my kids did well!  Lots of movies, breaks and I took along my Travel Journal that I give out to my students when they go on trips during the year.  The surprising part was that my usually unmotivated child, got out the papers without me even telling him to in the car!  He LOVED car counting and was determined to find 100 total cars on the trip (of course, he promptly stopped after that)

After we got home, I had him create the pages for each day, instead of doing it while we were there.  We had enough melt downs on vacation, we certainly didn't need more because mom was being a teacher!  heehee :)  He also did other "reading" pages that you'll see below.

Here's some samples of his "work."  Use your imagination for more detailed pictures and more writing for those older students and those students who go above and beyond.  ;)

"Fun" pages---with a Reading or Math Twist!  (there were other pages in this packet, but I think I'm showing you quite enough.  I don't want to bore you!)


Days 1-10 for students to write about each day.  They can draw a picture or even attach a photo!

What is the coolest place you've ever traveled to?  There are lots of places I would love to visit, but the coolest place I've visited would have to be Aruba.  The hubs and I went there on our honeymoon.  My loved the beach and the divi trees (I think that's what they were called?!?!  It's been too long) The trees actually grew sideways/were leaning because there's always a breeze there.  A not-so-good part:  They had this breathtaking "natural bridge" that was made of stone over part of the ocean... I remember walking across thinking about how unsafe it felt.... years later it crumbled!  YIKES!

Comment below and when I return I'll pick a winner to try my Travel Journal out with their students!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Are you a cool cat or scaredy cat?? And BIG news!

You may have seen my newest pack if you are a facebook follower or pinterest follower.  I wanted some kind of packet to use with my firsties at the beginning of the year, that went along with Pete the Cat and also Splat the Cat!  I love them both, and so do my kids every year!  I went through the books I had, but will also add more in the future to this packet as well!

The best part of this packet for me is that it's not a once and done unit.  Since Splat has a lot of seasonal books, those can be used throughout the year.  BUT he definitely needs to be read at the beginning of the year.  I always talk to my kids about being nervous for school like Splat, or ready to go and "cool for school" like Pete!  :)

These are a sample of what my son did at home, since I still have 2 weeks left of my summer.

 {Of course his favorite color was red... so there wasn't a "new" shoe color in this picture...  I'm sure my more overachiever kiddos will go nuts and make rainbow shoes or shoes with dots...  You gotta give him credit though.  He made those during the commercial of the new Phineas and Ferb!  There's not much better in a 7 year old boy's life when it's Phineas and Ferb AND Marvel Superheroes!  STOP.THE.WORLD!} 

{Close up of the buttons---He cut out small circles and glued them onto thin strips of paper that was folded accordion style to make it look like they were "popping" off!}

 I do not have a page for the Wheels on the Bus.  Since it's not a "new" story, I didn't think it really "fit," but if I hear otherwise from you, I can certainly add it.  I plan on adding more when the new magic sunglasses one comes out!)

Before I go, I wanted to announce that I'll be participating in the BIG, HUMONGOUS, SPECTACULAR Teachers Pay Teachers Back to School Sale!!!!!  My entire store will be 20% off.  Enter in the code BTS13 and you will get another 10% off!  (Grand total is actually 28% off due to some technicalities and math) ;)

{Button created by Ink and Little Things!  SO cute!}

Last, I just wanted to thank you all for being supportive of me!  Because of you, I strive to make sure everything I share is worth it!  (Of course, I have some bumps along the way, like a normal person)   But you have been sticking with me through it all!! :)  I'm super excited to be getting my new school year started so I can share with you some of my ideas.  I got so many that I'm already not sleeping, and the school year is 2 weeks away!!!  (3 weeks till I have kids!)  YIKES!

I have a TON of things in my wishlist on TPT.  I'm off to try to prioritize it!  Who knows if that will actually happen!  There's so many good things out there!  Can't wait to share with you what I snagged!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Another Daily 5 freebie

Call me crazy...  I love my owls and all, but I just was NOT loving my Daily 5 posters.  I redid them today to go along with the chalkboard theme I have with my owls.

Check it out (I added "work with teacher" because I had a request for my owl posters--which I still need to update!):

Click {HERE} to snag this for free!!!(PS-I noticed on the Google Drive that there was an issue viewing all of the pages, but once you click "download" it downloads just fine to your computer and you'll have all the posters)

Check back soon to grab the bookmarks that I'll be making to go along with the posters.  To see what I mean, check {THIS} post out with how I run my daily 5 and to see my Owl Posters.

PS---If you aren't checking out my FB page lately---you are MISSING OUT!  I just hit 500 followers there and am having fun with some flash freebies this week!  They are going to be gone, gone, gone!  So you need to make sure to subscribe to my feeds!  Oh, and I have a very special FANS ONLY tab where I'll be posting some extra special love for you!  Right now you can snag a few pages from my Perfect Papers Packet!  (Click on the picture to go to my FB page)

 Tomorrow I'm going to have my son do some pages of my newest packet Cool Cats and Scaredy Cats.  If you love using Pete the Cat and Splat the Cat in your classroom, you have to check it out!  I'm so excited to use it.  I'll have a post about it shortly!  Make sure you are following on BlogLovin' so that you get all the goods and stay "in the know!"

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Writing Stationary

I wanted to share my most favorite part of my classroom, of course, I do not have an actual picture of my table right now, since school does not start for a few more weeks for me.

The writing table is my favorite because it's where I get to know my kids more.  They practice their reading and writing all while telling me bits and pieces of themselves!  {Of course, you will get to know some of your kids a little TOO much sometimes!!!!}  I've had kids tell me that their parents are never going to have another baby... or that they might adopt and that they hope they adopt a child from China.  Or that they aren't afraid of Zombies and if they come, they come!  hahaha!

I like to keep things simple and routine with my students.  It eliminates the need for them to ask me questions.  My kids write at the writing table DAILY.  That's right.  DAILY!  I gotta say, it is difficult to keep up with ALL of their writing and sometimes I find myself reading through a few days' worth by the end of the week.  How I keep sane:  I don't edit them AT.ALL.  I tell parents at the beginning of the year that I will not be editing these types of pages, 1.  Because I just don't have time, really.  And 2. It's important to just give them time to write and practice skills and just not have to worry about "being right."

I also allow my students to pick things to write there after they are done with a writing assignment (during our specific "writing time") and it's also another place they can visit if they get "free time."   During indoor recess, the table fills quickly and I have lots more taking pages back to their seats.  If there's one thing about first graders----they never run out of things to write about!  hahaha! 

I only have examples of the END of the year-but you can see how far they will come!

I just redid ALL of my stationary.  I am IN.LOVE. with them!  Check out a few:

 I LOVE this one.  If I ever hear my kids say that they DON'T know what to write about, they use this page to write everything they know about why they don't know what to write about!  HAHA!  I wish I had some examples for ya, but I didn't think to take pictures last year.  I know that a few of my littles would write that "I already wrote about xxx.  I already wrote about xxxx."  Or, they'll just write that they didn't do anything last night, etc.  But the important thing is that they are still writing!

My pack has 2 versions for each page.  One with lines and one without.  I start my year with no lines.  It's such a great way to show their development over time.  There are 15 (30 since each are doubled) pages for everyday use.  These can be out all year if you'd wish.  I rotate them.  But I always have the 3 above out.  They love the Good News/Bad News and Everything I know about...

I then have 15 (a little over 30 because a few of these pages have variations with graphics to make it not so specific to certain holidays) SEASONAL pages.  These pages are designed to keep out during the month, just to "spice" things up a little!

Click on the picture to see this in my store!

AND!  The best part!  If you are one of my lucky Facebook followers----you can download a few pages of this for Free in my Freebies for Fans section!  {Click on the Pic to head to my FB page!}

{Fingers crossed it all works!!!!!!!!}

Monday, August 5, 2013

Monday Made It! YaY!

I FINALLY had some time to make some things to share!  {I guess the important thing to remember is that I actually remembered to take PICTURES so I COULD share!}

First up-my seat crates.  It's nothing new.  I LOVE how they turned out.  I was going to do something more trendy, but I had my kids tell me which one they liked and owls it was!

By the way---did you know that you can order ONLINE for Hobby Lobby??  I know there are so many of you that don't have one near you.  I haven't had to, but I was going to---until I realized that there was one 30 minutes from my house.

 I'm going to use my crates as a small meeting area for my kiddos.  When they aren't meeting, they'll connect to make a little "table."  I also got a grant for some iPod Nanos to use as a listening center in my classroom!  I think these little babies will be a good use for those somehow too!

Next up is another idea that's not new, but makes a classroom look just adorable, especially for Parent's Night/Back to School Night, etc.  The bonus is that the pens are a great writing tool for the writing table too!  Who doesn't like to write with a flower instead---even boys love it!  (gotta love first graders!)

 {You can get a bunch of flowers at the Dollar Store!  Before discovering that, I would buy them at Michaels when they were super cheap.  I always buy the bunches that have at least 6 on a bunch.  Save yourself and cut them off with a tool like that up there!  I cut about an inch down from the stem}

{I used flower tape, because I had some left from waaaaay back before duct tape.  After this roll is done, I plan on using duct tape to make my pens.  Super cute!  I made a small strip attached at the top only.  Then I taped on the flower.  Then I started a new strip and rolled it the rest of the way down the pen.  Oh, how it brought back memories of twirling baton and putting tape on it!!!!}

 {Finished product.  I plan on using smaller "containers" in my classroom to put at each table during back to school night.}

Last, isn't something REALLY for the classroom.  Of course it COULD be adapted to use in the room.  BUT, it DOES help me out at home during the school year.  I used to be good at planning meals, so that I wasn't standing at home each night, while my kids cried that they were hungry.  Last year, I was horrible.  I saw lots of pins and even started one, but I just didn't like it!  Finally I found {THIS} pin---and so started my Hobby Lobby obsession.  One thing that is different with mine is that I made a BIG one.  This baby is 16X20, I believe.  I made room for a monthly calendar.  And being that it's a cork board, I can just pin it on each month!  YEAH!

 {I used less than a yard of fabric for this, and a LOT of hot glue!  I bought the chevron scrapbook paper, but you could easily find something to print out instead}  Click {HERE} to grab a copy of my headers and days of the week "buttons"  Remember my board is bigger than the rest---so the headers will be big if you will be making a smaller version.  You can always resize when you print!}

Here's other pics on how I made the box, using a crayon box (who doesn't have one of those laying around?!)

{Unassemble the box and trace it onto the scrapbook paper.  Cut out.}

 {Glue the scrapbook paper onto the box and glue the crayon box back together.  Make sure you cut off one of the longer ends.  Last, I Mod Podged it, just because I like how it looked!}

 It was super easy to make too.  I did it while my VERY curious 7 and 3 year-olds were in the same room, hovering over me.  If I can do it under those conditions, it must be easy! ;)

 I haven't been able to get into my classroom yet this summer.  They've been using it for Summer School for our incoming K-2nd graders.  I still have a few weeks left of this sweet summer, so I have no real classroom things yet for the kids made.  I'm just not ready!!!  Good luck to all of you that are there now!  I'll be thinking about ya when we're still in school come mid June next year though... 

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